You basically have 2 ways to get from Athens to Santorini: by ferry or by plane. I am explaining below which one is the best and most efficient method for 2019.
In my honest opinion, the absolute Best Way to get from Athens to Santorini is by plane (taking a 45mins flight from Athens).
The ferry from Athens to Santorini takes 5-8 hrs (depending on which ferry you choose) and if you are visiting the island only for 3-4 days then you will be wasting too much time on the sea. If it’s your first time in Greece though, it can be an interesting experience, as I am explaining below.
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Ok, so let’s see all the available options:
Taking a flight to Santorini is obviously the quickest and most expensive option bu it is highly recommended if you are staying on the island for anything less than 5 days as you won’t be wasting time on the slow ferry boats.
It’s also the best thing you can do if you are only interested in Santorini and not bothered about Athens (Greece’s capital).
The best and cheapest website to book or search for flights from Athens to Santorini is Expedia as it has all the available options (including the low-cost airlines like Ryanair).
A few useful info to have in mind when booking your flight to Santorini:
Athens Airport Code is : ATH (Athens)
The airlines that fly from Athens to Santorini in 2019 (April-October) are:
The airlines that fly directly to Santorini from major European cities in 2019 (April-October) are:
Laudamotion , Eurowings, Austrian Airlines (from Vienna)
Thomas Cook (from Birmingham, Gatwick, Manchester, Brussels)
Thomson (from Birmingham, Gatwick, Manchester, Bristol)
Germanwings (from Cologne)
Norwegian (from Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm)
Transavia (from Paris, Amsterdam)
British Airways (from London Heathrow, London City)
Condor (from Munich, Hamburg, Stuttgard, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt)
Aegean (from Russia, Italy, Cyprus)
Easyjet (from Rome, Milan, Geneva, Manchester, Gatwick)
Vueling (from Barcelona, Bilbao)
Jetairfly (from Brussels)
HolidayJet (from Zurich)
Santorini’s airport is very small and it can be extremely crowded during the high season.
There are plenty of car rental options at the Santorini airport but it is always wise to book well in advance.
The best website to rent a car for Santorini is Rentalcars.com .
There are also many taxis waiting for you at the airport and the Santorini local bus as well.
A taxi from the Airport to Fira would cost you 25 euros and in general to all other directions shouldn’t charge you more than 40 euros (the furthest towns are Oia and Akrotiri).
READ ALSO: How To Get Around Santorini
Going to Santorini by ferry is the second option you have and it can be a very nice experience, if you are visitng the island for any more than 5 days and if it’s your first time in Greece.
A few important things to know about the ferries from Athens to Santorini:
The slow ferry from Athens (Piraeus) to Santorini takes approx. 8 hours to arrive (Blue Star Ferries) – check timetables here
The quick ferry from Athens (Piraeus to Santorini) takes 5 hours to arrive (Seajets, Golen Star Ferries) – check timetables here
Before deciding which ferry to take (and also to check timetables and prices for all ferries) you should head over to Let’s Ferry and simply put your desirable dates.
You basically have the following options for ferry boats from Athens to Santorini:
Let’s see all the available options in more detail:
Bluestar Ferries are the biggest you can take to go to Santorini and are the most stable but also the slowest (8 hours to arrive)
No matter how bumpy or windy it is, you won’t feel much with these ones.
The Blue Star Ferries from Athens to Santorini, visit other islands before they arrive at Santorini which can give you a very good glimpse of some other greek islands too (Syros, Paros , Naxos, Ios).
You don’t get to see much but it’s nice to feel like you are on a small cruise!
The best way to check for the available Blue Star Ferry times schedule is to visit the Let’s Ferry website.
They run all 365 days per year and there are basically 2 ferries per day from Piraeus port to Santorini: one in the early morning and one in the afternoon.
You don’t really have to book the ferry tickets in advance or online.
There is no need for that because they rarely sell out.
But…you can always book them online (just to be sure) on the Let’s Ferry website (even if you don’t book them there, you can always check the timetables of the ferries on the dates you want to travel)
BE CAREFUL THOUGH:
According to the greek law the tickets have to be printed out only by certified travel agencies or the Ferry companies , so even if you book it online you have to visit a travel agent or the kiosk at the ferry port to take the print outs anyways (not a big deal..everyone is doing that anyways).
The cheapest ticket for the Blue Star ferry costs 20 euros (no reserved seat) but it’s highly advisable to get an aiport style seat which will cost you 40 euros per person.
A cabin is not really required (it’s just 8 hours) and you can go outside while the ferry is sailing.
Seajet Ferries are less stale and that is becasue they are faster to take you to Santorini.
On average there are 3 Seajets Ferries on a daily basis from Athens to Santorini during the high season and they take about 5 hours to take you to Santorini.
You don’t have the option to go outside if you board the Seajet Ferries as they are closed-type ferry boats (like a catamaran).
