If Oia in Santorini is not on your bucket list, then add it now – famous for its windmills, beautiful white houses, and churches the island is indeed unique. Many visitors of this town are only here for a day or two and after five days spent there, I have collated the best experiences for you. In no particular order enjoy this ultimate Oia bucket list.
Byzantine Castle Ruins
You can book a tour online to visit this ancient ruin from the middle ages, alternatively, it is free to climb up to it’s highest point. This is also where many of the famous shots of Oia’s cave houses and sunsets are photographed from. This spot gets especially busy in Summer and the evenings as holidaymakers wait for the famous sunset. This viewpoint also offers 360-degree views which include the Aegean Sea.
Amoudi Bay seems to be the less advertised gem of Oia, located down the hill it is a port, as well as a short promenade. Packed with delicious seafood restaurants and crystal clear waters, Amoudi Bay offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of Oia. You can walk or drive down to the bay. The walk is quite steep and requires some endurance (mostly on the way back up) but perfect for walking off all that shrimp!
Watch the sunset
Oia is famous for its beautiful sunsets. Make sure you head into town early to secure a good spot to watch the sun go down. You can sit on one of the many walls or head to a bar with a good view. I found that Nocturna and Lioyerma Lounge Cafe Pool Bar always had a table free. They also deliver a beautiful sunset view.
Nocturna Rooftop Cafe
One of Oia’s best-kept secrets and the best value for money I have had in a long time. The prices are around 12€ for a meal with some of the most stunning views in Oia, a prime location for sunset and the decor is to die for. All the luxury and none of the cost. The restaurant also overlooks one of the most luxurious hotels in Oia making you feel part of the glamour.
Hike from Fira to Oia
This 9km hike will take your breath away for two reasons, the difficulty and the view! Get the bus to Fira and hike back to Oia just in time for sunset. Allow a good 3 hours to do the walk and wear sensible shoes, a hat and sunscreen. The views are unbeatable and there are some beautiful churches to be seen along the way. Bring water and a picnic to avoid high prices at the few cafes along the trail.
Get lost in the streets
One of the best parts of visiting Oia is getting lost in the streets. If you stick to the main pathway you will likely miss all the cute hidden restaurants, fulfill street dogs, secret churches and boutique shops. Make sure you have a proper wander and take the road less used if even there seems to be no one walking that way. We found the most pretty spots that others seemed to miss!
Dessert at Melenio Cafe
Boasting one of the best dessert selections in Oia, Melenio Cafe is perched above the most famous postcard shot of the island. You can see the cafe from the street. Looking down through the window you can see a delicious display of beautiful cakes, just waiting to be eaten. Take a seat on the back balcony to enjoy the picture perfect view and watch the ships rolling in.
Tucked away past all the commotion of the busy streets of Oia is Katharos Beach. A quiet and secluded beach that brings it’s visitors a sense of achievement after hiking down to it. The beach is mostly pebbles but there are a few sandy parts with black volcanic sand. The water is calm and perfect for swimming, bring some shoes to wear in the water as you can hurt your feet. Stop at the beach bar for a drink on the way and admire the view.
Get some Instagram-worthy shots
If you are into photography or social media you will want to get the postcard-perfect shots for your own collection. The best way to find these spots is to do a recon one day by wandering around the town. Then get up early the next day before the tour buses arrive to get Lonely Planet style snaps. I will soon be posting about the locations of the best spots so stay tuned!