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It’s pretty cool here right now, so we didn’t see the need to get up super early to start our big hike. We got up at a reasonable time, walked around town until we found a nice breakfast place overlooking the ocean, and then started walking from Fira to Oia.

Breakfast was pretty good, but it was more expensive than it was worth, in my opinion. I guess that’s what you get when you go to a place with a nice view. Instead of the typical Greek yogurt, I went for some coconut yogurt with mangos and chia seeds. It was tasty, but I definitely could have used a bit more food before setting out on our hike.

Hiking from Fira to Oia

I think the purpose of the hike is to visit all the churches along the ridge between the two cities. We got distracted early and went down to the ruins of Sarkos Castle which is a short hike down the cliff from the north end of Fira. There’s a nice church on the ocean side of it and we took a few pictures before continuing down the path towards Oia.

I know I’m supposed to say it was a beautiful hike along the ridge, but it really wasn’t all that special. The blue water is very pretty, but the view of it didn’t change all that much as we walked along. I did enjoy the final church overlooking Oia with its wind-whipped flag. But otherwise it was just a nice 10 km hike along a mostly cobble-filled path.

Oia is a pretty happening place. The walkways are marble and well maintained. We grabbed lunch at the top rated pizza place in town. It was inexpensive, but really good. The crust was exactly how pizza is supposed to be. The pistachio milkshakes were perfect. And I really enjoyed the Santorini salad. I think I love feta and want to add it to my meals at home.

We decided to walk all the way to the very end of the trail and when that wasn’t enough, we walked down the stairs in Oia and found ourselves at the marina. From there we took a path at water level back toward Fira. The path didn’t go very far before it opened up into a really nice swimming hole on the sea.

Summoned to the Sea

We really wanted to go swimming, but none of us carried our swimsuits on the hike. They were all back at the hotel. So we just watched a few other people swim. You can only watch people enjoying unspeakable joy swimming for so long until you just have to join them. And that’s exactly what we did. Up and over a little ridge we found ourselves alone and stripped down to just our underwear and jumped in. It was magical.

After rejoicing in the magical water for a while, we got adventurous and swam across to a small island with a platform about 8 meters high. We had to climb an old rusty ladder that wasn’t actually attached to anything in order to climb up to the platform. The worst part was crossing the mosaic made of shells at the top of the platform (obviously not put there for diving), but then we got to the edge and jumped down into the crystal clear water once again.

The water in Santorini is really great. The shoreline drops off quickly into the sea, which means there is no seaweed. And I don’t think we’ve seen a single sea bird the entire time we’ve been here. It’s basically perfect conditions for cliff diving. You can see everything and the bottom is basically a mile deep just a few feet from shore.

After swimming we got some ice cream from a little shop in a cave at the marina and then climbed the stairs back to the top. There are a ton of donkeys on those stairs, waiting to take wimpy travelers to the top. We are not wimpy. We did not need donkeys. The climb up seemed a lot shorter than the climb down had felt. I guess swimming really replenished us.

We knew we wouldn’t have time to walk all the way back to Fira after spending so much time in the water, so we got some pastries and then headed to the bus terminal where we took a bus back to Fira. It was a great adventure.

Before bed we tried to book a boat tour of the volcano, but we were probably too late to have much of a chance, sine the day was done and the companies had probably already setup everything for their morning tours. But we tried. We’ll have to see what, if anything, they say in the morning.

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