Amidst an expansive array of white and blue dome churches, traditional cave houses, renowned resorts and spell-binding views is the small and charming village of Oia. Formerly known as Apano Meria, Oia is the most visited and photo’d village in Santorini. Sitting on the north-west side of the island on top of a cliff, this village attracts a myriad of people to the Sunset Serenade Point every evening to watch the magical sunset. Oia is equipped with all the basic infrastructures such as banks, ATM machines, post office, clinic, pharmacies, bus station and a cultural centre. You will also find a number of cafés, taverns, galleries and shops in the village.
The village abounds hoards of tourists during the peak season which makes it a little difficult to circulate around, but your visit to Oia will surely be rewarding. There is a lot to see to Oia, all the little pathways have captivating views to unfold and get you that Instagram perfect shot. It is advisable to wear a hat during summer days and carry a bottle of water with you.
Some of the main charms in Oia
Touted as one of the main attractions is the ruined castle (Fort Londsa) perched atop the cliff offering extravagant views of the island including Amoudi Bay, the famous windmills and orange taverns that you normally see on Santorini’s postcards. Along the way, you’ll meet several street vendors selling souvenirs and traditional handmade stuff. You will also find locks and ribbons tied up along the whole fence. The Castle of Agios Nikolaos is the most popular spot in Oia to witness the sun slip beneath the waves casting a yellow-orange glow over the island. It is best known as the sunset place.
The village is also home to the beautiful Panagia Platsani church. This church was originally built within the Castle itself and it was moved to its current place, on the main square, after the earthquake in 1956. This church is said to be really powerful. Panagia Platsani Church was built to honor the icon of the Virgin Mary that was found in the sea by a fisherman.
Naval Maritime Museum
Founded in the 1950s, the museum cherishes the local and Greek naval history within the ex-mansion of the captain Antonis Dakoronias. The beautiful mansion was converted into a museum in 1990. It houses important information on the evolution of the maritime life of Greece.
The captains’ houses are the big and gorgeous mansions built with red volcanic rock. The captains settled in Oia from different parts of Europe and they enjoyed a lavish lifestyle from wealth that international trade brought them. Their houses were filled with antique pieces from different countries.
The traditional cave houses in Santorini were built with a thick layer of pumice so as to protect people from wind, bad weather and earthquakes. Back then, the cave house was the cheapest alternative that the poor people (mostly the seamen) could afford. They keep people warm enough during winter with no additional need for heating and at the same time ensure comfortable temperature in summer. Many cave houses are now transformed to cute little shops that you can easily spot in Oia.
Amoudi Bay lies just below the village of Oia, reachable via some 300 steps down to the port. It is the perfect stop for a seafood lunch with a view of the crystal blue water as it stretches onto the pebble beach. You can book for a catamaran trip from Amoudi Bay where you get to see the beaches, the lighthouse, the hot springs, a closer look of the caldera and the famous sunset. They also have some sunset cruises with dinner included.
The beaches however in Oia are not apt for swimming. Katharos Beach (1.5 km away from Oia) faces strong waves and the northern wind. There are no sunbeds or umbrellas and the beach is rather a no kid friendly one.The offbeat beach, Baxedes is a better option for a good swim. This quiet black sand beach is about 3-4 km away from Oia. There are some sunbeds, thatched umbrellas and changing cabins onsite. However, it also faces the northern side making it prone to strong wind. This place is less touristy than the other well-known beaches in Santorini.
A bus trip to Oia from Fira main bus station takes around 30 minutes and costs no more than 2 euros. We’ve enjoyed the bus trip to Oia along the incredible route that offered sweeping views of the island and the Aegean sea. No trip to Santorini is complete without a visit to the stunning village of Oia, it almost felt like we were wandering through postcards. Oia is an absolute haven for photographers.
We stayed at White Santorini Suites & Spa during our stay in the island.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post.