Exploring the Windmills of Gavrilis in Emporio

April 2, 2023

If you’re planning a trip to Santorini, one place you shouldn’t miss is Emporio, a charming village with narrow alleys and traditional architecture. Among the village’s landmarks are the windmills of Gavrilis, a group of historic windmills that have become an emblem of the island. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the windmills and their history.

History of the Windmills of Gavrilis

The windmills of Gavrilis date back to the 19th century when Emporio was a bustling trade center. The mills were built by the wealthy landowner Gavrilis, who wanted to process the wheat and other grains produced in his fields. The mills were powered by the strong winds that blow across the island, and they were a crucial part of the local economy.

Over time, the mills became obsolete as new technologies emerged, and they fell into disrepair. In the 20th century, many of the mills were abandoned, and some were even used as storage rooms or dwellings. However, in recent years, there has been a renewed interest in preserving the windmills as cultural heritage, and several of them have been restored.

Architecture and Design of the Windmills

The windmills of Gavrilis are impressive structures that showcase the island’s traditional architecture. Each windmill consists of a circular stone tower, topped by a conical roof made of wooden planks. The roof is covered with tiles or thatch, depending on the era in which the mill was built. The tower has several levels, with narrow windows and a door at the base.

Inside the tower, there is a circular room where the milling machinery was located. The machinery consisted of a large wooden wheel, called a millstone, which was turned by the wind. The grain was poured into a funnel at the top of the millstone, and it was ground into flour or meal, which was then collected in bags.

Visiting the Windmills of Gavrilis

Today, several of the windmills of Gavrilis are open to visitors, offering a glimpse into the island’s past. Visitors can climb the narrow stairs inside the tower and see the milling machinery up close. From the top of the tower, there are stunning views of the village and the surrounding countryside.

To reach the windmills, head to the outskirts of Emporio, where the mills are located on a hill overlooking the village. You can either walk or drive up the hill, and there is parking available at the site. Some of the mills have been converted into museums or cafes, where you can learn more about the history of the windmills and enjoy a snack or a drink.


The windmills of Gavrilis are a unique attraction in Santorini, showcasing the island’s traditional architecture and its reliance on wind power. These historic structures are a reminder of the island’s past as a thriving trade center, and they offer a glimpse into the way of life of the local people. If you’re visiting Santorini, book a tour with us and discover the windmills of Gavrilis in Emporio.