Hiking from Thira to Imerovigli
There’s a good reason this hike is the most talked about trek in Santorini: it is absolutely incredible and offers a real taste of the Aegean experience. The trail starts in Fira and follows the rim of the caldera to Oia at the tip of Santorini, passing the historic sights of Firostefani and Imerovigli on the way.
The hike includes spectacular cliff-top walking with the sparkling, azure Aegean Sea stretching for miles before your eyes—if you’re going to hike in Santorini, this one is not to be missed!
Start off at the Archeological Centre in Fira and head northwest toward Firostefani and the Church of Saint Gerasimos. While there are often many tourists to start, most stop fairly early and you’ll soon find yourself surrounded only by the splendour of Santorini.
Follow the inland road through the village of Firostefani; you will pass the Convent of Saint Nicholas, a remarkable monument, and continue through Imerovigli, enjoying the astonishing views of the famous Skaros rock (if you’re feeling adventurous, it’s an exciting climb offering some of the finest views).
The Skaros Restaurant in Imerovigli is ideal for a gourmet break.
Hiking from Imerovigli to Oia
Your second landmark start from Imerovigli village would be the beautiful Cycladic Church of Profitis Elias.
Thanks to the breathtaking 360 degree view, it is an amazing spot for photos and a nice opportunity to rest in the shade of the pine trees after the uphill road coming from Fira. Here, you will meet a big rock that signifies the path towards Oia.
The rest of the road will be rather rocky but at the same time cooler than before, as you will be walking in the shade of the mountain. On your left, you will find a million opportunities to take photos of the blue Aegean Sea. The calm sea breeze will compensate your uphill journey through the dry Mediterranean vegetation and volcanic rocks. The further uphill you go, the more ecstatic you will feel with the view that becomes wider and bigger! The view of the caldera is unique and invaluable. You will feel your camera very small, humble and incapable of capturing the infinite surroundings.
Hiking Emporio – Pyrgos – Profitis Ilias – Ancient Thera – Perissa
This hike, which passes through the 567 m-high summits of the Profitis Ilias, to the ancient Thera and afterwards to the beach of Perissa, is a must when hiking on Santorini.
You depart from Emporio, which gives you the opportunity to get to know a nice, old path. Not a lot of people follow this hiking trail, in Pyrgos this trail links up with the path to the Profitis Ilias. The part between the Profitis Ilias and Perissa is magnificent and it runs through a grand and mountainous landscape.
Santorini-Emporio-village : The hike itself takes about 2 hours (actual walking time): 35 minutes from Emporio to Pyrgos, 30 minutes to the top of the Profitis Ilias, 35 minutes descending to the parking lot near the ancient Thera and finally 25 minutes to Perissa. Along the way you will notice that lots of tomatoes and grapes are still cultivated on Pyrgos, Santorini.
The panoramic view on Pyrgos and Fira is really beautiful. You will pass through the Monastery of Prophet Elias, one of the most beautiful monasteries in Santorini and definitely the one with the most exceptional panoramic view. The monastery, founded in the year 1711, has a very rich history and also today it possesses a marvellous collection of icons and old manuscripts and a beautiful ethnographic collection. This monastery can be visited every day, but it is closed from 1 pm to 5 pm. The view to the north, with Oia, Fira and Kamari, is truly fantastic!
Santorini-prophet-elias-monastery-02 : The trail to the ancient Thera goes up on the opposite hill Mesa Vouno (366 m). The excavations of the ancient Thera started in 1816 and they extend over some 800 metres. They show remnants of housing from the 9th century AD until Roman times.
There are remnants of a couple of agoras (marketplaces), plenty of houses, a small theatre, Roman baths, cisterns, a holy road, etc. You definitely have to walk all the way to the end, to the terrace of the Gymnopaedia, supported by large retaining walls. This Gymnopaedia dates from the 6th century AD and it was the place where naked boys danced to celebrate the god Apollo.
The view over Perissa is extraordinary! There are several possibilities to reach the top of the Profitis Ilias: from Kamari (partly) and definitely from Perissa you can follow a nice ancient trail, but you then have to return by following the same route. From Pyrgos as well, there is a beautiful and obvious path.