Finding the Blue Domed Church in Oia
If you’ve ever looked at an advertisement for the island of Santorini Greece, chances are you’ve seen it. The iconic blue domed church that perfectly matches the blue sky with a backdrop of Santorini’s caldera in the Aegean Sea. You know the one. For most people, viewing that picture brings delightful visions of an idyllic Greek vacation, dressed in a pressed linen dress, sipping wine with a handsome stranger. For me, seeing this picture brings on murderous thoughts of tossing my favorite digital camera into the wind and never taking another picture again. Finding the blue domed church in Santorini eluded me for many years!
You see, I’ve always wanted to take “that picture” myself. The blue domed church in Oia, Santorini would be my photographic masterpiece. I was certain of it. The blue domed church photo would be the pièce d’résistance of the thousands of photos I’ve ever taken…my most famous Instagram moment…my profile picture on Facebook. This one picture meant everything.
Disappointment in Santorini
We’d only visited Santorini once before in 2009 on a cruise stopover for a few hours. One of the cruise excursions included a Greek Photography walk around the island of Santorini. I was SO excited. This was it. I was going to get “THE SHOT”. I think I even dreamed about finding the blue domed church the night before we landed in Santorini.
Our photography walk took us to some gorgeous places. Greek island churches where the sun played beautifully with cheerfully tolling bells. Doors that led to nowhere. Skies so blue it hurt the eyes. So much incredible loveliness…but I barely saw it. I was looking for the iconic blue domed church from all of the travel brochures.
With great sadness, our photography tour guide told us the blue domed church I yearned for was in another town, far away and we wouldn’t be seeing it that day. I was totally devastated. The wine didn’t taste good that night and all of those wonderful pictures I’d taken that day seemed dull and unappealing. We headed back home to the United States and every single time I’d see that beautiful picture of the blue domed church in brochures or on other travel sites, I’d feel the same stab of disappointment because I hadn’t gotten THE SHOT.
Obsessed with Finding the Blue Domed Church
Fast forward to early October, 2014. We’ve come to Greece early for the Travel Bloggers Exchange Conference in Athens. We have a few weeks to spend visiting the Greek Islands of Naxos, Paros, Mykonos, Santorini and catching up with friends. Woo HOO!!
My island nemesis is on the list and this time I’m not taking ANY chances. We booked for a week at a gorgeous (and not very expensive) home we found in Santorini on AirBnB and I brought all of my cameras, so I’ll have plenty of options to capture the perfect shot.
I’m researching online to find exactly where the blue domed church in Santorini is located. And I’m coming up with nothing concrete…nothing helpful at all. I found several blogs detailing hikes and best spots for a romantic evening, but not exactly where to find the blue domed church. Fira town? Imerovigli? Pyrgos? Oia village?
The Church is in Oia Greece!
Finding the blue domed church had become an obsession. I’d almost given up. Perhaps it just wasn’t my destiny to get this particular picture. Finally, I find a post that points me to Oia Greece.
We’re exploring the village of Oia, on the northwest side of Santorini. I see blue domed churches everywhere! However, the angle isn’t right. All the domes I can see are high up with no way to shoot down on them. So my friends and I start looking. Turning down alley after alley. It’s now become a competition. Throngs of tourists must be looking at us as though we’ve lost our minds. “No, it’s not down there. Let’s try the next one!” We’d run from alley to alley.
Then the incredible happens. I hear a shout from down an alley I almost didn’t bother going down. “I think I found it! Come look!” It was right there! “THE SHOT!” The blue domed church on Santorini on a picture-perfect day! Wow! What luck!
Did I charge my batteries? Yes! Bring the right filters? No, those I left on the nightstand. Nevermind, we were there! I must have taken 100 shots. I wanted every single nuance of the moment to be captured forever. This was my happy place. I’d found it at last!
My friends practically had to drag me away. Only the promise of a glass of wine overlooking the caldera could entice me away. But as I walked away, I clutched my camera very close, because the camera held the precious pictures. I couldn’t stop smiling…and looking at the pictures on the viewfinder over and over.
The blue domed church photo is synonymous with a perfect Greek vacation. SOOOO, would anyone else be interested in EXACTLY where to get this particular shot? I’ll share the details, because if the picture makes you half as happy as it did me, then that’s a great thing!
Oia, Santorini. From Oia’s main square take the wide walking path – facing the caldera – on the famous Gold Street. Duck into the alley beside the Minerali jewelry store.
It doesn’t look like anything but an alley, but keep walking a few yards…and you’re there! GPS coordinates…
Latitude: 36.461465 Longitude: 25.375176
Plan Your Trip To Oia, Santorini
Where to Stay in Santorini
Finding a place to stay in Santorini, or any of the Greek Islands, takes a little planning. There are jaw-dropping hillside hotels where the bell-staff grabs your bags from street level and lugs them down to your room and there are quaint Mom and Pop motels where you’ll share your space with the local Greek cats. So many choices of where to stay – start your search here!
One of our favorite things to do when traveling is use AirBnB to find an entire house to use as a “home base” while we’re visiting the island. We found this beauty for much less than the cost of a hotel room for 4 of us. And yes, there were a few cats in the neighborhood!
It had a gorgeous pool and was only steps from the beach! Use this link for $40 off your first booking with AirBnB!
Tours in Santorini
There is SO much to see on the Greek Islands – and on Santorini in particular. Taking a tour from a reputable company is a great way to see attractions and places you might not be able to see on your own. We have used Get Your Guide in the past and can highly recommend them for their selection of tours. Here are just a few to choose from…
Books to Read Before Your Vacation to the Greek Islands
If you’re anything at all like me, you enjoy reading up on a destination before you visit. From ancient history of the Greek Islands to luscious guidebooks on where to find the best baklava – books are an excellent way to plan and prepare for your Greek Island vacation! Do you have a favorite book on the Greek Islands?
Have you found the Blue Domed Church during your travels? Please let us know below!
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