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A Visit to Oia, Santorini, Greece

Oia Village Santorini Greece Cliffs II 780 | Umami Girl

The beautiful Greek island of Santorini

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

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.

Passaggio Oia Village Santorini Greece 780 | Umami Girl
Oia Village Santorini Greece Stairway 780 | Umami Girl

Dinner at Skala Restaurant

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 Skala Restaurant 780 | Umami Girl
Oia Village Santorini Greece Donkeys 780 | Umami Girl

Dessert at Skiza Cafe

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 Shopping and Skiza Cafe 780 | Umami Girl
Oia Village Santorini Greece Caldera Sea 780 | Umami Girl
Oia Village Santorini Greece Purple Flowers 780 | Umami Girl
Oia Village Santorini Greece Purple Flowers 780 | Umami Girl
Oia Village Santorini Greece Buildings 780 | Umami Girl
Oia Village Santorini Greece 780 | Umami Girl
Leaving Oia Village Santorini Greece 780 | Umami Girl

 A Chill Hike through Oia Town (Outside the Village)

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 Family Walk 780 | Umami Girl
Oia Santorini Greece Walk with Kids 780 | Umami Girl
Oia Santorini Greece Succulents 780 | Umami Girl
Oia Santorini Greece Pomegranate Tree 780 | Umami Girl

Santorinimou Restaurant, Oia Town

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 from the look on my face, 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.

Copes at Santorinimou Oia Santorini Greece 780 | Umami Girl

The Many Doorways of Oia

So many beautiful doorways of so many kinds. I thought they deserved their own section. Ta-da.

Oia Santorini Greece Doorways 780 | Umami Girl-2
Oia Santorini Greece Doorways 780 | Umami Girl-2
Oia Santorini Greece Doorways 780 | Umami Girl-2

Oia Suites Villa

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. 

Oia Suites Oia Santorini Greece Montage 780 _ Umami Girl

Questionable holiday card in the making

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

Oia Santorini Greece Cope Family Holiday Card 780 | Umami Girl

Watching the sunset from the villa

It was nice. You should do it.

Oia Santorini Greece Sunset 780 | Umami Girl-2
Oia Santorini Greece Sunset 780 | Umami Girl-2

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 

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