Hiking Skaros Rock on the island of Santorini, Greece

Skaros is a rocky headland that protrudes out to the azure blue Aegean Sea. It is ideally located at the frontage of Imerovigli village. In the earlier days, a majestic castle was located here which used to be the principal place of Christian congregation in Santorini till the beginning of the 1800’s. Unfortunately, the castle was completely ruined during an earthquake in the 19th century and all that remains today are the remnants of the castle. Legend has it that the medieval castle of Skaros, was never ever conquered during its long 600 years of existence.

Standing on the top of the stairs to Skaros Rock you have to gaze at the view. The rock looks at the same time beautiful and scary, a huge rocky mass that shines under the sun and hangs above all its surroundings. The cement stairs are wide and you will descend easily. The caldera, blue and shiny, hugs Skaros gently and right behind it, the two Kameni islands appear as if the three of them are in constant communication with each other – after all, all three are children of the volcano.

After few minutes you will meet a small chapel Agios Ioannis, Katiforis (Saint John – the one that goes downhill). The chapel is a perfect place for pictures. On your right you can see Oia, spreading like butter on a thick slice of bread, whereas on our left, the steep cliffs of Santorini fold and unfold like a ribbon.

Further down, the view is getting even better. The stairs leads you along red and black rocks that create wonderful color contrasts with the white and blue of the sea. You will pass some ruins attached to the rocks, old houses testifying that Skaros was once inhabited. When you reach the end of the stairs you will find your self surrounded by a sumptuous feast of colors: red rocks, green grass and weeds, some low bushes with bright purple flowers and ruined, deserted houses from reddish and black volcanic stones. The rock looks differently. The perspective has changed and it looks bigger, with the ruins helping the eye to compare and adjust to the reality: the rock is actually big!

Once you have reached this part of your little trip you will have to decide which path you will follow. The one sitting in front of you leads straight up to the rock’s tip. The other path, on your left, goes around the rock 20 meters below the tip. You should do both of them, first do the easy one, the one that goes to the top.

On your way up there you will witness that the remains of the buildings and the cave houses (hyposkafa) that surrounded it in the past are scattered all around, reminding you of its previous glory.

Follow the path and you will reach a point where you will find yourself alone with the rock. Huge, tall and red, it stands strong, lonely and silent at the edge of the hill. The caldera water, as if trying to comfort it, turns turquoise as it comes in contact with its foot.

On your way back, if you look up you will see that Imerovigli spreads on the top of the cliff and the white church of St Georgios that greets you from the top of the black rock from frozen lava. Then, you might notice on our right a pink-brownish rock where someone has written Danke – maybe because they wanted to thank whoever or whatever is responsible for such an unbelievable beauty.

Map:

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