The first time I’ve been to Santorini was more than a decade ago, before the advent of social media. I must say it’s a little bit different now. Some of the most iconic photo spots that you have seen in IG are no longer accessible for photography. Everywhere you go, especially in Oia, you will see these signs quite often.
We still managed to take photos, as they have a lot of beautiful spots that are still accessible. You will too, just keep your eyes open.
Before I enumerate some IG spots we found, I would like to share some Friendly Reminders so these spots remain open to the public for others to continue to enjoy it and snap a photo too.
If a sign read “private property”, don’t trespass; if it says ‘no climbing”, then don’t. If you really want a photo, then try to ask for permission, who knows you might just get a YES!
Be discreet. Try to take your photo as fast as you can. I know, the perfect shot is rarely done with one click. But just don’t monopolize the area for hours and hours.
Be friendly. A smile, a kind greeting (especially in Greek) will get you a long way!
Don’t hover in crowd where local lives. If you already see plenty of people there and its obviously situated in private houses or business area where locals need to go about their daily life, give them space to be able do so. Leave, then check it out again later if there are less people.
Don’t bring your entire glam squad (unless you have permission to do photo shoot). I mean, don’t bring a changing tent, your make-up chair, soft lights and huge reflectors.
1. Atlantis Books
Latitude: 36° 27’ 41.388” N -
Longitude: 25° 22’ 27.846” E
Address: Nomikos Street (Main Marble Road) , Oia 84702
A really pretty bookshop, unfortunately it was closed when we went there but the exterior still makes for a charming backdrop.
2. Kastro Oia Houses Staircase
Latitude: 36° 27’ 37.842” N
Longitude: 25° 22’ 23.49” E
This is an insta-famous staircase that is part of the Kastro property. Luckily, this is not cordoned off or exclusive to guests yet, as most hotels are. Let's keep it that way by respecting and making sure that guests gets priority always, or better yet dine in their restaurant.
3. Oia Castle
Latitude: 36° 27’ 36.564” N
Longitude: 25° 22’ 22.89” E
Hours: 24 hours
20 meters from Kastro Oia Houses (less than a minute walk), head southwest and there you will find the Oia Castle. There is not much left in the castle itself, but the view from it is breath taking. This is one of the most famous sunset spot in Oia.
We did miss it the first time because there is a sign “private property” in the path way leading to the castle. Obviously, it's for the hotel and not the path to the castle.
4. Windmills of Santorini
The windmills in Oia is actually the property of Charisma suites. Of course you have to be a guest to have a photo inside, but in the surrounding areas, you can still have it as a backdrop.
Here are the coordinates of some spot where we took photos.
Latitude: 36° 27’ 41.676” N
Longitude: 25° 22’ 18.648” E
Latitude: 36° 27’ 41.658” N
Longitude: 25° 22’ 19.956” E
Latitude: 36° 27’ 40.872” N
Longitude: 25° 22’ 21.348” E
Latitude: 36° 27’ 40.23” N
Longitude: 25° 22’ 20.988” E
5. (Blue Dome & 3 Pink Bells)
Latitude: 36° 27’ 41.196” N
Longitude: 25° 22’ 30.672” E
This is what you normally see in postcards, calendars and what everybody seem to aspire to have in their photo. The 3 blue domes. The biggest dome and 3 bells, which has beautiful images in IG, of influencers twirling, sitting, posing…is unfortunately closed off. The stairs leading to it has a sign that says “private property”.
If you are not as vain as me who wants to be in every photo, you can still take something like this.
6. 2 Blue Domes
Latitude: 36° 27’ 40.758” N
Longitude: 25° 22’ 32.79” E
On the other side with the 2 blue domes is also private, so you cannot climb it as you have probably seen in some photos. But there are pathways that you can use with it in your background.
7. 2 Bells
Latitude: 36° 27’ 41.544” N
Longitude: 25° 22’ 33.906” E
Across the 2 domes is the 2 bells beside the Aspaki hotel. This is the only ones we managed to access. As the hotel beside it is under reconstruction is probably the reason they are more lenient, no signs and we didn’t get told off.
