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Exploring Greece by Sea: The Comprehensive Guide to Ferry Travel from Santorini to Rhodes

Discover the enchantment of Greece’s island world by sea—an experience blending serenity with cultural richness. This guide showcases a favored maritime path from Santorini to Rhodes, two jewels in the Aegean’s crown. Whether your travel goals lean towards languid relaxation or an immersive cultural odyssey—or perhaps a touch of both—options abound to match your desires and budget.

Santorini captivates with its breathtaking caldera panorama, quintessential white villages, and idyllic sunsets, while Rhodes boasts a medieval old town, inviting sandy shores, and a tapestry of history. Each island extends an array of engaging activities, sights, and moments sure to anchor in your memory.

But charting the course between Santorini and Rhodes by ferry raises questions. What variations of ferries ply these waters, and what are the schedules and fares? How can you ensure a smooth-sailing experience? Our guide sails through these inquiries, laying a course for your planning and enriching your journey with insight and advice.

Understanding Ferry Routes and Schedules

Booking your Santorini to Rhodes ferry passage requires a grasp of the route and schedule nuances. Several elements influence ferry service frequency, duration, and availability, and we will highlight the key considerations:

Seasonal Variations in Ferry Services

Ferry travel in Greece ebbs and flows with the seasons. The summer months—June through September—constitute the high season, bringing increased services, departures, and competitive prices, but also larger crowds and the potential of sold-out voyages on sought-after passages like Santorini to Rhodes. Advance booking is a wise strategy to secure your summer sailing.

In the quieter winter season, spanning November to March, the ferry services dwindle. Expect sparser options, reduced departures, and possibly, higher pricing. Yet, you may enjoy the benefit of less crowded decks and ready ticket availability for less frequented routes. If winter sailing calls to you, attentiveness to the schedule and date flexibility is recommended.

Inter-Island Connectivity: Exploring Additional Stops

Ferry itineraries from Santorini to Rhodes are not direct; be prepared for at least one stopover. You might need to transfer ferries between islands like Patmos, Kalymnos, Kos, Nisyros, Tilos, Symi, or Karpathos within the Dodecanese archipelago, nestled between the Cyclades clusters and the Turkish coast. Your journey’s path will depend on your chosen ferry company and its specific schedule.

While some travelers might view stopovers as a hindrance, others appreciate them as chances to immerse themselves in the charm of the Greek islands. If your schedule and budget allow, consider extending your stay to savor the allure of these destinations for a few hours or even days. You could explore the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian on Patmos, delve into the sponge-diving heritage on Kalymnos, uncover ancient ruins on Kos, witness the volcanic terrain on Nisyros, step back in time at the medieval castle on Tilos, be captivated by the vibrant houses on Symi, or discover the intriguing caves and pristine beaches on Karpathos.

Duration of the Journey: What to Expect

The distance between Santorini and Rhodes by ferry spans approximately 247.4 kilometers (154 miles or 134 nautical miles). However, the journey time can vary due to factors such as the ferry type, number of stops, weather, and sea traffic conditions. On average, the quickest ferry takes around 10 hours and 5 minutes, while the longest journey might extend to about 17 hours and 15 minutes. This suggests that travelers should brace for a lengthy voyage, which can be particularly challenging during winter or when accompanied by children.

For a more pleasant ferry experience, take note of these tips:

  • Select the ferry type that aligns with your needs and preferences. Sail between Santorini and Rhodes on either conventional ferries—known for being spacious, slower, and cost-effective, with ample amenities like cabins, restaurants, and bars—or opt for the high-speed ferries that are quick yet pricier, with limited amenities, prioritizing efficiency. Compare ferry types and pricing on
  • Booking your tickets ahead of time and online can secure the best deals and ensure availability, particularly in peak season. This approach also saves you the trouble of long queues and potential confusion at the port. Reserve your spot on websites like,, or
  • Travel light and with foresight. Keeping your luggage to a minimum enhances convenience, while packing essential items ensures comfort and enjoyment. Don’t forget to include your ID or passport, ferry tickets, cash and credit cards, a mobile phone with charger, reading materials, a pillow and blanket for comfort, snacks, a jacket, sun protection, and perhaps motion sickness medication if needed.

