Santorini: transportation on the island
Santorini: all transportation on the island

Santorini: transportation on the island

Santorini is a popular destination, so getting here is easy — the carriers have taken care of that. It is also easy to get around the island itself — there is a well-developed bus service, as well as a lot of rental offices that provide various types of transportation for rent.

How to get to Santorini

Santorini, like probably any island, can be reached in two ways: by sea or by air.

Santorini Airport

The airport on Santorini was opened in 1972 due to the increasing popularity of the island among tourists. For a long time — until 2005. — it served only domestic flights, and then after modernization it received the status of international (code JTR). There are no direct flights from Russia to Santorini, so you will have to get there via an intermediate point — for example, through Athens, because the island has year-round air communication with the capital.

The airport is quite small, although it is the largest air harbor in the Cyclades. It can handle no more than 6 airliners at a time. It is located near the town of Kamari, in the south-eastern part of the island.

All buses from/to the airport go to Thira, the capital of the island. During the day there are only 6 flights: at 07:20, 10:10, 12:10, 14:10, 15:40 and 17:40 from the airport to Thira, and at 07:10, 10:00, 12:00, 14:00, 15:30, 17:30 back. The capacity of the bus is 40—50 seats.

1,5 €
Fare is 1.5 €. Baggage — 0.4 €.

Seaport

Ferries from all over the country arrive daily at the seaport of Afinios at the foot of the picturesque cliffs in the southwestern part of the island. Afinios is not the only port on Santorini. There is also the Old Port in Fira, but it serves only sightseeing and tourist transportation.

Afinios, or «New Port», is quite small, so it constantly seems crowded, especially in high season, as crowds of people arrive in Santorini every day. There are a couple of mini-markets and cafes on site where you can grab a bite to eat while waiting for your ferry. If you are leaving Santorini by ferry, try to arrive at the port at least an hour before departure so that you can get your bearings and not miss the ferry.

Ferry in the port of Afinios
Ferry in the port of Afinios

Bus schedules to and from New Port are linked to the arrival schedule of ferries from Crete, Athens and the Cyclades and are subject to change. Generally, buses leave for Fira as they fill up and return by the time the next ship arrives. I recommend going to the bus immediately after getting off the ship if you decide to use this mode of transportation.

2,3 €
Bus ticket price from New Port of Afinios to Fira

Buses to Santorini

Getting around Santorini is usually easy, thanks in large part to the excellent bus service.

The central hub through which almost all buses on the island pass is Fira. Wherever you go, you will go through it. For example, to get from Perissa to Aktotiri or Ia, you must first take one bus to Fira and then take another bus to your destination.

The bus service in Santorini is operated by KTEL, which is an independent group of bus owners organized into a single association. Often the bus driver is the owner of the bus. Buses follow summer and winter schedules.

In summer there are more flights due to the large influx of tourists. You can always check the current timetable on the official website. You can often find it at bus stops printed out on A4 sheets and hanging on a pole — it makes sense to take a photo and always have it with you.

The bus fare varies from 1.8 to 2.5 € and depends on the specific route and its length. You can buy a ticket at the ticket office at the station in Fira or on the bus itself. The driver places a sign on the windshield of each bus indicating the route, so finding the right bus is usually easy. All buses are equipped with large luggage compartments.

This schedule can be found at Santorini bus stops
This schedule can be found at Santorini bus stops

Cabs on the island

There is a serious imbalance between supply and demand, which affects the availability and cost of the service: Santorini has probably some of the most expensive cabs in Greece. The average cost is 35 — 40 €. In order not to find yourself in a situation where there are no cars available — especially when arriving at night — it makes sense to book a cab in advance. This will be more expensive than taking a car in advance, but it will save you from a long wait in the sun or an overnight stay at the airport/seaport.

Book a transfer from the airport or the port of Afinios:

Santorini-taxi

Santorini. Cab

Welcomepickups

Transportation rental

Car, bike, scooter, quad bike or buggy — any transportation can be booked in advance or on site. In every tourist town there are transportation rental companies — just walk along the main street.

There are offices of several car rental agencies at Santorini airport. The situation is generally similar to cabs: there are more tourists than cars on the island, so the prices are higher than on other Greek islands. A rental car will cost from 25 € per day. Rental conditions — as everywhere in Greece: the minimum age of the driver — 21 years old, accepted and the national Russian license of the new sample, and international license. As a rule, the mileage is not limited.

One of the most budget-friendly options for getting around the island is a rented scooter
One of the most budget-friendly options for getting around the island is a rented scooter

To rent a scooter or ATV you will need a category A license. The average cost per day is 15 € per day for a scooter and 20 € per day for an ATV.

You can rent them here:

Motor Inn

Marksbikes

Santoride

Personal experience of using transportation in Santorini

I had time to try out all the public transportation on the island.

We arrived to Santorini from Athens on a late flight, so there was no possibility to leave the airport by bus. We didn’t book a cab in advance, but we were lucky to find a free car. However, I wouldn’t risk it a second time on a late flight, because there were very few cab cars.

We rented a scooter for the entire time we were on the island and it turned out to be the perfect option for us:

  • The island is small, distances are negligible — 30—40 minutes drive at most, and traveling by scooter around it is comfortable.
  • This is the most budget option for rented transportation: a bicycle does not count, you can’t go far in the heat.
  • No problems with parking on the narrow streets of Fira and other towns.

Rented it from one of several local offices on Perissa’s main street.

We used the bus only once to get from Perissa, where we were based, to New Port, where our ferry to Athens was leaving. The buses come on time, the ride is short and quite comfortable. Recognizing the right bus is not a problem either. So I can safely say that this is a quite convenient and inexpensive way to move around the island, but still to save time I recommend to rent transportation — so you will have much more time!

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