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Unveiling the Charm of Aegean: The Complete Guide to the Santorini-Athens Ferry Route

Discover a memorable journey from the captivating Santorini to the bustling heart of Athens by considering sea travel. Embark on a ferry ride that promises not only comfort and convenience but also showcases the spellbinding allure of the Aegean Sea and its picturesque islands.

As a vital connection between two quintessential Greek destinations, the Santorini to Athens ferry route stands out for its popularity and frequency. Whether you’re keen on diving into the rich history and vibrant culture of Athens or eager to soak up the awe-inspiring vistas and sunsets of Santorini, the ferry service elegantly bridges these experiences.

Our guide is here to equip you with essential information for planning and booking your maritime adventure, alongside helpful tips and insights for a seamless journey. Let’s dive in!

Ferry Routes and Operators

Diverse Ferry Options: High-speed and Standard Ferries

Choose the perfect ferry ride from Santorini to Athens tailored to your needs and preferences. Whether it’s time constraints or budget considerations, there’s an array of ferry types and operators at your disposal.

Between high-speed ferries—which boast modernity and speed, shortening the voyage to approximately 4.5 to 6 hours—and the more leisurely standard ferries, which take about 7 to 9 hours, travelers have options. Although slower, standard ferries provide ample amenities, including cabins, lounges, and dining options.

Renowned ferry operators like Seajets, Golden Star Ferries, Blue Star Ferries, and others offer various fleets, schedules, and services. Comparing prices and booking is convenient through online platforms such as Ferryhopper or Greek Ferries.

Route Variations: Direct and Island-Hopping Journeys

Ferry travel also gives you the chance to embrace the breathtaking scenery of the Aegean. Opt for a direct route to Athens or indulge in an island-hopping journey that punctuates your travel with several enchanting stopovers.

Direct ferries provide a swift, uninterrupted trip directly to the ports of Piraeus, Rafina, or Lavrio in Athens. In contrast, island-hopping ferries invite you to an immersive experience, with stops at gems like Naxos, Paros, and Mykonos. Though these voyages are typically longer and may come at a higher cost, the opportunity to explore multiple islands en route to Athens is a traveler’s delight.

Port Information: Departures from Santorini and Arrivals in Athens

If you’re planning a ferry trip from Santorini to Athens, it’s essential to be familiar with both the departure and arrival ports. Below are some key insights to help you organize your excursion with ease:

  • Athinios Port: This is Santorini’s main port for all regular and high-speed ferries. It’s situated approximately 10 km from the island’s capital, Fira, and 15 km from the iconic village of Oia. Available transportation includes buses, taxis, or personal vehicles. Facilities at Athinios include a parking area, ticket office, cafeteria, and waiting area.
  • Skala: The old port of Santorini, predominantly used by cruise ships and excursion boats. Lies beneath Fira and is accessible via cable car, donkey, or on foot. Remember, there are no Athens-bound ferries from Skala.
  • Amoudi Bay: Found just below Oia, this quaint fishing port, adorned with local taverns, is tailored for boat tours and fishing excursions rather than Athens-bound ferries.
  • Piraeus Port: The primary Athens port where most Santorini ferries dock. As Greece’s largest and most active port, Piraeus is replete with terminals and various amenities. It boasts excellent transportation links with Athens’ city center and is surrounded by hotels, restaurants, shops, and attractions.
  • Rafina Port: Some Santorini ferries arrive at this secondary, more tranquil Athens port. Located close to the airport on Attica’s east coast, it’s well-connected to Athens’ city center and is dotted with hotels, cafes, and taverns.
  • Lavrio Port: A less frequented Athens port where only a few Santorini ferries arrive. Positioned on Attica’s southeast tip, it is somewhat distant from the city center and airport but is still reachable by bus, taxi, or car. Near the port, you’ll discover various hotels, bars, and museums.

Booking and Ticket Information

Ferry Costs: Understanding Pricing and Categories

Many travelers question the cost of a ferry journey from Santorini to Athens, which varies depending on certain critical components:

The type of vessel is a prime factor; high-speed ferries typically charge more than conventional ones. Seasonality also plays a role; expect higher demand and rates during the peak season (June to September) in contrast to the off-peak months (October to May). Seat availability can fluctuate with the popularity and timing of your trip. Furthermore, ticket categories define the comfort and services onboard, ranging from basic economy to more upscale options like business and VIP, including choices for a cabin or a reserved seat lounge. Naturally, the more luxe the category, the steeper the cost.The ferry fare from Santorini to Athens typically falls between €45 and €90 for a standard ticket. Yet, prices can fluctuate due to various factors, such as discounts, special offers, your choice of seat or cabin, and whether you opt to ferry a vehicle. Bringing along a car, motorcycle, or bicycle incurs an additional cost, variable by both the ferry company and the type of vehicle.

Reservations and E-tickets: How to Secure Your Spot

Booking ferry tickets from Santorini to Athens is most easily managed online. Websites like FerryhopperDirect Ferries, and go-ferry offer a platform to compare schedules, operators, and ticket prices with ease, simplifying the booking process. These sites also provide valuable insights about the ports, the ferry companies, and the routes. Payment methods such as credit cards and PayPal are accepted, ensuring a secure transaction, with the convenience of an e-ticket emailed to you. This e-ticket can be either printed out or displayed on a smartphone at the port. Another option is to book directly through ferry operators’ websites, like Seajets, Golden Star Ferries, or Blue Star Ferries. Should you prefer to book in person, this can be done at the port or via a travel agency, although it’s typically not recommended during the peak season. To avoid sold-out trips and to capitalize on early-booking discounts, it’s wise to reserve your spot 2 to 3 months prior to your travel date.

