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Photo of Oia (Santorini region)
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Visit Oia

There are some places in the world that are so special you never want to leave and you certainly want to see more than once. Oia is one of these. The pretty Greek town is built into the cliff side of Santorini, one of the Greek islands, and overlooks the caldera.

Explore Oia

Greece This Way comment: Oia is one of the most beautiful towns in Europe. If you have a chance to visit don't hesitate.

 Oia at dusk

Santorini caldera is the huge sea filled volcanic crater of which Santorini island forms one edge. The islands of Therasia and Aspronisi are islands on the other side of the caldera and the Kameni islands sit at the centre.

Oia is built into the cliffside overlooking this incredible view of the ring of islands circling the water filled crater but just as remarkable is the site of the hundreds of small white cubic and domed roofed buildings set into the cliff.

Indeed many strarted life as caves and have been turned into luxury cave hotels. Lots have private tiny swimming pools or jacuzzis and on an evening and night the view is just as breathtaking as daytime as all the buildings and their swimming pools light up.

Add to these views the blue domes of the various churches and bursts of colour from bougainvilleas or occasional buildings painted in soft pastel colours and you will find you can wander the narrow pedestrian streets for days enjoying the beautiful views.

At one end of Oia is an old fortress and this is a particularly good place to get views of the famous Oia windmills on the skyline. If you want pictures taken at sunset or just after in the "blue hour" you may well have to get there a couple of hours early to grab a good position as the whole of Oia descends in this direction for the nightly spectacle.

At the other end of Oia is one of the larger churches and belltowers and it is painted in a pale lemon colour rather than the usual white with blue dome. At the centre of Oia in the main square is the church of Panagia. Be sure to look inside as its walls are covered in wonderful paintings.

As well as the main street in Oia with its fabulous views there is a warren of narrow streets full of a mix of upmarket boutiques and tourist shops as well as an abundance of restaurants. These are a pleasure to expore.

Oia

It is possible to walk down the 300 steps to the small port of Ammoudi. This is a tiny port but makes for some pretty photos with the colourful boats docked there.

Getting to Oia

If you take the ferry to Santorini there is a mad scramble of taxis and shared taxis when the boat docks and as there is no information about the bus service most people take these to get to Oia. A shared taxi costs around 30 euros. 

There is a bus service that can take you to Fira (Thira) and from there you can get another bus service to Oia. We took a shared taxi to Oia as it was unclear when a bus was due. For the way back though we checked the bus timetable and had an easy trip back to the port on the bus with a change at Fira bus station.

There is also an airport on Santorini which is well served with buses to Fira where you can change for Oia and also taxis.

Where to visit nearby

Fira is another attractive hilltop town with great views over the caldera. It is a bit cheaper than Oia and a bit noisier with more bars and a livlier nightlife. It is possible to walk to Fira along a 10km paved path. Definitely worth doing for the wonderful caldera views all the way along.

If you are looking for somewere quiet with great views for your accommodation then Imerovigli is another of the villages on the edge of the caldera.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Santorini guide.

See also:

Photos of Oia

Click any picture to start the gallery

  • cafe-bar
  • caldera
  • calderra
  • church
  • church1
  • church2
  • churches
  • evening-light
  • flowers
  • fort
  • hotels
  • path
  • pink-building
  • sea-view
  • streets
  • windmills

Map of Oia and places to visit

Oia places to visit

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