City Orientation Tour in Thira, Santorini (Self Guided)

The Santorini Island is a true wonder in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. A catastrophe that erased the Minoan civilization gave birth to this truly unique and beautiful place. Thanks to its beauty, this destination is very popular among international celebrities; it was even chosen as the main stage for some Hollywood movies. Although known throughout the modern day world as Santorini, the island's official name is Thira or Thera.
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City Orientation Tour in Thira Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Tour in Thira
Guide Location: Greece » Santorini (See other walking tours in Santorini)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.5 km
Author: max
1
Megaro Gyzi Cultural Center & Museum

1) Megaro Gyzi Cultural Center & Museum (must see)

Housed in a 17th-century mansion that formerly belonged to the Venetian family Gyzi, the Megaro Gyzi Cultural Center features a rich collection of objects that reflect local life from the 15th, 16th, 19th, and 20th centuries. It was founded in 1980 by the Catholic Episcopate of Thera.

Among the treasures, visitors will enjoy 15th-century engravings that depict Cycladic landscapes, private documents from the Catholic Episcopate of Thera archives, pictures from the 1930s through the 1950s by photographer Vikentios Pintos, geological findings, and paintings from well-known Greek artists.

The center hosts concerts, theatrical performances, and films. It is also home to exhibitions, such as the Greek Orthodox Katerina Ioannido Icons Workshop. One of the most prominent events that take place at the center is the International Piano Recital.

The best time to visit is during the Megano Gyzi Festival, which occurs annually in August. The event features a series of music concerts, art, painting exhibitions, and theatrical performances.

For those who wish to take a little bit of the Cultural Centre Megaro Gyzi home with them, the local museum shop sells replicas of the many books, photo albums, art, and lithographs.

Why You Should Visit:
The photos and paintings will help you get other perspectives of the Thera island through the years.
Staff is friendly, entry fee is modest, and the place's special architecture inspires some respect.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 10am-4pm (May 1-Oct 31)
Free entry for children under 10 years old
2
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

2) Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (must see)

One cannot help but notice the beautiful grand churches and cathedrals that decorate the landscape of the island known as Thera or Fira. They are as much part of the community as are the many lava remnants. Dedicated to St. John the Baptist, the Catholic Cathedral of Santorini is a handsome and unique place of worship. Its peach exterior contrasts with the many white and blue domed churches that dot the landscape of this quaint, yet beautiful town. It was built in the 17th century by the Jesuit monks, missionaries of the Apostolic Order.

Santorini has experienced a lot of seismic activity throughout its existence. An earthquake in 1956 completely destroyed the previous church. The house of worship that we may enjoy today was restored and opened in 1975.

You will be impressed by the exquisiteness of the structure with its magnificent clock tower and accompanying bells. Once you enter the place of worship, you will find the confessional that is located to the side. The interior is eye-catching and features blue, orange, and cream accents throughout the building. A striking chandelier hangs below a religious painting, which is featured on a domed ceiling, and spectacular arches border the framed portraits of religious figures. Located on an island that the crusaders visited, this cathedral is simply stunning.

Why You Should Visit:
Not only do you experience the architecture of the island, but also, you may find a narrow street where all the souvenir shops are located, and you can eat a typical, local gyro as you look around the shops.

Tip:
You'll probably feel at ease attending a Sunday mass here (10am), as most attendees are usually tourists and there are parts where you may even recite in your own language instead of Greek, as there are many languages represented among the congregation.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-1pm / 5-8pm
3
Archaeological Museum of Thera

3) Archaeological Museum of Thera (must see)

No one can deny the richness of Greek culture or the influence it has had on the civilizations of the world. Western philosophy, art, science, education, and sports all have roots in Ancient Greece. The Archaeological Museum of Thera is an exhibition hall that features sculptures and inscriptions from the Archaic to the Roman periods. When you visit, you will take a trip back in time and experience history at its finest.

It also has a collection of vases and clay figurines from the Geometric to the Hellenistic periods. The gallery was established in 1902 by the Ministry of Public Works. In 1960, the building was reconstructed to replace the structure that collapsed during the 1956 earthquake.

Although not as stunning as the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, the museum is nonetheless special and interesting. What makes the gallery unique is that its vast and fine collection comes from excavations on the island.

Some of the most important items from the exhibitions include the Theran Amphora with Geometric Decoration, the Volcanic (Trachyte) Boulder, the Upper Part of an Archaic Funerary Kouros, the Torso of an Archaic Funerary Kouros, the Clay Daedalic Figurine, and the Attic Black-Figure Kylix.

Tip:
You can buy a combination ticket for Akrotiri, the Archaeological Museum of Thera and the Museum of Prehistoric Thera.
Unfortunately, at this museum, the descriptions of the items are in French and Greek with no English translation.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 8:30am-3pm (Nov-Mar / Apr 4-Oct); closed on Mondays
4
The Old Port

4) The Old Port

The Old Port was formed by volcanic activity in 1650 BC. It used to serve all of Santorini until the Athinos Port was established. The nautical haven is a harbour for cruise ship travellers, while the other harbour handles ferry and commercial boats. Originally, the only way one could reach the harbour was by travelling the hundreds of steps that lead to it.

The most affordable way to travel to Old Port, in first class style, is by the Blue Star Ferry. The trip will take nine hours. Passengers will be picked up from the transport and delivered to their destination by smaller vessels, since cruise ships do not anchor at the harbour.

