The unique Greek island of Santorini is all about colour and contrast. Everything seems painted white: buildings, pavements, stones, even the tree trunks. Around midday the sky loses its dazzling blue and joins the whiteness above the hazy islands. Then there’s blue sea, blue paint, black sand and red rock. Not least when you take a walk from Fira to Oia.
There’s no better way to experience this than by taking the classic Santorini trek from the old town of Fira to Oia. This is the perfect opportunity to catch a snapshot of Santorini’s iconic architecture and geography as you teeter along the edge of the crater rim past villas, convents and graveyards.
At every step are superb views of the island volcano and its caldera, filled with the blue Mediterranean. Santorini is actually the residue of an incomprehensibly large volcanic eruption about 1450 BC, and under the blackened island of the Kammeni things are still simmering away.
A five-minute detour to Antonius Chapel offers a perfect lunch spot with picnic tables and even a toilet hut. Another chapel to another saint sits lonely at the highest point of the walk.
At last we arrived at the northern tip of the Caldera, where Oia perches, waiting for sunset. The most famous town in Santorini is a confection of blue domes and pastel shades.
The much-vaunted sunset casts an exquisite light over the cascade of houses and windmills. Although you should note that at certain times of the year the sunset is actually much better in other parts of the island, for example from our hotel balcony near Fira (see the photo of the Santorini sunset at top).
By Natasha von Geldern
The walk takes around two hours, although there is no rush, and regular buses ferry the tourists from Oia back to Fira after sunset (and dinner).