I sat on a chalk-white step, sipping on a bottle of water and looking up at a piercing blue sky. Behind me, I heard the jingle of a chain of donkeys heading down the steps of the caldera toward the sapphire sea. Just like Instagram promised. Oia, a small village in the northwest corner of Santorini is simply stunning. Everything is vibrant, bright and clean.
As you know, I do love to photograph derelict places, graffiti-scrawled across alleyways and the grunge of city life, but I found none of that here. Every turn brought another postcard-worthy view. Picturesque is an understatement. And I found myself seeking the imperfections – the peeling paint, the grime, a discarded melting cone of gelato – but found little of any of this.
What I saw over and over again were designer jewellery shops, perfect blue pools dotted along the cliffs, pristine white churches, freshly-painted blue gates, cacti thriving under the sun and immaculate Greek salads.
At this time of year, mid-October, the tourist season was winding down, but shops were still open for a few more weeks, so we didn’t battle with the cruise ship crowds or queue for a seat when it was time for lunch. The weather was still hot but not scorching. Cats lounged in sunspots, barely moving but for a stretch and re-position.
And we made the most of it. This was a surprise trip for Jorge’s birthday, a trip with no plans, a trip for relaxing, for lazy walks, for late mornings, for sunsets and gelato and delicious food.
We spent mornings lying by the pool at Oia Suites (which was empty but for us) reading, listening to the slow flap of umbrellas and the trickle of pool water in the stillness of the day. A sparkling blue-grey Agean sea stretched off into the horizon, interrupted only by the volcanoes, the cliffs of smaller islands and the ships that looked like small bath toys sailing in the distance.
From our terrace at Oia Suites, we could see the white capital village of Fira – a four-hour walk down a dusty trail if you feel so inclined – perched on a black jagged cliff in the bend of the islands. Couples walked along occasionally, in hiking gear and sunglasses. And there was rarely a cloud in the sky, just the long fuzzy streaks of plane trails.
While the excitement of London life was welcome by the time we returned, we loved the five quiet and beautiful days we spent in this surreal paradise of a village.
Adventuring The Great Wide SomewhereNovember 23, 2016 at 12:53 pm
I’m swooning a little bit over here! It’s good to see that Oia is every bit as breathtaking as it seems! I don’t think I could ever tire of gorgeous photos like these. Your trip sounds like absolute bliss. What an excellent surprise!
littleobservationistNovember 23, 2016 at 1:47 pm
Thanks so much about the photos! It truly was a trip full of breathtaking scenery at every turn. Thanks for stopping by 🙂
yummy mummy kitchenNovember 23, 2016 at 3:18 pm
Santorini is so stunning. LOVE the blue and white. Pinning some of these gorgeous pics now.
littleobservationistNovember 23, 2016 at 7:58 pm
Thanks so much for pinning! There’s really nowhere else quite like it…
AishaNovember 23, 2016 at 4:04 pm
Such beautiful photos of an absolutely stunning destination. I think I need to make Oia a higher priority than it was before. Thansk for sharing!
littleobservationistNovember 23, 2016 at 7:59 pm
I hope you get to go one day! Thanks so much about the photos and for stopping by.
fulltimecanadaNovember 23, 2016 at 6:23 pm
What a beautiful spot. All the white buildings instantly make me feel happy.
littleobservationistNovember 23, 2016 at 7:59 pm
It truly is and I know what you mean about the buildings too! It’s definitely a happy place 🙂
ilive4travelNovember 23, 2016 at 8:26 pm
It looks stunning there, and the weather looks great. Was it warm mid october? I really want to visit Santorini though not sure it’s the place for a single backpacker!!!
littleobservationistNovember 23, 2016 at 8:55 pm
Yes, it was actually – sunglasses, dresses and sunblock warm and we even had a dip in the pool. It was actually a nice time because it wasn’t so baking hot but still enough to enjoy plenty of sun. You might be right about going as a single backpacker – at least to stay in Oia because it is a bit on the expensive side – although the island surely has plenty of other options. And if you haven’t been already, Athens definitely is a great place for a single backpacker!
Cait WeingartnerNovember 24, 2016 at 5:38 am
Stunning photos of a gorgeous city! I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Greece yet, but it’s definitely on my “wish list”. It looks like an incredible place, and that you had the adventure of a lifetime!
littleobservationistNovember 24, 2016 at 9:43 am
Thanks Cait! It’s definitely worth a visit. I hope you get to go one day!
Amanda (@aking414)December 6, 2016 at 3:46 pm
Thanks for sharing your experience! Did you find the Oia Suites to be a walk to Oia or was it a bus ride? Going in late April with another couple and love the idea of a caldera view and close to Oia while still affordable
littleobservationistDecember 6, 2016 at 4:14 pm
Hi Amanda, It was definitely just a walk – and a beautiful one at that along the cliff! You reach the beginning of the village in about 5 minutes and in 10 minutes, you’re in the middle of it all. It was a perfect location away from the crowds, but a short stroll to the shops 🙂
Amanda (@aking414)December 6, 2016 at 11:15 pm
Thanks! It looks like a great middle ground with location, views, and amenities xx
littleobservationistDecember 7, 2016 at 9:10 am
Yea, it was really a great place to stay. We booked the best suite which made it special and the staff were absolutely lovely. We’d definitely stay there again if we went back.
the cape on the cornerApril 25, 2017 at 4:10 pm
wow, gorgeous photos! and your husband’s cheeky look wearing that apron is hilarious!