After “Stuck in Mykonos,” our second destination for Spring break was Santorini, Greece. We docked about fourteen hours after we had originally planned and wobbled off the ferry, our sea-sick stomachs thankful to be on land. Surrounded by mountains on one side, and a volcano on the other, the reaction to Santorini’s beauty was instant and breathtaking.
Santorini is one of the larger islands apart of the Cyclades island group in the Aegean Sea. A unique thing about this island is that it is the most active volcano center apart of the Hellenic Arc. It’s rugged mountainside was carved by a volcanic explosion, one of the largest ever recorded in history, called the Minoan eruption, which occurred about 3,600 years ago. Although a devastating eruption, in my opinion, the cliffside in Santorini is one of it’s most beautiful features.
Our hostel was on Perissa beach, which is located on the southeastern edge of the island. This is one of the most famous beach in Greece and is usually referred to as the “Black Beach,” due to the black color of it’s sand. The sand is black due to all the volcanic activity on the island. In Santorini, there is also a Red Beach and a White Beach. Three different colors of sand on one island contributes to Santorini’s magnificence.
One of my favorite experiences in Santorini, and perhaps in my life, was hiking from Fira to Oia. The hike from Fira to Oia is a popular activity in Santorini, because of it’s amazing views. Due to it’s popularity, the path is marked pretty well, so it’s not difficult to follow. Flip flops are not appropriate for this hike, as it is an 8 mile hike on the cliffside of Santorini. We came prepared with sneakers, and lots of water. Let me repeat that. Lots of water.
The hike took us about four hours, with a few quick breaks along the way. We traveled through about three villages, but spent most of the time hiking up the mountains. We were thankful for beautiful weather and a bit of a breeze. There were several small churches on the paths, which we were invited into to appreciate the artwork inside (and also say a quick prayer that we would make it up the next hill alive).
At the end of our hike, our legs were burning and our feet were swollen, but we were rewarded with all of the amazing scenery that we saw along the way. The hike from Fira to Oia was a great way to see the island of Santorini while getting some exercise, and it was all for free!