There are three ways to go from Crete to Santorini: regular ferry lines, full day tours by boat, and Crete to Santorini flights.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these options to see which one best suits you.
Main Topics of Crete to Santorini Day Trip Options
Crete to Santorini by Ferry
When you arrive to Santorini by ferry from Crete, you may have enough time to consider one of these shore excursions for cruise ships.
Fast ferry lines such as Seajets and Minoan Lines have boats that depart from Heraklion between 8:00 am and 9:40 am, arriving to Santorini between 09:50 am and 11:35 am.
I did a simulation for May 24th 2024, which returned four options of boats with early morning departure time.
The problem is that the last fast ferry leaves Santorini for Heraklion at 17:20.
That’s a bit too early to be able to complete some of the day tours in Santorini. You can still do a lot of things on your own.
Full Day Round-Trip Tours from Crete to Santorini
There are such tours on both Viator and GetYourGuide.
The Best GetYourGuide Tour
Click here to see details about this trip on GetYourGuide.
Its price is more or less similar to the return ferry tickets. This could make it an excellent deal. Beware, though, the total duration of this trip is between 12 and 14 hours.
Travel comfortably on a modern high-speed boat and in air-conditioned buses while listening to your guide’s commentary about Santorini’s history and mythology.
Capture pictures of Santorini’s famous Aegean architecture with whitewashed walls and blue domed churches and narrow, winding streets.
The high-speed boat departs from Heraklion. The cruise to Port Athinios on Santorini takes about 2.5 hours. There are snacks and drinks at the bar on the boat (not included in your price).
From Port Athinios, you’ll travel by bus to Oia. The journey takes about 40 minutes. There’s plenty of free time in Oia for you to enjoy the scenic views of the volcanic caldera and to take photos.
Next, you’ll travel 30 minutes to Fira, the main town of Santorini, built on the edge of a 300-meter cliff.
Check out its narrow streets, white vaulted houses, and bright blue domes.
You have the option to take a cruise from Fira in a wooden boat to the volcano and hot springs (for an additional charge) or spend more time exploring the city.
Then you return to Port Athinios where your guide will help you board the return ferry.
Take in the late-afternoon views on the boat before arriving at Heraklion port.
The Best Viator Tours
Click here to see the Crete to Santorini tour from Rethymno.
If you prefer tours that start from Heraklion, click here to check them out.
These tours have similar schedules, so you may find it difficult to choose the best of them.
All of these tours use regular fast ferry services for the commute. Your advantage is that you have a local guide to tell you interesting stuff and buses to commute on Santorini.
In Santorini, you only get to visit Oia and Fira, as that’s everything the available time allows for.
There’s also an excursion to the volcano, but that’s optional (which means you need to pay an additional fee), and it takes from your available time in Fira.
These excursions look honest to me. This is the best you can do in such a short time.
Taking into consideration that you can easily find 10 amazing sunsets in Santorini, you can’t expect to see everything in 4-5 hours.