Santorini, whose original name Kalliste means “the fairest one”, is a beautiful Cyclades island in the Aegean sea, located just over a hundred kilometres from Crete and less than three hours by plane from Athens.
Fira and Oia, the island’s two main towns, are always full of life. The whitewashed houses with their traditional blue domes offer spectacular sea views and are a perfect starting point for an exploration of the distinctive culture of this popular Greek island. The appealing craft and ceramics shops perched on the clifftops draw their inspiration from archaeological remains, and you’ll find vases, plates and ornaments galore displayed at local market stalls. If you’re hoping to discover all the island’s myths and hidden treasures, you’ll need to take plenty of time to explore Santorini and its hilltop villages.
Crossroad Antiques: a traditional store in Pyrgos
Make a beeline here if you’re looking for a typically Greek souvenir to remember your time in Santorini. Crossroad Antiques is located in an old grocery store right in the centre of Pyrgos, one of the quietest and most unspoilt villages in the Cyclades islands. This unique shop, which is both an art gallery and antiques shop, is surrounded by stone benches and is a wonderful example of the local architecture. On display are a whole host of locally produced artefacts: porcelain, wooden sculptures, rare maps, old photographs, antique jewellery, etc.
Crossroad Antiques is open every afternoon from 1pm, except on Wednesdays, and is sometimes open until 10pm. Why not head there after a delicious meal in one of the many restaurants serving Santorinian or Mediterranean cuisine nearby?
Santorini’s fruit markets
These markets are somewhat different from other street markets because of their trading times, which usually begin in the early evening. After a few hours relaxing on the volcanic shingle beach or enjoying a walk through the island’s villages and stunning viewpoints, there’s nothing better than enjoying a piece of freshly picked fruit. Oia fruit market, for example, is always highly popular and full of life and colour. It’s a real delight to take a stroll here, enjoying the aromatic fragrances of the fruit and the cool evening air, and one which is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. A perfect way to relax and recharge your batteries!
The Secret Room: local treasures in Fira
The Secret Room is full of unusual objects, accessories and clothes that make original and creative souvenirs of your time in Santorini. This shop, located on the clifftops, sells wares handmade in the region or from Greek cities. You’ll find lots of colourful cloth and fabrics here as well as braided jewellery, bowls and other handmade ceramics, T-shirts and light, summer clothes.
This appealing and particularly welcoming shop is near to Kamari beach, one of the most beautiful spots in Santorini. It’s open every day, even on Sundays, until 11pm.
Galatea’s Pottery and Art: art gallery in Megalochori
The original artworks on display in this shop are created by an artist who specialises in pottery and uses traditional techniques to work the material, creating a wide variety of vases, amphorae, jugs, crockery (plates, bowls, etc.) and sculptures, imitating the Minoan figures found at the island’s Neolithic sites. The owner: Galatea is a woman of many talents: she creates and exhibits ceramic objects as well as silk scarves, drawings and paintings.
Galatea’s Pottery and Art is full of unusual, detailed and imaginative artefacts. Each creation is handmade and, therefore, unique. You’ll find only natural materials here!
Canava in Fira: pottery and other Greek delights
Clinging to the clifftops in Fira close to the archaeological museum, Canava offers plenty of ideas for gifts for family and friends: colourful ceramics, stoles, braided bags, hats, fine fabrics, paintings and postcards. Many of these wares are handmade by local artisans. You’ll also find the four varieties of olive oil produced on the island and local wines here.
Just wander in to this shop, with its open frontage. It’s open until 9pm.
Santo Wines: wine tasting and vineyard tours
You can’t spend more than a few days in Santorini without visiting a picturesque and traditionally-farmed vineyard, producing one of the island’s characteristic wines. Santo Wines Winery is one of the vineyards which regularly welcomes wine-loving tourists. You can buy all the wines produced here and gift boxes at the shop. After a walk around the vineyard, visitors can sample the best vintages on the terrace with some local cheese and other delicacies.
Santo Wines Winery is located in Pyrgos Kallistis. This is the highest village on the island. Visitors flock here to admire the exceptional views over Santorini and to enjoy the shops and wine bars. The Santo Wines vineyard is nearby, just 10 minutes by car from Santorini National Airport. You can stay at one of the villas or hotels nearby.
During your visit to this Greek island, be sure to enjoy the sights, sounds and aromas of its open air markets. Aromas, colours, atmosphere… enjoy the holiday experience and recharge those batteries.
Although markets are open more often during the holiday season, the artisan shops and ceramic artists in Santorini keep their doors open all year round. Experience Greece in your own way and make the most of the new experiences the island offers by walking along the steep paths created by the volcanic eruption that took place in the 16th century B.C.