What to Know About Hiking in Santorini

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Visitors new to Santorini will marvel at the island’s beauty as soon as they arrive, but the obvious tropical vistas are nothing compared to what awaits. Nature lovers and explorers will find much to hold their interest, especially since the landscape is so physically beautiful. Besides simply gazing at the scenery, you can experience it as well while hiking through some of the main trails on the island.

Here are some things to know about when hiking on Santorini island:

Fira to Oia

This trail takes hikers to their destination via Firostefani and Imerovigli, offering more than they might expect on their first expedition. Typically, this trail takes three hours to hike, but that estimate varies based on how often visitors stop to marvel at the spectacular views.

Starting off from Patsouli, it’s recommended that new visitors begin at sunset or during early morning hours. The sun can make the walk extremely hot and more challenging. As you head out, you will follow Nomikou street to Nomikos on an uphill slope that takes you over 300 feet above sea level, before leveling off at Panagia Agion Theodoron.
From there, the trail takes hikers further inland to Firostefani and then on to Imerovigli. Along the way, you can observe historical landmarks, such as the convent of Agios Nikolaos, as well as the naturally formed landmark of Skaros. Finally, this challenging hike delivers you to Oia.

Kastro to Amoudi

This hike takes you to Amoudi via Oia and is a little easier than the previous trail. As a less strenuous hike, this might be best for first time visitors to Santorini. Again, the afternoon heat can play a part in increasing the difficulty of the hike, so it’s recommended that hikers start off from Kastro at dusk. While the trail from Fira to Oia started off with an incline, this route takes you down a flight of stairs from Old Oia and into Armeni. The steps are wide and accommodating, but they are also challenging enough that hikers often stop to take a brief respite. Additionally, the steps are worn and can be slippery, so flip flops are not the best footwear for this hike. A shoe with good traction is best.

Once you arrive in Amoudi, there’s plenty to do and see to make the journey worthwhile. A beach near the village offers excellent swimming conditions and the town itself features some fish taverns to feed the appetites of weary hikers.

Skaros Rock

If you took the trail from Fira to OIA, you’ll remember passing this natural landmark already. Returning to Skaros Rock may not be the right choice for everyone, because it offers the most challenging hike on Santorini. A path leads you to the base of the rock, but this is just the beginning. Another trail takes you up the side of the rock to the very peak, where you can take a break to admire the view.

When you’re ready to continue, a trail extends down the backside of the rock for your descent. About halfway down this side of Skaros Rock, you’ll come across a white church. This is another point at which you may wish to rest, because the only way to get all of the way down is by going back the way you came.

There are many more trails and destinations on Santorini to entertain active visitors looking for adventure. From Thirasia to Perissa, there are trails for beginners as well as more difficult trails for experienced hikers. Exploring Santorini may be one of the most rewarding experiences a visitor to this part of the world can experience.

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