Travel to Santorini by Ferry:
Santorini is one of the more popular islands in the Cyclades and is famous for its unique caldera, its spectacular sunsets and views. Although it is possible to fly to Santorini from Athens, the majority of Santorini’s visitors arrive by ferry from the Athens port of Piraeus.
There are three types of ferry services connecting Piraeus to Santorini and the ferry schedules depends on the time of year.
During the busy summer months there are more frequent services whereas towards the end of summer, the services reduce to one a day.
Blue Star Ferries
Blue Star Ferries offer the slower services which take from 8 to 10 hours to get from Piraeus to Santorini. The fares are cheaper than the faster boats. You can buy your ferry ticket on-line or at the Blue Star Ferries ticket booth in front of their pier at E7.
Note: Always check their schedules for your period of travel.
Tel: 210 8919800
Hellenic Seaways High Speed
In addition to their conventional service, Hellenic Seaways operate the very modern high speed ferries that will get you to Santorini in just 5 hours (more like 6 hours during the busy season). During our September travel from Athens to Santorini, there was only one service at 7:30 a.m. but it’s important to check the schedule for your time of travel as there are big differences between seasons.
The fares depend on the class of travel you choose – Economy, Business or VIP. All the three classes offer comfortable airline type seats. There are less people travelling in Business and VIP so in these classes you’ll enjoy a quieter travel. Although, with the early start, you’ll find that most people are catching up on their sleep and it’s not noisy in Economy class. We found that the exception was a couple of older passengers who still believe that they needed to shout on their mobiles so that the other party can hear what they’re saying. You can buy your ferry ticket on-line or at the Hellenic Seaways ticket booth in front of their pier at E7.
- If you can, avoid travelling from Santorini back to Athens on a Sunday as the ferry is usually full with local Greek people travelling back to Athens after their weekend in the Cyclades (huge numbers got on at Paros). We booked our ticket two days before travel and were told that ours were the only two tickets left.
- If you can book your fare at least 15 days in advance, there is usually a 15% discount offered.
- According to their schedule the trip from Santorini to Piraeus takes 5 hours. We left Santorini at 5 p.m. and got into Piraeus at 11:00 p.m. (6 hours).
Tel: 210 4199000
Flying Cats and Flying Dolphins
Hellenic Seaways has a fleet of Flying Cats and Flying Dolphins which offer a much faster trip than their High-speed boats. They are smaller boats and although you get to Santorini a few hours faster, the journey can be bumpy. Again, check their website to see which service is running for your period of travel.
Tel: 210 4199000
If your travel to Santorini is during the peak of the summer tourist season, particularly in August, it is advisable to purchase your ferry ticket well in advance of travel.If you think of anything I left out of this post, please feel free to put that on the comment.