Santorini is one of the top romantic destinations in the world. Breathtaking sunsets, amazing landscapes with the imposing caldera and the volcanic archipelago, vibrant nightlife and a special character that defines the island. Most people head to Fira capital town or the picturesque settlements of Oia and Imerovigli, the secluded Akrotiri or even Perivolos and Messaria. However, away from the mainstream lies a true medieval treasure. Pyrgos Kallistis or just Pyrgos is the former capital of Santorini, less than 10 kilometers away from the center and yet splendidly isolated from the rest of the buzzing places.
Built amphitheatrically over Profitis Ilias hill, this is the highest spot in Santorini. The Venetian influence is evident everywhere, with the remains of the old castle still there. Once you reach the village, you will be greeted by narrow pathways and beautiful mansions that have been preserved in a pristine state over the centuries. Some of the older houses have been renovated, always with respect to the island’s special architecture and cave-like structures called canaves. The Venetian castle is named Kasteli, from the latin word “castello”.
The devout and spiritual nature of Pyrgos with the numerous churches scattered in the area is most prominent at Easter time. On a Good Friday, lanterns are lit along the cobbled streets and the illuminated paths are followed by all locals and travelers. This is one of the highlights on the island, with Easter celebrations becoming the talk of the town.
Away from the crowds, Pyrgos is one of the finest destinations on the island of Santorini, for those who wish to experience the Cycladic beauty without facing the phenomenon of “overtourism”, especially during peak season. So feel free to enjoy your stay in a quiet and serene location, having fun and discovering historic sights of unique value at the same time.