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Pyrgos in Santorini
Along the road to Santorini's highest mountain, Profitis Elias, about 8 kilometres south of Fira, lies Pyrgos (or Pirgos) which was the capital of Santorini until the early 1800s. Pyrgos is coloured in ochre and the many picturesque alleys zigzags up to the old castle (Kastro).
One of the stairs leading up to Pyrgos.
Pyrgos feels as least as touristy as Fira and Oia in the beginning, ordinary souvenir shops and tavernas crowed together in the lower square, but if you continue up the steps into the village itself, you suddenly find yourself in a small nice Cycladic village with whitewashed houses and labyrinthine alleys. Pyrgos show clear traces from the earthquake in 1956, many houses have recently been bought up and is now being renovated with a gentle hand.
An old defence fortress, Kastro, stands at the top of the village, from here you can enjoy striking views over the entire island. (I know, it may sound repetitive with all these fantastic views, but that's exactly what Santorini is, a pile of panoramic scenic views.) Just before you reach Kastro there is a square with a small cafe where it is nice to sit down and maybe have a cold frappe (iced coffee). On the square there also lies a nice little icon museum.
Kastro Café in Pyrgos.
One of Santorini's best restaurants lies in Pyrgos. It's called Selene Restaurant and was until 2010 located in Fira when it moved to Pyrgos. The restaurant has over the years won several gastronomic prizes. If you are interested in cookery, Selene organizes classes in cookery.
You can continue the road from Pyrgos up to Profitis Elias mountain, which is Santorini's highest mountain (567 metres). The monastery with the same name as the mountain is most beautiful from a distance as it sadly stands in a military area. The trip up is vertiginous and the view over Santorini is ridiculously amazing. The entire island is at your feet and there is a breathtaking feeling to look out over Santorini and parts of the archipelago. Note the cultivations on the way up.
View from Kastro in Pyrgos.
ACCOMMODATION IN PYRGOS
Just as in the village of Megalochori, the standard of the hotels in Pyrgos are generally higher than in other villages, you can say that the standard is quite luxurious, and prices are accordingly. One exception is Zorbas Hotel that some readers of Kalimera (the Swedish version of Kalispera) have recommended. The location is strategic since it is located almost exactly in between the airport and the port. Another good hotel is Donna's House Santorini.
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