Illustration of Athens Ferry and Santorini island.
On 25 Dec 2017
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How to get from Athens to Santorini - The 2018 Guide

Ready for your dream vacation in Santorini? Don’t forget planning out exactly how you’ll get there. Don’t worry; we’ve put together everything you need to know with the most up to date sources to make planning your trip stress-free. 

You’ll find the details you need to help you decide between accessing Santorini from Athens by plane or by ferry, including travel time estimates, transportation tips, and complete guides to the Athens and Santorini airports. 
 

The Basics

 

Santorini has a small airport that only services a few airlines, so most visitors to the island stop in Athens before continuing to Santorini by plane or ferry. During peak season, some European cities offer direct flights to Santorini. Additionally, the island is accessible to cruise ships and is a popular destination for shore excursions. 

To reach Santorini from Athens, you have a couple of choices - travel by plane or travel by ferry. Although there really is no wrong way to reach your destination, each option offers various pros and cons. 
 

By Plane

 

Reaching Santorini by catching a flight from Athens is a quick and easy way to reach the island. The Athens airport has fairly frequent flights to Santorini on a handful of airlines. Traveling to Santorini by plane from Athens is the fastest way to reach the island. It is best to book your flight early to get the best price and ensure your selected flight doesn’t fill up. 

By Plane Pros:

  • Faster
  • More convenient

By Plane Cons:

  • More expensive

 

By Ferry

 

Reaching Santorini by ferry from Athens is another great option. Several ferry services are available during the peak season offering daily trips to and from Santorini. Taking the ferry is usually less expensive than traveling by airplane. Also, some of the ferry services have a viewing deck allowing you to take in the gorgeous blue waters of the Aegean sea and see some of Santorini’s neighboring islands. 

By Ferry Pros:

  • Less expensive
  • Sightseeing opportunities

By Ferry Cons:

  • Slower

 

 

Traveling by Plane

 

Air travel from Athens is by far the fastest way to get to Santorini. The flight only takes about 45 minutes, and there are various flight times available to meet your needs. The airport in Santorini is located close to major tourist destinations like Kamari, Fira, and Oia, making it easy to get to your final destination in Santorini. 

The following airlines offer daily flights between Athens and Santorini leaving as early as 5:15 am and continuing until about 11:15 pm during peak season:

 

You can book tickets directly on their websites, through any third party website travel website you prefer, or through a travel agency. We recommend booking flights in advance as they tend to fill up quickly during the peak season. 

If you’ve decided to travel from Athens to Santorini by plane, you’ll want to know what to expect from the airports. You’re in luck, because we’ve put together a handy guide for you. Check out our Athens Airport Guide and Santorini Airport Guide for all the information you need on transportation, dining, and more. 
 

Ryanair airplane in Athens airport

"Athens international airport"

 

 

Athens Airport Guide

 

The Athens International Airport (ATH) or Eleftherios Venizelos is the primary airport for Greece, making it a hub for travelers to Athens, Santorini, and other local areas of interest. Whether you are looking to grab a quick bite to eat between flights or want to kill some time shopping, you’ll find all the amenities you would expect from a major airport, including dining, shopping, banking, transportation services and more. 

Check out the Athens airport map for a helpful guide to the airport’s layout, shopping, and service offerings. 

 

Available Transportation

If your plans include leaving the airport to stay in Athens or connect with a ferry to Santorini, you’ll want to explore the transportation options. The airport is well connected to the local transportation services in Athens, including options for rental cars, taxis, limo services, the Metro Line, Suburban Rail, and various bus and shuttle services. 

If you are connecting to the Port of Piraeus to continue your trip to Santorini by ferry, you have the following public transportation options:

  • Metro Line - take Metro Line 3 from the airport to Monastiraki. Switch to Metro Line 1 in Monastiraki for the remainder of your trip to the port.
  • Bus Route - take the X96 bus directly to the port.
  • Suburban Railway - the railway system also offers routes that will take you to the port.

 

Dining Options

Feeling the hunger after a long flight? Refuel yourself for the rest of your journey to Santorini at one of the airport cafes, bars, or restaurants. Boasting over 20 food and beverage vendors throughout the airport, you’ll find everything from traditional Greek food to coffee and pastries to fast food burgers. Some highlights include:

  • Eat Greek - known for their traditional Greek Gyros, they also offer fresh sandwiches, snacks, and beverages.
  • Gregory’s - enjoy tasty Greek pastries along with salads, pasta salads, sandwiches, and more.
  • McDonald’s - if you’re looking for a less expensive, fast food option, you can grab burgers and fries from this well-known establishment.
  • Kayak - offering fresh made ice creams and desserts with natural, gourmet ingredients, this spot is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

 

Shopping & Services

The airport has plenty of offerings to keep you busy while you’re waiting for your flight. From high-end shops like Emporio Armani and Michael Kors to salons, pharmacies, and everything in between, you’ll find all the shopping you could hope for.