Choosing the Right Ferry for Your Trip

To make the most out of your trip from Santorini to Rhodes by ferry, it’s crucial to select a service that best fits your requirements. Consider the range of amenities and services offered, cabin classes and accommodations available, onboard facilities, entertainment options, as well as accessibility for special needs. Here are several key points to focus on:

Comparing Ferry Operators: Amenities and Services

Travelers have two primary choices for ferry services from Santorini to Rhodes: Blue Star Ferries and Aegeon Pelagos. Both offer the more spacious, albeit slower, conventional ferries, with some variations in their offerings. Let’s explore what sets them apart:

  • Blue Star Ferries boasts more regular departures, quicker transit times, and more competitive pricing than Aegeon Pelagos. On the flip side, Aegeon Pelagos excels with roomier and more comfortable cabins, a larger luggage allowance, and a more accommodating cancellation policy.
  • For those seeking state-of-the-art and eco-conscious travel, Blue Star Ferries offers modern vessels with advanced safety features, and a reputation for punctuality. In contrast, Aegeon Pelagos prides itself on its exceptional customer service, with a staff known for being friendly and considerate, delivering a service that feels more personalized and steeped in tradition.
  • When it comes to on-board experiences, Blue Star Ferries provides a wider variety in food and beverages, entertainment, and shop offerings. Aegeon Pelagos, however, places emphasis on quality and value across its food, entertainment, and retail services.

Cabin Classes and Accommodations

Selecting the appropriate ferry also means considering the different cabin classes and accommodations available to fit your budget and personal requirements. Here’s what you can expect aboard the ferries between Santorini and Rhodes:

  • Air seats are the most economical choice, offering reclining seats in a communal space. Ideal for budget-conscious travelers who don’t prioritize privacy or silence, these seats are found on both Blue Star Ferries and Aegeon Pelagos.
  • For a touch of luxury, opt for Business class seats, featuring spacious seating in a tranquil setting, perfect for those desiring first-rate amenities and utmost comfort. This premium option is exclusive to Blue Star Ferries.
  • The Economy class cabins strike a balance between affordability and comfort. These private quarters come with beds, a bathroom, and air conditioning, catering to those seeking their own space. Both ferry operators offer these cabins, with the choice of interior or exterior views.
  • If you’re looking to indulge, consider the Luxury class cabins. These private cabins provide a bed, bathroom, air conditioning, TV, and mini-fridge, with certain options featuring a double bed and sofa, or even a balcony. This superior class of comfort is only available with Blue Star Ferries.

Onboard Facilities and Entertainment

The final aspect to weigh up when choosing your ferry is the type of onboard facilities and entertainment available. The ferries from Santorini to Rhodes cater to a variety of tastes and preferences, ensuring that your journey is as enjoyable as possible.

Practical Tips for a Smooth Ferry Experience

Travelling from Santorini to Rhodes by ferry can be an enjoyable and unforgettable journey, but it can also present challenges if you aren’t adequately prepared. To help ensure your ferry experience is pleasant and hassle-free, here are some practical tips to keep in mind:

  • Food and Drinks: A variety of dining options await on ferries, including restaurants, cafeterias, bars, and vending machines. You’ll have a choice among different cuisines, dishes, snacks, and beverages to suit your taste, hunger levels, and budget. While you’re welcome to bring your own food and drinks, be aware that consuming them may be restricted in certain areas on board.
  • Entertainment and Activities: A host of entertainment options are at your fingertips on ferries, from TVs and music to games, magazines, and books. Take pleasure in soaking up the views, the warmth of the sun, and the sea breeze on deck, or partake in events and shows occasionally organized by the crew. You’re also free to bring personal entertainment like laptops, tablets, or smartphones, but remember to use them discreetly, in silent mode or with earphones, in designated areas.
  • Shopping and Services: Ferries offer a range of shopping and service amenities, including shops, kiosks, ATMs, and Wi-Fi. Browse for souvenirs, gifts, essentials, or duty-free items, or utilize banking, internet, and communication services based on your needs. Although personal shopping means like credit cards and cash are accepted, additional fees may apply under certain circumstances.

