15 Jan Hiking in Santorini: Caldera Trail from Fira to Oia
By far, our favorite activity in Santorini was the hike from Fira to Oia. The views were spectacular and throughout most of the hike, it felt as though we were on the island by ourselves!
Due to some pretty high winds, none of the regularly scheduled boats and cruises could come into port the day of our hike. It was great for us because it meant that the island was much quieter and more peaceful, but it also meant that we had to deal with extreme winds throughout the hike. However, I would much rather deal with the winds than the crowds, and the wind actually ended up making for some comical moments throughout the day, such as when we ended up in a mini sand storm, and almost getting blown over along the top edge of the hills!
As we were based in Fira, we decided to start our hike there and end in Oia, where we could then take the bus back to Fira for the evening. We started out bright and early because we didn’t want to hike in the afternoon heat. The entire adventure should take around 3-4 hours at a relaxed pace, but it ended up taking us considerably longer as we stopped many a time for photos and also made an accidental detour along the way.
The path is pretty well-marked throughout the hike—it leads you through towns and along the edge of the caldera all the way through to Oia. Some of the trails are paved, and some of the trails are dirt paths. There is one spot however, where we got a bit turned around. About halfway into the hike, we ended up following two other pairs of hikers that decided to walk along the side of the road. After about 15 minutes of walking and wincing every time a car sped by, we came to the conclusion that we had to be on the wrong path. Something didn’t feel right–it could have been the near death experience of walking on the roads with barely any shoulder. And, more than that, everything I read before the hike made it sound like the trail stuck to the rim of the caldera, but the road we were on was facing the flat side of the island.
We eventually decided to turn around, and I’m so thankful that we did! If we would have stayed on the winding roads, we would have had to go much farther, and we would have missed out on the amazing views that were to come. So yeah, don’t make the same mistake we did and be sure to follow the trail!
One of the reasons we enjoyed the hike so much is that it allowed us to get in touch with some nature in a very peaceful setting, which was nice since Santorini can be pretty busy and touristy. We didn’t see many hikers along the way—maybe 15 in total, so it was nice to have some quiet time along the trails. Plus, as I said before, the views were absolutely gorgeous. You are able to see the little white washed villages dot the edge of the caldera, as well as endless miles of the sea on all sides.
As afternoon started creeping upon us, we finally found ourselves finishing the hike in Oia and ready to start exploring. We walked through the beautiful streets before settling on an adorable café for some much needed lunch. Even though the restaurants along the caldera can be expensive, we decided to reward ourselves and have lunch with a view. We sat out on the patio, overlooking the sea and soaked up every glorious moment while enjoying a milkshake and lunch.
After pleasantly wasting away what felt like an entire afternoon, we finally decided it was time to get up from our perfect seats and mosey along. We had to do a bit of browsing in the stores before finding the bus that would take us back to our “home” for the week. The bus system was very simple to use—you just hop on and someone will come around to collect your fare. Just make sure to have the correct change if possible because they might not have small bills to give you change.
I’m so glad we planned a day to go hiking in Santorini. It ended up being our favorite adventure from our time in Santorini, and in a heartbeat, we would jump on the opportunity to do it again!