HOW LONG IS THE HIKE FROM FIRA TO OIA? BEST TIME TO HIKE FROM FIRA TO OIA? IS IT BETTER TO HIKE FROM FIRA TO OIA?
The Fira to Oia hike is one of the best free experiences in Santorini. Recommended by almost all guides, this walk is a succession of postcards one more beautiful than the other.
Explore the villages of Oia, Imerovigli, Firostefani, and Fira while enjoying some of the most beautiful views of the island.
The Fira to Oia hike is a succession of Postcards!
Just over 10 km long, the trail is a mix of paved pedestrian streets and dirt paths. It is relatively hilly with very little shade, so plan to start early or late in the day if you do it in summer.
On the way, you have the option of taking a detour to Skaros Rock. It is a rocky peak located below Imerovigli which we really recommend!
If you have any doubts about whether you should do the hike, know right away that it is definitely worth it and one of the best things to do in Santorini.
From Fira to Oia or from Oia to Fira?
It is possible to hike in both directions. Personally, we did it from Fira to Oia, and we think it was the best option. It seems that there is a little more downhill this way Fira being at a higher altitude than Oia).
The view over Oia and the Caldera is truly magnificent throughout the hike, so you can end the day exploring Oia, its shops and restaurants. Without forgetting the legendary sunset.
As for the return, you can use taxis. It costs around €30 to go from Oia to Fira, and they are available at any time. Bring cash, because taxis on Santorini (and more generally in Greece) do not accept bank cards.
You can also return by bus for €1.60, but pay attention to the timetable.
Useful information about the hike
Distance: 10 km
Duration: 3 to 5 hours
Difficulty: Easy to Medium (there are some parts which are uphill, and it can be quite hot during the day as there is no shade)
When to go: Morning and late afternoon are the best times to do this walk to avoid the midday heat (especially during the summer months).
How to dress and what to pack
Aside from your camera, which is essential to take incredible photos of the panoramas that you will discover, you must not forget to bring enough water.
The temperature can rise quickly in Santorini, the sun is scorching and it is almost impossible to find shade on the trail. Also, it is impossible to buy water on the second half of the hike, so make sure you always have enough water bottles with you.
It is very important to protect yourself from the sun, especially in summer. So sunglasses, hat, cap and sunscreen are just as vital as water. Don’t end up with a sunstroke or red as a lobster it could ruin your trip…
Finally, it is best to wear a good pair of shoes. If possible, hiking shoes with good support and a comfortable sole: the path from Fira to Oia is not paved all the way and at some point, you will find yourself sliding on dirt and stone paths on a hill. Some people are doing it with flip flops which isn’t a good idea.
For the outfit, shorts and a breezy top would be perfect, as would a summer dress. Just avoid anything really tight, because you’re guaranteed to sweat along the way!
What to see during the hike between Fira and Oia?
You are now ready to finally start hiking. The “official” departure is at the Atlantis hotel in Fira but you can simply start wherever you want in Fira town. Exploring the towns and villages along the hike is one of the main points of interest, so don’t hesitate to leave the official hiking trail if you see something interesting.
Fira is the capital of Santorini, and you’ll find a whole bunch of cobbled streets, trendy bars, restaurants, and boutiques. We liked the vibe in Fira, but for us, it felt a bit too touristy.
Once in Fira you need to walk north towards Imerovigli. To easily find your way during the hike, just keep the Caldera and the sea on your left. Occasionally there are markers on the walking trail.
>> READ: 10 BEST THINGS TO SEE IN FIRA
Firostefani is the second village you will pass through during this hike. In fact, it’s more of an extension of Fira, and you won’t even notice you’ve entered it.
Firostefani is a little higher than Fira and will be your first elevation gain of the day. But the view from the top is great, and you can see as far as the Akrotiri lighthouse in the distance (to your left).
On the way, make sure to stop at Agios Theodori Church at Firostefani village (location), one of the most photographed places in Santorini!
Imerovigli is next on your itinerary. This place is actually our favorite part of the hike and one of our favorite parts of Santorini!
There are several paths that cross Imerovigli. We recommend having fun exploring the village and choosing your own route. You will pass magnificent hotels, restaurants, and bars which have – in our opinion – the best views of the entire island.
The name Immerovigli comes from the word vigla, which means viewpoint. As you can imagine, that’s exactly what we find here. With numerous views, magnificent villas with swimming pools overlooking the sea, and breathtaking views of the caldera.
There is also another beautiful blue-domed church to photograph in Imerovigli.
4. Skaros Rock
If you wish, you can take the detour to Skaros Rock. This adds between 40 and 60 minutes to your hike.
From several other places on the island such as Fira and Oïa, you can already see the silhouette of the rock. During a short hike of around twenty minutes, from a path that begins at the center of Imerovigli, you can reach this cliff of black volcanic rock.
From Skaros, you will enjoy the most beautiful view of the Aegean Sea and the caldera of the entire island.
On your way, you will have the opportunity to discover the ruins of the village of Skaros, a former Catholic colony. At the edge of the rock, you will also see Ekklisia Theoskepasti, a charming little whitewashed chapel, with its blue dome, typical in the region.
