Architecture / Greece

The Gates of Santorini


The gates that lead to the entrances of Santorini houses are like lipstick on a woman – enticing! They tease you with a view. Sometimes it’s a path to the front door, but it’s just as likely to be a prelude to something else … often steps that wind up the cliff!


My favorites are the gates that appear to hang in mid air with nothing but sky and sea beyond. They harbor the steps that plunge down the hillside to a house tucked under the pathway you’re standing on.


Although the courtyards inside the gates are beautiful, they’re also quite practical. That’s often where the cistern is. Santorini has a very long history of self-sufficiency, and one of the most important basics is water. On a volcanic island, that’s tough to come by. There are only a few springs on the island, and very little rainfall. Consequently, every house has a cistern for water collection and storage … usually just inside these gates.


Most of all, I think these gates are there to keep out the unpredictable stray donkey!

If you’d like to see more photos of Santorini gates, please check out our Gallivance Facebook page.

Peace and Love,


47 thoughts on “The Gates of Santorini

    • Thanks Virginia. Santorini really is this beautiful. The photos haven’t been altered from the original shots. It’s one of the most photogenic places that I’ve visited. ~James

    • Thanks Katy, for the comment and for dropping by the blog. Put Santorini on your list. It really is this beautiful, and its location on the edge of a volcano makes it even more interesting.

    • Thanks Lisa. The path along the edge of the caldera in Santorini is one of the most scenic walks in the world. BTW, congrats on getting your book published. Very impressive.

      • Thank you so much Terri! It was published in Greek. I would have liked to share it with you, the English speaking community one day. Perhaps my next work! It feels so much at home surrounded by your colorful palette of doors! 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment Marion, and for dropping by the blog. You’re too right about these photos being typical. Every Greek travel brochure ever published has photos exactly like these. BTW, best of luck in your new country life. ~James

    • Well, Santorini is the place for you. We had a couple of animal encounters there, and one was a very friendly donkey. In fact, she followed us like a dog (who knows, she could have been loca.) It was pretty funny.

  1. I have a thing for windows and doors. I have taken many photos of them on my (shamefully few) travels. I now must add ‘gates’ to my repetoire!
    Beautiful photos and a must-get-to destination now officially added to my growing list!

    • Thanks Carolin. We’ve shot doors and windows as well. And if the spirit moves us, we’ve been known to photograph flower boxes as well. One of our followers shoots doorknockers, which I wish I had thought of. In fact, we won “Freshly Pressed” for our “Baltic Beasties“. It’s a fun post and some interesting architectural detail.

    • Thanks Jade. You will absolutely love Santorini. The most helpful tip that I can provide is to time your visit in the shoulder or low season. It’s a small island, and a regular stop for huge cruise ships. We were there in January (pretty cold), but some days we wouldn’t see any other tourists … at all. I can see that with lots of crowds, it would have been a very different experience. BTW, I love your “Memory Lane Monday” idea. ~ James

    • Thanks LuAnn. Santorini was on our bucket list for decades … really. It was so much fun to finally get to see it. Perched on the edge of an active volcano made it even more interesting. Hope you can make it someday. ~James

  2. Lovely pictures that remind me of my visits there. It was once one of my favourite Greek Islands but recently it has become overwhelmed and spoilt by the sheer number of people who visit from the cruise ships. My recommendation now is to miss Santorini and go to either Amorgos or Milos which are almost as photogenic but way less crowded..

    • Thanks for the suggestions Andrew. We traveled to Santorini in the low season, and the place was deserted. It was cold, but there weren’t many tourists. However, while we were there, one cruise ship docked, and for a few hours, the place was overrun. After this, we could imagine how crazy it must be in high season, and it would be a very different experience. We also experienced the same thing in Dubrovnik. It’s also a low season destination.

  3. You brought me back! My husband Nd I spent our honeymoon in 2000 in lovely Santorini! This is way before I became a photography nut so sadly I have few pictures. Love this post!

    • Thanks Nicole. We really enjoyed Santorini as well, and can imagine it must have been magical for your honeymoon. And I can relate to your sadness about missed photos. When we took our first RTW, for simplicity and weight, we just carried cheap, disposable cameras. The photos we shot were terrible, and to this day, we complain about what a dumb decision it was to not carry a decent camera. Oh well … lesson learned. ~James

  4. I love gates. I think that gates are beautiful, even in their rustic and old condition – there is something about it.

  5. Gorgeous! Especially lovely looking at these summery pictures when it’s so cold out here on the east coast! Are most of the gates in Santorini this beautiful blue? The color pairs so well with white.

    • Thanks Miranda. Yes the islanders use lots and lots of blue, and it’s the perfect complement to the white. I suspect the white is to reflect the hot sun, but I’m not sure about the blue. They certainly make for great photos. ~James

  6. Love, love Santorini.. It’s on our wish list for a month or two sometime…think it would be okay for a long visit?

    • Hi Louise, I’d wanted to go to Santorini forever and I loved it. We were there in late November and there were no crowds, but judging by the ATV Rental Places, I think it would be pretty wacky “in season.” It’s also a very small island – particularly compared to Crete. So If you like small island living, then yes. But if you think it would close in on you, 1-3 weeks would probably work. ~Terri

    • You’ll enjoy Santorini Tricia, we certainly did. However, I have one tip, which you’ve probably already considered. We visited in November, and the place was deserted. But while we were there a cruise ship moored offshore and the place was swamped for a few hours. After seeing those crowds, we realized that Santorini would have been a very different experience in high season. So, keep that in mind when you schedule. ~James

  7. I’m on Santorini right now and love the gates. I’m also thinking about putting a collection of pictures of the doors of Santorini. So much character!

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