How to Hike Skaros Rock in Santorini

Embark on an unforgettable hiking adventure to Skaros Rock in Santorini. This iconic landmark perched atop a dramatic cliff offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Aegean Sea and the island’s picturesque caldera. 

As you navigate the winding path, you’ll be immersed in the island’s natural beauty, passing by charming villages and vineyards along the way. 

The reward at the end of the trail is truly awe-inspiring, with the opportunity to witness a magical sunset or simply soak in the awe-inspiring vistas. 

Hiking to Skaros Rock is not just an exploration of nature, but also a journey into the history and charm of Santorini. So lace up your hiking boots, breathe in the fresh island air, and get ready for an adventure that will leave you with lasting memories.

To help you make the most of your hike to Skaros Rock in Santorini, follow along below for tips and tricks!

What is Skaros Rock?

Skaros Rock is a large volcanic promontory extending into Santorini’s caldera, on which are the (now barely visible) ruins of the fortress of Kasteli, built between 1205 and 1230. The promontory itself was probably formed during a volcanic eruption that took place 68,000 BC.

Skaro Rock was once the oldest and most significant defensive settlement and was also considered the capital of Santorini in the 18th century.

The fortress of Skaros was intended to protect against pirates, who successfully conquered the Aegean coast in the late Middle Ages, as well as hostile troops, mainly Turkish. The entire fortified settlement was made of stone, and was connected to the rest of the village by a movable wooden platform (which is no longer constructed today).

How to Get to Skaros Rock

The Skaros Rock hike is really pretty straightforward, with one way down and back.

The path is clearly marked and begins in Imerovigli, on the stairs that lead down from the Grace Hotel (I can guarantee you’ll be staring at their pool enviously as you make the sweaty return journey back up the stairs to Imerovigli!).

Map of Skaros Rock

How Long is the Skaros Rock Hike?

The hike takes about 45 minutes one way from the edge of Imerovigli to the outcrop, but shouldn’t be underestimated; it’s mostly up and down, and absolutely should be avoided in the middle of the day when the heat is searing (we know this because we made this mistake so you don’t have to).

You could also do the Skaros Rock hike as part of your longer Fira to Oia hike (guide coming soon!) – just add another 1-1.5 hours to your total itinerary.

Hiking to Skaros Rock is not just an exploration of nature, but also a journey into the history and charm of Santorini. So lace up your hiking boots (or gym shoes), breathe in the fresh island air, and get ready for an adventure that will leave you with lasting memories.

Best of all, the hike is FREE but make sure to bring plenty of water! Try to avoid hiking this in the middle of the day (I learned the hard way) and please wear proper sun protection!

Skaros Rock Hiking Route

There are technically two Skaros Rock hiking routes; one that will take you along the side and down to a pretty chapel, and the other that ascends to the ‘summit’ of the flat-topped rock.

We should probably point out that the second path is pretty sketchy and isn’t really a trail but an unmarked rock scramble/climb, so we opted against it. Especially after watching a small rockslide occur on the right side of the promontory!

About 10 minutes after starting at the Grace Hotel, you’ll pass the pretty Agios Georgios (Church of St George) — where you can probably expect to see a few insta-shoots happening in the late afternoons…! — and continue to where the ruins of the Epano Kastro (upper castle) can be found.

It’s here, the path forks left and right.

We opted for the left, which takes you along the side of the outcrop and then down the hill for probably 15 minutes until you get to the breathtakingly beautiful Chapel of Agios Ioannis Apokefalistheis.

The church terrace looks out over the sparkling Caldera and from here you can see the whole expanse of Santorini from north to south, Oia in the distance, and the island of Thirasia across the water from Santorini.

The chapel itself is closed for entry but is still occasionally used by locals for special ceremonies.

Once you’re done snapping photos and taking in the views, simply follow the same trail back along the side of the rock and back up to Imerovigli!

Know Before You Hike Skaros Rock

Skaros Rock in Santorini is known for rock slides. There is no telling how big or small and when they will occur. 

Just stay aware of your surroundings and watch out.

Also, I don’t recommend lingering or staying too close to the edge.

And, I don’t recommend hiking Skaros Rock at midday in the summer months from June – September. It will be very hot and your conditioning will be tested (Ask me how I know!?)

Please, for the love of god, don’t hike in flip flops! Wear proper gym shoes or hiking boots.

In Conclusion

If you’re lucky enough to have more than one day in Santorini, consider exploring other parts of the island. Visit the ancient site of Akrotiri, an archaeological wonder that offers a glimpse into the Minoan civilization. Relax on the unique black sand beaches of Perissa or Kamari. Take a wine tour and visit local vineyards to sample Santorini’s famous wines. And don’t forget to take a boat tour to explore the island’s impressive coastline and swim in the crystal-clear waters.

Remember, Santorini is a place of beauty and relaxation, so take some time to soak in the island’s ambiance and enjoy the laid-back Mediterranean lifestyle.

While its popularity means more visitors than ever, if you visit during the shoulder season, you’ll be able to appreciate this beautiful destination with fewer crowds. 

For more information, check out this super detailed Santorini Travel Guide I wrote that includes more things to do, costs, safety tips, transportation advice, and ways to save money

Book Your Trip Now!

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For companies, check out my favorite travel companies section that includes even more of my favorite travel companies that will help you value travel!

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