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19 Best Things to Do in Oia Santorini You’ll Love

Looking for the best things to do in Oia, Santorini? 

During my unforgettable week in this bucket list destination, I discovered firsthand why Oia is a must-visit spot on any Cycladic Greek itinerary

From watching the world-renowned sunsets from the Oia Castle to dining by Ammoudi Bay, the range of Oia things to do is truly vast. I still remember the first glimpse of the iconic blue-domed churches, it was truly breathtaking. 

Whether simply wandering the charming lanes and taking in the caldera views (my favorite thing to do in Oia), or spending your days adventuring the whole island or enjoying Santorini’s wineries, the places to visit in Oia and beyond are worth at least three days spent on Santorini.

In this guide, I’ll share a detailed overview of the top attractions and insider tips to help you make the most of your time in Oia, Santorini. Get ready to fall in love with this Aegean gem!

Things to Book Before You Leave Home
There are few things more frustrating on vacation than missing out on that amazing hotel or tour because it is sold out. Here are our top things to book before your vacation.

🌇 Most Popular Tours in Santorini:
1. Highlights Tour with Wine Tasting and Oia Sunset -my top pick
2. Volcanic Island Cruise and Hot Springs
3. Santorini Private Caldera Sailing Trip -book to include sunset

🛏️Where to Stay in Santorini:
1. Anteliz Suites -stylish boutique hotel I stayed at in Thira
2. Mr and Mrs White Santorni -great value hotel I stayed at in Oia

19 Best Things to Do in Oia Santorini

1. Watch the Sunset from Oia Castle


Visiting the ruins of Oia Castle for sunset is a must-do in Oia, Santorini. The view is magnificent, with the sun setting over the caldera and the picturesque Ammoudi Bay below, casting a golden glow on the whitewashed buildings.

I recommend getting there two hours early to find a good spot, as it gets crowded. Bring a light jacket since it can get windy up on top of the ruins (if you are lucky enough to find a seat there). And since this is one of the top things to do in Oia and on the entire island, wear comfortable shoes as you might need to stand for a while if no seats are left.

Consider bringing a small snack and a bottle of wine to make the wait more enjoyable.

2. Visit the Church of Panagia Platsani

Photo Credit: Haley Blackall

The Church of Panagia Platsani stands proudly in Oia’s central square, with its blue dome reflecting the traditional Cycladic architecture. When I explored inside, I was struck by its simple elegance, adorned with religious icons and a quiet ambiance.

Panagia Platsani
Panagia Platsani

Early morning visits are ideal to avoid the crowds, and nearby, you’ll find cafes perfect for sipping coffee with a view of the church. Don’t limit your experience to an exterior photo; the interior offers an insightful glimpse into Greek Orthodox tradition.

If you’re around on a Sunday, try to catch a local service in progress. The cultural experience is worth the effort, and you might even witness local traditions that aren’t part of the typical tourist path.

3. Enjoy a Delicious Seafood Meal at Ammoudi Bay

Photo Credit: Photo by Jonas Weissberg on Unsplash

Ammoudi Bay is more than just a picturesque spot, it’s an experience that brings you closer to the authentic charm of Oia, Santorini. Nestled below Oia’s cliffs, I found that the 200-step descent led me to a harbor filled with colorful boats and waterfront tavernas serving fresh seafood.

ammoudi bay
Ammoudi bay

I recommend wearing sturdy shoes for the steep walk down. Once there, find a spot at one of the tavernas and enjoy a meal with the waves gently lapping nearby. I had a fantastic fish dinner at Dimitris Ammoudi Taverna.

dimitris ammoudi taverna fish
dimitris ammoudi taverna fish

For the adventurous, a short walk around the corner leads to a rocky outcrop where locals love to dive into the clear blue waters. I took the plunge myself, and it was exhilarating! A visit to Ammoudi Bay isn’t just about the view; it’s about embracing the local lifestyle.

Read more about Santorini: Best Black Beaches on Santorini, Best Restaurants in Thira, Where to watch the sunset in Santorini, best wineries on Santorini, how to get from Santorini to Ios and the best cave hotels in Santorini.

