How To Get From Athens to Santorini

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Written By: Pavlos

athens to santorini

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 2023: ferry or flight?

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.

  • DirectFerries is the largest and most safe website in Greece to book your ferry tickets from Athens to Santorini, but you can also use it just for checking timetables and prices between Athens and all greek islands.
  • Expedia has all the available options for flights from Athens to Santorini (JTR is Santorini’s airport code) with all possible airlines (Aegean, Ryanair, Easyjet, TUI, Olympic, British Airways, Sky Express, Volotea etc)

Obviously, whatever I am explaining in this post applies to the return trip from Santorini to Athens as well.


Keep reading…


  • You basically have 2 options of getting from Athens to Santorini: by ferry or by plane.

  • Best way To get From Athens to Santorini: By Plane (45mins) especially if you are visiting Santorini for 2-3 days only because it’s simply faster; the ferry is still worth looking though as it’s roughly 3 hrs from Rafina port and it is not taking as long as the ferry to Santorini for example

  • Athens has 2 ports with ferries to Santorini: Piraeus (or Pireas – PIR) and Rafina (RAF). Piraeus is the largest port with more ferry options in general but Rafina is closer to the Athens Airport (El.Venizelos) and it has more available ferries for Santorini; in my honest opinion you should choose Rafina port if you decide to take the ferry to Santorini

  • Between April-October there are more than 4 ferries a day from Athens to Santorini (from Piraeus port) and 9 ferries a day from Athens to Santorini (from Rafina port) ; there are far less ferry options in the winter (November-March) 

  • How long is the ferry ride from Athens to Santorini: it varies from 5hrs (fast-Seajet Ferry) to 8 hrs (slow-Blue Star Ferry) ; the same applies for the ferry from Santorini Athens

  • How much does it cost to take a ferry from Athens to Santorini: the slowest ferry (Blue Star) costs 50 euros and the fast ferry (Seajet Ferries) can cost up to 90 euros

  • You can book your ferry online but you always have to get the ticket printout from the ferry kiosk in Piraeus/Rafina port or any other greek travel agency (it’s the greek law) – AKTINA TRAVEL AGENCY is in Athens Airport
  • How long is the flight from Athens to Santorini : the flight is around 40 mins long and checking in is usually quick but you have to be 2 hrs in advance to the airport as with any flight in the world.
  • Best Way to go from Athens Airport to Athens main port (Piraeus) to take any ferry is by taking the Athens Airport Bus X96 (X96 Bus Route – X96 Bus runs every 20-30 mins) – X96 Bus ticket costs 6 euros (adult) and 3 euros (kids) or buy an ATH.ENA Card

  • Best Way to go from Athens Airport to Rafina Port is by taking another bus (called KTEL) that runs every 1 hr from the Airport.

  • Direct International Flights from Athens to Santorini: only from major european cities and only between April-October (Santorini’s Airport Code: JTR)

athens to santorini infographic
The idiot’s guide on how to get from Athens to Santorini (for the latest ferry price check DirectFerries and for flights check Expedia)

Ok, so let’s see all the available options from Athens to Santorini (that also apply for the return trip Santorini to Athens):

1. Athens to Santorini by plane

athens to santorini 650
Flying to Santorini (45mins on the air) is the best thing you can do (especially if you are staying on the island for less than 5 days)

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).

santorini flight
Aegean Air is the best greek airline that can take you to Santorini. This is one of their planes on Santorini’s airport.
santorini airport 5 1
A shuttle bus will take you from the airplane to the Santorini Airport terminal

A few useful info to have in mind, when booking your flight to Santorini:

  • Santorini’s Aiport website
  • Athens Airport Code is : ATH  (Athens)
  • Santorini’s Airport Code is: JTR (Thira – Santorini’s official name)
  • Every plane that lands on Santorini, takes off after 40 minutes to fly back to Athens.
  • The exact times of the flights change and they are not the same throughout the year, so make sure you get the right times from Expedia as it will give you all the available flights immediately.
  • There are more flights from Athens to Santorini between April – October (high season)
  • If you book your tickets well in advance (6 months) you could probably find some very good deals with return tickets. I have flown to Santorini with just 30-40 euros (with return!) , so it’s definitely do-able!
  • The cost of the flight from Ahtens to Santorini may come up to 200 euros during the high season (April-October) 

The airlines that fly from Athens to Santorini in 2023 (April-October) are:


  • So much faster than the ferry (30-40 mins on the air)…you can literally save a whole day and spend it in Santorini instead
  • If you have just landed at the Athens airport you can just wait there till your connection flight to Santorini departs (Athens Airport is not very big but leave at least 2.5 hrs between the 2 flights otherwise it is going to be very risky and tight)


  • It can be much more expensive
  • The flight times to Santorini may not be convenient and you might have to spend some boring hours at the Athens airport
  • You don’t get to see any other Greek islands ( you can get a glimpse of them by taking the ferry which is like a mini cruise in a way…see below)

The airlines that fly directly to Santorini from major European cities (April-October) are:

  • Laudamotion , Eurowings, Austrian Airlines (from Vienna)
  • Thomas Cook (from Birmingham, Gatwick, Manchester, Brussels)
  • Thomson (from Birmingham, Gatwick, Manchester, Bristol)
  • Volotea , Blue Panorama, Iberia (from Venice, Bari, Naples, Palermo)
  • 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 airport 1
The passport control area in Santorini’s airport is small but the check should be fairly quick.
santorini airport 2
There is only one baggage carousel in Santorini airport and that’s a small one.
santorini airport 3
You won’t have to wait for ages to get your luggage.

