Planning a trip to Greece but wanting to get away on an extraordinary day trip to Santorini from Athens? A picturesque island filled with blue hues, Instagram-worthy views, and incredible things to do! Here’s the ultimate Athens to Santorini day trip guide to get you there.
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After spending 4 days in Athens, Greece, we were ready to get away; ready for a little escape.
While my 2 girlfriends and I loved wandering around the ancient ruins of Athens, strolling the picturesque streets, and exploring what the historic city had to offer, we were itching for a day trip getaway.
So, a bit of research later, we had our sights set on doing a day trip to Santorini from Athens.
We found some inexpensive flights with RyanAir that left early in the morning and returned late in the evening, leaving us a full day to experience what Santorini had to offer!
While I didn’t absolutely fall in love with the island of Santorini, it’s a great day trip from Athens.
Interested in doing some more island hopping while in Greece? Take a look at this in-depth Greek island hopping itinerary!
You’ll find the island has:
- Beautiful views.
- Incredible hikes.
- Gorgeous buildings and architecture.
- Spectacular blue hues — in both the ocean and homes.
- Delicious eateries and cafes.
- Instagram-worthy photo spots (obvi, as this Greek island is mega-popular on social meeds).
- Welcoming locals.
But why exactly did I not fall in love with it?
Truth be told, I found it pretty dirty and extremely overhyped. Throughout the island, garbage was kinda everywhere (no doubt, an effect of over-tourism) and after visiting the island of Aegina (just an hour away from Athens), it didn’t really seem that special to me.
Aegina is way less busy, less touristy, had more things to do, and is more beautiful in my humble opinion!
Anyhow, to create your own views and opinions of Santorini, you need to visit it for yourself! No doubt, this island is loved by many, and you could fall in love with it, too.
So, with that said, here’s the ultimate guide on how to travel from Athens to Santorini — best way to get to Santorini, how to get around the island, best attractions/things to do, and how much to budget, as well as frequently asked questions about the island and/or the day trip.
THE ULTIMATE DAY TRIP FROM ATHENS TO SANTORINI GUIDE
How to get from Athens to Santorini?
First things first: what’s the best method of getting from Athens to Santorini?
To get from one to the other, you have two different options —
1. Hopping on a flight.
2. Cruising on a ferry.
As we’re talking about a day trip here, the most logical option is to fly. Because a typical ferry journey or cruise from Athens to Santorini takes anywhere from 4.5 hours to 7.5 hours, depending on the ferry type.
Thus, to get the most time on the island and make the most of your day trip to Santorini, flying makes most sense. The flight time to Santorini takes about 45 minutes — a short, little flight!
Additionally, most of the time, a roundtrip flight is the cheapest way to get to Santorini! A win-win in my book.
So, with that said, where is the best place to find cheap flights from Athens to Santorini? My first pick: Skyscanner.com. Second choice would definitely be Skiplagged.com.
The best part about Skyscanner is that you can pick the explore option, which allows you to find the cheapest day to fly in a chosen month.
For example, if I search for flights from Athens to Santorini in the entire month of February, I can see the cheapest day to fly roundtrip is the 16th. With airlines RyanAir and Volotea it costs €71 roundtrip and the flights leave morning and late evening. Perfect for a day trip!
With that said, it’s best to plan your trip to Santorini, Greece in advance to get the best flight price.
Use this Skyscanner Widget to Book Your Flight!
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Getting Around Santorini — Island Transportation
When you arrive on the island by plane, you’ll land at the Santorini (Thira) International Airport. Well connected by Santorini’s public bus system (KTEL), you can pretty much get to anywhere from here.
Although, the bus system isn’t the only way to get around the island.
Alternative options to get around Santorini are:
- ATV (quads).
Out of all the transportation methods mentioned, getting around by bus is the most affordable. The easiest way to get around Santorini is by renting a car for the day.
We found the easiest method to get around the island was by the public bus system. Costing around €1.80-2.50 euros per trip, it’s relatively inexpensive transportation.
Although, if you want to rent a scooter, ATV, or car in Santorini, here’s how much it’ll cost:
- Scooter: €15.00 to €45.00 depending on the season and scooter type.
- ATV (quad): €20.00 to €45.00 depending on the season and ATV type.
- Car: €24.00 to €50.00 depending on the season and car type.
If you’re not comfortable driving your own vehicle to get around, I highly recommend the KTEL bus system. It’s clean, safe, very affordable, and — most of the time — on time! Can’t get much better than that, right?
Additionally, walking around the island is a great way to discover what it has to offer! Don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path and experience the hidden gems of Santorini (if there are any left, that is).
Check out this post next on wandering the ancient ruins of Athens! SO COOL.
How much does a day trip from Athens to Santorini cost?
Next question on the list: how much to budget when traveling to Santorini?
While everyone has different spending levels, if you’re on a rather small budget, here’s a general outlook of how much it’ll cost to travel to the Greek island.
Transportation cost breakdown:
- If you get lucky with flights, they’ll likely cost you around €70-90 roundtrip.
- Additionally, you’ll need to factor in how much it’ll cost to get from the center of Athens to the airport (and vice versa). In my experience, an Uber typically costs around €30 one-way. So, overall, it would cost €60 roundtrip from central Athens to the ATH airport. Also, keep in mind, an Uber is likely going to be cheaper than a taxi.
- On the island, if you decide to go with the bus system, you’ll likely use it about 6 or 7 times (Airport –>Fira, Fira –> Oia, Oia –> Fira, Fira –> Akrotiri, Akrotiri –> Fira, Fira –> Airport). Although, this all depends on what you want to do in Santorini. I think we rode the bus about 4 times. Key takeaway: it’ll probably cost around €10-12 total for the KTEL bus.
