Emporio - Perissa - Perivolos
Following the road towards Perivolos and Perissa beaches you will find Emporio, the largest village of Santorini with approximately 3.000 permanent residents. It is 12km from Fira and for many years it was the trade centre of the island; this is where it probably takes its modern name from (Emporio is the Greek word for Trade). According to another assertion, Emporio took its name from the German word Neuburg, which means new tower and it refers to the Goulas castle.
Emporio is a traditional village with distinctive folk architecture. Goulas and Kasteli still bring in memory the Venetian rule age. Goulas is the square medieval castle in the village entrance and it was a Patmos monastery glebe (chapter). In its entrance you will see the typical construction with the pots which were filled with hot oil and were spilt over to the enemies.
The Kasteli of Emporio is one of the five typical fortress settlements of the after Byzantine period of the island. Its walls are the external walls of the houses. All buildings are connected and communicate via their roofs and Palea Panagia or Panagia Mesani stands in the centre of the fortress. The church is dated to the 15th-16th century with a unique architecture bell tower and with a priceless wooden icon screen. In a few meters you will find the church of Metamorphosis of Sotiros (Christ) dated to the early 19th century; a great festival takes place on August 6th. What is more, the icon of Osios Averkios (protector of canavas) is hosted there and therefore another festival takes place on October 22nd. In the yard of the church there is a typical pebble area. It is worth visiting Aghios Spiridon church with its beautiful blue dome. Just before entering the village there is the small church of Aghios Nikolaos Marmaritis built upon an ancient sacred of the 3rd century B.C, an offering to the goddess Vasileia.
Go up to the hill of Gavrilos, which is considered archaeological zone due to the Byzantine period ruins and admire the eight windmills and the view of the rest of the island. The windmills are historical listed monuments from the early 19th century and their presence provides evidence for this traditional profession of that time. Furthermore, carved tombs of the Hellenistic period were found in the limestone rock in the area of Vlychada. One of them is known by the name Ehentra which means viper, due to the carved shape of a snake found on the rock. In Emporio you will find many shops for tourists, ATM’s, super markets, a post office, cafeterias, tavernas and pharmacies.
The beach of Perissa is located in the southeastern side of the island, 13 km away from Fira. Beside the rock you will find the Old Christian Basilica type church of Aghia Eirini, dated to 6th century. Perissa is one of the most developed and popular seaside resorts of the island along with Perivolos and Kamari. The sea waters are deep and clean while the beach has black sand. It is a settlement full of life during the summer months. A great number of Greek and foreign tourists visit the village and enjoy the comfort of a well-organized beach, awarded with a blue flag and providing water sports, lifeguards and many facilities for swimmers. The village of Perissa, as it slopes up from the black sand beach to the foothills of the mountain of Mesa Vouno, offers a wide range of choices concerning accommodation, eating and entertainment.
The church of Timios Stavros is situated in Perissa’s square and it is the largest church of the island with a great festival on the 14th of September. If you look in the rock you will see Panagia Katefiani, a small church standing up there by itself. Its festival is on the 8th of September.
Perivolos- Aghios Georgios
Perivolos beach is the natural extension of Perissa. There you will find an organized beach of many kilometres that is awarded with a blue flag. Perivolos has black sand or small pebble and cool deep waters. It has the most popular beach bars, restaurants and fish tavernas.
Beach bars with loud music, team sports and watersports create a party atmosphere all day long. Aghios Georgios (Saint George) is the next stop after Perivolos, however, with a quieter atmosphere. The beach here is also awarded with a blue flag and you will be able to find a nice spot that it is not covered with sun umbrellas, yet.