Pyrgos in Santorini is one of the towns or villages you have to visit while on the island as it’s literally a super cute and alternative version of Oia. Pyrgos Santorini is where you should go if you want to avoid the crowds in Oia and you want a quieter place to watch the sunset or just a calmer place overall. However, there are still a lot of things to do in Pyrgos, and in fact, you may fall in love with this cute little gem of a village.
BEST THING TO DO IN PYRGOS SANTORINI: Wine Tasting Tour
Pyrgos is also called “Pyrgos Kallistis“, and it’s here on Google Maps.
If you don’t already know it, Pyrgos and the surrounding areas are where most of Santorini Wineries are located and it’s obvious that this is one of the best things to do while being in the area, but there is more than that.
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In my opinion the absolute best things to do in Pyrgos are:
- Visit a winery or hop on a Guided Wine Tasting Tour, which will allow you to visit more than one winery in the area and also allows you to drink as much wine as you may want since driving and alcohol should strongly be avoided (the bus won’t take you directly to the wineries as these are not located in Pyrgos
- Visit Santo Winery just outside of Pyrgos village (the bus from Fira to Pyrgos stops just outside of the winery)
- Wander the streets of Pyrgos and feel like being in a maze
- Climb up to the top of the hill and visit the church of Holly Mary (you can actually get inside and see its interior)
- Visit Franco’s Cafe in Pyrgos and relax while enjoying one of the best views on the island
- Eat at Pyrgos Restaurant with incredible views (and yummy food)
- Eat or just have a cocktail at the brand-new and very chic Capri
- Enjoy a coffee or just your ouzo with greek mezze in the cute traditional “Kafeneio” (greek cafe) called Kantouni at the bottom of the traditional village
VERY IMPORTANT TO KNOW:
- Best Website To Book Any Tour in Greece: GetYourGuide
- You can go to Pyrgos by taking the local Santorini bus from Fira; the ticket costs 2 euros (or around that price…thank you, crazy inflation)
- The main bus stop in Pyrgos is at the bottom of the hill and no cars are allowed inside the traditional village (Kastelli), so get prepared for some hiking and walking to get to the top.
- There are no beaches close to Pyrgos. Pyrgos is in the center of Santorini and it’s the town with the highest altitude; that is why the views from the top are stunning
- If you only have time for one winery, then make it the Santo Winery, which sits outside of Pyrgos, and it actually overlooks the volcano and the caldera. if you
- If you want to visit a winery that is very close to the centre of Pyrgos, then visit the Hadjidakis Winery, which is about 20 mins walk from the bus stop in Pyrgos. Don’t expect any crazy views, though but only one of the best wines in Greece and in Europe.
So, let’s dive in and see the best things to do in Pyrgos Santorini:
1. Guided Wine Tasting Tour
Wine tasting is one of the best things to do in Santorini and Pyrgos village is the area with the most wineries. You can definitely visit the wineries all by yourself and do a winetasting session when you get there with the owners or the wine experts (depending on the size of the winery) but the best thing you can do is to hop on a guided wine-tasting tour that will take you to at least 3 wineries and you won’t have to worry about drinking and driving (if you get there with your car). Here is the complete list of Santorini Wineries with all the details and directions to get there. However, if you have time for only one winery then make it the Santo Winery which is just outside of Pyrgos but it is overlooking the caldera with stunning views of the volcano.
