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Oia or Fira?

Rockville
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Oia or Fira?

We are planning to travel to Santorini in early May 2008, and cannot decide between staying in Oia or Fira. Fira has been described as a 'tourist hell' in a couple of reviews, but is that during the peak season? I can imagine Oia being very quite in the first week in May, with Fira maybe being a better bet for restaurants/bars, and not being so busy at that time? Is this right, any opinions welcome!

Oregon
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1. Re: Oia or Fira?

Fira is the island's social/commercial center, and it's where all the cruise ship passengers unload. The ships start coming in April so by May there are lots of people exploring the villages. Fira does get crowded then, just not as crowded as later on in the season, but still crowded. Old Fira doesn't feel like a village anymore, it feels like a Greek shopping mall designed to look like a quaint old village. There's nothing much about it that isn't sales/tourist oriented. I guess it all depends on your expectations and what you want to do with your time. There are excellent shops, restaurants and galleries in Oia, but if you want to be close to the youth-oriented nightlife then Fira or Firostefani is where you should focus your search for a room. Oia has some bars, but they're quieter and there's no real "scene" there. In spite of the commercial development that exists, there's still a timelessness present in Oia that doesn't exist anyplace else on the island.

Oshawa, Canada
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2. Re: Oia or Fira?

I was wondering the same thing. Also what is the difference in view? And if you stay in Oia can you get to Fira for the evening easily?

Oregon
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3. Re: Oia or Fira?

The view is basically the same from Fira and Oia, only from Fira you're centrally situated over the caldera while in Oia you are on the north end of the island and can look out to see the sunset from the end of the village or look south into the caldera to see the other villages on the cliffs, and at night they're all lit up. If you're lucky enough to be there when the full moon rises over the caldera it's a spectacular sight from Oia.

You can take the bus or a taxi into Fira from Oia, but late at night the only way back is by taxi. The taxi cost will be somewhere around 10 euro each way.

South Wales, UK
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4. Re: Oia or Fira?

Hi Lee

Do you know what time the last bus returns from Fira to Oia, and how long the journey takes, please?

Many thanks

Jackie

Oregon
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for Santorini
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5. Re: Oia or Fira?

Right now the last bus for Oia leaves Fira around 11PM, but this changes with the season. Any return to Oia late than 11 PM will have to be done by taxi. Later on in the year the last bus will not leave so late.

The bus takes about 20-25 minutes and costs 1.2 euro.

Birmingham, United...
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6. Re: Oia or Fira?

Your analysis is absolutely right. Early May is way off season and Fira would be the best choice.

Cruise ship passengers are not a factor if you stay in Fira, simply because people who stay (in Fira) go to the beach or visit another part of the island during the day when cruise ship passengers arrive.

The last time I stayed in Fira in early July it was busy but certainly not 'tourist hell'. Few cruise ships dock in the evening anyway. There is much more 'greek life' to be seen in Fira, rather than Oia which is best described as twee.

7. Re: Oia or Fira?

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