Travel from Athens to Santorini
Santorini is one of the better known Cyclades islands. Its villages with white-washed houses, the volcanic beaches and archaeological sites draw many visitors each year.
There are many seasonal flights available to Santorini from several European cities including Barcelona, Frankfurt, London, Rome, Oslo and Vienna. By “seasonal”, we mean the tourist season between April and October. Out of season, however, it is a completely different picture. Santorini can only be reached from Athens.
Even during the tourist season, many people do like to visit the capital for a few days and go "island hopping". There are thousands of islands in Greece, many of them absolutely stunning, so the travel possibilities are almost endless.
There are essentially two options when travelling between Athens and Santorini. By air or by sea. What you decide to do will essentially depend on your budget and whether you prefer a more picturesque way of travelling or just want to get there as soon as possible.
The best way to travel from Athens to Santorini is to fly. Unless you are carrying particularly heavy luggage, or you are booking at the last minute, in which case we would recommend you take the slow ferry. There is only a 3h difference between the slow ferry and the fast one, but it will be a smoother ride and significantly cheaper. You may want to consider taking the ferry if you want to go "island hopping", or you are driving your own car. It is a great idea to rent a car in Santorini to move around the island.
1. Travel by Air
80EUR/71GBP/90USD return but prices fluctuate a lot depending on season and availability. You could pay as little as 35EUR/31GBP/39USD during low season and 180EUR/160GB/201USD or more for a last minute ticket during the peak holiday season.
It is best to use our flight comparison tool (opens a new window) and find the cheapest ticket. You can book direct on the airline’s website, through an agency or at the airport. Do book in advance, at least two or three months, especially if you are going to travel during high season. Otherwise you may end up paying through the nose for your flight.
If you are travelling to Santorini from some other European country during high season, and you have no intention of visiting Athens, you will be better off booking a direct flight. It is unlikely you will find a cheaper fare by flying through Athens.
Athens-Santorini is the second busiest domestic air route in Greece in terms of passenger numbers and at least six airlines currently cover this route. It is thus relatively easy to find great deals. However, only three airlines fly this route all year, not just during low season. They are Aegean Airlines, Olympic Air and Ryanair. Olympic Air is a fully owned subsidiary of Aegean airlines and it is the same airline to all effects.
In the summer time, low cost airline Volotea, and regional airlines Ellinair and Sky Express also operate between Santorini and Athens.
Athens is well connected to the airport by metro, suburban rail and express bus (X95). Our favourite transportation mode is the bus out of peak hours, especially at night, and the metro at all other times. You can also consider booking a shared taxi airport shuttle* as an alternative to the expensive metered taxis.
At Santorini, the choice is limited to either buses to Fira (where you can connect to other towns) or taxis. We strongly recommend you pre-book an airport transfer* as taxis can be in short supply, especially during the summer season.
1. Travel by Ferry
Piraeus Port in Athens
Athinios Port in Thira, Santorini
5h or 8h
40EUR/43USD/36GBP one-way on the slow ferry
70EUR/76USD/62GBP one-way on the fast ferry
Our recommendation is to use the site Let’s Ferry*. It is a Greek ferry portal, and has all the possible ferry combinations and companies. However, you may prefer to use Directferries*, and book directly in USD/GBP instead of Euros. You can of course book directly on the website of the ferry company, over the telephone or at the port. We highly recommend you book in advance, particularly in the summer time.
There is another, slower ferry, operated by Zante Ferries, stopping at Kythnos, Serifos, Sifnos, Milos, Kimolos, Fol, Sikinos, Ios and Santorini. It takes about 13h and costs the same as Blue Star so we do not recommend it.
There are basically two types of ferries available between Athens and Santorini: slow and fast.
The slow ferry is managed by Blue Star. There are one or two daily ferries in each direction. The service operates all year round and stops at Paros, Naxos and Ios islands on its way to Santorini. Many people prefer this company because their ferries are of a much larger size. As a passenger this means you can walk around the deck and enjoy the view, and experience a smoother journey.
If you would like to take the fast ferry, there are two companies to choose from: Hellenic Seaways and Seajets. Please note that these ferries only operate during high season. The difference between them is basically the type of ship. Hellenic Seaways use conventional ferry vessels while Seajets use a Catamaran-type of ferry that travel at speeds of up to 37 knots. Warning! If you are easily sea sick do not take Seajets.
Getting to the port from central Athens is easy, as Piraeus is practically a suburb of the Greek capital. Just take the metro (L1). The journey takes about 30 minutes. You can also travel directly to Piraeus from the airport, with the X96 bus. At 5€, it is much cheaper than taking a taxi.
Ferries are more frequent in the summer time. For more information on prices and timetables just visit their website.
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