Santorini, Oia

(continuer en français) – Published: February 12, 2022

Oia, Santorini, Greece

These images of blue domes on a background of even bluer sea, they come from Santorini, and most probably from Oia. This is the most touristy town, at the tip of the largest island in an archipelago that is formed from the emerged top of a crater.

Like Mykonos, Santorini is one of the most famous destinations in Greece, combining a traditional appearance with modern comfort. It can be reached by plane or ferry, 211 miles, 340 kilometres, south of Athens and 93 miles, 150 kilometres, from Crete

The caldera

Oia hangs from the edge of the cliff plunging into the sea. As long as the slope allows, new houses are added, dominating a grandiose landscape. Despite the casual atmosphere of a holiday town, one should not forget that this is a volcano.

The last eruption took place in 1950 and in 1956 there was an earthquake that killed about 50 people. Since 2011, seismic sensors have noted underground activity linked to the volcano, which could be a sign of a new eruption.

Chapels

As everywhere in Greece there are many chapels. The Greeks remain very attached to the Orthodox religion, which was a means of resisting centuries of Muslim occupation. In addition to the religious aspect, it has a patriotic dimension which is also reflected in the dominant colours, white and blue, like the colours of the Greek flag.

Mills

Mills can be found on all the Greek islands. In the past, they were part of rural life, using the force of the wind to power the heavy millstones used to grind grain into flour.

Later it became easier to import flour and the mills fell into disuse and ruin. With the development of tourism, their atypical and sympathetic shape has favoured their restoration. The mills of Oia are rented out as holiday homes.

Houses

The tourism promoters in Oia have been smart enough not to build large housing estates, at least not on the sea front. Instead, they have favoured the traditional architecture of small houses with vaulted roofs or terraces for the house above.

Staircase lanes run down the slope to the houses built below. From there, further stairs, this time private and closed with gates, give access to the houses. The town has a compact, terraced appearance, spreading out from the top. This typical habitat serves as a backdrop for many selfies.

Main street

Following the ridge line, a narrow pedestrian street, paved with marble slabs, crosses the entire urban area. There are many old houses, all of which have been transformed into shops or restaurants for tourists. There is no longer any trace of local life.

From this main street, Nikolaou Nomikou, there are many alleys which extend in a staircase towards the sea.

The sunset

Waiting for the sunset seems to be the main objective of the day for many holidaymakers. Finding the perfect spot to watch the day’s events, unless you have your own terrace, is a must. Whether it is from a café or sitting on a low wall, the only thing left to do is to hope that the passing clouds do not spoil this key moment.

Oia is particularly well placed to enjoy this great show, and people come from all over the island, bringing an extra crowd to the already crowded streets. Boat operators also offer trips for this part of the day.

The evening

Once the question of sunset is settled, it remains to enjoy the beautiful evening, while the air remains mild after the heat of the day. Shops stay open late and restaurants serve as long as there is demand.

The evenings are a pleasant time, as tourist activity is dominant in Oia and everything is organised according to the visitors’ expectations.

Sunset, Oia, Santorini, Greece

To be informed of upcoming  articles, register here (it’s free).


Articles about South Europa

To be informed of upcoming articles, register here (it’s free).

8 comments

  1. Absolutely gorgeous and a victim of its own success. Too bad, locals have been pushed out by tourism. Locals are what make places special. I have always wanted to see Santorini, but doubt I will. Thanks for the tour. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you, local life is also the reason to visit a place. Here the Greeks have gone to the end of the logic, rather than pretending, it is better to focus on the quality of the accommodation and the comfort of the facility, the sea and the sun being all that tourists are looking for. Hence the locals live outside the tourist centre, which revolves solely around tourists.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful pictures. Santorini looks so picturesque and charming. I love the look of the mills. Talk about a gorgeous sunset. I can see why people try to find the perfect spot to enjoy watching the sunset in the evening. Thanks for sharing. Linda

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s