Some of the most beautiful blue and white images of Greece anyone has ever seen are right here in the village of Oia (Greek: Οία) on Santorini. It is a traveler's dream, complete with shops and cafes, tavernas and art galleries. Surrounded by the Aegean Sea, the village sits up on the cliff overlooking the water, a great subject for photographers.
Fresh fish is available every day in the tavernas, and it is cooked to perfection. The healthy Mediterranean diet is the norm, here. The ancient village has seen fishing boats go in and out to the sea from these docks for over 3,000 years. That's enough time to perfect a way of life.
Watching the sun set is an activity every evening in Oia. The white terraces are turned to gold against the darkening sky, and as the sun sinks slowly below the horizon, everyone exhales, applauds and goes on with their plans for the evening. A very pleasant way to observe the dramatic sunset is on a charter boat cruise near the island where visitors can take advantage of more photo opportunities.
There is a long history of human presence in this village, and the Naval Maritime Museum has drawings of ancient ships, relics, figureheads, seamen's chests documenting this. The men of Santorini, or Thirans, always entered the Hellenic Navy; it is documented with some rare photographs. The museum is a refurbished 19th century mansion, also worth seeing.
Another museum containing ancient items is the Santorini Museum of Musical Instruments in the old community building in the center of town. Instruments that date back to 2,800 B.C. through the early 20th century are available for viewing. Imagine seeing something still intact from almost 3,000 years ago.
Several films were made in Oia, paying tribute to the panoramic scenery and ancient structures preserved in this village. Angelina Jolie was in one film with chase scenes that raced through town. Walk the route and see the village in a different light.
On the east side of the village, there are steps down to Armeni Bay that are quite picturesque. There may be about 300 steps, so tourists that do this should be prepared. There are good views from here, too, so it would be wise to bring the camera. The cave houses, those built into the rock cliffs, are very quiet inside. If there is a chance to see one, take it. The tiny front patio probably looks out over the sea, and the heating and cooling must be fairly consistent throughout the year. These caves were in existence centuries before people claimed them, and they are still functioning residences. That is something to write home about.
The "center" of town is really toward the east end of the village. There are tourist shops here, but also local shops and art galleries. This ice cream colored village with its clean little shopping area is out of a brochure for paradise. Make new memories here and pretend it is home.