Also, bear in mind that these are most highly to get cancelled depending on the weather conditions (very unlikely from June-September but it’s always a possibility).
These tickets do sell out as there is a limited number of seats on these ferries.
The best thing you can do is to book them online in advance on Let’s Ferry website.
You would still have to get the printout from the ferry kiosk outside of the ferry before departing (so make sure you arrive there early enough).
The cheapest ticket for the Seajet Ferry Cost 55 euros but depending on the time and the ferry you choose the ticket might cost you up to 80 euros (one way)
Theere are no cabins on these ferries.
The easiest and cheapest option to get to Athens ferry port called Piraeus is by taking the bus X96 that stops just outside of the Athens airport.
X96 bus takes between 50 mins to 80 mins (depending on the traffic) to go to the Athens ferry port (Piraeus) and the X96 bus route to Piraeus ferry port is the following:
This is how to get from the Athens Aiport Exit to the X96 and X95 bus stops just outside of the airport:
Santorini Ferries depart from E7 Port Gate so you have to stop at the bus station : STATION ISAP (which is also a metro station).
Or in greek : ΣΤΑΘΜΟΣ ΗΣΑΠ
In case you feel lost you can just ask the bus driver (they always speak english if you speak with a very clear accent like an italian mafioso in a away…:) )
But in reality you will find some brand new GPS screens showing you where you actually are:
The X96 bus runs 24/7 and there is a bus every 30 mins roughly (in Greece time runs in a very strange way…so never expect something to be on time…that’s just a small tip from greeks…you’d better get used to that unfortunately).
But there is a X96 bus every 20-30 minutes, so there will be one for you too!
For the X96 bus, you have to buy tickets from a kiosk which is just outside of the bus stop (and also just outside of the airport, just follow the “Bus” signs in the airport).
For adults the Athens bus ticket (called “ATH.ENA) costs 6 euros and for kids (under 6) it costs 3 euros.
You can also take a taxi from the Athens airport to the Piraeus Ferry port which costs 50-60 euros but it’s really not recommended because it doesn’t worth it in my opinion…
The X96 bus is pretty fast and it costs only 6 euros!
Also, BE CAREFUL:
Sometimes the X96 Athens Airport Buses say: “AEROLIMENAS-PEIRAIAS”
Don’t get confused.
This is a greek version of saying: “Airport – Pireaus” , so it’s the same really…
The easiest and cheapest way to get from Athens aiport to Rafina port is by taking a KTEL bus.
These are different buses than the blue ones (like X96 or X95) and the bus stop is just across the street (see picture above).
You buy the ticket on the bus from the driver and it costs around 3 euros (there might be a slight difference every year).
The timetables for the bus Athens Aiport to Rafina are on the following table (rpughly a bus every 1,5 hour):
To go from Athens Airport to Syntagma Square (the most central point in Athens) you have to take either the metro from the airport (it’s actually overground for some stations and then it goes underground) or the bus X95 which will take you to Syntagma Square within 30-40 mins.
The X95 bus stop is next to the X96 bus stop and the tickets are exactly the same and are sold from the same kiosk.
This is Bus X95 route (from Athens airport to Syntagma square – central Athens):
You can also take the metro line 3 to get to Syntagma Square from the Athens Airport.
These are the timetables of Athens Metro Line 3:
You basically have 2 options to get from Athens to Santorini: by plane or by a ferry.
My honest recommendation is to take the ferry only if it’s your first time in Greece and only if you are going to spend more than 5 days in Santorini.
A smart idea is also to mix the 2 options and get the ferry to go to Santorini (preferrably the Blue Star ferry as it’s more stable and less likely to cancel due to bad weather) and then get a flight back to Athens.
If you do take the ferry though, make sure you have plenty of movies loaded on your tablet, crosswords and books in hand… (it’s also a good idea to have some food with you because even though there are some restaurants in the Blue Star Ferries they are not offering the best food in the world…).
You also get to see some other greek islands before you arrive in Santorini (ok…it’s just the port but you can still take a selfie with another greek island on the background).
For me, the best way to check timetables and even book your ferry tickets online has been Let’s Ferry for the last years and I highly recommend it to everyone looking to get a ferry to Santorini.
I remember the days when I was a kid (or even till recently) when as a family we had to visit a specific travel agency to book and get the ferry tickets but these days are long gone!
No matter how you choose to travel from Athens to Santorini, it is for sure that your heartbeat will rise when you are approaching the island…
And there is no way you won’t be surprised by the amazing blue colour of the greek sea !
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SantoriniSecrets.com is the largest and most informative travel blog for all things Santorini, Athens, Mykonos and Greece maintained by local travel bloggers who love Greece and its islands more than anything else in this world. Some of us were actually born in Santorini and some others have spent many months not only visiting the greek islands but actually living on it for long periods of time. We are not just visitors. We are from Greece!
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