Santorini sits about 300 km off the coastline, in the Aegean Sea. But with regular daily flights from the mainland throughout the year, reaching by air is favourable. While there are select flights directly from European cosmopolitan cities during the peak tourist season, the smartest route to Santorini from anywhere in India is by reaching there after flying to Athens. This journey is offered by various international airlines. Emirates, Turkish Airlines, Oman Air, Gulf Air, Qatar Airways and Egypt Air are the popular ones with indirect routes starting from major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai. There are no direct flights to Athens and your layover will depend on the airline you eventually book.
Santorini Airport is a limited capacity international airstrip that’s situated about 6 km away from Fira, one of the main towns of the island. It welcomes many budget flights by Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air, as well as chartered sea-planes by AirSea Lines. The 45-minute flight is quick, however, airport security can be time consuming. That and the cost difference make many a tourist take a ferry to reach Santorini. If you do choose to fly, finding transport upon landing is easy with shuttle bus services available at the terminus to take you to different towns and villages. Taxis can be found as well, albeit at higher rates.
Ferries, high-speed catamarans and cruises can be taken to reach Santorini, each offering a unique experience. During the summer months, at least 5 ferries run daily from the Piraeus Port of Athens that make an 8-hour journey to the Athinios Port of Santorini via other islands such as Paros and Naxos. This is a great and affordable option to make this a leisurely day-long journey with sensational open-deck views along the way. The ferries even have cabins for hire, if you wish to have more personal space. Bluestar and Hellenic Seaways are the popular operators, with early morning departures.
High-speed catamarans from Athens cut the journey-time by half and get you to Santorini is just over 4 hours, run by Hellenic Seaways, Minoan Lines and Sea Jets. These do not run during off-season, but for most of the year, there are multiple departures in a day. If you’re wondering what’s better — the ferry or catamaran — it’s not just time that you should consider. The catamarans are completely enclosed, and the ride can be bumpy depending on the season. So, if seasickness is a concern, you should take the ferry. Once you disembark at Athinios Port, buses to Fira and taxis or hotel transfers to anywhere on the island can be arranged on the spot.
Another great option, and perhaps the most luxurious of them all, is arriving at Santorini by cruise ship. There are many Greek and international cruises that visit the island, holding position in the caldera near the Old Port or Skalafira Port, from where local fishing boats and speed boats are available to get to shore for daily excursions. Once on land, you can take a cable car or hike up to the top of Fira, 260 metres above the sea, from where buses are available to other villages and attractions.
You can also travel to Santorini by sea from nearby islands like Mykonos, Crete, Paros and Naxos, giving you the chance to have a more flexible itinerary.
Considering the size of the island, one can easily get around Santorini on foot. However, there is local transport available for those who prefer or need it.
Cars & Taxis : It takes only 50 minutes to go from end to end of Santorini by road. Car rentals or taxis can be a good option for bigger groups, travelling longer distances or those comfortable driving abroad, especially during peak summer season when the buses are most packed. Services such as the Aegean Taxi App can be downloaded for click-to-hire cabs.
Bus : For locals and tourists alike, the public bus service of Santorini is the smart and affordable option. They even offer the comfort of air-conditioning that’s so needed during those peak summer months! Tickets cost under € 5, no matter your destination and there are routes connecting every part of the island. There are also privately-run hop-on hop-off buses that are great for group sightseeing activities.
Bikes & ATVs : You’ll spot two-wheeler rental signs all across Santorini and it’s a fun way to move around, especially given how hilly the island is. Bikes have to share the same roads as cars, so it is advisable to ride steadily and safely. Similarly, All Terrain Vehicles have become super popular as island-transport that act as a thrilling activity in itself — and the only one for which you don’t need a driver’s license.
On Foot : The entire island is mapped with walking and hiking routes, making this the best way to really discover its beautiful villages, breathtaking views and off-the-beaten path sights. Put on your trekking shoes and roam the historic villages, from Fira to Oia, Perrisa to Kamari, Pyrgos to Megalochori.
The Greek Island of Santorini beckons with its raved-about sunsets, picturesque whitewashed villages, glimmering Mediterranean beaches, fresh local cuisine and spectacular natural surrounds. Book your trip now to make beautiful memories experiencing all of this and much more.