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 .

santorini airport 4
There are plenty of car rental options at the Santorini Airport but you should better book online in advance

There are also many taxis waiting for you at the airport and the Santorini local bus as well.

santorini airport transfer 1
There are always taxis and the local bus that will be waiting for you outside of the aiport upon your arrival.

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

2.Ferries from Athens to Santorini

ferry to santorini
There is a slow and a quick ferry from Athens to Santorini. This is the quick one from Hellenic Seaways (Highspeed 4) that takes 5hrs to reach 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:

  • You have 2 ports to chose for your departure from Athens to Santorini: Piraeus port or Rafina port. Piraeus will always give you more ferries options on a daily basis but Rafina is closer to Athens Airport.
  • 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
  • Slow Ferry ticket to Santorini costs ~20-30 euros (depending on the seat you chose)
  • Fast Ferry ticket to Santorini costs ~70-80 euros (depending on the seat you chose)


Before deciding which ferry to take (and also to check timetables and prices for all ferries) you should head over to Direct Ferries 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:


Blue Star Paros 540
Blue Star Ferries are the largest but slowest ferries from Athens to Santorini and they only depart from Piraeus port twice a day during the high season (the journey takes 8 hours)

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 Direct Ferries 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.

Check the exact timetables on Direct Ferries.

Where can you book Blue Star ferry tickets from Athens to Santorini?

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 Direct Ferries 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)


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).

How much the Blue Star Ferry ticket cost?

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 santorini
Seajet Ferries are smaller and faster to take you to Santorini but they are also more expensive and they are closed (you cannot go outside – they are like an airplane inside)

Seajet Ferries are less stable and that is because 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).

Check the exact timetables on Direct Ferries .

Where can you book Seajet ferry tickets from Athens to Santorini?

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 Direct Ferries 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).

How much the Seajet Ferry ticket cost?

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) There are no cabins on these ferries.



x96 bus athens airport
X96 is the Athens bus that will take you from Athens Airport to Piraeus ferry port

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 which is called: STATION ISAP (this 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:

x96 bus athens airport inside
There are GPS screens showing you where you are on the X96 Athens bus

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!

Click here to see all the stops of X96 Bus (from Athens Airport to Piraeus Ferry port to Santorini) and the live timetables

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.

athens bus ticket
The Athens Bus Ticket for X96 Bus (and X95 bus that goes to the center of Athens – Syntagma Square) is called ATH.ENA ticket
athens bus tickets
You have to validate your tickets once inside the X96 bus but you can actually use the same ticket everywhere for 90 mins

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!


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…


rafina airport bus 1
This is how the KTEL bus that will take you from Athens Aiport to Rafina port looks like – they depart from a different bus stop than X96 and they usually have orange and white colours

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 from the airport exits (see picture above). You can 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 (roughly a bus every 3 hours):

rafina bus airport
The Rafina port bus runs every 3 hours from the Athens Airport.


athens bus
X95 is the bus that will take you from Athens Aiport to Syntagma Square (central Athens) but you also have the option of taking the metro

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.

Check on this link the timetables for Athens metro lines

These are the timetables of Athens Metro Line 3:

athens metro 1
Athens metro timetables Syntagma Square to Athens (it stops at other stations too…)
athens metro 2
Athens metro timetables Airport to Syntagma square (it stops at other stations too…)


How long is the ferry ride from Athens to Santorini?

The ferry ride to Santorini is usually 4 hour and 15 minutes with the fast ferry, but it can also be up to 8 hours with the slower but cheaper ferry. The fast ferry has airplane-style seats and you cannot go outside but the slow ferry (Blue Star Ferries) is bigger and offers the option to stay on the open deck for as long as you want.

What is the best way to travel from Athens to Santorini?

The best way to travel from Athens to Santorini is by plane because you will be wasting too much time with the ferry. If you are visiting Santorini for anything less than 5 days, it is better to take a 45 minutes flight from Athens to Santorini.

Is it better to fly or ferry to Santorini?

It is better to fly to Santorini because the ferry trip takes more than 4 hours and you will be wasting at least half a day in total just to arrive to the island. The flight to Santorini is more expensive than the ferry in general but it’s totally worth it if you are visiting the island just for a few days. However, the ferry to Santorini can be quite enjoyable and refreshing as you also get the opportunity to see a few more greek islands on the way to Santorini.


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 Direct Ferries for the last years and I highly recommend it to everyone looking to get a ferry to Santorini from Athens.

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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4 thoughts on “How To Get From Athens to Santorini”

    • Yes, definitely! You can get a room with 1 or 2 bunk beds in the ferries that go to Santorini. However, I do recommend taking the faster ferries as the cabins may get too expensive at the end…

  1. How long before my flight from Athens to Santorini should I arrive at the airport? I will only have a carry-on and this is at the end of September. Thank you in advance.


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