In this travel blog we take a ferry to Santorini (Thera) Greece from Piraeus (Athens) Greece in 2021. We leave the Greece mainland and head to the islands for some island hopping. We used the Greek ferry Delos from the Blue Star line to travel from Piraeus to Santorini through the Cyclades. It was a long journey, but full of beautiful sights.
In case you are new here, we are Will and Katy. We are a travel couple that is traveling around the world. We are currently in Greece. We hope to show you what it is like to travel in 2021!
We flew out of Tirana (Mother Teresa) International Airport to Athens International Airport in Greece. 3 months earlier we flew into Tirana from Florida in the United States with a layover at Frankfurt Airport in Germany. We spent the time since traveling around the Balkans: Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Macedonia.
Getting to the Ferry
From Athens the plan was to visit Santorini. You can take a plane there but we wanted to soak in all of the views of the boat through the islands. At the time we went we needed to have some sort of test; it did not matter if it was a PCR, a Rapid Test or a Self test. These requirements are constantly changing, however. Since it did not matter when we went what type of test we took, so we went with the cheapest option; a 5 Euro self-test from the pharmacy.
After spending a week in Athens Greece, we woke up super early to head to Syntagma Square where we got on a bus at 5:05 am. We were dropped off in Piraeus and then had to walk a bit to the actual port.
There are a few different companies that offer ferries to the islands. There is a faster speed boat and some competing slower ferries, but we went with Blue Star Ferries. We bought our tickets in advance online, but if you have yet to purchase your ticket, or need to have them printed, there is a Blue Star Ferry office at the Port. We were on the Delos ship from that ferry line.
We left the port around 7:30 am. We were happy at the time when we got on to the ship that we did not pay for a PCR or even a rapid test as they did not check for our results. They just checked that we had a ticket and a form they wanted filled out. It was completely on the honor system.
On the Ferry
There were plenty of seating options so we chose a table with a great view behind plexiglass. That helped to reduce the wind a bit but it still was cold for us. When you get an economy class ticket, you just find a place to sit. It can be outside with a view or inside to escape the elements. On some ferries you can even get rooms if you want to take a nap or just have more privacy on the ship.
To have an indoor assigned seat you have to upgrade. We went with this option on the way back from the islands, but it didn't seem worth it as long as you can find a seat somewhere on the ferry. During the peak tourist season in Greece though you may want to do this.
If you are prone to motion sickness, make sure to bring your medication with you. In America we would have to buy an entire pack of motion sickness pills, but in Greece were able to buy only as many as we needed from the Pharmacy. They are super helpful when in a van or bus that is going along winding roads or driving through the mountains as well as for ferries.
On board, they didn't have as many amenities as a cruise ship but still had some options. There was food offered for a price; but we packed a lunch to avoid those costs. None of the food, coffee or snacks were free; so make sure to bring money with you if you want any of that while on board. There were bathrooms and showers available for free. There had public lounge areas with more seats, kennels, and the larger ferries even have room under for cars and even semi-trucks to drive on and be transported between the islands. There was no entertainment on board so make sure to have some podcasts downloaded or bring something to read. There is wifi available but that is an additional charge.
On the way to Santorini we stopped to pick up and drop off passengers at Naxos and Ios.
Arriving in Santorini
When getting on and off the ferry make sure to gather your belongings before the ship pulls in as they do not give you a lot of time to disembark the ship. By 3:10 pm (15:10) we were pulling into the port at Santorini. It took about 8 hours in total.
When we pictured Santorini in our minds we thought everything was right on the coast; but that is not the case. When you are dropped off in Santorini by boat you will have to hire a taxi or bus to get up the Fira or Oia as they are elevated high above sea level. You can walk, but that is quite a hike; especially if you have luggage with you. It is about an hour and a half hike up hill. We were staying in Fira (Thera) so there was a bus that we could take up hill. It was 2 Euros per person so make sure to have extra money for that fee as well.
I gotta say, 38 Euros per person for an 8 hour boat ride through the Cycladic islands was well worth it. We are happy that we took the ferry instead of a flight over the Cyclades; going from Athens to Santorini. There was plenty to see; we were able to take pictures of Naxos and Ios even though we could not get off of the ship.
You can see our whole journey from Athens to Santorini in our travel vlog "Greece Ferry: Athens to Santorini - Piraeus to Thera on Blue Star Delos Cyclades Travel Vlog 2021" on YouTube. Out now!
Thanks for reading our blog on Greece Ferries 2021!
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