Santorini is a Greek island that is known for its stunning beauty. In the 16th century BC, a devastating volcano eruption forever changed the rugged landscape. Sometimes the crowds (especially from the cruise ships) can make getting a good photograph of the gorgeous scenery difficult. However, we found that one of the best ways to view the caldera (crater) is to hike along its edge from Fira to Oia. Not only will you capture stunning pictures, but you’ll be able to experience it at your own pace.
The best time to hike from Fira to Oia is early morning, especially during the sweltering summer months. Starting in Fira keeps you in the shade for the first 1/3 of the hike. The hike is about 6 miles (10 km). It took us 3 hours to hike from Fira to Oia with stopping for photographs and snack and water breaks. The hike takes you through the small towns of Firostefani and Imerovigli. Don’t count on any markets or restaurants being open if you hike early like we did (finding a restroom was an adventure in itself). Pack plenty of water and sunscreen.
For a complete list of activities in Santorini read 7 Things to Do in Santorini, Greece.
Santorini- Fira to Oia Hike
The hike begins in Fira (also called Thera), the capital of Santorini. A good starting point is at the square beside Hotel Atlantis in Fira.
Make your way to the cable car station near the Catholic cathedral. There are several parallel cobblestone streets that will lead you to the cable cars. As you pass the cable cars, you will also see the “donkey” path down to the harbor.
As you leave Fira, stay on the path overlooking the caldera. Don’t worry if you take a few wrong turns. As long as you continue walking north, you’ll eventually get back on track. You’ll also see others hiking which helps you know you’re going the right direction. The path from Fira to Firostefani is mainly cobblestone with a white barrier on the lefthand side to keep hikers from tumbling down the cliff.
Once you reach Firostefani, you’ll come to a fork in the path. Going to the right takes you through the town. Taking the left fork keeps you along the edge of the caldera. You can also hike to Skaros Rock (it will add about 30 minutes to your hike). We went right, trying to find a cafe that was open. We failed…
After leaving Firostefani, you’ll no longer have any shade. It took us about an hour to get this far.
Imerovigli is the highest point of the caldera. You can view both Fira and Oia from this part of the trail.
From the church of Ekklisia Profitis Ilias to right outside of Oia was the trickiest part of the hike for us. The path becomes steep as you approach the last major hill outside of Oia and the gravel is very loose. Even with good traction shoes, we still slipped a couple of times.
Before the last leg to Oia, there is about a 5 minute stretch where there is no path and you have to walk along the road. This is another good reason to complete this hike early in the day. By mid-afternoon the road becomes pretty busy.
Have you been or want to go to Santorini, Greece? Please share by commenting below! Any questions? Please ask!
Keep up with all of our travel, camping, and cycling tips by following us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter,and Pinterest. Leave us your email (blue box at the bottom of the post) to subscribe to our weekly newsletter and never miss a post!