Top Things To Do in Oia, Santorini

Best things to do in Oia - nomadeveryday

In this article, we will cover all the top things to do in Oia, Santorini.

Oia in Santorini is probably the most famous village on the island and has a lot to offer! Here are the things you shouldn’t miss during you trip.

Located in the north of Santorini, Oia is a village that is probably one of the most recognizable places in Greece.

Indeed, when we think of Greece, we often have in mind the clichés of Santorini, namely the white streets and blue domes.

The white houses with their blue domed roofs are truly emblematic of this island, and indeed of the whole country. All the beautiful photographs of Santorini come from Oia.

In short, this village is the real nugget of Santorini. Impossible to go to Santorini without visiting Oia which is a must during a stay on the island.

Oia the greek jewel: white streets and blue domes

Santorini is the island of the Cyclades that attracts the most visitors every year. More exactly, it is a small archipelago, whose main island is Thira.

The exceptional climate and the magnificent landscapes of the island, with its black lava beaches and imposing cliffs, make Santorini one of the most striking places in Greece.

Today, the village of Oia has become the symbol of Santorini, so much so that practically all the photographs representing this island that one finds in magazines or on the Internet are in fact shots of Oia.

This village, built on the edge of the sea on the side of a cliff, with its blue domes that overhang its white houses, is one of the sites that best represent the beauty of the Mediterranean basin.

The village has some sights to visit like the ruins of a Byzantine castle or churches like the Orthodox church of Panagia, considered as one of the most beautiful in Santorini.

Nevertheless, walking aimlessly is an activity on its own in the streets of the village and enjoy the magnificent panoramas!

There are also many cafes and restaurants in the village of Oia offering great views. Avoid rushing and take the time to enjoy this beautiful setting.

Therefore there is a lot of things to do here are the top activities to not miss in Oia.

Top 9 things to do in Oia (+ Tips)

Don’t miss the romantic sunset

Oia is a small village of just 1,000 inhabitants, yet it is world-famous for one thing: its sunsets and makes the top things to do on the island.

The low-angled sun that illuminates the caldera, the sky that takes on shades of yellow, red, and pink, and the white houses with blue roofs form a truly enchanting picture.

If you want to be in the best place to watch the sunset, I advise you to arrive well in advance.

The ruins of the Byzantine castle are probably the best place, and therefore also the most popular.

Plan to arrive at least one hour before sunset to get a good seat. For a more relaxed atmosphere, you can also book in one of Oia’s restaurants and bars, which have perfectly oriented terraces.

Another way to experience the Santorini sunset is to take a sunset cruise on a traditional Santorini boat. Most ports on the island offer this type of cruise.

If you want to have a much calmer and more serene experience, the best thing to do will be to be there early in the morning to watch the sunrise.

The natural spectacle is just as magical as in the evening, and the atmosphere in these narrow, almost empty streets is unique.

The churches of Oia

The symbol of this village is its white buildings and blue domes.

These are in fact the domes that overhang the churches, which are sometimes a bit lost in the heart of the village.

Some of them are no bigger than the houses on the island and others are perfectly recognizable.

The most remarkable building in the village is the church of Saint George, topped by 3 blue domes.

In the main square of Oia, you can find the Panagia Platsan church, also crowned with blue.

In the center of the square, you can admire a beautiful mosaic, and inside the church, the decorations and ornaments are also worth a visit.

Another very famous place of the village, and one of the most popular sites for photographers, is located above the church of Agia Aikaterini.

The arches and the 4 bells of the church, with the sea and the island of Theresia in the background, form one of the most beautiful views of the Santorini archipelago.

 Panagia Platsan church
Panagia Platsan church

Take a catamaran tour

If there is one activity that I would like to recommend you to do during your stay in Oia, it is this one.

You will go to sea for 5 hours and sail around Santorini.

You can choose to do your cruise in the morning or in the evening, and of course the evening is the perfect opportunity to enjoy a sunset.

On this catamaran tour, you will leave from the Ammoudi port of Oia, and you will discover the hot springs, the Red Beach, and the White Beach.

You can also take a break to do a little snorkeling with fins, masks, and snorkel.

Hike to Imerovigli and Fira

One of the “sporty” things to do in Oia is to hike to Imerovigli and Fira.

