Oia, the Sunset Capital of Santorini has Much to Offer Visitors:
Located on the north-west tip of Santorini is the village of Oia. Oia (pronounced ee-ah), is famous for its beautiful sunsets and each evening flocks of visitors come to this most northerly village of Santorini to catch the magical Oia sunset.
Like many of the popular Santorini villages, Oia is perched on top of the impressive cliff-face of the caldera, some 150 metres above sea level. From the caldera rim of Oia are breathtaking, panoramic views outward to the volcano crater. From Oia you can also see the Island of Thirassia and the view sweeps inward to the rest of Santorini and back towards Fira. Many travel brochure images of Santorini and Greece and the postcard pictures of stunning Santorini sunsets are taken from Oia.
The Attractions of Oia
Apart from its sunset, Oia’s other attractions include its picturesque, narrow cobbled streets lined with shops, cafés and restaurants. Stroll along Oia’s main street and you will see blue-domed churches and charming traditional Cycladic houses that are so characteristic of Santorini.
Alongside the cave houses carved into the rock face are also the elegant, neo-classical 19th century sea captains’ mansions with their staircases and wonderful terraces over-looking the crater. The white and bright blue architecture clinging to the cliff-side contrast with deep blue of the Aegean.
Other attractions in Oia include windmills, a ruined Venetian castle, an interesting Maritime Museum, a weaving mill, art galleries and around 60 beautifully restored churches, many of which have been dedicated to sailors. And as just when you’re thinking how modern the shops and art galleries are, don’t be surprised to see a parade of donkeys going by.
Whereas Oia is generally a much prettier and quieter place than the main town of Fira, all hell breaks loose at sundown when loads of tourists descend upon the village to enjoy the sunset in Santorini.
The cruise ships have also discovered what Oia has to offer. When the ships are in port, the cruise passengers are brought to Oia to enjoy the sunset or shop and the village gets a bit crowded. But the good news is that once these cruise passengers return to their ships, Oia becomes tranquil again.
Accommodation in Oia
This small village of Oia is very well set up for visitors and there are accommodation that will suit every budget type. You can choose from luxury hotels, villas with views of the caldera, traditional Cycladic houses like the Aegeas Traditional House that we stayed in, Captains’ houses on the rim of the caldera or modern studios, rooms and apartments. For a choice of accommodation in Oia, see HERE.
How to Get to Oia
Oia is about 11 km from Fira, the capital town of Santorini. If you are arriving by ferry from Piraeus, there are regular local buses connecting travellers to Fira. The bus fare is € 2.20 one-way (as at September 2011). From Fira another bus connects Fira to Oia which is 11 km away. The one-way fare for this trip is € 1.60. The operation of the bus transfers can be quite chaotic, but they do work. Just keep checking as to which bus is running as plans do change. The fares are collected on the bus and it’s advisable to have the correct change.
Map of Santorini: