Hiking on Santorini and Naxos: Highlights
Combine walking with island-hopping and discover two of the most beautiful Greek islands
Walking the rim of the Caldera in world-famous Santorini
Visiting centuries-old vineyards and taste amazing volcanic wines
Walk to Mount Zas – the highest mountain of the Cyclades and legendary home to Olympian god Zeus
Delightful walks in the rural countryside of Naxos where life is still very traditional
Explore two of Greece’s most beautiful islands on foot on this island-hopping and hiking adventure.
Your journey begins in Santorini, perhaps the most photographed of all Greek islands with its iconic white-washed villages and blue-roofed churches perched on top of dramatic volcanic cliffs. You will quickly see why Santorini is one of Euope’s most sought-after holiday destinations. Your walks on this volcanic island will take you through hidden villages, centuries-old hand-tended vineyards, and the remains of a pre-historic city buried under volcanic ash. Relax after your walks by marvelling at the stunning Aegean sunsets while tasting the island’s excellent wines.
A two-hour ferry crossing takes you to the stunning island of Naxos, where life is lived at a very relaxed pace. On this, the largest and greenest of the Cycladic islands, you will walk along ancient trails, through quaint mountain villages, Venetian towers, olive groves and incredible natural landscapes. Visit the old fortified ‘Kastro’ reservation, ancient temples, abandoned kouros statues and experience the unique Greek hospitality and island culture. Finish with a walk to the top of Mt. Zas, the highest peak of the Cyclades, where Zeus is said to have been given the thunder to conquer Mt. Olympus.
|8 DAY TOUR||From €625 per person sharing*
*A high season supplement will apply during the busy summer months.
|ACCOMMODATION||7 nights accommodation traditional family run guesthouses on a bed and breakfast basis. All offer a warm welcome to walkers. All rooms are en-suite.
The standard hotels of this trip are listed below. If a hotel is fully booked, we book a similar alternative for you and inform you about the alternative booked.
|AVAILABILITY||We organise self-guided walking holidays all year round but we recommend the following periods:
This trip is graded easy to moderate overall. Though previous experience is not necessary, a basic fitness level is required. You will walk mainly on paths of moderate gradient with ascents of up to 500 m in a day. Being predominately limestone, parts of the paths are quite rough and stoney. A good pair of hiking boots is needed and walking poles may also be useful.
Day 1: Arrival in Santorini. Walk the rim of the caldera from Fira to Oia
Distance: 10 km | Walking time: 4 hrs approx. | Difficulty: Easy
Welcome to Santorini and transfer to your guesthouse at Fira, Santorini’s iconic main town perched high on the caldera cliffs opposite the volcano. Starting from Fira, you walk along the rim of the caldera towards the picturesque villages of Firostefani and Imerovigli, finally reaching Oia to watch Santorini’s famous sunset! You will enjoy astonishing views of the caldera, the volcanic islands Nea & Old Kameni from different perspectives.
Day 2: Mount Profitis Ilias, ancient Thera and Perissa
Distance: 9 km | Walking time: 5 hrs approx. | Difficulty: Moderate
Today’s walk starts from the beautiful village of Emborio, once a fortified Venetian settlement. You first walk through a beautiful vineyard-covered landscape to the 567m summit of Profitis Ilias, the highest point on the island. Take some time to admire the stunning panoramic views before descending along a magnificent mountain path towards the ancient city of Thera. Walk through time as you explore the excavation of the ancient city. Follow a short path leading to the ‘black’ beach of Perissa where you can plunge into its crystal-clear waters before enjoying a delicious supper!
Day 3: Walk the Caldera cliffs to Akrotiri
Distance: 4.3 km | Walking time: 3 hrs approx. | Difficulty: Easy
Today you follow a special path that runs parallel to the steep cliffs of the caldera towards Palos beach, where you’ll appreciate the contrast of the volcanic landscape with the deep blue sea. Continue to the fortified Venetian settlement of Akrotiri and take the old path to the Akrotiri excavation which has uncovered one of the most important prehistoric Aegean settlements, buried for millenia under volcanic ash. The sophisticated three-storey buildings, elaborate drainage system, magnificent wall paintings, furniture and vessels of this ancient city will fascinate you. End the day with a short walk to the famous Red beach.
Afternoon ferry to Naxos and transfer to your accommodation at the Old Town below the Venetian Castle.
Day 4: Explore the traditional villages of Naxos - looped walk
Distance: 9 km | Walking time: 3 hrs approx. | Difficulty: Easy to moderate
This hike starts from the beautiful village of Apiranthos, at the foot of Mt. Fanari. After a short walk to explore the village, you’ll follow the trail to the summit of Fanari to admire the stunning panoramic views of Naxos island and the surrounding Cycladic islands.
The path continues through impressive landscapes and rock formations towards the remote rustic village of Moni, where we recommend stopping at the village’s kafenio for lunch and a drink to immerse yourself in the slow pace of traditional island life as well as the delicious dishes of the day prepared with fresh local ingredients. You will then take the beautiful ‘Byzantine’ path (so-called because of the number of Byzantine churches on the way) towards Chalki, one of the island’s most picturesque villages, situated in an area lush with olive, plane and oak trees, well-known for its pretty houses and especially for the beautiful rare flowers growing in their courtyards.
End the day with a visit to the local distillery and get a taste of local liqueurs and raki!
Day 5: Walk to Mount Zas
Distance: 10 km | Walking time: 3 hrs approx. | Difficulty: Moderate
Start your walk from the village of Filoti and walk to the highest peak of the Cyclades, Mt. Zas, which stands at an impressive 1,004m. The magnificent Zas mountain takes its name from the ancient Greek God Zeus – the father of all the other Gods – who supposedly spent his early life on Naxos. You will enjoy stunning, panoramic views of the rugged surrounding landscape, contrasted with the deep blue of the Aegean Sea.
You’ll first reach a shady spot by the famous water source of Argion, an ideal spot to enjoy the peace and tranquility of your surroundings and rest before starting the ascent. Stop on the way to explore the biggest cave on the island which boasts some impressive stalagmite structures.
From the summit of Zas, on clear days, you will have a panoramic view of all the surrounding Cycladic islands. Zas is also an important hideout and nesting place for many migratory and resident birds such as the Griffon vulture which we hope you will have the chance to observe!
Take the downhill path at the other side of the mountain to reach the village of Filoti where you can have lunch at its picturesque square.
Day 6: The verdant villages of Naxos
Distance: 8 km | Walking time: 3 hrs approx. | Difficulty: Easy
Take the short path towards to the Byzantine church of Agios Mamas – patron saint of shepherds – and admire its extraordinary architecture. The church is one of the oldest on the island, dating from the 9th century. Continue towards the rustic, verdant villages of Potamia – ‘Potami’ means ‘river’ and refers to the river that links the villages and, along with the springs and ruined watermills, irrigates this verdant oasis throughout the year.
You’ll next explore an area of great archaeological significance, boasting historical treasures such as the old aqueduct of Flerio, the abandoned ancient Kouroi (male statues) and the ancient marble quarries. This is the ideal place to stop for a rest and a snack.
Finally, take the path towards the village of Myloi – surrounded by fertile land with groves of lemon, orange, almond and olives – and then continue to the village of Kouronohori, one of the island’s most picturesque villages whose main attraction is the Tower of Fragopoulos.
Your walk ends at the village of Melanes, one of the oldest villages in Naxos which got its name from the dark colour of the soil.
Day 7: Koronos to Lionas beach
Distance: 7.5 km | Walking time: 2½ hrs approx. | Difficulty: Easy
Our recommended hike today starts from the most remote village of Koronos, one of the ’emery’ villages as they were known due to the nearby emery mines. Explore the village of Koronos and stop for a drink to mingle with the hospitable villagers. Leaving the village, you will walk through a remote area of the island, with stunning rural and mountain landscapes. The fragrant smell of local herbs will accompany you and – depending on the season – you’ll be able to gather thyme, oregano, lavender, sage to name a few. In springtime the countryside abounds with rare species of wild flowers and orchids.
The path will finally lead you to the beautiful beach of Lionas, with its multi-coloured pebbles. Reward yourself with a refreshing dip in its crystal-clear waters, followed by a delicious lunch at one of the most traditional taverns on the island.
Day 8: Departure
Your arrangement ends after breakfast this morning. If you are travelling on to Athens, the first ferry leaves at 9.30am and arrives in Athens at 15.00 pm. There are Sea Jets in May that are faster but depart later in the day. The first to arrive in Athens is the above. All ferries are very comfortable.