Oia Santorini is a personal/public blog about the adventures, trials & tribulations, sheer joy, wonder, frustration, inspiration and self discovery involved in living in a renovated cave house on the cliffs of Oia – Santorini.

In the words of Talking Heads….”how did I get here?”

The search for a house on Santorini begun 20 years ago (long search I hear you say….). Good things take time though and whilst 20 years maybe a little too long for most people it wasn’t for me. When you know what you want….when you have an image in your mind that’s so clear you can almost touch it….then you keep looking till you find it. Most people give up. Most people only dream about it. Most people lock an image in their minds and use it for “mental travel” only. For me it was a magnificent obsession that finally resulted in finding 2 abandoned caves on the cliffs of Oia. About six years ago we moved into the cave house (my wife and I, four children and our black lab “Rex”).

Part of this blog will be a visual/text diary of how these caves were slowly, painfully and lovingly restored. Other parts will be guides to this unique island, the pleasures of an Aegean Lifestyle… photos of our picturesque little village (you really couldn’t take a bad photo in Oia if you tried). Parts of this blog will also be encouragement for all those who have always wanted to live in the place of their dreams….but have never quite managed to “make the leap”. It will also be a guide to local food & wine, island life & architecture, art, history and hopefully inspiration for those still in “mental travel” mode. I hope you enjoy it and leave your thoughts, comments & questions each time you visit.

Wave from the cave ;-)


PS: The original version of this page was accidentally deleted (don’t ask how) and along with it went all the lovely comments and good wishes from the many visitors to this blog. It made me very sad when I realised that they were all gone, however the new page is up and running and is as close to the old page as I can remember it. I hope you continue to leave your thoughts and comments whenever you visit, they are very much appreciated ;-)

26 responses to “About…

  1. omg…you are sooo fortunate to live in paradise…..we just had a one day stop during a cruise and i fell in love with Oia……

    • welcome Sonia… you’re right about being fortunate to live here. I’m sorry your stay was a short one this time around…. but hopefully we’ll see you back here soon ;-)

  2. Hi there, sounds great and very idyllic. We are considering Santorini as a potential holiday detsination for the last two weeks in October – what is it like then, still warm enough to get a tan, still places open to eat and see etc.?

    • Whilst it may still be warm enough to enjoy good walks Graham… I doubt that it will be warm/hot enough for a tan. Still plenty of places open (the season officially goes till 28th November). It’s actually a great time to be here…the crowds gone and it is a wonderful time to see the autumn colours of the island. Hope you enjoy it if you decide to come to the island !

  3. Hey Michael!!!
    I’m thinking of going to Santorini in Mid April!
    Few questions for you, if you don’t mind answering!
    a. Whats the weather like?
    b. I’d like to go somewhere not too touristy, but that has a few shops, yummy restaurants, and a bar or two, where’s best?

    Everywhere I search reccomend “chavvy” areas, which I want to avoid! I’m 23 and going with my boyfriend who’s 26, so we wnat to relax, experience but also have a few drinks with the locals!

    Thanks in advance


    • Hi Liria… thanks for stopping by the blog. The weather in April can still be cool at night… not swimming weather. If you want somewhere with good views…not far from the nightlife in town and not too touristy I would recommend looking for a place in Firostefani. Not a lot at night but its only a 10min walk into town (Fira)…. and its gorgeous village. You could also look at Imerovigli which has more restaurants etc. Let me know how you go ;-)

  4. Anna Hechavarria

    Dear Michael,
    Thank you for sharing your inspirational words and lovely pictures of Oia. They have clearly worked their magic on me, as having visited Santorini 3 times over the past couple of years, I am now planning to give up the grind of London and move there this year! Definitely a case of fulfilling one’s dreams rather than having a mid-life crisis I hasten to add! I understand that everything works via word of mouth on the island and wondered if you had any suggestions in terms of the best way to find long-term rental accommodation please? Any advice would be much appreciated. Many thanks and best wishes Anna

    • Hi Anna… I will ask around for you and email you if anything is available. Let me know if you’re interested in something in Oia (or near) or something on the cliff face itself… which is obviously more expensive. I’ll wait till I hear from you ;-)

  5. Michael, love your site! Does the name “Oía” have a meaning? Also, is it a Greek word or Italian? Thanks, Jon

    • Jon… thanks for dropping by and your comment. Oia is a Greek name (the village used to be called “epano meria”… which means “upper side”). The name was changed to OIA after the Greek revolution against the Turkish occupation. Oia has a very long history and was a major naval force in the Aegean.

  6. Over the Easter break I was enjoying a bit of “blog hopping” and came across your page. I became consumed with reading your musings and images.
    When I was pulled away to help with our Easter plan of finishing our renovations, all I could think about was the images you’ve posted, and the wonderful friends you’ve introduced us to like Dimitri, Oscar and the hard working wine makers.
    Your blog is like finding that book that you can’t get out of your head, you want to learn more about the surroundings and the “characters”.
    THANK YOU for bringing back vivid memories of Santorini like when I sat on the balcony watching the sunrise unfold before me, I remember the way the day started out almost like mother nature was tip – toeing through the calder and peeling back the covers to reveal it’s magnificent blue but doing it so respectfully quiet so as not to wake the late night revellers that had only just climbed into bed, or like at sunset the bolt of orange that drenched our faces and prickled our skin.
    THANK YOU for bringing back my focus on the power of positive thinking and actions. Respect, and your one word mantra is a fantastic suggestion.
    THANK YOU for showing us dreamtime in Greece – snow, harsh winds and all. Makes me question, how do you stay cosy in winter in a cave?
    I am so ecstatic to have found this slice of heaven I can delve into at the end of my working day. Though your path to Oia looks intense and a long time coming, thank you for sharing your real life fairytale.

