Oia, famous all over the world for its sunset, is a piece of architectural splendour. The castle or “Goulas” of Agios Nikolaos (today’s Oia, or Epano Meria, as it used to be called) was built at the north-western edge of the island. The church of Agios Nikolaos, which gave its name to the village, dates back to the 15th or 16th century, and it was carved in the rock. The settlement was built along the line of the so-called “brow” of the Kaldera crater, and consists of groups of rock-hewn buildings, churches, and captains’ houses painted in different colours. Thousands of people visit Oia every year to admire its beauty – especially in the late afternoon and evening, when the streets of Caldera are lit thus creating a magical atmosphere. While being an ideal honeymoon destination, just like the other villages along the crater, it has developed into a brilliant location for upscale tourism with exceptional hotels, restaurants and cafés, shops, art galleries, and museums.
The settlement consists of four neighborhoods: Karavokiraion (Sideras) or the ship owners’ neighbourhood, the crews’ neighbourhood, Perivolas, where the old wineries used to be hosted, and the new neighbourhood. The main route is the pedestrian street paved in marble, which offers a view of the crater. Starting out from the square with the church of Plastani, you can walk towards Goulas, passing in front of a series of shops, cafés, restaurants, and the two museums of the settlement. You will also see the churches of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary and Agios Nikolaos. The Venetian area, at the site of Goulas (a watchtower used during the French rule), was destroyed by earthquakes. You can admire the sunset from there. As you walk towards the opposite direction, you will arrive at Perivolas, another excellent place to where you can stop to take some pictures and admire the beautiful sunset. In 1993, with a Presidential Decree, Oia was declared a traditional settlement. Just like the entire group of islands of Santorini, it is considered an area “of unique natural beauty”.