Location: Oia, Santorini
Good morning! Hope your week has had a great start. As you sit down with your morning coffee to read this, I want to tell you a little story about my inspiration for this post. I was on holiday in Oia (pronounced ‘ee-yah’), Santorini last month and was completely blown away by its beautiful seascapes and architecture. Those pretty shades of blue and picturesque white buildings made for perfect photography material. Unfortunately it was not only me that had this idea. So did the other all the other tourists around me. Some tourists were more prepared than others to get that picture perfect shot – no matter the cost. I watched as some climbed over wire barriers and onto the curved white rooftops, so that they could pose for what would appear to be the perfect Instagram shot. Before I could say ‘wow that seems dangerous’, I noticed that a queue of about 6 others has formed and they were all waiting for their time to climb onto the rooftop. There was at least a story drop from this rooftop, and never mind that it was someone’s private property… but instead of seeing the negative, I thought I would write an article on where you can take some beautiful shots of your time in Santorini, without hurting yourself or trespassing!
The Santorini Sunset
The first suggestion had to be the most obvious. The main reason that people come to Santorini to begin with – those infamous sunsets. And I promise that whatever you see in pictures does not come close to the awe you feel when you see it in real life. The sky is burning red and it burnt its image in my mind forever. These are some of my favourite shots of all time so I want to share with you where you can take the same ones! It’s important to note the time that sunset occurs so do check before you head off. When I was there at the beginning of July, it was around 20:30. This very evening, we had a restaurant reservation at a delicious Greek restaurant called Athenian House (reservations are a must!) The shots were taken just a few metres away from the entrance. Note that the street is unnamed, so you might need to ask your taxi driver to guide you to the restaurant. I couldn’t think of a more perfect evening than sunsets that make your jaw-drop and food that makes your mouth water.
The Aegean Sea
Surrounded by the most beautiful seascapes I have seen in a long time, a picture with the Aegean Sea in the background is an absolute must. Now bear in mind that the town of Oia becomes absolutely packed with tourists in the afternoon, particularly because all of the cruise ships that drop off thousands of passengers on the island of Santorini. I mentioned in a previous article that our taxi driver had told us 50,000 tourists come ashore from cruise ships during peak season. How crazy is that?! I highly recommend that you explore Oia’s town centre early in the morning, and explore other areas in Santorini from about noon onwards. You’ll find the whole experience less overwhelming. We weren’t aware of this when we had gone ourselves so we did have to battle through the crowds, but we still managed to find this pretty little spot and took this shot that has had so much positive feedback on Instagram. You’ll find this same spot as soon as you walk through the main arched entrance of Oia’s town centre. You’ll see that there is a very small shop opposite the entrance with just a few stairs. It was here that this shot was taken.
And it is absolutely everywhere so you will not be left short of options. The prettiest spot I found was this cute little square just off the main walk in Oia town centre. Lots of room to sit in the shade and take beautiful pictures of the bougainvillea. That being said, the bougainvillea is everywhere, so just keep your eyes peeled!
The Church with Six Bells
You’ll know you are in the main square of Oia when you spot the Ekklisia Panagia Platsani, a Greek Orthodox church. I like to call it the Church with Six Bells. One of the prettiest churches I saw during my time in Santorini and a great place to take some lovely shots. I love how the bells cast a shadow on those pure white walls and how the lamp posts look a little like blue candy cane. You’ll also spot a few of the locals sitting on the steps nearby just watching the people walk passed. Just daily life for Santorinians.
The Three Blue Domes
Another must see whilst in Oia, yet not necessarily the easiest to find if you don’t know where to go. Once you know though, it is really easy and you can take the most spectacular pictures. It was here that the queue had formed to take pictures on the rooftop. There is good reason for it; from this spot you can see the three blue domes that have become such an iconic Santorinian shot. The white rooftops, the blue domes, those mysterious bells and a gorgeous view of the Aegean. I was also intrigued by the amount of little hot tubs that were dotted around. They were all of a metre and a half long but that clear blue against the pure white walls with the dark blue Aegean in the background just made everything feel a bit surreal. Once you are in the main street in Oia’s town centre, locate the Ekklisia Panagia Platsani above. If facing the church, walk to your left. Once you see the Gold and Silver Market store, walk down that narrow alleyway opposite until you see the sea and domes.
Ammoudi Bay is definitely somewhere you need to visit. If it’s not for the photography then at least for the food. We had some of the most delicious seafood at Ammoudi Tavern and I highly recommend you check it out (again, best make a reservation in advance). From the main town, just ask for directions to the stairs that will take you down to Ammoudi Bay. Simply walk down the stairs (pretty please don’t use the mules in the sweltering heat!) until you’ve reached the bay and the Ammoudi Tavern is just on your right. You’ll find it quite easily – it’s that place where there are about six octopi strung out on a piece of string in the sun, drying out before they are placed on the grill. The octopus comes highly recommended. You can take some beautiful pictures by the sea or indulging in your seafood extravaganza.
I hope this quick guide will inspire you to go out and find these places, as well as discover other new and picturesque parts of Santorini. If you’d like to share anymore, please drop your suggestions down below in the comments!