The capital Fira is built on the slopes of a 260 meter high cliff, in the central part of Santorini
. Below the cliff is the small harbor of the village. If you plan to reach the island by ferry, it will not arrive at Fira`s port because there is no way for cars to go up. (Santorini`s main port of Athinios
is located out of the villages, about 7-8 km away from the capital).
And yet if you have arrived at the harbor of Fira by boat from Oia
or other places, you can choose among a cabin lift, a donkey ride or a walk on many steep stairs in order to go up. The cabin lift is the most convenient way and it costs EUR 4 per person for a ride but people who like adventures can try the donkey transport. The organized boat trips to the volcano of Nea Kameni and the hot springs start from this port.
Fira is the biggest and noisiest settlement of the island. Part of it is open for pedestrians only because the streets are too narrow. There are two large municipal parking lots which you can use free of charge. Fira has numerous shops, restaurants, cafes and bars overlooking the caldera. Here you can see the so called "white stores" - small shops for hand embroidered white clothes (mainly shirts and dresses). The most expensive hotels of the capital are built on the rock overlooking Nea Kameni and they can be reached only on foot. The cheaper hotels and guesthouses are located around the main road passing through the village. There is a bank, a few gas stations and a hospital.
The closest beaches to Fira are Exo Gialos and Vourvoulous, at a distance of 4-5 km on the east coats of the island. The neighboring village of Firostefani
is merged with Fira and you can go there by walking on the street just above the caldera.