Santorini is world-renowned for its magical sunset, volcanic landscape and amazing sea views.
On Ferryhopper, you can find useful information about must-see places, beaches, local delicacies and ferries to Santorini. Check routes and ferry schedules to Santorini and book ferry tickets online at the same prices as ferry companies!
Magical view to the islet of Therasia from the quaint village of Oia
Vacation in Santorini
The island of Santorini, also known as “Thira”, is located in the southern part of the Cyclades. It’s one of the most beloved vacation destinations in the world, thanks to its breathtaking caldera and natural landscape.
The world-famous sunset in beautiful crimson colors makes it a great destination for romantic holidays. During your vacation in Santorini, you can taste delicious local dishes and wines, swim in crystal-clear waters, admire the blue Aegean Sea and visit the impressive volcano.
In Santorini, you can enjoy a fancy lifestyle at the island’s exquisite bars, restaurants and beaches. Travelers from all over the world gather at the whitewashed villages, built on the caldera, to enjoy the beautiful sunset, visit cute shops, explore the quaint alleys, and take thousands of photos!
How to get to Santorini
Traveling by ferry from Athens to Santorini is one of the most comfortable and affordable ways to reach the island. There are frequent ferry crossings to Santorini from 2 ports in Athens all year round, and you can choose to travel with a standard or high-speed vessel.
If you’re unsure which port to use, whether to fly or take the ferry and where to book your tickets, find more tips on how to travel from Athens to Santorini.
What to do in Santorini
Are you thinking of spending an entire summer in Santorini? No problem, there’s something to do on the island every day! Santorini is a natural, cultural, historical, and entertainment heaven with numerous experiences for all travelers.
You can swim in picture-perfect beaches, walk on fantastic hiking trails, try water sports by the volcano, visit one of the wineries of Santorini, go fine-dining, and explore the ancient settlement of Akrotiri.
Beaches in Santorini
The volcano has blessed the island with amazing beaches of spectacular natural beauty. You can find red and black sand, impressive rocks, white pebbles, and crystal-clear waters. You can even dive next to the volcano and feel the warm water!
If you’re wondering where to swim, here are 8 beautiful beaches in Santorini:
- Red Beach: the idyllic red-sand beach is one of the most popular on the island. It’s surrounded by red and black rocks and it has dark blue waters. There are some amenities, such as umbrellas, sun loungers and a food truck nearby.
- Perivolos: this famous sandy beach has deep clear waters and plenty of visitor amenities. There are beach bars, tavernes, cafés and water sports facilities.
- Vlichada: it’s a large beach with a magical lunar landscape, impressive white rocks, black sand and dark pebbles. It is one of the most remote beaches on the island and there are some umbrellas and sun loungers on one side.
- White Beach: tall white rocks and black sand create a beautiful scenery. The serene beach is only accessible by boat so make sure you bring some snacks and water as there are no restaurants and cafés nearby.
- Kamari: this cosmopolitan beach has black sand, small pebbles and crystal-clear waters. You can find cafés, beach bars, restaurants and tavernes in the area.
- Monolithos: it’s a beach with shallow waters and black sand. Monolithos is great for families, as there is a lifeguard and a playground. You can also find a basketball court, beach volley facilities, cafés, tavernes, hotels, and a grocery store.
- Baxedes: it is also known as “Paradisos”. It has a long coast with dark gray sand and shallow waters, making it perfect for kids. It is easily accessible and there are umbrellas and sun loungers.
- Gialos: it is a peaceful beach just below the village of Fira. It has black sand, pebbles, blue waters and rocky hills. There are sun loungers, umbrellas and a beach bar-restaurant.
Tip: don’t miss out on a short excursion to the islet of Therasia (Thirasia) by boat for a trip back in time. You can also go on a mini-cruise to explore all the small islets of the caldera, walk up to the volcanic crater of Nea Kameni and visit the thermal springs on Palea Kameni for a healing mud bath!
