Three Bells of Fira Image of the three Bells of Fira Church Firostefani Santorini Greece

Three Bells Of Fira: One of the best sunset views in Santorini

Three bells, a blue dome with a white cross and the azure Aegean Sea. And one of the best sunset spots on the planet. Welcome to the Three Bells Of Fira church.

Here is our guide to the Three Bells of Fira church, one of the best places to watch a legendary Santorini sunset.

The Three Bells Of Fira are one of the most famous icons of Santorini, the Greek Islands, indeed Greece. The simple white bellcote with the blue dome is one of the most recognizable sights in Europe, and here is our guide to finding this simple, stunning church overlooking the Santorini caldera.

We delve into the history of the Three Bells church, and show you how to get there on foot, by bus and by car. There are several more blue-domed churches in Santorini, but this is the most beautiful and most dramatically sited. Go out of your way to see it.

Why Visit The Three Bells Of Fira

Image of the Three Bells of Fira church Santorini at sunset
Sunset behind the iconic Three Bells

The Three Bells of Fira is perhaps the most famous church in Santorini, its iconic white bellcote and blue dome standing out against the waters of the Aegean Sea below.

The church is at the heart of one of the best views in Santorini – it looks stunning at any time of day, whether in the bright middle of day or in late light before sunset.

Image of the Three Bells of Fira Santorini church Greece
The Three Bells of Fira in silhouette

It is also possibly the best place to watch a Santorini sunset, with the islands of Nea Kameni, Thirasia and Folegandros forming the breathtaking backdrop.

It’s also a much quieter place to watch the sunset than Oia. Crowds build up at the Byzantine Castle in Oia for up to two hours before a sunset. I visited the Three Bells of Fira twice for sunset, and both times there were no more than twenty people there, spread out along the wall savouring the unforgettable scene.

Three Bells Of Fira History

Image of the Three Bells of Fira Santorini church
Three Bells of Fira

The Three Bells of Fira (Treis Kampanes Ton Firon) is the popular name for the Roman Catholic Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  It is also sometimes called the Church of the Dormition.

The Assumption and Dormition are one and the same thing. The Assumption refers to the Virgin Mary being assumed to heaven. The Dormition means her falling asleep (and, of course, ascending to heaven). The official Greek name of the church is Koimisi Tis Theotokou.

Image of the Three Bells of Fira Santorini church at sunset
Sunset behind the Three Bells of Fira and Thirasia

The site of the church was at one time occupied by two cave churches built into the western Santorini caldera cliffs. These were eventually destroyed and a small infirmary was built there, which came under the auspices of the Jesuits.

The land was eventually donated to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Santorini, and the first church was built there in 1757. It was extensively altered and remodelled several times, before suffering massive damage in the 1956 earthquake of Amorgos.

The church of the Three Bells of Fira was subsequently rebuilt as we see it today, one of the most famous landmarks in Greece.

Where Is The Three Bells Of Fira Church

Image of silhouette of the Three Bells of Fira Santorini
Silhouette of the famous Three Bells of Santorini

The Three Bells of Fira Church is in Firostefani, at the northern end of Fira village.

Its address is Fira 84700.

How To Get To Three Bells Of Fira Viewpoint

Image of Three Bells of Fira Church Santorini Greece
Late light on the Three Bells of Fira

I describe how to reach the viewpoint for the Three Bells Church here rather than the actual church, which seems to be seldom open.

You can get to the Three Bells of Fira church viewpoint on foot, by car or by bus.

If you’re travelling by bus between Fira and Oia, alight at the Firostefani stop on the main square of the village of the same name. Heading south towards Fira, turn right off the square then take the right fork past Villa Fotini (on the right) and Santorini Palace Hotel (on the left).  The viewpoint is 30-40 metres up the hill on the right from there. Check the

You can drive right up to the viewpoint – there is space for 10-15 cars at least. Otherwise Fira parking lot 6 is a few minutes’ walk away.

Image of Agios Minas church Fira Santorini
Agios Minas church in Fira

I opted to walk from Fira to the Three Bells of Fira viewpoint, thinking it would be a jaw-dropping journey along the caldera rim. That’s exactly what it was.

I walked down to Agios Minas church, then turned right, following the path along the caldera past two more beautiful domed churches, the Catholic Cathedral on the right and St Stylianos on the path. When you reach the Art of the Loom Gallery, turn right, then left after a few metres.

When you reach the Aquarius Hotel, turn left, then right, taking the next right which brings you to open ground with a ruin on your right. Bear left to the top of the hill and you have arrived at the Three Bells of Fira viewpoint.

How To Get To The Three Bells Of Fira Church Entrance

Image of the Three Bells of Fira Santorini
The entrance to the church is a 5-10 minute walk from the viewpoint

The entrance to the church is a five-minute walk from the viewpoint behind and above it. If approaching from Fira, follow the path left (instead of right) at the Art of the Loom Gallery and you’ll reach it within five minutes.

Disappointingly, the church isn’t normally open, but IS open on its feast day, August 15th.

Things To See Near Three Bells Of Fira

Santorini Greece Image of St Stylianos Church in Fira Santorini
Agios Stylianos church overlooking the caldera of Santorini

The Three Bells of Fira church is on the superb Fira to Oia walking route, something we heartily recommend if you’re fit enough and it’s not too hot.

One of the most enjoyable stretches of this walk is just to the south of the Three Bells, along the length of the caldera cliffs from the Art of the Loom Gallery, past St Stylianos Church and the Catholic Cathedral to Agios Minas church at the other end of the village. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy the largest of the villages in Santorini.

Three Bells Of Fira – Final Words

Image of the Three Bells of Fira church in 
Santorini Greece
Sunset at the Three Bells of Fira

The Three Bells church is one of the most iconic Santorini sights, something I suggest everyone tries to visit, even if you only have one day in Santorini.

It’s not the easiest place to reach – but not terribly difficult either – and the reward is immense. No matter how many times you see photographs of it before visiting, seeing the Three Bells of Fira for yourself is an amazing experience.

And surprisingly, unlike the streets of Fira and Oia, you won’t be swamped by crowds trying to get the picture. I visited three times during the peak summer season, including twice for sunset, and there were no more than 15-20 people there. A Santorini must see, do not miss.

Image of David Angel found of Delve into Europe Travel Blog / Website

David Angel is a British photographer, writer and historian. He is a European travel expert with over 30 years’ experience exploring Europe. He has a degree in History from Manchester University, and his work is regularly featured in global media including the BBC, Condé Nast Traveler, The Guardian, The Times, and The Sunday Times.  David is fluent in French and Welsh, and can also converse in Italian, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Czech and Polish.


Find out more places to visit in Santorini in our guides here:

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