Oia is home to one of the five Venetian castle fortresses of Santorini, the Kasteli of Agios Nikolaos. Situated on the northernmost point of the island, picturesque Oia is a photographer's paradise. The catastrophic 1956 earthquake, with epicentre the island of Amorgos, destroyed or rendered unihabitable over 80% of the island's structures. Hardest hit were Oia, Fira and Imerovigli, and much of what you see today is a result of loving restoration.
A famous sunset point, the Kasteli overlooks the small port of Ammoudi, and each day, visitors gather in anticipation. We advise getting there early to ensure a good vantage spot. Eateries in the area are popular at sunset time and need a reservation. An afternoon of sightseeing followed by sunset and a moonlit dinner make Oia well worth the visit. The main Caldera path offers a wealth of art galleries, cafes, places to eat, handicraft shops and boutiques.
Ammoudi, known for traditional fish taverns, can be reached by approximately 300 large steps. A less challenging alternative is by car or taxi. Keep in mind that parking space at Ammoudi is limited. At one end, a narrow path leads to a sunbathing spot. From there you can swim to a rocky islet and the Chapel of Agios Nikolaos.
Finikia, a quiet satellite settlement of Oia, with cobblestone pathways and cave houses, is delightful. A few traditional restaurants provide a lovely stop-off for lunch or dinner. The village, also accessible via the hiking path (the turn-off is at the whitewashed chapel of Profitis Ilias), views southward over the Aegean Sea.
Once an important trading centre with a significant maritime tradition, Santorini was a major naval power during the Greek War of Independence (1821). In 1850 the island was the 5th naval power of the newly established Greek State. Merchant trading and industry signaled a period of prosperity during the 19th and early 20th centuries (wine, textiles, tomato paste.) Oia's architecture reflects this history in the homes of those who sailed there and who anchored below: neoclassical mansions for the captains and affluent ship owners and cave houses for the crew. Artefacts from Santorini's seafaring past are displayed in Oia's Naval Maritime Museum.
The nearest beach to Oia is Paralia Katharos. Other beaches are around the Cape of Oia on the lower eastern coastal road. They include Koloumpo, Baxedes and Paradisos Beach.
1776 - Kasteli of Agios Nikolaos by Choiseul-Gouffier. Published in 1782 in the 1st volume of his work "Voyage pittoresque de la Grèce" (Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation)
The bus to Oia starts in Fira and passes by Firostefani and Imerovigli. Oia connects to the same villages via the Caldera hiking trail.Oia Map
Steps to Ammoudi
Oia at sunset