It turns out that, for the 13 years I talked about going to Santorini, what I actually wanted was to go to Oia (pronounced Ee-a).
Of course I didn’t realise that when our plane landed on the runway at Thira airport after a busy few days in Athens. I was still full of the notion that we’d get a bus to the capital Fira. Maybe visit the ancient ruins at Akrotiri. See something of the island.
Nor did I realise it during the first afternoon we headed into the village to explore. In fact, based on how busy Oia was with cruise ship tourists and day visitors, the idea of getting out of the village seemed even more appealing. We retreated to our hotel, with it’s secluded pool and traditional restaurant, and indulged in some much needed R&R following a full itinerary on the mainland.
But, as I talked about in a previous post, first impressions don’t always count.
Thanks to checking out the cruise ship schedule (all hail Tripadvisor reviews for that piece of knowledge) we knew that on day 2 there would be fewer visitors to the island, so we headed out once again and that’s when we both knew we wouldn’t be leaving this beautiful cliff top vision until it was time to go home.
Oia is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to
Ever. It’s almost beyond belief. When you’re not dodging selfie sticks and crowds and arrogant wannabe models, it’s absolutely breathtaking. There’s no white sandy beach, no uninterrupted view of the horizon and no sound of the waves breaking on the coastline. Oia is built high up on a cliff, and looks out to the caldera which is dotted with islands created when the volcano erupted in 1646 BC.
The curved white Cycladic architecture is both retro and futuristic, all at once. The black lava rocks contrast dramatically with the blue sea and sky and the pink bougainvillea. The elevated position on the cliff face means you can actually see the currents in the sea below, while the sun glistens on the water like thousands of diamonds.
We ate breakfast overlooking buildings seemingly tumbling down the cliff face. Over the course of the week I never tired of the views once. I took multiple pictures of the same spots every day, because I couldn’t get enough of them. The whole village was a sight to behold.
See for yourself!
The best thing to do, surely, must be to share some photos with you? I can’t say this emphatically enough – NONE of these pictures have been changed in any way. No filters, no photoshop, just pure point and click on my camera phone.
See what I mean? Looking at these photos now just brings it all back!
At dusk twinkling lights start to appear as buildings are illuminated.
And even in the black of night the same view was illuminated by hundreds of lights giving the white architecture an ethereal glow and the plunge pools and hot tubs a bright blue hue.
I don’t think anyone could fail to be wowed by Oia. From an aesthetic point of view it’s incredible, but also from a logistical point of view – the way everything is built almost beggars belief!
Was it expensive? Yes. Was it worth it? Also yes.
If I’d only been visiting Oia rather than staying there I would have been very sorely disappointed.
Have you ever been to Oia, or Santorini? Let me know in the comments!