Oh, Megalochori Santorini, how I love this enchanting Greek town!
Located just 10 minutes away from Fira and half an hour from Oia, Megalochori is a hidden gem that we instantly fell in love with during our trip to Santorini.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Oia, and all the blue dome buildings there are absolutely iconic. But discovering this laid-back side of the Santorini off the beaten tourist track was pure heaven!
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We stayed in Oia when we were in Santorini, and we decided to rent a car one day to explore different towns around the island.
Magalochori was our first stop and it was absolutely adorable.
Not only was Megalochori ultra-charming but it had some breathtaking views, amazing food, and made for some of the best photos of our entire trip.
Plus, it was so peaceful and quiet—a nice break from the packed streets of Oia.
So let me tell you why we loved Megalochori Santorini so much and why you should discover this charming town on your next trip to the Greek isles!
Megalochori lies on the caldera side of Santorini (not the side facing the Aegean) which gives it some stunning caldera views.
Besides its views, this traditional village also has a rich history that I found so interesting.
Spoiler alert: it involves pirates!
Megalochori has an ancient heritage that dates back to the 17th century and because of Santorini’s position between Europe and the Middle East, its seas have always been bountiful with trade.
Enter the pirates!
Unlike other Mediterranean towns, Megolochori actually embraced pirates and became their sort of haven—you can actually see some pirate hideaways to this day!
The town thrived on wine export and trade until a big earthquake destroyed much of Megalochori in 1956. It wasn’t until 1999 that property developers began redeveloping the area and restored it to what it is today—a magical town with cobblestone streets, historic mansions, wineries, and a lively main square lined with taverns and restaurants.
Things to Do in Megalochori Santorini
Take a Photo of the Megalochori Bell Tower
You can’t be in Megalochori and not take a photo (or twenty!) of this iconic landmark!
The bell tower is part of the Virgin Mary Church on the main street of Megalochori—you can’t miss it.
It’s a narrow road with cars that can pass through and lots of pedestrians, but stick with it, because once you capture the right angle, it will be one of your favorite pics of all time!
Stroll around Megalochori
Normally I would find “stroll around” to be an annoying suggestion in a list of things to do, but truly, walking around Megalochori is nothing short of magical.
There are so many photographic scenes around every corner, and we had so much fun exploring with zero agenda and just discovering this enchanting town.
The all-white church pictured below was one such discovery.
It doesn’t even look real, does it?
If you’re looking for some Instagrammable spots, you’ll find dozens just walking around this charming town.
Visit Secluded Thermi Beach
For some of the best caldera views you’ll ever see, you should trek down to a secluded black-pebble beach below Megalochori called Thermi Beach.
It’s not the easiest beach to get to, as you’ll have to make your way down a steep, narrow path which takes about half an hour (and longer to get back up!) but is totally worth it!
Because it’s a commitment to get there, you’ll probably have the beach to yourself, which doesn’t happen very often in Greece! Plus you’ll get some stunning photos that you’ll cherish forever.
Go Wine Tasting
It’s no secret that I love me some wine tasting!
And Megalochori is a wine lover’s dream. Not only does it have some amazing wine but you get to enjoy the experience in serenity without a ton of other tourists around.
Winemaking is engrained in Magalochori’s history as it was known as the main hub for the export of a dark, sweet wine called Vinsanto (which is actually not the same as Italy’s Vin Santo!) in the first half of the 20th century.
So the area is full of some charming local wineries that you can visit with an organized wine tasting tour or go check out on your own.
Venetsanos Winery was built in 1947 by the Venetsanos family and was the island’s very first industrial winery. And the place is stunning!
The winery itself is set in the hills with incredible views over the caldera and islands. There are tours to learn some fascinating history and some of the traditional and more modern wine-making techniques
And then, of course, there’s the wine tasting! You can also book a wine tasting with a food pairing, light lunch, or even a sunset tasting!
The Venetsanos Winery is open daily from 11 am to 6 pm and their sunset terrace is open during the summer months (June – September) from 6 pm to 10 pm.
Another winery that dates back to the 18th century, Gavalas Winery, is a family-run business with lots of history and prominence in the area.
They focus more on small batches and are the only winery in Santorini that makes wine from the rare, indigenous types of grapes called Katsano and Voudomato.
Gavalas is the perfect place if you want a friendly, relaxed place to learn some history and taste some truly amazing wine!
