Greece / Santorini

The 9 Must-Try Activities in Oia – Santorini

Santorini is undoubtedly the most visited and photographed place on the island. The whitewashed houses of Oia, located at the northern tip of Santorini, are the subject of many postcards. As the epitome of a picturesque Cycladic village, it’s not surprising to find countless activities in Oia, Santorini.

Whether you’re wandering through the cobblestone streets, enjoying the blue horizon, or strolling through the many stylish shops, there is no shortage of activities.

It’s a must-visit during your trip to Santorini, and below, you will find the 9 activities that I recommend during your visit to Oia: photo spots, breathtaking views, architecture, and walks.

1 – Enjoy the Sunrises and Sunsets in Oia, the Best Activity

Intimate Sunrises

Most guides you find online will tell you the same thing: watching the spectacular sunsets over the bay of Ammoudi. But I’ll reveal something to you: the sunrises are even better!

What you need to know is that Oia, which is already bustling during the day, becomes overcrowded during sunsets. For this reason, sunrises are even more fabulous. There are almost no people in the narrow streets, allowing you to appreciate both the sunrise and the first rays of sunlight hitting the city’s typical architecture.

The soft light embracing the caldera is beautiful and can be enjoyed from many spots. Look to the East and savor the first light of day in complete privacy.

Royal Sunsets

But of course, the sunsets from Oia are not so famous for nothing.

However, compared to other villages in Santorini, the sun sets behind the houses and not over the water. For that, you need to visit the villages of Fira, Imerovigli, or my favorite spot: the Akrotiri lighthouse.

In Oia, you will be greeted by crowds of tourists, even in the off-season. You will need to explore the village a bit to find your favorite spot. Fortunately for you, I have written an article about it: Sunset in Oia, Santorini: an experience not to be missed.

The most famous viewpoint is from the ruins of the castle, but you need to go there well in advance to get a spot. Personally, I like to see it from the bay of Ammoudi, but you won’t be at a high vantage point; you’ll be at water level.

It’s up to you to find your spot in the maze of the village. Thrills guaranteed!

2 – Shop in the Many Local Craft Boutiques

It would be a shame to leave Oia without a little souvenir. There are many shops and stores offering a wide variety of products for all budgets. Whether it’s pottery, paintings, artwork, or clothing, there’s always a new shop to explore.

An infinity of shops and boutiques

And when it comes to shopping, it also means discovering the culture and history of the place. Local artisans are passionate about their work and love to share their craftsmanship. The shops are often located in winding, colorful, cobblestone streets, adding even more charm to the shopping experience.

The best part of all this is that each purchased item is unique and reflects the cultural heritage of the island. Hand-painted pottery, engraved silver jewelry, oil-painted canvases, all these handmade products are one-of-a-kind creations that are perfect to take home or give as gifts to friends and family.

You’ll be amazed at the quantity of high-quality handmade products available at reasonable prices. So, don’t forget to dedicate an afternoon to exploring the boutiques in Oia and leaving with something that will forever remind you of this magical place.

The streets of Oia

3 – The 3 Blue Domes of Oia

The most famous church in Santorini, the 3 Blue Domes of Oia, is an absolute must-see for architecture and art enthusiasts. Hidden behind bustling streets, this church is situated on a hill and offers breathtaking views of Santorini’s stunning landscape. With its two large domes standing out against the blue sky and its small dome topping a tower, this church is a true gem of Greek architecture.

When you gaze at the 3 Blue Domes from the top of the hill, you’ll be dazzled by the striking contrast between the dark cliffs, white buildings, and the vibrant blue domes. This harmony of colors perfectly complements the deep blue of the endless sea stretching out before you.

For history and art enthusiasts, this church is an endless source of inspiration. The domes, columns, and frescoes, each of these elements tells a unique story and reflects the richness of Greek culture. So, if you’re in Oia, don’t miss the opportunity to discover this magnificent church and admire its beauty with your own eyes.

The 3 domes of Oia

4 – Ring the Four Bells of Oia – Agia Ekaterini

The four bells of Oia are one of the world’s most famous photo spots. From this location, you can see the four bells with the Greek flag and the island of Thirasia in the background.

You won’t miss this breathtaking view as it’s located at the top of Ammoudi Bay, just a short walk from the path leading to the castle (yes, the one with the famous sunsets!). Get ready to capture the perfect photo for your Instagram feed and make all your friends jealous.