The waterfront has many shops, restaurants, and taverns that you will enjoy. The best way to travel to the top is by cable car, which takes no more than five minutes and offers a pleasant view of the area. Donkeys, a tradition from the past, are also available for those who are afraid of heights. For the truly fit, a hike up the mountain’s 580 steps is a healthy adventure. During the summer months, tours are offered to the nearby volcano and hot springs. The spot is a popular destination, with an average of 80,000 visitors travelling through the port each day.
5
Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral

5) Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral (must see)

Greek Orthodox churches are known for their detailed design, distinctive iconography, and beauty. When you enter a house of worship, you will feel as if you have stepped into a world of vibrant colour and light that is accented by icons, art, and stained glass.

The Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral in Thera, also known as the Church of Ypapantis, was originally built in the 19th century by M. Belloni in 1827. The house of worship, that we see today, was rebuilt after the devastating earthquake of 1956.

Beautiful white arches and arcades decorate the building that sits atop a cliff. The pièce de résistance is the white dome that tops the building and the bell tower. The building is a prominent landmark that can be seen by all from many other Santorini landmarks. Among the works of art that one should view are the frescoes by local artist, Christoforos Asimis, the beautiful mosaics added to the building in 1975, as well as the magnificent main chandelier.

Accommodations close to the cathedral include the Santorini Island Hotels, the Panorama Studios and Suites, the Pantelia, the Anemomilos Villa, the Blue Angel, the Reverie Traditional Apartments, the Vallas, the Golden Star, the Pavlina, and the Evgenia.

Tip:
Free to enter, but offerings welcome and there is a requirement that you are modestly dressed. Try to pick a quiet time.
6
Museum of Prehistoric Thera

6) Museum of Prehistoric Thera (must see)

The Museum of Prehistoric Thera allows one to take a step back in time to explore ancient civilizations. The exhibition hall’s collection comes from excavations of ancient Akrotiri and other sites around the Aegean Islands. If you have a strong interest in the prehistoric, this is the place for you. The exhibition hall opened in 2000.

The museum’s collection is organized into four areas, research, geology, the history of the island from the early 17th century BC, and the mature Late Cycladic I period. Although the gallery is very small, it is very well organized and manages to present an interesting mix of artifacts.

Pottery cups, plant fossils, jewelry, jars, marble figures, and plaster casts of furniture, household equipment, tools, and weapons are some of the many items that you will see. Two recommend items to not miss are the frescoes that show Minoans gathering saffron stamens from blooming crocuses and the painted swallows that migrated to the cliffs each year. Other impressive items include wall paintings of the Ladies and Papyri and the Blue Monkeys.

Why You Should Visit:
To enjoy what many experts rated as one of the most important museums in the world since it uniquely shows ordinary everyday life in an Ancient city and civilization buried 3700 years ago, almost 1800 years before Pompeii! Everything this museum houses demonstrates how advanced and artistic this ancient civilization was, before being displaced by a major eruption of the island's volcano.

Tip:
Highly recommended in combination with a visit to the archaeological excavations in Akrotiri, where the objects were dug out. You can purchase combination tickets to visit this museum as well as the Akrotiri site.

Opening Hours:
Wed-Mon: 8:30am-3pm; closed on Tuesdays
7
Nte Sigala Street

7) Nte Sigala Street (must see)

Thira is famous for its small stores, boutiques, workshops, souvenir and gift shops. This neighborhood is teeming with venues that offer unique handcrafted masterpieces or cheap souvenirs. Multitudes of postcards and souvenirs of all kinds can also be found almost anywhere on the streets.
8
Folklore Museum of Santorini

8) Folklore Museum of Santorini

The Folklore Museum of Santorini is a six room exhibition hall that allows visitors to have a glimpse of life as it was in the early twentieth century. It was established in 1974 by journalist Emmauel A. Lignos and is located in Fira at Kontohir in a cave that was built in 1861.

Although the museum is small, it contains a lot of historical data. Visitors will enjoy the traditional winery complete with treading vats, barrels, wine press, linens and utensils. There is a garden with a seating area and a cavern that shows evidence of volcanic activity. The historical archive contains valuable manuscripts, costumes, embroidery, lithographs, marriage contracts, rare photographs, and other items. The front room of the museum is preserved the way the previous owner left it and is complete with furniture, decorations, and other items in use at that time.

The gallery also has an exhibit of traditional workshops for carpenters, barrel makers, shoemakers, and tinsmiths. In addition, the Agios Konstantinos Chapel contains artwork from popular artists, Nikos Hatzikiriakos - Gikas, Panagiotis Gravalos, Paris Prekas, and Valias Semertidis.

Operation hours: Monday - Sunday: 10 am - 5 pm

Walking Tours in Santorini, Greece

Create Your Own Walk in Santorini

Create Your Own Walk in Santorini

Creating your own self-guided walk in Santorini is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Historical Tour of Imerovigli

Historical Tour of Imerovigli

Away from the crowded village of Thira yet close to the famous Santorini Caldera, are two small settlements, Firostefani and Imerovigli. These gorgeous villages can be found on the road to Oia. Each village has something unique to offer to any visitor of this beautiful island. Take this tour and discover hidden treasures in these two picturesque villages.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 km
Sightseeing Tour in Oia, Santorini

Sightseeing Tour in Oia, Santorini

The main attraction in this part of the island is the community of Oia. This community is literally hanging on the edge of the cliff on the Caldera. It is also well known for its beautiful views overlooking the Caldera, the Aegean Sea, the island of Therasia, stunning sunsets, cute villages, cool beaches and great shopping spots. Take this tour to discover an amazing place, a landscape that you...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 km

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Santorini for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Santorini has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Santorini, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.