Perched on the steep edge of the caldera, looking out over the glittering Mediterranean, Oia (pronounced “ee-yuh”) is famed for its dreamy sunsets. Oia is also one of the most picturesque villages in Santorini, with its striking white buildings, blue-domed churches, and atmospheric cave houses burrowing into the volcanic rock.
Oia is a popular inclusion on Santorini sightseeing tours, shore excursions, and boat tours, and most excursions time their visit to catch the sunset. Combine a tour of Oia with nearby attractions like the archaeological site of ancient Akrotiri or the Monastery of Profitis Ilias, a visit to traditional villages like Pyrgos or Fira, or a Santorini wine tasting. Alternatively, set sail around Thirassia island, enjoy snorkeling at Red Beach, or take a soak in the hot springs on Nea Kameni island. Then, sail past Oia on a sunset cruise.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Free Wi-Fi is available at most hotels and restaurants in Oia.
- The hilly streets of Oia can be challenging for wheelchair users; it’s best to organize accessible transport and accommodation in advance.
- Summertime temperatures can soar in Oia so wear sunglasses and sunscreen, and bring along plenty of water.
How to Get There
Oia is located at the northwestern tip of Santorini island, about 6.5 miles (11 kilometers) north of Fira. Without your own transport, the easiest way to visit Oia is with a guided tour. However, it’s also possible to arrive by taxi or take the local bus from Fira. Hikers can also walk the coastal trail between Fira and Oia, a scenic 3- to 4-hour walk along the top of the caldera.
When to Get There
There’s no doubt that the most atmospheric time to visit Oia is at sunset and the small village can be suddenly overrun by crowds at dusk. To experience the quieter side of the village, plan to spend a night at one of Oia’s boutique hotels or visit during the winter months, when you’ll have the sunset to yourself.
A Walking Tour of Oia Village
Oia’s beautiful architecture and vast ocean views are best enjoyed on a walking tour, and the maze of narrow streets are full of shops, art galleries, and cafés. Stop to visit the tiny Naval Maritime Museum, admire the historic captains’ houses, and explore the ruins of Oia’s Venetian Fortress, then follow the 300 steps from the top of the caldera down to the fishing port of Ammoudi.