Santorini and Naxos Island Hopping

A week of walking in the beautiful Greek islands of the Cyclades




From $1,460 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • The caldera-edge trail, from Fira to Oia on Santorini
  • A variety of walking landscapes on the Greek island of Naxos
  • Walk to the summit of Mount Zeus, highest peak in the Cyclades
  • Time for swimming and sightseeing after the walks

This excellent walking holiday takes place in the Cyclades, a Greek island group in the Aegean Sea, south-east of mainland Greece. Flying to Santorini takes us directly to the heart of this Greek island idyll and lets us make the most of our week in the Cyclades. Walking via the archaeological site of Ancient Thira, above the black volcanic sand of Perissa Beach, we also follow the impressive trail from Fira to Oia, with spectacular views of Santorini's coastline. We then take the ferry to Naxos, the largest of the Cyclades group, where whitewashed houses, narrow paved streets, windmills, sea-front cafes and taverns with octopuses drying in the sun, are set amongst a landscape of rocky cliffs interspersed with fertile valleys. Here, we explore some of the islands many cultural sites and traditional villages and hike to the top of Mount Zeus (1003m), the highest point in the Cyclades. The perfect combination of sunshine, easy-paced hiking, fantastic beaches and Greek hospitality!

Is this holiday for you?

This is a real Mediterranean walking holiday, with easy-paced walks of around 3 - 4 hours on most days. Most of the time, the underfoot conditions are good, following tracks and trails and some sections of maintained pathway. The ascent of Mount Zeus will be more challenging with some steeper ground which will include loose scree and rock. Participants will carry just a small day-sack during the walking. All the walks during this walking holiday are suitable for regular walkers. Additionally since any of the day's walks can easily be missed out, with the alternative of relaxing on a beach or independent sightseeing, the holiday is open to anyone with an average level of fitness who wishes to engage in some of the walks during their holiday in the sun.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in Karterados. A single transfer from Santorini Airport is provided.
  • Visit Pyrgos village, explore Ancient Thira, swim at Kamari Beach and return to Karterados.
  • Walk from Fira to Oia along the caldera rim. Later, take the ferry to Naxos. Overnight in Naxos Town.
  • Walk from the chapel of Agia Marina to the top of Mount Zeus (1003m). Descend via the Cave of Zeus.
  • Walk from the village of Kinidaros to Engares Village and the old church of Agios Artemios.
  • Seek out the Kouros statues above Melanes. Visit Apano Kastro and the distillery at Halki Village.
  • Free morning or Naxos Castle visit. Afternoon ferry back to Santorini and rest of the day at leisure.
  • Depature day. A single transfer to Santorini Airport is provided.
Tue 10 May - Tue 17 May Code SNH /01/16/ Adult$1,460 Status Available Book now
Tue 14 Jun - Tue 21 Jun Code SNH /02/16/ Adult$1,460 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
Tue 20 Sep - Tue 27 Sep Code SNH /03/16/ Adult$1,460 Status Available Book now
Tue 11 Oct - Tue 18 Oct Code SNH /04/16/ Adult$1,460 Status Available Book now
We sell this holiday on a Land Only basis and recommend that you book your flights to Santorini Airport, which is most convenient for transfers to the group hotel. Please refer to the 'Joining Arrangements and Transfers' section of the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

If flying from the UK, Thomas Cook have flights which fit well with the holiday schedule from Gatwick, Birmingham and Manchester Airports, and Thomson Airways from Gatwick and Manchester. Easyjet have flights to Santorini from Gatwick. Alternatively, if you would prefer to book a 'Flight Inclusive' package using scheduled airlines from the UK, please contact our flights department for a quote. Whilst flight prices are likely to be more expensive, you will benefit from full financial protection.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • airport
  • point
  • peaks
  • trip direction
  • transfer

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Karterados. A single transfer from Santorini Airport is provided.

    We rendezvous at the group hotel in Karterados, which is on the outskirts of the island’s main town of Fira. KE Land Only package services begin with dinner and overnight at the group hotel. A group transfer from the nearby Santorini Airport is provided. Depending on your arrival time, the afternoon is free to relax at the hotel pool, visit a local winery or to take a stroll into nearby Fira, which has a particularly spectacular setting. Santorini is the remains of an exploded volcano and the island has at its centre a submerged crater. The town of Fira is built along the edge of the crater and its white-painted streets, with their colourful shops and bars, overlook the crater. Facing west, there is usually a dramatic sunset over the outlying island of Therasia. In the evening, we meet our guide and enjoy dinner at the hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel with swimming pool

    • Meals d

  • Visit Pyrgos village, explore Ancient Thira, swim at Kamari Beach and return to Karterados.

