Santorini: Fira vs. Oia and Travel Tips
Updated: May 6
Santorini is one of the most notorious Islands in Greece. The island itself is crescent shaped, and was created due to volcanic (Kolumbo) activity. The volcano is currently the most active in the Aegean sea, but don’t let that deter you. Many people dream of visiting Santorini for it’s white cycladic architecture, overlooking the beautiful blue ocean. It really is one of the dreamiest places in the world! No wonder why Oia is considered the most romantic place in Greece.
Deciding on Where to Stay: Fira vs. Oia
Fira vs. Oia is a personal decision to make based on what you want and need. Both are amazing places that have a lot to offer. We personally stayed in Oia because we wanted to be right there to see the three blue domes and the famous santorini sunset, among other things. It made the most sense for us because we already went to Mykonos and partied it up. We saw many different islands and were ready for a very laid back environment where we didn’t have to travel much to do or see things.
-More nightlife and more shopping -More romantic, luxurious, and higher end
-Delicious restaurants - Delicious restaurants, some higher quality
-Both have views of the caldera, different perspectives
-Tours will pickup from Fira or Oia -Tours will pickup from Fira or Oia
-Taking the bus and getting around is -Taking the bus is a little harder and longer
easier since all routes go through because Oil is located north of the Island
Fira and it is more central on the island -~30 min drive from both the airport and
-Closer to the airport (~10 min drive) ferry port
and ferry port (~15 min drive) -Oia is further from the beach towns
-Fira is closer to the beach towns -You are located right where the famous
-To watch the famous Santorini sunset Santorini sunset happens
you take the walking journey to Oia -Busier during sunset hours, very crowded
-Busier during the day
Since we stayed at an airbnb in Oia, we had an amazing rooftop with chairs and a view (https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/23162720?source_impression_id=p3_1588013846_tgaM8WkP5atX7Izm&guests=3&adults=3 ). In Oia, we decided to take a boat tour recommended by our airbnb to explore and see the whole island and what it has to offer in a day. We personally loved this because if we were going to have to travel, by boat seemed the most enjoyable and more of an experience. We did a day trip on a catamaran with a group since we are budget travelers! The day trip included a BBQ, unlimited wine, snorkeling, swimming, and seeing views of amazing Santorini landscapes and villages. We got to view the caldera cliffs, the ancient volcanoes and hot springs (which they explained aren’t really hot anymore), the white beach, the black beach, and the red beach. You come into the port as the sun is setting, which is beautiful. So this tour hit all the main spots we wanted to see.
Some tour recommendations:
Plan ahead: have a car transfer ready for you at the airport or ferry because it is very hard to find a cab and if you do it may be very expensive.
Oia is very crowded, especially in the evening. Wake up early and explore when no one is out and about!
Do not flush toilet paper. There is a wastebasket for your toilet paper. Since you are on an island the toilets can not handle it.
DO NOT IGNORE THE BELLS: If you hear a bunch of bells, clear the way! Otherwise you may get ran over by a donkey or donkeys! This almost happened to Sam around sunset. We had no idea and they move pretty fast through the thin and crowded staircases.
During the busy season, expect CROWDS. For pictures at famous spots, you will wait on lines and yes it is a little uncomfortable to take pictures when everyone is staring at you and waiting for you to hurry up! So like I said before head out early!
Plan ahead: make reservations for restaurants, plan your day ahead because things are booked and options are limited.
Santorini is mostly about the views, not necessarily the beaches! Other islands have better beaches to explore, such as Milos (check out our article about Milos beaches here: https://www.2peasinatravelpod.com/post/the-most-beautfiul-beaches-you-must-see-in-milos .
DO visit Atlantis Bookshop (http://atlantisbooks.org)! The store itself is amazing and they have a cute rooftop area that provides a beautiful view and is not crowded (Pic below was taken on the rooftop area).