Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Greece: Oia, Baxedes Beach & The Most Beautiful Sunset in the World*

*According to our guidebook

Before I get to the good stuff, I need to educate you a bit on Santorini geography.  I promise, this lesson has a purpose, I'm not just trying to bore you.

Thanks for the map, google

So, we stayed in Fira, which is roughly in the middle of the island on the left coast.  We wanted to spend our day in Oia, concluding the day with a spectacular sunset for which Oia is famous.  Our guidebook suggested that the footpath from Fira to Oia is 'enjoyable'.  You can read my opinion of the walk in a bit.

Anyway, the walk to Oia is roughly 10 km (6 mi), so we tried to get started bright and early so that it wouldn't get too hot on our walk there.  This didn't exactly happen, since we slept in and then sat down to an enormous breakfast with an amazing view.  

The footpath to Oia starts in downtown Fira, basically right outside our hotel.  This area is packed with stores of all kinds, including some amazing (and expensive) looking jewelry shops.

Before continuing, we stopped to take a picture with our destination, Oia, in the background.  Just so you know, Oia is that tiny white speck on the very left of the picture, not the white buildings in the foreground.  Notice, we are still smiling in this picture.

From the picture above, the footpath would appear to be a nice, paved path.  However, once we got out of Fira, the path was less paved and walkable and more loose rock and trying to not fall every other step.  We didn't take too many pictures during this process because we were concentrating on just.getting.there., but the picture below is a good one of me on the trail with Oia in the distance.

The path also consisted of lots and lots of hills.  Oh, the hills.  The footpath was more than a path, it was a workout.  In ninety degree heat, plentiful humidity, and very little shade.

The footpath went through the village of Imerovigli and other settlements.  It was a difficult hike, but it offered impressive views we would not have seen otherwise.

When we finally saw Oia laid out before us on the path, I was so happy I could have cried.  We came thoroughly unprepared for the journey, without water or sunscreen.  We learned our lesson very quickly, but not before being agitated and reddened.

We immediately stopped for water, to rest our legs, and take in the beauty of Oia.  Somehow, we even managed to smile for a picture, even though I felt like melting.

Oia is one of the most beautiful cities, full of perfect white buildings, blue domed churches, and these gorgeous stone pathways.

Since Oia is on the northern concave part of the island (refer to the geography lesson above), it offers some impressive views of the caldera.

Our hotel is somewhere in that white cluser in the middle.

Of course, Oia itself is quite impressive, with its white buildings contrasted against the dark terrain as they cascade down the bluffs.

And, who can forget the clear blue water?

I love the red in these cliffs!

Once we soaked in enough of the beauty of Oia, we set out to get lunch, which consisted of ice cream. We are examples of health.

We explored a bit more of the city and even stumbled across the perfect spot for Brian to propose (again)!  Spoiler alert, he didn't.

We decided we hadn't punished our legs enough at this point, so we decided to head to a the closest beach, Baxedes.

The beach was a little disappointing, considering the effort we had to put forth to get there.  It was full of rock with no real place to sit and relax.

The afternoon was beginning to fade away and we headed back to Oia to watch the famed sunset.  The most popular spot to watch the sunset is in ruins called Oia Castle, probably because there are seats and no one wants to stand after a long day.  By the time we got back from the beach, the castle was completely packed.  Luckily, Brian is an excellent scouter and managed to find us an unobstructed view with seating.

While waiting for the sun to set, we got to see several donkeys make their way up to the top of the town, as they walked up the steps right next to us.  The donkeys are pretty famous in Santorini, and even though we never rode one, I was glad we got to see them up close and personal.

You can see the throngs of people just waiting for the sunset.  Tourist trap, indeed.

We read that Oia is supposed to have one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world, so our expectations were really high.  I'll let you judge for yourselves, but in my opinion it was gorgeous, but not the best.

Oia at night-so gorgeous!

We were smart enough to take the bus back to Fira instead of walking back.  Once back in town, we grabbed gyros for a quick dinner and collapsed in bed.  It was a long day, but we had to rest up for our last full day in Santorini.

What's the most beautiful sunset you have seen?


  1. Your posts make me want to hop the next plan to Greece!

  2. I agree with Molly, this made me put Greece at the top of my list of places to visit! The pictures are absolutely breathtaking!

    Also, we were told the sunsets in Jamaica were amazing too, and while it was pretty, I didn't think a whole lot of it. I guess I'm just not that "into" sunsets. So maybe you're just not that "into" them either?


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