It doesn’t get much better than hiking in Santorini. Actually, it doesn’t get much better than doing anything in Santorini. Eating, drinking, walking, sitting… it’s all top notch. If you’re ever lucky enough to find yourself there, make sure to save a day to hike from Fira to Oia. It’s one of the most beautiful hikes in the world.
Hiking in Santorini, Greece
First off, congratulations on your decision to go to Santorini! It’s probably my favorite place in the world, so I’m jealous you’re going without me. Your eyeballs are in for a serious treat. If you’re looking for an activity that doesn’t involve stuffing your face with pork souvlaki and freddo cappuccinos, (and no judgement if you aren’t) may I suggest the hike from Fira to Oia. The scenery is fantastic, and it’s a great way to burn off some of those extra calories.
Go From Fira to Oia if You Can
It doesn’t really matter which direction you go, you’ll get the same amazing views both ways, it just seems a little more natural to go from Fira to Oia. It’s generally more downhill that way, and if you plan it right, you’ll end up in Oia to watch a beautiful sunset. Which if you haven’t heard, is a bit of a thing. (you won’t be alone)
If your hotel is in Oia, you could wake up from your post-lunch nap around 3pm, and put on some suitable footware. Pack a small daybag with water, snacks and a camera, and take the bus out to Fira to begin your hike. You can start pretty much anywhere in Fira. The path isn’t clearly marked, but you’ll get the general idea. Just start walking north out of town, keeping the caldera (west) side sea on your left, and you’ll be fine. There aren’t too many opportunities to stray, but if you do, it’ll be a quick fix to get back on the path.
It’s Harder Than I Thought it Would Be
This is more than a leisurely stroll through the park. It takes about 4 hours, assuming you’re not power walking, and if you take time to sit and enjoy the scenery now and then. You’ll read how some people take their kids and have no problem, but it’s harder than I expected, and I’m in relatively decent shape. Hiking in Santorini for 4 hours straight is tiring. And don’t wear flip flop sandals. There will be times when the the trail is too rocky for that. I mean, you could do it if you had to, but why risk twisting an ankle on vacation. Protect yo’ feet!
There are Ways to Make it Easier
If a 4 hour hike sounds a bit out of your comfort range, fear not, there are ways to make it easier. For starters, you don’t need to go all the way from Fira to Oia to get amazing views. It’s all amazing. You could begin your hike in Firastefani, which is just north of Fira. That would cut out most of the uphill climb out of Fira. You could also just start in Fira or Oia, hike for an hour out of town, and then head back.
Along the trail, you will occasionally see the main road. If you’re struggling, you could find a bus stop and take it a few stops, then start hiking again. And don’t feel too bad about that. While the view is stunning the whole way, you get the general idea after a while.
Try to Arrive in Oia Before Sunset
Keep an eye on the sun as you hike. If you start early in the day, it won’t be an issue, but you definitely don’t want to be hiking in the dark. Too many rocks to accidentally stumble on. You’ll eventually come to the last stretch, where it’s just downhill, and Oia is clearly in sight.
Arrive in Oia for a Spectacular Sunset
This last part depends a little on luck, and maybe a little on how well you prayed at the last church. Seeing the sunset in Oia can be truly spectacular. It can also be a crowded mess of pushy Chinese tourists and drunken American college kids jockeying for a spot to watch the sun go down. It’s hit or miss. But if you’re lucky with weather, and it’s not high season, you could be treated to an amazing finish.
Don’t Feel Bad if That Great Sunset Never Happens
Don’t worry if the sunset is a bust. It’s a good reason to come back again some day. Hiking in Santorini is still a great way to spend the day. Now you can eat a guilt-free dinner, and order an extra dessert if you want.