Imerovigli what to do and what to see

imerovigli-santoriniImerovigli is located on the west side of Santorini, built on the highest point of the Caldera, at an altitude of 500 meters, very close to Fira, overlooking the islands of the volcano and Thirasia.

Its excellent view of the Caldera fully justifies the name given to it as the “Balcony of Santorini” and is one of the areas with the best sunset views on the island. In Imerovigli there was one of the five castles of the island called “Skaros”.

It was the oldest and perhaps the most important of Santorini’s five fortified settlements, but today it is the only one with almost nothing remaining of its medieval glory. It was the capital of Santorini for almost seven centuries, until the 18th century and the residence of the Venetian lord of the island. The castle of skaros-imerovigliSkaros was built during Venetian rule, by the Venetian Giacomo Barozzi between 1205 and 1230 and was also known as “Upper Castle” or “La Roka”.

Its inhabitants were known as Castrinoi. It developed rapidly along the rim of the Caldera and its fortifications offered sufficient protection from pirates. After all, it was never occupied during the entire period of the Venetian rule.

From there started a complex of narrow paths following the natural slopes of the terrain. This constituted the traffic network of the settlement. Around there were the houses of the nobles, magnificent churches, and even monasteries, while the rock was so densely populated that it is estimated that there were about 200 houses there.

imerovigli-churchesAfter the earthquake of 1956, a large part of the village and most of the churches were destroyed and the inhabitants left their houses located on the edge of the hill. In the 1970s people returned and began to restore their houses, with an emphasis on Cycladic and especially Theraian architecture.

Access is via a path, the last part of which is dangerous. Its name probably comes from the words day and vigla, which in Latin means to make a purpose, from the existence of a small tower in the place of the current settlement, which functioned as a day watch, for the early notification of the island’s inhabitants, for the appearance of pirates from the side of Exo Gialos.

Imerovigli has been declared a traditional settlement and special conditions and restrictions have been imposed regarding building. Iconic whitewashed houses with domes, houses dug into the rock, narrow winding cobbled streets, cause the admiration of every visitor. In Imerovigli there are many churches and beautiful chapels that adorn the village, some among the all-white houses and others built on the rocks of the caldera.

Churches of Imerovigli

imerovigli-church-on-skarosAgia Theodosia, patroness of castles, which has its roots in Agia Theodosia of Constantinople and the fall of the city. Agios Georgios in the village, with a stunning view of the entire caldera.

The chapel of St. John the Baptist, also known as “St. John Katiforis” is located on the path that leads to Skaros and was rebuilt in 1966. The church of the Resurrection in the village, with its blue dome, features in many photos of Santorini and many couples they choose it for their wedding. In Imerovigli you can also see Saint John the Chrysostom in the center of the village, Panagia Theoskepasti which is built on the edge of the rock of Skaros, Panagia tou Kalos in the district of the same name, Panagia Maltese or the Church of the Entry of the Virgin, in the settlement, near the central square with the war memorial, so named because its icon was found in Malta.

The old building of the 19th century was destroyed by the earthquake of 1956 and in its place a new church was built in 1972, with an impressive stone bell tower and a unique wood-carved iconostasis. Between Firostefani and Imerovigli is the women’s Monastery of Agios Nikolaos which was founded in 1651 and houses a famous Byzantine icon. It is dedicated to Agios Nikolaos, Agios Panteleimonas and Zoodochos Pigi.

Today, Imerovigli is one of the most developed tourist spots in Santorini, with high-quality hotels, restaurants and other shops, which welcome tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world every year.

Imerovigli is connected daily with the rest of the villages by public transport and because it is located approximately in the middle of the island, it is an ideal “starting point” to get to know the whole of Santorini. Imerovigli, beyond the paved road, is connected to the capital Fira and by an old stone-paved path that passes through the settlement of Firostefani, with an endless view of the unique volcanic landscape.

What to do in Imerovigli

Imerovigli is known for its stunning caldera views, traditional Cycladic architecture, and serene atmosphere. Read about recommended activities and places to explore in Imerovigli:

Visit Skaros Rock

This is one of the most prominent sights in Imerovigli. It’s a rocky headland that juts out into the sea, and there are paths that lead to the top, offering breathtaking views. The rock used to host a Venetian Castle, and remnants of it can still be seen.

Enjoy the Sunset Views

Like other parts of Santorini, Imerovigli boasts spectacular sunsets. Grab a good spot on the caldera edge and enjoy the sun sinking into the Aegean Sea.