    Today, we will explore some of the highlights of Santorini, starting out with a short transfer by public bus to the village of Pyrgos which was, until around 1800, the capital of the island. Today, it is a beautiful settlement with traditional houses, built on top of a hill, around the Venetian Castle. We have time to wander the village streets, before starting our hike to the top of Profitis Ilias (567m), the highest peak on the island. There has been an important monastery on the peak since 1712 and this became an important centre of learning during the first half of the 19th century. Some of the monastery buildings were damaged during the 1956 earthquakes, but this is a pleasant setting, with walled gardens and olive trees. There are great views from Profitis Ilias across the whole of the island. We can look across to our next objective, the rocky promontory between the low-key resorts at Perissa and Kamari. Continuing our walk, we reach the site of Ancient Thira, with its well-preserved archaeological remains, dating from the period between the 9th century BC and the 8th century AD, when this city was occupied. There are great views along the coast and down to the beaches. After looking around this fascinating site, we descend to the beach at Kamari, where we can swim and relax before returning to our hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel with swimming pool

    • Meals bld

    • Time 4 - 5 hrs walking

  • Walk from Fira to Oia along the caldera rim. Later, take the ferry to Naxos. Overnight in Naxos Town.

    Another of the great short walks on Santorini follows the crater edge from Fira to Oia, close to the island’s northern tip. Setting out after breakfast, we hike through the pretty streets of the island’s main town and continue, amongst white-painted houses, to the village of Imerovigli, where pastel-blue buildings blend with the traditional white architecture. We then take a cliff-top path between villas and chapels, such as the picturesque Antonius Chapel. There are great views down to the blue Mediterranean and across to the scattering of islands in the submerged crater. The walk will take approximately 4 hours with lots of stops for photographs. After lunch in scenic Oia and a chance to look around this stunning settlement, with its windmills and strikingly attractive churches, we will drive back to Fira. We then go directly to the harbour and take the afternoon ferry to Naxos island. Note: depending on the ferry timings, it may make sense for us to take our lunch on the boat. The ferry takes around 2 hours. Arriving in Naxos we check into our nearby hotel in Naxos Town.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

    • Time 3 - 4 hrs walking

  • Walk from the chapel of Agia Marina to the top of Mount Zeus (1003m). Descend via the Cave of Zeus.

    Today, we ascend Mount Zeus (1003m), the highest point of the Cyclades, starting out from the little chapel of Agia Marina on the mountain’s northern slopes and making our way on a scenic path to the summit. The footpath is, at first, well-maintained and there are way-marks as we proceed through 3 gates and via a small house to a spring where we can see an inscription in an ancient form of Greek that translates as ‘Mount Zeus, protector of the herds’. Higher up, we gain the crest of the north ridge and from this point we are walking on rough limestone bedrock. After taking in the view (and making our mark in the summit register) we descend on a different path, steeper at first as it traverses a deep gulley – watch out for lizards and many thistles. The angle eases as we reach the shaded spring at Aria and, a little lower, we stop off for a picnic lunch at the 'Cave of Zeus'. If you have a mind to do some exploring into this 100 metre deep cavern, once used as a site of rituals by the islanders, you will need to remember to take a torch on today’s walk. We may continue our descent to Filoti village for a traditional Greek coffee in the pretty village square, before returning to spend a second night at our hotel in Naxos Town.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

    • Time 5 hrs walking

  • Walk from the village of Kinidaros to Engares Village and the old church of Agios Artemios.

    Our walk today is in the northern part of the island and takes us through Naxos’s most fertile valley. We have a short transfer to the start of the walk in the village of Kinidaros, which has a blue-domed church and an old marble quarry. From the village’s central square, we ascend on a rough road to a high point, with the quarry on our right side. With views extending to the sea, we hike down into the valley of the Xerotakari River, the most reliable on the island, where we may be able to spot turtles and frogs in the pools, a real rarity on a dry island like Naxos. Walking on herb-scented tracks, we cross the stream on a couple of occasions and also pass an old bridge with 2 arches. Keep a look out also for 2 old water mills, a lime kiln and for the 18th century church of Agios Artemios. We will be happy to sit in the shade and take a drink at a taverna in Engares Village, before taking our transport back to the hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

    • Time 4 hrs walking

  • Seek out the Kouros statues above Melanes. Visit Apano Kastro and the distillery at Halki Village.

