Santorini’s Skaros Rock is one of the most impressive sights on the island.
While we constantly hear about the stunning views of the Caldera (which they are), Skaros Rock is not to be overlooked when visiting Santorini.
The expansive rock promontory sits below the small town of Imerovigli, just waiting for its daily visitors.
If you’re ready for the amazing views, our complete guide will have you ready to get hiking.
A brief history of Skaros Rock
Before the eighteenth century, Skaros Rock used to be the capital of Santorini and was the most important settlement.
The fortress was built to protect against the pirates conquering the Aegean shores during the late middles ages.
Skaros Rock was surrounded by a community of homes, churches, and monasteries, accessible by a wooden bridge.
It was also home to its own medieval castle that was unfortunately destroyed in the early 1800s following a series of volcanic eruptions.
While enjoying your hike, be sure to keep an eye out for the remaining fractions of the bridge and remains of the fortress.
How to reach Skaros Rock in Santorini?
If you’re looking for one of the most stunning views in Santorini, you’ll want to make your way to Skaros Rock.
The hike up to the rock is steep and can be precarious, but many find it well worth it for the incredible views of the Caldera and the Aegean Sea.
You can reach Skaros Rock by taking the bus from Fira to Imerovigli.
Once you exit the bus, head up the road to the center of Imerovigli. You want to head towards the church of Agios Georgios.
Please don’t be shy to ask the locals; they will be more than willing to help point you in the right direction.
From the church, a few meters away, you will find the path that leads down to Skaros Rock.
Alternatively, you can head to the Grace Hotel Auberge Resorts and follow the trail from there.
The route will start with concrete steps (some with a wire guard railing but you can expect the journey to end on a gravel path with no safety rails.
- Your next checkpoint will be the Saint John the Beheaded or Katiforis Holy Orthodox Chapel.
- Enjoy the moment and take some beautiful pictures before continuing on your path.
- Once you reach the landing facing Skaros Rock, you will need to decide which trail you want to follow.
The main trail with take you to the base of Skaros Rock, and you can choose to climb to its summit.
The path on the left will lead you along the side of the promontory, where you will reach the lovely Chapel of Agios Ioannis Apokefalisteis.
With either trail, proceed with caution and go as far as you are comfortable going.
Not everyone climbs to the summit, given the risks and physical requirements.
Many tourists rely on the view from their hotels or just make their way down a part of the way for a closer look.
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What to wear when hiking Skaros Rock?
While this may seem obvious, sometimes we can underestimate the terrain, climate, and even the activity’s duration.
It’s always best to come prepared, especially when attempting this type of hike. Here are my go-to hiking items;
- Proper hiking shoes or good running shoes
- Comfortable, flexible clothing
- A wide brim sun hat (preferably with a drawstring for those windy days)
- Hiking cloves (optional)
Additional items to carry with you
- Plenty of water (preferably in an excellent cold thermos like the Bubba Travel Mug, as you can expect the heat to be intense)
- A protein bar
- A couple of Band-Aids
How long does hiking Skaros Rock take?
Assign a minimum of one at least hour for any visit to Skaros Rock.
However, I’d personally allocate two hours in Imerovigli not to feel pressed for time.
How long the excursion takes will ultimately depend on each person individually.
- Do you wish to climb to the very top?
- Are you at ease hiking or climbing stairs and rough terrain?
- Do you want to stay and enjoy the sights or quickly leave?
When should you visit Skaros Rock?
While most people visit Skaros Rock from sunrise to sunset, we recommend avoiding midday for your hike.
The heat in Greece can be quite sizzling, particularly during the peak summer months of July and August, making the midday heat quite unbearable.
If you have flexibility in your itinerary for Santorini, then try to head out early morning or later in the afternoon.
Be sure to leave enough sunlight in the day, especially if you plan to climb to the summit.
Where to stay in Imerovigli?
The village of Imerovigli has some beautiful spots to stay in during your trip to Santorini.
Smack in the middle of Fira and Oia, it’s the perfect middle ground with amazing views of the Caldera, volcano, and Skaros Rock.
One of my favorite mid-budget boutique hotels is Casa Florina.
Besides their nicely decorated and clean rooms, they have a sizeable Caldera-facing patio for guests to lounge.
Their patio offers unobstructed, magnificent views of the sunset and Skaros Rock which is just below.
Plus, start each morning enjoying the view with a made-to-order breakfast served right on the patio.
Final Thoughts on Skaros Rock
Skaros Rock is a must-see attraction when visiting Santorini.
The views from the top of the rock are breathtaking, and it’s a great place to relax and soak in the beauty of the island.
Make sure to allow enough time to explore this attraction, as you’ll likely want to spend some time enjoying the views from the top and taking some fantastic photos.
If you’re visiting Santorini as part of your tour of the Greek islands, be sure to add Skaros Rock to your list of things to do.