Emporio, the largest village of the Greek island of Santorini beckons visitors with its enticing sequence of old windmills on the hillside, its narrow whitewashed alleyways, its gorgeous blue domed churches, a 3rd Century BC sacred site to a pagan goddess and a ruined medieval castle.
But if that isn't enough to satisfy even the most demanding photo opportunity seeker then you could always do as the locals do and use the village of Emporio as a shopping center.
The village itself gets its name from the Greek word for trade – Emporeio, and was the traditional trade center of the island for centuries.
Sometimes Emporio is spelt as Emborio.
Castles & Windmills
On the hill above the village you'll discover the ruins of a fortress from the Byzantine period known as Kasteli.
Another ruin is that of Goulas which is the square medieval castle at the village entrance. It protected the islanders form pirate attack and you can still see the pots, which were filled with hot oil and were spilt onto enemies.
You can also look at the eight historical listed windmills and have an excellent view of the rest of the island.
In Emporio you'll find some interesting churches like the Agios Nikolaos Marmaritis. It is a former temple and ancient sacred site of the 3rd century B.C. The pure grey marble Doric style square temple to the goddess Vasileia was converted to a Christian church in the 4th century. It was named 'Marmaritis' (marble) after the grey marble of its exterior walls and from the Saint’s marble icon contained within.
Another church of interest is the Metamorphosis of Christ dated back to the early 19th century. The local feast and religious festival of this church takes place at Emporio on August 6th. Another feast takes place on the 22nd of October to honour Agios Averkios, the patron saint of winemakers. Plenty of wine is drunk at the feast to toast this popular saint!
And talking of wine you can take the opportunity to visit one of the nearby Santorini Wineries for wine tasting and picking up some bargains.
You can find Koutsogiannopoulos Winery and the Volcan wine museum on the main road at Vothona that leads to Kamari beach.
It’s a great place to explore the winemaking process, the history of Santorini wines and the all important sampling of the delicious and refreshing wines.
Just wandering upwards through the narrow maze like streets of the traditional village of Emporio is a sightseeing experience in itself. Finding your way around every twist and turn of the village streets and alleyways is a lot of fun.
No doubt you'll come across one or two stray Santorini cats. You'll stumble across quaint whitewashed houses with blue doors and shutters, the odd kafenion or two and some gorgeous little churches.
Take your time to explore Emporio as at every twist and turn you'll find something intereseting.
Eating and Drinking
There's lots of choice for eating and drinking in Emporio. There are plenty of good Tavernas, cafes and bars offering tasty food and good wine. Wander around both the traditional village and the commercial centre and your sure to find the right place for you.
Try T'Aaidon or Louki for traditional Greek Taverna food washed down with fantastic Santorini wine. Sample the Tomato Keftedes and the Stuffed Vine Leaves for a real taste of Santorini.
For a livelier choice of Santorini nightlife, cocktail bars and international restaurants go along to nearby Perissa.
For top tips about exploring Emporio and nearby Fira and the island of Santorini see our Getting around Santorini section featuring scooter hire and car rental.
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