In this guide on getting around in Santorini, I'll cover all the transport options such as using the buses, hiring a car, using an ATV and taking an organized bus tour.
Choosing the best way to see Santorini
There are many ways to explore Santorini, from renting a car for self-guided exploration to catching a bus tour that takes you through the island's most popular attractions during the day or at night.
Personally, I think that if you have more than a couple of days on the island, driving around Santorini is the best way to go. There's plenty of places to hire vehicles, and it gives you the ultimate flexibility.
This travel guide to getting around Santorini gives you all the information you need to work out which method might be best for you.
By the way, if you came here looking how to get from Santorini airport to your hotel, check this out instead: Santorini Airport Transport Guide
Santorini Transportation Options
These are the basic options and most popular choices available to most travelers looking at getting around in Santorini:
- Getting around Santorini by car (best option)
- Getting around Santorini by scooter/quad/ATV
- Getting around Santorini by bus
- Getting around Santorini by taxi
- Getting around Santorini on an organized tour
- Getting around Santorini by foot
First though, it might be a good idea to take a closer look at Santorini and then ask yourself a few questions.
How big is Santorini?
Santorini is a relatively small Greek island, and it is about 16km long and about 12km at its widest area. The total area is around 76.19 km². Driving from one end to the other takes around 40 minutes.
The two main towns of Oia and Fira will be where most tourists spend their time, especially on stays of just a night or two. While you can actually hike between Fira and Oia town (and it's very rewarding!), you'd want to take a bus or taxi back on the return journey.
Do you need a car in Santorini? – If you're staying for a night or two, you probably don't need to consider hiring a vehicle in Santorini at all.
Are you spending longer in Santorini?
If you're staying longer than a couple of nights, you'll want to see more of the island. It's at this point a hire vehicle or other transportation options start to make a little more sense.
For example, the ancient site of Akrotiri is at the south of the island, and Santorini's best beaches are located to the east.
In addition there's some very interesting villages in the middle. You can't really walk to these from Fira or Oia, so you'll need to use some form of transport.
Getting around Santorini by car (best option)
Renting a car is the best way to travel in Santorini. It's not only fun driving somewhere new, but it also allows you to visit some of the island's less touristy areas and experience the true essence of this beautiful island.
You'll also get to spend exactly as long as you want in each place without worrying about bus timetables.
-Rent a car in Santorini
The ferry port in Santorini has a number of car rental businesses. Many car hire companies will also have pickup locations in Fira, Oia, or the airport, and there are perhaps a dozen companies from which to rent a car in Santorini Greece.
If you plan to travel in high season (July/August/September), I'd suggest reserving one well in advance of time. I recommend RentalCars for this.
-Driving in Santorini
The roads are generally very good with only one or two smaller roads being gravel surfaces. When compared to other parts of Greece, driving around Santorini is relatively tame.
-Parking in Santorini
Parking can be a bit of an issue in Fira and Oia, so I suggest that you take advantage of accommodation on the cheaper side of the island near Perissa where you can more easily park closer to your accommodation at the end of the day.
I highly recommend Booking as they have more rooms, hotels, apartments and villas available in Santorini than AirBnB.
– You'll have a car to explore the island with.
– You'll be able to visit some of the less touristy parts of Santorini.
– You can plan your own itinerary and stay as long or short in each place you want without worrying about bus timetables.
– It's more expensive than other options
Getting around Santorini by scooter/quad/ATV
Scooters, quads, and ATVs are also popular ways to get around the island. The reason I don't think they are as optimal as hiring a car, is that they are slightly more dangerous, and you end up exposing yourself to the sun for many hours per day.
If you have a tendency to get sunburn, you might want to think twice about heading out on a quad on day one!
Quads and ATVs cost almost as the same a a car rental, and sometimes more in August. Scooters are more budget friendly.
– You'll get to see more of the island.
– They can be slightly less expensive than cars.
– It's more dangerous than other options.
– You're exposed to the sun for many hours per day, which can lead to sunburns if you have a tendency towards that
Getting around Santorini by bus
Buses in Santorini are a cheap and easy way to move around the island. For just two euros, you can explore all the big towns and main attractions on your list.
If you're travel itinerary is a simple one involving just a couple of bus trips in Santorini per day, then it can be a viable way to get around the island.
Keep in mind that in peak months such as July and August, the buses may be too full to get on, meaning you may end up waiting around for the next one sometimes.
– Cheapest way to get around and easy to use.
– Buses go to all the big towns and main attractions in Santorini.
