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Ia (or Oia) is one of four spectacular towns perched on the crescent-shaped clifftop of the caldera on Santorini island in Greece.


The famous sunset at Ia

Ia (Oia spelling in Greek) is a picturesque town beloved by artists and the tourists alike. Being a destination for all those cruise ship passengers, the town so is very busy in the afternoons. It is far better to arrive in the early evening, allowing plenty of time to meander, shop and take photographs, then have a relaxing meal in a Caldera restaurant while watching one of the most beautiful sunsets. Be sure to occupy your seat in advance, though: western side becomes heavily crowded in the hour preceding sunset.

But the full flavor and spirit of the town (and the island) can be enjoyed only after staying for several days.

Ia overlooks two sides of the sea, western with Ammoudi bay, eastern with Armeni bay; only western one of course faces the sunset.

Ia is a popular place for shooting local TV series, sometimes in a nighttime.

Get in[edit]

Easily reachable by bus from the central bus station in Fira. The road to Ia is not for the faint hearted! The bus driver seems to derive great pleasure from scaring the living daylights out of his passengers and a word of warning about the conductor... always have the correct fare or be prepared to face his wrath! The bus fare is very inexpensive--not more than €3 per person.

Taxi from port in Thira costs around €20 per group; €25 if you don't want driver to take people from other groups into the car. Another option is to take the shuttle bus, the cost is 11 € (Euros) per passenger. The cost is the same for the transfer from the airport to Oia using taxi or shuttle bus. [29]

Road between Fira and Ia is meandering -- keep in mind if you choose between taxi and a rented car when you arrive exhausted after a ferry.

Get around[edit]

Oia town

Most parts of the village is reachable by-foot only; even garbage is taken away by donkeys. Donkeys can be rented on the staircase connecting Armeni bay to Ia, a useful tip for those full with fresh seafood from a tavern. In addition, at least six companies offer car and scooter rentals. Sailing is another popular option.

Renting a car[edit]

  • Drossos, [1]. One of the largest selections of cars on the island (esp. cabrios); Russian-speaking owner Zurab. Owner may be gaming you with driver license restrictions for pushing towards more expensive options.  edit
  • Filippas Car Rental, [2]. Rental company is located in Oia and serves the Santorini International Airport, the Athinios Port of Santorini, Down Town Santorini city, Oia, Imerovigli and Santorini hotels with great rental rates.  edit
  • Vazeos Car Rental, [3]. It is one of the older car rental firms in Oia with a huge fleet of cars and specialized in limo services.  edit

See[edit][add listing]

View from Ia onto Caldera
  • Archaeological site Mavro Vouno (Archäologische Reste Mavro Vouno)
  • Castle of Oia, Agios Nikolaos Castle
  • Oia churches
  • Picturesque Oia town. Spend at least half a day exploring the town by meandering up and down paths and staircases. Along the way you'll see interesting architecture and breathtaking views of the caldera. For an undisturbed view of the sunset, walk to the right after you get down at Oia bus terminal till you reach a coast.
  • Thira Maritime Museum, 25is Martiou 405, Thira 847 00 +302286071156
  • Volcanic cinder cone of Kokkino-Vouno-Volcano

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Beaches.  edit
  • Caldera Massages Studio, (At the sunset point nearby the Kastro Cafe-Restaurant), +30 22860 71504 (), [4]. Daily April thru October. Professional massages in a Unique, peaceful setting inside the cave style treatment rooms. Special massage packages can include sitting on the sunset terrace with a bottle of bubbles for the Oia sunset. All natural aromatherapy products also available with instructions on their proper use.  edit
  • Diving (Atlantis Oia Dive Centre), Armeni Branch, Armeni port, Oía 847 02, +30 228 607 1158, [5]. Diving courses and excursions  edit
  • Hiking, [6]. There is a route Oia-Fira. Also, you can choose the other locations.  edit
  • Sailing (Barbarossa Sailing), Όρμος Αμμούδι, Ia 847 02, +30 698 703 0668, [7]. Cruise agency  edit
  • Souvlaki and Singing. every Sunday night at 9PM organized by Stelios. Try the famous "Souvlaki and Singing" competition near the Church (on the right, down the steps, through the door). Songs by famous Greek singers, such as "Sexy Back" and "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go", are sung all through the night with endless amounts of souvlaki being served up. Entry fee.  edit
  • Sunsets. Experience the unforgettable sunsets there.  edit
  • Wine tasting (Domaine Sigalas), Baxes, Oia, Santorini 847 02, +30 228 607 1644, [8].  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

If are in Ia, you may want to purchase souvenirs. When you will be heading back through Athens on your way home, wait to purchase souvenirs there: they will be less expensive and you will not need to have the extra burden of carrying them around with you.

