“To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem.”
The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe (1980, written by Douglas Adams)
Do you think of the scenic postcards with blue domed churches? the whitewashed houses along the caldera rim? The world famous sunset in Santorini? Then you think of Oia (also transliterated as Ia), one of the most photographed places in the world. Known by locals as Anomeria (the upper place) it is located on the far NW part of the island, 150meters above sea level.
Whitewashed houses and hotels tier the hillside, a great treat for the eye, those who can afford a room here will feel in paradise but the rest of us can also get lost around Oia’s winding paths and find some magical corners to take photos (I remember back in the 1990s that it was Oia when I run out of films). There are two types of structures, the cave houses that were built into the volcanic rock (these were the homes of ship crews) and the captains’ houses. In one of the 19th century captain’s mansion you can find the Naval Museum.
Below Oia is the small but scenic port of Ammoudi, now a great spot for fish taverns but two centuries ago it was the main trading port where local products were exporting to Russia and other countries. The earthquake of 1956 destroyed Oia and a huge renovation project begun in the 1970s along with the tourism boom that made Oia one of the most famous corners for tourists world wide.
As expected there are many small stores and art galleries, expensive but quality seems a bit better here than Fira (and in general Oia seems to be a smaller and quieter version of Fira). And of course some café and restaurants with great setting, just get ready to pay more than usual for the stunning view they offer.
Oia is surprisingly quite in the morning, you can follow the main pedestrianized walkway at slow place as you will have plenty of space and freedom to move around the glamorous village but what happens at sunset is crazy, people gather from anywhere to watch the sunset show, and as you walk north the path narrows while crowds get more and more. The most famous sunset spot is the ruined castle (here was another Kasteli of Santorini) but trust me most corners along the main path will be full of people, I’ve been there many times, now I just lough with some couples in hurry that trying to find a quiet romantic corner but no matter how early you go dozens of others will follow soon :) But no matter what as we watched the sky turning red it was a magical moment and we were ready to wave goodbye to Santorini… (no we didn’t clap at the end… lol)
We lived in Fira but I wish we stayed in Oia! It is so beautiful and cute, that sometimes it doesn`t seem real. And of course it has an amazing sunsets and gathers a huge crowds to enjoy them. I do not know if it is better to live in Fira or Oia from practical point of view, but from aesthetic perspective it is definitely Oia!
The small exquisite village of Oia perches at the northern end of santorini, tumbling down the steep incline from the top of the caldera towards the water. Famous for its whitewashed houses, blue domed churches, and narrowed cobbled walkways lined with small stores, galleries, and restaurants, The sunsets and views over the caldera are major attractions. Romance is in the air.
Oia ( pronounced Eeyah ) has been around for a while. Settled by the ancient Greeks it was an important seafaring and maritime port into the 19thC. Venetian rule began in 1207 with the creation of the Duchy of Naxos. The Ottomans conquered the Aegean Islands in 1537 which fell under the rule of Sultan Selim II. They named the village Apano Meria, changed to Oia in the late 19th C, when the village reached its economic peak on the route between Russia and Alexandria Egypt. Business fell off precipitously shortly thereafter as PIraeus became the dominant Greek port and WWI accentuated the fall. In 1956, a major earthquake pretty much levelled the town. As late as the late 1970s only 300 inhabitants remained. The development of tourism and reconstruction of the village as a tourist mecca since then has enlarged it consdierably but the population is still stated to be less than 10% of the 1900 census.
The touristic center extends aproximately 1.2 miles along a pedestrianized walkway, wide on the southern extent but progressively narrowing as one nears the tip of the city and the prime viewing spots for the sunsets. Height above water level is 200-300 ft. At the top, two story buildings now housing restaurants and shops are the homes of sea captains and the wealthy. Extending down the cliff where all the fancy hotels and restaurants are found were formerly the homes of the lower classe sailors and ship workmen. Along the cliff hotels and restaurants are organized vertically, one on top of the other. To reach some requires walking through another. The shops line the main walkway.