4. Photograph the Blue Domed Churches

Oia’s blue-domed churches are synonymous with Santorini’s image, and exploring them is essential to any visit. I found that these churches are scattered throughout Oia, each with its unique features.
The most popular church is Anastaseos, situated high on the Caldera cliffs, offering an incredible backdrop for photographs, especially during sunrise.

4. Blue Domed Churches - Things to Do in Oia Santorini

Photo Credit: Haley Blackall

During my exploration, I noticed these churches are often tucked away in narrow alleys. I suggest taking your time to wander and discover these hidden gems. Many local shops sell maps with the churches’ locations, or you can join a guided walking tour to learn more about their history and significance.

5. Stay in a Private Pool Villa

5. Private Pool Villa - Things to Do in Oia Santorini

Photo Credit: Photo by Philip Jahn on Unsplash

Staying in a private pool villa in Oia, Santorini is an unparalleled experience that I wholeheartedly recommend. It’s a splurge, but it’s truly an Oia experience worthy of the higher price tag. 

I had the pleasure of staying at a villa equipped with all modern amenities, and the highlight was undoubtedly the private terrace with an infinity pool. I enjoyed my morning coffee there, watching the world wake up, and in the evening, the sunset transformed the entire scene into a golden paradise.

Many villas are strategically located close to Oia’s main attractions yet hidden enough to provide a peaceful retreat. Booking well in advance is crucial, especially during the peak season.

6. See the Oia Windmills

6. Oia Windmills - Things to Do in Oia Santorini

Photo Credit: Photo by Sadie Teper on Unsplash

The iconic windmills of Oia, Santorini, are not just photogenic landmarks but a nod to the island’s historical reliance on wind power. Strategically placed on the island’s northern tip, the windmills catch the strong winds that sweep across the Aegean Sea.

During my visit, I enjoyed a leisurely stroll around the windmills, taking in the sweeping views of the sea and the surrounding landscape. The area is less crowded compared to other parts of Oia, offering a peaceful spot to reflect on the unique blend of nature and human ingenuity.

The windmills are best explored during the early morning or late afternoon when the lighting is perfect for photographs. I found a nearby cafe where I enjoyed a cool drink while watching the sun set over the windmills, adding to the timeless beauty of the scene.

7. Stop for a coffee at the Meteor Cafe

7. Meteor Cafe - Things to Do in Oia Santorini

Photo Credit: Haley Blackall

Finding a spot to unwind and enjoy a cup of coffee with a view is easy in Oia, but Meteor Cafe stands out for its exceptional location. I stumbled upon this cafe during my wanderings, and it quickly became my go-to place for a mid-morning break.

Meteor Cafe has some outdoor seating but inside is where it’s at. Try to grab the corner booth for absolutely sweeping views of the caldera. I particularly enjoyed their traditional Greek coffee, served strong and with a delightful local twist.

While Oia has many cafes, Meteor Cafe’s combination of decent coffee (yes, it’s pricey!), snack options, inviting atmosphere, and breathtaking views made it a standout experience during my stay in Oia, Santorini.

8. Find a new beach read at Atlantis Books

For book lovers and curious travelers alike, Atlantis Books is a haven that can’t be missed in Oia, Santorini. Tucked away in a basement, this independent bookstore is packed with charm and character.

Atlantis Books
Atlantis Books

The store offers a beautifully curated selection of books, ranging from classic literature to contemporary works, many available in various languages. The wooden shelves, art-adorned walls, and cozy reading nooks create an atmosphere that invites you to linger.

What sets Atlantis Books apart is its community engagement. I learned about their regular events during my visit, including author readings, film screenings, and even literary festivals. The staff’s passion for books and culture is contagious, and their recommendations led me to discover new authors.
Don’t miss the store’s terrace, which offers beautiful views. 

9. Eat a gyros at Pitogyros Traditional Grill House

If one culinary experience stood out during my stay in Oia, Santorini, it has to be the gyros from Pitogyros Traditional Grill House. This unassuming eatery is located off the main tourist trail and serves some of the most delicious and authentic gyros I’ve ever tasted.


