The Fira to Oia hike is one of the all-time favorite things to do for tourists visiting Santorini. The hike beings at the rim of a caldera, leading to the towns of Oia, Imerovigli, Firostefani, and Fira. And these towns would offer some of the most amazing views of the islands.
The Fira to Oia hike isn’t too long but full of gorgeous sights. In fact, when covering the entire route from the beginning to the end, you would only need to walk a little more than 10 km (turns out to about 6 miles).
As far as the walking path is concerned, you will need to both walk pedestrian streets and hike trails.
However, do keep in mind that it will be a hilly walk and you will be walking right under the sun for the most part, so make sure you begin the hike early if you’re doing it in the summer months.
In addition, some tourists also like to visit the Skaros Rock, but it will add up to an hour to your hike. Now that you have a good introduction of the hike, let us dive into some more details below.
Author note: for those trying to decide between Santorini vs Mykonos, this hike may be a catalyst to sway you towards Santorini compared to Mykonos. The Fira to Oia hike is currently the highest-rated hike in all of Greece on review aggregator AllTrails.
Two Options to the Fira to Oia Hike
You can hike from Fira to Oia or from Oia to Fira. However, most tourists would want to go from Fira to Oia.
It makes the hike easier as there would be less uphill walk, the beautiful views of Oia would be easier to see, and you would have more time to explore Oia, including enjoying its legendary sunset.
Basic Guidelines for the Fira to Oia Hike
Following a few basic tips or guidelines would ensure that you get the most out of the hike. Go through the list below and make sure you follow them during the hike.
- Reserve at least 3 hours for the hike, although you might end up taking over 5 hours for the entire hike if you walk slowly and stop often
- The hike would be about 10 km from Fira to Oia
- The walk is fairly easy, as you just need to follow the signs to stay on the right path
- Even if you do end up deviating from the right path, it would be easy to find and get back on the right path in no time
- Some of the common things tourists carry during the hike include sunglasses, hats, and a lot of water (especially in the summer months)
- Even if you forget to carry any of these things, you will be able to buy it at one of the many different places you will visit during the hike but you will need to find an open market
- It would be almost impossible to hike with baby strollers or pushchairs, although the hike is easy and kids over 10 years of age shouldn’t have much trouble walking the entire distance
- The distance remains the same no matter if you hike from Fira to Oia or the other way around, but you would likely have a better experience doing the former
- There will be points during the hike where things would get a little challenging, so be a little careful when you’re there (we will discuss these parts of the hike below)
- Avoid using Google Maps for the route as it shows the shortest (and most direct) route and you will miss many amazing views if you follow it
- Remember that you will be walking on a footpath for the most part, except for the route between Oia and Imerovigli where you will be walking on a road for a short distance
Walking You Through the Fira to Oia Hike
With the introduction and basic guidelines out of the way, let stuff get real now and allow us to walk you through the hike.
This is where it all begins. The standard starting point is Hotel Atlantis in Fira. Getting here can be tricky if you’re very far from here, but you can just use Google Maps for the most part or follow the signs that lead to the cable car.
Once you reach the cable car, you will find the signs to get to the starting point. Then you would be walking north from there to Imerovigli right along the caldera.
You need to reach the Firostefani, which will be your first town of the hike. However, Firostefani is more like an extension of Fira than a completely different town, so you may not realize you reached another town (but the signs will tell you that).
You will find the quality of the views improving considerably as you reach Firostefani, but the trade-off will be a slightly uphill walk.
If you’re hiking in the summer, you will find more places than you can count to eat or have some drinks to fight the summer heat. If you’re there in the off season though, you will just have to keep walking towards your next destination as most of these places are closed all day in the off months.
You would have the option to make a detour to the Three Bells of Thira at Agios Theodoros here. Many people also call it the the Virgin Mary Orthodox Church.
As you continue walking onward, you will reach Imerovigli. This town offers some of the best views you will have during the entire hike. You have to be a really bad photographer to not take some amazing pictures while in this town.
Now, you have two options here. You can continue walking along the caldera or spend some time exploring the town and choosing your own route while also being able to grab some snacks and drinks along the way.
If you’re a fan of ancient churches you may want to make another bit of a detour here and visit the blue dome church known as the Anastasi Church. You need to just ditch the “official” walking route and go to a higher point overlooking the church.
Yet Another Detour – Skaros Rock
If you’re not in a hurry, a detour to the Skaros Rock may very well turn out to be worth your time too. To get here, follow the pedestrian path in Imerovigli and continue to the left when the trail forks at the Agios Georgios Church.
You will get to the Skaros Rock after descending the steps you see ahead, and also see the Church of Christ along the way. You will need to be a bit careful as the weather is often very windy here.
The Skaros will allow you to get some great views of the Imerovigli town and the cliffs of Santorini.
Depending on your speed of walking, you may end up spending anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes during this entire detour.
Imerovigli to Oia
Now that you’re back on the official hiking route continue walking north through the Imerovigli town (and ignore the many other paths).
This will lead you to a point where the paths converge into one, and you need to continue walking onward until just before the Profitis Ilias Church.
You will see that you have two paths again. Both the paths lead to Oia, but the difference is that staying to the left will lead you to the church and offer some great views of the caldera, while switching to the right path will make for an easier walk but without the views.
Assuming you choose the church and the views, you will need to walk downhill for a bit. The trail will end as you reach the bottom of the hill and you will have a road to walk along for about 200 meters.
The trail will show up again when you reach a small café located right before the point where the trail resumes.
It is at this point that you will be presented with the hardest part of the hike. It’s going to be a pretty uphill walk on quite a rocky trail. The not-so-great views won’t help much either and you wouldn’t have much to see apart from the rocky, dirty path.
But you will find that it was all worth it right when you reach the top, as at this point you will start the best part of the hike walking downward into Oia.
The Panagia Church that comes along the way will offer some incredibly relaxing views towards the completion of the Fira to Oia hike.
You do not need to do anything different here and just continue walking along the caldera into Oia, which will lead to a parking lot before revealing a pedestrian walking path.
This path will take you right into Oia, but it will also involve a bit of walking along the road.
Once you reach Oia, you will suddenly have very different views of the many upscale hotels there, but as you get to the extreme west of the town the natural, beautiful views will show up again in the form of windmills and the ancient-looking blue domes.
There are way too many things to do here, so you will need to get a bit picky and do what you find most interesting. That’s it for the Fira to Oia hike!
If you need any specific suggestions here about the Fira to Oia hike though, feel free to let us know in the comments and we will help you figure out what you may like doing the most.