They say Santorini has its secrets and its beautiful sunset view is definitely not one of them.
Forget about the wine tasting and the surrounding beaches, the truth is everyone comes to this island for the romantic panorama of cotton candy skies draping over the caldera cliffs filled with rows of whitewashed buildings, pastel decors and blue domed churches, as the sun bids adieu for the day.
Without a doubt, it is the most sought after image and the many write-ups saying that it is one of the top sunset to see in a lifetime is perhaps one of the reasons why visitors from all over the world comes to visit and in some cases becomes the deciding factor on how long they will stay.
During one of my quest to find the nicest spot for sunset viewing, I met one or two tourists travelling across Greece and who decided to extend their stay in Santorini day after day until they can experience the sunset view of their dreams. I visited during late autumn season and though we have an abundance of sunshine during the day, there is simply no guarantee that we will have that magical sunset show and well, there is no other explanation, it is just how nature works.
However, if you are travelling to Santorini with sunset viewing as the top priority, it might be a good decision to head during the summer for a higher chance of returning home feeling fulfilled that you witness the twilight show that you came for.
Sunset viewing is supposedly a pretty straight forward affair- you find a spot, sit quietly, ponder about life a bit and wait for nature to do its daily show, but for a place like Santorini, this become some sort of a quest.
Read any guidebooks, blogs, articles, everyone will tell you to head to Oia for this purpose alone.
To go to Oia, you can either do the famous Fira to Oia walk or take the local KTEL bus from Fira for 1.80 Euro. Try to allocate at least an hour in advance, say catch the 5pm bus and you will be at Oia around 5:30pm, with ample time to walk around and find a good spot.
The number of people daily navigating the caldera pathways and alleys filled with souvenir shops at Oia for the perfect viewing area is astonishing and the look in everyone’s face determined to snag the best spot is kind of amusing, but, then again, no one can fault anyone, everyone is looking for that postcard perfect shot, the epitome of the romantic and unique ambiance of this island and an image to embed in one’s memories . something to pull from our deepest thoughts once life back home becomes nothing but a mundane existence once again.
So what is the best spot if you ask me? Obviously, it has to have the view of the famous Three Blue Domes of Oia.
Honestly, I don’t have any idea where to go and I just kind of follow other people around starting from the bus stop all the way to Oia’s main square where the Greek Orthodox Church of Ekklisia Panagia Plastani is located.
From the main square, I kind of just roamed around and do the usual window shopping, while continuing to follow the other people until I passed by small corner before a jewellery shop. In the middle of the stairway down is a local painter, selling his works and it was him who told me that indeed I was in the correct spot while showing his own version of Oia sunset and the three domes.
It turns out, and as expected, I was not the first one to discover the area, in fact, I was late as there are a number of people already waiting for the show and this continued to increase as the sunset time approaches.
The golden hour, with the sun slowly slipping away into the clear Aegean Sea, while breathing life and transfixing colors to the traditional village churches and castles of Oia is just simply breathtaking. It leaves some speechless, while others grateful, I personally feel alive upon experiencing this view, as if everything is fresh and new, perhaps a feeling that is not usually associated with sunset, but that’s exactly how it feels, everything is vibrant.
I wanted it to be more relaxing, just to sit quietly and watch, what watching the sunset is supposed to be. I also know where exactly I wanted to go to do this, at the Aghioi Theodoroi Church (Saints Theodore), what I consider my favorite spot in the whole of Santorini.
True to what I had in mind, the blue-domed at Fira was almost empty, there is just a handful of us, including the Chinese couple who are there for their pre-nuptial photo session. It might not be as breathtaking as the one in Oia, but I love it nonetheless, there is just something soothing and calming about how peaceful everything is.