Three small museums to visit in Santorini


Argyros Mansion Museum, Messaria

The elegant mansion that houses this museum was built in 1888 by local craftsmen, who had taken part in building important neoclassical mansions in what then was the newly founded capital city of Athens. It was the main residence of the family of George Argyros, who grew vines to make Vinsanto, a wine that already had global fans in the 19th century. Current owner, Manolis Argyros is the fourth generation of the family and the man that turned the mansion into a museum. Argyros Mansion is now considered to be a remarkable example of architecture of its time and a museum whose visitors can see what life was like for the island’s elite back in the 19th century. Spaces open to visitors include the living and dining room, George Argyros’ office and his, as well as his wife’s, bedrooms.

Lignos Folklore Museum, Kontochori-Fira

At Lignos Folklore Museum one can explore a typical Santorini cave house. The museum is housed in an old winery and also includes a traditional carpenter’s, barrel maker’s, shoemaker’s and tinsmith’s workshops as well as an art gallery. In the two chambers of the house that constitutes the main part of the museum, visitors can experience a traditional Santorini living space. The house consists of a hall, a bedroom, a dining room, a cellar and a kitchen, as well as a children’s bedroom. Each room is brought to life thanks to the furniture and daily-use objects of a bygone era. Saint Constantine and Helen’s chapel, located in the museum’s courtyard, forms part of the visit. 

Naval Maritime Museum, Oia

Housed in a 19th century mansion, Santorini’s Maritime Museum features rare figureheads, seamen’s chests, traditional maritime equipment , models of local ships, as well as old photographs and a library. Oia’s merchant fleet led it into economic prosperity at the turn of the 20th century, when Santorini’s vessels traveled from Alexandria to Russia and the ships’ captains built their two-storey houses in upper Oia.  The Greek merchants had the chance to exploit the international opportunities that arose in commercial routes thanks to the competition between the English and the French.