Looking for an incredibly romantic place to vacation?  What about a place where you can take amazing hikes along cliffs and over volcanoes?  Hmm, 1 island with 4 syllables … Santorini, Greece. 

Hiking Santorini:  Fira to Oia.

Santorini is an incredible Island where you can fulfill both your adventurous and romantic aspirations.  An Island that’s dramatic cliffs can be traced back to a huge volcanic eruption that created geological landmarks all over the island.  Most individuals think of sunsets over all white buildings with blue-capped domes when they think of Santorini.  This is true; however, there is so much more the island has to offer.  Wine tours, sailing, hiking, cliff diving, touring the island on a 4-wheeler, and how about some fantastic seafood!

During the summer months the streets of Santorini can get pretty crowded, especially in the early afternoon when the cruise ships come into harbor and droves of people fill the streets playing follow the leader.  If all you do is walk the streets filled with tourists then you will truly be missing out and will probably just have a decent trip. To escape the crowds you should consider the hike from the town of Fira to Oia.  

The hike is long, (11km or 7ish miles) but a relatively easy path, that will lead you from the town of Fira to the town Oia through the smaller towns of Firostefani and Imerovigli. It will take roughly three to four hours to reach Oia.  Note:  if you are already staying in Oia then you can hop a bus from the center of town for 1,20 Euros over to Fira.  During the majority of the year the buses run every 30 minutes. 

Be sure to start your hike either in the early morning or late afternoon as the sun can get really really hot.  I personally recommend doing the hike in the late afternoon so you can get to Oia around sunset.  The sunset in Oia is truly amazing, no lie.  The trail is a mix of old cobble stone mule trails, dirt, concrete, and stairs.  It is not an overly difficult trail; however, it is pretty long and there are some moderately steep inclines. 

Along the path you will pass a small cantina (which is a great place to grab some food or a local beer), a grocery store, most likely some friendly stray dogs, maybe a mule or two, an abandoned church, and incredible views of the volcano and Agean Sea.

Do:  pack some water and a snack, bring your camera, wear some really comfortable shoes, take your time and enjoy the view, stop at the cantina, feed the dogs and make a friend.

Don’t:  go in the middle of the afternoon, pack a ton of stuff like you are going camping, wear flip flops. 

The hike is just one way to escape the crowds.  Future articles will highlight the others.  Enjoy!

-Peter McLoud