If you like travelling by sea and have enough time, catching a ferry is a good way to get to Santorini, especially for the view that you will enjoy as you approach the island. In fact, coming from the sea is an excellent start for getting knowing the island as you will be able to appreciate the beauty and the geology of caldera before walking around.
Santorini has regular ferry connection from Piraeus all year round, while during the summer months there are scheduled itineraries from Rafina and many Aegean islands, like Naxos, Paros, Mykonos, Ios, Anafi, Folegandros, Heraklion (Crete), Chalki, Karpathos, Kasos, Kimolos, Kos, Milos, Koufonisi, Rhodes, Serifos, Sifnos, Sikinos, Syros. You can check the ferry schedules from Piraeus and Rafina and book tickets to Santorini here.
As far as the size of ships and the travel time are concerned, these are the options:
Big size ferries
Big size ferries transferring also cars (like Blue Star Ferries) which arrive at Santorini in approximately 8 hours. They pass through the islands of Paros, Naxos, Ios before arriving in Santorini. These are reliable ferries, leaving and arriving on schedule and they are able to travel even with strong winds. They have enough indoor and outdoor space to relax and wander around.
The ticket options are the following:
- Economy/deck without any seat reservation, you just get in and find a free space in the lounge or at the deck
- Reserved airplane seats, only slightly more expensive than the economy class
- Business class, which offers access to a separate lounge area that is more quiet than economy classes’ lounges
- Cabins of 2 berth and 4 berth
Highspeed ferries, with travel time approximately 5 hours to Santorini. They are smaller than the regular ferries, but they also carry cars and are usually on time. They do not have outdoor space, which can be a drawback if you want to enjoy the sea and the fresh air. Also, bear in mind that when there are very strong winds, they are not allowed to depart.
The tickets are more expensive than big size ferries, but all the seats are reserved. You can choose among:
- Economy class with classic airplane style seats
- Business class which offer more space
- VIP class which have large, usually leather, seats and big windows offering the best views to the sea
Seajet ferries are smaller of the above two categories, carry only passengers and have a scheduled travel time of 4,5- 5 hours to Santorini. They do not have any outdoor space. The indoor space is pretty small and you will have to remain seated all the time, which can be rather uncomfortable. The journey can be rough if they sea is not calm and they are not allowed to travel with strong winds.
The ticket options are:
- Club class
Ports near Athens
The two largest ports of Attica region that serve ferries to Santorini are Piraeus and Rafina, both easy to reach from Athens city center or from Athens International Airport.
Piraeus is the largest port of Athens. It is located about 10km south of Athens city center. Piraeus port is connected to the most Aegean Greek islands, including Cyclades, Dodecanese, Eastern Aegean islands, Crete and Saronic gulf islands.
Piraeus port is very easily reached from Athens center or from Athens International Airport by taxi, metro or bus.
About 30 minutes from Athens center, indicative cost about 20€-25€.
About 50-60 minutes from Athens International Airport, indicative cost about 50€-70€.
About 30 minutes from Athens center (Green line), ticket price 1,40€.
About 1 hour and 20 minutes from Athens International Airport (Blue line change to Green line at Monastiraki station), ticket price 10€.
About 40 minutes from Athens center (from Omonoia, line 049 / from Syntagma, line 040), ticket price 1,40€.
About 90 minutes from Athens International Airport (bus line X96 operates 24 hours), ticket price 6€.
(Prices updated 2017)
Rafina is the second largest port near Athens, after Piraeus, and it is located about 30km east of Athens center and about 10km from Athens International Airport. It is the departure point of ferries going to the southern part of Euboea and to most of the Cyclades Islands.
You can get to the port from Athens center or from Athens International Airport by taxi or by Suburban buses (KTEL).
About 1 hour and 20 minutes from Athens center, indicative cost about 50€-70€.
About 20 minutes from Athens International Airport, indicative cost about 35€-50€.
- Suburban bus (KTEL)
About 1 hour and 10 minutes from Athens center (Pedion Areos), ticket price 2,60€.
About 30 minutes from Athens International Airport, ticket price 3€.
(Prices updated 2017)