Fira

A majestic view of the Santorini caldera viewed from the town of Fira

Fira is the capital town of the southernmost Cycladic island of Santorini located in the Greek Aegean sea. Santorini is almost mythical in its beauty. It offers gorgeous local architecture, beautiful blue waters, sunny beaches and rugged cliffs. Santorini is arguably one of the more beautiful places in the world. It is most commonly known for its blue-domed churches mostly located on the northern tip of the island in a town called Oia.

I highly recommend traveling to Greece in general and Santorini in particular. Within Santorini, Fira is somewhat off the beaten path away from the bustling, overcrowded streets of Oia. Fira is a better value for money for staying overnight. It is centrally located, making it better suited for visiting other beautiful towns in Santorini such as Pyrgos or for taking a boat trip to the gorgeous, rugged volcanic islands of Nea Kameni or Thirassia. The main tourist area of Oia isn’t too far away either.

Fira is in the middle on the Western internal edge of the landmass of Santorini on the right.

The island of Santorini is hook-shaped with a sunken, water-filled caldera in the middle and majority of the landmass surviving only on the eastern side of what was once a giant circular crater. Fira is in the middle on the Western internal edge of that landmass.

Fira offers stunning panoramic views of the caldera highlighted by the remains of the semi-active volcanic island of Nea Kameni in the middle and Oia visible far away to the north.

Fira is a busy tourist spot. Many beautiful, impossible looking hotels line up the sides of the mountains. The houses are painted in white, mostly using local volcanic ash and limestone. On the top of the mountain are churches, bars, restaurants and shopping. There are stairs going down to the ocean and trolleys that you can take to come up.

Fira, like most other places in Greece, is a photographer’s delight. I took hundreds of photos. Some of my favorites are included in this post.

Hotels line up the rugged cliffs and offer great panoramic view to the Santorini caldera
The mountside town is full of beautiful buildings, churches and winding alleyways
The stark white houses are often interspersed with amazing embellishments of color
Fira town offers bustling bars, restaurants and shopping

Fira is a short flight from Athens. The Greek islands seem very far though from the perceived political and economic turmoil that we tend toassociate with Greece in general. Hotels and restaurants are often surprisingly inexpensive. People are extraordinarily nice. Food is very good, very fresh and delicious. Among other things, I ate what were probably the best tasting tomatoes in the world.

Evenings are purely magical. Cool breeze, good restaurants and a sense of quiet celebration.
A quick view of the breakfast early morning as we enjoyed the stunning views of the Santorini caldera that gets filled with cruise boats early morning.
The view of the Caldera from up the mountain over a church spire
The slowly approaching dusk brings a cool breeze over the otherwise simmering land. Who won’t dream of retiring here?

(If you like these photos, you can find more on my Instagram or on my website)