Apr 30th, 2020

The Best of Santorini Architecture – From Charming Cave Houses to Iconic Blue-Domed Churches

Besides romantic sunsets and an utterly bizarre, yet so enticing, topography, Santorini also impresses with its Cycladic architecture. Villages all painted white that stand on volcanic red-hued cliffs, cave houses, cobbled streets, neoclassical mansions, blue-domed churches, and winding paths comprise the Santorini landscape.

At the same time, all Santorini settlements follow the lines of Cycladic architecture down to the last detail, providing a uniform spectacle for your eyes.

Combining Cycladic Architecture with Modern

Santorini architecture features a vernacular style that enables anything built on the volcanic grounds to adapt to the harsh natural setting, including the strong northern winds and the high humidity, providing top sustainable quality.

Combining a minimalist style with the elements of traditional Greek island architecture and modern beauty, the houses in Santorini come into perfect harmony with the volcanic scenery.

One of the most notable examples of Santorini architecture is picturesque Oia. The charming neoclassical buildings, narrow paths, whitewashed houses, and cute little chapels infuse romance and tranquility. No wonder it is one of the most photographed areas on the island.

Fira, Firostefani, and Imerovigli are three more settlements that praise Santorini architecture in more ways than one.

All are situated at the edge of or around the caldera, offering heart-stopping views of the volcano while also hosting houses bearing Venetian characteristics, such as vaults, arches, and colourful stairs.

Do consider visiting the Catholic Cathedral of Fira, Argyros Mansion, Venetian castle of Akrotiri, and the castle at Pyrgos village for the few fortified Venetian-style settlements that still remain intact.

Romantic souls in search of breathtaking sunset views can definitely visit one of the areas mentioned above. However, the plain truth is that every region of the island makes a perfect Santorini honeymoon setting. Each is coming forward with its unique charm and appeal, it is no wonder that Santorini is the most popular holiday destination for millions of couples annually.

The exciting story behind it all

But what makes Santorini architecture unique is the history that has led to the birth of the particular architectural style. A strong fear of pirates, who roamed the seas during the era of the Turkish and Venetian occupation, led to the creation of castles. As a means to protect themselves from pirate invasions, Santorini inhabitants built a total of six forts across the island.

In between those castles, there was a network of roads carved deep into the land to help horse riders to move from one castle to another undetected from afar. As for the roofs of the houses, they were flat and connected with one another so that someone who wanted to find their way to the castle could jump from roof to roof and get there safely.

Another factor that contributed to the emergence of Santorini architecture is the climate. The powerful winds and the high temperatures during the summer months called for houses that were both sun and wind-protected.

For that reason, they were painted white (so as to reflect sunlight) and were given a characteristic cubic form with smooth edges (to avoid the effects of the strong wind).

And, if you are wondering why most of the villages feature low ceilings and arches, this has to do with the frequent earthquakes and volcano eruptions. Buildings with a minimum height were proven more earthquake-resistant!

Another element of Santorini architecture is the famous cave houses. The big eruption of the Santorini volcano left the Theran soil with remarkable antiseismic properties. A commonly used name for these cave houses is Yposkafa. So, don’t scratch your head if you hear locals bring this word up!

Perissa Village – Displaying traditional Cycladic architecture at its finest

Perisa Santorini is home to some of the most beautiful churches and chapels in Santorini, which serve as fine specimens of the architectural styles that dominate the island. In fact, the impressive church of the Holy Cross is nicely tucked in the central square of the village. The Holy Cross church is considered one of the largest cathedrals in Santorini.

Another chapel that speaks of Santorini architecture at Perissa is Panagia Katefiani. You will find it on the slopes of Mount Mesa Vouno. Expect to be amazed by its unique construction as it is built on a huge rock!

Although both sites offer mind-blowing panoramas of the surrounding natural beauty and the Aegean Sea, you may as well join a Santorini day trip for an all-around experience. Depending on what you are after (i.e., visit places with superb vistas, of archaeological value, or distinctive examples of Cycladic architecture), you will be fully covered.

You can even ask for customized tours that include stops at the specific attractions you desire or the particular activities you wish to try out (i.e., snorkeling, yacht sailing, etc.). In this case, you may ask the receptionist at your luxury hotel in Santorini, Antoperla included, of course, for assistance.

Accommodation in Santorini

The good news is that the island offers a plethora of different options when it comes to accommodation. From Santorini hotels with a private pool, one of the best-ratted being Antoperla, to B&B and studios, you will be spoilt for choice. Following the principles of the Cycladic architecture, our elegant hotel has managed to combine luxury, modern, and old-world charm.

Speaking of being pampered, Antoperla is among the very few Santorini luxury resorts with profound focus on its guests’ utmost satisfaction. For that reason, we offer a wide range of amenities that match the top quality of our services, enabling you to live your dream Santorini holidays.

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