Story: Phuong Giang

Photo: Nick M, Phuong Nguyen, Tran Hong Ngoc

Firostefani makes an ideal destination to see the sunset in a private and peaceful surrounding.

A typical Orthodox architecture with blue domes

There are 15 villages in Santorini, four of which stand out as tourist hotspots: Oia, Fira, Imerovigli and Firostefani. These days, tourists in Santorini often complain about the noise and crowds in Oia and Fira. Firostefani, on the other hand, makes an ideal destination if you want to enjoy the sunset in a private and peaceful surrounding.

The name Firostefani is a compound word made up from the words Fira and Stefani. Stefani means “crown” in Greek. The origin of this meaning lies in the location of Firostefani on a volcanic crater at Fira’s highest point. Firostefani village is a 15-minute drive from Thera airport and 10-minute walk from bustling Fira. The landscape of Firostefani is magnificent, with the natural beauty of the volcano crater against the backdrop of endless sea and sky.

I arrived in Santorini on a sunny day and was fortunate enough to find an old villa built in 1720 with a designated room to view the sunset. The villa used to belong to a German prince. It has been renovated but still retains its classic architectural style with Dionysos marble slabs of pure white.

When the first rays of the sun passed through my window, I began the new day with a Greek breakfast of bread, butter, honey, strawberry jam, ham, eggs, Greek salad, fresh orange juice, coffee and Greek yogurt. I was most impressed with the yogurt, whose rich taste blends so well with the sweetness of the strawberries and nuts.

The romantic white church in Santorini under the Mediterranean sun

As I walked along the road leading up the mountain, churches with their unique blue domes came into view. There are more than 250 churches on the islands of Santorini and the people remain devout in their religion. Visitors here can feel the sincerity, honesty, simplicity and hospitability in this heaven on earth.

In Firostefani, you’ll quickly find a street lined with souvenir shops selling colorful trinkets, while houses painted white blend perfectly with the blue of the ocean and the sky to add to Santorini’s captivating beauty.

Sunset in Santorini is a magical moment. The deep blue sky gradually turns orange as the sun in the late afternoon burns bright in the horizon. When the sun slowly descends, the sky turns to a shade of mysterious purple.

As you immerse yourself in the splendor of the landscape, time seems to stand still. Your heart may/ beat as if experiencing first love all over again.