Until the beginning of the 19th century, a Byzantine castle stood at the top of the rock, and local stories say that no invader ever managed to conquer it. After its destruction by an earthquake, today only ruins remain.
5. Imerovigli to Oia
Continue your walk through the village of Imerovigli. Sometimes it’s a real maze and you will have to choose between several paths. But don’t worry, as long as you keep the caldera on your left and go north. You are in the right direction.
This is where the hike gets a little tougher. The beautifully paved path turns into loose gravel and dirt. This trail from Imerovigli to Oia is the longest part of the hike, but it is also the most beautiful. Throughout the hike; you will have an incredibly magnificent view of the caldera with Oia in the distance.
Arriving at the Avalon Resort & Spa, the trails converge into a single path that you just have to follow, passing numerous seaside resorts and hotels. You then arrive at the church of Profitis Ilias at the top of the mountain.
Then, it’s a little descent and undoubtedly the most complicated part of the hike, because it is full of small rocks that slide easily. But don’t worry, it’s still accessible to everyone. Once you arrive at the bottom of the descent, you will rejoin the road for a section of around 200 meters. The trail resumes just after the small café/snack bar.
6. Use a donkey to continue
Before starting the new ascent to the next hill, you have the option to use a donkey to cover this part of the hill pretty much all the way to Oia. We don’t really recommend using animals to carry you, unless you have kids, which could then be a fun part for them and not so heavy for the donkeys.
This is actually the most difficult section of the walk. It is a climb on a rocky and dusty path without shade. There is no particularly notable view, and this part can seem monotonous and boring. However, once you reach the top, you will begin the best part of the hike: the descent to Oia.
On the way, you will pass by the church of Panagia. The 360° view and panorama are sublime, so enjoy it!!
7. Visit Oia
As you get closer to the town of Oia, you will notice that the path becomes much busier and the traffic increases on the street. This picturesque town is the busiest on Santorini and is a must-visit during your stay on the island. Besides, you can find some of the best luxury hotels in Santorini here.
It’s a real living postcard: it’s the backdrop to all postcards with its whitewashed buildings, windmills, and blue ocean. The sunsets from Oia are known all over the world and are among the most beautiful in Europe.
Here you will find stunning views of the Palia Volcano and Nea Kameni, as well as the distant island of Thirassia which is incredible.
Among the must-sees in Oia, be sure to visit the famous church of Ekklisia Panagia Platsani, and some of the magnificent viewpoints over the caldera. (The one from the Saint Nikolas fort is particularly pretty).
If you are still not tired and have enough time before sunset, you can also go down the 300 steps to the small port of Ammoudi. You can observe fishing boats, one of the most beautiful beaches in Santorini, and eat in the local restaurants.
>> READ: FULL GUIDE FOR A VISIT TO OIA
8. Getting back to Fira
You don’t have to walk back after you reach Oia. That would be quite a long day hiking otherwise. The best option is to take the bus back from Oia. Here is the bus stop. Check out the official timetable here. The cost is 1.60 EUR per person. You can pay cash directly to the driver.
The other option is to take a tax. Note that Taxi can be quite expensive in Santorini. Count minimum 30 EUR to Fira, in the peak season you might have to pay up to 40 EUR…
Key points to remember to hike from Fira to Oia
Start hiking early – Try to start walking around 8am as it’s really less hot! or around 3-4pm to arrive just before sunset in Oia which is what we did.
Bring water with you – Don’t rely on roadside stands or shops and stock up in advance. It’s easy to get dehydrated in Greece, and once you leave Imerovigli, there are no places with shade to rest and recover.
Bring a light snack – Again, this is a relatively long hike, so you will need a snack to help you along.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to hike from Fira to Oia or from Oia to Fira in Santorini?
Hiking from Fira to Oia or from Oia to Fira to Santorini usually takes around 3-5 hours, depending on your pace and how many breaks you take.
Is the hike from Fira to Oia or Oia to Fira to Santorini difficult?
It is considered easy to moderate in difficulty. Because there are somewhat steep slopes and uneven terrain. Also avoid doing it in extreme heat.
Are there toilets or facilities along the hike?
There are some restrooms and facilities along the hike, but they are limited. We recommend bringing water and snacks with you and using the restroom before starting the hike.
When is the best time to hike from Fira to Oia?
The best time to hike from Fira to Oia is early morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat.
Is it possible to hike from Fira to Oia or from Oia to Fira to Santorini at night?
Although it is possible to hike from Fira to Oia at night, we do not recommend it. The trail can be difficult in the dark and may not be well-lit. You can do it very early in the morning as the sun rises, you will have pleasant temperatures and a superb view.
In Conclusion about the hike from Fira to Oia in Santorini
We hope that you now feel ready to do the hike from Fira to Oia.
Although the hike is long, it is not too difficult and can easily be done by anyone in good physical shape. The hike is one of the best things to do in Santorini (besides, IT’S FREE!).
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and we will try to answer them as quickly as possible!