Discover its Churches

Imerovigli is dotted with traditional blue-domed churches. The Church of Ai-Stratis and the Monastery of Saint Nikolaos are among the noteworthy ones.

Walk along the Caldera

Take a hike along the caldera edge connecting Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli, and eventually Oia. This scenic path offers panoramic views of the caldera, volcano, and surrounding islands.

Dine at the Caldera Restaurants

There are numerous restaurants with terraces overlooking the caldera. They’re a perfect spot for a romantic meal, especially during sunset.

Taste the local gastronomy

Sample traditional Santorinian dishes, such as fava (yellow split peas), tomatokeftedes (fried tomato balls), and fresh seafood.

Do some wine tasting

While Imerovigli itself isn’t known for wineries, Santorini as a whole is famous for its unique wines. Consider taking a short trip to one of the island’s wineries to taste wines made from the indigenous Assyrtiko grape.

Have a Spa Experiences

Several luxury hotels in Imerovigli offer spa treatments. It’s a great way to relax, especially after a day of exploring.

Shop in local Shops

While Imerovigli is quieter and less commercial than Fira or Oia, you can find some boutique shops selling local crafts, jewelry, and souvenirs.

Explore Nearby Villages

If you have the time, consider visiting nearby villages like Firostefani, Fira, and Oia, each with its own charm.

Where to eat

Many restaurants in Imerovigli take advantage of the caldera view, offering not just delicious food but also a memorable experience. Here are some popular restaurants and eateries in Imerovigli based on the last available information up to 2021:

La Maison: An upscale restaurant known for its modern take on Mediterranean cuisine and its panoramic views of the caldera.

Avocado: This restaurant offers Greek and Mediterranean cuisine in a relaxed setting. They focus on fresh ingredients and traditional recipes.

Aegean Restaurant: Located in the Astra Suites, this place offers Greek and Mediterranean dishes. You can enjoy a romantic meal while overlooking the caldera.

Anogi: Offering local and Mediterranean dishes, Anogi is a popular choice among tourists and locals. The atmosphere is cozy, and the food is consistently high quality.

The Athenian House: This restaurant serves up traditional Greek cuisine with a modern twist. Its location, perched on the caldera cliffs, offers breathtaking views, especially during sunset.

Mezzo: Located in a renovated old mansion, Mezzo combines traditional Santorinian architecture with a modern touch. Their menu features Mediterranean dishes with a modern twist.

Thea Restaurant: This is another spot to enjoy a delicious meal with the caldera as your backdrop. The menu is a mix of Greek and international dishes.

Taverna Imerovigli: A more casual option, this taverna serves up traditional Greek food, including fresh seafood, salads, and grilled meats.

Le Moustache: This lounge & restaurant offers a relaxing ambiance, with great views and a diverse menu that includes sushi, Mediterranean, and international dishes.

Fly Away Creative Restaurant & Bar by Pegasus: Found in Pegasus Suites & Spa, this place is known for its creative cuisine, elegant presentation, and stunning views.

Where to stay

Accommodations in Imerovigli, ranging from luxury hotels to more budget-friendly options. Keep in mind that my knowledge is based on data up to 2021, so it’s always good to check the most recent reviews and updates on travel platforms.

Luxury Hotels

Grace Santorini: An iconic luxury hotel known for its infinity pool that boasts breathtaking views of the caldera. Modern and stylish design combined with impeccable service.
Astra Suites: Offers spacious suites with private balconies and sweeping views. They also have a pool, spa, and gourmet dining.
Chromata Santorini: This upscale boutique hotel is perched on the caldera edge and offers modern design with a stunning pool and panoramic views.

Mid-range Hotels

Remezzo Villas: Renovated traditional dwellings offering a unique blend of authentic Cycladic architecture and contemporary comfort.
Absolute Bliss: Offers spacious suites with Jacuzzis and remarkable views.
Avianto Suites: Provides modern amenities with classic Cycladic design and panoramic views.

Budget Accommodations

Merovigla Apartments: Basic but comfortable apartments that offer a pool and great views.
Kasimatis Suites : Provides simple studios with an authentic feel and caldera views.
Ira Hotel & Spa: While a bit more upscale than the other budget options, it offers great value for its facilities and views.


Book in advance: Imerovigli is a popular destination, especially during the high season, so accommodations can fill up quickly.
Consider location: While Imerovigli is known for its views, not all accommodations have a direct caldera view. Ensure your choice offers the vistas you’re expecting.
Stay aware of the steps: Santorini, including Imerovigli, is known for its cliffside architecture, which means many steps to navigate. If mobility is a concern, check with the accommodation about accessibility.