Santorini’s capital is a picturesque tourist stop-off. It also provides magnificent views of the coast.
The first thing you notice about Firá is its setting. Situated on top of a 1,312-foot (400-meter) caldera, the crater formed by a volcanic eruption, Firá’s whitewashed buildings seemingly slide toward the cliff edge. The village has magnificent western panoramas of the Aegean and Mediterranean seas. You’ll also be able to pick out Therasia Island, Nea Kameni and both tips of the caldera.
An earthquake in 1956 destroyed many of Firá’s 18th-century buildings, but new construction is sympathetic to the village’s history. Whites and gentle pinks and blues are the presiding colors of the architecture. The peach-hued cathedral, which dominates the skyline, is a rare example of Catholic-style architecture in Firá.
Firá is a favorite tourist stop-off, and it often gets crowded in the summer. Cruise ships are a big contributing factor. The hub of activity is on Plateia Theotokopoulou, Firá’s main square and a good spot for mingling with the locals. Away from the square, you’ll find narrow alleys lined with restaurants, souvenir shops and galleries.
Learn about the history of Santorini at Firá’s museums. The Museum of Prehistoric Thera has a collection of artifacts form the Neolithic and Bronze ages, including jewelry, pottery and plant fossils. See objects from archaeological digs on the island at the Historical and Cultural Archaeological Museum of Santorini.
The main lure of Firá is its walks and views. Strolling along Agiou Mina reveals stunning panoramas of Fira itself. Make you way down to the Old Port at the base of the cliffs. You can walk down the zig-zagging path, but it might be more fun to take a donkey ride. A cable car is also available to and from the base.
During the evening, many cruise ship passengers return to their ship. This means you can enjoy a less hectic atmosphere in the cafés, restaurants and bars.
Firá is located about a 10-minute drive from Santorini Airport. A bus service covers this route. Otherwise, a taxi to Firá is reasonably inexpensive.