Fira: The Beating Heart of Santorini, Greece
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It is impossible to visit Santorini without spending some time in Fira, Santorini. Fira is the capital of Santorini, as well as the cultural hub of the island. By day, there are a number of beaches, activities, and tourist attractions to explore. By night, Fira is pulsing with an active nightlife scene. It is in Fira where you can catch a bus or ferry to almost any other part of Santorini or the nearby islands. Fira isn’t just another stop on your Santorini vacation. It’s Santorini’s very heart, and all its veins flow out from Fira.
Fira, Santorini has one of the best views of the Santorini Caldera, which was formed through volcanic eruptions that occurred during the Minoan era. The caldera is tied to the legend of Atlantis, making it a draw for lovers of lore and myth as well as travelers simply seeking beautiful Cycladic sights. Today, it stands as a massive cliff at the edge of the island, 1,200 feet high. Fira is located on the eastern edge of the caldera, with a splendid sweeping view as it stretches outward around Firostefani and even Oia. During famed Santorini sunsets (said to be among the most beautiful in the world), the sun casts a reddish glow on the caldera, and you can see it all from Fira.
Museums and Attractions
Fira, Santorini receives a heavy amount of tourist traffic, so there are many attractions that can be found here. Some of the musts for tourists include:
- Santorini Archaeological Museum. The Santorini Archaeological Museum is absolutely essential for history buffs. Here, you can find artifacts from the ancient city of Thira as well as artwork and exhibits from all over the island, some dating back as far as the 8th century BC. While many museums have a strict “no pictures” policy, that’s not the case at the Archaeological Museum. As long as you don’t capture other visitors in your pictures, feel free to take as many pictures as you need to remember the trip.
- Megaro Gyzi. The Megaro Gyzi Museum is located in a traditional Fira mansion. This museum has a variety of sights to see, including the courtyard, the preserved kitchen with original utensils, but it’s most known for its vast art selection. Here you can find old manuscripts, sharp photography, and paintings as old as the mansion itself, which was constructed in the 17th century.
- Folklore Museum. This museum has something for everyone: historic crafts from native carpenters, a well-stocked library, a chapel, a winery...The Lignos Folklore Museum is one of the best places to really get a feel for the culture and heritage of Santorini, particularly Fira, Santorini. It’s even fashioned much like its own Santorini village.
- 587 Steps. Fira is at a rather high elevation in Santorini. To reach the Old Port, the beach and access to other villages, you can take an invigorating and scenic route...down 587 stone steps to the old port. On the way, you’ll get a full view of the caldera as well as a taste of Fira culture. You can even take a donkey ride, for an experience you’ll really remember. When you reach the Old Port, you’ll find a number of restaurants, cafes and bars, as well as boats you can take to nearby islands like Nea Kameni and Thirassia or other parts of Santorini. Sure, you could just take a cable car, but what would be the fun in that?
- Churches. In the Catholic quarter of Fira, Santorini you can find grand Orthodox cathedrals, including the Catholic Cathedral and the nearby Domenican Convent, dedicated to Saint Catherine. The Orthodox Metropolitan Church of Santorini draws many visitors because of its caldera views, bell tower, and frescoes painted by local artist Christoforos Asimis.
Fira is known throughout Santorini and by experienced tourists for its nightlife. If you’re not quite ready to crash at one of the Fira hotels when the sun goes down, don’t worry. The fun doesn’t have to stop. There are several casual party bars where local DJs will play the soundtrack to dance or drink to until dawn. If you prefer live music and a game of pool, you can find that in Fira as well. But for those with sophisticated tastes, high end bars and cafes are often open until late as well. Whatever kind of party you prefer, you can find it in Fira.
Hotels in Fira, Santorini, Greece
There are a number of Fira, Santorini hotels where you could stay, but they’re going to be among the most expensive hotels in Santorini. Fira has a high tourist demand, which allows hotels in Fira, Santorini, Greece to charge more than other villages. Fortunately, there is a solution: stay in Firostefani. Firostefani is a short walk away from Fira and offers a more laid back, peaceful experience if you tire of all the crowds of Fira. By staying in Firostefani, you can save money that might have otherwise been spent on Fira hotels but still enjoy all that Fira has to offer.
Some hotels will even have budget rooms to offer, like Afrodete Hotel’s budget double rooms complete with private bathrooms and wifi access. But even with our standard and superior rooms, you’ll still pay less than you’d pay in many of the hotels in Fira, Santorini, Greece.
You have to experience Fira when visiting Santorini island, but you don’t necessarily have to stay there. By staying at Afrodete Hotel in Firostefani, you have nothing of the Fira, Santorini experience to lose...except some of the cost.
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