Oia, Greece on the Greek island of Santorini was spectacular. I had seen pictures of it, but wow to see it in person was really something. Sadly, my pictures cannot do it justice. I do not know if anyone’s pictures could do this place justice.
10 Best Things to do in Oia, Santorini
1. Watch the Sunset
The cobblestone and marble streets are lined with shops and restaurants. But it’s the sunset most people are after when they come here. People pack in every night to see the sunset, so get there early is possible. Oia is on the north part of the island and is more or less one way in, one way out, so allow plenty of time for driving up there. From most of the island, it’s gonna be at least an hour drive.
After sunset stroll around until the buses have time to clear out otherwise you will be stuck in traffic. When I was there sunset was around 8:10 and the buses were leaving around 9. So it was worth it to linger an extra thirty or so minutes. I recommend waiting until after sunset to eat. I ate at two places there and they were both excellent. I had Italian at Lotzas and sadly cannot remember what the other place was called.
Sadly, when I went back a few years later so my kids could see it, it was cloudy so there was no sunset.
2. Go Shopping
There are lots of fun little shops you can explore including an adorable book shop, Atlantis Books. My favorite souvenir from Greece is a pair of earrings I got here. They were not even expensive and I think of Greece every time I wear them. They have great hats too.
3. Cliff Jumping
You can go cliff jump at Amoudi Bay. There are two paths to get up to the jumping spot and it can be a little difficult to get to. As you swim around you will have awesome views of Oia and of course the port between the volcanic cliffs and the Aegean sea.
4. Take a Tour
There’s a couple of tours available. You can go on a walking tour around the town led by a local or take a boat tour from the water. Some of the water tours end in Amoudi Bay where you can then take a donkey up to the village of Oia after visiting the volcano and swimming in the hot springs there. There are a ton of catamaran cruises to choose from.
5. Get Instagrammable Photos
Oia is oozing with cool places to take photos. If you want a professional photographer to take your photos know that there are a lot of them on the island. Some even can provide those flowey dresses that are so popular. Some fun places to take photos are by the blue domes, the Oia Castle, and the Byzantine Castle Ruins.
6. Go Hiking
Yes, there’s hiking in Oia. In fact, there’s a six-mile trail from Oia to Fira. Along the way, you will pass through two other towns, Firostefani and Imerovigli. It might be a little confusing to find the trail since there’s not one. But walk as close as you can along the Caldera and enjoy those views! It will take around three hours to walk this so it’s essentially a day trip.
7. Eat Delicious Food
Greek food is outstanding, so make sure to eat a lot of it! I mentioned Lotza’s earlier because it’s amazing. Just look at it. If you can’t get in here, don’t worry there are lots of other great restaurants to eat at. Passagio is a good place for breakfast in the center of Oia.
If you are not sure what to order check out our suggestions in our post: What to eat in Greece.
8. Stay in a Cave Hotel
Staying in one of the caves in Oia built into the cliffs is a unique experience. Here’s a video of the one we stayed in. I do not recommend it so I am not linking to it, but it will give you a solid idea of what I mean when I say cave hotel.
Next time we visit I hope to stay in another cave that is also a luxury hotel like the Filotera Suites. They have a restaurant, a bar/lounge, a poolside bar, and an infinity pool which is better than staying in a one-off cave with no restaurant. Plus, they have private outdoor heated Jacuzzis. Sitting in a jacuzzi watching the sunset with a bottle of wine is my version of the perfect vacation.
9. Ride ATVs
The best way to get around this Greek Island is by ATV or a super small car. Your hotel can help arrange a four-wheeler for you to rent.
10. Visit a Beach
There’s no beach in Oia, but if you drop down to other parts of Santorini you can visit the Red Beach, Kamari beach, or Akrotiri aka the white beach. The only way to get to the white beach is by foot from the neighboring Cambia Beach or by boat.
I’ve seen where some recommend a day trip to one of the other Greek islands. I personally do not recommend this. I think if you want to visit another island you need to just switch islands completely and go stay there. The ferries constantly run late and although switching may seem like a lot of work, I promise you will be happy you took this advice.