From Athens to Santorini

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Getting from Athens to Santorini - 2023 Guide

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A Complete Guide to Traveling from Athens to Santorini: Tips, Tricks, and More

Searching for the best way to get from Athens to Santorini in 2023? Consider a plane – it’s fast, efficient, and takes about 45 minutes. In my opinion, flying is the absolute best way to travel between these two destinations. 

With Expedia, you have a comprehensive array of choices for flights from Athens to Santorini. All airlines are available including Aegean, Ryanair, Easyjet, TUI, Olympic Airline, British Airways, and Sky Express.

athens to santorini
Sunset in caldera.

Why You Shouldn’t (or Should) Take a Ferry Ride from Athens to Santorini?

If you’re only visiting Santorini for 3-4 days, the ferry ride from Athens to Santorini may not be worth it as the one-way trip can take anywhere between 5-8 hours. 

Yet if this is your first time in Greece and you’re looking for an interesting experience, has got you covered. It’s the largest and safest website to book your ferry tickets on when traveling between Athens and all the Greek islands. 


🇬🇷 Greece Travel Resources We Use: 


Very Important to Know

Here are a few things you must know while traveling from Athens to Santorini:

  • Athens has two ports from where you can travel to Santorini – Piraeus (PIR) and Rafina (RAF). While it’s much larger in size than the Piraeus Port, RAF is mostly preferred by tourists because it’s much closer to Athens International Airport. 
  • The fastest Seajet Ferry takes only 5 hours and costs up to 90 euros to take you from Athens to Santorini. In contrast, the slowest Blue Star Ferry will take 8 hours and cost 50 euros.
  • The most cost-effective way of getting from Athens Airport to Piraeus is by taking bus X96 – it runs every 20-30 minutes and tickets are 6 euros for adults and 3 euros for children (discount available if you buy an ATH.ENA card). 
  • If your destination is Rafina port, then take the KTEL bus which operates every hour directly from the airport.

Athens to Santorini by Plane

If your stay in Santorini will last fewer than five days, it is highly recommended that you take a quick and direct flight. Not only will this save time, but it will also allow you to bypass slower ferry boats and avoid wasting valuable vacation days.

athens to santorini
Airplane of Aegean Airways: The flag carrier of Greece

When making your journey, you have multiple airline options available. Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air are essentially one and the same with different branding. Ryanair, Sky Express, Ellinair, and Volotea all offer routes between these two destinations.

If you need transportation from the Santorini International Airport, rest assured that plenty of taxis are available for your convenience. From the Airport to Fira, a taxi will cost 25 euros and other destinations should not exceed 40 euros.

In the busy high season, Santorini’s airport can become overwhelmingly crowded. If you want to secure a rental car for your travels in advance, is an excellent website to browse and book from. 

Taking Ferries from Athens to Santorini

Taking a ferry trip from Athens to Santorini is recommended if:

  • You’re visiting Santorini for the first time
  • You’ll stay on the island for longer than five days

There are a couple of noteworthy points to keep in mind when sailing from Athens to Santorini. The first is that Piraeus port will have more daily ferries, which shouldn’t come as a surprise given that it’s one of the biggest passenger ports in all of Europe.

However, if you’re short of time, the Rafina port should be your destination of choice. Due to its close proximity to the Athens airport, it will provide you with hours which you can spend visiting and exploring the beautiful Santorini island.   

Ferry Options From Athens To Santorini

Here are multiple ferry options along with the times they take to get you from Athens to Santorini:

  • SEAJET FERRIES (5hrs) 
  • ZANTE FERRIES (10hrs) 
  • GOLDEN STAR FERRY (for either a 5-hour journey or a 9-hour one)

Let’s provide some more context on some of the available routes so that you can select the one which best suits your needs.

Blue Star Ferries

Blue Star Ferries have the biggest fleet of them all, but their ferries are also the slowest (8 hours of travel time). These ferries tour other beautiful Greek islands such as Syros, Paros, Naxos, and Ios before dropping you at your destination. 

