My final stop for the day was Red Beach, one of the best beaches on the island and famous for its red hues. Apparently it is the high iron in the rocks that makes it red. It is definitely gorgeous against the bright blue Aegean sea and a wonderful place to relax and take a dip in the cool, clear water.
For my third day in Santorini, I forced myself out of Oia and headed to the southern part of the island to explore. Of course, I started my day in the neighboring town of Pyrgos. I really grew to love Pyrgos, especially in the mornings when it was quiet and deserted (it also had the best little cafes for breakfast and coffee). On this particular morning, I was there especially early and I swear I had the entire town to myself. So charming, so blue, and so serene. I definitely think if I return to Santorini I want to stay in Pyrgos.
After my morning in Pyrgos, I hopped back on my four-wheeler and headed south to Akrotiri and the famous Red Beach. The southern part of the island is far less inhabited and has a completely different feel from the huddled and colorful cliff-side villages in the north. It was interesting to explore this more rugged side of the island.
Akrotiri, like Pygros, also has an old castle-fort (built by the Venetians) that you an explore. But the most interesting site in this area is the Minoan Bronze-Age city of Akrotiri (which is just slightly southeast of the current city). This almost-3,000-year-old city was destroyed in a volcanic eruption and rediscovered in the nineteenth century (FYI the entire island is a former volcano that collapsed into the sea, creating the semi-circular caldera as it is called today). For a couple euros you can explore the excavations of this historic city.