Beliefs / Greece / Travel

Santorini Churches: The Definition of Simple Beauty


It’s Sunday and time for the “Church Photos in Lieu of Attendance” post. Santorini is the perfect place to be for this post, because in this area you can throw a volcanic rock and hit a photogenic church. These beautiful churches are the poster children for travel in Greece, and if you’ve ever been to a travel agent, you’ve probably seen a picture of a church from Santorini. I’d like to take credit for some degree of photographic skill, but you really can’t get it wrong here.


Most of the churches on the island are Greek Orthodox (duh), and there are over 200 of them! Most are very small and tucked away in unlikely places. All are meticulously maintained, and crisply painted in whitewash with one or two other colors. And somehow, while we’ve been here, the weather gods have managed to provide incredibly blue skies as a backdrop.


There’s also a Catholic Church here in Fira, and we were lucky enough to walk by when it was open for visitors. After Florence and Rome and all the beautiful Renaissance masterpieces, it was pleasant to be inside a church that was unpretentious, simply elegant, and obviously devoted to worship.

Church Interior

Classical music was playing in the background, candles were burning in two small chapels, nice live houseplants were placed around the entire church, and we seemed like the only people on the planet. I suspect that everyone has a different idea of what church should be, but for me, this experience was it: tranquility and the stillness that comes when the mind is at peace. Enjoy your Sunday.

Happy Trails,

21 thoughts on “Santorini Churches: The Definition of Simple Beauty

    • Thanks for the kind words on my photos. Years ago photography was a hobby of mine, and I knew a bit about composition, f-stops, focal length, etc. Camera technology has made tremendous advances in the past few years, and I for one am glad. Today’s cameras are marvels, and the “Auto” mode can accomplish miracles. Now I can spend more time admiring the scenery, instead of worrying about photo parameters.

    • You’re right Steph, I love this combination as well. These starkly contrasting colors are used all over the Med, but nobody pulls it off like Greece. Artists there also use a “washed” blue color in murals (usually ocean themes) that is also wonderful

  1. Thanks, James. I can feel the tranquility and that’s a very beautiful shot inside the church too. I still look back on the photos with a kind of awe that I was once part of that landscape.

    • Thanks Jo. Santorini is certainly a special place. We were there in winter, and the place was deserted, making it even more peaceful. Most days were chilly, but it was so nice to have it to ourselves. This tranquility will always be a big part of our memory of Santorini.

  2. Your images really capture the essence of the churches of Santorini. Its a special place to visit, especially if you can get away from the crowds of other visitors! Chris G

    • Hey Chris, thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. We were in Santorini in winter, and it was deserted. However, on cruise ship moored offshore and the whole feel of the village changed. I can see how it would be a very different experience if it were crowded. ~James

      • There were three cruise ships there on the day of our visit. We escaped from the melee by taking a local bus to Oia which was less crowded, found a lovely little cafe overlooking the sea and the island of Thirassia and had a traditional Greek Salad! Chris

    • Thanks Catherine, for the comment and for dropping by the blog. On our last RTW we spent 6 weeks in Greece. We’ve always loved antiquities, and as a student of history, I wanted to spend some quality time in the cradle of democracy. We’ll always be glad that we did, and look forward to our next trip. ~James

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