Santorini Island in Greece is one of the hottest travel destinations thanks to so many beautiful pictures shared on Instagram. Sunsets, wine, and white washed churches with blue domes are the highlights of this beautiful Greek Island. For those more adventure minded, looking for a hiking Santorini Island Greece adventure, there is a six mile trail that links the two tourist capitals on the island.
Hiking Santorini Island Greece adventure started in Oia
My adventure started in Oia as that was where my hotel was located. I stayed at Finikia Memories hotel just outside of Oia. I walked about 5-10 minutes into Oia, and found the bus to Fira. Twenty minutes later I was in Fira. I asked the bus driver where the trail started, but he was not sure and just pointed to the town. I followed everyone walking into town.
Amazing views from Fira
Santorini is one of those places in the world where there is not a bad view no matter where you are on the island. If there is, walk a few steps to find an overlook and soak in the beautiful blue ocean, amazing architecture, and jaw dropping cliffs. While I was looking for the trail, I took in the scenes of Fira and the views of the Aegean Sea. Fira has some incredible churches just like Oia does.
In all the towns in Santorini, there are these narrow sidewalks that take you through the buildings. I just found the sidewalk next to the cliffs overlooking the sea, and started following it in the direction of Oia. I did not see any signs pointing in the direction of Oia until a little bit later.
You could easily spend all day in Fira, and all day taking pictures of the sea, so at some point you have to drag yourself away and start walking. At one point there was a split off trail that hiked down to Skaros Rock. This excursion will add an hour to your hike. I did want to get to Oia before sunset, so I took a picture of the cliff from Fira and continued towards Oia.
Fira morphs into Firostefani and then into Imerovigli, which are the next two villages in the direction of Oia. They are basically one town as I did not even notice when one village ended and one began. There are plenty of places to get food and water in these two villages, but once you leave Imerovigli, they are few and far between. The Avocado Restaurant is the last place to eat along the trail, before the path goes rural. If you need to eat a meal, this is pretty much your last option until Oia.
Finally a trail sign to Oia
I was pretty sure I was on the right path, and finally a sign confirmed I was heading to Oia. Santorini is a caldera. A caldera is the rim of an ancient volcano, so the land mass from Fira to Oia is quite narrow. There are not many places a hiking trail could be, so it would be pretty difficult to be lost for long on this trail.
Hiking Santorini Island Greece adventure to myself
There were a lot of people in Fira. The streets and sidewalks were bustling with happy tourists who finally were enjoying a chance to travel. I was in Greece in April of 2022, and while it was not the summer crowds, the island was starting to come to life with post Pandemic revenge travelers. I had to patiently wait at a few overlooks to have a clear spot at a cliff or a church.
As soon as I left Fira and Imerovigli though, it was a different story. I saw a few couples here and there, but there were times when I did not see anyone for over an hour. While there was no spectacular churches once outside of the city, the views of the sea and the cliffs continued to amaze. It was just as difficult to make time outside of Fira as I was wanting to photograph every foot of the trail and the surrounding views.
Prophet Elias Holy Orthodox Church
There are a few small churches in the rural section. The Prophet Elias Holy Orthodox Church lies about 1.5 miles from Oia. If you are hiking the trail from Fira to Oia, then you are more than halfway through when you reach this little church. It is a beautiful spot with the pine trees. There is not much shade along the path, so this is a good spot to take a rest and get out of the sun.
At this church, the caldera is so narrow, that one can take in views from both sides. It took me one minute of hiking to stand at the overlook to the west and then walk up the driveway of the church and then see the overlook of the sea to the east. Two incredible views within a minute. That is what Santorini is all about.
Santorini is not that well known for wildlife or birds. I did see a few interesting bird species, but no animals at all. The highlight of this island is views, views, and more views. Inland, the island is very dry and inhospitable, so this is not the island for wildlife viewing. At some spots, there were some beautiful wildflowers in bloom.
Hiking Santorini Island Greece adventure is rated medium difficulty
I have seen some rate this hike as easy, but due to its length, I would rate it medium. It is six miles, so one would need to be in reasonable shape to complete it. The pathway is rather smooth, although there are a few rocky stretches, like coming off the plateau into Oia. There are a few moderate climbs, but nothing too steep. Most of the path is level and relatively easy.
Most people walk 2 miles an hour, so I would give yourself an extra hour for this trip because there are so many photo opportunities. I would budget four hours of your time to finish this trip. It could be done by someone in great shape in two hours, but one should take their time and enjoy the stunning scenery.
Hiking from Oia to Fira tips
Be sure to take sunscreen and a protective hat as there is not much shade along the path. Bring plenty of water, especially in summer. There are a few spots along the trail to get food and water, but do not depend on them. I hiked this trail in April, before the busy tourist season, so the convenience store along the path was closed. Check the weather and bring a raincoat if rain is in the forecast. There is hardly any shelter between Imerovigli and Oia.
I would recommend hiking in the direction your hotel is at. You will want to take a bus when you are fresh and not tired instead of after you have hiked a six mile trail. Since my hotel was in Oia, I took a bus to Fira and hiked to my hotel. It was nice to finish my hike at my hotel.
Hiking Santorini Island Greece adventure ends in Oia
A small rural church stood atop the high point just above Oia. From there, the trail gently descended in town. I soon came upon my hotel and called it a hike. My eyes, camera card, and memories were full of beautiful views from one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.
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