In Ferryhopper, we spend a lot of time reading travel blogs and forums. Our aim is to better understand travelers' concerns about their visit to Greek islands. Sometimes we also provide our insights, even in non-ferry related questions. Definitely, some of the most frequent questions one can see in these forums, are
"What is the best way to travel from Athens to Santorini"
"Which ferry should I choose to get from Athens to Santorini"
"Where can i find ferry schedules from Piraeus to Santorini?"
The words Athens, Santorini, and Ferries, in different orders, combined in a sentence. Which, to be honest, we find a bit peculiar since Santorini (along with Mykonos, Naxos, and Paros) is one of the most easily accessible islands of Greece. Long story short, we decided to write a small article addressing these questions.
Ferry or plane to Santorini?
We are Ferryhopper, so we will advise you to take a ferry ☺. But if wish to consider other factors as well, the answer depends mostly on your schedule and your budget.
Timewise: Choosing an airplane is the most convenient choice. The flight takes only 45 minutes to get from Athens to Santorini, while the trip duration by ferry varies between 4.5 and 7.5 hours (depending on the ferry type). On the other hand, especially on good weather conditions, traveling by ferry is much more interesting. You will have the opportunity to enjoy the Aegean sea & sun from a boat deck, and also get to see (a tiny glimpse) of other islands; ferries traveling from Athens to Santorini usually pass by two or three Cycladic islands.
Budgetwise: Choosing a ferry is definitely the way to go! Ticket prices start from 40€ for conventional ferries and 48€ for the high-speed ones. If you plan ahead and book your tickets early enough, you might also take advantage of early-booking offers for even less than 30€ (you can search for such offers in our website). Airplanes to Santorini, on the other hand, are twice as expensive, and much more difficult to book at a low price due to limited availability.
Which port is more convenient, Piraeus or Rafina?
Piraeus: You should definitely choose Piraeus if you are planning to stay in Athens before your trip. It is closer to the city center and hence, easily accessible by metro, bus or taxi. Both conventional and high-speed ferries can take you from Piraeus to Santorini, so, plenty of options here! Three operators are currently traveling from Piraeus to Santorini; Blue Star Ferries and SeaJets, with their fleets of high-speed catamarans, as well as with a fleet of large and comfortable conventional ferries. Ferries depart early in the morning between 07:00 and 07.30, or later in the afternoon, between 16:00 and 17:30. The minimum prices are 40€ for conventional ferries and 58€ for catamarans.
Rafina: If your plan is to reach the port directly after landing on Athens airport or to combine your trip to Santorini with an intermediate stop in Mykonos, then Rafina is your way to go! It is worth to note though, that only high-speed catamarans operate on the Rafina - Santorini route. Specifically, three operators (SeaJets, Golden Star Ferries, and Blue Star Ferries) provide options that can take you to Santorini within 4 to 6 hours. Ferries depart early in the morning between 07:00 and 07.30, while there is one SeaJets option that leaves Rafina at 15:00 in the afternoon. Budgetwise, there is not much to think, as all three companies provide the same minimum ticket price of 48€.
Which type of ferry should I choose, conventional or high speed (catamaran)?
There is no definite answer to this question as it depends on what type of traveler you are. Choosing conventional ferries would allow you to relax under the sun and enjoy your trip and the sea breeze. Moreover, in case of bad weather conditions, their large size can guarantee you a smoother trip. It is also worth to note that the trip with conventional ferries is usually relatively cheaper than the high-speed options. On the other hand, if you cannot wait to see the breathtaking view of the Caldera, you should rather choose one of the high-speed ferries and save some time. It's is not an easy decision to make but it is definitely a win-win situation!
Should I book my ferry tickets in advance?
If there is a single island in Greece that is busy all over the year, this is Santorini! As a result, it is really not a good idea to go for a last minute booking and risk your whole vacation planning. Besides, booking in advance comes at no additional cost (at least through Ferryhopper.com) and you can be on the safe side since all your trip arrangements will be finalized.
Extra tip: if you select a company that supports e-ticket services we will send you the boarding passes via email just after your reservation completion so you do not even have to worry about ticket collection.