Although I don’t regret our decision to stay in Oia at all, one of the best days of the Santorini leg of our honeymoon was the day we spent exploring Imerovigli and Fira. Santorini is a relatively small island, so we were able to walk from Oia to Fira (stopping in Imerovigli, which is en route) and it was a great way to see some more of the island. It was about six miles (10 kilometers) one way, which wasn’t bad for a day’s walk, and then we were able to take a bus home (which was fortunate, since I would not have wanted to do that walk twice).
Imerovigli is the quietest and least touristy of these towns. Although it was a nice respite from the crowds, I can see why Oia and Fira are more popular. Although Imerovigli isn’t as picturesque as these two towns, especially Oia, it is at the highest point on the caldera, and as a result has some really nice views of the tiny islands off the coast.
It’s position at the highest point of the island also makes for some nice panoramic viewpoints of the rest of Santorini.
We ate lunch at a restaurant that was highly recommended by our guidebook. The food was mediocre and the service was terrible (it took almost two hours for a single course), but the views from the restaurant were really nice.
Even if you don’t want to do the full walk from Oia, I highly recommend walking between Imerovigli and Fira (about 2 mi/3 km). The views of Fira as you approach from this direction are just lovely.
Fira is Santorini’s largest and most bustling town. The bay at the base of Fira is Santorini’s cruise port, and it is therefore the most touristy part on the island, but it’s still very much worth a visit. After arriving in Fira, we made our way down to the port. It was the “golden hour,” that hour right before sunset with beautiful, soft light, and everything was aglow.
On our walk down to the port, we saw the famous Santorini donkeys. Although these guys look cute and cuddly, they were responsible for one of my least favorite moments of the trip. It was really windy and as we were walking, the breeze blew the donkeys’, ahem, deposits, straight into our faces. I was convinced we were going to come down with some terrible donkey-borne illness, but fortunately we did not get sick. It was still pretty unappetizing though.
After our donkey encounter, we decided not to walk back up and to take the cable car instead. I love a good cable car ride, and this one was especially enjoyable with the beginnings of a famous Santorini sunset visible from the gondola.
Although Oia is especially famous for its sunsets, the best one we saw in Santorini was here in Fira. Maybe it was just luck, but I’ll always associate Fira with an incredible sunsets in my mind. (These photos are not edited at all – the colors really were this incredible!)
Fira is the only town on Santorini that has anything resembling nightlife, and although we didn’t really partake, it was fun to see the bars and restaurants come alive after sunset.
Although Oia was definitely the right place for us to stay (the combination of its beauty and being quieter and less touristy than Fira made it a slam dunk), I’m so glad we explored some more of the island too. Each village on Santorini has its own charms.