WHAT TO SEE IN OIA, SANTORINI? BEST SPOT TO WATCH SUNSET IN OIA? IS OIA WORTH VISITING?
Oia: Santorini’s jewel
Santorini is the Cyclades island that attracts the most visitors each year. The exceptional climate and magnificent landscapes of the island, with its black lava beaches and imposing cliffs, make Santorini one of the most striking places in Greece.
Today, the village of Oia has become the symbol of Santorini, to the point that practically all the photographs representing this island that we find in magazines or on the Internet are in fact photos of Oia. This village, built by the sea on the side of a cliff, with its blue domes overlooking its white houses, is one of the sites that best represent all the beauty of the Mediterranean basin.
Here is a short teaser about Oia in Santorini:
WHAT TO SEE IN OIA?
1. Stroll along the winding streets of Oia and admire the view
Like in most villages in the Cyclades, the best thing to do is to wander through its winding cobbled streets.
In Oia, to admire the most beautiful views of the caldera and the white houses, simply stroll along the main street which begins at the Saint George church.
You must then go down as soon as possible into the stairway streets on the cliff side.
The best is to walk there early in the morning to avoid the crowds… Yes indeed, Oia is so popular that right before sunset it gets very crowded…
The view of the caldera is one of the best things to see in Oia.
Among the most famous photo spots: don’t miss the small Agia Triada chapel, the bell tower towards the Aspaki hotel, the ruins of the Saint Nicolas castle, the Saint Nicolas church, the Anastasi church, the Kastro Oia Houses, the 4 bells…
2. Visit Ammoudi Bay
From Oia, you can easily access Ammoudi Bay either by driving down the small road through the cliff or for the more courageous by taking the staircase of 300 steps.
Don’t miss Ammoudi Bay while visiting Santorini, as this is one of the best things to see in Oia.
In this small fishing port, you can enjoy a relaxing moment in one of its restaurants serving amazing fish dishes. All this with a beautiful view of the red cliffs and the town of Oia.
Near the port, you can also cool off with a little dip in the water.
3. Watch a sunset in Oia
Oia is renowned worldwide for one thing: its sunsets. The sun illuminating the caldera, the sky taking on shades of yellow, red and pink, and the white houses with blue roofs form a truly enchanting picture.
However, be aware that you won’t be the only one during that time in Oia. Many tourists come to Oia, especially for sunset…
The Byzantine castle ruins are probably the best place (location), and therefore also the most popular to watch the sunset. Plan to arrive at least an hour before sunset to get a good seat.
To enjoy a slightly more cozy and relaxed atmosphere, you can also book one of Oia’s restaurants and bars, which are perfectly oriented to watch the sun go down.
This is THE best thing to see in Oia!
4. Shop until you drop!
Oia is full of great shops! From international brands to local artisans there are so many shopping opportunities in Oia.
There are all kinds of shops, most of them clustered in the narrow whitewashed streets of Oia. There are mainly souvenir shops, designer clothing and shoe boutiques, art galleries, and many fine jewelry stores offering beautiful creations inspired by ancient Greek jewelry.
Shops in Oia are open all day, from morning until late after midnight.
5. Check out the blue-domed churches, one of the best things to see in Oia
The symbol of Oia is its white buildings and blue domes. These are in fact the domes from churches, which are often lost in the heart of the village.
Some are no bigger than any other houses on the island and others are much bigger and easily recognizable. The most remarkable building in the village is the Saint George church (location), topped with 3 blue domes. Don’t miss Agia Ekaterini (location) where you will enjoy an exceptional view from above with the 4 bells!
On the main square of Oia, you can find the Panagia Platsan church (location), also crowned in blue. Right in the center of the square, you can admire a superb mosaic, and inside the church, the decorations and ornaments are also worth seeing.
One of the best photo spots with a blue-domed church is located here. You can’t miss it, as it will be on your way when going to the Castle to see the sunset.
6. Hike from Oia to Fira
This is one of the best things to do in Santorini, and it’s free!
The hike between Fira and Oia or Oia to Fira offers incredible panoramas of the island. This hike was one of the highlights of our trip to Santorini! The view all along the hike is simply breathtaking.
The hike is 10km long and takes about 3 hours (or more) to complete.
7. Have fun during a boat tour from Oia
Going on a boat tour is one of the best things to do in Santorini.
Onboard a catamaran you will be at sea for about 5 hours sailing around Santorini.
You can choose to do your cruise in the morning or in the evening, and of course, the evening will be the perfect opportunity to enjoy a sunset.
During the catamaran tour, you will depart from Ammoudi port of Oia. You will be able to discover some of the main sights on the island such as the Red Beach and the White Beach. The boat will also stop for a swim in the blue Aegean water!
There are many catamaran tours offered in Santorini. Some include lunch on the boat with snorkeling, some include drinks for a sunset cruise.
>> READ: 6 BEST BOAT TOURS IN SANTORINI
8. Enjoy a delicious meal in Oia
The food in Santorini is absolutely delicious, and there are so many places to choose from!
In Oia, we compiled a short list of places which we really liked:
Café La Lotza: tasty and simple Greek food with a beautiful view of the caldera (location)
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN OIA
Oia is the most popular village on the island, and therefore also the place with the highest prices.
Here, you can find our favorite accommodations in Oia:
Kaleidoscope cave houses
The Kaleidoscope Cave Houses is also one of the most popular places for visitors. It is perfectly located and offers studios with outdoor hot tubs and direct views of the caldera, one of the best things to see in Oia!
>> CHECK IT OUT
Marizan Caves & Villas
Marizan Caves & Villas is a complex made up of several villas each with their own pool and a stunning view on Oia! One of the best hotels in Santorini!
Canaves Oia Sunday Suites
This is another upscale hotel known for its elegance and breathtaking views. Canaves Oia Suites offers private plunge pools, spa services, and a fantastic restaurant.
>> BOOK NOW
>> READ: 6 BEST PLACES TO STAY IN SANTORINI
HOW TO GET TO OIA AND AROUND SANTORINI?
To get to Oia and around Santorini you have a fairly wide option of transportation:
The buses are functional and very inexpensive. They will allow you to reach most towns, villages and beaches on the island. However, if you value your comfort, they will not necessarily be the ideal solution. Travel can be hectic, and buses are often crowded during the summer. Fira is the central location of the island, and all buses stop there, regardless of their destination. Timetable here.
For us, ATVs or scooters are the ideal way to get around Santorini, if you have a minimum of experience with this type of vehicle. Plan to rent a relatively powerful model, to easily cross hills. Be careful though as roads can be sandy from time to time…
Driving a car is also a good option to get around, especially if you are traveling in groups. You can find rental cars on the island from €30 per day.
You can also take a taxi on the island, but this would be by far the most expensive option. Taxis are very expensive in Greece… Count 30 to 50 EUR for each trip! You can book cheaper taxi here.
HOW LONG TO VISIT OIA?
Oia can be visited in a day or less. Walk around town, have lunch in Ammoudi Bay, take some photos, watch the sunset and you have pretty much seen everything.
However, there is a lot more to see in Santorini.
IN CONCLUSION ABOUT THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN OIA, SANTORINI
Oia is a destination like no other, offering a blend of natural beauty, history, and culture.
Whether you’re mesmerized by sunsets, captivated by its charm, or indulging in Greek cuisine, Oia promises an unforgettable experience.
Make sure to plan your trip, savor every moment, and create lasting memories in this magical village on the cliffs of Santorini.