Offers and Discounts: Best Deals for Travelers

Ferry travel from Santorini to Athens can be more economical with the right deals and discounts. Keep an eye out for:

  • Group discounts: Traveling with friends or family? Ferry operators like Blue Star Ferries and Seajets may offer discounts for groups, usually requiring a minimum of between 10 to 20 travelers.
  • Early-booking discounts: Booking well in advance can snag you discounts ranging from 10% to 30%, depending on the ferry operator and season. Companies like Golden Star Ferries and Minoan Lines offer such reductions.
  • Season specials: Off-peak travel (October to May) might reveal seasonal specials, like lower fares or free vehicle transportation, courtesy of operators such as Seajets or Zante Ferries, subject to availability.
  • Passenger discounts: Discounts of up to 50% are available for children aged 5 to 10, island residents with a Unique Islander Number, Greek Public University students, and disabled passengers along with their companions, offered by operators like Blue Star Ferries and Aegeon Pelagos.

Journey Experience

Amenities and Services Onboard

Beyond the practicalities of transportation, ferry trips from Santorini to Athens promise a pleasant journey. Passengers can enjoy an array of onboard amenities and services designed to ensure each trip is not just comfortable, but enjoyable as well.Ferry travel is not only a means of transportation but also an experience replete with comforts and conveniences. Here are the amenities you can enjoy aboard:

  • Climate-controlled indoor lounges: Cozy seats and tables perfect for relaxation, reading, or attending to work tasks.
  • Panoramic open-deck seating: Breathtaking sea views ideal for sunbathing, fresh air, and capturing memorable photographs.
  • Eateries and refreshment areas: Cafés and restaurants serving a variety of snacks, meals, and drinks to quell hunger and thirst.
  • Diverse shops: A selection of souvenirs, literature, and travel essentials available for purchase.
  • Wi-Fi access: Connectivity options (complimentary or paid) enabling you to stay in touch, check emails or browse online.
  • Private cabins: A tranquil space furnished with beds and bathrooms, particularly convenient on overnight trips.
  • Exclusive lounges: Reserved seating with recliners and TVs, where entertainment is at your fingertips.
  • Children’s play zones: Areas packed with toys and games to keep younger travelers engaged and joyful.

Remember, onboard facilities may vary based on the ferry type, operator, and ticket class. For detailed information, consult the ferry operators’ websites or platforms like Ferryhopper or go-ferry.

Travel Tips: What to Expect and How to Prepare

For a pleasant journey from Santorini to Athens by ferry, consider these travel tips:

  • Plan your arrival time: The Athinios port in Santorini gets busy, especially in summer. Arrive at least one hour in advance if you’re traveling with a vehicle to ensure smooth check-in and boarding. You can also refer to the Athinios port guide beforehand.
  • Think comfort: With the trip lasting anywhere between 4.5 to 9 hours, pack items to enhance comfort: a jacket, pillow, reading material, electronic chargers, and snacks. Don’t forget sun protection if you’ll be on the open deck.
  • Stay updated: Ferry schedules and fares may change, so reconfirm your travel details before departure. In case of last-minute alterations, Greek travel agents or Ferryhopper’s customer service can provide assistance.
  • Relish the experience: Savor the unique journey, the sweeping views of the Aegean Sea, the opportunity to meet fellow travelers, or simply the chance to unwind.

Scenic Views and Points of Interest

Embarking on a ferry from Santorini to Athens is a visual treat. Keep an eye out for the following highlights along the route:

  • The Caldera: Departing from Santorini, you’re afforded a glorious view of the impressive caldera, a vast volcanic crater created by an eruption millennia ago. Encircling this natural wonder are the charming villages of Fira, Oia, and Imerovigli, draped over the cliffs and offering breathtaking views of the azure sea and captivating sunsets.
  • The Islands: Your chosen route may include stops at various islands such as Naxos, Paros, Ios, Mykonos, Folegandros, Milos, Sifnos, and Serifos. Each island is a gem of the Cyclades, famed for their quintessential whitewashed homes, striking blue-domed churches, inviting sandy beaches, and rich traditional culture. You’ll have the option to either remain on the ferry or disembark to explore these islands to your heart’s content, depending on your time constraints and interests.
  • The Athenian Coastline: Nearing Athens, the expansive Athenian coastline unfolds before you, spanning roughly 50 km from Piraeus’s bustling port to Attica’s southern extremity. This scenic stretch is peppered with marinas, beaches, luxurious resorts, and historical landmarks, such as the revered Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion. Not to be missed is the towering Acropolis, an ancient citadel and enduring emblem of Athens’s storied past and culture.


A ferry journey from Santorini to Athens is an exquisite testament to Greece’s beauty and varied landscapes. The voyage allows you to soak in the charm of sea travel, coupled with the splendor of the Aegean Sea and its enchanting isles. It’s also the perfect opportunity to delve into Athens’s rich cultural tapestry or bask in Santorini’s mystical allure.

Our guide has equipped you with essential details to arrange and secure your passage, including routes, ferry operators, booking details, and what to anticipate during the journey. We’ve sprinkled in handy tips and advice to enhance your preparation for an unparalleled ferry experience.

Armed with knowledge about the ferry service between Santorini and Athens, don’t delay – secure your tickets now and embark on a remarkable Greek odyssey!

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