Exploring Abroad Series: Cliffside Hike in Santorini, Greece
Our trip to Greece was planned for culture, history, adventure, and relaxation. We couldn’t wait to visit the ancient city Athens and the Acropolis with its famous Parthenon. We wanted to spend time on the cliffs with whitewashed cubiform houses on Santorini. We wanted to sit on a beach, read some books, and eat delicious food. We didn’t know that our hike on the island of Santorini would be a highlight of our trip! This hike is a definite must-do when visiting the Greek island of Santorini.
The island of Santorini, Greece has a beach side and a cliff side, with the cliff side overlooking the caldera. Santorini is essentially what was left after a volcano erupted thousands of years ago. When the magma released, the volcano collapsed. What was once a terrifying act of nature is now a magnificent sight to see. The sunlight reflects off the water and illuminates the cliffs, spotted with whitewashed homes and blue domed churches. The island may be considered touristy, but it is definitely worth seeing.
This hike is about 3 miles and runs between the towns of Oia and Fira. You can travel out and back starting from either direction for a 6 mile hike or cut the hike in half by taking the public busses one way, which are an adventure of their own. (Our bus bumped a car and the drivers got out and yelled at each other for twenty minutes before parting ways!) Don’t be fooled by the mileage—it will take time, at least 2.5 hours. If you stop to take many photos of the views or visit the churches, it could take much longer.
You’ll walk through towns of Firostefani and Imerovigli and spend time enjoying sweeping vistas as far as the eye can see in all directions. You’ll walk by mansions and tiny homes. You’ll pass little churches nestled in the hills and donkeys. You’ll walk both narrow steep paths and paved roads. The terrain will be constantly changing. It is difficult to go the wrong way on this hike. Just keep walking in the direction you want to go!
There are stunning views everywhere you look; your camera will not do this place justice. It’s almost better to leave it at home--but obviously don’t…!
We visited in the hottest month of July. Starting early, before 8 am, will help you beat the heat. Of course, we didn’t follow this advice, and it was BRUTAL. There is very little shade on the route, and there was a long stretch of time with no where to stop for something to drink. Between Oia and Imerovigli, there are a couple of shops, but they are not always open. Be prepared: bring lots of water, some snacks, a hat, and plenty of sunscreen.
We took a lot of great tips for our trip from Santorini Dave’s website. As Santorini Dave warned, there were lots of people on the hike wearing flip flops. I have NO idea who these crazy people were nor why or how they did this! Some of the trail is a bit steep and gravely. Proper footwear is a must.
I would think twice about bringing young children on this trail-- parts of the trail are steep with dramatic cliffs and no guardrails. Then again, I would also think twice about bringing children to Santorini—it’s a great place to explore as adults and quite romantic for couples!
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Check out the rest of our Exploring Abroad Series HERE, and share your own adventures on our Facebook page or by tagging @wikebaby on Instagram!