Ok, so you spent your afternoon at Oia watching the mesmerising sunset. You’ve been sunbathing at Perissa every day and then exploring the narrow streets of Fira. But, we have one more secret for you while you are in Santorini! These are the amazing hidden (or not) castles and fortresses of Santorini.
We can definitely assure you will get some great sunsets and panoramic views from these too. Definitely worth a visit (or 2)!
Here they are:
1. Kasteli (Castle) of Pyrgos
Why you should visit it: this castle is in Pyrgos Village which is by itself a great visit and a really picturesque location. Pyrgos became the capital of Santorini in the mid 18th century, and before Fira, which is the capital of the island today!
History: The castle was built in order the inhabitants to get protected by the invasion and that’s why it has only one entrance. In many cases, the inhabitants could throw boiling oil to those that tried to invade. The first thing that you will see getting into the castle, is in the church of Saint Theodosia, which is not the only one there. On the western side, is another church “Isiodion” of Theotokos, which is believed that it was built in the 10th century and it has extremely valuable and historical icons and a wooden iconostasis! Finally the last church that we going to mention is the church of the Virgin Mary, which is located at the highest point of the castle and was built in 1660-1661!
How to get theret: just go to Pyrgos Village and then head to the location shown in the map below
2. Skaros Rock : The Fortress of Santorini!
Why you should visit it: this is the most important castle of Santorini built to protect the island from the pirates in the 1200’s. It is in a unique location close to Imerovigli offering some amazing views of the volcano. It is also a great opportunity for hiking and trekking.
History: Skaros Rock was basically a small and densely populated medieval village in Santorini which was repeatedly damaged by strong earthquakes. The historians claim that the earthquakes from 16th till 18th century caused significant damage to the village and at the end the village was abandoned. Nowadays, the rock of Skaros is completely uninhabited. There is a small church with great views on the northwest side and a few ruins left by old houses.
How to get there: just go to Imerovigli and then head to the location shown in the map below
3. Kasteli (Castle) of Agios Nikolaos : Oia
Why you should visit it: Ok, we know you are going to visit Oia to watch the sunset but this had to be on the list! It is the ultimate touristic attraction not only of Santorini but perhaps…of Greece. So, get prepared or arrive there at least 1 hour before the sunset to get a nice spot. There are no words to describe this experience and as much as we hate the “touristy” and packed locations…we have to admit there is usually a good reason why they became top spots.
History: Oia Castle exists probably since the 1400’s, but as we have already mentioned above Oia suffered by the earthquakes. Especially due to the earthquake of 1956 a significant part of the settlement fell into the sea beneath Caldera. Great Temples, such as the Church of St. George and Our Lady of Platsani were completely destroyed!
How to get there: it’s extremely difficult to miss it…just go to Oia and then head to the location shown in the map below. Or just follow the tourists lines!
4. Kasteli (Castle) of Akrotiri : La Ponta
Why you should visit it: we won’t say anything more on why you should visit “La Ponta”. Just watch the video below and visit laponta.gr for more information. Get prepared for an amazing time travel with Greek music…This is indeed a Santorini Secret!
History: It was 1336 when the duke os Naxos Nikolas Sanuso gave Akrotiri to Gozzadini family, who their origins were from Bologna, in Italy. The amazing defense position of the castle and also the fact that Akrotiri belonged to Italians and not to Venetians (Venice was with war with Ottoman Empire) help Gozzadini family to possess the castle for a long period till thec castle was occupied by the Turks in 1617. Of course, many damages were caused at this castle by the earthquake of 1656.
How to get there: go to Akrotiri village and head to where the map shows below
5. Tower of Nimborio (Emporio)
hy you should visit it: first, we should probably mention that you must visit the village of Emporio (or Nimporio as locals also called it). It is a really picturesque and unique village with amazing architecture and lovely Cycladic-style chapels. This Venetian tower is at the west side of the village and it seems like it will jump off the hill!
History: Emporio Castle exists since the 1400’s and the legend says that it was built by the monks of the Monastery of St. John the Theologian in Patmos!
How to get there: go to Emporio (Nimborio) village and head to where the map shows below
So…have you visited any of these castles? What was your experience?
We would like to thank you Santorini Secrets, who provide us with the material of this interesting article that you can find here and they do a fantastic job providing secrets about one of the most beautiful islands in the worlds, Santorini!
And as you probably know……we love secrets!