8. Blue Bell Church
Latitude: 36° 27’ 43.728” N
Longitude: 25° 22’ 44.598” E
If you go back to the main road, and be on the lookout to your left side, you will see the church beside the playground. It is restricted to climb, so just be creative if you want to take photos without violating it.
9. Minimalist White Church
Latitude: 36° 27’ 43.962” N
Longitude: 25° 22’ 56.07” E
Go back to the main road, keep walking and to your right you will see this this white minimalist church that has a beautiful view of the Aegean Sea.
10. Sprawling view of Oia
Latitude: 36° 27’ 43.74” N
Longitude: 25° 23’ 7.668” E
From spot# 9, keep walking, you will see a church that you might even want to take photo with which we didn't manage because of huge construction.
If you walk a few more meters you will find this spot.
Below is the route from the order of the spots i have enumerated commencing from the bus stop from Fira.
We initially planned to take photos in pretty doors, alleys and churches in Imerovigli, but got sidetracked when we saw an old lady with her dog going into the Skaros Rock. I mean, if she can do it, we better do it too, right?! So, off to hike we go (felt more like an easy walk, really). And boy, am i glad we did! Because not only is the panoramic view breathtaking but we found a hidden gem there as well.
1. Agios Ioannis
Latitude: 36° 25’ 58.692” N
Longitude: 25° 25’ 14.46” E
A church leading to the Skaros makes for a good photo! I've even seen photo on the roof of this church.
2. Skaros Rock
Latitude: 36° 25’ 57.306” N
Longitude: 25° 25’ 8.442” E
Take photo with it or from it! The panoramic view from here is insane! I would definitely go back here for a sunset view one day.
As it is a rock, it will not be a typical photo that you will have of Santorini. But the experience of being there is so serene, plus you will find a hidden gem if you go to my next spot.
3. Church of Theoskepasti
Latitude: 36° 25’ 55.716” N
Longitude: 25° 25’ 0.252” E
We found this spot by pure accident, remember the old lady that i told you walking to the Skaros rock?! Instead of walking up the stairs towards the rock, she went around, and that piqued our curiosity! I mean, there must be something there! So we googled it! and voila, there is a church meters away. Ok, while walking I started to doubt that something is there because i only see rocks and mountain (even when we were only 2 minutes away). If google has failed you some other time, this time trust google, and you will be rewarded by this church!
So was it worth it going to this church?! Oh, definitely! You might say that there are other more beautiful blue domed Church in Santorini that's easier to access. You might be right. But then you might observe that a lot of these domes are not accessible anymore, and you will not be allowed to climb. If you are, you will probably be in the company of others competing to take photos there!
1. Kamenh Bar/PK Cocktail Bar
Latitude: 36° 25’ 1.866” N
Longitude: 25° 25’ 53.742” E
Situated across the Orthodox Church, in the main marble road. The entry way itself is already instagrammable, but come sunset they have a great unobstructed view of the caldera if you chose to have a cocktail in this bar.
2. Church of St. John the Theologian
Latitude: 36° 24’ 59.814” N
Longitude: 25° 25’ 52.596” E
From the side of Kamenh Bar are steps going down, at the turn you will find this Church.
From here we just walk till we find a spot unoccupied to enjoy the sunset.
Below are some ramdom spots.
3. Random Stop
Latitude: 36° 25’ 2.202” N
Longitude: 25° 25’ 51.558” E
4. Random Gate
Latitude: 36° 25’ 4.506” N
Longitude: 25° 25’ 51.69” E
5. Random Gate
Latitude: 36°25'25.842" N
Longitude: 25°25'41.358" E
If you have time to spare, hike from Fira to Oia or Vise Versa. I'm sure you will find a lot of beautiful and underrated spots. We opted out of doing this because when we combine sightseeing with photography it takes us forever. We savor every step, so had we done this a walk from Fira to Oia would probable take us days.