Santorini, the enchanting Greek island situated in the southern Aegean Sea, some 200 kilometres southeast of the country’s mainland, is one of the most stunning, and most popular of the islands; with its white-washed buildings, deep blue rooftops and winding alleyways, Santorini is truly spectacular. Though it is recommended to stay at least one night in the beautiful Santorini, it is nonetheless possible to do a day trip from Athens, and here is how:
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A day trip from Athens to Santorini
How to get from Athens to Santorini
The only way in which you can travel from Athens to Santorini in a day is to fly. The flights from Athens International Airport depart daily and pretty much run every hour. The first flight departs Athens at 6:10 am, and takes anywhere between 45 and 55 minutes, depending on the conditions of the day. To leave enough time, you will need to be at the airport around one hour before departure, since it is an internal flight. When returning to Athens from Santorini, the last flight back departs at 23:55 pm.
Upon arriving on the island, you can then enjoy and experience the vast array of different sites that the island has to offer, and can even join one of the many sightseeing tours available.
How to get from the airport to the main city of Fira
Once you have landed at Santorini Airport, you will most likely want to make your way to Fira, which is the heart of the island; there are five ways in which you can get there, and they are as follows:
One way in which you can travel from Santorini airport to the main city of Fira is by taking the bus; these buses go to the central station of Fira, where you can then take other buses to other parts of the island. This service from daily, and every week, though it does not run on Sundays.
There is a total of six scheduled journeys that leave Santorini Airport to Fira, and are as follows: the first bus is 7:20 am, then 10:10a, 12:10p, 14:10pm, 15:40 pm, 17:40 pm, which is the last evening bus.
This bus service does not, however, run during the night, so if you are landing late in the evening, you will need to find an alternative mode of transport. The overall journey time to Fira from the airport is around 20 to 50 minutes, depending on the traffic. The price for this trip is 1.70 Euro.
Regarding tickets, you will have to purchase your ticket once you have boarded the bus from the driver, and you will only be able to pay in cash. It is not possible to pre-book your bus tickets online.
Overall, this is not the best way of getting to Fira; the buses are not frequent, and it only runs every couple of hours, especially during the winter months. These buses also often load more passengers onto the buses than there are seats available, so you will likely have to stand for the duration of the journey, which is incredibly uncomfortable and even dangerous.
if you would prefer to spend more money, but have a much better and personalized welcome to the beautiful island of Santorini, opt for a Welcome Pickups transfer; you can book a professional, friendly, and English speaking driver, who will meet you at the arrivals area of the airport, with a sign that has your name on it, and welcome you with a smile.
For the same price as a taxi, 47 Euro, but without having to queue in line with all of your luggage, Welcome Pickups is a fantastic way to get from Santorini Airport to your accommodation.
if you do not wish to pre-book your transfer, you can wait for a taxi once you have landed at Santorini Airport; this is a fantastic and efficient way of getting to Fira, or your hotel. The journey time to the center will take around 25 minutes, and though the taxi fares is not fixed, you can expect to pay approximately 47 Euro. It is important to note that these grey taxi vehicles in Santorini are in very limited supply, so you may have to wait in line for a while or opt to share one. It is also important to note that you will pay approximately 25% more for your journey during the night shift, which operates between 1:00 am and 5:00 am.
Rent a car for the day
alternatively, if you prefer a little more freedom when visiting a new place, you always have the option of renting your own private car for the day. Once you arrive at Santorini Airport, you will find a series of different Car Rental desks and kiosks, where you can enquire about renting a car; it is, however, advisable that you pre-book this service, as you will likely end up paying more money by booking it on the day. Overall, though this is not the cheapest option, it does have the benefit of allowing you greater freedom and flexibility in exploring the stunning island of Santorini.
If none of the above options are appealing to you, there is also the option of booking a private transfer to Fira, or to your accommodation. For just 20 Euro per person or 15 Euro per person, if there are two or more travelers, this is a hassle-free and luxury mode of transport, hosted by a friendly and professional driver. Depending on the size of the party, you can opt for a deluxe minivan or minibus, or luxury taxi.