The impressive volcanic landscape of Red Beach in Santorini
Sightseeing and activities in Santorini
There’s a lot to see and do in Santorini! If you love adventures, you can go hiking or visit the neighboring islets of volcanic origin. If you are looking for majestic views instead, head towards the caldera, explore the west coast villages or take the cable car from Gialos to Fira.
One of the best viewing spots is Oia, where you can relax at sunset with a glass of wine. Don’t forget to visit one of the island’s archaeological sites to witness its rich past.
Here are some of the best attractions in Santorini:
- The prehistoric settlement of Akrotiri, evidence of human habitation at Akrotiri dating back to the Neolithic Age
- The Museum of Prehistoric Thira, housing ancient artifacts from various excavations in Santorini including Neolithic pottery and Early Cycladic marble figurines
- The Archaeological Museum of Thira, including ceramic pots and ancient statues
- The Cultural Village “Santorini of the past”, a contemporary cultural and gastronomic center taking you back to the traditional ways of Santorini’s life
- The Folklore Museum, housed in a traditional cave house dating back to 1861
- The Museum of Minerals and Fossils, with plant fossils from the Santorini caldera from 50,000 years ago and a rare collection of geological rocks
- The Lighthouse of Akrotiri, built above a small building with whitewashed walls in 1892
Tip: if you want to enjoy the beautiful sunset away from the crowds, you can visit the small church of Agios Ioannis in Oia, go to the villages of Finikia and Imerovigli, or head to the old mines of Fira.
The imposing Lighthouse of Akrotiri, on the edge of a high cliff
The volcano of Santorini
The volcano of Santorini is one of the most significant in the world. The volcano is still active and is part of the South Aegean Volcanic Arc, alongside the volcanoes of Milos, Nisyros and Methana.
The impressive caldera of Santorini was formed after a series of eruptions in the area in the last 1.5 million years. The powerful “Minoan” eruption around 1,600 BCE led to the complete eradication of Minoan civilization and inspired the legend of Atlantis. Visiting the volcano is one of the most memorable experiences in Santorini!
The great volcanic crater of Nea Kameni islet
Nightlife in Santorini
Santorini is a vibrant island by night! There are many spots where you can enjoy the starlit sky with a glass of vinsanto in hand. Listen to lounge music while enjoying a cocktail, dance till morning to international and Greek hits or kick back with your loved one and enjoy a peaceful evening.
Fira, the capital of Santorini, is great for those interested in all-night clubbing. There are many loud bars and clubs, where locals and visitors mingle and enjoy a typical Greek night out!
As for fun on the beach, Perivolos is the crown jewel of summer fun. In Oia, you can have a breezy night at one of the bars and cafés, and go evening shopping in the picturesque alleys.
However, if you are looking for traditional tastes, the village of Pyrgos is one of the top choices. Visit the SantoWines winery in Pyrgos to try local varieties of wine and taste mouth-watering mezedes with stunning sea views.
Tip: one of the best things to do in Santorini is watching a movie at the open-air cinema in Kamari.
Food in Santorini
Santorini is a food lover’s paradise. The volcanic terrain has blessed the island with a plethora of local products of superb quality, such as white aubergines, cherry tomatoes, fava beans, capers, vine leaves, goat cheese, and wine. Before you go back home, make sure you try:
- koufeto (honey-glazed almonds)
- melitinia (sweet pastries with mizithra cheese and honey)
- poutiga (pudding made from semolina and milk, often served with sweet wine sauce)
- sfougato (quiche with courgettes and cheese)
- psarolia (sun-dried fish)
- tomatokeftedes (deep-fried tomato balls)
- skordomakarona (spaghetti with scorched garlic)
- vinsanto (local sweet wine)
Tip: if you want to taste the famous vinsanto and more amazing local varieties, visiting a winery in Santorini is the best way to learn everything about wines. You can taste different wines, have some light snacks and buy a bottle at the best prices.
Terrace restaurant with incredible sea view
Villages in Santorini
Apart from the port of Athinios, most major villages in Santorini are situated on the caldera. These are Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli and Oia. The villages of the caldera are famous for their distinct architecture. Traditional buildings in the area are excavated into the rocky hill as cave houses.
