Americans Craig Walzer and Oliver Wise went to Santorini for the first time in 2002 and when they ran out of books they realized that there wasn’t any bookstore on the island! So they had a crazy dream; to open their own bookstore in Oia. One and a half years later they managed to make their dream come true.
“We found an empty building in Oia, drank some whiskey, and signed a lease. We found a dog and a cat, opened a bank account, built some shelves and filled the place with books,” they say.
In 2019 the bookshop Atlantis Books celebrates its 15th anniversary having been included in several lists of the most picturesque bookshops in the world.
Atlantis Books is one of the most enchanting places a traveler could ever hope to stumble upon. A two-room hobbit cave stuffed floor to ceiling with real books—mostly in English, but also in Greek, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Chinese.
Above the shop, up a short flight of exterior stairs, is a terrace that looks out onto the Aegean. A sea captain’s house once stood where the terrace is, but it was leveled by an earthquake in 1956. Atlantis Books occupies what had been the captain’s basement.
Walzer admits that the life of a tourist on Santorini is very different from the life of a local. “Santorini is a beautiful place, but as a tourist, you do not experience the real Greece. It is a different experience to go through the winter, to enjoy the simplicity of the villages, to see the children of the island growing up…”