Oia is considered to be the artistic capital of the island and probably the most picturesque, postcard perfect village on Santorini, inviting you with its narrow, cobbled streets, with jewel-like shops on both sides selling all kind of beautiful things, a treat for your eyes.
It perches on the top of the cliff; the village looks both inward on to the caldera and northward onto the Aegean Sea. It seems to be a smaller quieter version of Fira, and is a very trendy place.
It is packed every day, by thousands of tourists who arrive every single day during the season for the “out of this world” views of the caldera.
Oia seems to be a living picture of a natural beauty and it is worth to see at least once in your life. A view of Oia is showing the density of churches within the town. The houses are built one on top of the other, the courtyard of the house above being the roof of the house below.
The village has a small port, Ammoudi, with fishing boats, waterfront taverns and restaurants, and a path that leads you around the base of the mountain to a diving area. This was once the main port for Santorini, until the entire town was razed by the earthquake in 1956.
Ammoudi port can be reached by car or by catching a ride on the back of a mule or by a set of cca. 300 steps leading down.
Though if you have to choose between two different way, either car or boat , I should recommend the last one, instead of the first, because the cliff road to Oia is dangerous, for someone who is not used to drive in narrow streets with many turns and a lot of traffic, almost all day in full season.
Fira is the capital of the island and the most important village. Early in the 19th century the capital of the island was moved from Pyrgos to Fira. After the earthquake of 1956 a part of the town was destroyed (only a small part of the 18th century buildings were saved).
Fira is perched on the edge of an impressive cliff 260m high and offers a great panorama over the submerged volcano. It is made of many white painted houses in stepped streets with blue domed churches and sun-bathed verandas.
Plateia Theotokopoulou (Theotokopoulou Square) is the main square of Fira and it is where all the locals meet. The small streets during peak season period are crowed and filled with all kind of shops, jeweleries, cafe, restaurants, bars and night clubs.
The main road of 25 Martiou (25th March) intersecting the square and is lined with travel agencies. The bus and the taxi station are located at the beginning of the road also. Erythrou Stavrou, one block west of 25 Martiou, is the main commercial thoroughfare. Another block west, Ypapantis runs along the crest of the caldera and provides some staggering panoramic views.
Santorini’s Cable Car was created in 1979, serves 1200 persons per hour totally and is constructed by Doppelmayr according to the EU Regulations. At the same time, it gives value to Fira port, which has been devaluated by the difficulty of the access to Fira.