Located on the northern tip of the island, roughly 150m up from
the sea, Oia (pronounced 'ee-a' ) is a favourite destination for
the more artistic tourist who prefers a quieter alternative to Fira
In the earthquake that hit Santorini in1956, parts of Oia were
destroyed as they fell into the sea and the aftermath of this event
is still clearly visible, although of the buildings that do remain,
the most impressive are the ones that are built into the volcanic
rock on the slopes of the crater wall. The narrow streets above
are filled with souvenir shops and galleries of local artists, and
at the end of every day tourists from all over Santorini arrive
to catch a glimpse of the famous Oia sunset from the remains
of the castle walls.
Located on the west of the main island at around 260m above sea
level. Fira Town is very busy and popular with tourists,
with local shops selling souvenirs and streets filled with restaurants,
bars, and clubs for those seeking nightlife. Fira was first established
in the late 18th century, when local islanders moved from Skaros
(near Imerovigli 3 kms away) to gain easier access to the sea.
At the beginning of the 19th century Fira became the capital of
the island replacing the previous capital of pyrgos Kallistis. With
a population of about 2500, Fira's relies largely on tourism to
provide an income for the local people, who try to balance the traditions
of the past with the economic realities of the present.