A Daredevil’s Guide To Hiking And Cliff Jumping In Santorini

I can only lay on a beach for so long before getting antsy. After spending a few days with our toes in the smooth, black pebble sands of Kamari Beach (our home for the next few weeks), and eating more flaky, filo pies than one should have in a lifetime, we decided it was time to get our blood pumping and our adrenaline racing.


I read about a 7 mile hike from Santorini’s capital, Fira, to the picturesque village of Oia (pronounced ‘eeya’), and heard rumors of cliff jumping somewhere off the tip of the island. I also read numerous articles that warned of the obvious dangers of cliff jumping, often called ‘tombstoning’ for deathly reasons that did not sit well with Bryan. Vigorous research on my part, and asking advice from locals, provided a convincing argument to at least test the jumping waters, and potentially take the plunge 😉 There is also cliff jumping from Kamari, but horror stories told by our friend named Nikos (is every man in Greece named Nikos??) dissuaded, and lead us over to Oia, which promised less dramatic cliffs and deeper waters. We were accompanied by my fearless, little brother (he isn’t little at all) who shares my daredevil spirit. He had visions of flipping off cliffs, assuming a safe plunge was possible.

Excuse me if I sound like a cheesy ad prefacing a dangerous TV stunt: “don’t try this at home“… on second thought, DO try this! But before you climb a slippery cliff and become the poster child for tombstoning, be sure to fully evaluate the situation. While cliff jumping is badass, ruining everyone’s fun with an injury (or worse) is totally lame.

First off, let me take you to the water! The hike to Oia is breathtaking, and leads you along the edge of the island and around the mouth of the caldera (aka: rim of the volcano). Jumping or not, it’s worth the excursion and you can decide at the end if you have the nerve to take a leap. Perhaps you prefer to live vicariously – you are likely to see other jumpers, especially during high season. Either way, I’ll lead the way…


Your hike starts in Fira. We took the bus from Kamari. From the bus stop, take a right and walk uphill towards the church that sits high in the city with breathtaking views of the caldera, as well as your final destination, Oia, off in the distance. (Note: the church is beautiful! But they don’t take kindly to pictures, girls in shorts, or especially girls who talk back when mean, Greek Orthodox Priests wave their fingers in your face). After taking in the views from Fira, head towards Oia (as seen, low in the distance) by following signs to the cable car. From this point, take the high road to the right rather than descending the stairs to the port below. This path will basically lead you all the way to Oia.

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Follow the inland road towards the village of Imerovigli. The first part of your hike is on cobblestone roads lined with white villas, hotels, restaurants, bars, shops and (many) tourists… this is a great place to grab a Gyro, and I highly recommend doing so if you’re a bit hungry as you are on your way out of civilization for a while!

Continue to follow the mouth of the caldera to the Prophet Ilias. This traditional church is on the slimmest part of the island and is also accessible by car, if you prefer to skip the trek through town. This spot marks the start of the most beautiful, less crowded part of the hike!

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Climb the Mavro Vouno! From the church, you’ll walk downhill until you reach an asphalt road. Walk to the side of the road for about 300 meters, then continue on the trail again. At this point you’ll need to summon some strength for an uphill hike to the top of the famous Mavro Vouno (Black Mountain), gazing over your shoulder to view Imerovigli (Fira is now out of sight!).

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Enjoy STUNNING views from Psilos Stavros Church. When you reach the top of the Mavro Vouno, you will find a small, white church – this church marks the highest point on the north end of the island. The backside of the church is the perfect place to take a breath, and soak in Oia from a distance.

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Stroll downhill towards the village of Oia. When you arrive in Oia, keep walking through town until you are close to the tip of the island, where you will see signs leading you to a 214 step descent to Amoudi Bay. There are donkey’s available if you prefer to ride one down. Personally, I wanted to free all of the donkeys from the intense heat.. or at least give them some water! Their low hanging heads, and intense panting from the hot sun broke my heart. If you choose a donkey, no judgement from me (I have a bleeding heart for all living things). If you choose to walk, watch your step for poo!

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Walk through the restaurants of Amoudi Bay. When you arrive at the bottom of the winding, rocky, switch-back pathway, take a left and walk through a group of seafood restaurants. (This is also the perfect spot for post-jump wine and the freshest, most delicious seafood in Greece!) When you reach the black rocks, don’t turn back! You’re almost there! Climb over the soft stones until you reach your jumping point – a tiny, steep island that’s just a short swim away.

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Time to swim and climb! Jump in the clear, blue water, and swim to the left of the island, around the back. Here you will find a rope helping you climb towards a tiny, church that sits on the edge of the cliff… your jumping point.


I’ll let you take it from here… to jump, or not to jump?


I can assure you that the water is deep, and you are safe to jump, dive and flip to your heart’s content, so long as you launch yourself far enough. Remember, you only need to be brave for the first few seconds 🙂

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Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. LIVE! 


Follow us on a scenic hike around the mouth of a volcano, to the perfect spot for cliff jumping in Santorini, Greece!   Follow us on a scenic hike around the mouth of a volcano, to the perfect spot for cliff jumping in Santorini, Greece!


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