The menu is straightforward, with a choice of pork, chicken, or vegetarian gyros, all served with fresh vegetables, tzatziki sauce, and a generous serving of fries.

I chose the pork gyro, and it was packed with flavor, perfectly seasoned, and cooked to tender perfection. 

Pitogyros is often busy, especially during lunch hours, so expect a short wait (we waited for 20 minutes or so). But trust me, the taste and quality make it worth every minute. It’s an essential stop for anyone looking to indulge in local flavors.

10. Armeni Bay

Armeni Bay, a lesser-known gem in Oia, Santorini, offers a peaceful escape from the often crowded main areas. 

Armeni Bay things to do in oia santorini
Armeni Bay

The path to Armeni Bay starts near Oia’s main square and descends through a series of winding steps. Along the way, enjoy views of the cliffs and sparkling sea, with the scent of wild herbs filling the air.
Once at the bay, you will find a small harbor with fishing boats and one waterfront restaurant serving fresh seafood. The water was invitingly clear, perfect for a refreshing swim.

It’s essential to note that the walk back up is quite steep, so good footwear is a must. Alternatively, there are boats that can take you back to Ammoudi Bay if you prefer, but there will also be 200 steps from there.

11. Santorini Maritime Museum

Delving into the rich maritime history of Santorini, the Santorini Maritime Museum in Oia provides a fascinating insight into the island’s seafaring traditions. Housed in a renovated mansion, the museum exhibits collections that took me on a journey through time.

santorini maritime museum
santorini maritime museum

The exhibits cover various aspects of maritime life, from shipbuilding and navigation to fishing techniques. What caught my attention was the collection of detailed ship models, historical documents, and nautical instruments. There’s also a section dedicated to the sailors themselves, depicting their daily life and adventures.

An audio guide is available in different languages, enhancing the experience with additional context and anecdotes. Whether you’re a history buff or just curious about local culture, this museum is worth a stop.

12. Enjoy the Shopping

Shopping in Oia, Santorini offers a unique blend of local crafts, art, and high-end fashion. 

I loved perusing the local products like handmade jewelry, ceramics, and textiles. One of my favourite shops was a small family-owned ceramic studio where I watched artists creating intricate pieces inspired by Santorini’s landscapes.

view over santorini
Wearing a new lilac hand bought in Oia

Fashion enthusiasts will find boutiques carrying Greek designers, showcasing modern interpretations of traditional styles. The quality and creativity were impressive, and I couldn’t resist adding a few linen pieces to my wardrobe.

Don’t forget to explore the local food shops offering authentic products like olive oil, herbs, and the island’s unique wines. I picked up some local honey infused with thyme, a flavor that takes me right back to Oia every time I taste it.

13. Walk from Oia to Fira

The hike from Oia to Fira is an absolute must for anyone visiting Santorini. This scenic trail takes you along the caldera’s edge, offering breathtaking views of the sea, neighboring volcanic islands, and the distinctive Cycladic architecture.

oia to thira walk
oia to thira walk

I started my hike early in the morning to avoid the heat of the day, and the sunrise over the caldera was nothing short of spectacular. The path is well-marked, and though it has some steep and uneven sections, I found it to be accessible for most fitness levels.

oia to thira walk
oia to thira walk

The hike takes roughly 2 to 4 hours, depending on your pace and how often you stop to take in the views. Make sure to wear sturdy footwear, bring enough water, and pack some snacks for the journey.

Along the way, you’ll pass through picturesque villages like Firostefani and Imerovigli, each offering unique photo opportunities and places to rest.

14. See the Caldera on a Catamaran Cruise

14. Catamaran Cruise - Things to Do in Oia Santorini.

Photo Credit: Photo by Febiyan on Unsplash

Embarking on a catamaran cruise in the Santorini Caldera was one of the most magical experiences during my stay in Oia. The cruise offers an entirely different perspective of the island, with unparalleled views of the cliffs and volcanic formations.

