Oia is the most beautiful and painted village in Santorini. Full of churches with blue domes, winding streets and the white houses that seems to be suspended in time which perfectly symbolize Greece and now belong to collective imagination. Built high on the edge of the caldera, Oia has small streets, breathtaking views, cute shops, pretty museums, so many art galleries and especially the ruins of the venetian fortress that makes this village an unique and charming place. In the second half of the nineteenth century Oia was a very rich and in development center, and it could trade with the Russia, the Levant and Alexandria. The officers and the sea captains lived in beautiful homes on the cliff-top floor, while the sailors lived in troglodyte ones. Contrary to Fira, Oia has tried and still preserve intact its charm and thus escape the mass tourism. Nevertheless, in the main street there are many luxury boutiques and jewelry stores. From Oia you can enjoy the best view of the caldera since the bay is enclosed by rocks. You can see perfectly the crater profile in the water: houses with strange shapes, suggestive chapels and magnificent abandoned homes as a result of the 1956 earthquake, that furrow trough the massif with alleys that seem labyrinths. This landscape will convince you that is was worth it to get here!
Places to visit in Oia:
Port and Ammoudi beach
The port of Oia is easily reached by foot along a picturesque path, or by car from the road. This beautiful hike provides a dizzying descent and a steep ascent before reaching the small beach of Ammoudi stones.
Beach of Armeni
Over the Ammoudi beach there is the beach of Armeni: full of rocks is ideal to walk a bit on the deck to enjoy the breeze and to do some snorkeling: the water is so clear and warm, just perfect to do a good dip before sitting in a tavern.
How to get to Oia in three simple ways:
- By Pullman from Fira: There are runs nearly every half hours between Fira and Oia. Buses travel from 7 until 24 with some night connections. In low season there is a connection each hour and the last bus leaves at 20:30.
- By car or scooter: Taking a car or a scooter for hire is a good solution that allows you to enjoy the scenery without getting tired. However you need to remember that the road along the ridge coming from Fira is full of curves and in August there are dangerous wind gusts. In some curves you’ll find names written on the rocks for tragic reminders. The low road is longer, but safer.
- On foot: It takes about 3 hours to reach Fira from Oia by foot. The path along the cliff is picturesque and runs for about 10 km. The ideal is to depart early in the morning or in the evening to avoid intense heat. Remember to bring a bottle of water, an hat and sunscreen.