Alternatively, you can take a tour
If you prefer to experience a new destination with the added bonus of a tour guide and transportation etc included, there are an array of different tours in which you can book, that will take you to all of the hotspots that the island has to offer. Here are some of the best:
Private Full-Day Sightseeing in Santorini
This fantastic full-day tour will allow you to experience the highlights of Santorini, from the gorgeous Sunset city of Oia, all the way to the stunning ruins of Kasteli Fortress; this fantastic personalized tour allows you to customize your experience of Santorini; you can inform the driver about what you would like to see, spend as long as you like at each stop, and learn key facts from your driver.
The driver will pick you up directly from the airport, before taking you on the tailored journey that you yourself have created. Water, snacks, and free onboard WIFI are all provided.
Private Half-Day Sightseeing Tour of Santorini
Alternatively, if you do not wish to embark on a full-day tour, opt for the private half-day sightseeing tour of Santorini, where you can customize and personalize your trip, spending as long as you wish at the points of interest that you have selected. The driver will collect you fro your hotel, the port of the airport, and set off on this fantastic tour, taking you to all of the best sights that the gorgeous island of Santorini has to offer. Again, snacks, water, and free WIFI are all included in the price.
Traditional Santorini Sightseeing Bus Tour with Oia Sunset
If you prefer a set, guided tour, opt for the Traditional Santorini Sightseeing Bus Tour with Oia Sunset when visiting Santorini; this tour takes 10 hours, and begins at 10:30 am; you will be picked up from near your hotel, before being taken to all of the top hotspots that the island has to offer, such as Red Beach, Perissa Black Sand Beach, before finishing the day with an iconic view of the sunset over Oia.
In addition to being taken to all of the key sites, you will also be educated on the history of the island, and visit some traditional Santorini villages. This is a very reasonably priced tour, and a great way to experience the island in a hassle-free, efficient way.
Things to do in Santorini
Santorini has an abundance of things to do, and caters to every type of interest; whether you are a history and culture enthusiast, a lover of scenic, picturesque streets and villages, or a beach-addict, Santorini truly has it all; here are some of the top things to do and experience on this stunning island:
Walk around Fira – Fira is the main city of Santorini, and is often the first stop for visitors arriving on the island. One of the best ways to experience Fira is to simply walk around, and allow yourself to get a little lost. There are gorgeous cobbled streets, winding stairways and stunning hidden gems lurking around every corner.
Explore Oia – Oia is a small and picturesque Santorini village that is incredibly popular with visitors; it is completely dream-like, with its white-washed buildings, winding, cobbled alleyways and magnificent coastal views, this is one of the essential places to visit on the island.
Go on a wine tasting tour – if you are a wine enthusiast, Santorini produces some unbeatable volcanic wines, that can be discovered on this incredible wine tasting tour; spanning a duration of around 4 hours, this fantastic tour will take you to three traditional wineries in the countryside, where you can sample 12 different wine styles from Santorini and Greece. You will also learn the history of the vineyards, winemaking techniques, and experience the volcanic soil that the grapes are grown on.
Go on a sailing cruise – for a unique and luxurious experience, embark on a sailing cruise, where you can sail around the Santorini Caldera aboard a wonderful catamaran, enjoying the surrounding scenery, take a dip in some hot springs, and also ogle at the famous volcano. This tour takes around 5 to 6 hours, and you will be picked up from your hotel; this is a fun, exciting, and truly luxurious way to relax, and there is no better place to sip a refreshing cocktail and enjoy a delicious dinner than on a sailing cruise.
Discover the archaeological site of Akrotiri – the archaeological site of Akrotiri in Santorini is one of the most important historic sites of the Aegean; it is incredibly well preserved and dates back to around 1550-1500 BC, where it was a flourishing and thriving ancient city, bustling with a vibrant and advanced civilization. Today, this site is open to the public, and it is a fascinating way to get an insight into the ancient heritage of Santorini.
Get lost on the alleyways of Emporio and Pyrgos Villages – Santorini has a huge amount of history, and one of the highlights is the explore the historic villages of Pyrgos and Emporio; Emporio is the largest village of Santorini, and was the historic centre of commercialism and trade; today, it is a bustling area, and has some gorgeous alleyways to get lost in. Pyrgos is another large, well-preserved village, that is absolutely stunning, and many visitors flock here to soak in the history and the panoramic views.
Santorini is a magical place to visit, and totally possible to travel to on a day trip from Athens; however, it has so much to offer, that you could spend a lifetime exploring its array of treasures.