By going to discover the village on foot, you will be able to go down towards the bay of Ammoudi, by borrowing the broad stone staircase which curves until the fishing port located at the foot of the cliff.

From the water’s edge, you will have a very different view, perfect to appreciate the size of the cliffs, but also to better discover the troglodyte houses.

If you like hiking, I recommend you to discover Imerovigli, another village on the cliffside.

There is the famous cliff-top hike between the villages of Oia, Imerovigli, and Fira. It offers beautiful views of the caldera and the islands.

This hike of about 3 hours on a part of the west coast of the island will give you the opportunity to enjoy beautiful views on the other islands of the archipelago and on the caldera.

By extending your hike a bit, you will arrive in Fira, the capital of Santorini, one of the cities not to be missed during a visit to the Cyclades.

Visit the port of Ammoudi

Oia has a small port, Ammoudi, which can be reached by descending the 300 steps leading down.

There, small boats can take you across to the island of Thirassia.

Take advantage of your presence in this port to taste fresh fish in one of the taverns. The beach of Armenis is also located there.

Enjoy the “beaches” of the region

You won’t find a beach in Oia, although you can always go for a swim down to Ammoudi Bay or Armeni Bay.

If you really want to go to the beach, you will have to go a bit further away from Oia to find perfect spots for a little swim or a successful lazing around.

Katharos beach is just a fifteen-minute walk from the village. This small beach of fine black volcanic sand seems lost between the sea and the steep cliffs.

Further east of the village, the beach of Badexes is a quiet place, much appreciated by the islanders. Take advantage of the fact that Santorini is one of the most beautiful Greek islands!

Here is the option:

  • Ammoudi bay
  • Armeni bay
  • Katharos beach
  • Drive to the east coast to Badexes beach
Beaches of Santorini
Beaches of Santorini

Visit the ruins of the Byzantine castle of Oiav

As is the case in most of the islands, there is evidence of the Byzantine passage in Santorini.

The ruins of the Byzantine castle are a place where you can not only witness a part of the island’s past but also take amazing pictures.

As a bonus, the location of its ruins offers a beautiful view of the caldera for sunsets.

Naval and Maritime Museum

The Nautical Museum of Oia is housed in a beautiful mansion. Founded in 1956, its exhibits present the nautical history and maritime tradition of the island of Santorini, mainly during the 19th and 20th centuries.

On the first floor, there is nautical equipment and maritime tools that can be tested.

On the second floor, you will find numerous uniforms, portraits, and of course impressive ship replicas.

For a complete and interesting visit, all the objects exposed in the museum have detailed explanatory descriptions in many languages.

Museum of musical instruments

This museum presents ancient, Byzantine, and post-Byzantine musical instruments. It is located in the old community building of Oia Santorini, a characteristic and central place of the village.

This interesting collection includes musical instruments dating from 2,800 BC to the beginning of the 20th century.

This museum presents music in the context of a constantly evolving civilization.

How to get around from Oia

Oia is located at the northwestern end of the island of Thira. When you arrive on the archipelago of Santorini, you will need to move to go and discover all the beauty of this island.

To get around Santorini and the islands, you will have a wide choice of means of transportation:

  • Car: It remains the most practical way to get around, especially if you are traveling with several people.
  • Scooter: The ideal way to get around Santorini.

    Plan to rent a relatively powerful model, to easily cross the hills.

    Be careful though, with a motorized two-wheeler, you will not be able to park anywhere, you will have to use a parking space.
  • Cycling: It might seem like the ideal way to get around Santorini.

    The island is not very big, and you can go around it by bike.

    However, in some places the slopes are really hard, and the islanders who drive around are not necessarily very patient with cyclists.
  • Buses: It is very cheap.

    They will allow you to reach most of the towns, villages and beaches of the island. However, if you want to be comfortable, they may not be the best solution.

    The trips can be hectic, and the buses are often crowded during the summer.

    Fira is the central point of the island, and all buses make a stop there, regardless of their destination.
  • Water cab: This will allow you to discover the islets located near Santorini.

    It is also a fast and exotic way to reach the other end of the island.

    Boat trips are less cheap than bus trips, but they allow you to travel much more comfortably, while enjoying the landscape and the sea wind.

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