We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

What's the difference between Fira/Forestefani & Oia anyway?

Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
247 posts
94 reviews
Save Topic
What's the difference between Fira/Forestefani & Oia anyway?

Ok, so I know Fira is the capital, that forestefani is nearby, and that Oia is very famous for its sunsets. Yet, when it comes to accommocation and views, is Oia really that special and 'superior' to Fira or Firostefani? Why they say Oia is soo romantic? Isn't it enough just to go and watch the sunset once during one of those Thira tours that include it? Please give me advice on this as I really don't know and I'm trying to decide whether to stay at least one night on Oia and the rest on Fira or if watching the sunset once is enough. Thanks!

Oregon
Destination Expert
for Santorini
Level Contributor
21,849 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: What's the difference between Fira/Forestefani & Oia anyway?

The obvious differences pertain to the individual village environments. Fira has become the commercial center of the island, catering not only to all the 'normal' tourists that visit, but also to all the cruise ship passengers who are satisfied just to spend a few hours visiting the souvenier shops that are set up to entice their buying impulses before returning to the ship's buffet. To be fair all the villages have some of these shops, just not as many as Fira. Fira is the center of the island's infrastructural businesses as well, and has spread out to engulf Firostefani which used to be a separate small enclave of houses but is now mostly hotels and private homes, sort of like a suburb but within a short walk from the central square of Fira. Imerovigli still retains some of it's original charm as a small village by way of its separation from Fira, but is also being taken over by commercial (albeit good quality) hotel enterprises. Oia sits by itself on the north end of the island about 7 miles from Fira. Yes, it's main function is to service the tourists just like the rest of the island, but it enjoys the unique distinction of possessing a government-mandated status that protects it from some the more commercial aspects of Greek tourism-no discos or noisy bars, no buildings that don't conform to very strict traditional Cycladic architectural standards and restricted access of motorized vehicles to name a few. No new structure may block the view of an existing one. The end result of all this is a timeless "feel" not found anywhere else on the island. It's a very beautiful village, and that timelessness lends itself to a sense of romance and serentiy seldom found anywhere. Spend a little time there and you'll understand what I mean. Being able to watch the sunset from the west end of the village is a bonus, but as far as I'm concerned not it's main attraction. I actually prefer to sit and watch the colors change over the village instead of over the water in the sky. During a particularly excellent sunset the whitewashed buildings cycle through a spectrum of color ranging from white to violet, something seldom mentioned but there for the enjoyment nonetheless. Oia has no nightlife other than the aforementioned mellow bars and some very good restaurants. Most visitors stroll through the village on the very old marble pathway that has probably been there for a century, enjoying the sights and sounds available to them.

I hope this helps.

Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
247 posts
94 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: What's the difference between Fira/Forestefani & Oia anyway?

Wow, that was an incredible description! Def. changed my perspective! Now our 2 nights will be spent in Oia without a doubt! I prefer to have a feel of the most traditional of Santorini. I didn't think Fira was HAT commercialized...I don't know why.

Anyway, one last question would be, are there any economical yet very good traditional taverns/restaurants in Oia, specifically nearby Thea Studios? Please list them so we know where to stop. WE LOVE GREEK FOOD! =D

Oregon
Destination Expert
for Santorini
Level Contributor
21,849 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: What's the difference between Fira/Forestefani & Oia anyway?

On that end of the village there's Santorini Mou, a little further out, which also specializes in traditional Greek music and dance, a lot of fun. Inside the village, right next to the main square and the big church, is Neptune, one of the oldest and authentic restaurants in the village. Be sure to look in the hot case for the already-prepared side dishes. That's how I know I'm in Greece, by the food in the hot case!

4. Re: What's the difference between Fira/Forestefani & Oia anyway?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 2:17 pm, August 23, 2009