You can also visit some inland villages, such as Pyrgos, known for its medieval buildings and labyrinthine alleys. Here are the top villages to visit in Santorini:
- Fira: it’s the beautiful capital of Santorini and the most cosmopolitan settlement on the island. It is located on the western edge of the island, opposite the volcano. Besides the road routes from the port and the airport, Fira is also accessible by cable car from the port.
- Oia: it is situated 11km away from Fira. Oia is one of the most photographed places in Greece, with more than 2 million posts on social media. The village is world-renowned for its stunning architecture, blue dome churches, whitewashed cave houses, and spectacular sunset.
- Imerovigli: you can find the village of Imerovigli at the very top of the caldera. Imerovigli boasts the best views of Nea Kameni, the tiny black island created out of a volcanic eruption in medieval times.
- Pyrgos: it’s situated on the highest point of Santorini providing great panoramic views on the island. It’s in the west part of Santorini and about 8km away from Fira. The island’s former capital has many neoclassical mansions, narrow winding paths leading up the hill to the Kasteli of Pyrgos.
- Athinios: it’s the smallest village of Santorini surrounded by imposing cliffs. All the ferries arrive at the port of Athinios, which is the island’s main port. There, you can find many car rental agencies and tourist information kiosks.
- Megalochori: it is only a 10-minute ride to the capital, Fira. It’s an old traditional village with a history that goes back to the 17th century. It has several whitewashed churches, pirate hideaways and is close to excellent wineries and the ancient archaeological site of Akrotiri.
- Akrotiri: one of the most prehistoric settlements is located in the southern part of Santorini. Akrotiri is home to the excavations of the settlement, one of the most important archaeological sites in the Mediterranean. From there, you can visit the Red Beach, the Goulas Tower and the lighthouse of Akrotiri, built in 1892.
Tip: in Oia, you can visit one of the prettiest bookshops in the world! Atlantis is a small picturesque bookshop in the heart of Oia, where you can browse through thousands of books and buy souvenirs.
The picturesque village of Pyrgos dating back to Medieval times
Tips for Santorini
Here are 5 travel tips for Santorini, to plan the perfect trip:
- Some of the most popular places in Santorini may be relatively more expensive, but you can find affordable accommodation, entertainment and shopping options if you go off the beaten path!
- The island is known for its amazing sunset, impressive caldera, magical volcanic beaches, and delicious wine. So, tick off everything on the Santorini to-do list and you’ll be on your way to experiencing the Cycladic island!
- The best month to visit Santorini is June or September. The weather is great, hotels and shops welcome visitors and the island is less crowded than during the high season.
- Staying in Santorini for 7 days is great if you want to see the major sites and attractions, swim at the best beaches and get to know the island. Here’s a short vacation guide on what to see in Santorini.
- The island is a great family vacation destination. There are plenty of traveler services, well-equipped beaches, family-friendly restaurants, as well as interesting activities in Santorini. In addition, you can find family-friendly hotels, suites and villas in Fira and other villages.
Useful information for Santorini
Santorini is lively all year round and most travelers visit from late spring to early fall. However, during the summer months the island gets busy with millions of visitors from all over the world.
Τhere are plenty of visitor amenities such as ATMs, supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations, and a hospital in Karterados. There’s also an international airport on the island, just 20 minutes from the port of Athinios by car.
For your accommodation in Santorini, you can stay at all-inclusive hotels, luxury holiday villas, holiday rentals, as well as camping sites in Fira and Perissa.
Tip: if you’re traveling to Santorini in the summer, we recommend that you book your tickets and accommodation in advance, as the island is always in high demand.
Important phone numbers for your stay in Santorini
Here are some useful contacts for your holiday in Santorini:
- Port Authority of Santorini: +302286022239
- Athinios Port Authority: +302286025015
- Information Office: +302286025940
- General Hospital of Thira: +302286035300
- Santorini Central Clinic (Fira): +302286021728
- Police Station: +302286022649
- Citizen Service Center: +302286360123
- Municipality of Thira: +302286360101
- Public bus service (KTEL): +302286025404
- Santorini International Airport: +302286028400
Transportation in Santorini
Getting around Santorini is possible by car, motorcycle, public bus, taxis, and cable car. If you want to explore the island freely, you can rent a small car or a motorcycle there.
