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Excursions in Santorini: Fira'-Oia (16 km)

Itinerario Firà-Oia

The most interesting thing of this itinerary is that it includes all villages located on the top of the slope and overlooking the Caldera: Firostefani, Imerovigli, Oia.

Firostefani: from the main square in Firà take the road towards the north. After approximately 800 m you arrive in the square of Firostefani, extension of Firà. It's a village that rises along the edge of the slope, with restaurants, hotels and a charming church, Saint Gerasimus, framed by tall cypress trees, which is rather rare in the island.
Moving from the square towards the north you enter the central area of the village, where you can admire the ruins of two old windmills, then, two streets lead to the slope; here Firostefani offers a wonderful view of the Caldera.
To be visited: the Catholic Church in the district called "frankika"; the feminine monastery of Saint Nicolas.

Imerovigli-Skaros: after the Monastery of Saint Nicolas, only 2 km from Firà, you get to Imerovigli, located in the middle of the island on its highest point. Its privileged location lets you enjoy one of the most spectacular and unforgettable views the Caldera.

Crossing the village towards the Caldera, there is a path that leads to Skaros (in the past one of the five most important centres of the island - today there are only few traces of it). One of the most beautiful walks (about 1 hour goign up to Skaros) is to follow the path that leads to the Church of "Theoskepastì", a white church, built on the top of the rock. It is the most impressive location of the island!
To be visited: the main Church of the village, dedicated to the Madonna Maltese, taking its name from an holy icon found in the sea near Malta.
From the square of Imerovigli head north towards Oia. During the journey you will pass the cemetery of Imerovigli, the junction with the road to Vourvoulos, having always the slope on the right-hand-side and the volcanic rocks on the left-hand-side ... except in a very spectacular point, where you can admire the sea on the right-hand-side, and the caldera on the left-hand-side.
After few kms (about 9 from Firà) you arrive to Finikia that along with Oia form the wide urban area called Apano Merià. Here the coast, the beach and the sea are among the most beautiful of Santorini, with important Hotels. Here inhabitants are very friendly; taverns and restaurants are excellent and the narrow streets are full of artisan shops.

Oia: Is the main village in the northern side of the island, just 11 km from Firà. Its architecture is unique, with 2-storey coloured houses, carved into the lava rock. Walls are painted in ochre, window frames and doors are in red travertine. Streets in the town centre, unlike the rest of the island, are paved in marble. Two downward streets lead to the bay of Armeni and to the beach of Ammoudi. The first one offers water skiing activities, taverns to eat the catch of the day (or, better, of the minute) ... the second one offers romantic walks and a boat to reach Thirasia.
To be visited: before leaving Oia, visit the jewelleres, the galleries of modern art and the local artisans. Also interesting is the Naval Museum.
Do not miss: the wonderful sunset from a romantic candlelit rooftop bar.

Back to Firà: The east coast road back to Firà crosses Baxedes, a small village with both a sandy and rocky beach, not crowded at all. After 17 km you will arrive to the hill top village of Koloumbos, with a sandy beach at its base and a submarine volcano on the east side.
Passed Koloumbos you will get to the crossroads to Porì village and the church of "Panaghia tou Kaloù" (Holy Virgin of the Good). Passed the crossroads to Imerovigli you will find the two churches of St. Artemio and, on the left hand side, the church of Santa Irene.
At the 22nd Km, one branch of the junction leads to Vourvoulos beach, a pictoresque village not so touristic. Crossing the village and heading south you will easily get to the crossroads to Kontochori beach, also known as Apoxo Ghialos, thanks to the presence of many wells, but here the water is salty. Konthochori is actually the eastern suburb of Firà. After 500 m you are back to the main square of Firà.

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