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Walking along the caldera will surely be the most scenic route in Santorini island, Greece. In fact, there is a hiking path that lines up half of the volcanic caldera, from Fira up to Oia via Firostefani and Imerovigli. Following this Santorini hiking path gives a gorgeous view of the famous volcano and the Aegean Sea and also allows visitors to see the four most important villages of the island.
This 10 km hike is easy to follow and takes about 3-4 hours. Starting from the center of Fira (also known as Thira), the capital of the island, hikers pass the Orthodox Metropolitan Church, the Catholic Cathedral and the main shopping street of Fira, heading to the north. On the left hand is the Aegean Sea and the volcano, so you will surely make many stops to get photographs.
Next village is Firostefani, which has actually become a continuation of Fira, with the hotels and houses of two villages almost attached. Most hikers stop at this point, but if the weather is not too hot, we suggest you continue with the rest of the route. You will find some truly gorgeous spots on your way.
Following the inland road through Firostefani, hikers shall pass the Monastery of Saint Nicolas, founded in the 17th century and hosting important Byzantine icons. Continue through Imerovigli, a truly picturesque village, much less busy than Fira. If you are feeling adventurous, hike up to the famous Skaros Rock to get the most breathtaking sea view.
Continuing to the north, hikers shall pass the Church of Agios Antonios (Saint Antony) and the Church of Prophet Elias, both worth a short stop to see the stunning view over to Thirassia island and the wild caldera cliff. Oia will be seen after a few steps from these two churches.
With white sugar houses, blue-domed churches, and few traditional windmills, Oia is the most picturesque village in Santorini. Along the paths, hikers shall see really nice art galleries and many artists drawing portraits on the street side. This scenic hike ends at the Castle of Oia, where you can enjoy the most romantic sunset in the world.
Santorini hiking: best season
The best season for Santorini hiking is generally from March to early June, and from September to October. During these months, the weather is proper for long hikers as it is not too hot, like in high season months of July and August, or very cold as in off-season winter months. Suggested hiking time is the afternoon: start from Fira early in the afternoon to arrive in Oia at sunset time.
This much-talked Santorini hiking path from Fira to Oia occasionally falls in the main road street and then again enters the villages. The local municipality is planning to create a paved path along the caldera, exclusively for hikers.