Oia is Santorini’s most famous village that offers amazing views, cozy restaurants, shopping, and luxurious hotel stays.
It’s a traditional village with charming whitewashed houses with blue details. Strolling around in Oia is a great experience since you stumble upon the most beautiful places.
Each year there’s a big number of tourists visiting this town since it’s a destination that almost all travelers want to see at least once in their life. Down below you can read more about Oia, what to do, when the best time is to visit, where to shop, eat, live and much more:
Things to do in Oia
Explore the alleys of Oia
One of the things I love about Oia is that you can just stroll around and explore the small and beautiful alleys and stairs to find new beautiful places.
It was this way Alex and I found the photogenic Three Blue Domes and many more beautiful locations in the village!
Visit Ammoudi Bay
300 stairsteps below Oia you’ll find this little colorful harbor. It’s a workout only walking up and down the stairsteps, but it’s definitely worth it to see this beautiful place.
Down by the harbor, there are taverns and also good spots for you who like to swim, snorkel, and go cliff jumping into crystal clear waters.
It’s a must to visit Ammoudi Bay when you’re in Oia!
Cooking class and wine tasting
Discover the flavors of Santorini through a cooking class and wine tasting. This experience gives you the chance to learn how to cook local food in a traditional restaurant, and to visit two different vineyards to taste the local wines.
It’s a fun and delicious experience that you’ll never forget!
I recommend this food- and wine experience
See the sunset from Byzantine Castle
One of the most popular things to do in Oia is to visit the ruins of Byzantine Castle to watch the sunset. It’s from this spot that some of the most famous pictures of Oia are taken from.
Don’t expect to have this place to yourself, especially not during high season, since this is a thing almost all tourists do at least once during their stay in Oia.
Visit Maritime Museum
This museum is located in a renovated and rebuilt mansion from the 1900s, and here you can watch exhibitions that show Santorini’s maritime history. Oia’s wealth was founded on the merchant navy that served the Eastern Mediterranean, especially between Alexandria and Russia.
At the Maritime Museum, you can learn much about Oia’s history and see, among other things, the equipment they used on the boats.
See the ”Three Blue Domes”
The Three Blue Domes is one of the most famous locations in the village of Oia. It’s a beautiful place where many people like to take photos during their vacation.
The church with its whitewashed walls and blue domes in the foreground makes a beautiful contrast to the cliffs and ocean in the background. It’s a view that you don’t want to miss in Oia.
It can be a little bit tricky to get down to the church. My best tips to find the Three Blue Domes in Google Maps or zigzag your way through the alleyways until you find it.
Visit Armeni Bay
Another lovely harbor to visit is Armeni bay. Here you can go for a swim in the ocean or eat a delicious meal with a nice view of the Caldera.
This harbor is very picturesque, but also quite calm since most tourists choose to prioritize to visit Ammoudi Bay during their stay in Oia.
Hike from Oia to Fira
If you feel like exercising one of the days during your vacation in Santorini I can highly recommend you to hike from Oia to Fira – the capital of Santorini.
The path is not well marked, but it’s still easy since you just have to follow the edge south. It can take a couple of hours to do the hike, so I recommend you to start in the morning. Otherwise, it could happen that you’ll be in the middle of the hiking trail when it gets dark.
The view along the hike is amazing so don’t forget to bring your camera, because this is a place you want to take a couple of vacation photos!
Eat lots of ice cream
Close to the bus station in Oia you’ll find Lolita’s. Lolita’s is an ice cream shop that sells delicious homemade ice cream with flavors such as pistachio, red pepper, and blueberry.
Make sure to stop by and buy ice cream after hopping off the bus. It’s a good way to start your day in Oia!
Go on a sailing tour
Down by Ammoudi Bay, there are several sailing tours. Going on a sailing tour in Santorini can be a very romantic experience with your loved one, but also a fun experience together with your friends!
Through this tour, you’ll see lots of beautiful places in Santorini such as the hot springs, the volcano and several beaches where you can snorkel etc. The most popular sailing tours finish the tour by watching the sunset från the boat with both food and drinks.
I recommend this sailing tour that offers both food and unlimited drinks (Greek wine and beer).
Shopping in Oia
Oia is an excellent place in Santorini for shopping with all its small shops and boutiques. Here you can buy both leather goods, art, handicrafts, souvenirs, spices, carpets, textiles, handmade jewelry and much much more.
Down below you’ve got some tips on shops that are worth visiting during your stay in Oia:
- Epilekton – Antiques and vintage stuff
- Atlantid Books – Books
- Eponymo – Silver- and gold jewelry made by local artists
- Replica Hellenic Art & Culture – Handmade glass products
- Silk Shop – Clothes, accessories, and fabrics made of silk
- Ammos – Fashion clothing & accessories
- Nammidi Art Shop – Souvenirs and paintings of Oia
5 recommended hotels
Canaves Oia Hotel
One of the most popular hotels on the island is Canaves Oia Hotel that’s a luxurious hotel with a magical view over the ocean. Canaves Oia invites you to a luxury stay with its beautiful suites that have private terraces with views over the Caldera. Here you also get a pillow menu and you get complimentary wine when arriving at the hotel.
