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Difference Between Fira and Oia in Santorini

Difference Between Fira and Oia in Santorini

Jan 31st, 2006, 01:07 AM
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Join Date: May 2003
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Difference Between Fira and Oia in Santorini

Can anyone tell me what the difference is between Fira and Oia regarding prices, scenery, restaurants, nightlife, convenience etc., etc.? Any info would be greatly appreciated.
lilypoo is offline  
Jan 31st, 2006, 06:54 AM
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Fira is the hub of the island, the administrative center, the area most developed, with everything a small town needs to survive and prosper. Businesses exist there that help supply the rest of the island with building materials, fuel, wholesale food, furniture, medical facilities, banks, etc. If it's needed on the island you can find it in Fira. The cruise ships dock below Fira. There are more restaurants and hotels and souvenier shops in Fira than in any other village on the island. The bus square and the taxi stand next to it are the transportation hubs for the whole island. Unless you're actually staying at one of the islands's beaches, you will most likely have to get to the beach from the bus square in Fira. All roads lead to Fira. There are clubs, bars and discos in Fira. The nightlife is very healthy there.

Oia is on the north end of the island, away from all the commercial activity of Fira. It has been carefully and deliberately preserved as the most traditional village on the island. Although there are very many hotels and restauarants there, a "planning department" exists that has prevented any construction that does not adhere to a strict architectural style. No new construction is allowed to block the view of a pre-existing structure. I was told that several years ago it was decided that no loud bars or discos would be allowed to operate in Oia, and the few that did already exist were forced to close down. Nightlife is now limited to restaurants and a few quiet bars. The 'powers that be' decided to control Oia's appealing environment to prevent it from change and deteriorization, at least on the surface. It's much smaller than Fira, but I believe that the percentage of existing buildings that have been converted into tourist-driven businesses in the last 20 years is greater in Oia than in Fira.

Both Fira and Oia sit on the cliff overlooking the caldera, so any view available of the sea will be spectacular regardless of which village you're in. This same view is also available in Firostephani and Imerovigli. I believe Imerovigli is at the highest elevation along the cliff of these 4 villages so it's view might actually be considered the most all-encompassing, although the difference would be negligible.

There is no appreciable difference in prices between the two villages. There are youth hostels in both, inexpensive rooms without a caldera view, and hotels ranging in price per night from 50 euro up to 1400 euro. Both Fira and Oia offer fine gourmet dining as well as restaurants that are more for the budget traveller. There's something for everyone.
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Jan 31st, 2006, 11:36 PM
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Thanks so much for the detailed info.
lilypoo is offline  
Feb 8th, 2006, 12:27 PM
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Both are beutifull towns.

As brotherlylove said, Oia is much more traditional and smaller. If you're looking for convenience, however, Fira just can't be beat.

I stayed in Fira last August and I don't regret it one bit. It's the best location to use as a base for exploring the island.

Enjoy your trip.
spartakos is offline  
Feb 8th, 2006, 01:32 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
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It depends on what you are looking for. Oia is typically thought to be the more beautiful and romantic town on the island. I stayed there on my honeymoon and wouldn't have changed it. It was amazing at night to see all of hte people from the island come to the area around my hotel to see the sunset - when this was the view I had from my bed.

We didn't mind the quiet of the town, we just took a taxi into Fira for nightlife. But we had better restaurants in Oia.
texstout is offline  
Feb 10th, 2006, 06:35 AM
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Saying you're looking for a low key setting with easy access to restaurants and tavernas, is Imerovigil maybe a better call with easy access to Fira, but still away from the hub-bub? Or is a nice hotel Oia the way to go?
chobby100 is offline  
Feb 10th, 2006, 09:16 AM
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Imerovigli is a good alternative to Oia if you still want to be near Fira. Keep in mind that it's a long uphill walk back to Imerovigli after some bar-hopping or a big meal. In mid-season Imerovigli will probably be quieter than Oia since there's not much to do there.
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Feb 10th, 2006, 01:29 PM
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Please excuse me for thread hijacking but was considering Anastasis Apartments in Imerovigil v.Esperas or Oia mare villas in Oia. The latter are a bit more expensive (and perhaps more luxurious?)

Thoughts on the area? Both areas seemed centrally located, but not the fantic pace of Fira. (We are planning early August, so very busy season).

Thank you and sorry again
chobby100 is offline  
Feb 10th, 2006, 01:30 PM
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What hotel would you recommend in Oia?
Cathyt is offline  
Feb 10th, 2006, 02:13 PM
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Chobby, Oia is NOT centrally located. If you look on a map of Santorini you'll see it's set off by itself on the north end of the island. That's one of the factors that makes it less attractive to those looking for nightlife other than restaurants and a couple of quiet bars. The road is narrow and winding, and late night public transportation is limited.

Imerovigli is about a mile (uphill) from Fira. It's a pleasant walk if you're not too full of dinner or spirits.

Esperas and Oia Mare are very close to each other. Esperas is a bit easier to reach--fewer steps, etc., but they're both very nice hotels with spectacular views of the sunset.

Cathyt, my favorite recommendation these days in Oia isn't a hotel per se, it's a self-catering traditional grouping of 4 houses, the Aspaki Suites. They are wonderfully and artistically decorated houses with kitchens and daily maid service. Well-worth the money if they're in your budget. How much will you be spending per day for your room? I can make other recommendations based on that information.

brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Feb 13th, 2006, 06:50 PM
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My husband and I stayed in Oia this past August. We stayed at Nikos Villa. I have no idea of the cost as our travel agent booked for us, but the grounds were gorgeous. We had a great caldera view and our room was perfect. It also had a pool with a great caldera view. Fira was fun, but we truly enjoyed Oia and its "night life" (calm and sweet). We actually took the city bus in and out of Fira. It was cheap and very easy and it ran often. Also it was fun to hang with the locals. We live and DC and live by public transportation, so it was fun to see how other systems operate. Enjoy your trip!
Jacksons is offline  

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