  • Fashion & Beauty - shop Polo Ralph Lauren, Victoria’s Secret, Weekend Max Mara, and other top names. Also, check out the accessories available at shops like Bag Stories or Sunglasses Boutique.
  • Electronics, Books, & Gifts - check out the Duty-Free shops or swing through Public Connect for electronics or Public Books, Anamnesia, or Terkenlis for books and gifts.
  • Services - find all the services you’d expect when traveling, including most major rental cars, banking and exchange services, a nail salon, and a mini market.

 

For the Kids

Traveling with children can make the thought of a long layover pretty intimidating, but with family-friendly options and a designated play place, the Athens airport has you covered.

  • Baby Rooms - found throughout the airport, these rooms offer privacy and quiet for nursing, feeding, changing, or just relaxing for a moment away from the crowds. Look for the bright orange signs throughout the airport.
  • Children’s Play Area - on the second floor of the main terminal building you’ll find an enclosed play area for children from 1.5-7 years old. Free with parent or guardian supervision, the play area includes arts and crafts, toys, and a padded area for smaller children.

 

 

 

Santorini Airport Guide

 

The Santorini International Airport (JTR) or Thira Airport is a much smaller airport compared to Athens. This airport serves both civilian and military planes and is only large enough to have six planes on the ground at one time. There are few amenities in the Santorini airport itself other than basics like restrooms, baggage services, and transportation services. 

 

Available Transportation

There are several transportation options to take you to and from the Santorini airport, including the public transit bus, shuttles, private transfers, and rental cars. The bus to Fira is probably the most common option used by travelers. It is relatively inexpensive (costing under 3 Euros pe person) and will take you to the major city of Fira in approximately 20 minutes. 

 

Dining Options Nearby

While the airport doesn’t offer dining options, the surrounding area is full of tasty spots for you to check out. If you’ve arranged private transportation from the airport, check out one of these nearby cities and their top restaurant offerings.

  • Monolithos - under a mile North of the airport, Monolithos is home to some great traditional restaurants with fresh seafood. Dining options include two of the highest rated restaurants in the area, Mario No 1 and Galini Taverna.
  • Exo Gialos - under two miles North of the airport, Exo Gialos offers many wonderful Greek and Mediterranean options. Two of the highest rated restaurants in Exo Gialos are Anemoloos and Aroma Avlis Food & Wine.
  • Kamari - within two miles South of the airport, Kamari is a top tourist destination with plenty to eat, drink, and do. Check out two of Kamari’s top Greek dining options at To Pinakio or Koutouki the Rakomelo.

If you plan on taking the bus to Fira, you will also have a variety of restaurants, cafes, bars, and more to choose from, including highly rated options:

  • Fira - about 20 minutes from the airport you’ll find the largest city in Santorini with a variety of highly rated dining options like Parea Tavern, Pelican Kipos, Salt & Pepper, or Falafeland.

 

 

Traveling by Ferry

 

Traveling to Santorini by ferry is a popular way to access the island. Although taking the ferry will take you much longer than air travel, the five to eight-hour trip will be less expensive than airline tickets. The ferries in Athens depart from the Port of Piraeus and arrive in Santorini at Athinios Port, which is only about 15 minutes from Fira. 

The following ferries offer service between Athens and Santorini, offering daily service during peak season and multiple weekly sailings year round:

You can book your tickets directly on their websites or through a travel agency of your choice. Please note that you must have your ferry ticket printed by either a travel agency or the ferry line directly to comply with local ordinances. There are printing kiosks for printing your tickets at the boarding areas of each ferry line. 
 

Blue Star Ferries from Athens to Santorini

"Blue Star Ferries"

 

 

Ferry Differences

There are some key differences between the ferry lines that are worth pointing out. They include:

  • Travel Time - the ferry route from Athens to Santorini takes approximately eight hours. The Sea Jet and Hellenic Seaways lines offer express service that gets you to Santorini in half the time.
  • Route Frequency - during the peak season, most ferries offer at least one sailing per day. Offseason you can expect Blue Star Ferries to continue offering daily service, but other companies like ANEK and Zante only offer a few routes per week.
  • Amenities - if you want to experience the sea and spend some time sightseeing on the deck, the Blue Star Ferries line offers larger ships viewing decks, while your high-speed options do not.

 

 

Getting to Port Piraeus

 

The Port of Piraeus in Athens is a well-known location for locals. The port is approximately 20-25 minutes from Athens. There are available Metro Lines, bus routes, and Suburban Railway routes that will take you to the port from nearly anywhere in Athens. Additionally, the local taxi and limo services make direct trips to the port. 

If you are traveling to the Port of Piraeus from the Athens airport, you have the following public transportation options:

  • Metro Line - take Metro Line 3 from the airport to Monastiraki. Switch to Metro Line 1 in Monastiraki for the remainder of your trip to the port.
  • Bus Route - take the X96 bus directly to the port.
  • Suburban Railway - the railway system also offers routes that will take you to the port.

Whether you choose to fly to Santorini or take the ferry, we’re sure you’ll enjoy everything that Santorini has to offer, from its striking volcanic landscape to its historic beauty to its renowned beaches and wineries. For more resources to plan your perfect Santorini holiday, check out our other posts and sign up for one of our private, guided tours.