Exploring the hiking trails of Santorini
It would be so easy to remain mesmerised by the whitewashed beauty and polished charm of Santorini. But if you really want to develop a personal relationship with an island that has become an international legend, you have to strap on a pair of walking shoes and explore its hiking trails.
You can trace the rim of the Santorini’s famous caldera, from the island’s capital, Fira, all the way to Oia, on the northwestern point. There’s a balcony view of the Aegean all the way, with quaint little villages and chapels to discover and, if you time your walk right, the sunset of your life.
Or you can follow the trail from the picture-perfect village of Pyrgos all the way up to Santorini’s highest point, with truly dazzling 360-degree views of the island and the sea beyond, before descending into Ancient Thira, first settled by 9th century BC Dorian colonists. The trail feels, in parts, like it’s been carved into the stone.
Despite Santorini’s clifftop landscape, the walks aren’t challenging. You can join a group and learn more about the island’s long history and rich topography, or discover the trails yourself. Either way, you’ll walk away with a feeling about Santorini you never expected.
Fira to Oia
- Don’t forget to pop into the chapels (Agios Gerasimos and Agios Nikolaos) around the gorgeous settlement of Firostefani.
- A little further along is the village of Imerovigli, perfectly situated for a picnic-with-a-view.
- If it’s a jaw-dropping vista you’re after, take the steps from Imerovigli down to Skaros Rock, with its fortress ruins and where the caldera views of cruise ships and the volcanic little islands of Thirasia and Nea Kameni become your very own.
- Between Imerovigli and Oia, there’s a cluster of more chapels (Agios Markos, San Antonio) to explore.
- For a magical sunset, climb Mavro Vouno (Black Mountain) to the small church of Stavros or Prophet Elias chapel shortly before you arrive at Oia.
Pyrgos to Ancient Thira
- From Pyrgos, it takes about 1hr to reach the 567m peak and the Monastery of Profitis Ilias (built in 1711). Visit the monastery and enjoy a picnic with a 360-degree view.
- The Ancient Cemetery of Thira is where villagers once sought refuge during pirate raids.
- You can finish your walk at Kamari, just north of Ancient Thira, where you’ll find restaurants, shops and other amenities.
- There is a good network of public buses on Santorini, including stops in Fira, Oia, Pyrgos and Kamari.
- Taxis are also available.
- All year round but Santorini gets busy during the summer months.
- So ideal months are April-May and October, when it’s cooler and calmer.
Early morning or in the afternoon to coincide with the sunset!
Fira – Oia
- Distance: 10.5km
- Highest point: 350m
- Walking time: 3-5hrs
- Age: 12+
Pyrgos - Ancient Thira
- Distance: 5.1km
- Walking time: 2-3 hours
- Highest point: 570m
- Age: 8+
What to pack:
Let’s all try and keep the magic of Greece’s natural wonders alive for future generations.