Which is the best way to travel to Santorini?

When starting making vacation plans and before start packing our luggage we have to take into account how we can reach our dream destination. Which is the best way to travel to Santorini? In this guide, you will find all the possible ways to approach Santorini and tips to determine which option is suitable for you and your traveling type!

There are two ways to approach Santorini, by plane or by boat.

Transportation by plane

Santorini Island has an airport which at the time being (2020) is being renovated and we are very excited about that! It will make guests’ arrival experience better and more comfortable. When you wish to visit Santorini you can hop on an international flight, if available from your country, or you may fly to Athens (Athens International Airport – ATH), the capital of Greece, or Thessaloniki town (Thessaloniki Airport Makedonia – SKG) and then fly domestically to Santorini. A lot of people like to spend a night or two in Athens city center to visit the antiquities the capital has to offer and then fly to Santorini for some summer vibes. During high season (July-September) there are numerous flights daily. The soonest you make your reservation the cheaper the flight fare.

Santorini Airport – Photo by White Pearl Villas©

*Due to the COVID pandemic, I would choose a flight with flexible amendment policies to avoid any unpleasant charges in case my vacation plan changes.

Transportation by boat

Santorini’s port (Athinios) is connected with Piraeus where most of the visitors travel from. From the port of Piraeus (PIR), you can travel to Santorini either with a conventional ferry like Blue Star Ferries or with high-speed ferries or catamarans like SeaJets and Golden Star Ferries. You can find all ferry options at Ferries in Greece. Let’s take a look at their differences;

Cruising in the caldera – Photo by White Pearl Villas©
Conventional Ferries
  • Duration: 7-9 hours depending on the route and stops to other islands
  • Economy deck seats, Economy or VIP lounge seats, airplane type seats or cabins
  • The fee starts at €45 per person
  • Early booking discounts & cardmember discounts available (20-30% off). Check their official website.
  • Ideal for those that enjoy long-hour sailing trips
  • Due to its size, the bad weather conditions are less likely to make your trip uncomfortable and the overall experience is that this company is usually on time.
  • Tickets are available throughout the year.
High Speed Ferries & Catamarans
  • Duration: 5-6 hours depending on the route and stops to other islands. The trip rarely is less than 5 hours despite the advertisement.
  • Economy or VIP airplane type seats, or VIP lounge seats
  • Fees vary from €60 to €80 per person – economy class
  • If you are a smoker or if you do not like to stay indoors for several hours while sailing, keep in mind that you cannot stay in the outdoor areas of the boat. In some boats, it is allowed to exit on the rear decks only when the boat approaches a port. 
  • The smaller the boat the easiest it is to feel seasick especially if the weather conditions are harsh. Delays and amendments to the scheduled trip are more often according to my experience when traveling with high-speed ferries due to weather conditions or other delays.
  • Tickets are available on a limited time of the year

Alert! Subjective opinion!

Depending on your traveling style, your budget, and your time schedule you may choose the option that meets your needs.  I usually prefer early morning routes to enjoy a sunny trip and approach Santorini during the daytime to take advantage of the day ahead. When traveling by boat and I know that I have time to spare I usually prefer Blue Star Ferries to enjoy the trip on the deck along with the companion of a book. When I have limited time to spend in Santorini and want to enjoy every single moment of my vacation, I usually book a flight. SeaJets is an option too but I usually prefer to book my ticket close to the departure date to ensure that the weather conditions will permit a comfortable trip and an on-schedule itinerary! 

Do not forget Island Hopping

Don’t forget that when you travel by boat you may hop on and off to several Greek islands. Santorini easily connects with Ios, Paros, Naxos, Mykonos, Crete, and many more islands! Are you up to an adventure in the Mediterranean? 

Photo by Ferries in Greece

Tips and extras

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous procedures and protocols have to be followed to ensure a safe and comfortable vacation in Greece. We recommend visiting the following links before you travel to ensure that you comply with the local laws and guidelines and have all the necessary documentation to enter the country.

While living in these turbulent times I would recommend having travel insurance which covers expenses concerning COVID-19 such as examination, testing, hospitalization, transfer to medical center/hospital, quarantine accommodation, and repatriation and also reimbursement in case of flight/ferry and accommodation cancellations. As we regularly say in our country… ‘let’s cook before we start feeling hungry!’ – better safe than sorry 😉

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