A Complete Insider’s Guide to the Athens Greece to Santorini Train Route

Alright, listen up, fellow wanderers! If you’re dreaming of island hopping in Greece, chances are Athens and Santorini are topping your list. They’re both stunning spots, each with its own unique vibe. 

Now, you might have heard whispers of an Athens Greece to Santorini train route, but let me set the record straight: there isn’t one. Yep, you heard that right. But don’t fret! The ferry is your trusty steed on this journey, and it’s actually a pretty spectacular way to travel.

I’ve done this trip more times than I can count, and I’m here to spill all the beans. We’ll cover everything from picking the right ferry to navigating those charming Greek ports. By the time we’re done, you’ll be a ferry-hopping pro, ready to soak up the sun in Santorini.

Setting Sail for Santorini 

Let’s be real, the idea of a scenic train ride through Greece sounds romantic. However, when it comes to reaching the stunning island of Santorini, trains won’t get you there. I’ve seen many a traveler get tripped up by this, so it’s worth repeating: there is no direct train from Athens to Santorini.

Instead, the ferry is your ticket to paradise. Not only is it a more practical option, but it’s also a far more enchanting way to experience the Aegean Sea. Trust me, as someone who’s done both, watching the islands drift by from the deck of a ferry is a million times more memorable than a quick flight.

Plus, ferry travel is often more budget-friendly, leaving you with more euros to spend on gyros and souvenirs once you reach Santorini. So, will you still take the Athens Greece to Santorini train–if there’s one? 

Choosing Your Ferry

Now, let’s talk ferry options. You’ll find a variety of companies operating this route, each with its own fleet and schedule. Some popular ones include Blue Star Ferries and Golden Star Ferries. The main choice you’ll have to make is between high-speed and conventional ferries.

 A ferry, a mode of transportation to Santorini

High-speed ferries are faster (obviously!), getting you to Santorini in about five hours. However, they can be pricier and might not be the smoothest ride if the sea is a bit choppy. 

Conventional ferries take a bit longer (around eight hours), but they offer a more relaxed experience with more amenities. 

Booking Your Ferry Tickets

My top tip for booking ferry tickets is to do it in advance, especially during peak season. You can easily snag them online through websites like Ferryhopper or Direct Ferries. Sometimes, you can even score a sweet deal if you book early!

Prices vary depending on the ferry company, type of ferry, and season. Generally, high-speed ferries are pricier than conventional ones. Expect to pay anywhere from €40 to €120+ for a one-way ticket, depending on the above factors. Sometimes, you can even score a sweet deal if you book early!

If you’re flexible with your travel dates, consider traveling during the shoulder seasons (spring or autumn) when prices tend to be lower and the crowds are thinner.

Navigating the Athens Ferry Port

Now that you’ve got your ferry tickets sorted, let’s chat about getting to the Athens ferry port, officially known as Piraeus Port. Thankfully, it’s well-connected to central Athens. 

The metro is the most budget-friendly option, taking about 30 minutes from Syntagma Square. There are also buses and taxis, but they can be a bit more pricey.

Once you arrive at Piraeus, you’ll find it’s a bustling hub with all the essentials you need before setting sail. There are cafes to grab a coffee and pastry, shops for last-minute bits and bobs, and even luggage storage if you want to explore Athens before your ferry departs.

Checking In and Boarding

When it’s time to board, simply head to the check-in counter with your ticket and passport. You’ll then receive a boarding pass and be directed to your assigned deck or cabin. If you’re unsure, just ask a staff member – they’re usually quite friendly and helpful.

Tourists boarding a ferry 

Unwinding on Your Athens-Santorini Journey

Depending on your chosen ferry, you’ll find plenty to keep you entertained during the journey. Most ferries have restaurants serving up delicious Greek cuisine. 

They also have bars for a cheeky cocktail, or a glass of chilled Assyrtiko wine (a Santorini specialty!), and even shops where you can pick up some Greek island souvenirs. 

Look out for handmade ceramics, evil eye charms, or even a bottle of Santorini’s famous Vinsanto dessert wine. Some larger ferries might even have live music performances, traditional Greek dancing, or other forms of entertainment to keep you engaged.

