Oia is reputed as having one of the best sunsets and certainly if you’re on Santorini it is the ONLY place you should be if you want to experience a memorable setting of the sun. We’d had a long day’s tour of the island and we were getting quite sightseeing weary. However, it was a clear night (as most had been to date) and we were told that sunset would occur around 20.20hrs. So we took in a meal and then, having ascertained the best place to enjoy our viewing of nature’s show, headed for the old castle. It was just after 19.30 when we left the restaurant and having popped in a couple of shops on route we were sure that we’d be in plenty of time to get a comfortable spot from which to wait for the appointed hour.
We took the left turn down the steep incline to the castle walls and were stunned to see that already the crowds were beginning to build. Not deterred I was confident (I’m always optimistic on holiday as it makes up for my normal cautious pessimism) and I strode down the narrow path before taking the steps up to the castle enclosure. It was absolutely rammed full and it was immediately clear that there was no way that this site would give us an uninterrupted view of the sunset. So I head off back to town but notice, just a few yards down from the castle a raised grassy bank. It’s not too hard to clamber up and from here I have the perfect view and no-one can get in my way as the walkway back to the town is a few metres below me.
It turns out that this view was better than I imagined as I have a 270° view of from the town along the sea, across to the volcano, back out to sea and along the coast and back up the hills to the outskirts of Oia. Just perfect for watching the many different hues as the sun makes its way down the sky. The atmosphere is building up nicely and the crowds grow. This is almost approaching the assemblage for a rock concert and people are cramming themselves into almost every crevice. The tripod brigade are out in force jockeying for position and the range of cameras is from those old fashioned ones that “run off film” (I can hardly remember the time when I used to buy rolls of film for my holidays), mobile phones, point and shoot digital up to the higher spec SLR’s.
As soon as the sun started to dip (and it seemed to take an absolute age) the cameras started clicking and bleeping. There were some superb views, as the sun began to descend and reflect on the sails of the small boats, but more stunningly on the white builds that cling precariously to the side of the rock that makes up the town of Oia. An eerie orange hue took over the town and on a beautiful clear night the sun was reflected almost perfectly in the gentle ripples of the sea. The crowd was almost silent as the sun continued its descent and watchers clicked off their camera shutters to catch that one memorable photo of this fantastic sunset.
A final click of lens as the sun takes its final dip into the sea and as it does so several of the crowd burst into spontaneous applause. Some where heard to shout “unique” and “awesome” and I didn’t quite have the heart to say that they’ll be able to experience a similar event he following day. Sunset, at Oia, is fairly predictable so you’re almost guaranteed to see a marvellous light show.
It truly is a great sight, but be warned if you're wanting to bid a hasty retreat you will strugg;le as everyone in the crowd has the same though and the narrow cobbled streets of Oia are soon congested as everyone heads out for the car parks. Just take it easy and enjoy the whole experience, After all you're on holiday and there is no need to rush anywhere.