A Day Exploring Oia In Santorini, Greece

Hey crew,

The cruise ship I am working on has been sailing around the Greek islands and today I managed to explore the magical island of Santorini.

The land of blue roofs and compact white buildings, laced with cobblestone streets that makes for the ultimate honeymoon destination in my opinion. 

This island is a tender port which, for those who don’t know, is when the ship cannot dock, so it has to drop the anchor in the middle of the ocean and then Crew and guests get ferried across to the island on little boats called tender boats. The ride from the ship to the island is about 20 minutes.  You will get off the tender at the bottom of a cliff face, which you must go up to get to the beautiful place.  You can either take the cable car, you can walk up the long windy path to reach the top, or you can take a donkey. Please do not take a donkey for two reasons.  These animals are not treated well so if you pay to ride a donkey, you are paying for animal cruelty.
Also, the donkeys are all tied together when they are walking so if one slip’s they all slip.  There was an incident with a group of guests that were taking the donkeys up, and all the donkeys fell over which resulted in one of the 5 people breaking their leg, another fracturing her arm and the other three were bruised and I’m sure the donkeys were too.  This isn’t how you want your day in Santorini to start or end.

So, once you have taken the cable car up or taken the gruelling walk, you will reach the wonderful town of Fira. This place is burning with Greek culture.  The windy streets weave through the white buildings and lead to more Greek restaurants overlooking the ocean. 

Santorini has 14 communities and the one that is all over Instagram is called Oia and it is only 20 minutes away from Fira. Inland a little there is a bus station that takes tourists to Oia. The walk to the bus station takes about 10 minutes and then we had to wait about 15 minutes for the next coach. A return ticket cost’s 20 euros, which is considerably less than taking a taxi.

After the 30-minute bus ride (because of traffic) we finally arrived in paradise. This town is postcard perfect with its whitewashed buildings with blue domes popping up, and glimpses of orange and pink amongst the sea of white.

Oia was practically destroyed in 1956 by an earthquake but you would never know as they have restored the town with all the traditional Greek style architecture. Also, the cobblestone paths that wind through the buildings make it easy to get lost, but I actually love that.  You have no idea where you are going and then you emerge out on the edge of the cliff to the most stunning view.  There is just so much to see at every turn, from the breathtaking views to the charming hotels and the enticing restaurants. 

There are restaurants all over Santorini.  One thing you will definitely not struggle with, is finding a place to eat.  The more difficult task is finding somewhere to eat that isn’t crowded.  Having been to Santorini a handful of times, I can say that the 4 restaurants I have eaten in have all been fabulous, so you just need to look at the menu and see what you fancy.  The feta cheese (as you might imagine) is to die for,  so if you can get something with feta in it, do so.  You won’t regret it.

When you want to go back to Fira you will have to queue up for the bus.  If you wait until 4pm like I did, you may find the queue is long (1-hour wait). If you are not on a time limit then you will just have to wait for the bus, but a few other crew members and I needed to get back for work, so we got a mini-van back.  If you walk down the road a little to where the road opens up there is an excursions shop.  We went in there and asked if anyone would be able to take us back to Fera as it was an ‘emergency’. The man in the shop took us out to a bus that was taking people who had done excursions with them during the day, back to Fira. He saw that there was room,  so he charged us 5 euros each for the ride back which we were all happy to pay as it meant we didn’t have to stand in the growing queue, in the sweltering heat.

We got straight back on the cruise ship when we got back to Fira because of work, but if you have no imminent time restriction, then it’s lovely to have a slow wander back through the beautiful streets and weave in and out of the shops. 

Also, bear in mind, that if you are wanting to go down the cliff in the cable car there will be a queue for that and then you have to catch the tender boat back to the ship.  Some people don’t get off the ship because with all the queueing they decide it’s too much hassle, but it is worth it.  My advice is to get off as early as possible and to be one of the last onboard.  The cruise ship will not leave without you if you are in the last group of 20 coming back to the ship, so maximise your time there because it really is wonderful.

Things to know
Cable car prices (cash only)
€5 for adults
€2.50 for children

Bus to Oia (cash only)

Taxi to Oia (cash only)

If you are someone who gets nervous about missing the ship and being back late then I recommend you book an excursion with the ship and that way you can relax and enjoy the day. 

Land tours
If you don’t want to do a ship excursion, or the ones on the ship are fully booked, then private Santorini tours are great.

Wear comfortable clothing and shoes because you will be walking on uneven ground, up and down slopes and stairs all day, so no high heels. It is also very hot so wear loose, cool clothing.

Hello, my name is Lucy, welcome to my little space on the internet! Through this blog, I hope to answer all of your crew-life/ cruising questions so, feel free to send me something you would like me to write about. I really hope you find this site useful and enjoyable!
Love Lucy xx

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