When you think of Greece, you likely think of the blue domed churches and hundreds of white steps. This is exactly what Oia is like, and it is absolutely beautiful! This list will give you some of the best things to do in Oia Santorini, so you can have an amazing vacation!
We had the pleasure of visiting Oia while on our honeymoon, and it was everything we thought it would be! It truly is just like what you see in the pictures!
If you are planning a trip to Santorini, you will definitely want to take at least a day to explore the beautiful Oia. The island of Santorini is pretty small, and you can get around pretty quickly, so no matter where you are staying, you can get to Oia within 30 minutes!
Before you head to Santorini, make sure you read these Santorini tips so you know what to expect once you get here!
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Best Things to do in Oia Santorini
We spent about 3-4 days in Santorini, and much of it was spent in Oia (pronounced eee-uh). While the rest of the island is beautiful, there is just something special about Oia that made us feel like we were truly in a foreign country, long away from home! Here is a list of the top 10 things to do in Oia Santorini to add to your itinerary!
1. Stay in a Luxury Hotel or Cave Hotel
One of the best things to do in Oia Santorini is to treat yourself like royalty and stay in a luxury hotel or cave hotel! When you see pictures of Oia, you likely see tons of blue pools mixed into the white hilltops. These are all hotels, most with private pools!
Some of these luxury hotels can be quite expensive, but you can find some for relatively cheap! Even if you just stay for one or two nights, the views and accommodations are well worth it and you will remember it for a lifetime!
Additionally, you should consider staying in one of Oia’s cave hotels! If you are not familiar with them, they are basically what you think: hotels build into the cliffside that form a cave, and are super unique!
Cave hotels can also be quite pricey, but you can find some decently priced. You can always just stay one night just to say you did it!
If staying in one of these hotels is out of your budget, no worries! Staying directly in Oia can be expensive. We recommend staying in Imerovigli, which is where we stayed on our honeymoon. This little town is between Oia and Fira, making it a great location if you plan to visit both areas!
2. Find the Blue Domes of Oia
One of the best things to do in Oia Santorini is to find those beautiful blue domes! Chances are, this is one of the major things you wanted to see on your trip anyway, and it is impossible not to!
Scattered among the white cliffside are dozens of blue topped churches and buildings, which are hard to miss! You’ll definitely want to capture some good photographs of the beautiful architecture- after all, this is the part of Greece so many of us think of!
You don’t need to search out specific domes (you’ll see pretty much all of them just looking at the cliffside). We found all the major ones simply just by walking around and exploring!
Because of the beautiful views, getting photos taken in Oia is a huge tourist attraction. There are tons of photography sessions you can book where locals will take you to all the most breathtaking spots to get cute engagement pictures, family portraits, wedding pictures, or just pictures of yourself!
If these packages are too expensive to fit your budget, consider these tips to taking your own travel pictures! You might have to dodge some tourists, but you’ll get some great shots!
3. Watch the Sunset in Oia
One of the most popular things to do in Oia Santorini is to watch the sunset. It is hard to put into words just why the sunsets here are so amazing, but they truly are different than any other sunset I’ve ever seen!
The bad news? Everyone else thinks so too- and Oia gets extremely busy around sunset time. Because of this, I highly recommend planning where you will watch the sunset each night, and making reservations.
We booked dinner reservations at various restaurants around Oia during sunset time 2-3 months in advanced, because they book up super quick! You might be able to find a table somewhere if you forgot to make a reservation, but it isn’t worth the hassle- make a reservation as early as you can!
One of our favorite restaurants to watch the sunset was Kastro Restaurant. The views were stunning and the food was delicious! We also stopped at Tramonto All Day Lounge during sunset just for a drink and an appetizer, and it was a beautiful way to unwind at the end of the day and enjoy the beautiful sunset!
There are also many sunset cruises you can take if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the mainland for a little bit!
Sit back, relax, and take in the beauty of this magical island!
4. Take the Fira to Oia Hike
Another one of the most popular things to do in Oia Santorini is to take the Fira to Oia hike. One of the most important Santorini tips I have for you is this:
MAKE SURE YOU KNOW YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT TRAIL!
The reason I say this is because Google Maps took us in the completely wrong directly, and we ended up on a multiple hour detour on the opposite side of the island. I was not a happy gal, let’s just say that!
The trail is not clearly labeled, so your best bet is to follow other people (and hope they know where they are going!) If it looks like you are going the wrong way, you probably are. There should be heavy foot traffic on the trail so you know you’ll be on the right track!