    At 448 square kilometres, Naxos is the largest and most varied of the Cyclades. The island has a pleasant variety of landscape, from rocky peaks to fertile valleys and extensive meadows, woodland and olive groves, as well as abundant springs and streams and impressive beaches. Today’s hike will focus on the island’s cultural richness and begins in the village of Melanes. Close by, there are 2 ancient ‘Kouros’ statues which are each thought to represent young males. The first of these is located in a shaded spot behind one of the village houses, whilst the second is found after a steep hike towards Ano Potamia. These statues have been lying here for around 2500 years, having been abandoned when the sculptors discovered flaws in the stone. We continue or walk through a wooded valley to the picturesque village of Ano Potamia, where we can stop for a coffee or a coke at one of the taverns. There is also a spring here, to refill our water bottles. Higher still, we will reach Apano Kastro (the Upper Castle) which was built on this strategic position in the 13th century and intended to control access to the island’s central agricultural lands. From this high point and from the peak above (optional hike) there are panoramic views of Naxos Town, the port and the surrounding villages. Heading eastwards, we pass the hamlet of Tsikalario, with its 6th century church of Agios Stefanos and reach our pick up point in Halki. Before, driving back to our hotel in Naxos Town, we take the opportunity to visit the Valindras Distillery, where they produces Kitron (the local alcoholic drink of Naxos, made from the aromatic leaves of the citron tree). We spend our fourth and final night at our hotel in Naxos Town.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

    • Time 4 hrs walking

  • Free morning or Naxos Castle visit. Afternoon ferry back to Santorini and rest of the day at leisure.

    Our ferry back to Santorini is shortly after midday and there is the option this morning to take it easy, do some sightseeing or spend a little time on one of the nearby beaches. Alternatively, the guide will be happy to organise a short walking tour to the Hora Castle of Naxos, which was built by the Venetians on the remains of an ancient acropolis, using reclaimed material. The castle was both a residence and a religious and administrative base for the Venetian ‘Duke of Naxos’, Marco Sanudo, from the first years of the 13th century. This optional sightseeing walk will take no more than 2 hours. At lunch time we make our way to the port to catch the ferry back to Santorini. One option is for us to have lunch on board the ferry. Arriving in Santorini, we transfer to the hotel and the rest of the day is free to enjoy the pool or the beach or to shop for souvenirs, before meeting for the farewell dinner.

    • Accommodation Hotel with swimming pool

    • Meals bld

  • Depature day. A single transfer to Santorini Airport is provided.

    KE Land Only package services end with breakfast at the hotel. A group transfer to nearby Santorini Airport is provided.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • English-speaking local guide
  • Group airport transfers
  • All accommodation as described in the trip dossier
  • All meals throughout the holiday
  • All land transport required by the itinerary
  • National park entrance fees
  • All excursions mentioned in the itinerary.

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Airport taxes
  • Airport transfers other than group transfers
  • Extra activities and excursions
  • Tips for local staff
  • Miscellaneous personal expenditure

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

Within the Land Only price of this holiday we have included a group airport transfer from Santorini Airport to the group hotel. This transfer will depart from Santorini Airport shortly after 2.00 pm. At the end of the holiday we include a transfer from the hotel to Santorini Airport. This transfer will arrive at the airport at approximately 10.00 am. If your flight schedule does not allow you to take advantage of these transfers, you should make your own arrangements to reach the group hotel. The hotel is approximately 15 minutes from the airport and can be reached by public bus (the fare is approximately 2 euros) or by taxi for approximately 20 euros. Taxis are available for all arrivals. Hotel contact details together with an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.

During the day’s walk, we will carry a daysack which is large enough to pack a light weight fleece (as well as a towel and swimwear on occasion), water bottle, packed lunch and other extras such as cameras. Breakfast will generally be at 8 am or a little thereafter. A reasonably early start will allow us to make the best of the cool morning air. We will walk for between 4 and 5 hours on some days, stopping off en-route for a picnic lunch. On arrival at our hotel, there will always be plenty of time to rest, shower and enjoy a drink on the terrasse, before we sit down to a full 3 course evening meal.