Accessibility and Special Needs Considerations

When selecting the optimal ferry for your trip, consider the accessibility and special needs services available. Your physical, medical, or personal requirements could necessitate specific accommodations on ferries traveling from Santorini to Rhodes. Highlighted below are key services you may encounter:

  • Accessibility and Mobility: Ferries are equipped with features like ramps, elevators, wheelchairs, and specialized cabins to accommodate passengers with mobility needs. Your own mobility aids are welcome, though it’s wise to notify the ferry operator in advance and adhere to any regulations. Should you require additional help, the crew or port staff can provide assistance, provided you make the necessary reservations or arrangements in advance.
  • Medical and Health: For health-related concerns, ferries come prepared with first aid kits, pharmacies, and access to medical professionals. Passengers should declare their own medications, prescriptions, or medical equipment and present any required documentation. In certain situations, you may need to solicit aid from the crew or make emergency arrangements.
  • Personal and Special: Facilities are also in place to cater to personal and unique requirements such as accommodating pets, children, and luggage. While these personal items are allowed, they may incur additional fees and necessitate following specific rules. Again, the crew or port staff can assist, but arrangements or reservations should be made beforehand.

Implementing these tips can go a long way toward creating a relaxed and enjoyable adventure across the sea from Santorini to Rhodes.

Booking Tickets in Advance: Online vs. Local Agents

To guarantee a stress-free ferry journey, it’s crucial to book your tickets in advance. This strategy secures you the most competitive prices, ensures availability, and provides greater itinerary flexibility. Depending on what suits your preferences and convenience, you can book tickets either online or through local agents. Below are some advantages and disadvantages of each option:

  • Online: For the quickest and most convenient option, booking your tickets online is the way to go. It allows you to compare ferry operators, schedules, and prices effortlessly and select the optimal choice for your travel requirements. Payment can be securely made using a credit card, and you’ll promptly receive an e-ticket or voucher via email. However, this method can have pitfalls such as additional booking fees, less accessible customer service, and potential technical glitches. Top websites for online booking include,, and
  • Local agents: To book your ferry tickets in the most traditional and often reliable way, consider local agents. Especially prevalent in places like Santorini, Rhodes, other islands, and mainland ports, these agents can offer personalized advice, hands-on assistance, and insightful recommendations. They accept both cash and credit card, and you can receive a printed ticket or voucher immediately. However, it’s worth noting that prices might be higher, availability could be more restrictive, and scams, although rare, are possible. For trusted local agents, check out reviews on or

Navigating Ports: Santorini and Rhodes Terminals

Efficiently navigating ferry ports is another key to a smooth sailing experience. Being well-informed about the locations, facilities, and services of the Santorini and Rhodes ports will ensure timely arrival for your ferry, reducing any potential stress or confusion. Let’s take a closer look at each port:

  • Santorini: Known as Athinios, the port of Santorini is roughly 9 km from Fira, the main town. During peak season, this small but bustling port may become overwhelming due to crowds. Available amenities include a waiting area, cafeteria, convenience kiosk, taxi stand, and bus stop. Whether arriving by taxi, bus, or personal vehicle, plan ahead for traffic and parking. More details about the port of Santorini are available on
  • Rhodes: In the heart of Rhodes city, you’ll find Kolona, a spacious and contemporary port. It can get quite lively and loud in peak seasons. It boasts numerous services such as waiting areas, eateries, kiosks, a taxi rank, bus stops, car rental options, and a tourist office. To reach the port, consider taxi, bus, or private car, keeping in mind the possible congestion and parking scenarios. Additional information about the port of Rhodes can be found on

Essential Items to Pack for the Journey

Last but not least, packing essential items is a major tip for a hassle-free ferry adventure. This ensures you are prepared with all necessities for comfort, safety, and enjoyment during your voyage. Aim to pack light and wisely, abstaining from unnecessary or forbidden items. Here, we’ll highlight a few essentials you should include in your travel bag for the ferry trip.

