Fira and especially Oia exist today primarily as ampitheaters for the sunset. In high season, tourists line up three and four deep for the best photo spots, sometimes staking a prime location hours in advance.
It seems the blue and white buildings, massive cliffs of the cauldera, and the Greek sun intersect into the perfect sunset.
I'm not convinced. It is a striking setting. I'm sure a clear day produces lovely sunset views. I'm just happy we're here in low season, when prices are low and crowds virtually nonexistent.
It struck me as almost absurd that so much human capacity has been invested in something as commonplace as the sun going down. Sunrise at summer equinox or Winter solstice, sure: those are significant events that have affected human activity and spirituality for thousands of years.
I for one think the Santorini sunset is overrated.
More striking are the Minoan style frescoes preserved in the tiny Prehistoric Museum in Fira. But I am in the minority.
If I were to be asked, I'd say it is worth traveling to Santorini in April, May, or October to avoid the worst crowds and hot weather. Never visit in summer.
We have the company of mostly Chinese tourists. It seems the air pollution during the China winter is so bad that those who can afford to leave do so. The Chinese stick together and prefer organized tours. Here in Fira, there are a handful of "Chinese" restaurants. We dined at a fast food noodle shop and enjoyed the change.
We are told the air pollution in Athens can be dreadful, as well. At the moment, we have sun with very cold, steady winds. I'm hoping the winds keep the air quality reasonable when we're in Athens.