(P.S. Want a free ride with Uber? Click here to use my code!)
Next, you’ll need to consider food and drinks:
- I’m not much of a breakfast person but let’s say you spend around €10 euros for a meal in a restaurant, that comes to €30 euros for food. Cheaper food can be found at food stands, which can be as little as €4.
- And then consider if you’ll spend money on drinks. From my experience, you’ll need to budget around €30-40 for food and drinks when planning a day trip from Athens to Santorini.
- Have a few hours to spare? If the sun is out and about, grab a glass of wine (€10-12) at one of the many hotels that hug the rocky side in Fira. Even better, do it at sunset and have your breath taken away!
- Who else knows?! Make sure to plan for some unexpected costs — as you should when traveling!
Overall, the cost of a day trip to Santorini from Athens, Greece will hover around €170-250 EUR TOTAL, depending on your spending habits and whether or not you do any tours.
This price includes everything: flights, transportation, food, and miscellaneous costs.
Tip: If you’re looking to save money while in Santorini, check out Nomadic Matt’s Santorini saving money tips.
Best things to do in Santorini, Greece
Now for the fun part! Here are the top things to do, best attractions, and incredible places to visit in Santorini.
1. Watch the sunset.
While Oia is meant to have some of the most beautiful sunsets on earth, watching and admiring the sunset from any part of the island is incredible.
2. Hike down in the volcano caldera.
Ready for some ultimate views? Take a stroll down into the volcano caldera. You might even find a stray dog friend or two!
3. Visit the beautiful town of Oia.
One of the most photographed towns in the world, Oia needs to be on your bucket list when visiting Santorini. It’s blue-domed buildings and whitewashed walls are absolutely breathtaking! You’ll love it.
4. Have a glass of wine.
It’s said that Santorini’s wine production dates back to Roman times. I’ll cheers to that! And you should, too 😉
5. Visit the Akrotiri archaeological site (Akrotiri Ruins).
Ready to soak up some history on your day trip to Santorini? The Akrotiri archaeological site dates back to Minoan Bronze Age and sometime during the 16th century, a volcano erupted.
The entire city was buried in volcanic ash, ultimately preserving the ancient city. It’s said to be the Pompeii of Greece! Pretty cool, eh?
6. Soak up some sun at one of the many beaches.
This is a great thing to do if you’re visiting in the summer and you’re on a budget! Many of the beaches are free and are great to spend a couple hours at.
7. Hike the trail between Fira and Oia.
Depending on how you want to spend your time on the island of Santorini, you can do the hike between Fira and Oia — which takes about 2.5 to 3 hours.
Once you reach one end, you can hop on a bus back to the starting town. Make sure to take plenty of water with you and enjoy the views!
8. Have lunch with a view.
Grab a delicious lunch at one of the many restaurants that have epic views of the surrounding islands and ocean.
I had a tasty veggie pasta at a restaurant that boasted a complete glass wall with beautiful views! No doubt, a lunch I’ll never forget.
Want a stress-free visit to Santorini? Check out these fully guided tours where you don’t have to lift a finger!
Frequently Asked Questions
How far is Santorini from Athens?
A ferry can take anywhere from 4.5 to 8 hours. A flight from Athens to the island takes around 45-50 minutes.
Keep in mind, it takes around 50-80 minutes to get from Athens to the Port of Piraeus and around 30 minutes to get from Athens to the Athens International Airport.
Where can I find the Santorini bus schedule?
To find the best information regarding the Santorini bus schedule, visit this website: the KTEL Santorini. (That link will take you to the timetable.) Additionally, you can find bus prices on the website.
What are the best Santorini tours?
While I didn’t go on any tours in Santorini, the reviews of the following tours are excellent:
- Half-day catamaran cruise with BBQ and drinks. Who doesn’t love a good day on the water with spectacular views and some cold drinks?
- Santorini highlights tour with wine tasting in Fira. Want to see the best of what Santorini has to offer? This tour has your back! And wine tasting is involved… need I say more?
- Small-group Santorini wine tasting and vineyard tour. Ready to have a taste of Santorini? This small-group tour is specifically focused on showing you the wine behind Santorini.
- Private Santorini tour: visit the most popular destinations. More of a private tour kinda person? Try this one! You’ll discover what the best of Santorini has to offer AND you can pick and choose what time you want to depart (great for someone on a day trip to Santorini!), what to see, how long to stay, and more.
P.S. All of the above are Santorini day tours. Meaning they can be done within a day trip to the island!
With the information above, I hope you can plan an epic day trip to Santorini! A beautiful island with breathtaking views, great things to do, and lots and lots of wine. Hopefully you love it!
Not sure what to check out next? Readers love these posts:
- 13 remarkable things to do in Athens, Greece
- Wandering the ancient ruins of Athens, Greece
- 10 unbelievably affordable & underrated places to visit in 2020
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- Must-have hostel essentials every traveler needs to have on their packing list
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GrowlyJanuary 13, 2023 6:10 am
I had to laugh. On the page where Sophie talks about taking a day trip flight to Santorini, we see this.
Want to Be Earth’s BFF?
Take my 10-Day Sustainability Challenge and each day you’ll get easy, actionable steps you can take to become a bit more eco-friendly.
I’d suggest one way to be more eco friendly would be to not fly to Santorini for the day. You can’t pretend to be an earth loving eco warrior and also jump on a plane because you’re ‘ itching for a day trip getaway’.
That said, as someone who doesn’t preach eco-hypocrisy, it was nice to know that its cheap and easy to enlarge my carbon footprint in the name of ‘having a good time’.