The rugged landscape and vast views of the Cyclades makes Santorini perfect for hiking and walking tours. There’s a wide variety of paths through the island to suit any hiker, moving through villages, across smooth beaches, or climbing cliffs.
Take a refreshing walk through Oia, Santorini on your own or let a guide show you the ancient archaeological site of Thira and the best places to take pictures. You can visit the ancient, now dormant, volcano that so drastically changed the landscape of Santorini or sit back and enjoy 360° views from Thirassia.
Wherever you go, walking is one of the easiest ways around the island, so why not slow down and enjoy the journey? Here’s our guide to Santorini hiking.
Santorini hiking is a different experience from hiking in wetter climates. For one thing, Santorini in the summer is hot, and there won’t be areas of shade or greenery where you can get out of the sun for a bit. If you’re hiking through metropolitan areas like Fira or Oia, Santorini, you’ll pass restaurants and shops along the way that offer a chance to get out of the sun.
Other walking paths are more remote. Comfort is key for these walks. Dress lightly and comfortably, and make sure you pack plenty of water and snacks. Sunscreen is a must for most activities on Santorini, and hiking is certainly no exception.
There are signs outlining the different walking paths throughout Santorini, but the paths themselves can be difficult to see, depending on the hike. Many hikers, even experienced hikers, prefer to take official Santorini walking tours with a tour guide.
A tour guide can ensure that you don’t lose the path throughout your hike, as well as offering interesting historical context about many of the sights you pass along the way. They can even show you where to take the best pictures, as you’ll want to take several.
Atop the mountain Mesa Vouno is the ancient settlement of Thira, now an archaeological site and popular tourist destination. There are several paths that lead to ancient Thira, and many hikers enjoy the trek up the rocky mountain. This is a hike preferred by experienced hikers, as the terrain can be challenging for new hikers.
From the top of Mesa Vouno, you can see the black beaches of Perissa and Kamari on either side, as well as the archaeological site. It costs a small fee to enter, but it’s well worth it for all the pictures you’ll take home. There’s also an archaeological museum to enjoy nearby. Later, you can visit the Archaeological Museum of Thera in Fira for added context.
Fira, Oia, and the Caldera
One of the most popular Santorini walking tours is the path from Fira to Oia, Santorini. Tourists come from all over to see the massive Santorini caldera, and the path from Fira to Oia walks just along its ridge, allowing you to see it all. The 10km hike takes 2-4 hours to complete, and the path ranges from smooth sidewalks to cobblestone to dirt paths. You can enjoy not just the natural beauties of the caldera and the Aegean Sea, but local flavor from the two bustling port cities of Santorini and everything in between.
The path begins in Fira and moves north towards the village of Firostefani and Skaros rock. In Imerovigli, you have a choice between two paths: on the right, a walk through the town to enjoy the markets and restaurants and take a breather.
On the left, you can visit Skaros rock and look out at the caldera. The walk then grows more natural and rugged, before smoothing out again as you come nearer to Oia. Oia is full of a variety of shops, people, white-washed buildings, and the famous blue-domed church. Oia is also one of the best places to see the sunset and is home to Strogili Traditional Houses which offer taditional apartments in Santorini, Greece
The Nea Kameni hike isn’t an easy one, but many tourists hold that it’s worth it in order to visit the now dormant volcano that formed the Santorini caldera. The ground can be a little rough, so don your sturdiest footwear before you board a boat in Fira or Oia, Santorini. You’ll want to set a whole day aside for this trip. With so much to see, it’s a lengthy tour. The boat will take you out to the small island of Nea Kameni, where you can get a pamphlet on the Geographical Park of Nea Kameni. Next, check out the volcano which, although dormant, has a few active fumaroles to capture on film. From the top, you have a splendid view of Santorini and the other nearby islands.
Thirassia was once attached to Santorini, but in one of the volcanic eruptions, the land was separated. However, you can take a day trip to Thirassia by a ferry from Ammoudi port in Oia. You’ll arrive in the port of Korfos, and the hiking path will be easy to see from there. It is a steep climb, but the path is clearly laid out.
At the top perch of Thirassia, you’ll encounter the village of Manolas, where you can stop for delicious bread from a wood-fired oven. The traditional bakery in Manolas is locally owned, but famous among tourists. You won’t want to leave without having a piece of bread for yourself. Then you can just take a deep breath and look out at the 360° views of the caldera and the surrounding area. If you want uninterrupted breathtaking views, Thirassia is a must.
The ruins of Akrotiri, a Minoan settlement in Santorini, are an exciting hiking destination, and an excellent photo opportunity. Unfortunately, some of the walking paths connecting Akrotiri to larger cities no longer exist, so you may have to drive part of the way. There are also smaller walking paths throughout the island, set out by wide paved pathways for those who want a nice scenic route, but aren’t the most athletic of hikers.
Where to Stay
Oia, Santorini is a popular place to stay as it’s so close to the caldera and has easy access to the ferries that ride out to Thirassia or Nea Kameni. Some of the best hotels in Santorini, Greece can be found in Oia, like Strogili Traditional Houses, designed in the traditional whitewashed style but with modern luxury in its facilities. Some of the views overlook the volcano, the cliffside, and the crystal clear waters. After a few minutes of looking out your window at Strogili, you’ll be excited to get back out there for a refreshing hike.