Fira, Santorini

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Updated: January 25, 2021

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fira from a distance

Gorgeous Fira, Santorini as seen from Firostefani, the next village along the caldera rim.

Fira Village Information

Fira Village in Santorini – Video

Lay of The Land
The scenic and lively village of Fira is the capital of the island, built into the cliffs of the caldera. Its name comes from the ancient name of the island, Thera. Fira offers spectacular panoramic views of the 18km-long caldera, from the southern village of Akrotiri to northern village of Oia. There are picture-perfect views of the volcanic island of Nea Kameni and Thirassia Island from here as well. Caldera views from Fira are equally spectacular day and night, and Fira is also well known for its nightlife.

The village is the commercial hub of the island, full of picturesque narrow alleys filled with clothing and gift shops, cafes, restaurants, galleries, bars and clubs, as well as the island’s police station, post office, and other municipal offices. The central square in Fira is called Plateia Theotokopoulou, located in front of the Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral with spectacular caldera views. Here there are plenty of coffee shops and places to eat. On the main road through town, you’ll find banks, pharmacies, travel agencies and shops as well as the bus terminal, taxi station and a public parking lot.

All business on the caldera side of the village have beautiful ocean, sunset, and caldera views – making dining, drinking, and lodging there much more expensive. Plenty of great places can be found off the caldera as well, however, and generally at a lower price-point.

The Old Port
Below Fira is the Old Port. Unless you are being tendered from a cruise ship, there is little reason to visit here. The old port is connected to Fira by a steep zig-zagged footpath, and by cable car. You will probably see donkeys carrying tourists going up and down the path all day long. We do not recommend this activity.

Fira to Oia Hike
Definitely one of the best things to do in Santorini is the Fira to Oia hike. The 10.5 km trail takes you along the caldera cliff and through the villages of Firostefani, Imerovigli, and on to Oia. It takes between 2 and 5 hours depending on how fast you walk and how often you stop. If you do a side trip to Skaros Rock it will add at least an hour. Part of the path is similar to a sidewalk, parts are cobblestone, and parts are a dirt path. There is a good climb in both directions. The climb from Oia to Imerovigli is long and gradual so you don’t notice it as much. The climb from Fira to Imerovigli is short and steep. The trail is not baby-stroller or bike-friendly. Most 7 year-olds would have no trouble completing the walk in terms of difficulty because the quality of the path is good, but it is a very long walk for anyone under 10.

Firostefani
Firostefani is the smaller village adjacent to Fira, about a 1 km walk along the Fira-Oia trail. If you want to be close to the action of Fira but don’t want the crowds then Firostefani is a great place to stay. Views here are equally wonderful. There are 10 to 12 restaurants in Firostefani, a bakery, and a couple of markets – but no bars or nightlife.

Map of Fira

fira village map

Santorini Orientation (From Fira) – Video

Attractions

  • Oia-Fira Hiking Trail: 1-minute walk. One of the top attractions on the island is this scenic 10.5 km hiking trail connecting Oia and Fira. A mix of sidewalk, cobblestones, and dirt trail, this route boasts gorgeous vistas the entire way. Hiking northwest, the full length of the path from Fira to Oia Castle takes about 2 hours 25 minutes (add at least 30 minutes for a detour at Skaros Rock when you head north).
  • Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral: This imposing cathedral dominates the main square in Fira. Fully renovated after the ’56 earthquake, this landmark church is surrounded by a series of grand archways, and is adorned with frescoed walls and ceilings inside in gold and vivid colors. Map.
  • Old Port of Fira: A.K.A. Fira Skala, the Old Port has a few tavernas, shops, and pretty sea views. The only connections from the port to the village are the cable cars, donkeys, or walking up the 587 steps. Nowadays, the Old Port is mostly used by cruise ship passengers, arriving daily by the thousands in the high season. To avoid the largest crowds, plan excursions around the cruise ship calendar. Map.
  • Catholic Church of St. John the Baptist: Often referred to simply as the Catholic Church, St. John’s is recognizable by its brilliant yellow and blue exterior and clock tower. Map.
  • Skaros Rock: Impressive volcanic rock formation housing the ruins of a medieval castle and town, dating to 1207. The trailhead leading to Skaros begins at Agios Georgios Church in Imerovigli. Map.
  • Fira Museums The Archaeological Museum of Thera, The Museum of Prehistoric Thera, The Folklore Museum, and Megaron Gyzi.

Fira Village

in front of orthodox metropolitan cathedral

Plateia Theotokopoulou, the main pedestrian area in front of the Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral.

 the Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral and Atlantis hotel

The Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral, with The Atlantis Hotel, Santorini’s first, in the background.

The central walkway as it leaves the main plaza and enters the narrow lanes full of shops.

pedestrian walkway

The pedestrian thoroughfare running through Fira.

cafe with view

So many excellent cafes with stunning caldera views.

Naoussa restaurant

Naoussa Restaurant has amazing caldera views and excellent food.

Argo Restaurant

Argo Restaurant has excellent food and caldera views.

Ouzeri Restaurant

Ouzeri Restaurant is a great choice.

cacio e pepe restaurant

Cacio e Pepe has the best Italian food on Santorini.

lucky souvlaki

Lucky’s Souvlaki has great sandwiches.

PK cocktail bar

PK Cocktail Bar has one of the most iconic perches in Santorini.

stores

Fira is full of shopping for all budgets.

fashion boutiques

There are many fashion boutiques and jewelry shops.

fashion shop

Many clothing shops.

souvenir shops

Souvenir shops.

firo to oia hike

The Fira to Oia trail between Fira and Firostefani.

caldera cafe view

Perfection.

donkeys on stairs

Donkeys are available to bring people up the steep staircase linking the old port to Fira above.

old port staircase

The steep staircase from the old port, mainly used by passengers getting off of or returning to shuttle boats from cruise ships who don’t want to wait in line for cable cars.

Main Street

The main commercial street, full of restaurants and shops.

Main Street

Cafes and restaurants here are less expensive than those with caldera views.

bus station

Fira bus station.

fira bus station

Passengers awaiting departure to other parts of Santorini.

parking lots

One of the main public parking lots.

taxi stand

Taxi stand.

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