Once you know you are going the right direction, you can take in the breathtaking views of the island! You’ll even find a small food and drink shop about half way through so you can take a breather and rest up before the last leg of your hike!
While out and about, but especially during this trip, we always take a small day bag. Check out what we always pack in our day bag while on vacation!
5. Take a Private Caldera Cruise
Because Santorini is an island, there are plenty of opportunities to take a scenic boat ride! A good time to do this is after the cruise ships come in: the island gets extremely busy for a few hours once cruise ships unload, so hop on a boat of your own to get away from the crowds for a bit!
You can find cruises at practically anytime of day, for any reason: breakfast cruises, lunch tours, dinner cruises, sightseeing cruises, sunset cruises, full day tours, half day tours, you name it!
Depending on how long you have to spend in Oia, you can definitely find a cruise that fits your itinerary!
6. Visit Beaches in Oia
Oia has tons of beautiful beaches just waiting to be explored! One of the most popular beaches in the area that you need to visit is the Amoudi Bay!
The Amoudi bay is a beautiful port located almost 300 steps below Oia- so be prepared to do lots of walking! Down at the bay, you’ll find many restaurants where the water practically touches the tables!
Here, travelers are welcomed to take a dip into the water, and even partake in some cliff diving if you are feeling adventurous! This is also where many cruises depart from, so if you plan to do that, you’ll become familiar with this area!
At the end of the day, you’ll need to head back up all those stairs to get back into the main Oia area. Hey- this is a great way to stay active on vacation and burn off some of those sweet treats!
There are donkeys available that you can ride to save yourself the sweat, but it is not recommended, even among locals. You can get here by vehicle, but parking is extremely difficult.
7. Get Lost Exploring and Shopping!
Another one of the best things to do in Oia Santorini is to take some time to just wander and explore! We did not put much on our Oia itinerary, and spent most of our time wandering about and stopping wherever we were interested!
Wandering without an itinerary allowed us the freedom to truly explore the area, and we stumbled upon some great views that we would have otherwise missed out on!
Oia is pretty small, so you can’t get too lost. However, it is fun to explore all the streets and puruse all the shops!
Oia is known for its luxury shops, so you will find a lot of expensive jewelry stores and boutiques. However, window shopping is still just as fun (and you’ll still find the traditional tourist gift shops here and there!)
If you want to treat yourself to a nice gift while you are visiting here, check out these easy ways to save money for vacation, so you have a nice little gift fund by the time you get here!
8. Eat some Authentic Greek Food
Before going to Greece, I’ll admit: I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to find any food that I liked because I didn’t like Greek food! However, thankfully, I was so so wrong!
I’ve never liked Greek food that is served in America, so I didn’t expect to eat much on this trip. However, every meal I ate in Santorini was delicious! Everything was so fresh and flavorful, I couldn’t believe the difference between American “Greek” food, and authentic Greek cuisine!
We stopped at a restaurant called Pitogyros Authentic Greek Gyros and Souvlaki, and it was the best gryo I’ve ever eaten! Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of the restaurants here, even if you “don’t like Greek food” like I thought, so give any place a try!
9. Wine Tasting in Oia
Another one of the best things to do in Oia Santorini is to drink some wine! If you’ve read our Santorini Tips, you know a little bit about why the wine is so good here. Basically, the wine made here is from grapes that only grow in Santorini- no where else in the rest of the world! So, it truly is a decadent item you have to taste at least once!
There are tons of wine tours you can take on the island of Santorini, and they are all delicious! The only actual winery we went to was Santo Winery (which was honestly one of the best days of our vacation), and then chose to just get wine at whatever restaurant we ate at.
So depending on how much you love wine (and trust me, you’ll love the wine here!), you might opt to do a wine tour, or just sip casually at restaurants. We also went to Sphinx Wine Restaurant in Oia and did a wine tasting there- it was very quiet and much more relaxing without tons of tourists!
10. Visit the Atlantis Bookshop
The last on our list of the best things to do in Oia Santorini is to check out the Atlantis Bookshop! Mixed in with all the luxury shops, you’ll find Atlantis Bookshop, a shop selling rare antiquarian books and collectors first editions.
You’ll find poetry written on the walls and ceilings, books of all languages, and every genre you can imagine! It also has a terrace that often hosts film festivals and readings from authors!
Even if you are not a huge book-worm, you’ll find something special about this unique little bookstore that seems so out of place, but so welcoming at the same time!
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