During the holiday the group will have 3 nights at a comfortable tourist standard hotel with swimming pool at Karterados on the island of Santorini and 4 nights in a comfortable tourist standard hotel next to St George Beach on Naxos. All accommodation is in twin or double rooms with private bathroom. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired with another solo traveller of the same sex. Single rooms at additional charge may be available on request.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

Breakfasts are taken at the overnight hotel and consist of tea and coffee, cereals, bread, jam and the Greek speciality of yoghurt and honey. For lunch, the group will usually carry a few items to make up a picnic. This will usually be bread, cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, ham or other dried meats, fruit and biscuits. Dinner is again served at our overnight hotel or in a nearby taverna and this is always local Cycladean fare, with all produce sourced locally and usually some choice of meal. Lamb, moussaka, fresh vegetables, wonderful salads etc.. The dinners are a highlight of the trip. All meals are included.

All meals are included in the holiday price from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 8

Approximately £100 (or the equivalent in dollars or euros) should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses, drinks and souvenir purchases. We recommend that you carry your travel money in the form of euros currency. There are ATM's at Santorini Airport and in the towns of Fira and Naxos. If you are intending to buy expensive souvenirs, you should budget accordingly. Also, if you expect to buy considerable quantities of soft drinks, wine or beer, you should make an allowance for this. Credit cards can be used in some places on this trip.

The group will be accompanied throughout by a professional English-speaking local tour leader.

There is no weight limit, other than that imposed by your airline, but we do ask you to restrict your luggage to one main item of baggage and one 25 or 30 litre daysack. We recognise that for some of our holidays and for some of our travellers, the KE Trek Bag (see below) may not provide the best solution when packing for your trip. A bag with fitted wheels or a holdall with more than one compartment and more than one access zip can, in some circumstances, be more appropriate. Although it can be useful for our tour leaders when all members of the group have similar, identifying baggage, we have no problem if you choose to use an alternative bag.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

A passport with 3 months remaining validity is required. Passport holders from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or any EU countries do not require a visa. Other nationalities should check with the respective consulate in their own country.

Whilst we keep our information up to date, you should be advised that visa requirements can change. It is recommended that you contact the relevant commission in case of recent amendments.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

You must bring the following items:

  • Hiking boots
  • Gaiters (may be required on pre-summer trips)
  • Socks
  • Trekking trousers / pants
  • Lightweight waterproof overtrousers / rainpants
  • Underwear
  • Baselayer shirts
  • T-shirts and/or casual shirts
  • Midlayer fleece top
  • Warm fleece jacket
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Lightweight thermal gloves
  • Warm hat
  • Sunhat
  • Eyewear - sunglasses
  • Daypack c. 25 to 30 litres capacity
  • Sun protection (including for lips)
  • Water bottles 1 Litre / 2 pint (x2)
  • Washbag and toiletries
  • Antibacterial handwash
  • Small padlock (to lock your KE trek bag)
  • Headtorch / headlamp (in case of power cuts)
  • Basic First Aid Kit including: Antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), painkillers, plasters (band-aids) and blister treatment, insect repellent, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite).

The following items are optional:

  • Trainers or sandals
  • Shorts
  • Towel (for swimming)
  • Swimwear
  • Trekking poles
  • Camera and batteries
  • Spare laces


A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

Visa EU

UK and USA passport holders do not require a visa.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

The unit of currency in Europe is the Euro.

It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on a trekking or climbing trip getting some additional exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. We would suggest that you adopt a weekly exercise regime leading up to your trip. Jogging and swimming are good for developing better stamina. Before departure, we suggest that you try to fit in a number of long walks in hilly country.

You should contact your GP or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations. UK residents should obtain a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment, but is not a substitute for medical travel insurance which is still vital when travelling overseas.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

The best time of year for hiking on Santorini and Naxos is in May, early June, September and October - when we have planned our trips. We can expect daytime temperatures to range between 20 and 30 degrees centigrade, dropping at night to 15 degrees centigrade. We are unlikely to experience any rain, as the Cyclades enjoys one of the most favourable climates in the Mediterranean. It really is too hot to complete this itinerary comfortably during July and August.

  • Greek Islands. Lonely Planet Greece.
  • The Cyclades. Rough Guides Greek Islands.
  • Insight Guides The Cyclades. John Freely

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