When you think of the Greek Islands, you think of white-walled houses and blue tiled roofs. You think of glorious sunshine, clear sea breezes, black sand beaches and brilliant sunsets. Santorini is one of my favourite Greek Island destinations. It is famous for its house-lined cliff faces that boast some of the most magnificent views in the world. It is also the place I had one of the most rewarding treks of my life; the Oia to Fira hike.
Before we talk about that, it is important to give you an idea of what life is like for the travelling tourist in Santorini. The cobbled stone streets weave past beautiful handmade jewellery stores, restaurants and hotels. If you are looking for a work out, deny your hotels offer of a hunky greek bell boy who literally carries your bag through those streets. Wheels have no purpose here, as Santorini’s steps challenged us to carry our 30 kilo bags to our cliff-face hotel. I travelled Europe with two girlfriends, and Santorini was at the end of our trip, so you can imagine our bags were quite heavy by then.
The island heavily relies on the tourism industry, with more than half of its inhabitants abandoning the place in the off-season, so you are made to feel very welcome. Santorini oozes relaxation, not only from the holidaying tourists, but from the locals. Their carefree attitude about life, work and love is contagious.
Oia to Fira Hike
We met so many eccentric locals, who were so full of life and character. From deep-sea divers who took lucky tourists to meet the local sea life, to the old men who cared for the donkeys that transported other visitors up and down the steep cliffside steps.
Each told us of the rarely travelled trail running along the cliff face, the Oia to Fira hike. We took the trail leading from Santorini (Fira) to Oia, the home to the most spectacular sunset in the world. Being true Australians, we embarked on the three-hour hike the next day in thongs with only a water bottle in hand.
Once the houses and shops started to disappear, we were able to truly understand the magnitude of the beauty of the island. Wild flowers lined the hills that overlooked the water, and as the stone pathway turned to dirt the scenery became more wild.
As the afternoon began to slip away we picked up the pace so we’d make it to Oia in time for the world-famous sunset. On our way we made friends with a gentle, shaggy-haired puppy, who was intent on sticking close to our heels until we made it to cobbled stone pathways again.
Oia lived up to the legend as one of the best sunset spots on the planet. Flocks of tourists and residents alike fight for the best spot to watch; sitting on fences and pathways, listening to the three-piece acoustic band that had come out to set the mood for the spectacular show. Lovers embraced as literally everyone sat in silence and drank in the sunset. If you are travelling to Santorini, Oia is a must do. I highly recommend heading there on foot from Santorini, but perhaps wear some appropriate footwear.
Alicia Lagourcette is a budding producer, food-lover, and fanatic traveller.
She has a background in television which has taken her right across Australia and overseas.
She has a passion for photography and hopes to document every corner of the globe.
You can follow her on her Instagram @alicialag or on Facebook.