If you dream of going to Santorini, chances are that you have heard about the beautiful hike between Fira and Oia. This beautiful hike takes you along the edge of the caldera for some of the most stunning views of Santorini. If you have not heard about it yet, you will dream about it now!
The Fira to Oia hike is a two to five-hour hike. It is arguably one of the most beautiful hikes in the world. Parts of the path are made up of basically a sidewalk, other parts are cobblestone, and a good portion in the middle is a dirt path.
There is a decent amount of change in elevation, but anyone who is fairly active can manage the hike just fine. Do be sure to wear sturdy shoes, bring water and possibly a snack with you though. There is a significant stretch where neither of these things are available. If you go in offseason, most of the hike will be uninhabited.
Things You May See Along the Way That No One Tells You About
One of the wonderful surprises on this trail is the sudden appearance of a family church. It is common for each family to have their own small church that has been passed down through the generations. We were fortunate to meet the gentleman whose family built this beautiful little church. He was incredibly welcoming and proud to show it to us (including a really cool painting that has eyes that follow you wherever you are in the room!).
Another pleasant surprise for us was the vast view of both sides of the island. The caldera side is always the one featured in photos. However, the other side of the island was also beautiful, and we even managed to witness a beautiful rainbow! As Bryce put it, it felt a bit like we were in Oz!
You are almost guaranteed to see some dogs along the way. Every one of them that we encountered was friendly. One even acted as our unofficial tour guide for a good portion of our walk into Oia! They were all well taken care of and seemed to enjoy interacting with those of us passing by on the trail.
Our Best Tips
Start earlier than you think you should. You will likely take longer taking in the views than you think. You may also want to sit down and just rest a bit along the way.
Plan to take a bus or taxi one of the directions. During the busy season, take it to Oia and then hike back (assuming you are staying in Fira or Firostefani). During the off-season, hike to Oia and then take a taxi back into town. The latter is what we did. As a result, we were able to watch the sunset in Oia before heading back into town.
Don’t stress about getting lost. Even if you wander off the actual path at any point, just head back toward the caldera. It is impossible to be lost for long.
Unless you are there during the busy season, do not assume that restaurants or stores will be open between Fira and Oia. There are a few restaurants and shops that stay open in Oia year-round. However, many are closed during the winter and early spring months.
Do check the weather and plan accordingly. Once you are in the middle of the hike, there are not many options for shelter or to find a ride back into town.
Wear good shoes and dress in layers.
If you have small kids, do keep a close eye on them as there are significant drops in places. We never felt unsafe, but we were not hiking with smaller kids.
Do talk to the local people if you have the chance. Our experience was that they were very happy to share their love of the island with us.
Take the time to reward yourself for the hike by having a waffle and coffee at the Vitrin Cafe Creperie.