most obvious hike you can make on the island of Santoríni is probably the long
walk from Firá to Ia, following the caldera – see the walk Firá – caldera – Ia.
It leads you - if you have not discovered them by now - through the sister
villages of Firà, Firostefáni and Imerovígli, going higher up all the time above
the caldera. It then continues through the expanding housing in northern
direction and it finally goes to Ia via a really magnificent path.
A good alternative however can be to start the walk in Ia and to retrace your
steps after 1h20: in this way, you can enjoy the most beautiful panoramas and
This walk then avoids the stretches with the new constructions - and you can
visit the village of Firà and its neighbourhood on another day…
This hike offers so many changing views on the volcano, the sea and the caldera,
that it definitely deserves an evaluation of ***.
[23 May 2013.]
[The translation of this walk was
made with some help of Google translate - so, do not mind the mistakes...]
The way out of this walk along the caldera takes about 1h20 (AWT),the way back
requires more or less the same time.
The actual walking thus amounts to a total of 2h35, but the total time (TWT) can
reach almost the double - we walked from 11am to 3.30 pm, a total time thus of
[There are of course many bus connections from Firá to Ia - in this case, you
should get out at the beginning of the pedestrian street zone, where the main
road veers right.
If you come by car to Ia, you should look for a parking lot to the right of the
road and near the large beige church with the blue dome of Agios Vasílios.]
(0h00) Where marble pedestrian street
of Ia starts (the Odós Louká Nomíkou), with its many shops, terraces and luxury
pensions, you also will see Agios Vasílios, the large church with the blue dome,
with another two adjacent white and smaller churches.
You walk away from the pedestrian street, to the left of the churches and on the
But very soon, you can follow the black paved street that starts to the right (hiking
sign and ).
The old hiking sign
near the beginning of walk  along the caldera.
After 4 minutes, it passes on the right side of a mill, still continues for a
little while and get again to the road.
You continue to the left of the great buildings of the water company of Ia, with
the desalinization plant , and on the other side of a vague ground, you find
the beginning of a gravel path .
It runs along a wall built of pumice and pieces of lava, becomes concrete and
then definitely continues as a gravel path.
(0h14) The path becomes narrower and
reaches a main path, paved with black stones, which rises up until next to the
chapel of Profítis Ilías.
A nice pavement...
Further on, you climb some stairs - you now continue to the left of the caldera,
so that you have a beautiful view of the inside of Santoríni.
You still go up and you get in this way to the left of a black slope with
strangely shaped rocks - you can take a glance to the right for the magnificent
view of the entire caldera, which extends from Merovígli, on the left, with
the promontory below, until Thirasiá to the right, with the volcano in the
(0h31) Your trail passes through a
narrow passage with dark red rocks.
Just before arriving
at the chapel of Stavrós.
You still climb until you arrive between an old white chapel and the chapel of
Stavrós  - through the small arch, you have a photogenic view of Ia...
A look from the
little tower of the chapel of Stavrós...
(0h35) The following 8 minutes are
really beautiful: the trail is covered with black ashes; further on,
it becomes rocky and then gravel
alternates with a beautiful pavement.
You go down and the path becomes a small road - you keep to the right, in order
not to reach the asphalt road, but finally you get to the road anyway - the spot
is called "Stérna Louloudíou" (Tank of the Flower
), there is a hiking sign and a canteen is located besides the road.
(0h58) You follow the road for about
7 minutes (starting from here, there is a signposting with ) and then you get
to a few white houses of the hamlet of Vouniá: you take the slope up to the
but soon, there is a beautiful paved trail that starts on the left .
There is a bifurcation after 2 minutes, where you go right - it is here that
later on you will arrive from the left...
The steep climb now continues on red and gray ashes, the views are beautiful...
High above the caldera...
(1h19) After a paved stretch you come
next to the big chapel with a blue dome of … Profítis Ilías...
The church of Profítis Ilías.
[If you wish to continue towards Merovígli and Firá, you should follow the
concrete road (hiking sign Agios Márkos 10 ') - the path that seems to start on
the right of the hill in front of you leads nowhere!
After the concrete road still follows a path for 5 minutes: then there is the
quiet location of Agios Antónios, but soon you will meet the new constructions
of Merovígli – the following 45 minutes, until the center of Firá, will offer
of course great views, but the trail or road always continue next to hotels and
(1h19) We decided to retrace our
steps just beyond Profítis Ilias: about 50 meters past the church, there is a
paved path that goes sharply to the left (hiking sign Vouniá 15 ').
It is an alternative route which is marked with the number .
The beautiful trail that descends slowly, is very easy and offers nice views of
the other, rather monotonous, part of Santoríni.
The trail , that
returns from the chapel of Profítis Ilías towards Vouniá.
The pavement becomes stony after 12 minutes – it is here that the path you have
followed along the caldera, joins your path from the left.
(1h33) Shortly after, you get to the
asphalt road - you are back to Vouniá and you now will follow the road to the
left for a little less than 6 minutes.
The path covered with pumice and lava stones starts to the left just beyond the
cantina (hiking sign Ia 60 ').
The path becomes a little road, and after 7 minutes, you climb a staircase with
a beautiful dark pavement along a black wall  - note also the beautiful
layers of pumice stone on the left.
A very nice stretch...
Another 10 minutes later, there is the section where you continue on gray ash,
which also takes 10 minutes - no wonder the hill on your right is called Mávro
Vounó (= Black Hill) ...
You slowly go down while describing
a wide turn, with behind you a beautiful view over the road you had to follow -
from the upper chapel with the blue dome, until Vouniá, the asphalt road and the
trail from Stérna Louloudíou.
Finally, you arrive between the chapel of Stavrós and the small older chapel -
you again can enjoy the splendid view towards Ia and the northern part of the
Through the small tower, you often can see beautiful sunsets!
(2h06) The descent lasts 10 minutes
and most of the time, you walk on a beautiful uneven pavement, sometimes on the
black or reddish lava - and so you come near the other chapel of Profítis Ilías.
The path between Stavrós
and Profítis Ilías.
(2h17) You continue while keeping to
the left - the right path leads to the small village of Finikiá, where also
begins the short walk to the beach of Baxédes.
Very soon, you come next to the first big hotel: the pavement becomes gravel and
after a little more than 10 minutes, you get to the concrete ground, next to the
water company of Ia.
(2h28) The small road, the Odós
Persefónis, continues next to luxurious hotels with pool, then it leads to the
asphalt road next to Perivolas Market.
You still can follow the little paved street besides the asphalt road, then the
road itself, and you finally arrive next to the three churches.
[Optionally, you can continue straight on the main street, to
discover the streets of Ia, you can drink or eat something in one of the bars or
restaurants, you can descend to the beach of Ammoudi,
or you can stay to watch the sunset, which attracts hundreds of tourists
each evening in summer time...
Until late at night there are buses back to Firà, but remember that the first
buses after the sunset are usually overcrowded…]
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