Top of your Santorini bucket list should be the hike between Fira and Oia. This beautiful coastal route takes you through the villages of Fira, Imerovigli, and finally on to Oia. Covering over 10km of stunning coastal scenery, this is one hike not to be missed!
Depending on your fitness level, the walk should take you between three to four hours to complete. There are A LOT of opportunities to stop along the way. Soak in the breath-taking views, capture those Kodak moments, & admire all the cliff facing villas with private swimming pools.
Side note – I have referred to the route as a ‘hike’ in reference to the entire route from Fire to Oia. However, the route is super easy and more of a walk to be honest. The majority of the route is mostly flat, with just a few sections with steps throughout.
Wear comfy shoes (with a good grip) – You’ll be out for quite some time in the heat, so make sure you have some comfortable shoes on. The hike itself isn’t difficult at all, but the cobbled lanes are quite slippery. We saw several people slip over (twice including Adam 🤣), so my advice would be to only wear trainers with a good grip!
Take water – Whilst there were a few cafes between the villages, most weren’t open as early as we had set off. Pack a large bottle of something cold with you and stay hydrated.
Avoid the midday heat – The best time to set off is first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon. We left by 09:00 but took far longer than we planned. (Blame all the photo opportunities!). By the time we were heading back to Fira, the heat was almost unbearable, so it really pays to get your timing right.
Make your way to The Atlantis Hotel which can be found on Gold Street. Head north towards the shops, and this will be your starting point. Keep an eye out for the cable cart signs too as this will help ensure you are taking the right lanes. It’s all very easy to follow and you shouldn’t get lost.
Once you have passed through the maze of shops and café’s, it’s pretty much a single coastal path to follow. Just keep walking from this point on until you reach Imerovigli.
Top Tip – Fira has many ocean facing restaurants that will be open early for breakfast. We found most of these stupidly expensive thanks to their prime locations. Instead, save yourself some euros and pick up a freshly baked pastry from the bakery by the main square before your walk.
As soon as you see Yalla’s Cafe (with the rooftop wooden boat), you’ll know you’ve made it to Imerovigli. There’s a huge church perched on top of the cliff that looks beautiful. We caught a glimpse of a beautiful looking couple having their photo taken in front of the church and bells. Unsure if this was the real deal or a staged shoot, they both looked stunning with such a backdrop!
Continuing on from Imerovigli, keep walking until you reach the very end of the route in Amoudi Bay, Oia. Whilst on this occasion we didn’t finish the hike in Oia – next time we definitely will. Walking from Fira to Imerovigli, including hiking up Cape Tourlos, and back to Fira took around 4 hours. You can easily spend about an hour at Cape Tourlos alone adding on time.
Whilst there are loads of places along the route not to be missed, I couldn’t post this without highlighting Cape Tourlos and the Volkan Cafe.
Cape Tourlos, a huge rock formation set out in the ocean, can be reached from Imerovigli. Hike to the summit for amazing views. Don’t be put off by what looks like a long and steep hike. You can easily reach the peak and back within an hour. You’ll be rewarded with views back up at the village, but more so by that little church hidden at the back of the rock.
Volkan On The Rocks, set 1,000 feet up in the cliffside, this was a fab little place to visit! The Volcan Cafe is located just outside of Fira, a short 7-minute walk from the cable carts. Visit for lunch or dinner, or my favourite, after dark for a romantic movie! The Volkan Film Festival runs every night in peak season, offering table service, food, cocktails, with an unforgettable view out to the caldera.
By the time to make your way to Oia – or back to Fira like us – it’ll be time for a well-deserved gyros lunch stop! Refuel and enjoy!