Overcoming Seasickness

If you’re prone to seasickness, I’d recommend taking some precautions. Pack some over-the-counter motion sickness medication like Dramamine, just in case. You can also try natural remedies like ginger chews or acupressure bands. 

Staying hydrated is key, and surprisingly, munching on plain crackers can help settle your stomach. If you start feeling queasy, head out on deck for some fresh air and focus on the horizon – it often does the trick.

Enjoying the Aegean Sea Views

Speaking of the deck, be sure to spend some time soaking up the stunning Aegean Sea views. There’s nothing quite like watching the islands come into view as you approach Santorini. It’s a truly magical experience.

Arriving in Santorini

Finally, you’ve made it to Santorini! Your ferry will dock at either Athinios Port or Fira Port, depending on the company you’ve chosen. Athinios is the main port and is closer to the island’s famous caldera views, while Fira is the capital and offers easy access to shops, restaurants, and nightlife.

From the port, you can easily reach your hotel by taxi, bus, or even cable car (if you’re staying in Fira). The island is small, so you won’t have to travel far to start your Santorini adventure.

Tourists in Santorini, sight-seeing the views

Now, go forth and explore this incredible Greek island! Whether you’re here for the stunning sunsets, the delicious food, or the fascinating history, I know you’re going to have an amazing time. 

Soak it All In!

Now, go forth and explore this incredible Greek island! But first, take a moment to soak it all in. Find a charming cafe with a caldera view, order a frappé (iced coffee), and simply admire the breathtaking scenery that surrounds you. It’s the perfect way to start your Santorini experience.

Whether you’re here for the stunning sunsets, the delicious food, or the fascinating history, I know you’re going to have an amazing time.

More Alternatives to Athens Greece to Santorini train

While the ferry is the most popular and convenient option for getting to Santorini, there are a couple of alternatives to consider.

If you’re short on time and budget isn’t a major concern, you could catch a flight from Athens to Santorini. Several airlines operate this route, and the flight takes less than an hour. However, you’ll miss out on the scenic ferry journey and the chance to hop between other islands along the way.

Another option, albeit a more complex one, is to take a combination of trains and ferries. You can take a train from Athens to a port city on the mainland, such as Piraeus or Rafina, and then catch a ferry from there to Santorini. This can be a good choice if you want to explore other parts of Greece before heading to the islands.

Sample Itinerary

To give you a better idea of how to plan your journey, here’s a sample itinerary for a 3-day trip from Athens to Santorini:

Day 1:

  • Morning: Arrive in Athens and check into your accommodation.
  • Afternoon: Explore the Acropolis and other ancient sites in Athens.
  • Evening: Head to Piraeus Port and board your overnight ferry to Santorini (Blue Star Ferries often has overnight options).
A photo of Santorini, Greece

Day 2:

  • Morning: Go to your hotel in Santorini to rest for a while
  • Afternoon: Relax on the beach or explore the charming village of Oia.
  • Evening: Enjoy a delicious seafood dinner with a view of the caldera.

Day 3:

  • Morning: Take a boat tour to the volcanic islands of Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni.
  • Afternoon: Visit a local winery and indulge in some wine tasting.
  • Evening: Catch the famous Santorini sunset in Oia.

Day 4:

  • Morning: Take a cooking class and learn to make traditional Greek dishes.
  • Afternoon: Relax by the pool or go for a hike along the caldera rim.
  • Evening: Enjoy a final dinner in Santorini before catching your ferry back to Athens.

Wrapping Up

So, there you have it, my friends! The Athens Greece to Santorini train might be a myth, but the ferry journey is a reality – and a delightful one at that. It’s more than just a mode of transport; it’s an adventure in itself, filled with stunning views, delicious food, and the chance to truly soak in the Greek island vibes.

Whether you’re a seasoned solo traveler or a first-time backpacker, I hope this guide has equipped you with everything you need to set sail for Santorini with confidence. So what are you waiting for? Grab those ferry tickets and get ready for an unforgettable Greek escapade!

Make Your Trip Easier

I’m all about planning trips on your own and figuring your way around the local scene. But still, I don’t want to leave you like a fish out of water!

Here are some resources I regularly use whenever I travel (on my own or with other people):

xo, Alice


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