There is also an adequate public bus service and many private transfer companies. During high season, there’s quite a lot of traffic on the island, making it challenging to drive through the narrow streets and find a parking space.
As for transportation from the port, you should keep in mind that Athinios is a bustling port with traffic jams! There are taxis and public buses at the port, but they sell out fast.
For a more relaxed journey from and to the port of Santorini, Ferryhopper suggests that you book your transfer in advance with Welcome Pickups. You are guaranteed a stress-free transfer from the port to your hotel, saving time and money!
Good to know: many villages have pedestrian-only streets and you can freely explore the beautiful alleys on foot!
Cute little houses of Cycladic architecture overlooking the sea
Ports in Santorini
The main port of Santorini, Athinios, is located on the island’s southwest side. Athinios is a relatively small port so it can get quite crowded, particularly in July and August. Therefore, make sure that you book your ferry tickets to/from the port of Santorini in advance.
At Athinios port you will find car rentals, grocery stores, cafés, and a few tavernes. We have prepared a comprehensive travel guide for the port of Santorini on what to expect when traveling there by ferry.
Good to know: the port of Fira exclusively serves cruise ships, so make sure you don’t end up on a cruise on your way back to Athens unless that’s your plan!
The beautiful old port of Fira, surrounded by volcanic red rocks
Island hopping from Santorini
The port of Athinios in Santorini serves as a great starting point for island hopping in the Cyclades, as well as other islands in the Aegean Sea, such as Crete and the Dodecanese.
Here you can find more information about some of the most popular ferry connections from Santorini:
- Santorini - Mykonos ferry: the ferry route from Santorini to Mykonos includes 4 daily crossings of about 2 hours, operated by Minoan Lines, Seajets, Golden Star Ferries and Blue Star Ferries.
- Santorini - Ios ferry: there are more than 14 weekly connections from Santorini to Ios. The ferry duration ranges from approximately 35 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the type of vessel.
- Santorini - Amorgos ferry: there are 1-2 daily ferry crossings from Santorini to Amorgos in the summer months. The trip takes less than 1.5 hours with a high-speed ferry. The route is usually operated by 2 ferry companies: Seajets and Small Cyclades Lines.
- Santorini - Paros ferry: the Santorini - Paros ferry route has up to 4 ferry crossings per day lasting from 2 hours to 4 hours. The ferry companies that mainly operate on this route are Seajets, Blue Star Ferries, Minoan Lines, and Golden Star Ferries.
A bit overwhelmed by so many island-hopping options? On Ferryhopper’s Map of ferries, you can find all Santorini ferry routes to easily plan your trip in the Aegean Sea and book ferry tickets!
Tip: explore all ferry schedules for the Greek islands to plan your holidays in Santorini for 2022.
Santorini ferry: schedules and tickets
Santorini is frequently connected by ferry with the mainland throughout the year. As one of the most popular holiday destinations in the country, there are regular Santorini ferries from 2 ports in Athens: Piraeus and Rafina.
- Piraeus - Santorini: from Piraeus to Santorini, ferries are available throughout the year, with up to 6 daily crossings in the summer. The trip duration is 4 hours with a high-speed vessel, which is the best way to travel to Santorini from Athens by ferry.
- Rafina - Santorini: you can catch a ferry from Rafina to Santorini mostly during the summer, with 1-2 daily crossings. It takes approximately 5.5 hours to reach the island with a high-speed ferry.
Good to know: you can also get to Santorini from the port of Heraklion in Crete. The Heraklion - Santorini ferry route lasts around 2 hours with a high-speed ferry.
Wooden boat on a minimal white terrace against the Aegean blue
Where to book ferry tickets online to Santorini
Are you counting the days to catch the ferry to Santorini and enjoy the beautiful sunset and the breathtaking volcanic landscape? Compare ferry companies and fares, see tips for your holidays in Greece and book your Santorini ferry tickets online on Ferryhopper.