The Blue Star ferry tickets cost a mere 20 euros per person, but for ultimate comfort, it’s highly recommended to buy the airport-style seat, which is 40 euros per person. 

Pro Tip: Greek law requires travelers to obtain printed tickets only from certified travel agencies or Ferry companies, even if they have booked tickets online. So, after booking your ticket online you must still visit a local travel agent or kiosk at the ferry port for a physical copy. 

Seajet Ferries

Seajet Ferries are the fastest way to get to Santorini.

During high season, there are an average of three Seajets Ferry departures each day from Athens with a five-hour journey time until reaching your destination. You won’t have access to the outside air if you choose this route either – these vessels resemble catamarans and therefore provide closed seating areas only!

Furthermore, it’s quite likely these ferries will get canceled due to inclement weather (though this is highly unlikely between June and September). To guarantee your trip goes as planned, always double-check ferry schedules on FerryHopper.

athens to santorini
Athinios Port in Santorini

How To Get To Piraeus Port From Athens Airport

There are two ways using which you can get to Piraeus port from Athens airport:

1. By the X96 Bus

The most cost-efficient and straightforward way to reach Piraeus from Athens airport is by taking the X96 bus that halts just outside of the airport. Traveling by bus takes between 50 minutes to 80 minutes (depending on traffic).

To take the X96 bus, purchase your tickets from a kiosk located right by the bus stop and airport – just follow the “Bus” signs. Each Athens ticket (called ATH.ENA) will cost you 6 euros for adults or 3 euros for those under 6 years old. Once you’re on board, make sure to validate your ticket so it’s valid for up to 90 minutes across any route.

The X96 bus runs 24/7 and is available at an interval of 20-30 minutes (unlike other places in Greece where time may not flow as smoothly). To make things easier for you, click here to see all the stops that the X96 Bus covers(from Athens Airport to Athens Ferry port to Santorini) along with live timetables.

Once you’re at the airport, make your way to E7 Port Gate and hop on the bus at STATION ISAP (also a metro station). If you get lost, don’t worry! All of the drivers are fluent in English.

2. Via a Taxi

A taxi from Athens Airport to the Piraeus port may cost up to 60 euros, but I must emphasize that it’s not worth it in my opinion. Opt for the X96 bus instead – you’ll be at your destination with speed and save a ton of money as each ride is only 6 euros. 

Do take extra caution though: The X96 buses sometimes say “AEROLIMENAS-PEIRAIAS”, which simply translates into “Airport – Pireaus”. Don’t let this Greek phrasing confuse you; they are one and the same.

How To Get From Athens Airport to Rafina Port

Need to get from Athens Airport to Rafina Port? Taking a KTEL bus is the simplest and most cost-effective way.

athens to santorini
Rafina Port

It’ll be an orange and white ride, distinguished from X96 or X95 blue buses that depart from a separate stop just across the street from airport exits (see image above). Snag your ticket directly on board for approximately 3 euros – though it’s subject to modest shifts every year.

How To Get From Athens Airport To Athens Center

There are two ways you can get to central Athens – the Syntagma Square – from the Athens airport:

  • Hop on the X95
  • Use the Metro Line 3

This comfortable X95 bus will ferry you to your destination in approximately half an hour or forty minutes tops. You can find its tickets at the same kiosk near where its sister service, X96, stops to pick up passengers. Another option is the Metro Line 3, which will take you to your destination even more quickly.

Athens to Santorini Tours

If all this information is too much for you to take in, why not opt for an Athens to Santorini tour? With a professional guide and provider walking the way with you, there’s no need to worry about organizing your trip. 

To make life even easier I have compiled some of the best available options into one place so that selecting from them will be a breeze.

1. 2-Day Independent Tour from Athens to Santorini

Kickstart your independent exploration of Greece with this two-day vacation from Athens to Santorini — transportation and lodging are both provided! 

