Visit Oia, a pretty village of pastel-tinted houses set into the cliffside of Santoriniâs highest peak. Look for paths in the village that will guide you to one of the two black-sand volcanic beaches.
Basically a bus ride to this location. You get 90 minutes and then they rush you back to the port. You should be allowed more time in Oia. Other folks rented a local UTV and toured the island on their own, which I would probably do next time.
We took the fast boat from the dock to Oia (that way you don't have to make your way up the hill by donkey or cable car). It was a beautiful 20 minute boat ride.
We explored the town of Oia and then returned by private bus (a bit chaotic, as many wanted to return and the same time) and walked through the town of Thira before taking the cable car back down to the dock.
Oia was truly breathtaking and everything you expect when you think of Santorini and the Cyclades. We had an excellent lunch and walked and shopped. The only downside was that the line for buses back to Thira was very long, and by the time we got back and went to take the gondola down, there were almost 1000 people in line and we would not have made it in time. We instead had to walk down the 588 steps to the boat, which took about 40 minutes and was quite treacherous (due to the slippery steps and the donkey poop!)
We booked this excursion just so we could get out to Oia a quickly as possible and still have time left over to visit Thira. The excursion was nothing more than a $50 bus ride from the port where the tender dropped us off out to Oia, featuring the ramblings of a local tour guide. 2 hours of free time in Oia to explore, and then back on the bus to Thira where the excursion ended. The value of the excursion is in the time saved by having direct transport rather than the lost time of tendering to shore, hiking or taking the cable car up to Thira, and then searching for a cab to Oia and back. Overall, visiting Santorini on a cruise is not the best way to see the island based on a previous trip dedicated to the island. There are too many cruisers in town (up to 5 ships worth at once), and most are crammed into the two small shopping areas in Thira in Oia, which is not very pleasant. Recommend finding a cruise that allows the time to explore the non-cruise areas (ex: beaches, ancient ruins, wineries, etc), or to just make a dedicated visit to the island...it's worth it!
Santorini, Greece – Santorini was one of our favorite stops. Our tour was the Island of Santorini and Village of Oia.
Oia is spectacular (please don’t forget to take your cameras) you will see beautiful blue domed churches with white washed buildings, the twisting cobblestone alleyways were impressive the views are picturesque! We headed to a winery and enjoyed wine and the magnificent views.
There is only one way to get up to the volcanic island – we docked at sea and took a small boat over, once you are on the island you can walk up 200 + flights of stairs or take a tram. But, if you have booked your excursion through Royal Caribbean there will be a tour bus waiting for you to escort you up. To get down can take a tram, walk or take a donkey down. Many prefer the tram. If you do decide to take the tram please be prepared to wait in a long line.
"Speed boat" ride to Oia was scenic, but not speedy at all. In general, Santorini was a "been there, done that" port: far too touristy (even in low season with only three ships in port) and highly overpriced. The views of the caldera are breathtaking, but the island itself is rough and boring.
We took an excursion that had our bus climb the curving and winding cliffs up to the beautiful village of Oia known for their blue domed churches. We scampered around the cobblestone paths taking photos and taking it all in. I only wish
I actually did Oia on my own by taking a bus there. It was easy to do, albeit a little hair-raising going round the bends. Oia is very pretty so I am glad I made it. Be aware that the buses returning to Fira get very full and you are unlikely to get on the first one.
Oia village of course is beautiful, with its whitewashed houses and churches with sea blue roofs. We would have liked to have more time here. This tour was combined with a walking tour/free time in Fira.
The guide was unable to speak properly the lenguage promised. We spent 1 your and 40 minutes in a bus around non interesting sites, not included in the trip, and only 30 to 40 minutes in the place we paid to visit.
You have to go to Oia as it is many times nicer than Fira and far more picture ops.
We took a fast ferry with bus link back to Fira. Choose the one on the right called Fast Line to Oia. He lied to me about departure time twice. The other one was a better boat (transfer to Oia - reddish sign and on the left) left well before his did. His line uses the tenders and they were all in use ferrying people back and forth while the other one (one the left) has a dedicated boat with two levels and leaves on time.
Make sure you are back at the gondola to return to your ship by 12:30 or be prepared for long waits. Try to get the first ferry at 8:30 at least that was when it left - the one on the left not ours.
It's difficult to choose a rating for this one as it had good points and bad. Firstly, we had to wait in the coach for half hour as 12 people hadn't made it onto our tender on time. By this time a lot of coaches had gone ahead of us which is annoying when it's a small island and fills with tourists quickly. The first stop on the tour was a winery (it was 9am!) We then went onto Oia, the most gorgeous village ever! We felt like we'd stepped into a painting or postcard, it's truly breathtaking and even the kids were in awe of the beauty. The worst part about this trip is if you are a scaredy-cat like me. First on this tour you take a bus up a cliff side, zigzagging all the way as it is so steep, horrible haha, couldn't look out the window! Then the guide told us we don't go back down that way (thank goodness) but she gave us tickets for the cable car instead, yikes! It really wasn't so bad, only 3 mins but drops very steep a couple of times on the way, nothing to worry about though but just so you know.
On a tender service, we went on boat to the shore. Very well guided, we had a wine tasting session then to Oia and Fira. Beautiful architecture and bought lots of souvenirs. Hilly roads may not work well with those with motion sickness so do take your pills.
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