    • thank you for the lovely words and thoughts Shareen…. blogging is not always an easy pass time. It takes time and a good deal of effort to plan and gather what in the end may seem like just random thoughts. But then a comment like yours comes along… and it makes it all worth while !
      Best from Oia ;-)

  7. Dear Michael,

    First of congratulations to you for achieving your dream and also for providing this wonderful blog. I was wondering if you can give some directions to purchasing a cave house in Oia. My wife cannot stop thinking about purchasing a cave home in Oia and has visited the island of Santorini several times during the last 20 years. She has her mind set on a cave house with the picturesque views. Would it be possible to find anyting in the price range of EUR 300k-350k?

    Thank you,
    Samuel Zand

  8. Dear Michael,
    Hope this finds you and the family well, love your images of Santorini and have been following your blog, love many of your stories, have been to Santorini as well as the wall of love with my wife/ your article “Young Japanese Couple” brought back some great memories. Thank so much for all your stories.
    Please stay in touch!!

    • Hi Wai… thank you for dropping by and leaving your message. Im glad you enjoy the posts and I hope your visit to the wall of love ended with romantic photos and not the way it was for this unfortunate young couple… but at least it had a happy ending. Thank you for your kind words… hope you drop by again soon !
      Best from Oia ;-)

  9. Michael,

    What a great blog…you are living my dream!!!! LOL

    Ever since I was 12 and watched “Summer Lovers” I fell in love with Santorini and Oia…God willing, I will be traveling there next summer but my long term goal is a property on the island.

    Best regards and keep up the great work, I look forward to reading your posts and, hopefully, one day utilizing your services.

    Cheers from Miami….

  10. Dear Michael,

    I am visiting Santorini with my boyfriend from October 4th-8th and we are hoping to stay at the Heliophos cave houses. I would love any thoughts you have, recommendations about dining, excursions, etc. — I would ideally love to stay in Oia (rather than Fira) for the quieter vibe, but also want to make sure that at least 1-2 days we can explore the rest of the island on foot or public transportation. Will it be a drag to get to Fira for buses to the rest of the island? (I see that someone asked a similar question above, but any further advice would be so appreciated!)

    Thank you!

  11. you captured our sentiments clearly and eloquently. We are your new friends and please do not mind when we ask you about the “process” of taking this leap! Our dream involves more of France, however of course trips to Greece are part of that without question – especially Santorini!

  12. Stumbled upon your blog when I was looking for “Santorini”. Planning to spend a week there to write and enjoy the island this upcoming May, and now I am reading some of your older posts diligently to find out more about Santorini :)

  13. Michael,
    im not sure what im doing right now, i had no one else to turn so i turned to the internet and your blog… i wanted to at least try…me and my fiancee were in santorini last may…long and sad strory short, we bought a painting there from the countless paintings all over…the painting sat around and my fiancee talked about framing it proffesionally but just never got around to it…until i had the brilliant idea to frame it for her as part of her christmas present… i took it to a proffesional and they fremed it for $65.00.
    when i surprised her with it she broke into tears nit from joy but from sadness becouse the framer had cut the picture to make it fit and pasted the picture to a piece of cardboard. Needless to say she was devestated and my heart sank as she cried over the picture. the end of the story is that she refused to go to christmas dinner at my parents becouse she was so mad and upset…i pushed and pushed and pleaded with her to go until she had enough and basically left. She has not talked to me since and this morning she said that she does not want to talk about it and that we are done.
    I know theres is more to it than a picture but i truly believe since ruining the picture set all this in motion that maybe replacing the picture will start the healing…i have to try i am a desperate man,,,l will never forgive myself for letting her go without trying everything…please let me know if you can help
    broken hearted in Miami…

  14. Dear Michael,
    I want to visit Oia with my mother during later half of September. Can you please help me with the information of modes of transportation within Oia. Both of us have knee problem and cannot climb so many stairs, nor can we climb a mule, but definitely want to enjoy the beauty of Oia.

    • Hi Sangeeta… Oia is not easy if you have any kind of leg problems. There are lots of steps (on the cliff side) but that doesn’t mean you cant enjoy the beauty of the village… just need to go slower and stay away from steep climbs. You do have to walk everywhere in Oia (within the village limits) or drive a small car or scooter. There are no mules to ride unless you are down at the small port of Ammoudi… but even there you can drive. So… depending on where you are staying I would suggest renting a small car for the a couple of days ; )

  15. Hi Michael,
    I’ll be there Monday and am looking for a place for a festive birthday dinner. Any suggestions? Want to come? The more, the merrier, since it will just be me and my husband. Cheers!

    • Hi Stephanie… saw this by chance today. I don’t know where you will be staying but there is not a lot left open in Oia now…. sadly even Ammoudi will be closed, although you should still go down on a nice day even for a walk. You will find plenty of places in Fira still open… but in Oia there are a couple of coffee shops only at this time of year. If you find my page (same name) on FB you can get in touch there too and look at a lot more photos of the island and Oia ;)
      Happy birthday !!

  16. Hi!
    So happy to have found your blog!
    I’m a Greek?Australian who has been to Santorini twice, most recently in Oct just passed when I stayed in Oia researching for the novel I’m writing. It’s always been my dream to live there and write.
    But with 2 kids, 2 mortgages and 2 pets to uproot it all seems still too difficult…
    Looking forward to following life in OIa through your blog!

  17. Michael – thank you for existing, dreaming and sharing. [Insert a wave from a passing boat here.] I am on a similar journey, molding dreams into reality. Sometimes though, when fears and doubts do creep in, it is a blessing to find a campfire such as this one, to refuel the sparks. So once more, thank you.

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