Believe what you read was the moral of our hiking tale. We were staying in Oia and wanted to hike to Fira, but we read that it was a bit more difficult than hiking the opposite way. How hard could it be? Ummm, pretty hard.
The day greeted us with gale force winds. White caps lapped around the caldera, a warning of what we were up against. Every other day the water had been calm, the sun gently greeting us as we sat on our patio, not on hiking day. I think the water had it easier than we did.
We started with what felt like at least a mile walk through town to reach the start of our hike. After a quick pause for a picture it was time to get to work. The steep incline may not have been so bad if it weren’t for the winds that easily knocked off our hats, whipped our shirts about, and made me glad I packed my capris instead of shorts.
Hard work paid off with amazing views from the top of the first peak. Not surprisingly, there was a church that greeted us when we reached the top. The church to people ratio on Santorini is quite impressive. It may have lacked the iconic blue dome that dotted the island, but the stark white building and giant cross gave it away.
Taking just a short pause to catch our breath and set off again, we finally started traipsing downhill. All we had to do was remember not to look over the edge and keep walking forward. We reached the other side of the first peak where we ran into other Americans hiking, smartly, from Fira to Oia. They told us it would be less windy just a bit further (false). Lulled into false promises we set off with a bit more bounce in our step.
Next it was short distance walking along the road before hoping back on the trial. Snaking back and forth along the edge of the mountain the winds kept up its force as the views got better and better. At the top of the next peak we were treated to a famous blue dome.
Back down again and then a steady slope upward into Fira (so this must be why it is easier to hike Fira to Oia, you spend more than half the hike gently walking downhill). The winds, which we were promised to be much lighter and easier, were just as bad as when we first started. I have never been so happy to be done with a hike. And at only 2.5 hours we managed to do it in a reasonable amount of time, despite the wind. While I’m glad we did the hike, I wish the weather had cooperated a bit better with less wind.
If you make it to Santorini and you are staying in Oia, you should do the hike. It treats you to breathtaking views, and a major sense of accomplishment when you finish. However, check the weather. If it is going to be windy…think again. Hiking Fira to Oia probably is much easier too. Take my word for it, at the end of the hike you’d much rather be flying downhill rather than crawling huffing and puffing grateful to make it into Fira.