Oia was once the richest village on the island. At the end of the 18th century it had a dominant naval force which transported the island products (tomatoes and wine) as far away as Russia. It was here that the ship captains settled, building grand mansions with fantastic outlooks. Despite the earthquake in 1956 which destroyed some of the town Oia was declared a 'traditional settlement' - this indicates that the town has retained its unchanged image of the past, as well as its local character.
Many of these mansions have been converted into high end hotels, thereby attracting honeymooners and those wishing to celebrate a special occasion.
Oia is one of the famous sunset-watching spots on Santorini; people come from all over the island in the late afternoon to settle in for the grand show, when the sun seems to melt away into the sea.
200 steps below the town are two small harbours, one for fishing boats; the other for excursion boats. There are excellent fish tavernas at both harbours.
Where to stay
Reflecting traditional Aegean architecture and overlooking the island’s volcanic crater.
Why not stay in a cave house or windmill? This Santorini cave hotel is carved into the steep side of the cliff, making it one of the most picturesque Santorini hotels in Oia.