  • Iama Wine Store, Nik. Nomikou 11, Oía 847 02, +30 228 607 1786, [9]. Very nice shop with all Santorini wines and over 350 labels of other Greek and international wines.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • 1800 Floga restaurant, Oía 847 02, +30 228 607 1485 (), [10]. Open 18:00-23:00. High-flying cuisine: some local-inspired dishes, otherwise international. Great place for romantic dinner. Waiters are well-trained and speak English very well. Amusing thing: once you're done with meals, waiter picturesquely sweeps away grit into a small scoop. The only sort of tea available proves Lipton Yellow Label. While regular wine is served in an ice bucket, no napkin around the bottleneck is used. During a medium-load evening waiters may forget to bring the dessert you ordered. You may need to ask twice, if you want to take the rest of wine bottle with you. Any plastic bag so you leave with a bottle in hands.  edit
  • Ambrosia Restaurant (Amvrosia), (center of the village on the caldera near the main church), +30 228 607 1413 (), [11]. Lunch & Dinner Daily April thru October.. View and excellent food. Two small intimate terraces for the most romantic, candlelight dinner on the island. Mediterranean dishes served atop the cliffs in Oia overlooking the sea and caldera. Charming interior seating in cave style setting. Reservations are hard to come by with seating times for dinner not so flexible. Ask your hotel reception to book or try via an email to the restaurant. Romantic evening for the island save it for your special night.  edit
  • Karma Greek Restaurant, Nik. Nomikou 11, Oía 847 02, +30 228 607 1404, [12].  edit
  • Katina Fish Tavern, Amoudi Port, Santorini 847 02, +30 228 607 1280, [13]. Oyster bar restaurant. This is possibly the best place for enjoying dinner and a sunsent in Ia. Alternately, you can enjoy an even better view of the sunset, if you walk past the tavernas and continue on towards the swimming area. Along the path, where you have a clear view of Ammoudi Bay and the direction the sun sets, is an ideal place for snapping great sunset pics.  edit
  • Lotza, Oía 847 02, +30 228 607 1357. Greek restaurant. Large souvlaki; tzadziki is bit too hot. Potato salad may be without declared beetroot, but rich in mayonnaise. White salad is with tuna.  edit
  • Niko's Place, Oía 847 02 (near the bus station), +302286071105. Visit for souvlaki. Order the kalamaki with pita  edit
  • Roka (Poka), m.Mpotsari 6, Oía 847 02 (totally hidden. Ask around for directions), +30 228 607 1896, [14]. One of the best places to eat traditional home-style Greek food. The staff make you feel like long-time friends. You shouldn't miss it, if you come for the sunset to Oia.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

A number of vineyards on Santorini produce great wines. Sample the local wines when possible!

  • Sun Spirit, Oía 847 02, +30 228 607 1655, [15]. Bar  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

The village has a variety of accommodation options. Cave style houses updated with modern features, cliff side houses that form a small hotel, mansions once owned by sea captains converted to luxury suites - are some of the unique features. Points to consider are if the accommodation faces to the sea, caldera and volcano; available terrace for breakfast or lounging, private terrace or shared; windows - as some of the cave houses may have small viewpoints; the location on the cliff as the stairs can be steep and not suited for everyone; and the regular factors: air conditioning, bathroom arrangement, bed style and comfort, services, etc. The protected village architecture and the cliffs restrict the building of swimming pools so there are very few offered on the caldera side. There's a public pool-bar offering views towards the sunset side of the island. If the accommodation has a terrace with the view to the sea, caldera and volcano then you won't miss the pool as gazing over the sea is the point here.

