Visited in 1971, 1972, 1984,
1986, 1987, 1990, 1995, 1997,
1999, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2011,
2013 and 2014

Walking, trekking and hiking on SANTORINI and THIRASIA

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GENERAL INFORMATION

LINKS Santoríni

WEATHER in Santoríni

Santorini hotels

BOATS SANTORINI
   - Blue Star Paros/Dilos
   - Flying Cat 3 & 4
  
- Superjet
   - Megajet

   - High Speed

   - Agios Georgios
   - Adamantios Koraïs

   - Aqua Jewel and Aqua Spirit
   - Preveli (ANEK)

MAPS

WALKS

(last update on the 10th of April 2014)

*** = very beautiful

**** = exceptional

NN = new in 2013
NNN = new in 2014

1. Akrotíri - Panagía Kímisis - Mésa Pigádia - Lighthouse - Akrotíri

2. Emborió - Pýrgos - Profítis Ilías - Théra - Períssa ***

3. Firá - caldéra - Ia ***

4. Ia - beach of Baxédes

5. Ia - caldera and back ***  NN

6. Kamári - Théra - Profítis Ilías - Pýrgos *** 

7. Megalochóri - Akrotíri

8. Períssa - Emborío  NNN

9. Pýrgos - Mésa Goniá and back

10. Pýrgos - Profítis Ilías - Théra - Períssa ***

11. Pýrgos - Vóthonas - Kamári

12. The volcano and Thirasiá ***

13. Thirasiá: Ríva - Agriliá - Christós - Potamós - Manolás - Ríva

14. Vóthonas - Pýrgos - Profítis Ilías - Emborío


 

 

 

 

Together with Mýkonos Santoríni is one of the best known, so also one of the most tourist islands of the Cyclades. While the development of Mýkonos had already started in the ‘60s, the island of Santoríni (or Thira) remained relatively sparsely visited until the ’70. This was partly due to the destructions caused by the severe earthquake of 1956. Because of the excavations by Spiros Marinatos and the publication of "Atlantis, the truth behind the legend" by A.G.Galanopoulos and Edward Bacon in 1969, both archaeologists and the larger public became interested again in Santoríni. But it was only in the ‘80s and ‘90s that the island was really discovered by mass tourism. This lead, inevitably, to a commercial invasion of the beautiful towns like Firá and Ia, to the construction of innumerable houses, hotels and an airport, and to an overpopulation of the beaches.

However, just like on the island of Mýkonos, there are still magical places on Santoríni, even though the island is definitely overcrowded in Summer: truly wonderful are the narrow streets of Firá, the panoramic views on the volcano and the caldera - the steep slopes going down to the sea -, the old stairs of Firá, Thirasiá and Ia, the sunsets, and the archaeological sites of Théra and Akrotíri.

To get to Santoríni you can fly with Olympic Airways, but there are also many boat lines from the Piraeus: one busy boat line with large and fast ships goes from Athens to Santoríni in 8 hours. These boats pass Páros and Náxos - departure from Piraeus at 07h30 am, arrival at 15h00 pm. An other connection between Piraeus and Rhódos passes by Mílos, Santoríni, Crete, Kássos, Kárpathos and Chálki - it is executed 2 times a week by the Prevéli.
There is also a western and slower line, that passes by Kýthnos, Sérifos, Sífnos and Mílos - twice
/ three times a week, the Agios Geórgios or the Adamántios Koraïs continue to Folégandros, Síkinos, Ios and Santoríni.
An other interesting line is Sýros - Páros - Náxos - Folégandros - Síkinos - Ios - Ríva - Santorini - Anáfi (twice a week, on Tuesday and Saturday, with the Aqua Spirit). These boats are the successors of the old Panagía Tínou and Panagía Chozoviótissa...
In summer, there are many faster connections, e.g. by the Superjet (departure at 07h00 am, arrival at 11h40 am - via Mílos and Folégandros), by the High Speed V (departure at 07h30 am, arrival at 12h15 pm - via Páros, Náxos and Ios) and by the High Speed VI (departure at 07h00 am, arrival at 11h25 am - via Ios).
Finally, there is also a boat line that relies Iráklio with Mýkonos, and that passes by Santoríni and Páros (executed by the Flying Cat IV
or the Megajet).

All of these boats arrive in the harbour of Athinió and from there you have to catch a bus or a taxi, preferably to Firá. Indeed, although the town is busy and the prices are fairly high, it is still advisable to stay in the old Firá. The town of Ia is much more artificial and from places inland like Períssa or Akrotíri you cannot enjoy the view over the volcano, which is an absolute must. To avoid the Summer crowd it is thus a good idea to visit Santoríni in Spring or Autumn. 

Although there is not really an abundance of hiking trails on Santoríni, there are a couple of them, and hiking is the ideal way to escape the crowd and the artificial aspects of the island.  

The town of Firá, with its neighbouring villages Firostefáni and Imerovígli more to the north, offers a magnificent balcony with panoramic views over the sea and the volcano. You definitely have to try to also walk around here early in the morning and, obviously, during sun set. The new prehistoric museum is really a must. Leaving from the bus square (behind the main church) you can take buses in every direction: to Ia, Kamári, Períssa (via Pýrgos and Emborío), Akrotíri, etc. At the Theotokópoulo-square, immediately north of the bus square, you can find many travel agencies and banks. Do not forget to descend the 588 steps of the "skalià", the large staircase, to go to the old harbour. From here onwards you can take an old boat for a day trip to the volcano and Thirasiá. 

Until the ‘70s the town of Ia used to be a picturesque and peaceful village on the northern tip of the caldera. Nowadays, the town has expanded greatly and looks somewhat artificial. The famous "sunset" is exaggerated and you can often find nicer sunsets on other places on the island.

The beaches of Kamári, Períssa and definitely the red and the white beaches close to Akrotíri are very busy in Summer time, but are much more pleasant off season.
At Akrotíri you definitely have to visit the excavations of the old city, buried by a volcanic eruption in the 16th century BC. The beautiful archaeological findings are to be seen in the prehistoric museum in Firá
- until recently, the magnificent wall paintings were located in the National Museum in Athens.

Also the excavations of the old Théra, situated on the hill of Mesa Vounó (366 m) in between Kamári and Períssa, and the old monastery on the Profítis Ilías (567 m) are definitely worth a try. You can combine a visit to one of these places (not on Monday!) with a hike from Pýrgos or Emborío to Períssa.

With regard to hiking, there are not a lot of ancient monopátia on Santoríni, as said before. The longest hike will lead you from Fira, via Firostefáni and Imerovígli, to Ia and offers fantastic views on the caldera. Also the old trail from the summit of the Profítis Ilías to the hill where Théra used to be located, and from there onwards to Períssa, is absolutely worthwhile. In order to make this hike, the best thing to do is thus to leave from Pýrgos or Emborío. 

There exists a good road map of Santoríni, published by Road Edition, with a scale of 1:40 000.
The hiking map of Anávasi is disappointing: it only gives the path from Firá to Ia...
In the course of spring 2009 another map of Santoríni appeared, now in the series of Terrain Maps: this map is more complete than the Anávasi-map (edition 2006), but still some paths are not on the map, e.g. the nice path from Emborío to Pýrgos and the path from Pýrgos to the Profítis Ilías - on the back side of the map, there are only two short descriptions of trails...

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View to the volcano

The stairs of Firá

 The little harbour of Thirasía

Sunset as seen from Firá

The crater Dafni on Santoríni