The town of Fira (Greek: Φηρά) is the cultural heart of the volcanic Greek island of Santorini. Perched atop the rim of one of the Mediterranean's most notorious calderas, Fira is known for its brilliant white buildings scattered on the high hillsides and for its social life.
Fira is a marvel to behold because of its geography. The town is the largest on the island and many of its white buildings rest on top of a 900-foot high cliff like icing on a layered cake. This lofty location provides tourists and locals alike with amazing photographic views. One of the best spots to capture the beauty of Fira is from the crescent-shaped island's oldest town, Oia, on the northernmost tip.
Life inside Fira is laid back, with the town hosting the best of Santorini's vivid social life. There are many hotels, restaurants, shops, bars and places to spend a day. Santorini also has an active wine industry thanks to its arid climate and rich volcanic soil. Visitors with a desire to venture outside of the town can find more fascinating sites in the towns of Oia, known as a quiet place with amazing sunset views, and Akrotiri, a major archaeological site that is the Pompeii of Santorini — an ancient town that was once buried by ash.
Inside Fira are a number of marvelous sights, perhaps none more impressive than the Greek Orthodox Cathedral, a 19th Century church with bell tower that was rebuilt following the devastating 1956 earthquake that shook Santorini. Like most island buildings, it is constructed from local stone and whitewashed with a plaster made from volcanic ingredients found on the island.
One of Fira's more desired activities is its cable car lift, lifting visitors from the lagoon below up the steep cliff to Fira. And because Fira is Santorini's largest settlement, most of the museums are located in the town, telling stories of the history of the island's ancient Minoan civilization, the catastrophic volcanic explosion in 1600 BCE that brought it to an end, and the following Greek, Roman and Ottoman settlement.&nb
Visitors to Fira who enjoy photography will have buffet of subjects to capture, from the white buildings along the crater rim to vivid sunsets over the lagoon. The beaches of Santorini also provide a canvas of color thanks to the varieties of volcanic rocks found on the island. Some beaches are red, some black and some are white.