Some of the suites at Canaves also have a private pool, which will give you the ultimate luxury experience in Santorini.
Katikies Hotel is said to be one of the best hotels in Oia with its lovely atmosphere, good location, 3 pools, and delicious breakfast.
Their restaurant is one of the finest on the island and only have 4 tables, which gives you an exclusive experience.
Katikies is also one of the few hotels in Oia that have an elevator, so you don’t have to worry about climbing up and down all the stairs every day. It’s also very easy to get to the hotel with a taxi, which is quite unique in Oia.
A little bit further down in Oia, closer to Ammoudi Bay, you’ll find Esperas Santorini. This is a hotel that offers traditional houses with lovely views over Ammoudi bay and Caldera.
During the summer, especially in July-August, Oia can be very crowded. Then it can be nice to get away a little bit and stay at a more calm and quiet hotel where you can have a good nights sleep.
The rates also include breakfast, WiFi, and parking.
Art Maisons Oia Castle
At Art Maisons Oia Castle every suite is unique and absolutely amazing. Oia Castle Hotel is a romantic and beautiful hotel that offers great views, magical sunsets, and delicious food.
Art Maisons Oia Castle also have one of the best pool cave suites in Santorini! Just look at the picture below and you understand why.
Charisma Suites is a luxury 5-star hotel that offers one of the best views in Oia. At this hotel, all suites have their private balcony with panoramic views, and some of them also have a private jacuzzi or pool.
The staff is very friendly, the food is good, and once again, the views are absolutely amazing!
5 recommended restaurants
Ambrosia is one of the most romantic restaurants in Oia and here they serve international food with both vegetarian and vegan options.
This is also one of the most popular restaurants in the village, so make sure to call and book a table in advance.
Address: Oia 847 02, Greece
Phone: +30 2286 071413
Roka Kafeneio Ouzeri
If you’re looking for a restaurant that serves authentic Greek good, then I can highly recommend you to visit Roka Kafeneio Ouzeri. This is a small restaurant with a big heart, and here you also have vegetarian and vegan options.
Roka Kafeneio Ouzeri is a must to visit in Oia!
Address: M. Mpotsari 6, Oia 847 02, Greece
1800 is located in an old sea captains house and offers modern and fresh Greek food. They have tables both inside and out on their rooftop terrace with a lovely view of the Caldera.
Karma is a friendly and charming restaurant that serves some of the best Mediterranean dishes in the village. Delicious Greek food, cozy interior, and a nice atmosphere is what you can expect at Karma. They have tables both inside and outside.
Note that this is a popular restaurant in Oia, so make sure to book a table in advance.
Address: Thiras – Ias | Kyklades, Oia 847 02, Greece
Phone: +30 2286 071404
When you’re in Santorini you simply cannot leave without eating a Pita Gyros, because it’s really delicious and is something that’s very popular to eat in Greece.
Pita Gyros is the best place if you feel like eating a Gyros. A perfect place if you just want something quick and delicious to eat.
PS: it’s also possible to have a vegetarian gyro if you ask to have it without meat. I’ve tried it myself and it’s also delicious – veggies, tzatziki, and pita bread, YUMMY!
Address: Oia, Thira, Oia 84702, Greece
How to get there
Getting around in Santorini is quite easy actually. There are both taxis and local buses that are cheap and easy to use. From most towns like Imerovigli, Perissa, and Pyrgos there are buses you can catch to Fira. From this town you can change bus to Oia.
Renting a car or a moped is also an option to easily get around on the island.
From the airport to Oia:
From the airport, you can catch the shuttle buses to Oia. These take about 45 minutes and cost 15 euro per person.
It takes around 25 minutes to travel from the airport to Oia with a taxi. A private car costs around 55 euro.
From the airport, there is a local bus to Fira’s bus station where you can change the bus to Oia. This is the cheapest option, but can also be a bit troublesome if you have lots of luggage.
It takes about 25 minutes to go by bus from the airport to Fira, then it takes another 20-25 minutes to go from Fira to Oia.
Each bus trip costs around 2 euro per person, which is approximately 4 euro all the way from Santorini airport to Oia. Just remember that you have to pay with cash on the bus (do not pay with too large banknotes, since they may not have a change on the bus).
Best time to visit Oia
It’s low season in Santorini from November to March and high season between April and October. The hottest months are June, July, August, and September, but even in May and October, it can be quite warm in Santorini.
July and August are the months that most tourists visit, so I would try to avoid these months if possible. You get a much better experience in Oia and Santorini if it is not as packed with tourists.
The times of the year that I recommend going to Oia and the rest of Santorini are in May / early July and in September / early October. Then it usually still warm and not too many tourists around.
I visited Santorini in May, and back then it was nice and warm temperatures during the day and a little bit cooler during the evenings. There were not many tourists around, but shops, restaurants, and hotel were still open.
Do you have more questions about Oia in Santorini? Leave a comment below!