Wine tasting runs April through October from 11 am to 7 pm and November through March from 11 am to 4 pm. There’s also a convenient booking system right on their website to reserve a spot.
Friendly place, quality wine, and delicious food. Boutari Winery has it all covered!
Its white-washed walls and white dome make it one of the coolest wineries I’ve ever seen! It has a traditional, unique vibe that makes it one of the best in the Megalochori area that definitely worth visiting.
Boutari has very fun, informative wine tastings plus five food and wine options to choose from, and you can also book a private tour. They’re open every day from 10:00 am to 7 pm.
Explore Underground Caves
Secret underground Caves are a fun surprise to discover in Megalochori! You can find signs for them and they’re free to visit, so you definitely need to check some of them out.
Back in the day, these caves were used as warehouses by local traders and were later used by the residents for storing wine, which some locals still do.
They’re all a bit different, so it’s fun to see what you’ll find!
It was definitely a little spooky in there, but fun to check out!
Best Restaurants in Megalochori Santorini
Set in gorgeous caves, Alisachni is a fantastic restaurant that doubles as an art gallery so you can dine and appreciate some amazing art at the same time!
With fresh seafood, traditional Greek dishes, and great local wine, this is one of the best restaurants in Megalochori for sure.
In the heart of Megalochori, you’ll enjoy the lovely Feggera restaurant for its beautifully-plated fresh seafood dishes, pasta, salads, desserts, and superb wine list.
For a truly unique experience, you can even sign up for their group or private cooking classes and learn how to make your own tzatziki, spanakopita, and other goodies. Fun!
Casual, inexpensive, and downright delicious—Tavern Tzanakis is an ideal spot to sit and enjoy some fantastic food.
The tavern has been in business since 1994 and it’s about as homemade as you’re going to find—the parents of the Tzanakis family cook while the kids run the show outside the kitchen.
Doesn’t get more authentic than that!
Places to Stay in Megalochori Santorini
From hotels to private rentals through Airbnb, you can find an exquisite place in Megalochori at any price range that accommodates your budget.
Private suites with large balconies, private pools, luxury suites, and picture-perfect views—what’s not to love?
Thermes Luxury Villas is one of the popular Megalochori hotels you can choose from.
To really pull out all the stops, book the 2-bedroom private villa—it has its own indoor cave pool and jacuzzi! Or the spacious 3-bedroom villa with a private outdoor pool that has unobstructed volcano views and an indoor jacuzzi.
Prices range from around 200€ during the off-season to over 600€ per night during peak travel months.
Another popular Santorini hotel, Grand View sits on the caldera cliff in Megalochori overlooking the volcano—talk about a view!
Oh, and the pool! The views of the Aegean from their large outdoor pool are ridiculously gorgeous. There’s a pool bar and cocktail specials during sunset hours.
Prices range from just over 100€ during the off-season to over 600€ per night during peak summer months.
It’s no wonder this Airbnb private 1-bedroom guesthouse gets such rave reviews—the covered, open-walled rooftop terrace is simply divine!
Not only do you get stunning views from your own private living space but you’re also in the heart of Megalochori village just a short walk away from restaurants, shops, and the sandy beach.
The rate averages about 120€ – 150€ per night.
I hope I’ve convinced you that the next time you’re in Santorini, Megalochori must be on your to-do list.
I know that I can’t wait to go back and check out more of their delicious food and enjoy this charming town!
Whether you decide to visit for an afternoon, or stay in Megalochori and make it your home base while you’re on Santorini, you’re going to love it.
Heading to Greece? Check out my other Greece travel guides here.
– Walk around and explore the charming town
– Wine tasting
– Exploring underground caves
– Visit the Megalochori Bell Tower
The best restaurants are:
– Tavern Tzanakis
– Alisachni Art & Wine Gallery
The best places to stay are Airbnbs, Thermes Luxury Villas, or the Grand View Hotel.
Elise Armitage is an entrepreneur and founder of What The Fab, a travel + lifestyle blog based in California. At the beginning of 2019, Elise left her corporate job at Google to chase her dreams: being an entrepreneur and helping women find fabulous in the everyday. Since then, she’s launched her SEO course Six-Figure SEO, where she teaches bloggers how to create a passive revenue stream from their website using SEO. Featured in publications like Forbes, Elle, HerMoney, and Real Simple, Elise is a firm believer that you can be of both substance and style.