3 hilltop villages with sea views, blue-roofed houses and not (too) many tourists... Santorini has it all!

Santorini is the most densely populated island in the Cyclades archipelago, with the number of inhabitants doubling in high season. Tired of the crowds of tourists crowding the blue rooftops of Oia? Can't even take a nice photo in an Instagrammable spot or relax in peace? Yet this island is full of small villages perched high above the cliffs, less touristy, more peaceful and full of hidden treasures.

View of the village of Oia

View of the village of Oia

- © LucVi / Shutterstock
Santorini

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Take in the sights at Imerovigli

For outdoor enthusiasts, Imerovigli is the ideal starting point for unforgettable hikes. The path leading from Fira to Oia is the most famous, where volcanic landscapes and the Aegean Sea intermingle, offering breathtaking views of the Santorini caldera and the surrounding villages.

Skaros rock in the village of Imerovigli

Skaros rock in the village of Imerovigli

- © Georgios Tsichlis / Shutterstock

Rich in history, this small village nestling in the hollow of a cliff is the perfect place to learn more about the history of Santorini and the Cyclades. There's the Venetian castle of Skaros, a ruined medieval fortress symbolising Venetian occupation, and the archaeological site of Akrotiri, a Minoan city buried under volcanic ash.

Where to stay in Imerovigli?

Akra Suites - Imerovigli Santorini
Booking.com

Akra Suites - Imerovigli

A charming hotel in the village of Imerovigli
9.5 Exceptional
From
£393 / night
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Emporio, the largest of the small villages

Welcome to Emporio, the island's largest village. Its name means 'trade' in Greek, and it's not hard to see why, given that it was the island's centre of commerce during the Venetian occupation, thanks in no small part to its openness to the Mediterranean.

Narrow quarter in the traditional old village of Emporio

Narrow quarter in the traditional old village of Emporio

- © Georgios Tsichlis / Shutterstock

Get lost in the labyrinth of narrow streets to soak up the village's authentic atmosphere, and take the opportunity to discover or rediscover the traditional thatched and blue-domed houses, far from the luxury hotels of the coast and the hustle and bustle of tourism. After this wonderful day, what better way to end the evening than in one of the many taverns in the village, where you can continue your cultural immersion in a friendly atmosphere and sample the local specialities.

Where to stay in Emporio?

Nalas Suites - Santorini Santorini
Booking.com

Nalas Suites - Santorini

Located in Emporio, Nalas Suites offers accommodation with a private terrace and hot tub.
9 Fabulous
From
£180 / night
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Pyrgos, the religious heart of the island

It's impossible to visit Pyrgos without taking the time to visit at least one of its 48 religious buildings. The three most famous of these are the churches of the Holy Trinity, Saint Theodosia and the ancient Theotokaki, all famous for their famous icons and relics dating back to Byzantine times.

Church of Saint Theodosia in the village of Pyrgos

Church of Saint Theodosia in the village of Pyrgos

- © Yingna Cai / Shutterstock

And why not end the walk with a tasting of local wine from the village vineyards. With its historic charm and timeless beauty, Pyrgos is a delight to all who visit.

Where to stay in Pyrgos?

Art Hotel Santorini Santorini
Booking.com

Art Hotel Santorini

Featuring an outdoor pool bar, Art Hotel Santorini is a 4-star hotel located in Pyrgos.
8.9 Superb
From
£187 / night
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Practical info

📍Location of the village of Imerovigli: it's here on Google Maps

📍Location of the village of Emporio: here on Google Maps

📍Location of the village of Pyrgos: here on Google Maps

by Editorial Team
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