When you picture the perfect Greek fishing village, you’re probably picturing Oia.
This idyllic village is the most exclusive destination in Santorini, one of Greece’s most dramatically beautiful islands. Formed by erupting volcanoes, Santorini took its current shape after the Minoan eruption of 1613 B.C. One of the most violent volcanic eruptions of the past 10,000 years, it left behind a huge sea-filled crater—the caldera—and the island of Santorini, a rough semi-circle of volcanic rock protruding from the bright Aegean Sea.
Located on the northern tip of Santorini, Oia is known for its stunning views out across the caldera towards the Cycladic islands and the spectacular Aegean sunsets.
“Oia is characterized as the most luxurious area in Santorini, as many cave houses and Venetian mansions are spread around, giving [it] a unique style,” said Georg Petras, CEO of Engel & Völkers Greece. “On this legendary island in the Cyclades, all your senses seem magnified, a product of its many contrasts: black earth against whitewashed homes clinging to the cliff-side or wild volcanic sculptures against sleek Cycladic lines. The sunset from Oia is famous all over the world.”
The property market in Oia has been heating up since the pandemic started, said George Kasimis, head of Aegean sales at Greece Sotheby’s International Realty.
“2020 was our best year, by far. People are buying now [remotely],” he said, adding that in the last three weeks of March he negotiated eight sales with overseas buyers who hadn’t visited the properties. “In general the appetite is huge. [Buyers] understand that they can work more remotely than they used to, so why not work on a Greek island instead of a city somewhere in the world?”
Oia extends for almost two kilometers along the northern edge of the island at a height of between 70 and 100 meters above sea level. It is bounded by Finikia to the east and to the south by the sea and the small fishing village of Ormos Armeni. To the west lies Amoudi Bay and to the north it is bounded roughly by the Firon-Ias road.
The most luxurious traditional cave houses, with a hot tub or a plunge pool on the terrace and spectacular sunset views, cost between €500,000 and €1 million (US$588,000 to US$1.76 million), said Mr. Kasimis, with prices ranging from €8,000 to €15,000 per square meter.
Mr. Petras estimated prices of €5,000 to €10,000 per square meter for the most luxurious properties.
“If you are looking for a turnkey house with around 70 to 80 square meters, prices start from €650,000,” he said. “For the most exclusive clientele, Oia offers unique opportunities for high-end villas which start from the price of €1.25 million.”
Strict rules prevent developers from building luxury mansions and villas in Santorini, so the majority of the real estate available in Oia is redesigned cave houses.
“They are old houses built during the 19th century which have been renovated over the last 10 years… They are fresh, whitewashed nice Cycladic architecture,” Mr. Kasimis said. “The luxurious aspect of the properties is the location, the views, the authenticity.”
Mr. Petras said that many historic cave houses have been “refurbished and redesigned in a modern and luxurious manner.” Originally carved out of the volcanic rock by fishermen, they are “built in the niches carved into the caldera slopes with provision of air-filled pumice which provides insulation benefits to the building, keeping it warm in winter and cool in summer,” he said.
What Makes it Unique
Since the 1970s, when it began to appear on postcards sent around the world, Oia has become one of Greece’s most exclusive and iconic island locations. It boasts beautiful Cycladic architecture, spectacular views and easy access to all of Santorini’s attractions, including its red and black volcanic sand beaches and the nearby town of Thira, with its buzzing nightlife, international airport and ferries to nearby islands including Folegandros, Ios, Anafi, Naxos and Paros.
“Oia offers a unique privacy as cars are not allowed,” Mr. Petras said. “You can walk in and enjoy your trip, far away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.”
The village is steeped in history, with its iconic churches topped with blue cupolas and the remains of a 15th-century Venetian castle, Adios Nikolaos, carved into the volcanic rock when the Cycladic islands were under the control of the Franks to withstand frequent raids by pirates. Bands often play beside the castle at dusk, when crowds gather to watch the sun sink into the Aegean Sea among scattered volcanic islands.
Thanks to its popularity with tourists, Oia is an attractive proposition for investment buyers who make very good returns on the rental market, said Mr. Kasimis.
Hidden among Oia’s simple whitewashed houses and humble churches is a wealth of luxury amenities. High-end restaurants and boutique hotels with discreet spas rub shoulders with buzzing bars overlooking the sea and the sunset, intimate art galleries and hidden boutiques selling items made by local designers and artisans.
“The main road in Oia village is the most exclusive and prestigious area to walk in the island,” Mr. Petras said. “The scenery has been voted as the most romantic place in the world as all restaurants offer the possibility to dine on a terrace with a breathtaking view of caldera.”
The village is home to the most exclusive restaurants on the island, including Lycabettus, balanced on a narrow peninsula overlooking the caldera and presided over by executive chef Pavlos Kiriakis, who cut his teeth in multiple Michelin-starred restaurants; Naos, which serves up Greek specialities with a subtle Japanese twist in a mansion dating from 1845; Sphinx, a wine bar and restaurant that specialises in pairing local wines with ingredients grown on its own biodynamic farm; and Lauda, Oia’s first restaurant, which was established in 1971, when the village had just 300 residents, and serves up authentic local cuisine.
Article Source: Mansion Global