Like an enormous crescent moon, Santorini encloses the pure blue waters of its caldera, the core of an ancient volcano. Its two principal towns, Fira and Oia (also transliterated as Ia), perch at the summit of the caldera; as you approach by ship, bending back as far as possible to look as far up the cliffs as possible, whitewashed houses look like a dusting of new snow on the mountaintop. Up close, you'll find that both towns' main streets have more shops (lots of jewelery shops), restaurants, and discos than private homes. If you come here off season -- say in early May -- you'll still find Fira's streets, shops and restaurants crowded. In August, you'll experience gridlock.
Sunsets are sunsets ... despite where you see them from ... it depends on who you see them with also! Even if you happen to go to Oia hours ahead to get a best seat (on a small castle like place), hundreds of others will come there before the sunset ... the Oia village is beautiful and should be visited, explored leisurely ... don't get hung up on watching the sunset ... its beautiful like any other place
Oia is the town at the other end of Santorini, the western tip where the sun goes down into the blue Aegean Sea.
There are buses which ply between Fira, the town and capital of Santorini , to Oia and takes about 25 minutes to go to the other end of the Island. The fare as of Aug 2010 was 1.20 Euros.
A small walk from the Bus Terminus , through narrow lanes dotted with hundreds of shops selling every possible Greek Souvenier and with small eateries and pubs in between, all colourful and decked up..lands you to the area with the vast expanse in front of you.
And here thousands of tourists from all corners of the world await a sunset par excellence.
Oia, is one of the most beautiful villages of the island, carved out of the cliffs and clinging to the edge. The architecture is amazing and is highlighted by the stark white of the buildings and the contrasting colorful doors and window shutters. It has often been compared to the eagle's nest!
Enjoy the panoramic view of caldera, the volcano, Thirassia Island, and the rest of Santorini looking back toward Fira.
Oia is a favorite haunt of artists, many of whose works can be found in the local galleries of the village. And no wonder ... who would not be inspired by this magical place!
(See some beautiful photos from Oia I have)!
The most popular spot to watch sunset is by the Kastro Walls.
While the sun sinks into the sea, its splendid colors spread throughout the sky. It literally takes your breath away! Get a front-row seat on the terrace of one of the many cafes lining the caldera, and enjoy a drink while watching the setting sun produce an array of colors beyond your imagination.
Oia is famous for its imaginary sunset and its narrow passageways.
The village has a cultural centre.
The characteristic classic view of the village of Oia is the bright white and blue of the church contrasting with the deep blue of the Aegean Sea in the background.
An ideal place for those seeking peace and quiet.
It is found in the northern part of the island.
Come to Oia for the best golden sunset in the world.
There's a very small beach at the port below Ioa, Amoudi, about 270 steps down from the old fort, and to the left there's a path that takes you around some red lava outcropings where you will find a small island which is where you can find some nice places to dive and or jump off. Beware of the dangers of doing this and ask a local about the risks.
Oia is another town that sits along the edge of the huge cliffs that ring the caldera. Like Fira, it affords splendid views, quiet lanes, and an array of little shops and cafes. And like Fira, it's a town that lives on the edge, literally.
Oia is considered to be the artistic capital of the island and probably the most picturesque, postcard perfect village on Santorini, inviting you with its narrow, cobbled streets, with jewel-like shops on both sides selling all kind of beautiful things, a treat for your eyes.
It perches on the top of the cliff; the village looks both inward on to the caldera and northward onto the Aegean Sea. It seems to be a smaller quieter version of Fira, and is a very trendy place.
It is packed every day, by thousands of tourists who arrive every single day during the season for the "out of this world" views of the caldera!
Oia seems to be a living picture of a natural beauty and it is worth to see at least once in your life. A view of Oia is showing the density of churches within the town. The houses are built one on top of the other, the courtyard of the house above being the roof of the house below.
The village has a small port, Ammoudi, with fishing boats, waterfront taverns and restaurants, and a path that leads you around the base of the mountain to a diving area. This was once the main port for Santorini, until the entire town was razed by the earthquake in 1956.
Ammoudi port can be reached by car or by catching a ride on the back of a mule or by a set of cca. 300 steps leading down.
Though if you have to choose between two different way, either car or boat , I should recommend the last one, instead of the first, because the cliff road to Oia is dangerous, for someone who is not used to drive in narrow streets with many turns and a lot of traffic, almost all day in full season!
The village was the place of the Tomb Raider movie "The Cradle of Life".