“Oh, no. It’s very hard.” “Oh, it’s easier the other way [from Fira to Oia].” “You mean you want to take the bus?”
These are some of the things the locals said when I asked about hiking the trail between Oia and Fira, one of the most popular things to do on Santorini. While it is quite a long hike (6-7 miles in one direction), lots of people do it—including my husband and me! I’m glad we did, but there are a few things that other bloggers have neglected to mention in their posts about the hike. Here is everything you need to know before you hike it yourself.
Know Before You Go
As with any hike, you want to be prepared with water and snacks, but you also want to know what you’re getting into!
How Long is the Hike?
If you hike straight between Oia to Fira, it’s about 6 miles (10 km), and it should take you about 3.5-4 hours. If you choose to take the side trail to Skaros rock, that will add about a mile to the route (half a mile out and half a mile back to the main trail). Because this adds quite a bit of elevation, it will also add about 40 minutes or so to your time. Also note that there is very little shade anywhere on the trail, so wear a hat and sunscreen!
Essential reading: The Ultimate List of Hiking Tips
What is the Best Direction?
The locals told us that the route from Fira to Oia is easier because it’s not as steep, but you will definitely be gaining elevation in both directions! One benefit of starting in Fira is that you can add the excursion to Skaros Rock with fresh energy. By the time we got to it coming from Oia, we were bit pressed for time, and we were tired! Whichever direction you choose will probably be determined by where you’re staying, so just know that you’ll get the same views and a great workout either way!
See also: Tips for Staying in Oia, Santorini
Are there Places to Stop Along the Way?
Yes! No other blogs I read mentioned this, but there are a few places to stop along the way. There’s a grocery store at the official start of the trail in Oia called Perivolas, so stop for provisions if you didn’t bring any with you. Also, you’ll find a roadside stand selling juice and snacks where the trail meets a stretch of road, at about the half way point. There is seating with a gorgeous view of the Caldera, so sit a while and enjoy the view!
In Imerovigli, just 15-20 minutes outside of Fira, you’ll find some shops and restaurants. There are also fruit sellers set up along the route, close to Imerovigli and elsewhere along the way. Bring a little cash with you. Note: There are no bathrooms on the route! You may need to get comfortable with going behind a rock or a hill.
How Do I Get Back?
Take the bus! You can take a taxi instead, of course, but we were so impressed with the local KTEL bus network on Santorini! They’re huge charter buses, fully air conditioned, very efficient, and so inexpensive! All the buses start and stop in Fira, so you’ll be able to get back to Oia (or wherever you happen to be staying) for less than €2 per person.
More here: What to Know Before You Visit Santorini
What Do I Need to Bring?
Always bring food and water! I recommend starting with at least 32 ounces (or about 1 Liter) of water. Remember that you can’t drink the water on Santorini, so you’ll need to buy some to bring with you. As for snacks, protein bars are always good and easy to bring with you, but a sandwich and fruit or veggies are also good options.
If you’re starting from Fira, you’ll have several options for food to pick up at grocery stores in the town. If you’re starting from Oia, you’ll pass by a grocery store called Perivolas at the official start of the hike, at the end of the road in Oia where you can pick up some supplies.
In addition to food and water, you will definitely want to bring sunscreen, bug repellent, a hat, sunglasses, a good day bag, and solid shoes with good tread. Click the links below to shop with me and support my small business!
Also helpful: What to Pack for a Week in Greece (Athens + Santorini)
Highlights of the Hike
If you’re going to hike 6-7 miles, it better be worth it, right?
This is why we hike. Santorini is one of the most uniquely beautiful places in the world, and this hike is one of the best ways to see it. Be sure your phone is fully charged before you start so you can take photos all the way!
This cute town spreads almost all the way to Fira, and there are plenty of shops and restaurants here. We stopped at a place called Vigla for yogurt and coffee. We were very tired and needed a little boost, but we didn’t realize at the time just how close we were to the end of the trail. If we’d known, we might have pushed through!
Keep reading: The Best Places to Eat in Oia, Santorini
Skaros Rock and Church
Of all the other blogs I read, no one mentioned that the church on Skaros Rock is actually up and over the rock, on the side of a cliff! We were a little pushed for time (we wanted to visit Akrotiri that afternoon and needed to get to the bus in Fira), so we didn’t go the whole way. If we had started the hike a bit earlier, we could have made it work. Start early!
Read next: The Best Things to Do on Santorini
The best part is always that feeling of accomplishment. Once you make it to Fira, you’ll definitely be ready to refuel and see what there is to see in the island’s capital city. There are some famous photo spots, and it’s a good place to do some shopping, too. It’ll likely be crowded, since this is where the cruise ships come in, but as long as you know that going in, you’ll be prepared for it.
Want more? You’ll find all my posts about Santorini on my dedicated Greece Page!
Love this post? Pin it for later!