I opted for a sunset cruise, which included a delightful barbeque dinner prepared onboard and snorkeling near the Red Beach. The warm glow of the setting sun on the white-washed buildings of Oia provided a surreal backdrop to our meal.

santorini red beach
Santorini red beach

The crew was attentive, sharing insights about the island’s geology and history, and ensuring everyone was comfortable. The catamaran itself was spacious and well-equipped, making the journey smooth and enjoyable.

Book Your Caldera Catamaran Cruise

15. Take a Santorini Wine Tasting Tour

santorini rose wine
Santorini rose wine

Santorini’s unique volcanic soil and microclimate make it a haven for wine enthusiasts. The island is renowned for its indigenous grape varieties, and the best way to explore Santorini’s rich wine tradition is through a guided tour. 

The tour will take you to different family-owned wineries, each with its distinct character and approach to winemaking. 

Get introduced to local varieties such as Assyrtiko, a crisp white wine with a mineral finish, and Vinsanto, a sweet dessert wine made from sun-dried grapes. Expect a few accouterments to go along with your tasting, such as delicious local cheese, bread and olives. 

santo wines view
Santo winery view

Beyond the tasting, the tour provided insights into the traditional vine cultivation methods unique to Santorini, with vines grown in low basket-shaped crowns to protect them from strong winds.

🍷 Book Your Santorini Wine Tour

16. Enjoy a Volcano & Hot Springs Day Trip

16. Volcano Tour - Things to Do in Oia Santorini

Photo Credit: Photo by Sabina Palencia on Unsplash

One of the most adventurous things to do while in Oia, Santorini, is taking a day trip to the volcano and hot springs. The active volcano, Nea Kameni, forms the center of the Santorini Caldera, and a visit here provides a chance to understand the geological forces that shaped the island.

My trip started with a short boat ride to Nea Kameni, where I took a guided hike to the volcano’s crater. The landscape is rugged and barren, with wafts of sulfur and steam hinting at the volcanic activity beneath the surface. The guide explained the volcano’s history and current monitoring efforts, which added depth to the experience.

Following the hike, we headed to the nearby hot springs, where the mineral-rich waters offer a therapeutic soak. The contrast between the warm springs and the cool sea created a refreshing and relaxing experience.

Make sure to wear sturdy shoes for the hike, and don’t forget your swimsuit for the hot springs. 

🌋 Book Your Volcano and Hot Springs Day Trip

17. Be an Influencer for a Day with a Flying Dress Photoshoot

17. Flying Dress Photoshoot - Things to Do in Oia Santorini

Photo Credit: Photo by Jialin Hu on Unsplash

Oia is full of camera-ready moments, but for a truly unique memory, you can partake in a flying dress photoshoot. This growing trend, especially popular among couples and solo travelers, adds a touch of whimsy and elegance to the photographic memories of the trip.

You’ll work with a local photographer and select the perfect flowing dress and picturesque locations together. The photographer will know all the right spots and angles to create that dreamy, floating effect with the dress.

The early morning hours provide the best lighting, plus the streets will be quieter, allowing you to capture stunning images without the crowds. This is a great experience in Oia to book especially for those celebrating a special occasion or love the luxe and glamour of a photoshoot like this.

👗 Book Your Santorini Flying Dress Photoshoot

18. Find out the best spots on Santorini for pics on an Instagram Photo Tour

18. Instagram Tour - Things to So in Santorini

Photo Credit: Haley Blackall
Oia, Santorini, with its cascading white-washed buildings, iconic blue domes, and endless sea views, is an Instagrammer’s dream. 

An Instagram photo tour is a specialized tour guided by local photographers who know all the ins and outs of the town. The guide will provide photography tips, from framing and composition to utilizing natural light, ensuring that even with a smartphone, you can capture magazine-worthy photos.

An Instagram photo tour of Oia is not only for social media enthusiasts but anyone who appreciates the beauty of Santorini and wants to learn how to capture it creatively. It’s a fun and informative way to explore Oia, and you’ll leave with beautiful memories and photos to match.

