How to Visit Oia Santorini: Best Hotels + Sunset and Castle Tips

Oia Santorini

For many travelers, the world-famous Oia Village is what draws them to Santorini Greece! Its beautiful whitewashed buildings are something out of a dream as they sit stacked together, built into the large cliffside on the far end of the island. It’s clear to see that any visit to Santorini isn’t complete without spending time in Oia! Here’s everything you need to know including information on the Oia Castle, sunset tips, and the best Oia Santorini hotels.

How to Get to Oia Santorini 

Taxi: The fastest way to get to Oia Santorini is by taxi. Just know that this is also the most expensive form of transportation! If you’re coming from the port or airport it’s best to take a private transfer. This can be booked in advance online or made directly through most Oia Santorini hotels. 

Bus: Believe it or not, the Santorini bus is easy and inexpensive to use. From the main town of Fira, the tickets cost just €1.60. If you are traveling to or from a different part of the island you’ll have to take a taxi or private transfer to Oia Santorini. 

Hike: Wait, what?? Yes, you can hike from Fira to Oia Greece! It’s actually one of the most popular outdoor activities and a fun way to get between Santorini’s famous villages. We’ve done the hike from Fira to Oia twice now and the views are incredible. 

Drive: Some travelers rent a car to get to Oia and other parts of Santorini. Just know there isn’t much parking available. Oia is small and you will have to park just outside of town and walk into the village. For more about renting a vehicle on Santorini be sure to check out our article below.

Is Renting a Car in Santorini Worth it? 2023 Car Rental Guide

How to Get to Oia Santorini 

Finding the Best Oia Santorini Hotels

There is nothing better than staying in Oia Santorini! The views from the village are beautiful and there is truly nowhere else like it outside of this special island. 

However, it should come as no surprise that this is the most expensive area to stay in. This is obviously not the best place to stay if you’re visiting Santorini on a budget! Many of these cave homes come complete with private pools to make for a unique and fancy accommodation.

Can you imagine sipping on some delicious Santorini wine overlooking Oia Santorini with the Greek islands in the distance? Amazing! We recommend spending 2 nights of your trip here before moving to a different part of the island.

Some of the best Oia Santorini hotels are Katikies Kirini SantoriniThirea Suites, and Armenaki and Allure Breeze Suites. If you want to be facing the glorious sunset (which we talk about more below) then check out Canaves Oia Epitome and Kastro Oia Houses

Best Oia Santorini Hotels

5 Fun Facts About Oia Santorini

1. Centuries ago, Oia was a huge commercial hub for imports and exports from the island. The old ports like Amoudi Bay below Oia would serve as a launching point for trade from the 18th to 20th centuries. 

2. Walking through Oia Greece, you’ll notice the gorgeous caves carved into the rocks. Well, these were actually the homes of the sailors on the island! These days they’re filled with restaurants and some of the best Oia Santorini hotels.

3. Like many other Greek islands, the Venetians took control of Santorini in the early 13th century. They would rule the island and Oia until it was captured by the Turks in 1579. One of the most popular viewpoints is from the ruins of the Venetian Oia Castle.

4. Without a doubt, Oia Santorini is one of the most photographed places in Greece… If not the whole world! In all likelihood, these are the pictures that brought you to Santorini in the first place. It’s common to see people doing photoshoots from sunrise to sunset in this iconic village. 

5. In the wintertime only about 10% of the tourists visit the island compared to the summer. This means that a large majority of the restaurants and Oia Santorini hotels are closed for the off-season.

Santorini Oia

What Not to Miss in Oia Santorini

Oia Castle: As we mentioned above, the Oia Castle is one of the great landmarks of Santorini. Not much still exists of the Venetian Castle but it remains the most popular sunset spot and viewpoint in Oia Greece.

Windmill of Oia: Another must-see place in Oia is the windmill. At one time it was used to ground flour or bake bread. Yet, these days it just serves as another reminder of the island’s ancient history.

Blue Dome Church of Santorini: While there may be many blue-domed churches around Santorini, the most famous is located in Oia! You will have to do some wondering through the narrow staircases and alleyways of the village to get there.

Maritime Museum: For history lovers, the Maritime Museum of Oia Greece is a must! Stop in and learn about Santorini’s rise to prominence in the 19th century through its naval trade.

Oia Greece

Guide to Exploring Oia Santorini 

It doesn’t matter if you are staying in the town or just visiting for the day. Oia Santorini is a unique destination that is filled with charming back streets, beautiful boutique shops, and endless island views!

Know that if you really plan to explore Oia you should be ready for some steps. There are several main walkways that run through the top of town However, for the best viewpoints we recommend cutting down the staircases and ramps towards the ocean. 

This way you can find your own unique spots to take pictures and enjoy Oia! You may run into some roadblocks at private hotels and apartments, but that’s all part of the fun.

Oia Santorini Greece

Hike Down to Amoudi Bay 

Just below the town of Oia is the stunning Amoudi Bay. This once small fishing village is now home to seafront restaurants and a handful of accommodations.

We made the hike down the almost 300 steps in the morning from Santorini Oia. This was a great time to do so because the path was slightly shaded and it wasn’t busy at all yet!

If you head around the corner from Amoudi Bay there is a great spot for a dip on a hot summer day. You can even swim out to the small island to go cliff jumping! 

