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A Visit to Oia, Santorini, Greece

Oia Village Santorini Greece Cliffs II | Umami Girl

It’s no secret that the Greek island of Santorini is one of the more beautiful places in the known universe. The whites, the blues, the cliffs, the caldera! It’s almost too much. At the top of Santorini’s curated gorgeousness spectrum is the village of Oia, nestled into the island’s northwestern coast. On the upside, this place is profoundly beautiful. On the downside, everybody knows it — so you’ll basically be tripping over brides and aspiring models and selfie sticks with every step. (Although I guess if you’re not a 39-year-old married mom, these could be features, too.)  

I’ve divided this post into sections since there are a lot of photos. You can explore Oia Village immediately below, as well as Oia Town (the more “real” part of Oia, where people live). You can check out family vacation photos of us messing around at the beautiful villa we rented. Or you can skip straight to the short list of resources at the end of the post. Have fun! 

Strolling through Oia Village

Passaggio Oia Santorini | Umami Girl

Oia village cascades down a steep set of cliffs that end in a caldera (formed when a volcanic magma chamber collapses — whoa). The stunning white and blue buildings include cathedrals, hotels, shops and residences, many of which were rebuilt after a massive earthquake in 1956. These days it’s tourist heaven during the summer, with no real upper limit on the fanciness you can find in restaurants, shops and photo ops. 

We found a couple of nice casual eating spots with delicious food and great views, and mostly just strolled along the main drag otherwise.

Oia Village Santorini Greece Succulents | Umami GirlOia Village Santorini Greece Stairway | Umami Girl

Dinner at Skala RestaurantOia Village Santorini Greece Skala Restaurant | Umami Girl

We had two dinners at Skala Restaurant, a very relaxed place with friendly service, a beautiful view and a wide variety of Greek food standards done well. Nothing fancy or super-inventive, but that’s exactly the point. We feasted on big salads, hummus and tzatziki, pasta with calamari and shrimp, stewed beans and plenty of house wine. And hey, Skala is the donkey route, which somehow Santorini makes into a good thing.

Oia Village Santorini Greece Donkeys | Umami Girl

Dessert as Skiza Cafe
Oia Village Santorini Greece Shopping | Umami Girl

For gelato, lots of people recommend Lolita’s. We never made it there, but we happened upon the cute, seemingly popular, centrally located Skiza Cafe. They have lots to offer, including a small gelato counter right at the entrance, so of course we gelatoed up there a couple of times during the week. Two thumbs up.
Oia Village Santorini Greece Sea | Umami GirlOia Village Santorini Greece Purple Flowers II | Umami GirlOia Village Santorini Greece Purple Flowers | Umami GirlOia Village Santorini Greece Hotels | Umami Girl

Oia Village Santorini Greece Cliffs | Umami GirlOia Village Santorini Greece Buildings | Umami GirlOia Village Santorini Greece | Umami Girl

Leaving Oia Village Santorini Greece | Umami Girl

 A Chill Hike through Oia Town (Outside the Village)

Oia Santorini Greece Path | Umami Girl

We also loved walking (it’s steep, so can we call it hiking?) through the town of Oia outside the village. It’s beautiful in a much less curated way than the village, which at times is a bit of a relief. We headed down toward the water and eventually back up on what we thought was the same trail but turned out not to be. A resident caught us looking confused and offered us a shortcut OVER HIS ROOF. We took it. (Many of the homes have steps carved into them, and I’d wondered why but no longer have to.) Traveling is the best, right?

Oia Santorini Greece Pomegranate Tree | Umami Girl

Oh hey, pomegranate tree. Nice to see you.

Oia Santorini Greece Succulents | Umami Girl
Oia Santorini Greece Walk with Kids | Umami Girl

Oia Santorini Greece Family Walk | Umami Girl

Santorinimou Restaurant, Oia Town

Copes at Santorinimou Oia Santorini Greece | Umami Girl

Directly across from our villa — and right at the top of the hike — we found Santorinimou Restaurant which, as you can see, positively bursts with personality. They take a photo of every customer with their nation’s flag (we couldn’t resist adding the Union Jack since we visited Santorini during our move back to the States from London). I’d forgotten about the photo until I started putting this post together, and lo and behold, there we were on the July 2015 page of their website. I wasn’t drunk, but you’ll have to take my word for it. If I had been, I would’ve fit in just fine with the vibe there, and I mean that in the best possible way.

The Many Doorways of Oia

Leaving Oia Village Santorini Greece | Umami Girl So many beautiful doorways of so many kinds. I thought they deserved their own section. Ta-da.

Leaving Oia Village Santorini Greece | Umami Girl

Oia Santorini Greece Doorway with Flowers | Umami Girl

Oia Suites Villa

Villa with Pool Oia Santorini Greece | Umami Girl

We rented a villa in a tiny development called Oia Suites, and I’d like to think we made the most of it. Lots of time swimming, reading, soaking in the view and the sun and the sunsets, and cooking up family-style meals with ingredients bought at a convenience store with a handful of fresh ingredients and a very nice proprietor who got a kick out of us. 

Santorini Greece Oia Suites Villa with Pool | Umami GirlSantorini Greece Oia Suites Villa with Pool | Umami Girl

The insanity above ended up being our holiday card this year, because why have matching clothes or even matching head sizes when you can have this?

Santorini Greece Oia Suites Villa with Pool | Umami GirlSantorini Greece Oia Suites Villa with Pool | Umami GirlSantorini Greece Oia Suites Villa with Pool | Umami GirlSantorini Greece Oia Suites Villa with Pool | Umami Girl

I MEAN. That view. Right?

Santorini Greece Oia Suites Villa with Pool | Umami GirlAtul Gawande Being Mortal Light Reading Oia Santorini Greece | Umami Girl

Some light reading, because I totally do vacation the way other people do vacation. Also, this hat. 

Athens Hat Oia Santorini Greece | Umami Girl

Watching the Sunset from the Villa

Oia Santorini Greece Sunset Watching | Umami Girl

Oia Santorini Greece Sunset | Umami Girl

Oia, Santorini Travel Recommendations

Eat

  • Skala Restaurant, Oia Village: casual, traditional Greek menu, great view
  • Santorinimou Restaurant, Oia Town: casual and full of personality, live music, traditional Greek menu
  • Skiza Cafe for Gelato, Oia Village: coffee shop with good gelato 

Stay

Carolyn xx

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Hi there, I'm Carolyn, and I'm delighted you're here. I'm a NYC-area food, travel, yoga, coffee, wine, running, music making and book obsessive with a great family and a love for sharing it all with you. Grab a drink and come on in. Learn more.

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