For ideas, why not hike up the famous volcano? Or visit Akrotiri Archeological Site for ruins that might be from Atlantis itself? And don’t forget to explore some iconic blue-domed churches in between wandering wherever else captures your fancy. 

With so much left up to you, this is an unforgettable trip through amazing sites and breathtaking scenery!

2. 3-Day Greek Island Hopping, Santorini, Mykonos, Delos Cruise, Cruise to Volcano

Are you looking for an extended stay in the gorgeous Greek islands? Then book this amazing 3-day island hopping tour departing from Athens! Not only will you sail to Santorini and Mykonos but you’ll also have access to some of their most visited attractions including iconic windmills, Little Venice, and more – all at your own pace!

athens to santorini
Mykonos Little Venice

On the second day of your tour, you’d have the chance to explore Delos. This ancient island is home to numerous breathtaking monuments including the Terrace of Lions, the Temple of Isis, and the Archaeological Museum as well as the House of Dionysus.! 

5-Day Private Tour from Athens to Santorini

If you’re seeking an effortless and stress-free journey from Athens to Santorini, this 5-day private tour is precisely what you need. On this amazing tour, you’ll be able to explore all that Santorini has to offer and discover fascinating facts about Greek islands. 

6 Tips For Getting To Santorini

Arriving At Santorini Airport From Athens

Once you have arrived at Santorini Airport and collected your luggage, it is time to get to your hotel and start exploring the island. 

Here are three options you can choose from:

  • Taxis: While they are the speediest and most direct route to your hotel, taxis in Santorini can be quite costly depending on how far you’re traveling.
  • Shared Shuttle Bus: When departing from the airport, there is a station offering shared shuttle buses starting at 10 Euros per person – prices may vary based upon where your accommodation is located.
  • Santorini Airport Bus: These buses offer the most affordable way to get to your hotel from the airport. One bus leaves the airport every 10 minutes, taking you straight into Fira. From here on, you’ll have to board another bus if your hotel is located on any other part of the island.

Traveling Back From Santorini To Athens 

While your stay in Santorini will eventually end, you can use the same tips we’ve mentioned for when it’s time to return back to Athens. Don’t forget to check out both round-trip prices and individual one-way ticket options from Athens to Santorini.

If you’re not returning to Athens, look no further than the ferry! Setting out from Santorini is a great start for your Greek island-hopping journey. Popular destinations like Milos and Mykonos are relatively easy to reach by boat. Additionally, many less renowned yet equally stunning Greek islands including Paros and Naxos can be visited too.

If you don’t fancy taking the ferry or just want something more direct, some of Greece’s best islands have their own airport with daily flights coming in and out of Athens – it takes away all the hassle while still allowing you to experience these remarkable places!

athens to santorini
View of Red Beach from the boat.

Choose a Smart Flight Schedule

When traveling to Santorini from abroad, it is possible to arrive and depart on the same day. 

For those already in bustling Athens, an Athens to Santorini flight during late morning or early afternoon is your ideal bet. The brief journey time keeps you from missing out on any precious moments while allowing you to fully explore what Santorini has to offer once you’ve arrived at its airport.

Skip the Ferry From Athens to Santorini

Exploring Greece with the ferry system is a great way to get around between islands, but if your first stop in Greece is Santorini, we advise flying. 

With an international flight landing at Athens and domestic flights departing from there for Santorini Airport, it’s easy enough – just make sure you leave plenty of time for transfers!

Compared to the nearly 5-hour ferry ride, flying to Santorini from Athens is a much more convenient and budget-friendly option. It only takes an hour in flight time – that’s five times faster than the fastest ferry! This makes it ideal if you are on a brief holiday with limited amounts of time. 

Check Baggage Allowance And Cost 

When traveling from Athens to Santorini, it is wise to add on baggage cost beforehand since this route is considered a luxury route by several companies. If neglected, you could be charged up to thrice the amount of what was initially anticipated at the airport! 

