How to get from Athens to Santorini

Wondering how to get from Athens to Santorini for an unforgettable break in Greece? Covering travelling by plane, ferry and private boat transfer, the Rough Guide to how to get from Athens to Santorini tells you everything you need to know.

How to get from Athens to Santorini 

Seeking a multifaceted holiday in beautiful Greece? Consider exploring Athens and then heading to the stunning island of Santorini. Athens, brimming with history, offers vibrant café culture and fascinating galleries.

Getting from Athens to Santorini is a common part of many travelers' itineraries, and thankfully, there are several convenient ways to make the journey.

For the quickest option, many choose to fly. Athens is home to a well-connected airport, and several airlines operate multiple daily flights from Athens to Santorini. The flight typically takes less than an hour and can often be quite affordable if booked in advance.

Alternatively, for those who prefer a scenic route, ferries from Athens to Santorini provide a leisurely way to travel. These vessels depart from Piraeus port in Athens, and the trip can take anywhere from 5 to 8 hours, depending on the ferry type and route. Private boat transfers are another option for those seeking a more exclusive experience.

The Acropolis of Athens Greece

To see sensational sunsets, follow our tips for how to get from Athens to Santorini © Shutterstock

By plane

For those looking to reach their destination quickly, flying is often the preferred choice. It's easy, cheap and fast. The downside is that you don't get to see a lot of both islands while travelling.

Athens International Airport (ATH) to Santorini Airport (JTR)  

The quickest and most convenient way to get from Athens to Santorini from Athens is to fly from Athens International Airport (ATH).  With a direct flight time of around 50 minutes, you’ll be sipping sundowners away from the bustling city before you know it!

Airlines and flight options  

Olympic, Aegean, and Sky Express offer multiple daily flights between Athens and Santorini, no matter what time of year it is. Given that some ferry companies don’t run their full Athens-Santorini schedules around the year, flying might be your best option during low season. 

Tips for booking flights 

Unsurprisingly, flight prices increase during the peak summer season. This runs from around mid-June through mid-September. In addition, flights often sell out through these months, with demand exceeding supply. 

So, our top tip for securing your preferred flights from Athens to Santorini during high season is to book as far in advance as possible. 

Not a fan of all the hassles that come with planning and booking? Browse our customisable Greece itineraries.

Wine and sea scenery on Greece's Santorini island

Can't wait to begin your Santorini sojourn? Get from Athens to Santorini by plane — the fastest option © Shutterstock

By ferry

Often the most affordable — and most scenic — way get from Athens to Santorini is by ferry. The journey takes you from Athens’ Piraeus Port to Santorini’s Athinios Port. 

Piraeus Port to Santorini (Athinios Port)  

Piraeus port is about a 30-minute drive from the centre of the city, or you could simply take a 45-minute metro ride.

Alternatively, some ferries run to Santorini from Athen’s smaller port — Rafina. This is reachable in a 30-minute drive from the airport, or around an hour from the city centre.

    Types of ferries available

  • Fast Ferries: Through the summer months, Seajet and Golden Star run high-speed hydrofoil ferries that can get you from Athens to Santorini in 4.5—5 hours. With economy and business class options available, you can book a ticket to suit your budget.
  • Slow Ferry: Hands-down the cheapest way to get from Athens to Santorini, the slow ferry is exactly that! It’ll take 8-9.5 hours. Slow ferries also offer travellers a few ticket types. Take your pick from economy seats, to private cabins you can sleep in. 

Top tip: if you’re going for the economy option, try to book a numbered seat to secure a decent spot. Otherwise, you could find yourself perched on a plastic deck chair for the duration!

The iconic blue-domed churches of Oia, Santorini

Slow ferries are the most scenic way to get from Athens to Santorini © Shutterstock

Schedules, duration, and ticket prices 

With various operators running between Athens and Santorini, including Blue Star Ferries, Zante Ferries, Seajets, Minoan Lines, Fast Ferries, and Aegeon Pelagos, it’s essential to compare schedules and prices.

During the high season (June to September), there are up to five daily direct crossings, reducing to three in winter. Ferries depart Piraeus from 7am to midnight, with fast ferry crossings averaging 4.5–5 hours.

Slow ferries take up to 9.5 hours, at a lower cost. Standard tickets for ferries between Athens to Santorini range from €40 to €89.70, with an average cost of €58. Free travel applies to infants and children up to four, while discounts are available for 5-10-year-olds, persons with disabilities, Greek island residents, and students of Greek public universities.

Pros and cons of ferry travel 


  • Being the cheapest way to get from Athens to Santorini, ferries (especially the slow kind are brilliant for travellers on a budget. 
  • Slow ferries also offer a lot more deck space that their fast counterparts, which is all the better for soaking up stunning scenery. 
  • As for the fast ferry options, if you factor in the time spent checking in at airports, they’re also pretty good when it comes to journey time. 


  • Fast ferries are hugely popular in summer, so you’ll have to get super-organised and book super-early. 
  • Fast ferries are also not advised if you’re prone to seasickness. They can become pretty bumpy.
  • Meanwhile, slow ferries are not advised if you’re on a short break, or want to forgo long journeys in favour of having more time on the beach, for example.

Planning a Greek island holiday? Read our run down of everything you need to know to do exactly that, including ferry tips. 


Santorini street scene © Shutterstock

Alternatively, browse our customisable Greece itineraries — or talk to our local Greece experts — to arrange a hassle-free trip to remember.

Joanne Owen

written by Joanne Owen

updated 24.08.2023

Joanne is a Pembrokeshire-born writer with a passion for the nature, cultures and histories of the Caribbean region, especially Dominica. Also passionate about inspiring a love of adventure in young people, she’s the author of several books for children and young adults, hosts international writing workshops, and has written articles on the Caribbean and inspirational community initiatives for Rough Guides. Follow her @JoanneOwen on Twitter and @joanneowenwrites on Instagram.

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