Santorini: Greek Island Hopping (Part 2)
Santorini is really impressive when you approach it by water. Many towns and villages are located on top of high cliffs far above the water and because of the white color of the houses they really stand out against the tall dark volcanic rocks.
If you are travelling to Santorini for the first time, staying in Oia is a must. It is very likely that if you have seen photos of Greece that they were taken here in this coastal town. Oia, with its picturesque Cycladic architecture, blue dome churches and the maze of narrow streets is one of the top tourism destinations in the world.
The unique scenery of this town attracts thousands of visitors every day (primarily from cruise liners) which can create overcrowded streets and restaurants, especially during high season. Most tourists and visitors that come in for the day will arrive somewhere in the afternoon and leave after sunset. Knowing this we decided to rent an apartment in Oia itself and not in the capitol of Thera so we could enjoy the village in the morning and late in the evening when the big crowds are gone.
Be sure to set aside one evening to experience the incredible sunset from the ruins of the old castle! It might not be a romantic one on one since there are thousands of people around but the spectacular scenery makes more than up for that.
Oia is not known for its outstanding restaurants or cute café’s but you can find good traditional greek food everywhere in town. A little shop that does definitely deserves a visit is the bookstore ‘Atlantis‘ on the main square. They sell both old and new books but also sell a lot of very rare editions. On the rooftop of the shop you can sit down and enjoy a book from one of the shelves while enjoying a beautiful view.
We personally think that two/three nights in Oia is enough. Please calculate in some extra time to and from the ferry as there can be a large traffic jam so commuting down to the port can take longer than expected.
Travel Tip: Many of the photos you see near the Blue Domes of Santorini (Anastasi Church) are actually taken from private property. When taking photos be as respectful as possible as it is considered sacred land by the people of Oia.