Walking across Santorini to Skaros Rock

This door opens to a volcano view

Santorini (Greek name Thira) was still a busy place in October, and we preferred the much smaller numbers of people in Naxos, Paros and even Crete. But something the other islands didn’t have were the spectacular views from the cliffs across much of the island.

Santorini is an island that has a few distinct parts. Fira is the largest town and popular for views. The town of Imerovigli has the highest cliffs on the island although it’s a quiet place. Oia is a smaller but pretty town where everyone goes for the sunsets, and the east side of the island is flatter and has beaches such as Kamari and Perissa. It’s too small and crowded to rent a car but many travellers rent scooters. We mostly walked and used buses on a few occasions.

We stayed in the town of Fira and decided to walk from the town to Skaros Rock, which was located below the nearby town of Imerovigli. The trip involved going along the cliff side from town to town where we could see the views of the harbour, caldera and beyond as we walked.

Near the start of the walk. Skaros Rock is in the distance to the left. The town of Imerovigli is located just above Skaros on the right.
Off we go
Views of the caldera along the cliff side in the town

Getting through Fira took time because were are so many viewpoints where we could stop and admire the view. There are also lots of shops and restaurants around to distract us!

The shops were never far away
Getting closer
We are between the towns now and looking back at Fira
Getting closer to the entrance to Skaros
We’re now in Imerovigli. Skaros is at lower left
Fira in the background

Finally, it was time to head down to Skaros Rock. The rock is far below the cliffs, about half way down to the water.

The uninhabited part of the caldera is in the background. It’s called Nea Kameni. We did a day trip there the next day
There was once a medieval settlement here
How Skaros Rock used to look. Sketch by Thomas Hope (done sometime in the 1790s)
Approaching the rock. The few remaining signs of the original settlement are here

At one time there was an entire settlement on the side of Skaros Rock and even had a fortress as well. For a variety of reasons the settlement began to fail (pirates and conquest) but earthquakes starting in 1650 caused part of the settlement to collapse into the sea. Earthquakes and volcanic activity continued for the next few hundred years until the town was completely abandoned in favour of nearby Fira.

Near the base of the rock

At this point we had a choice, go around the rock to the right and try to climb up the rock, or take a path to the left and go down to the monastery far below. We took the monastery trail.

Further down we go
The towns are now far away and high above
The monastery is in sight
The name of the monastery is the Chapel of Panagia Theoskepasti
Approaching the gate. Luckily it was open
What a view
In the distance is the town of Oia at the northern tip of the island. We went there by bus the next evening for the sunset views
It almost looks like a toy
Time to head back
A long way up
On the way back up to Imerovigli
Heading back to Fira
A beautiful sunset just as we returned

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