Oia, a small village in Santorini, is a stunning tourist destination famous for its sunset views around the caldera and scenic landscapes on top of a cliff. Prior to the Covid pandemic, the village was usually overrun by tourists. We went to Oia during a non-peak season (in November) but the amount of tourists was still sizeable. The weather was great and similar to the weather in Perth, Western Australia. Here, we list several things to do as well as the two accommodations that we stayed in Oia, Santorini.
It is highly recommended to visit Oia during non-peak seasons as accommodation rates are very attractive and there are lesser touristic crowds. We stayed at two different accommodations (suites) at Oia (VIP Suites and Oia Collection) as we wanted to experience different facades/landscapes on different parts of Oia. Most (if not all) accommodations in Oia have no addresses due to the historical layout and steep cliff – therefore, a taxi/car/van transfer is strongly recommended. If your accommodation does not include transfers to/from the airport, you could get one from Viator (USD 48).
We stayed at VIP Suites (Cave Suite with Caldera View for 78 Euros per night – no breakfast) on our first night. We paid about 30 Euros for a one-way transfer (max. 4 persons per car) from the airport to the accommodation (direct arrangement with the hotel management). Check-in was done at the Ecorama Agency inside the Museum Spa & Wellness Hotel. A porter was assigned to carry our luggage – the Cave Suite was located on a very steep cliff!
A word of caution! Do not wear shoes with poor grip on surfaces – the staircase leading to our accomodation in VIP Suites were quite narrow, steep and smooth, there was always the risk of slipping and falling! As the name suggested, the “suite” was in a “cave” as shown in the pics below. It offers a great view of the caldera.
We stayed at another suite the next day – the more expensive Grande Suite @ Oia Collection for 180 Euros per night (no breakfast). We normally do not stay at (relatively) expensive suites but the views and vantage points more than justified our selection. It was close to the instagrammable Four Bells, Byzantine Castle Ruins and featured a private balcony with panoramic sea views.
2. Visit Restaurants Facing the Caldera
A visit to restaurants/cafes facing the caldera is a must-do activity in Oia. We had breakfast at Terpsi N Oia, a quaint restaurant just a few minutes walk from our accommodation at VIP Suites. Again, we were rewarded with stunning views of the caldera.
3. Wander Around and Explore the Narrow Pathways in Oia
Oia is famous for its narrow streets, blue-domed churches, and sun-bathed verandas. There are many touristic shops, cafes and restaurants while white and blue-domed buildings dominate the village. We took a short walk from our accommodation at VIP Suites in which the narrow pathways eventually led us to Panagia Platsani Church and a small village square.
4. Watch the Sunset
The Byzantine Castle Ruins (The Castle of St Nicholas) is one of the most popular hotspots for sunset watching in Oia. We did not go to the ruins but the balcony of our accommodation at Grande Suite, Oia Collection provided a very good vantage point of the ruins as well as the sunset. We would recommend Grande Suite @ Oia Collection if sunset view was your main motivation of coming to Oia. If not, we would suggest “booking” your spot at the castle ruins or the surrounding areas one or two hours before sunset time – the crowd would be massive by then.
5. Travel to Other Towns or Tour of Caldera via a Sailing Boat
Tourists could travel to other towns in Santorini, most notably Fira, via bus. The bus terminal in Oia is located near the Panagia Platsani Church. There are many cafes (selling souvlaki) and shops at the bus terminal. If you are not keen on travelling on the local bus, we would recommend the traditional villages bus tour by Viator (USD 40). Another activity of interest is the tour of caldera on a sailing boat (USD 58).