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Sightseeing in Oia - what to see. Complete travel guide

Oia is the most romantic settlement on the Greek Island of Santorini. Ancient mills on the narrow streets, numerous stairs, and unexpected dead ends await tourists at every step in the charming coastal village. Because of this peculiarity, tourists are better to refrain from exploring Oia for the first time alone – there is a chance that you will get lost. The town is particularly attractive at sunsets, which made Oia worldwide famous. The western part of the resort is a marvelous place to see how the sun sets beyond the horizon. This area in Oia offers enchanting views of Ammoudi Bay. That being said, the eastern part of Oia is a no less picturesque place that enchants tourists with the fabulous Armeni Bay. The town always has a serene and peaceful atmosphere, and nothing ruins it because the town’s authorities prohibit riding cars in Oia.
The Venetian era is the first time when the small town on Santorini was mentioned for the first time. The settlement appeared soon after Marco Sanudo had founded the Duchy of Naxos. This event took place in 1207. In the first half of the 16th century, Sultan Selim II conquered all islands of the Aegean Sea. Despite this, Santorini successfully maintained its independence until 1579. When the Turkish army conquered the island, the settlement finally appeared on the maps. By the end of the 19th century, the town got its current name – Oia.
The beginning of the 20th century marked the start of the prosperity period for the Greek settlement. More trading routes were established in the Mediterranean Sea, and this fact made the once small and forgotten settlement very popular. Steadily, Oia turned into a big port. Even though the population of the town was still very small, the port of Oia could serve as many as one hundred and thirty ships. Moreover, the wine produced in Oia was widely acclaimed for its excellent quality and was exported to many parts of the world, including France. However, when Piraeus turned into a major center of trade, Oia lost its former importance. It regained its fame only when it turned into a popular tourist resort. Copyright
Santorini beaches are no less famous than the region’s mesmerizing sunsets. The Greek island offers a broad range of charming coastal areas for any taste. Local beaches are ideal for trouble-free sunbathing and spending unforgettable moments under the hot rays of the Mediterranean sun, swimming in crystal clear water, playing in the sand with children, dancing, and even trying local Greek delicacies. It is up to tourists to decide whether they want to stay on a crowded beach or a more secluded area.
Katharos Beach is situated not far from the central part of Oia. As once a volcano covered the whole island with ash, the majority of beaches in Santorini have a dark color. Katharos is a pebble beach surrounded with rugged cliffs on all sides. It is hard to call this coastal area “well-developed”. At the same time, Katharos still has its strong sides. The water is shallow near the coast and there are no high waves here because rocks safely protect the beach from strong wind.
Are you searching for a peaceful area for recreation? There is an ideal place for everyone in search of a serene vacation. This is Baxedes Beach, which is located three kilometers from Oia. As the beach is seldom crowded, Baxedes is deprived of any noise. The beach surface is a mix of black sand, small pebbles, and big stones in some areas. The water is shallow near the coast but parents with small children need to keep in mind that the sea becomes deep quickly. North winds are not rare guests on Baxedes Beach, causing frequent high waves. Surfing fans know this and often visit the beach.
Windmills have become one of the most popular attractions in Oia. Frankly speaking, these windmills are the typical mechanisms used to grind grain in the past. They look quite ordinary; it is the number of windmills that impresses tourists. In Oia, windmills are built among small houses of local people. They are painted in white, just like all other buildings in the town. The mills look particularly attractive at sunset, so numerous tourists take their cameras and go outside to immortalize the gorgeous view.
Besides windmills, tourists in Oia enjoy visiting Panaghia Platsani, which is a must-see attraction of the charming town. Initially, this church was located inside the Oia Castle. However, as the earthquakes were steadily damaging the beautiful building, it was decided to move the church to another place where the shrine was in safety. The white church with a bright blue dome looks incredibly picturesque. In this church, visitors can see the icon of the Virgin Mary. According to a local legend, a fisherman found this icon in the sea. He took it to the church, but the icon was mysteriously moving to the castle every day. It was like that until people decided to build a church on the site that the icon was appearing.
It is not hard to reach Oia because the town is located only eleven kilometers from the capital of the island, the city of Fira. Daily buses departing from the central bus station take tourists to the popular resort. Of course, it is always possible to get a taxi to Oia. As expected, the ride is quite short, but it can be longer because the road between the settlements is winding and narrow.

City tours, excursions and tickets in Oia and surroundings

Reference information
Map of all castles
Survived castles around Oia
♥   Castle 'Goulas Castle' Akrotiri, 0.3 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Castle 'Kastelli of Pyrgos' Pyrgos Kallistis, 10.9 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Castle 'Belonia Tower' Naxos, 64.6 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Castle 'Sanudo Tower' Naxos, 71.4 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Castle 'Naxos Castle' Naxos, 71.6 km from the center. On the map   Photo
Map of all art museums
Art galleries in Oia and around
♥   Art museum 'Archaeological Museum of Thera' Santorini, 6.8 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Art museum 'Museum of Prehistoric Thera' Santorini, 7.2 km from the center. On the map   Photo

Sights around Oia from our guide 'Extreme places on Earth'


From the series “The Most Magical and Picturesque Cities in the World”
On the territory of the island there is an interesting Archaeological Museum, its location is a beautiful Venetian tower. Here, unique artifacts, found during the exploration of various areas of the island are presented. No less interesting object is the Monastery of the Virgin, which is located in the north-eastern part of the capital. It was founded in the 11th century. The monastery is located in a very inaccessible area - on the top of a cliff. Today, in the walls of the monastery valuable relics are kept, the age of some of them is more than 700 years. … Read further


From the series “Monochromatic Cities - Stunning Views”
Except beaches on the island you can see a lot of wonderful landmarks. There has placed a great number of old monasteries and more than 330 Orthodox churches and temples. Santorini is known for its unique archaeological districts. Several years ago, on the Akrotiri Peninsula, the researchers had found traces of the ancient city of the Minoan period. Some historical buildings were rebuilt, thereby, this archaeological place is open for visitors. Even a usual walk in any Santorini city can become unforgettable. More than that, there you can take a lot of wonderful photos. … Read further
Car rental on Rentals in Oia

Hilton builds third luxury hotel in Kyoto

It will welcome its first guests in 2024. 313 rooms of various categories will be available, the interior of rooms and hotel spaces will become one of the main features of the high-class hotel. When decorating the rooms, it is planned to use local textiles, which are famous for their high quality and are considered to be one of the best in the world. Read this


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Sightseeing in regions nearby Oia

All about Oia, Greece - sightseeings, attractions, touristic spots, architecture, history, culture and cuisine. Prepare your trip together with - find out the 'must see' things in Oia, which places to visit, which excursions to take, where the breathtaking views are waiting for you. Planning your trip with this travel guide will help your to get the most out of Oia in few days. - online travel reservation expert providing reliable car rental and hotel booking services. We feature more than 25.000 destinations with 12.000 rental offices and 200.000 hotels worldwide.
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