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Oia in Santorini Oia in Santorini Oia in Santorini Oia in Santorini Oia in Santorini
Oia in Santorini Oia in Santorini Oia in Santorini Oia in Santorini Oia in Santorini

- The village of Oia on Santorini - Oia is the most important settlement hanging on the the caldera cliff on the north side of the island. Oia is without any question the most picturesque village on the whole island of Santorini and it is famous for having the most beautiful sunsets in Greece. Oia is a little bit less crowded and a little bit nicer than in Fira and also a little prettier. It can get busy during the daytime when the tourist busses arrive filled with people that want to see this little village. The heart of Oia is without traffic, so you can enjoy your caldera views without the noise of cars. There are many nice small shops, art galleries, mini-markets, plenty of restaurants and a couple of bakeries. Around sunset time all the people in the village gather on one side of the village on the old castle walls and the higher paths to watch the sun set over the windmills, the churches and the islands that in the sea lie next to Santorini. Don't expect that you will be the only one coming over to watch the spectacle. The streets are filled with crowds and everybody is holding a camera in his hands. After the sun has gone down it will get more quiet when a lot of the visitors go to their bus and back to their hotel elsewhere on the island.

Oia in Santorini Oia in Santorini Oia in Santorini Oia in Santorini Oia in Santorini
Oia in Santorini Oia in Santorini Oia in Santorini Oia in Santorini Oia in Santorini

Like most of the villages in Santorini Oia was heavily damaged during an earthquake in 1956 but it has been rebuilt in a high quality. Down at the caldera cliff is the tiny port of the village with its fish tavernas. This main port is called Amoudi and here you have nice views up to the mountain with Oia on top. The smaller harbour is called Armeni. Now and then there are small excursion boats leaving from this harbour and you will also find a boat there that will take you to the opposite island of Thirassia in 10 minutes time and at very low costs (1 euro in 2013). In Thirassia it is really quiet. The departure times are 8.30 and 12.30 and there is a boat back at 5.00, but please be aware that schedules can change. You can reach Amoudi harbour by car or you can use the donkey trail that goes down from Oia. The donkey trail can be found next to the old Aghios Nikolaos castle. There are 235 steps down and it is not too difficult. Oia was once one of the 5 "kastelia", fortified settlements, of Santorini. The castle was already mentioned in 1480, but unfortunately it was badly damaged during the 1956 earthquake and much of it has fallen down.

A large part of Oia is free of cars. The main road is made of marble and has imposing captain houses along it. Most of the crew members houses were built into the vulcanic rock. There are many churches, and some of them are for instance dedicated to sailors or raki distillers.

Oia in Santorini Oia in Santorini Oia in Santorini Oia in Santorini Oia in Santorini
Oia in Santorini Oia in Santorini Oia in Santorini Oia in Santorini Oia in Santorini

Oia has two beaches that you can reach by stairs. They are small black pebble beaches that are called Amoudi (you can take a swim in the harbour here) and Armeni. There are beachchairs and umbrellas for rent and compaired to the beaches at the popular beach resorts on the east side of Santorini they are very quiet. The harbour of Armeni can be reached by stairs (291 steps) that start at the Skala Restaurant. Down at Armeni there is one taverna and it is very peaceful. Between these two harbours is another small harbour, Armenaki, which is more difficult to reach (via a rough path). There are no facilities here but it's a nice spot for a swim. On fifteen minutes walking distance from Oia you find the nice sand / pebble beach of Katharos. There are no facilities here but just before you have to descend the path down to the beach there is a taverna where you can get something to drink. Just outside Oia is the village of Finika that is slowly developping into a tourist centre of its own. If you plan to stay in Oia for a longer period of time I advice you to book an accommodation with a swimming pool, or make sure you have your own transport so you can visit the several beaches that can be found on Santorini.

Santorini, Oia, Ia Santorini, Oia, Ia Santorini, Oia, Ia Santorini, Oia, Ia Santorini, Oia, Ia
Santorini, Oia, Ia Santorini, Oia, Ia Santorini, Oia, Ia Santorini, Oia, Ia Santorini, Oia, Ia

Apparently it is heaven for many women to go shopping in Oia (or in Fira). There are many shops selling shoes, clothes and jewelry, which cater the somewhat richer guests staying in the village (it is quite expensive to stay there) and the mainly American people that have come from the cruise boats. There is also a shop where beautiful art is sold, which can be shipped, and you will find a shop with used books, but most of the shops sell postcards and tacky souvenirs. Striking is the large number of Chinese brides that you see walking the streets: every five minutes one is passing by.

Santorini, Oia, Ia Santorini, Oia, Ia Santorini, Oia, Ia Santorini, Oia, Ia Santorini, Oia, Ia
Santorini, Oia, Ia Santorini, Oia, Ia Santorini, Oia, Ia Santorini, Oia, Ia Santorini, Oia, Ia


Hans Huisman, http://www.angelfire.com/super2/greece/ 2013
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