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Hiking to Ancient Thera from Perissa: Santorini, Greece

Hiking to Ancient Thera

Hiking to Ancient Thera

The Hike to Ancient Thera

For days, the mountain beside the village of Perissa has been calling to me.  Usually, I try to pretend I’m deaf when mountains call to me because my knees hate mountains.  But after several days of signmaking, it’s time to explore a little.

A quick stop at the bakery has me fortified with cheesy bread.  With a full bottle of water, I’m ready.

I walk alone on the rocky trail and in short time I arrive at the chapel that can be seen from Perissa.  From there I see the whole of the village and the coastline extending for miles.  The chapel is unfortunately locked.

There is shade occasionally on the trail, but for the most part, I am exposed and the sun is really intense.  The lizards like it though.

Arriving at the top, I am amazed to discover a parking lot.  Evidently, Ancient Thera can be reached by car from Kamari.  “Must be nice” I mutter to myself.  The wind blows at gale force and takes my bitter thoughts out to sea in a rush.

The ruins of Ancient Thera can be seen for an entrance fee of 2 euros.  The view alone is worth the cost.

A Nutshell History of Ancient Thera

Ancient Thera was inhabited from the 9th century BC until 726 AD.  Originally founded by colonists from Sparta, it was a city-state with strategic value because of its two ports and excellent vantage point.  Around the 2nd century BC, it served as a naval base for the Ptolemies from Egypt.  Romans occupied the city in 1st and 2nd centuries.  In the 3rd Century, the city started to decline.  In 726 AD a small volcanic eruption covered the city in pumice and the city was abandoned only to be used occasionally in the 8th century as a refuge during Arab attacks.

Ancient Thera

Ancient Thera

Several excavations have uncovered statues (which have been sent to museums), remnants of houses, temples, Roman baths, a road network, drainage systems, and a theater.

While the ruins were cool and I especially liked seeing the ancient writing on some of the stones, I was most taken with the view; forever views of the ocean and the wildflowers which were in full glory.

How to Get to the Trail from Perissa

If you’re facing the entrance of the blue-domed church in Perissa, walk (or drive) left and follow the road towards the mountains, passing numerous hotels along the way.  Just keep straight on the road.  You’ll pass Hotel Mariana. Stay to the right.  You’ll end up in front of the sign for Ancient Thera (see pictures).

If you’re hiking to Ancient Thera from Perissa:

  • Bring water!
  • The hike up, to the chapel, on to Thera for a look-around, and back to Perissa took me four hours but I was lollygagging in the biggest way.  It could be done more quickly.
  • Try to avoid walking at high noon because the sun is really hot.  Bring sunblock/hat or prepare to burn.
  • The trail is relatively easy with the exception of some steps and some loose rock that makes slipping easy (see photos).
  • Prepare to be blown away at the top.  Literally.  The wind is tremendous.  At least in April.
  • Entrance fee is 2 euros, under 18 it’s free with an ID card
  • Hours: April 1 – October 31, 2014: Tuesday through Sunday 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM.  Closed Mondays.

Photos of Perissa and Ancient Thera:

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