Emborio, Santorini Island
Emborio is situated on the south side of the island. It's a traditional inland village with a lovely traditional centre. The lower part of the village is not very attractive but you have to go up to the "traditional centre" (there are signs) where you will find the ruins of a fortress, a maze of very narrow streets and whitewashed houses. You can easily get lost here. The traditional centre looked very medieval and was great to wander about and to discover hidden gems. This was my favourite village.
As we sat waiting for the bus that never arrived we had one last impression of Emobreio. The donkeys passed up and then a man on a motorscooter with a horse behind him passed us also. This is not the tourist destination Fira. This was another side to Santorini. A quieter slower pace of life exists here. I hope the construction we noticed all around us does not change the pace or the feeling of this little village.
It was very warm the afternoon we explored Emboreio. We finally found out way back to the main intersection where the bus stop was located. We bought some water at the the shop pictured here across from the bus stop. As we sat at the bus stop there was a small stand with soda's and snacks run by an older man. He sat outside of the stand with two friends in the shade eating his lunch. We seemed a little out of place in the village, and sitting at the bus stop, but the three men ignored us and enjoyed their lunch and their conversation. After waiting for quite a while we realized that the bus must be off its schedule and not returning anytime soon for us. A taxi drove by us on its way from the nearby beach back to Fira. We flagged him down and he gave us a ride back to Fira. The cost was 10 euros and worth the price for two tired sun soaked tourists.
As with everywhere else on Santorini there is a church in Emboreio. Santornini seems to have a monopoly on churches. Everywhere you look there are small churches hidden amoung the rocks and cliffs. This large church was at the center of Emborio.
Emboreio is known for its ancient windmills. The remains of the windmills stand high above the village and above the ancient fortress that once was a part of historic Emboreio. It was interesting to see this little village. Its the only way to honestly get a feeling for what Santorini was like before the tourist boom hit the island. We took the bus from Fira and returned in a cab. The cab ride cost of 10 euros.
Mark and I had a lot of fun walking through the narrow streets and passage ways as we found out way through some of the ruins at Emboreio. Even here as we walked through some deserted alley ways and passages we saw new construction and homes being remodeled. But it was easy to overlook the construction and get lost into the historical past.
There are several small villages on Santorini that you can visit if you get a little tired of the tourists and crowds in Fira and Oia. Emboreio is one of these small villiage. I was told the name in Greek means trade or commerce. The villiage is not developed or hightly populated but in my opinion that will soon be changing. Everywhere we walked in the village we saw new construction cropping up all around. We saw many new homes being built and it appears this villiage is on the return to prosperity. Pictured here is a part of the remains from the old medieval fortress that was located here.
There are lots of churches in Emborio, though nowhere near as many as in Pyrgos. They come in all shapes and sizes and some are so small, and built into the surrounding buildings, that you hardly notice they are there. My favourite is that shown in the first picture, I just love that style of bell tower and the colouring of its decoration.
Emborio's narrow, maze-like streets are a delight to wander around. You have to be patient though, because there seems to be no logic to the street plan and it's difficult to know how to get from A to B. Just wander around for an hour or so, getting lost and backtracking now and then when you reach dead ends. The streets are very pretty, being largely whitewashed and fronted by multi-storey dwellings with lovely doors and shuttered windows, and scattered with churches. The predominant colours are of course blue and white, but other colours crop up now and then. Some of the buildings in the village are ruined shells, some are wonderfully restored luxury dwellings and many are at various stages in between. There's a lovely cafe in there too, if you find it.
Emborio lies inland about 2km from Perissa and 10 or so km from Fira. It is Santorini's largest village and to me it's the most interesting of the inland villages. There's a more modern part to the village which lies outside of the confines of what is known as "the traditional centre", and while this modern village is OK, having shops, tavernas, bank and even hotels, it is the traditional centre that is Emborio's real draw.
The village was quite heavily fortified - on the hill above the village lie the remains of a square fortress to which the villagers would flee as a last line of defence against pirate attacks. Further down the hill there yet another fortification (first picture) which is well ruined and cannot be entered. These both lie outside of the old village centre.
The old village itself is designed as a maze of narrow streets, many of which end in dead ends and which wind in a totally unpredictable way. It is almost impossible to navigate yourself around the village - for instance you may be able to see a church bell tower, but actually finding yourself outside of that church will likely be a work of coincidence and luck!
On the seaward side the village at the top of a slope and the outer buildings of the village are high-walled with a single door access, much in the way of a castle (pictures 2, 3 and 4).
The whole traditional centre is a delight to wander around - I think we were there for two hours in total, and were really glad that we'd made the trip.
If you are in Emborio you should walk from the village to the windmills. You can see the windmills from every village corner. The way to the windmills begans at the village border going from Fira. It is also easy to find walking from the village center towards the West. The windmills are in very bad conditions but in my opinion worth visiting. From there you have a very beautiful view of the southern part of the island and the Caldera. There is a church (Agios Ilias) at the end of the road. I went there to shoot some sunset pictures.
I met a very funny and cute dog there whom I played with.(pic.5) It was so funny that I wanted to adopt him.
40 minutes walk
Emborio is a small village situated on the main road between Fira and Periss. The bus stops in the center of the village. The village is totaly quiet and sleepy. I only saw few tourists there. It's a pleasure strolling through the Emborio streets. The atmosphere is very diffrent from the atmosphere in Fira which is overcrowded. If you have enough time to visit this village you won't regret.