Moving on from the delights of Oia, we decided that the best way to explore the rest of Santorini was to follow other visitors leads and hire a quad bike for the day.
Our beast cost us 40 euros for 24 hours – if we’d haggled we’d have probably got an even better deal but we were itching to be off! Here’s Neil Born to be Mild!
The first stopover on our whirlwind tour is the hilltop village of Pyrgos and we arrived early in the morning, just as shops were opening.
Pyrgos is at the highest point of Santorini, with panoramic views of the whole island all the way to Oia and it was declared a protected settlement in 1995.
Pyrgos is a typical fortress settlement found around the Cyclades. On the hilltop you can find ruins of Kasteli Castle, one of the five ‘kastelia’ on the island.
As you move up from the central square you can easily start to lose yourself in the labyrinth of back streets and quaint houses.
As early as we were, we still bumped into huge groups of Japanese tourists all frantically snapping at the pretty details including this Juliette balcony.
Heading through the village we find lots of cute details including this little painted donkey rock sign!
We headed directly up to the castle first of all to enjoy the panoramic views across the island. The Venetian Kasteli has a commanding position at the very top of the village although it is mainly ruins now.
You can see for miles and miles across the island. Large areas of the island are flat but there are impressive mountains and cliff tops too.
Santorini is essentially what remained after an enormous volcanic eruption that destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island.
Much of the current island is made of layers of solidified lava. However you can still find areas that are from the former non-volcanic island.
The Profitis Ilias mountains are one such place – the exposed mountain rock is made of the metamorphosed limestone and schist that formed the bedrock of the previous island.
Pyrgos is another place where the non volcanic rock is exposed.
After pootling around the castle for a while we head back down into the maze of streets to admire some of the traditional craft shops that have started to ply their daily trade.
These gorgeous colourful paintings utilise all manner of wooden backdrops including old window shutters and drift wood.
The village has many churches, around 33 in total. That’s a lot of bells to peal!
As we wind our way back down through the narrow twisting alleyways we have time to enjoy a few more of the colourful traditional arts including painted donkey bells and an odd little wooden rider!
There’s a multitude of blues to be seen around the village from azure to turquoise, appearing in everything from peeling paint to plant pots and window surrounds.
Here’s a last look before we head onto the next village on our quad bike whistle stop adventure.