The uniqueness of its soil structure greatly influenced the local architecture. The settlements of Fira, Oia, Imerovigli, Firostefani are nestled on the Caldera cliff. Some villages were built in the inland around castles and “yposkafa”, i.e. dwellings carved into the rocks. Originally “yposkafa” were created on the cliffs of Caldera but later on they expanded farther (Vonovas-Karterados-Finikia).
Oia, which is also called Apanomeria, is one of the most spectacular settlements of Santorini. But some people still believe it to be the most beautiful place in the world. Part of the picturesque houses faces Caldera and another part climbs down to the sea. The perfect combination of round and cubic shapes and arched roofs, dominating colours of white, blue and ochre, blooming bougainvillea and jasmine add to the Aegean sun that deepens the contracts.
Oia’s main streets are mostly marble-paved and its white churches are crowned with blue double domes. Once restored after the huge earthquake by professional architects its image has been accomplishing by its residents, their intuition and their sense of beauty. Everything that is done here is done with great love and esteem to the history and culture of the place. Unlike Fira or Perissa, life in Oia is more quiet and tranquil.
Small village Imerovigli is located to the north of Firostefani, on the highest point of Caldera. Its name is translated as a “watch” and “day”: earlier when the island suffered from frequent pirate attacks, this place was used to watch and warn about the coming danger. There are no strict borders separating Fira, Imerovigli and Firostefani. Gradually they seem to make one big settlement. But still their differences and characteristic features are so obvious that is an easy thing to differ one from another.
Athinios is the only port on Santorini that handles passenger ships. This is a small settlement with traditional houses, several shops and tavernas at the foot of Caldera. Climb the narrow and winding sidewalk from which a marvelous enchanting view opens.
To make the description more complete it is necessary to add a couple of words about Santorini’s unique beaches that look like pictures being brought to life by some unknown magician. Its unbelievably crystal clear sea with the range of colours from dark blue to light turquoise, pebble and sand of different colours - all together create the magical and spectacular view.
Perissa with its dark sand and pebble is believed to be one of the most popular beaches of Santorini and is located in its Eastern part. This beach is perfectly organized and has all that is necessary for water sports.
In summer time Kamari beach with its incredibly clear waters and black sand attracts crowds of visitors. It is full of life days and nights. Being perfectly organized with a number of hotels with pools, clubs bars, restaurants and tavernas it becomes the destination point for many tourists.
The Red Beach sits not far from Akrotiri. It will captivate your imagination casting spells with its unusual and rare combination of blue sea and red rocks and sand.