Friday, July 22, 2011

Continuing Santorini Exploration in Fira

Welcome to Fira

The village of Fira, the capital of Santorini,  is known for its striking mix of Cycladic and Venetian architecture. The main square of Fira is "Plateia Theotokopoulou," a colorful meeting place. From here, one can easily walk to shops, jewelry stores and tavernas.  From here we could see our ship, Star Princess, anchored below in the Aegean Sea.

Fira is perched on the edge of an impressive cliff 260m high and offers a great panorama over the submerged volcano. It is made of many white painted houses in stepped streets with blue domed churches and sun-bathed verandas. 

The Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral is the first sight you see when entering the town of Fira.  The cathedral was built in 1827 and then rebuilt after the terrible earthquake of 1956. 

It is quite a striking building with rolling arches forming a courtyard. The arched design is mirrored in the impressive belltower above. The design is quite different from the churches we had seen in the village of Oia in the morning.

From the church we continued our stroll through the narrow lanes of Fira, passing white-washed buildings with splashes of color all around us.   Doorways open to the sea and frame our ship anchored below in the Aegean Sea.   Cafes hang over the cliff which offer their guests views of the volcano, the sea, and the rest of the village perched on the side of the steep cliff.  The views from Fira are amazing.

Getting to/from Fira & Tender Boats

There are two different tender points in Santorini.   One is for passengers on ship-sponsored shore excursions and the other is for independent guests.

Since we were on a Princess shore excursion, our motorcoach took us from our tender point to the winery, then Oia, and finally to Fira.   In Fira, we were on our own to explore at our leisure and return to the ship whenever we wanted to.  Once we were done, we needed to make our way back to the second tender point for return to the ship.

There are three options for getting between the tender boats and the town of Fira located on top of the cliff.   As you can see in the photo, some people decided to walk.   This is several hundred steps, so unless you are in good shape, and don't mind the walk, this wouldn't be your best choice.   Another option is by mule.   This is easier than walking but could be a little bumpy and smelly.   The final option is the cable car, which was complimentary for us since we were on a shore excursion.   The mule and cable car rides are the same for either one-way or round trip rides.   The cost currently is 3.5€ each way.

We explored the many shops and cafes on Fira and made our way to the cable car point.    We could have stayed there all day, just relaxing and looking out to sea, and enjoying the ever changing views.   Words just don't do justice to the scenery, so view our photo album, Village of Fira, on our Facebook Fan Page.

Entering our tender boat and sailing back to the ship, we had entered the live postcard of Santorini, Greece from a different perspective.  Once back onboard the ship, we would continue capturing postcard images of the entire island and surrounding area.   Santorini is a must see destination in the Mediterranean.

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