Hiking in Greece has always had its place on my travel wish lists and this trip to Santorini finally had it fulfilled. On day two of our trip to Santorini, we did a wonderful hike from Fira all the way up to Oia, on what was a very glorious sunny day on the island. This incredibly scenic hike was easily the highlight of the trip for me and you guys are about to be shown all the reasons why we fell so in love with this beautiful Greek island.
So you might be thinking, what’s so great about these two places: Fira and Oia? Well, more likely than not, you’ve probably come across at least one of these two places in your research about your trip to Santorini. So let’s just clarify where Fira and Oia are and why they’re two key places to know of when planning your adventures on this island.
Fira is the capital of Santorini and is located in the western part of the island. It boasts a stunning clifftop location, offering breathtaking views of Nea Kameni which appears to still be an active volcano. Oia on the other hand, is a coastal town on the northwestern tip of the island. It has gorgeous whitewashed houses that are intricately built into rigged clifftops, overlooking a water filled caldera (a volcanic crater). Oia is famous for its unforgettable sunset views, so as you can imagine, it’s very popular with probably both locals and tourists alike.
So what’s in between these two places, you may wonder. Sceneries, my friend. Sceneries you’ll probably never forget. Everrrrrr?. So this is why people love visiting these two places and truly enjoy doing THE hike that connects them both to each other.
What you need to know about hiking from Fira to Oia
How long is the hike?
The distance between Fira to Oia is around 10km long, which works out to about 6.2 miles in total. Perfect distance to do a nice cardio sesh right?!
How long will the hike take?
According to Google maps, the actual walk will be 2 hours 16 minutes long. But that’s only if you intend to just walk non-stop at an average speed, but trust me, you’re not going to want to do that. Based on my personal experience, realistically speaking, the hike will take around 3-5 hours (one way) to get you up to Oia. It all depends on how fast / slow you walk and how many stops you make in between. My friends and I walked slow and took plenty of photo stops, as well as a break in between for lunch. In a place such as this, ya gotta take it all in right? Savour every moment because there truly is nothing like it.
Which parts of Santorini does it go through?
The hiking trail will take you along the cliff edge, lining the caldera, where you’ll have the pleasure of roaming through the beautiful villages of Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli, and Oia. We stayed in Firostefani for the entire trip and explored Imerovigli in our first day on the island, so in case you wanted to check those places out, I’ve written posts on those too!
How difficult is the hiking trail?
For someone who doesn’t currently do much exercise, loves to eat and is therefore relatively unfit, I thought this hike was very easy. I liked it a lot. Yes, there are a few uphill inclines here and there but they’re mostly gentle. The only part that was a little bit unstable was the path that will take you down to Skaros rock (photo below) and then back up to the main hiking trail. I’d just be extra careful around that area and if too slippery, don’t go on your own. So all in all, I’d say it’s a relatively easy trail, but tiring in a sense that it’s quite a lengthy hike! Other than that, it’s pretty much like a walk in the park (but probably way prettier than the average park that you and I are used to).
Where can I get a map from?
We didn’t really find an ‘official’ map of the hike when we did our research, so we just resorted to good ‘ol Google maps. We didn’t want to use the app on real time though as none of us had internet on our phones to use for navigation. So we just printed the directions and a picture of the map too. It was more than enough.
To be honest though, the trail of this hike is very well marked, to the point that the road signs will still get you to Oia quite easily without a map. You might get a little lost in some parts, but it’s relatively easy to find your way again. The path is along the coastline so just follow it along until you reach the tip. I would still recommend bringing print outs or at least screenshots of a map though, like the one from Google maps, just in case.
How to time the hike?
This largely depends on when you plan to go. It was mid-May when we went, so it was late Spring time where the weather in Santorini was consistently sunny and warm, with very low chance of rain and long hours in the daylight. We set off for the hike at around 9am and got to Oia just after lunch, at around 2pm. My tip is to research what time sunset is going to take place and then work backwards from that time so you can ensure that you won’t miss the beautiful sunset that the village of Oia is super famous for.
