Oia Village in Santorini

Home > Greece > Santorini > Things to Do > Oia Village
Updated: January 14, 2021

See Also

ois hillside

The glorious village of Oia, Santorini.

Oia Village Information

Oia Village – Video

Lay of the Land
Perched at the northern tip of the island and built into the cliffside of the caldera, Oia is the most picturesque and romantic village in Santorini. The southern side of Oia looks into the caldera with a view of the volcano (Nea Kameni) and Thirassia island which belongs to the municipality of Oia. The northern part is on the opposite side of the caldera, so no views of that, but perfect sunset and ocean views. The gorgeous sunsets are probably the most popular attraction in Oia. In high season, the village becomes packed during this time and paths become very crowded with people going to watch the event. The colors of the sun light up the white-washed houses and the caldera, definitely a must see. Every evening, crowds applaud as the sun disappears.

Sunsets and the Caldera
The best spot to watch the sunset is at the 15th century Byzantine castle of Agios Nikolaos to the northwest. The castle is one of the 5 fortified settlements on the island (the other four are Pyrgos, Akrotiri, Emporio and Skaros). During the Byzantine and Frankish rule, the Aegean coast suffered incessant pirate raids so the islanders were forced to move their settlements to more inaccessible and strategic areas. A devastating earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.7, hit the island in 1956 destroying most of the castle and its surrounding structures. Only part of the watchtower (Goulas) remains.

Oia has some of the island’s best hotels and restaurants as well as high-end shopping. Typically hotels that face the caldera do not have sunset views, and hotels with sunset views do not face the caldera. There are only a few bars in the village, those looking for nightlife should head to Fira. The beautiful and wide main pedestrian path (part of which is marble) runs from one end of Oia to the other. Its lined with shops, galleries, hotels, restaurants and cafes. The rest of Oia has the traditional narrow alleyways and footpaths with charming white-washed houses, blue-domed curches, more restaurants, cafes and shops.

Maritime History
Much like the other villages in Santorini, it has maritime history. Oia gained economic prosperity from its merchant fleets which traded goods in the Eastern Mediterranean, mainly between Alexandria to Russia. It reached its peak of prosperity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Reminders of this time still exist in Oia today with the two-story old captains’ neoclassical mansions that you will mostly see scattered throughout the alleyways north of the main pedestrian path. One of these has been restored and converted into the Naval Maritime Museum which is also worth a visit. Mansions on the caldera side became guest-houses, hotels and restaurants.

Ammoudi Bay
At the bottom of the village, on the western side is the well known Ammoudi Bay. This area has been used as a location for many films incuding; Summer Lovers, Laura Croft: Tomb Raider and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. There are a few good traditional tavernas with plenty of fresh seafood options. You can also take a dip in the water here. Many boat trips arrive and leave from this bay. Boats for day trips to Thirassia island also leave from here. There is a trail with about 200 or 300 (depending what you read or who you ask) steps leading you to the bay (see photos below). If you continue heading north on the main road coming into Oia, its about 1.5 km down on a very busy (in high season) narrow road. There is limited parking at the bay and almost always full.

Fira to Oia Hike
Definitely one of the best things to do in Santorini is the Oia to Fira hike. The 10.5 km trail takes you along the caldera cliff and through the villages of Oia, Imerovigli, Firostefani and Fira. It takes between 2 and 5 hours depending on how fast you walk and how often you stop. If you do a side trip to Skaros Rock (in Imerovigli) it will add at least an hour. Part of the path is similar to a sidewalk, parts are cobblestone, and parts are a dirt path. There is a good climb in both directions. The climb from Oia to Imerovigli is long and gradual so you don’t notice it as much. The climb from Fira to Imerovigli is short and steep. The trail is not babystroller or bike friendly. Most 7 year-olds would have no trouble completing the walk in terms of difficulty because the quality of the path is good, but it is a very long walk for anyone under 10.

oia santorini village map

Orientation to Oia – Video

Nearby Attractions

Oia Village

Oia caldera side

The caldera facing side of Oia.

Canaves oia hotel room

An iconic Oia view from a room at Canaves Oia Suites.

oia pathway

Along the main pathway, with Skaros Rock in Imerovigli visible in the distance.

kirini hotel pool

The gorgeous pool at Kirini Hotel.

ammoudi bay

Ammoudi Bay below Oia as seen from a departing boat tour.

Ambrosia restaurant

Ambrosia Restaurant with gorgeous caldera views is one of the most romantic places to dine in Oia.

ammoudi bay meal wine

Lunch at Ammoudi Bay.

Elinikon restaurant

Elinikon near the windmills has some of the best sunset dining views (from the rooftop patio).

coloring book oia village page

Oia Village from our Santorini coloring book series.

roka restaurant

Roka Restaurant has a quaint patio with sunset views.

karma restaurant

The charming garden courtyard at Karma Restaurant.

ammoudi bay

Gorgeous Ammoudi Bay.

Sunset cruises aligned in the waters just off Ammoudi Bay.

ammoudi bay

The waterfront path of Ammoudi Bay.

Swimming hole just around the corner from Ammoudi Bay.

catamaran at Ammoudi Bay

Enjoying a meal or drinks while watching the various boat tours come and go at Ammoudi is a highlight.

oia sunset at the castle

Sunset at the castle.

anchored catamarans off oia

Early morning view of the overnight anchorage for Santorini’s catamarans, just below Oia.

Santorini is for lovers.

andronis boutique hotel

At night, the poolside deck at Andronis Boutique Hotel transforms into a romantic dining patio.

oia Eastern Orthodox Church

The Eastern Orthodox Church at the entrance to the pedestrian only zone of Oia.

caldera facing Oia

The caldera facing part of Oia.

oia shopping

Oia is full of shopping from small souvenirs to upscale fashion and jewelry boutiques.

walkway at sunset

One of the narrower parts along the main pedestrian thoroughfare through Oia.

oia blue down church

One of Oia’s more iconic churches.

sunset crowd

Sunset crowd near the castle.

Busy shopping lane in Oia interior.

Ammoudi bay steps

Steps down to Ammoudi Bay.

ammoudi steps

Walking down the wide steps to Ammoudi Bay.

oia sunset crowds

The approach to the castle.

bus stop

Waiting for the bus to Fira at the entrance to Oia.

oia shopping

Oia is full of higher end boutique shopping.

oia hillside

Oia hillside nook.

parking lot

A public parking lot in Oia.

Read More

Get All New Content

My Travel Newsletter