To ensure a hassle-free journey, remember to pack the essentials: a valid ID or passport, your ferry tickets, and both cash and credit cards. Don’t forget a phone and charger, a good book or magazine, and for added comfort, a pillow and blanket. Keep handy some snacks and drinks, dress in layers with a jacket and scarf, and protect yourself with sunscreen and sunglasses. Consider bringing motion sickness pills if the sea may upset your stomach.

For those staying in a cabin, include personal toiletries, a towel, a spare set of clothes, and for a good night’s rest, earplugs and an eye mask. If your reservation is for a seat, bring headphones, a neck pillow, and a sleeping bag or sheet for coziness.

Traveling with a vehicle? Pack your car documents, a spare key, and some emergency tools. If a pet is joining you, don’t forget their documents, a leash, carrier, bowl, and sufficient food and water. Bringing along a child means packing their documents, along with a stroller, car seat, diaper bag, toys and games, and extra food and water.

Traveling with Luggage: Restrictions and Tips

To navigate ferry luggage protocols effortlessly, be informed about the restrictions and tips regarding luggage on the Santorini to Rhodes ferry routes. Each operator may have different guidelines, but typically you’re allowed one piece of hand luggage and one checked luggage at no extra cost. Keep hand luggage under 10 kg and within 55x40x20 cm, while checked luggage should not exceed 30 kg and 100x60x40 cm dimensions. Extra items like bicycles or musical instruments can incur additional fees. You’ll find comprehensive luggage policy details on websites such as [], [], or [].

Follow these tips: for hand luggage, use overhead compartments or space beneath your seat; for checked luggage, designated areas or lockers are provided. Label your luggage with your name and contact details and secure it firmly. Always verify the condition of your belongings before and after your trip, and report any discrepancies to the crew or port staff immediately.

Dealing with Seasickness: Precautions and Remedies

Combatting seasickness is essential for an enjoyable journey. Adopt the following precautionary measures and remedies to avoid or treat symptoms like nausea and dizziness.

For prevention: Select a stable, central seat, distance yourself from the engine and windows, fix your gaze on the horizon, and consider using earplugs or headphones. Enhance your physical readiness by ensuring adequate rest, staying hydrated, eating light, and steering clear of alcohol and caffeine.

To alleviate symptoms, you might use over-the-counter medications like antihistamines, anticholinergics, or scopolamine patches. Natural alternatives include ginger, peppermint, chamomile, and acupressure bands. Follow usage instructions carefully and consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns. Start treatment early and possibly add different methods like deep breathing, muscle relaxation, and mental distraction for the best effect.


This comprehensive guide has aimed to equip you with all the necessary information for a smooth ferry adventure from Santorini to Rhodes. We’ve navigated through the details of ferry routes and schedules, assisted in selecting the appropriate ferry for your needs, and outlined how to prepare effectively for your sea journey. With these practical tips, your ferry experience should be as smooth sailing as the serene waters of the Aegean.With all the necessary information and tools at hand, you’re all set to reserve your ferry tickets and embark on a spectacular journey. The voyage from Santorini to Rhodes by ferry offers a splendid opportunity to immerse yourself in the splendor and variety of the Greek isles and forge lasting memories. Seize the chance to explore two of Greece’s most breathtaking and sought-after spots, all while being enchanted by the magic and allure of the Aegean Sea.

So why delay? Book your ferry tickets today, and gear up for an unparalleled travel experience!

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