Book a Window Seat 

When boarding your flight from Athens to Santorini, you’ll likely find yourself in a small hopper plane – excellent news for those hoping for a window seat! mykonos to santorini

Read Next:

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to get from Athens to Santorini, then you have two options: plane or ferry. To experience the beauty that Greece has to offer and make your trip extra special, I highly recommend taking the Blue Star Ferry if you plan on spending more than 5 days in Santorini. If possible, combine both modes of transportation so that you can take the ferry there and return via flight – it’s truly an unforgettable travel adventure!

If you decide to take the ferry, be sure to prepare with your favorite movies loaded on a tablet, crosswords, and books ready. Additionally, it is wise to bring some snacks along as the restaurant food aboard Blue Star Ferries isn’t always up to par.

Traveling to 🇬🇷 Greece soon?

I recommend these travel resources for Greece that I personally use:

🏨 Hotels: I have found that Expedia and consistently have the best deals on hotels and resorts in Greece. If you prefer to stay at a vacation rental, check VRBO that is usually cheaper than AirBnB’s added fees!

✈️ Flights: To find the best flight deals to Greece, I always use Kayak. Remember to subscribe to their price alerts for the travel dates you want. Another great alternative for flight deals is Expedia.

🚗 Rental Cars: I always use and highly recommend Discover Cars because it allows me to compare several car rental companies and view ratings on various factors such as overall value, pick-up procedure, agent efficiency, car condition, and total time taken.

🚙 Airport Transportation: For the fastest and easiest way to travel, I suggest arranging a private transfer from the airport and beetween destinations with Welcome Pickups. Honestly, no better way to travel from the airport to your hotel or resort.

🤿 Tours & Activities: For tours and activities in Greece, I highly recommend using either Viator or GetYourGuide. These websites offer a full refund if you cancel your booking 24 hours before the start of the tour, and they also provide excellent customer service in case of any issues.

🚨 Travel Insurance: I always suggest purchasing travel insurance as a precaution before traveling, especially after a recent accident in a taxi in Greece. For short trips, I recommend Travel Insurance Master, whereas for digital nomads, Safety Wing is a better option.

📷 Best Camera for your trip: I always carry with me a GoPro, It’s light, compact, takes great video and pictures, and most importantly, it’s waterproof! You just can’t go wrong with one. If you are interested in higher quality video and photography, I always carry with me on my trips and highly recommend the Sony A7IV which I think is the best travel DSLR Camera out there.

☀️ Biodegradable Sunscreen: Remember to include a good sunscreen to protect yourself from the summer sun. I always use and suggest Sun Bum Sunscreen, which is vegan, reef-friendly, and cruelty-free.


Most frequent questions and answers

You have two options: a speedy 4 hour and 15 minutes with airplane-style seating or opt for 8 hours on the Blue Star Ferries which offer larger accommodations, including staying outdoors on open decks. 

Time is precious, so if you’re heading from Athens to Santorini and don’t have five days or more to spare, a plane ticket should be your go-to.  Aegean Airlines is the flag carrier airline of Greece. In just 45 minutes of flight time, you can arrive in the breathtaking city of Santorini without wasting hours on the ferry!

Although flying from Athens to Santorini is more expensive than taking the ferry, it’s far and away a better option if you’re visiting for only a few days. Why waste half of your vacation on an arduous 4-hour voyage when you can arrive in minutes with the comfort of air travel? However, if you aren’t in a hurry, take a ferry to Santorini.

Exploring Santorini without a car is absolutely possible, although it tends to be the most expensive option. The number of taxis on the island is few (only 25) and they charge a fixed cost for each ride. 

If you want to get more value for your money while still seeing all that this magnificent place has to offer, taking public transportation is recommended.

Enjoy a hassle-free journey from Athens to Santorini with the swiftness of air travel! With direct flights running daily (and even more during the peak summer season) from Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport, you can reach your destination in only 50 minutes.