Oia, pretty as a picture could ever be
OIA IS, without doubt, one of the most beautiful villages I have ever visited. Situated on the northwestern edge of the picturesque island of Santorini in the Cyclades, its properties perch precariously on a sheer cliff, over a hundred metres above the Aegean.
It is May, and the narrow paths, cluttered with small shops, are themselves congested with day-trippers. We roam the complex of whitewashed, cobalt blue-domed churches and utterly charming, traditional Cycladic houses interspersed with the cave houses. There are also splendid properties once built for Venetian sea captains.
Santorini is known for the strong winds which blow across the island, and our visit was to prove no exception. In fact, in Fira, the cultural and commercial centre of Santorini, the seaward side path which leads to the cable car station was taking a particular hammering.
It is possible to reach sea level by walking down 235 steps, or by catching a ride on the back of a mule. Once at the bottom, you find yourself in a small harbour complete with waterfront taverns and restaurants. It does not get much better than this.