Blue and white rooftops in Santorini with the caldera in the background

Recently, we have had some enquiries from our readers wondering whether it’s possible to do a day trip to Santorini from Crete. The short answer is yes, it’s possible – and more on that below. However, given the size of both Santorini and Crete, we'd recommend spending at least a few days in each.

You can easily spend several weeks on Crete and still have more to see. So, if you find yourself with an extra day, consider taking a day trip somewhere else on the island instead. Santorini is, of course, a stunning destination and is well worth visiting, however, you really need to spend longer than a few hours there to do it justice.

Fast ferries between Santorini and Crete take around two hours, leaving you with around five hours (or less) to have a quick look around Santorini. That’s enough time to see some of Fira and Oia, and get a bit of a feel for the island, but not much else.

The beauty of Santorini, though, is in its wonderful views and taking the time to enjoy them while you relax with a long lunch, soak in a pool or leisurely walk along the clifftops. You simply won’t have the time to do that on a day trip.

That said, it’s definitely possible to take a day trip from Crete to Santorini. And if we haven’t convinced you otherwise yet, here’s how to go about doing it.

A windmill on the cliff in the village of Oia, Santorini

Day tours from Crete to Santorini

The easiest way to visit is through an organised tour, and if you aren’t staying in Heraklion this is your best option. It’s also a good idea if you want help with logistics as the tour will include ferry tickets as well as transport in Santorini. This makes them relatively cost-effective compared to visiting independently.

Tours will usually pick you up from your hotel if you’re staying outside of Heraklion (although this may cost more). They provide transport from the ferry port, between Fira and Oia, and back to the ferry again. Tours may also include optional boat trips to see the caldera and volcano, however this will be at an additional cost. 

Note that tours to Santorini use the same high-speed ferry to Santorini which you would take if you go independently i.e. it’s not a private boat. They also don’t usually include guided walking tours of the towns in Santorini – instead you’ll be given free time to wander around yourself. 

Blue gate on the clifftop in Santorini, Greece

Independent day trips to Santorini from Crete

If you don’t want to take a tour, you can also go independently, although it is a lot more bother. Regular SeaJet ferries connect the two islands, with the first one leaving around 8am in the morning. The last fast ferry leaves Santorini around 4pm in the afternoon.

You can book ferries online on ferryhopper.com and its best to book in advance in peak season. The ferry takes around two hours, and you can expect to pay between 80-90 euros each way.

Keep in mind, that the harbour in Santorini is not in Fira itself. Given that you’re short on time, you’ll need to take taxis or private transfers to get around. For peace of mind, you may want to book your trip to and from the port in advance.

Getting from the port to Fira by taxi should take between 15 and 30 minutes and cost around €40. There is also KTEL bus, which takes around 25 minutes to town, however, if you get the early boat you may arrive before the bus. You could also take a taxi directly to Oia if you prefer, which takes around half an hour.

One option is to wander through Fira’s pretty streets, have lunch, then take a taxi to Oia to see the famous views. Or, if you’re after something a bit more active, you should have just enough time to walk between the two towns, stopping for a drink or lunch along the way. The walk itself takes around 2.5 hours, so make sure you have enough time for photos and a food stop.

Budget at least half an hour (45 minutes is safer) to get from Oia to the ferry port. Again, you’ll want to take a taxi, and unfortunately, you’ll be leaving before the famous sunset. Alternatively, a Blue Star ferry leaves around 1am a couple of times a week (Thursday and Saturday mornings), however it's a slower ferry and you can expect to arrive in Crete between 4-5am.

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Roxanne de Bruyn

Author - Roxanne de Bruyn

Roxanne is the founder and editor of Faraway Worlds. She is a freelance writer and guidebook author and has written for several travel publications, including Lonely Planet and The Culture Trip. With a background in communications, she has studied ancient history, comparative religion and international development, and has a particular interest in sustainable tourism.

Originally from South Africa, Roxanne has travelled widely and loves learning the stories of the places she visits. She enjoys cooking, dance and yoga, and usually travels with her husband and young son. She is based in New Zealand.

Last Updated 7 March 2024

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