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Off-the-Beaten-Path Santorini: Charming Megalochori

On my recent solo trip to Santorini, I divided my weeklong stay into two parts: the first half, I rented a traditional Cycladic home in Megalochori, and the second half, I stayed on the beach in Perissa. Both experiences were wonderful, but Megalochori stole my heart.

The Cycladic House in Megalochori

cycladic house

I chose Megalochori because it promised to be far enough away from the crowds while still being accessible to the coastal towns of Fira and Oia. And because that’s where I found an affordable vacation rental. My goal was to stay in one of the traditional whitewashed homes, and the one I found here, while a bit more than what I’d seen for hotel rooms ($120 a night versus $50 for the Perissa hotel), was worth a splurge.

As my host led me down a pathway surrounded by white stucco walls to the home, I was already charmed. He explained that the road near my new home was pedestrian-only, and pointed in one direction where I’d find a bakery, and the other, where I’d find the tiny town center. What more could I want?

Once I plopped down my backpack in the cool cave of my rental, I began to relax. I loved the enclosed patio and would eat breakfast there each morning. While the bed was so uncomfortable that I chose to sleep on the daybed in the living area, the fact that I had a kitchen I could cook in more than made up for it.

megalochori rental

And one sweet thing: there was a set of stairs off the patio that led to a rooftop patio! From there, I could sip my wine and look out at the rooftops of Megalochori. I couldn’t quite see the sunsets that Santorini was known for, but the stars at night were something to behold (and I did just that one jetlagged night when sleep wouldn’t come).

Far from the Tourists of Santorini

chicken souvlaki

Honestly, there’s not a lot to do in Megalochori, and that was fine with me. In fact, I didn’t visit a single shop while there, other than the market. On my first afternoon, I stumbled across the most charming restaurant, shaded by an arbor of vines and flowers. For my first meal in Santorini, I enjoyed a huge plate of chicken souvlaki (which I later shared with a loud cat who adopted me that evening…before biting me!) and chatted with the flirty owner.

bells of megalochori

A few days later, after I’d battled the crowds in Fira, I wandered around Megalochori and took photos of the buildings. Whenever I came across a local, they’d seem surprised to see me, a tourist, in such a quiet place. That’s what I loved about the village: that it didn’t draw tons of tourists.

A Great Place to Make Friends


I’ve already written about the friends I made at Symposion. They were a big part of what made Megalochori so special to me. If you visit, I urge you to go visit Yannis and Argy at Symposion. Enjoy (and participate in) the music presentation. Give them a kiss from me.

I highly recommend Megalochori if you visit Santorini, especially if you like to get away from the maddening crowds. You can get to anywhere on the island in an hour or less by bus, and there are some great vacation rentals and restaurants to enjoy.

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