Oia – Santorini’s Quiet Escape
Much of the island of Santorini is perched on the rim of the ancient volcano. Many scientists theorize that the collapsed portion of the island is the fabled city of Atlantis. Though the island is a popular tourist destination, it is still possible to find a respite from the crowds.
Though Oia, formerly called Apano Meria, does see its fair share of tourists, when cruise ships land they favor Fira, which is much larger and can accommodate more people. As a result, Oia has a certain amount of charm that other places on Santorini have lost.
This village is most known for its stunning scenery, particularly at sunset. A leisurely stroll through the narrow streets will lead you to various alcoves, all with a perfect view of the caldera. Just before the sun sets, people gather at any viewpoint they can find.
Artists set up easels and start painting, eager to catch any nuances in the light, and photographers ready their cameras, eager for the perfect shot. For many, watching the sunset is a highlight of their stay and this sunset is considered to be amongst the most stunning in the world.
Amoudi Bay is perched on the shore underneath the village itself. There are plenty of opportunities to explore the rocky shore as well as a few fish restaurants that serve up the fresh catches of the day. The only way to access it is by descending over two hundred steps from Oia. Once you explore the bay, you’ll need to climb back up! If it’s peak season, you may be able to find someone who’ll take you up on a donkey. Otherwise, you’ll have to walk. It’s well worth the effort, though.
Even if you don’t typically enjoy shopping, the shops in Oia are worth browsing. Each shop has a different specialty. The Atlantis Book Shop, for example, specializes in books with a Greek or Santorini theme. Since Oia is also a haven for artists, there are plenty of galleries to keep art aficionados interested. Consider buying some art for a unique souvenir from your time on the island.
Getting to Oia
Santorini is accessible by both plane and boat. Cruise ships are unable to get close to the shore, though, because the water is too deep. They anchor away from the shore and transport you to the island on smaller boats. People can also take a ferry, which docks at the ferry port in Athinios.
From some points on the island, additional effort needs to be made to get from the shore to the villages. For example, if your cruise takes you to Fira and you want to get to Oia, you first need to make it to the top by taking the cable car, riding a donkey, or walking. If you fly to Santorini, you can simply take a taxi or bus to Oia from the airport.
If you want to enjoy Santorini but don’t like crowds, consider spending some time in Oia. It’s much quieter and it has a charm that many of the busier places on the island may have lost.
This post was written by Greek Boston