2. Visit Santo Winery (just outside of Pyrgos)
Santo Winery is the most famous Santorini winery for some very good reasons. Yes, it’s not really in Pyrgos, but it’s sitting just outside of the village and it is overlooking the caldera and the volcano. if you have time for only one winery while on Santorini, then make it the Santo Winery and you won’t regret it. You can get to the winery by taking the local bus from Fira and if you are staying in Pyrgos you can walk for about 20 mins to reach it. While being there you should try the 6 or 12 wines tasting session that comes with greek nibbles and mezze. Your waiter will explain to you everything you need to know about the Santorini wines and you should also visit their winery shop which has a large selection of Santorini wines and other local products. The winery gets very busy during the summer months of June, July, August and September but you can book your session in advance:
3. Wander the streets of Pyrgos Kallistis
It may come as a surprise but architecturally speaking Pyrgos is equally picturesque as Oia and, in many cases, even cuter and less busy or spoilt. You really have to wander the streets and the alleys in Pyrgos and if you get lost (which is very easy) try to enjoy it and orientate yourself by just following one path only. There is a good reason you may feel like being in a maze as the village was built like this so that it’s protected by the strong winds of the winter and also to provide some coverage and confuse any foreign intruders. If you happen to be in Pyrgos during the greek easter (in April) you should definitely visit it as Pyrgos on Good Friday is lit with candles providing an incredible sighting.
4. Visit Franco’s Cafe at the top of Pyrgos Kallistis
There are many spots to watch the sunset in Santorini, but my favourite one is not in Oia but on the top of Pyrgos Kallistis while enjoying a drink or a coffee at Franco’s Cafe . Classical Music and Opera are playing continuously from the speakers also adding to the beautiful location. Even though this cafe is not in a top touristic area, it can definitely become busy in July, August and September so make sure you get there in time if you want to have a table to watch the sunset.
5. Visit the Holly Mary Church of Pyrgos
Though definitely not the most unique or pretty church on the island, this is the church that sits at the highest level of the island compared to other churches. The door of the church is usually open, and you can enter to admire the beautiful Christian orthodox paintings on the walls. The lovely patio of the church is literally made of pebbles from the nearby beaches of the island and it’s next to Franco’s cafe. Here is the church on Google Maps.
6. Eat at Pyrgos Restaurant
Pyrgos restaurant is one of the most famous choices when it comes to wedding venues in Santorini but it’s nonetheless a magnificent restaurant with excellent greek food. The restaurant itself is at the entrance of Pyrgos village and it has some spectacular 360 views overlooking Oia and parts of the caldera lagoon with the volcano. There is also a large parking area just outside of the restaurant.
7. Have a cocktail at Capri
Let’s be honest. Pyrgos is not the first place that comes to mind when thinking about cocktails and views. BUT Capri is here to change that as it has recently become one of the best well-hidden spots on the island as not that many people actually know about it. And I am here to tell you about this little secret. Capri opened recently and quickly gathered some of the most positive reviews from anyone who has visited it. While everyone is packed in Oia watching the sunset please make yourself a favour and go for dinner and a signature cocktail at this beautiful bar-restaurant. Try to be there as early as possible if you want to catch the sunset though as I am pretty sure the place will be the new hit of the island this year. Contact them here to book a table.
8. Visit the traditional “kafeneio” Kantouni (now a restaurant)
Wherever you are travelling in Greece try to find and old traditional “kafeneio” (cafe) or coffee shop. These are usually located in the center of the villages or the central square and they are “institutions” of good coffee, excellent location and..local gossiping. Gone are the days when the men of the village used to hang out there for a whole day while the women were… doing all the hard work of housekeeping (i am not proud of that regime in the greek culture, to be honest, but it is a fact). Kantouni itself is a lovely cute restaurant and cafe nowadays with excellent greek food and meze with ouzo (the national drink of Greece). There is nothing better in the greek summer heat than enjoying a cold coffee or a greek beer under the shade of the big trees outside of Kantouni. Make yourself a favour and relax at Kantouni while in Pyrgos.
So, there you have them. These are the best things to do in Pyrgos Santorini. This is one of the loveliest Santorini villages and even just wandering on its streets and alleys is a great experience. In recent years, quite a lot of new hotels have actually opened in the area providing an alternative view and overall experience on the island compared to the typical Fira, Imerovigli, Oia accommodation. This is now preferred by many people who want to see a different side of the island without being packed or overwhelmed by the flood of tourists that Oia or Fira experience in the summer months.