Pyrgos village is situated in the center of Santorini, strategically built on the top of the hill. At 7.5km away from Fira, it has a discreet but dynamic presence on the tourist map.
Upon your arrival at the main square of the village, leave your car in the parking lot to walk uphill, through the picturesque cobbled streets of the settlement that was declared a listed monument in 1995.
Reaching the top of the hill may seem a bit tiring but the endless views of Fira, Oia, and Messaria villages as well as the sloping down landscape will reward your efforts. Reach the top on time and enjoy a unique sunset from a different point of view.
Pyrgos has kept its natural beauty without any alterations. A stroll through its alleys will reveal some interesting points of local architecture, as well as the remains of neoclassical mansions. It is a typical fortress settlement of the Cyclades, a relic of the Venetian rule ages. On the top of the fortress stands the castle (Kasteli) that was ruined by an earthquake almost half a century ago. Until then, approximately 70 families lived inside the walls of the castle.
In the village you will find more than 40 churches; among them is the well-known Theotokaki or Koimisis, built in the 10th century. Panagia Eisodia (or Panagia of Kasteli) is the largest church in the village, built in the early 16th century, it has a magnificent wooden iconostasis (a wooden wall of icons and religious paintings) and it is open to the public only in fests.
It is recommended to visit the Icons and Relics Collection which houses religious paintings, wooden sculptures, embroideries, and other items of ecclesiastic use, mostly dated back to the 17th and 18th centuries.
If you visit the island during Orthodox Easter – and we undoubtedly suggest you do so – you should not miss the impressive ceremony of epitaph (funerary march). As a tradition, the children place them on the top of the buildings in the village with hundreds of tin cans. The tin cans are lit and when you see them from far away the view is unforgettable.
Above Pyrgos, at the highest point of the island, stands the monastery of Prophet Elias, built-in 1711. You can reach it by car or on foot, and you can enjoy from there a panoramic view of the whole island.