Hiking around the Caldera in Santorini
You look down. You are stepping on a most peculiar kind of dark soil, something you have never seen before.

The sun is still stretching the shadows as you begin your journey, early in the morning. Step by step, you enter the same magnificent picture that millions across the globe usually marvel at, through a postcard or a screen: The Caldera hike on the volcanic ground of Santorini. Your eyes look down on it; and then up to the horizon; and each time they change direction the contrast between the azure sea and the volcanic landscape rewards you for every step. And all this is happening in a rhythm you control, at your – hiking – tempo.

Hiking along the pedestrian path between Fira and Oia

Hiking along the pedestrian path between Fira and Oia Photo Credit: Paul Stephenson

Hiking is a pretty unique way to get to know a place. Especially if you want to breathe in its every scent, take in its every view and get its feeling. In Santorini you are walking right on the footsteps of ancient merchants, farmers and sailors, experiencing the very same place that gave birth to the myth of legendary Atlantis.

On the seven-mile hike from Thira to Oia - Hiking Santorini

On the seven-mile hike from Thira to Oia Photo Credit: Adam Witwer

Select the hike that suits you best

A hike is always an off-the-beaten-path experience, as it requires a rewarding but, at the same time, a not-for-everybody physical activity. So, you need a guide to plan a route that would match your preferences and your stamina with a specific itinerary’s duration and level of difficulty. The rewards ­– other than the obvious ones that have to do with the exercise itself – are as unique as this volcanic island on which you will be touring.

Path between Oia and Fira

Path between Oia and Fira Photo Credit: Quinn Comendant

Discover lesser known places

Opting for such an activity enables you to see what thousands of others miss. Strike off “see” and try “experience”, as hiking here engages all your senses.  Discover lesser known places and natural wonders, views that no average ­– car driving ­– tourist will ever get near to, and enjoy hours away from the mainstream crowd: endless horizons, devoid of any and all human intervention; lonely whitewashed villages that seem to be forgotten by time; bright blue skies against harsh landscapes; wildflowers that insist blossoming in an almost lunar landscape. Let the guide’s stories about local customs and myths keep you company as you hike next to the radiant austerity of the sun-stroked cliffs.

The path to Oia

The path to Oia Photo Credit: Emmanuel Eragne

Visit abandoned neighborhoods

Experience the various locations in connection to their habitants, by strolling down narrow cobblestone paths next to rural houses and beautiful mansions. Visit abandoned neighborhoods and places destroyed by earthquakes – or small traditional cave-houses. Feel the smell and aura of all the timeless terraced gardens. Discover one of those tiny, blindingly white churches with the blue domes you see on postcards, suspended, seemingly, over the great void between the sea and the heavens.

Each vine is twisted in a characteristic basket-shape to protect the vines from the strong winds

Each vine is twisted in a characteristic basket-shape to protect the vines from the strong winds Photo Credit: Klearchos Kapoutsis

Taste Santorini’s Flavors

Feel the rare Santorini vines absorbing the sun and the volcano’s energy as you pass through the centuries-old vineyards – many of which have been mentioned in international media for their award-winning wines. A wine tasting is one of the easiest things to arrange in Santorini… Or have the opportunity to quench your thirst with a cold, fresh, local beer in a microbrewery: The perfect prelude to a raid in a small village tavern, for local food. It is astonishing how tasty a cuisine of such a dry, arid place can be. Fortunately, the island has plenty more to explore, offering you – even after a hefty meal – many ways to walk it all off, exploring the prehistoric archeological site of Akrotiri or visiting a Venetian castle for a unique music show.

Hiking is one of the best ways to turn names like Pyrgos, Exo- and Mesa-Gonia, Fira, Firostefani or Imerovigli from simple snapshots into full-scale memories to last for a lifetime.

If you wish to hike in Snatorini just remember to throw your hiking shoes in your suitcase… And your camera and send us an email at hello@greeceinsiders.travel and we will arrange it for you!