Les moulins dans le village d’Oia à Santorin

5 – Visit the Main Church of Oia – Panagia Platsani

An elegant church with its arched windows, large blue dome, and 6 bells, it’s a must-visit in Oia and Santorini. Panagia Platsani is a church that is not often talked about and tends to be overlooked since it is located right on the main street, but it’s worth a visit.

For a little history, it was initially built inside the castle but was moved to this location on more stable ground. Don’t forget to enter and admire the wall paintings, golden ornaments, sculptures, and sacred vases.

Panagia Platsani, the main church of Oia

6 – Explore Ammoudi Bay from Oia

Get ready to immerse yourself in the famous Ammoudi Bay, Santorini’s ultimate swimming spot. With imposing cliffs, massive rocks, and crystal-clear waters, this place is a natural paradise waiting to be explored.

Take a stroll on the charming 200 to 250 steps that connect the village of Oia to the bay. And be captivated by the breathtaking view of the caldera. This charming fishing port, also known as Amoudi Bay, is nestled at the foot of the cliffs and offers crystal-clear waters and delightful seafood restaurants.

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of Oia and enjoy a different perspective of the cliffs and cave houses of the bay. So, pack your swimsuits, grab your sunscreen, and head to Ammoudi Bay for a truly unforgettable experience!

7 – Relax at Armeni Bay

Tired of the crowds at Ammoudi Bay? Get ready to escape to the serene and tranquil Armeni Bay, where you can relax and soak up the sun.

Take the 285 steps, sometimes steep, descending from the cliff for a truly memorable experience. Trust us, the reward is worth it!

Nestled at the foot of the cliff, you’ll find a small cove with only a few houses, offering you a peaceful escape from the bustling streets of Oia. So, pack your sunscreen and head to Armeni Bay for a day of relaxation and tranquility.

The steps to go down to Armeni Bay

8 – Embark on an Epic Adventure: Hike from Fira to Oia in Santorini!

Get ready to discover the best activity Santorini has to offer! Join the famous hike that connects the villages of Fira, Imerovigli, and Oia. Depending on your level of fitness and love for breathtaking views, the hike will take you between 3 to 4 hours.

With stunning views of the caldera, volcanoes, and villages, this hike is not to be missed. It’s the ultimate adventure that provides an unparalleled experience in Santorini.

Don’t worry, you can find all the tips and photos you need for this epic hike in this article. So, lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails!

The amazing view from the hike

9 – Sail into the Heart of Santorini: Explore the Caldera on a Boat Excursion!

Get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Santorini! From the charming Ammoudi Bay, you’ll have the opportunity to embark on a boat excursion in the beautiful caldera. This experience is perfect for couples, friends, or anyone looking to soak in the breathtaking beauty of Santorini.

Prepare to see the best spots on the island, including the volcano, hot springs, Akrotiri lighthouse, beaches, cliffs, and much more.

But wait, it gets even better! The most popular tours are sunset cruises with dinner on board. Discover my complete guide to cruises in this article. It’s a truly magical experience that will leave you in awe of Santorini’s beauty. So, gather your friends and loved ones and embark on an unforgettable journey!

Catamaran cruising around Santorini

BONUS – Recharge Your Batteries at Baxedes Black Pebble Beach

Looking for a more peaceful and serene beach during your visit to Oia? Look no further than Baxedes! This black pebble beach is just 3 km from the center of Oia, offering you a tranquil getaway away from the bustling tourist scene.

This beach may not be the most picturesque on the island, but it has the added advantage of being conveniently close to Oia. Allowing you to easily retreat to its peaceful shores for an afternoon of relaxation in the sun. So, grab your sunscreen, a good book, and head to Baxedes to recharge and unwind.

Map of the Best Activities in Oia, Santorini

Discover the best of Santorini

How to Rent a Car in Santorini – Everything You Need to Know!
Visit to Akrotiri in Santorini, Greece – Complete Guide
Cruising on a Catamaran in Santorini
Red Beach in Santorini, the complete guide
The 8 Best Restaurants in Oia, Santorini
The 7 Best Luxury Hotels in Oia, Santorini
The Ancient City of Thera in Santorini – Guide

Article mis à jours le 3 January 2024 par Pierre Bouyer

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