The former capital of Santorini is Pyrgos. Pyros, Santorini is a stunning Greek village located in the middle of Santorini. The village is home to the best-preserved medieval settlement on the island. Pyrgos offers panoramic views as it is the highest village on the island, and on clear days, you can see all the way to Crete.
The village of Pyrgos is just as beautiful as the village of Oia, but the best part is that locals still live here. Pyrgos also boasts some amazing restaurants, and many of them offer an amazing view of Santorini. Best of all, it is a Santorini secret as you won’t find many tourists staying here.
Why should you visit Pyrgos, Santorini? Pyrgos gives you a sense of what a traditional Greek village is. People say hello to you, the church bells ring, you see families chatting to each other and see them all go about their daily lives. Santorini doesn’t have too many of these traditional villages left, so this is one of the best opportunities to do so while on Santorini. This is great if you will not be visiting another island while in Greece.
Things to Do in Pyrgos
Pyrgos village is not large, but there are still a few things to do, and it is a great place to visit a more traditional Greek village. It is the perfect way to spend an afternoon on Santorini island.
Climb to the top of Pyrgos Kasteli
Sitting on the top of the hill in Pyrgos is a castle known as Pyrgos Kasteli. The Kasteli is a ruin, so you cannot go inside, but it is worth going to the top. At the top, you can get panoramic views of all of Santorini. It is also interesting to see that the castle was made of black volcanic rocks.
The top of the Kastel is a great place to watch the famous Santorini sunset. You can either watch from the top of the castle or visit one of the many restaurants that are located there. Two favorites for this are Rosemary and Franco’s Cafe.
Pyrgos Main Square
Like most villages in Greece, the main square in Pyrgos is a hive of activity. There are several restaurants to see in to watch the town activity. This is also where the public bus picks you up to take you to Thira. The supermarket is located here as well. If people-watching is a favorite activity of yours, this is the place to sit. Try it at different times of the day to see what differences you might see.
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Santorini is known for its wine production, and one of the biggest wineries is located right on the outskirts of Pyrgos, Santo Wines. You can take a tour and have a wine tasting at Santo Wines. One of the most popular Santorini wines is the Assyrtiko. Santo has several wines made with the Assyrtiko grape and a few other options, including red wine. If you don’t have time for a tour, you can stop in their gift shop to purchase the wine and other products.
One of the best things you can do in Pyrgos is to eat out. For such a small village, it has an abundance of excellent restaurants. If you are spending a few days in Santorini, I recommended eating in Pyrgos more than once.
Brusco is right in the main square of Pyrgos and offers a great spot for people-watching. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The lunch and dinner are a mix of mezedes, which are like tapas, and sandwiches. Don’t worry, the portions are big. It is also a great stop for a drink either before or after dinner. They offer a good selection of Santorini wines. My recommendations to eat are the vegan beetroot salad (I like it better than the regular one) and the talagani cheese with fig jam.
Rosemary is located at the top of the Pyrgos castle. The view from the restaurant is stunning. Not only can you see the whole island, but it is also a great place to watch the sunset. The menu features gourmet Greek food. Make sure to make a reservation to secure a view while eating!
Penelope’s is another mezedes place but offers stunning views of Pyrgos and the surrounding area. It is also a top spot to watch the sunset while having dinner in Santorini. The location is not just great for the famous Santorini sunset view, but it is below the large church in Pyrgos, and some of the seats are under the bell tower. My recommendations to eat there are the spetsofai and the fava. Penelope’s also offers breakfast.
Cava Alta also offers amazing views from their roof deck dining area as well as inside seating. Unlike many of the restaurants mentioned here, this restaurant serves Mediterranean food with a hit of Santorini taste. Of course, they offer amazing wines to complement their food.
Kantouni offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner! They offer huge omelets for breakfast and healthy salads for lunch. Dinner brings classic Greek dishes. The location is right next to Brusco and is a great place to people watch as well.
Where to Stay in Pyrgos
Demeter Cave House
Are you coming to Santorini on a romantic vacation? Demeter Cave House is just the place for you! This classic Santorini cave house has been fully restored. It is an adult-only villa with a private hot tub. There is also a roof deck that offers a wonderful view of the sunset. If you are lucky, you can see Crete on a clear day.
The bed in Demeter Cave House glows and is extremely comfortable. The cave house features a small kitchenette and a wonderful lounge area. While it is not a hotel, it is full service, and the owners are always available for anything you might need.
Use code agirlandherpassport to get a special treat when you check in at Demeter Cave House.
White Orchid Cave House
If you are coming with kids or some friends, there are few other cave house options. The first is White Orchid Cave House. It features two rooms. One is a self-contained studio that can fit two people. The other is a cave room downstairs that can sleep four people and has a kitchenette. These two rooms can be booked together if you are a large group as well. White Orchid Cave House is cute and clean.
If Santorini is on your list of places to go, I highly recommend visiting Pyrgos, even if it is just for a few hours. However, to get a real feel for village life in Santorini, consider making it your base while in Santorini. You won’t regret it!