The most Insta-famous of all the Greek islands, Santorini is all white-washed houses with bluebird blue roofs, clifftop churches and a sparkling turquoise sea. It’s so beautiful, that it’s easy to forget the island is actually the crater of a volcano that drowned around 3,000 years ago. If you’re headed to Santorini this summer and want to work out the best way to get around, here are a few tried-and-tested top tips on how to travel around Santorini.
Top tips on how to travel around Santorini
1. Getting to Santorini by boat
It’s easy to reach Santorini by boat from Athens. Ferries depart from Piraeus and Rafina daily and take around 4-6 hours. It’s not cheap, with tickets starting at EUR 35, but it is more affordable than flying. If you’re travelling from nearby Mykonos, you can hop on daily ferries and speedboats by SeaJets. Those travelling from Crete will need to hop on the ferry from Heraklion with Minoan Lines.
It’s easiest to travel between Greek islands from June to September. Most lines operate a limited schedule off-season, though there are some regular services. Ferryhopper offers up-to-date information on the schedule and prices.
2. Getting to Santorini by plane
Santorini has its own international airport, Thira Airport. There are daily domestic flights here from Athens, as well as flights from other European cities such as London and Paris. It’s the quickest way to get to the island, though ticket prices tend to be more expensive than the ferry.
The airport is in a village, near Monolithos, Perivolia and Exo Gonia villages. You can reach the airport by car, by public bus and by taxi.
3. Cycling in Santorini
Santorini might be hilly and hot, but it’s still a popular place to ride a bike. To make it a little easier, there are now a handful of companies offering e-bike tours and rentals. Companies like Santorini Adventures offer a day out on an e-bike for under EUR 100.
4. Driving in Santorini
While the roads are narrow and winding, most people decide to rent a car in Santorini. As well as offering more flexibility and the chance to explore some of the island’s most remote corners, it’s easy and relatively affordable, providing you book your rental in advance. For the best rates, check out these local car hire deals.
To rent a car in Santorini, most rental companies require drivers to be at least 21 years old. You’ll also need a valid International Driving License to legally drive on the island. Like most of Europe, driving is on the right-hand side of the road. There’s lots of free parking too.
5. Taking the bus in Santorini
Taking the bus is the cheapest and easiest way to get around Santorini. Journeys cost between EUR 1.60 and 2.50, though they’re cash-only. Most buses are air-conditioned and reasonably reliable too.
KTEL runs most buses in Santorini and you can check the website for the timetable and planned strikes in advance of your trip. Services are limited in the off-season and do not tend to operate in quieter corners, so it’s best to stay in places like Perissa, Kamari and Fira for the best public transport connections.
6. Taking taxis in Santorini
There are fewer than 30 taxis in Santorini, and these are extremely expensive. They don’t use metres either, so make sure you negotiate a price before getting inside, otherwise, you’ll need to pay whatever number your driver comes up with at the destination. Taxis can only carry four passengers at a time and Uber, Bolt and Lyft do not operate on the island either. Fares increase in the evening and again after midnight too.
7. Scooter and quad bike rentals in Santorini
Search #Santorini on Instagram and you’ll be inundated with images of half-dressed sun-kissed bodies atop a scooter or quad bike. There are dozens of scooter rental shops peppered across the island, with rentals starting from EUR 17 per day in the off-season. ATVs are popular too, particularly among more adventurous travellers who are looking to get off the city’s narrow streets and into the island’s more rugged terrain. Prices for ATVs start at around EUR 30 per day in the off-season. You can rent quad bikes too, though these are best suited to experienced drivers since they’re fairly challenging to drive.