Santorini is probably one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean, with some of the most breath-taking views and picturesque villages. Travelling to Santorini, everyone expects to witness the world-famous sunset from Oia and explore the scenic Caldera. Hiking from Oia to Fira is one of the highlights of visiting Santorini and one of the best ways to explore the island and the Caldera, passing through the villages of Imerovigli, Firostefani, and of course, Fira.
The hiking trail from Oia to Fira is approximately 10km and is a fairly easy hike considering that for the most part the path is either similar to a sidewalk or there is cobblestone. The entire hike should take around 4 hours depending on your pace and how many stops and detours you make along the way. The best season for hiking in Santorini is from March to early June and from September to October, as these months are not too hot like the summer months or too cold like the completely off-season winter months. If you are planning to do the hike during the summer, however, it is best to avoid the middle of the day, as the sun is too strong. You could set off early in the morning, keeping in mind that in July and August it starts getting very hot by 11am. Alternatively, you could hike in the afternoon and arrive in Fira just in time for the sunset.
The path is very easy to follow by yourself, as there are several marks along the route, especially at the most critical junctions. There is no need to have a map with you as the path goes along the rim of the Caldera, keeping you on the right track. You will have some opportunities for a small detour for exploring, for instance when you get to the Skaros Rock. You are very unlikely to get lost during the hike, but if you want to stay on the safe side and have some professional guidance, there are some paid tours that are accompanied by local guides.
Starting from Santorini’s most graphic village, you will head south towards the Perivolas market, which is the last market you should see in Oia as you embark on your adventure. Walking along the Caldera, the Aegean Sea should always be on your right-hand side and you will have some great views of the neighbouring island of Thirassia. You will follow the small dirt path, which will eventually lead you to the main road, where you will have to walk for only about five minutes (until you find the San Antonio hotel). If you are walking in the morning, the road should be quiet, but always be aware of the cars.
Getting back on the path, make sure to remain on the side of the Caldera if you want to make the most of your hike and not miss out on the majestic views our island has to offer –even though the Caldera path is slightly trickier. At this point you should find the Church of Prophet Elias and the Church of Agios Antonios, a bit later on, which are both worth a stop to enjoy the magnificent views over the Caldera cliff. Moving on, you will find Imerovigli, a truly charming village, approximately 70 –minutes walking from Oia. Entering Imerovigli from the north, you will meet Avaton Hotel. Here, you can either follow the right side of the path, sticking to the Caldera for a more scenic walk; or you can take the path to the right that leads towards the centre of Imerovigli, if you need to restock your snacks or water.
If you choose to remain on the Caldera rim, heading South you will see the famous Skaros Rock on your right hand side. This detour would add approximately thirty, slightly challenging minutes to your hike, which we totally encourage! It offers some of the best and most panoramic views of the Aegean and of Santorini, as you can see Oia, Fira, and Imerovigli from a distance.
Further south, you will find Firostefani, which has essentially become a continuation of Fira. In Firostefani, you should also find the Monastery of Saint Nicholas, which was founded in the 17th century and was the second monastery built in Santorini! No more than 10 minutes after Firostefani, you will finally arrive in Fira, Santorini’s largest town. Here, you can finally reward yourself with a wholehearted breakfast or lunch, or a stunning sunset (Oia sunsets are still better!) if you choose to hike in the afternoon.
No matter what, the hike from Oia to Fira, or from Fira to Oia is totally worth the sweat! It is definitely the most scenic route you can follow in Santorini, going through some of the island’s most picturesque towns and villages. The views you will witness will most definitely remain in your memory until the next time you decide to visit us!
Don’t forget (!):
No matter when you decide to do this hike, you need to make sure that you bring with you water and a few snacks. Make sure that you are wearing proper clothing and comfortable shoes. It is also very important to protect your skin from the sun, because while walking, and especially if it is windy, you might not realize that it is burning. Most importantly, do not forget your camera! During this hike, you will witness some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes, combining the Aegean’s endless blue and the graphic villages of Santorini, with their whitewashed houses and blue-domed churches.