📷 Book Your Santorini Instagram Photo Tour

19. Explore Santorini on an ATV Sightseeing Tour

Exploring Santorini on an ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle) is one of the most thrilling ways to see the island. 
An organized ATV tour will provide you with well-maintained vehicles and safety equipment like helmets.

After a brief orientation, start your adventurous sightseeing experience.  Explore things to see in Santorini like Perissa Beach, the Venetian Castle, a Santorini wine cellar and the traditional windmills. Snacks and drinks will be included in some offerings.

perissa beach
Perissa beach

Remember to adhere to local traffic rules and be mindful of pedestrians and other vehicles. Also, it’s advisable to check the weather forecast as the winds in Santorini can be strong, affecting the riding experience.

🚙 Book Your Santorini ATV Sightseeing Tour

You might enjoy reading some of my other articles about the Greek Islands:

Paxos Beaches
Paxos Restaurants
Paxos Greece Guide
Mylopotas Beach
Things to do in Ios
Santorini to Ios
Most Beautiful Islands in Greece

Where to Stay in Oia Santorini

On my second trip to Santorini, I stayed at Mr and Mrs White Santorni. This charming boutique hotel sits on the caldera and has fantastic views. It is very modern in design but combined with the island’s traditional style.

mr and mrs white pool
Mr. and Mrs white pool

The design theme is black and white which works very well on this often blue and white and oh so bright island. Breakfast is served above the main reception and also provides fantastic views. The buffet includes hot food and I highly recommend the spanokopitas. Greek or traditional-style omelettes are also available.

mr and mrs white santorini room
mr and mrs white santorini room

The hotel has a pool area and a second area for a smaller pool and jacuzzi. It is a slight maze of rooms and arches and otudoor corridors but this all gives a nice sense of privacy. The staff were very friendly – particularly at breakfast where they remembered our coffee order each morning!

mr and mrs white breakfast
mr and mrs white breakfast

Location wise, Mr and Mrs White is perfect. It is a quite flat approx 10 minute walk into the heart of Oia.

🛏️ Check Prices and Availability for Mr and Mrs White Oia

Canaves Oia Suites & Spa is a quintessential Santorini cave hotel with a deep-rooted history in luxury resorts. As one of the first to introduce tourism to the fishing village of Oia, the Chaidemenos family transformed these 17th-century caves into designer-chic luxury hotel rooms. 


The spacious rooms feature simple white decor and a unique piece of antique furniture or an obscure art object. You’ll enjoy the restaurant’s gourmet dishes. A wine cellar tour is also available upon request.

🛏️ Check Prices and Availability for Canaves Oia

Sitting atop a cliff, Perivolas Hotel is just a stone’s throw away from the bustling Oia centre. The 5-star hotel boasts a striking exterior — a bare-brick facade with strips of white Cyclades architecture.


The interior is even more captivating. Perivolas offers 22 private houses in restored 300-year-old hand-dug caves. Each suite is classy, with sculpted whitewashed stone walls, alcove beds, and rich wood accents.

🛏️ Check Prices and Availability for Perivolas Hotel

You might enjoy reading some of my other articles about Greece:

Greece 10 Day Itinerary
Greek Landmarks
Things to do in Thessaloniki
Facts about Greece

Things to See in Oia Santorini Final Thoughts

Oia, Santorini, is more than just stunning views, it’s a place brimming with unique experiences and adventures. From the ethereal sunsets at Oia Castle to exploring the caldera on a luxury catamaran cruise, the best things to do in Oia, Santorini, offer something for every traveler. 

Whether you’re indulging in fresh seafood in Ammoudi Bay or capturing a perfect shot of the blue-domed churches, the things to see in Oia promise an unforgettable Greek vacation. 

oia blue door
oia blue door

Guest Author Bio

Haley is the creator of the global travel blog, Haley Blackall Travel. Living half the year in her island home of Bali and half on the road traveling the world, Haley writes knowledgeable in-depth travel guides for the places she visited making sure to provide first-hand experience for her readers.

This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click through on some of the links and end up making a purchase I may receive a commission.

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