The hike from Fira to Oia in Santorini is my favorite memory from the visit to the island. What could possibly be a better way to see the island on the first day than walk the length (part actually) of it? That the reward of the four hour or so hike was a gorgeous sunset against a clear, wide horizon made the whole experience sweeter.

As we were staying in Imerovigli, our hike started technically from there and not Fira. That knocked off about half hour from the hike. We set off in late afternoon with the aim of reaching Oia by sunset and hopefully view the famous Santorini sunset. But then plans change.

That I was walking along the rim of the island’s volcanic cliffs was exciting enough. Add to that views of an azure Aegean sea stretching out for miles, shining in the late afternoon sun – views that stay with you throughout the hike. If this isn’t enough, the other side of the cliff has its own beauty what with rows upon rows of whitewashed villas, some with blue domes and others with blue umbrellas.

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The typical whitewashed houses with blue domes that give Santorini its distinctive look

 

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The one edge of the crescent shaped island
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The caldera
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Cannot get over these cliffs dashed with white
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The Aegean sea
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A large section of the hike is lined with these gorgeous villas/hotels
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The caldera is a constant companion for most part 

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The other edge of the island. At the far end lies Oia
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Hiking along
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Those golden rays of a setting sun. In Santorini they make the cliffs change colour (The white bit at the edge is Fira)

So as I said, plans can change. We ended up running a little late to be able to reach Oia in time for the sunset. But then can you blame us for frequently stopping to admire the tons of beauty around? About half an hour from Oia, we came across Church of Panagia which looked so peaceful and inviting that we just stopped here instead.

So glad we did. With a clear horizon for miles and just two more people for company, the first evening ended in a spectacular sunset. Not surprising then why the Santorini sunset is famous and away from the crowds, its just so much better.

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 Church of Panagia
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A wide horizon and that golden hue. Indeed worth the wait

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The lights are coming on in Oia
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Oia at twilight

About the hike:

Start point: Old town of Fira
End point: Oia
Distance: 10 km
Time: Approx 4 hours (add extra as there is no way you can escape frequent stopping for views)

Some points to note:
1) There will be a certain section which merges with the main road but that is only for a little while. Make sure to find the way back on to the dirt track; the penalty otherwise is missing all the good views

2) The path is a mix of paved and dirt, and gets steep in places, so unless you want to end up in that inviting sea, wear good shoes

3) You may want to plan your hike to end up in a sunset like we did. If you, like me, prefer a bit of solitude, then skip the defined sunset point to view the famous Oia sunset, and instead stop over a little earlier at Church of Panagia (about half hour before the hike ends in Oia). I, and the pictures above, can vouch for the incredible views even from here. Also, you will not have to jostle for space

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