If you’re new to the Well Caffeinated Traveller you may not know this about me: I love to hike! Give me the great outdoors, a good pair of shoes, plenty of water and I’m good for a day of explorations on foot. But when I first decided to visit Santorini, hiking was the last thing on my mind. I chose to visit Santorini for the gorgeous whitewashed houses, blue churches and stunning sweeping views. Sure, I thought, I’ll do some hiking up and down the many, many stairs that link these houses up and down the seaside cliffs, but little did I know that the ultimate hike was waiting for me in this gorgeous locale.
After a bit of research I was thrilled to learn that you could actually hike from Fira to Oia. What better way to explore this stunning island than on foot? The hike is about 10 km or 6.2 miles one way and takes between 2 to 4 hours, depending on how fast you walk and how many times you stop. Knowing myself and how many photos I was likely to take along the way, I figured my hike would come in closer to the maximum 4 hours. I also wanted to give myself some time to explore Fira in the morning and Oia before the famous sunset, so I planned my entire day around this epic hike.
Starting off in the beautiful town of Fira, the modern capital of Santorini, you’ll find a lively, bustling town with colorful souvenir shops, restaurants and cafes. It’s located almost directly across from the caldera, so the views from here are spectacular. Once you’ve filled your soul with fantastic scenes and filled your belly with a nice, hearty breakfast, you’re ready to set off on your hike. The path is easy to find. Just head to the edge of town overlooking the water and start walking right.
The path is generally well marked and easy to follow, although you will have to walk up quite a few stairs and some steep inclines on your way to Firostefani. But trust me, it’s worth every step! And don’t forget to look back from time to time. Not only are the views amazing, but you’ll be amazed to see how far you’ve already come!
Firastefani is the pinnacle of the hike. An old village just north of Fira, Firostefani literally means ‘Crown of Fira.’ And what a crown it is! From this point, you will be surrounded by views of whitewashed buildings clinging to bright green cliffs that seem to melt into crystal clear blue waters. It is here that you’ll realize this must be what is so often referred to as heaven on earth!
Make sure you grab some extra water and fill your stomach here, because this is the last chance you’ll have for a while.
Once you’re past Firastefani, the road and it’s surroundings become a little more sparse. You’re surrounded by mostly private homes and stretches of nature. But the views are no less spectacular!
About halfway through the hike, and after climbing a giant mountain, you’ll emerge victorious on the highest spot of the island. As you’re catching your breath, take a look around you. From this vantage point, you’ll enjoy a striking view of the entire island, from the patchwork plains below to the hilltop village of Oia. After you’ve admired the view, stop for a few minutes to explore the beautiful blue and white church before continuing on the path to Oia.
Finally, with Oia in your sights, continue on the path to even more amazing views. The path gets a bit rocky from here at times and you’ll also have to walk along the road at times so beware of cars. But eventually you’ll come to what might just be the most picturesque church I’ve ever seen.
While the church is beautiful, the sight of Oia in the distance is even more striking – especially since you’ve now been walking for almost 4 hours! So after a thorough exploration around this cute little church, carry on for the final leg of the journey.
At this point, as much as my legs were aching, part of me wanted to run the rest of the way to Oia. I had so many thoughts running through my head: I’m exhausted. I’m hungry. This view is unbelievable. I can’t believe I just walked for 4 hours! I’m so proud of myself for walking for 4 hours! My legs hurt so much. I’m not sure I have enough energy left to even explore Oia now. Let’s hurry up and get there. I need some lunch!
I was elated when I finally made it to Oia. This fairy tale land that I had seen for years in photos and wondered it if were really as magical as the photos made it look. Well I can tell you first hand that it was! Even though my legs were aching, I explored every nook and cranny of this charming little town before settling in to find a prime spot for the sunset. After the sun finally ducked down below the horizon I headed back to town to find a nice dinner spot. Over a mouthwatering bowl of pasta and seafood I recounted my day. Finally I grabbed a taxi back to Fira – you didn’t think I was going to walk back, did you? The taxi ride was a quick 20 minute ride for about 14 euros. I was asleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow and I drifted off to dreams of whitewashed houses, orange sunsets and white wine. As far as I’m concerned, it was the perfect day on Santorini!
Did you know? The reason there are so many white buildings with blue roofs is because blue and White represent the colors of the Greek flag. White represents purity, and blue symbolizes the sky and the sea.
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