– It's a viable option for simple itineraries with just a couple of bus trips per day.
– In peak months, buses may be too full to get on, meaning you might wait around sometimes.
– Slow service (if you take the bus, you'll be waiting in line).
Getting around Santorini by taxi
In my opinion, taxis in Santorini do have their uses in some circumstances. For example, taking a taxi from the airport to your hotel can make sense as it means you don't have to crowd on to a bus.
The same applies to taking a taxi from the ferry port to you hotel. Outside of this though, Santorini taxi services start to get a little expensive.
The reason, is that there are only a limited number of taxis on the island.
If you want to pre-book a taxi in Santorini, I recommend using Welcome.
-Taxi is a quick and easy way to get from one place to another.
-You can pre-book taxis (but there is no UBER in Santorini)
-It's the best option if you have lots of luggage.
-The cost of taxis can add up quickly over time, especially if you're using them often during your stay on Santorini.
Getting around Santorini on an organized tour
If you don't want the hassle of driving yourself around Santorini, perhaps an organized tour might be a better fit. You'll get to see a lot of the island depending on the itinerary, and you'll also have the benefit of a tour guide explaining everything along the way.
The most popular organized bus tour in Santorini is the Traditional Santorini Sightseeing Bus Tour with Oia Sunset. During the day, you can explore the Akrotiri excavation site, see the Red Beach, taste the island’s distinctive wines and marvel at a spectacular Oia sunset.
– You'll get to see a lot of the island depending on the itinerary.
– You'll have a tour guide explaining everything along the way.
– Ideal for solo travelers who will find it the most cost effective
– Great for people who don't want to hire a vehicle in Santorini
– It's not as flexible as other options, meaning you can't explore Santorini on your own terms at all times.
– It's more costly if you are a group of 2 or 3 people when compared to hiring a car.
Getting around Santorini by foot
The two main towns of Fira and Oia are largely traffic free, which means that the only way you'll be getting around them is on foot. As they are built on the beautiful caldera, keep in mind there may be more steps and stairs than you are accustomed to!
There is also a very nice hiking route from Fira to Oia which follows the caldera. The walk takes about 3-4 hours, and there's some lovely views and stops along the way.
Unlike other Cycladic islands, Santorini does not have an extensive network of dedicated hiking trails, but does have small local tracks to some places of interest.
Walking around Santorini in the heat of summer is tougher than you might imagine. Wear light, loose fitting clothes, a hat, and plenty of sunblock!
FAQ About Getting Around in Santorini Greece
Some of the most commonly asked questions about getting around Santorini island include:
Are taxis in Santorini expensive?
There are just 25 taxis on the entire island of Santorini. When you plan a trip with your taxi, it is important to negotiate the price because prices are not set by meters. Taxi fares from the Santorini airport are 35€ to 40€ for Oia, 20€-30€ for Fira. Expect to pay out 30 Euros per ride to other places.
Is it worth renting a car in Santorini?
If you are staying more than a couple of days, you will get the most out of Santorini if you rent a car because then you can go where and when you want to and your own pace.
Can you get around Santorini without a car?
It is possible to get around Santorini without a car, but it is the most expensive way to do so. There are very few taxis on the island (there are 25) and they charge for a set fare, so it may be cheaper to take a bus ride if you want to explore and see more of the beaches.
Is there public transport on Santorini?
The main bus station is in Fira. All bus routes begin and end in Fira. If you can't get a bus directly to where you need to go, you would need to swap in Fira. Tickets must be purchased from your driver before departure. .
Is there Uber in Santorini?
No, there is no UBER in Santorini or any other ride sharing apps or companies. Your hotel may recommend a specific driver, and there are less than 30 taxis on the island.
Santorini Travel Guide
You might also want to take a look at these Santorini travel guides, tips, and itineraries as they may help you plan your trip:
- Santorini Travel Guide
- Best time to go to Santorini
- Santorini in October
- Santorini in November
- Random facts about Santorini
- Best Santorini hotels with a sunset view
- How to book a Santorini hotel with breaking the bank
- One day Santorini itinerary
- Two day Santorini itinerary
- Three day Santorini itinerary
- Day Trips from Santorini
- Best Santorini tours and excursions
- Best boat tours in Santorini
Dave is a travel writer who lives in and writes about Greece. If you enjoyed this guide to how to get around Santorini, you might want tp explore this website for more travel blog posts about Greece. Follow Dave on social media for travel inspiration from Greece and beyond: