Getting to the Greek Islands – Santorini

 Getting to the Greek Islands – Santorini

ferry with water wake in the ocean, Getting to Greek Islands, Santorini,

The lovely island of Santorini or Thira, as the locals call it, is a top destination in Greece. If you only have time for one island, choose Santorini. It has iconic spots known the world over!

White building in Oia, Santorini, Greece

Santorini is an active volcano and was once much larger. When an ancient volcanic eruption collapsed the middle, it took a city with it to the bottom of the sea. That city, some say, is the lost city of Atlantis. The geology of the island is really cool. Be sure to see the red and black sand beaches and pumice!

view from Santorini

Since Santorini is an island you have your options on getting to Santorini.

Getting to Santorini –  Flying

This island has an airport (not all of the islands do) so getting to Santorini can be easy. It is only a 45 minute flight from Athens. Factor in though, time to check your bags and get through security at the airport.

In all honesty, I wanted to fly from Athens to Santorini because I felt it was a better use of our time. Thankfully, my husband and kids really wanted to take an overnight ferry because it turned out to be a lot of fun!

Getting to Santorini – Ferry

Ferries are frequent from Athens and a fun choice for transportation. You can choose a high speed ferry  (4 1/2 hours) or a slower overnight ferry (9 hours). Note ALL time frames in Greece should be ‘ish’ as times listed are subject to change or even eliminated for different reasons. The Greeks are relaxed – try to take a deep breath and just go with the flow!

So – high speed ferry or slow ferry? How to choose?

Getting to Santorini – Slower Overnight Ferry


– No ‘wasted’ time because you wouldn’t be sight seeing during the night anyway

– Less expense because you are basically rolling the costs of transportation in with the cost of a hotel room

bedroom on Greek ferry boat, The Educational Tourist and kids

-Cool experience as the ferry has lounges and movies subtitled in Greek (We watched a lot of Forest Gump that way) and neat areas to explore

-Experience life on a ship! Since everyone gets off the same time, there is no room for people lagging behind. To make sure you don’t oversleep, a crew member literally cracks open your door to wake you up one hour before arrival. This was an interesting surprise!

-Cool paper slippers – Awesome fashion statement – seriously. Do I look totally amazing in these, or what??

paper slippers


-Leaves around midnight – This is not too bad if you have adjusted your time to match the Greeks. You don’t eat dinner till 10 at night anyway, so what is the big deal about leaving at midnight? But, if you haven’t shifted your time, it might be hard to leave in the middle of the night.

-At 9 hours (ish) the slow ferry takes a lot more time than a flight (45 minutes) or a fast ferry (5 hours)

We chose this route to get us to Santorini and we all slept well!

Getting to Santorini – High Speed Ferry

High speed ferries take around 5 hours to travel from Athens to Santorini. We chose this as our transportation back to Athens after our stay in Santorini.


-Daytime travel allows you to see and appreciate the gorgeous views. There are many, many islands in Greece. You’ll pass quite a few and what a view! Notice how each island has a different type of house.

-The ferry has nice airplane type seats that recline and it is easy to take a nap or catch up on sleep. When you are in Greece you’ll be up late in the evening so it is easy to get behind in your sleep. 🙂


-A high speed ferry shakes more than the slow overnight ferry. If anyone in your party suffers from motion sickness be prepared! Dramamine can save you!

-Five hours is a long time for a day journey. Be sure to bring along something to do. There is free wifi (BUT it is slow!!) and it is a great time for electronics. We used some of the time to get in a little reading and play a few new games! Kids are never too old to listen to a story!

Find some activities for the kids here.

Read the benefits of reading aloud to kids here.

Read about Greece to the kids 

Getting to Santorini – Buying tickets

You can arrange your tickets online: Ferries

Hellenic Seaways

Blue Star Ferries

Golden Star Ferries

You can arrange your tickets online: Flights

Aegean Air

Pegasus Air

If these types of arrangements give you a headache consider one of these reputable travel agents. I’ve used them both  and highly recommend using a travel agent in Greece.

Fantasy Travel

Aegean Travel

Even if you are 100% comfortable arranging your own transportation consider using a travel agent in Greece. It is not unusual for ferries to be late or off schedule. Just the week before our trip there was a ferry strike! At moments like that, if you arranged your own –  you are on your own to scramble and get new travel arrangements. BUT if you used a travel agent they will do the scrambling for you! Since they don’t cost you any money it is a no brainer to use one!

Greece is a wonderful destination for anyone! We traveled as family and had a fantastic time!

The Educational Tourist and kids on Athens' Acropolis in front of the Caryatids on the Erechtheion

 If your travel plans take you to Greece be sure to read these related posts!

Greece – all you need to know before you go!

Read to the kids before you visit Greece. Book list!

Greece food is wonderful! 

Akrotiri is the ‘Pompeii’ of Greece

Happy Travels,

Natalie, The Educational Tourist

The Educational Tourist logo






You may also like...

3 Responses

  1. July 22, 2017

    […] Getting to Santorini – choices […]

  2. July 30, 2017

    […] How to get to Santorini: Ferry or Flight? […]

  3. August 10, 2017

    […] How to get to Santorini – ferry vs plane […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: