Greece › Santorini › Best Things to Do › Profitis Ilias Monastery
by Santorini Dave • Updated: June 21, 2021
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Profitis Ilias Monastery
Santorini has many churches scattered all over the island, from small charming chapels to large monasteries. Profitis Ilias (Prophet Elias) Monastery is one of the oldest on the island and an important Greek Orthodox landmark.
It is located on the top of Mount Profitias Ilias on the southeast side of Pyrgos, about 3-4 km from the town center. Mount Profitis Ilias sits 567m above sea level and is the highest peak of the island. To get here, drive up from the main road in Pyrgos heading southeast. There is also a 2.5 km trail up to the Monastery from the main square in Pyrgos.
The drive up is on a paved, winding, and fairly narrow road with steep drop-offs. It sounds worse than it is – just drive responsibly and it’s fine; the view and serenity from the top of of the mountain makes the trip worthwhile. Santorini can get windy, and on some days, the wind is really strong up here. However, you are also rewarded with incredible, unobstructed 360° views of the Aegean Sea, sunset, and all of Santorini – from Akrotiri in the south to as far as Oia in the north. The mountain looks barren from below, but there are plenty of trees, plants, and flowers that have been planted here, including over 700 olive treees.
The monastery is housed in a stone, fortress-style building that was founded in 1711 by 2 monks (and brothers) from Pyrgos and was more recently restored after severe damage from the 1956 earthquake. It has played an important role in the cultural and social life of the island community, establishing the Greek Orthodox school in Santorini in 1806, providing goods and services to the public school, and taking care of the poor and funding many charities.
There are daily evening prayers (esperinos in Greek) from 5pm to 6:30pm for those interested in hearing a Greek Orthodox church service. A great time to visit is on July 20th, the feast day of Saint Elias, when locals flock to the monastery for the big esperinos and the vigil that follows.
There is a small gift shop on the square next to St. Nektarious church which sells traditional products made by the monks.
Profitis Ilias Monastery Hours and Information
- Season: Open through the year.
- Hours: Open daily 9am to sunset. Closed on Sundays but the magnificent view is still worth the drive up.
- Website: thesvitis.blogspot.com
- Location: Mount Profitis Ilias, Pyrgos, Santorini 847 00
- Telephone: +30 228 603 1210
- Admission Fee: Free admission.
- Bus: There is no bus to the top of the mountain from Pyrgos.
- Parking: Plenty of free parking outside the monastery gates.
Profitis Ilias Monastery
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