Vacation usually means relaxation, fun, sunbathing, food, drinking, dancing, etc, and this list can never end! In Santorini, you can enjoy all the above in an extra idyllic atmosphere and, besides, experience fascinating alternative activities that highlight the uniqueness of this island.
A hike to remember!
Well, a single post can not even describe them briefly! One of our favorite ones is hiking in the scenic landscape of Santorini! There are many hiking trails in Santorini, but the most famous of them all is the trail leading from Fira to Oia! Even if you are not a hiking fan, this trail will offer you a memorable experience in which you shall savor the unbelievable wild nature of the Caldera and the Aegean Sea.
Dress lightly, wear a pair of comfortable shoes, and let the adventure begin! The hike takes you along the Caldera’s captivating cliffside and through the charming villages of Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli, and Oia. It is 10 km -about 6 miles- distance. The average time to complete the hiking is 3 to 4 hours, depending on your pace and number of stops. Although you might stray from the path, it is almost impossible to get actually lost! The hiking trail is well marked and suitable for anyone! You do not have to super fit to follow it!
What will you explore while hiking from Fira to Oia?
The official starting point of the hiking trail at Fira is the square beside Atlantis Hotel. Start walking on the cobble-stoned alleyway, where the path moves upwards along the Caldera’s rim. On your left side, it is hard to miss Skaros, a conical peninsula with a large rock on top, about 20m high. Take some time and deviate from your path to explore it! In medieval Santorini, it was used as a fortress. Today, you may wander around the ruins of the old castle and get astounded by the azure blue of the sea vistas.
As you continue your way, you head towards the first village on your route, Firostefani, the ‘Crown of Fira’ as its name derives. There, you can stop at a cafe or grab a snack as there is a variety of local stores. Walking onwards, the trail crosses by the blue-domed Monastery of Saint Nicolas. The Monastery, which dates to 1651, and was re-built in 1820, is a worthwhile spot to spend some time to admire the Caldera beauty and take a few pictures.
Then, the path leads you to the white-washed paved paths of Imerovigli village, a typical example of Cycladic architecture. The village name, deriving from the words day and observatory, reveals that due to its geographic position, it was providing clear views of the sea and thus early warning to the residents before pirates’ attacks.
While you continue to heading northwards, you will see the Church of Agios Antonios as well as the Church of Prophet Elias. We recommend to make a short stop there and take a deep breath. The most demanding part of the hiking begins is now ahead of you and the road gets steeper. Do not get discouraged though; the final destination, the village of Oia, will surely reward your time and effort. When you reach Oia, just jump into Passaggio Cafe, located at the very beginning of Oia’s pathway. There, you can boost your body with a super tasty and nutritious juice or smoothie and be proud of yourself. You made it!
What is the preferable time to start hiking?
There is no shade along the way, especially on the second half of the hike between Imerovigli and Oia. Therefore, you should schedule your hiking as early as possible, around 7:30-8:00 am, or late in the evening, around 16:00-17:00, to avoid the high temperatures of a hot summer day!
What should you have with you while hiking?
- No special equipment is needed for this hiking trail. Just wear a comfortable pair of shoes and light and comfortable clothing when the weather is hot.
- Bring with you water, a hat, sunscreen & sunglasses.
- There are several places to buy refreshments or snacks in the hiking way. However, be aware that there are not always open, thus make sure to buy your own before entering the hiking!
- Make sure to have plenty of battery on your phone and cameras to capture this incomparable beauty – a perfect scenery, especially for the influencers and photo enthusiasts 😛 .
Can everyone follow this trail?
There are several hiking trails in Santorini. The particular trail, lasting 3-4 hours, has a low difficulty level and can be followed by inexperienced hikers. If you prefer thought to turn on your athletic mood the duration of the hike can be less than 3 hours.
As for the elevation along the route, heed that Oia is 130 meters whereas Imerovigli -the highest point on the hike- is 350 meters and Fira 270 meters. Note that the part of the hike between Fira and Imerovigli is short and acclivitous whereas the next part, from Imerovigli straight to Oia is progressive and longspun.
Young kids can also walk on the trail supervised by adults. We wouldn’t recommend though to carry babies on baby strollers with you.
Tips and extras for your hiking experience!
- In the heart of summertime, June to September, when our island is getting really busy, return buses between Oia and Fira will be diligent in the afternoon, and taxis challenging to find. We would recommend to grab a taxi or take a bus in the morning before your walk starts and then hike back to your starting point.
- Pay attention not to walk on the asphalt road. If you do so, you’re probably doing it wrong. You should follow the pathway almost the entire hike. The only point along the way that you need to walk on the main road, is between Oia and Imerovigli, for a short period.
- You can also hike the opposite of the described hike, from Oia to Fira. In this case, the official starting point is next to ‘Perivolos Market’. However, keep in mind that if you hike from Fira to Oia the trail is overall downhill and easier with the views upfront.
- If you are a Yogi, you will undoubtedly discover a favorite spot for a short contemplation on this route…
- If you are looking for new friends, you may join an organized walking tour. The leaders are English speaking local guides. If you choose to follow an organized tour you shall enjoy a light lunch (picnic) with traditional delicacies or a food tasting experience at a local cafe or restaurant. The price of an organized morning walking tour, with up to 6 participants, is about €75 per person and lasts approximately 4,5 hours. The added value of an organized tour is that you get the geological and historical context of the sights you pass through the trail.
- Don’t be rush, just enjoy the views!
Now you know almost everything and you are ready to start! Enjoy it!