So here’s an example of planning backwards from sunset:
- FINISH 8pm – Sunset, watch from Oia
- 6pm to 8pm – Find a good spot to catch the sunset from. There were a few viewing spots for this dotted around the village, while others opted for booking a place at one of the restaurants overlooking the caldera. These restaurants get booked up many months in advanced so try and get one secured as soon as you have your trip details confirmed. If you’re not going down the restaurant route, there are viewing spots dotted around Oia, but try and get there early because they very quickly get filled up with lots of tourists who have done their research beforehand and know that they need to park up their derrieres well in advance to secure a good spot. We unfortunately learnt the hard way and was scrambling around trying to find a good spot for a while and were very much on lastminute.com mode.
- 2pm to 6pm – Arrive in Oia, explore and have dinner in time for sunset
- START 9am to 2pm – Hiking from Fira to Oia
Are there places to eat on the trail?
In the five hours that we were walking along the trail, I don’t remember coming across many places to eat. Although we did eventually find a place to stop by and rest. The café was called Cafe Monopati. This is where we had our lunch and had our only toilet stop all throughout the hike. Loved the food but loved the scenery even more. It was definitely a nice resting spot. There will be a few markets where you can buy snacks and water but I would suggest organising these before you embark on the trip. It’s always good to be stocked up with the necessities i.e. water and light snacks right from the start so that your energy levels are on 100% all throughout the hike.
Are there any walking tours available?
Yes there are various walking tours available if you prefer more of an informational and guided walk. However, the hike is definitely easy enough to do on your own if you’d like to keep to your own pace so that you can really take your time.
What should you bring?
- Spare camera battery, because believe me, there will be a lot of photo takin’ and battery drainin’
- Spare memory card, because again, same point as above
- Map of the hike
- If you’re visiting in the Autumn – Spring months where rain may occur once in a while, then bring a raincoat / umbrella
What should you wear?
- Comfortable trainers
- Gym clothing is suitable for a walk like this. Standard light top and shorts / leggings combo.
- Use a backpack if you can, so the weight of your stuff is evenly distributed on your back. I forgot my backpack and ended up using a messenger bag that I had to keep pretty light, otherwise it would’ve hurt my shoulder too much.
- Apply sun block and bring it with you for topping up, especially if you’re visiting during the summer months
Getting back to Fira
You can either:
- Walk back
- Take a taxi
- Take the bus back to Fira
After watching the sunset, which we sadly didn’t see as the clouds were fairly heavy that day, we stayed for dinner in Oia, where we had delicious seafood dishes! This was then followed by the trip back to Firostefani, which is where our hotel was located. Did we walk back? Heck naww, it was super late already and we were so tired that we were ready to just fall asleep. I mean I’m sure it would have been alright but we weren’t so sure of the lighting situation, would the paths have been lit up? We didn’t know and also, we got so exhausted after a full day of hiking and exploring (which were of course, so worth the energy), that we just took the bus back home.
We used the KTEL buses which is Santorini’s official bus service that can pretty much take you wherever you need to go in the island. All of these buses go to the main bus station in Fira. In terms of where to buy the tickets, you buy them inside the bus. A person would basically make their way from the back of the bus all the way to the front to collect money. When we went, I think we spent around €1.80ish each to get from Oia to Fira. So not too bad at all. We just assumed that taking the taxi would have been more expensive, so we just opted for the bus instead. The bus stop is located just off the main square in Oia where the big church is.
I hope you guys found this guide useful in some way in getting you started with your prep to embark on this super loved hike on the island. I’ve said it before and will never tire of saying this again and again, this hike was hands down, THE highlight of the trip for me. If you do decide to go, I hope you’ll love it too.
Have I inspired you to go hiking in Greece too? Let me know of any cool hikes you’ve done, I’m thinking of which one to aim for next!