Megalochori is located on the south west part of Santorini, around 8 kilometers from the capital, Fira. It is one of the most picturesque villages of the island, combining the traditional Cycladic architecture with neoclassical houses and old cave houses from the 17th century. These were used from locals for their protection from pirates. Nowadays they are fully restored so you can admire these in a walk through the cobbled streets of the village. Besides the cave houses, Megalochori is also known for its chapels, and especially their impressive bell towers. There are several small churches and chapels to explore around the village, with Agios Nikolaos with its amazing location on the caldera being one of them.
But the most renowned feature of Megalochori is its wineries. The village is indeed in the heart of the island’s wine industry, with many of the biggest wineries in Greece located there. Boutaris, Gavalas and Antoniou wineries are all located in the area and are open to tourists. Feel free to visit, have a tour and learn about the wine-making process and industry. And don’t forget to indulge yourselves in some unique volcanic wine varieties!
For those who are interested in beaches, you can find as well! On the Caldera side there are two remote beaches, Plaka and Thermi. They are quite remote, with no access by car (only on foot or by boat), but they both have hot springs and therapeutic waters, so a visit (or even better, a hike) there is a must!
Where to stay in Megalochori
Megalochori, in terms of geographical span, is not very big. That means that no matter where you stay, you can have easy access to the main square where most of the restaurants and taverns are located. If you decide to stay around the square, have in mind that it’s not getting too busy with tourists so you can spend some quiet holidays, even at the centre of the village.
You might think that since Megalochori is non-touristic and very small, no luxury accommodations can be found here. Well, you couldn’t be more wrong. As a matter of fact, Megalochori houses some of the most interesting and secluded suites of the island. Villas, mansions, spa resorts and suites can be found hidden in its small alleyways. For those who really want to unwind and relax without losing their comfort and luxury, this place can be their dream destination. The fact that it’s not touristic makes it ideal for extra privacy.
But these are not the only options for your stay. There are tens of accommodation options in Megalochori, including hotels, studios and self-catering apartments. All of these can be found in much lower prices compared to the touristic Fira or Oia, so the area is a good choice for those who don’t want to spend much. Extra points can be given to the smaller hotels and studios which usually are family-run, having an extra local character.
Where to eat in Megalochori
If local food is your thing, then you’re definitely looking at the right place. Megalochori has a handful of taverns, offering local Greek and Santorinian cuisine. There are around 15 taverns and restaurants in the village, so you’ll never get hungry.
The main square is the centre of the village, where most of the cafes and taverns are situated. This is also the place where all the locals gather during the evenings for dinner, giving a very local ambience to the place. Besides the central square, you can find some more taverns hidden in other corners of the village as well. If you decide to eat in the square of the village, you can have your meal under the natural shade of the trees there, surrounded by bougainvillea covered patios – can’t get more local than this.
There are two restaurants that really stand out: One is “Raki”, at the main square. This is also where most of the villagers go and eat. If you’re lucky enough, at night you might indulge in the sounds of live Greek music accompanying your dinner. Their souvlaki plate is a good option to try. The second restaurant I would recommend is called “Feggera”. It’s a bit pricier than Raki, but worth every penny. Everything is great, from the actual food and its presentation to the ambience of the roof garden.
Well, Megalochori has not much of nightlife, or to be precise, no nightlife at all. The truth is that if you’re looking for clubs, bars and places to party, then Fira would be more to your liking. Nevertheless, the taverns in the area usually stay open until quite late, so once you finish your dinner you can always stay more and enjoy a glass (or maybe a bottle) of wine. If nothing else, at least you will be able to enjoy lots of good wines from the wineries around the area. Even better if you can do it from the privacy of your own balcony!