Oia coastline
  • Western side (sunset view):


  • Aspa Villas, +30 228 607 1381 (, fax: +30 228 607 1385), [16]. checkin: 12.00; checkout: 12.00. It is a complex of traditional cycladic style build studios and private cave houses.  edit
  • Ecoxenia Studios, (1 kilometer away from Oia among the vineyards 100 meters, above the sea-shore), +30 228 602 8340 (, fax: +30 228 607 1618), [17]. checkin: 13.00; checkout: 12.00. Close to the two beaches, Paradissos and Coloumbos. The settlement: 8 traditional island dewellings that can accommodate 1-4 persons, built in a 2.000 m2 garden in tranquil natural surroundings. From your private balcony you can enjoy the ocean view, Oia’s famous sunset and the beauty of Ios, Sikinos and Folegardros islands in its fading line.  edit
  • Elea Casa Apartment, (in the center of Oia village, on the main pedestrian road.), +30-228 603 1264 (), [18]. A modern apartment with 1 double bedroom and Caldera view veranda with an outdoor heated Jacuzzi. (36.461974,25.378587) edit
  • Katharos Pool Villas, Unnamed Road, Oía 847 02, +30 698 595 9616, [19].  edit
  • Zoe Aegeas Traditional Houses, Oia village, Oía 847 02, +30 228 607 1466, [20].  edit


  • Chelidonia Traditional Villas, Nomikou st., Oía 847 02, +30 698 647 7317, [21]. It is a group of cliff-side cave houses owned and managed by Triantaphyllos Pitsikalis and his wife Erika, both incredibly hospitable and helpful. Erika usually responds to your inquiries via email, and every time we went into the office Triantaphyllos was there to answer our questions and give great insight into the culture of the island. Triantaphyllos and Erika have restored a number of cave houses across Western Ia that, together, comprise Chelidonia Villas. The Apollon House is incredibly beautiful and even has two balconies! The houses have air conditioning and daily maid service, and guests have free internet access.  edit
  • Fanari Villas, +30 228 607 1007 (, fax: +30 2286 071235), [22]. checkin: 1:00PM; checkout: 11:30AM. About a dozen villas/suites styled as traditional cave houses. One of the choice places for celebrating a wedding, alone or with few friends. All staff is dressed in white. Features restaurant and bar, shared swimming pool with a jacuzzi, sauna and bathroom. Kitchen with full set of dishes, microwave, small electric stove. Prices might make one think it's 5-star luxury, but it's not -- you're paying for a great view and for quiteness. Despite the prices, pool, jacuzzi and lounge chairs have limited availability, and maintenance can be lacking.  edit
  • Island White Hotels Santorini, Ia, Santorini, +30 69 4550 4555, [23]. A collection of luxury hotels in Ia, Santorini island, Greece  edit

  • Eastern side:


  • Delfini Villas, Oia (Ia), Oía 847 02, +30 228 607 1600, [24]. Sea view (breakfast included).  edit
  • Villa Rodia, (Just 0.6 miles away from Oia), +30 6976 642 642 (), [25]. checkin: 13.00; checkout: 12.00. Villa Rodia is designed with the philosophy of providing extraordinary luxury. Facilities: The vila is 100 sq. meters and has 2 bedrooms with double bed and a bedroom with 1 single bed. It is a modern, fully equipped villa and it is suitable for up to 5 persons. View: From your private veranda and the private terrace, you can enjoy the wonderfully Oia sunset and a panoramic view to the sea and to the Aegean islands of Ios, Sikinos and Folegandros.  edit


  • Alta Mare, (near the Orthodox Cathedral), +30 286 071 428, [26]. A small complex of 10 studios and suites, all with Caldera view.  edit
  • Atlantida Villas Oia, Finikia 847 02, +30 228 607 1319, [27]. checkin: 11:00; checkout: 11:30. Suites and apartments  edit
  • Perivolas Traditional Houses, +30 228 607 1308, [28]. It is famous for its shared pool with its edge visibly continues as a sea. The hotel was heavily advertised in several worldwide travel magazines, which brought the prices to exorbitant level. Some studios or suites feature black-colored private outdoor pool or even outdoor jacuzzi.  edit

Stay safe[edit]

If you plan to get around Ia beyond walking from parking lot to your room, please wear travel boots or sandals: most pavements are covered with cobblestone, and there are lots of stairs in the town as you walk around.

Be aware of the stray cats and dogs around town. It is unusual for them to become provoked, but not impossible.


Get out[edit]

Return to Fira/Thira and catch a ferry to your next destination. Crete (Iraklio) is a nice, short trip from Santorini: approximately 2 hours by ferry. From Crete (Souda, near Chania), you could catch an overnight ferry back to Piraeus to continue your trip on the mainland.

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