→ Amoudi Bay Santorini: How to Explore the Charming Bay Below Oia Village

Oia Santorini Amoudi Bay

Oia Sunset in Santorini

So we have to admit we have a love-hate relationship with the sunset in Oia Santorini. I know this might be a shock for some of you. After all, Oia is known for having one of the most stunning sunsets in Greece! 

Still, we want to be honest. Unless you are visiting in the dead of winter you may not enjoy it as much as you thought you would. That’s because bus after bus will drop off hundreds of travelers to Oia Santorini each night! 

Everyone goes to this small corner of the island where the streets are narrow and crowded. If you don’t arrive early in the summer months you might not even be able to get a spot to see it.

Also, if you’re not staying at one of the plush Oia Santorini hotels you may have to wait for a second or third bus as they are often packed full with tourists.

Now, this isn’t to say that the Oia sunset isn’t magical. It truly is and that’s one of the main reasons to visit. Hopefully, these tips below will help you enjoy the Oia Santorini sunset to its fullest!

Oia Sunset Santorini

Best Tips For Watching the Oia Sunset  

Reservation: Make a reservation at one of the sunset-facing restaurants and have a meal with an amazing view. One of our favorite small bars is called Vitrin! If you go early you can get a seat and have some drinks while you wait for the colors to change in the sky. 

Oia Santorini Hotels: Spring for a hotel room that faces the ocean. Then you will have some space and be able to enjoy golden hour from the comfort of your room. If you want an extra unique experience you can even splurge for a room with a private pool. Everyone else watching the sunset is sure to be jealous! 

Amoudi Bay: While this area is also popular for sunset not as many travelers make the trip below. Have a seafood dinner at one of the restaurants or simply watch the sunset from the rocks. 

Sunset Cruise Another unique way to watch the sunset is actually from a Santorini sunset cruise. The boats leave from a different part of the island but sail below Oia to watch this famous time of day. 

Oia Castle: If you thought were getting a sunset view from the Oia Castle, think again! Even when we were here in early May it looked like it was hard to move from atop the ruins. Unless you like your golden hour squished between other tourists we’d avoid the Oia Castle.

Fira or Imerovigli: Don’t worry, there is one more way to see the magical Santorini sunset! From most places in the towns of Fira and Imerovigli, you can see Oia with the sun setting behind it.

So if you don’t feel like heading to Oia one night this can be a fun option. Check out our absolute favorite spot to watch the sunset here.

Sunset Santorini Greece

Ready to Go to Oia Santorini? 

We hope you have an amazing time exploring Oia Santorini. If you’re not staying at the Oia Santorini hotels know that you can still visit very easily!

Even if you don’t make it for sunset, Oia is just as beautiful in the morning without so many tourists. Either way, it’s a place everyone must see on their trip to Santorini.

Have any questions about Oia Santorini or want to share your own tips for visiting this famous village? Let us know in the comments below! 

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

 Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar

Where to Stay in Santorini Greece

Here are some hotel recommendations as well as inspiration for different areas of the island. As you can see, there is something for every type of traveler on Santorini!

Oia: Canaves Oia EpitomeKastro Oia HousesAllure Breeze Suites – The most iconic village in Santorini Greece with beautiful white-washed buildings & famous island and sunset views.

Fira: Atlantis HotelPantelia SuitesEste Luxury Suites – The capital of Santorini is a great hub with lots of nightlife and shopping. 

Imerovigli: MerovigliossoKasimatis by La PerlaWhitedeck Santorini – Traditional village with a laid-back feel. Yet still, with plenty of high-end hotels and restaurants.

Kamari: Makris Beach Hotel La Bellezza Eco Boutique Hotel Kalya Suites – Fun black sand beach town with lively bars and restaurants that run along the promenade. Great options for travelers on a budget. 
 
Akrotiri:Kalestesia Suites  – Potnia Theron Suites  – Kokkinos Villas – Mountain village set on the far side of the caldera near Red Beach and the Minoan ruins. 
 
Pyrgos: Apikia SantoriniPyrgos 1870, A restored WineryFlora’s House & Cave Winery  – The ancient capital of Santorini and its highest sitting town. Great views and also home to the island’s best vineyards. 

PIN FOR LATER 

Santorini Oia

Santorini Travel Inspiration

Explore all our Greece articles to help plan your trip! We cover everything from general travel tips to amazing destinations such as Santorini, Paros, Rhodes, Karpathos, Crete, Milos & more beautiful islands!

Greece Travel Planning 

For island hopping use FerriesinGreece to compare different routes, prices, and companies. The fast ferries like Sea Jets will cost more but often takes half the time of slower ferries like Blue Star! 

 Flights: We always check Skyscanner and Kayak to search for cheap flights. That’s how we got from Athens to Santorini for under $50 USD!

 Accommodation: Always compare multiple sites to get the best deal. We search both Booking.com and Agoda! Also,  Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget. 

 Rental Car: You can book a rental car for as little as $20 a day in Greece! We use Discover Cars to explore the larger islands with a vehicle.

 Tours: Go to Get Your Guide for hundreds of activities in Santorini. You can find everything from group sailing tours to private catamaran cruises. Go wine tasting around the island, horseback riding down the beach, or even jump on an ATV tour!

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without insurance. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.

 Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!

Santorini

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2 Comments

  1. Helena
    May 24, 2022 / 5:56 am

    Very informative information

    • Brigitte & Jake
      Author
      May 24, 2022 / 6:01 am

      So glad you thought so! Such a beautiful place to visit in Greece 😊

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