Sitting high above Santorini is a town you may have never heard of! While millions of tourists head to beautiful Fira and Oia every year, there is another must-see place to add to your itinerary. Pyrgos is a village in Santorini with centuries of history, and a place that still retains its charm on an extremely touristic island in Greece. Here are 10 amazing things to know before you go to Pyrgos and why it’s such a hidden gem of Santorini!
10 Amazing Things to Know About Pyrgos Santorini
1. Pyrgos Was the Ancient Capital of Santorini
The beginnings of Pyrgos Village can be traced back to the 13th century when the Venetians were in control of the island. It started off as a small town with a monastery that added a large fortress in 1580. They built it as a strategic defense point for this time period.
Many historians say that Pyrgos was once the capital of Santorini up until the 1800’s when it switched to Fira. Although this is disputed, it is easy to see why they would choose Pyrgos for its high location away from the ocean.
2. Amazing Island Views
From Pyrgos Village, you can see Fira, Oia, and beyond! Particularly from the top of the castle, you will have insane views of Santorini and the Greek islands in the distance.
These views are unique as most of the pictures you see of this famous island are from Oia. Behind you will also be the massive Profitis Elias Mountain which is the highest in Santorini. From Pyrgos, you can truly see everything!
3. Charming Streets of Pyrgos
One of the best things to do in Pyrgos Santorini is simply walk the ancient streets of town. The steps from the main square weave their way up towards the castle in between shops and local restaurants.
We were surprised after strolling through the neighborhood how big it actually is. It’s here that you can see how authentic it is and why Pyrgos Greece is considered a hidden gem!
4. Getting to Pyrgos in Santorini is Easy
Something we loved about Pyrgos is how easy it is to get there! Many travelers rent a car, ATV, or motorbike to get around. However, if you would rather not have a vehicle or just want to save some money, the bus is a great option.
For under 2 euros you can catch the bus from Fira to just about anywhere on the island. We regularly went from Fira to Pyrgos and had a blast! We definitely recommend this option if you’re planning on doing some of what we talk about next in Pyrgos Greece.
5. Wine Tasting in Pyrgos Santorini
Not only is Pyrgos rich in history and beautiful views, but it’s also located near many of the best wineries! Santorini wine has become famous around the world for its great taste and unique production methods.
Our absolute favorite is Santo Winery where you can do a tasting overlooking the Santorini volcano. Venetsanos is also worth visiting from Pyrgos Village. Check out Flora’s House & Cave Winery for a unique stay and sea view apartments above Pyrgos.
6. Exploring Pyrgos Castle
Pyrgos is the location of one of five different Venetian castles built around the island. It was constructed towards the end of the 16th century as a key defense of Santorini, especially against the Frankish invaders.
Nowadays its walls house private residences, churches, and restaurants inside the Old Town. From the top is where you’ll have the best view from Santorini’s highest sitting village!
7. Pyrgos is a Traditional Greek Village
From the moment you enter Pyrgos you’ll see that it’s very different from the rest of Santorini. You won’t find many tour companies and it’s just got a special vibe compared to Fira, Oia, or coastal resort towns.
Nevertheless, Pyrgos is still super close to all the action of the main towns and even the beaches! This makes it such a great day trip or even a fun 1-2 day getaway on Santorini.
8. WWII Monument of Pyrgos Greece
Near the entrance of the Pyrgos Castle, you will find a reminder of the much more recent history. Like many of the Greek Islands, Santorini was actually taken over by both the Italians and Germans in WWII.
You sometimes forget this when seeing all the amazing ancient history of Pyrgos Greece. There is a monument dedicated to these events at the entrance to the castle.
9. Fun Pyrgos Village Restaurants & Bars
We mentioned the restaurants of Pyrgos and they honestly deserve more attention! While there are excellent spots to eat in Fira and Oia, you should know that Pyrgos has a few of the most famous on the island.
We recommend having a meal at Penelope’s and then heading for drinks at the legendary Franco’s Cafe for sunset. Franco’s is located at the top of the Pyrgos Greece castle so you can imagine the views! Also, if you’re in the mood for a quick Gyro stop in at Kalliston.
10. Sunsets in Pyrgos Santorini
Speaking of sunsets… Pyrgos Village is a great place to end your day on Santorini! Oia gets all the fame for being the best sunset spot but don’t sleep on Pyrgos. Remember this is the highest town on the island. Watching the sunset from Pyrgos over ALL of Santorini is so epic!
Where to Stay in Santorini Greece
Here are some hotel recommendations as well as inspiration for different areas of the island. As you can see, there is something for every type of traveler on Santorini!
Have any questions on this mountain town or want to share your own fun tips for Pyrgos in Santorini? Leave us a comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Santorini Travel Inspiration
- 20 Fun Things to do in Santorini Greece on Your First Visit
- Red Beach Santorini Guide: How to Get There, Fun Hiking Trails, & More
- Fira to Oia Hike: Fun Guide to the Can’t Miss Santorini Trail
- Amoudi Bay Santorini: How to Explore the Charming Bay Below Oia Village
- 12 Fun Facts That Might Surprise You About Fira Santorini
Explore all our Greece articles to help plan your trip! We cover everything from general travel tips to amazing destinations such as Santorini, Paros, Rhodes, Karpathos, Crete, Milos & more beautiful islands!
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Greece Travel Planning
For island hopping use FerriesinGreece to compare different routes, prices, and companies. The fast ferries like Sea Jets will cost more but often takes half the time of slower ferries like Blue Star!
Rental Car: You can book a rental car for as little as $20 a day in Greece! We use Discover Cars to explore the larger islands with a vehicle.
Tours: Go to Get Your Guide for hundreds of activities in Santorini. You can find everything from group sailing tours to private catamaran cruises. Go wine tasting around the island, horseback riding down the beach, or even jump on an ATV tour!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without insurance. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.