How to get to Santorini is the first question that comes to mind once you see its breathtakingly alluring photos.
Santorini is a sought-after but also expensive tourist destination. The same is Mykonos. If you compare the total costs for transportation – accommodation – eating between sailing and hotel holidays, sailing holidays are clearly cheaper and in addition they provide great flexibility to change plans on which places to visit in particular and how many days to spend in each one. Moreover, aboard a boat the nearby must see island destinations, namely the volcano on the island of Nea Kameni near Santorini and Delos Island near Mykonos, are approached whenever you want at no extra cost. Otherwise you will have to pay as many tickets as the members of your travelling companion are for the vessel that does the relevant excursion from Santorini or Mykonos respectively. Therefore the best answer on how to get to Santorini is to rent a yacht either bareboat or with a skipper, if you need one, and here below are the alternative itineraries on how to get there.
Santorini surely features international airport but as far as yacht charter bases are concerned stands second. Consequently whoever wishes to have sailing holidays where the itinerary involves Santorini has three options:
- To start the itinerary from Athens.
- To land in Athens and get a domestic flight to Paros.
- To start the itinerary from Mykonos that has international airport.
How to get to Santorini from Athens
Athens offers the most boat rental options than any other place in Greece.
Santorini from Athens is 126 NM without derogations for stopovers. If you get a yacht charter from Athens,with an average speed of 7 NM/h it will take 18 hours to anchor in Santorini’s caldera. It means that a group of six sailors can do it at one stretch by changing shifts of two people every four hours, under condition that weather is suitable for sailing at night. In practice though, few crews are willing to do so. Most will prefer to sail shorter legs and enjoy the astonishing beauty of the Greek Islands they will encounter along the way. Moreover such a trip planning, which is usually done a few months ahead, may in fact be not feasible if weather conditions (meltemi) aren’t suitable for night navigation.
On the map is shown with blue line how to get to Santorini through a proposed week long itinerary departing from Athens. The proposed itinerary was chosen with a view to both the passing by the most remarkable places and also the faster approach of Santorini with daily passages which though require 6-7 hours cruising per day on average.
- Sunday: Kalamaki, Athens – Kolona, Kythnos = 47 NM
- Monday: Kolona, Kythnos – Vathi, Sifnos = 37 NM
- Tuesday: Vathi, Sifnos – Fira, Santorini = 49 NM
- Wednesday: Fira, Santorini – Naoussa, Paros = 53 NM
- Thursday: Naoussa, Paros – Loutra, Kythnos = 44 NM
- Friday: Loutra, Kythnos – Kalamaki, Athens = 51NM
A more leisurely itinerary to get to Santorini from Athens is shown on the map by the green line. This itinerary was designed on the grounds that one week of charter does not suffice for a company to savor all of the joys of such a unique journey, therefore a two weeks charter should rather be preferable. Let’s not forget that when someone arrives in Santorini, will hardly want to leave but with a two-day stay in Santorini will be fairly compensated. In this itinerary, cruising time per day is usually a little more than three hours, which leaves plenty of time for swim-stops at the enticing beaches that you’ll come across in between.
- Sunday: Kalamaki, Athens – Vourkari, Kea = 41 NM
- Monday: Vourkari, Kea – Kolona, Kythnos = 19 NM
- Tuesday: Kolona, Kythnos – Livadi, Serifos = 27 NM
- Wednesday: Livadi, Serifos – Vathi, Sifnos = 16 NM
- Thursday: Vathi, Sifnos – Yialos, Ios = 33 NM
- Friday: Yialos, Ios – Fira, Santorini = 21NM
- Saturday: Fira, Santorini – Nea Kameni – Thirasia – Oia, Santorini = 10 NM
- Sunday: Oia, Santorini – Naoussa, Paros = 48 NM
- Monday: Naoussa, Paros – Mykonos New Port = 22 NM
- Tuesday: Mykonos New Port – Delos – Rhenia – Mykonos New Port* = 26 NM
- Wednesday: Mykonos New Port – Foinikas, Syros = 26 NM
- Thursday: Foinikas, Syros – Loutra Kythnos = 22 NM
- Friday: Loutra Kythnos – Kalamaki, Athens = 51 NM
* Instead of the new port of Mykonos any of the wonderful Mykonos beaches can be selected
How to get to Santorini from Paros
Paros is situated in the centre of Cyclades Islands and very close to Mykonos. There are several berths in Paros and for this reason boat rental options are more than in any other place of Cyclades. The international airport of Paros is under construction. Therefore you can rent a yacht from Paros and book an international flight to Mykonos. After landing on Mykonos take the ferry to Paros and start from Paros your sailing itinerary to get to Santorini. Alternatively you can book both an international flight to Athens and a domestic flight from Athens to Paros. It takes 54 NM which is around 8 hours of cruising to get to Santorini from Paros. You can split the cruising time, by mooring intermediately in lovely Ios, in which case take into account 36 NM or just over five hours of cruising from Parikia of Paros up to Gialos of Ios. Therefrom, the next day you will sail 21 NM in about 3 hours to get to Santorini.
As you may see on the maps showing how to get to Santorini, there are plentiful alternative itineraries to explore the northern Cyclades as well as the southern Cyclades. While northern Cyclades are easily accessed from Athens, you may include southern Cyclades within a week-long sailing itinerary only if you choose to land in the center of Cyclades’ circle. Whichever itinerary you plan having Paros as starting point it may contain Santorini either as a point of return or as a destination to approach both upon departure and upon return. The choice of how many days to devote for Santorini is just yours. In our opinion, the best itinerary is the following (shown on the map by the red line):
- Sunday: Parikia, Paros(1) – Mykonos New Port(2) = 27 NM
- Monday: Mykonos New Port – Yialos, Ano Koufonisia = 39 NM
- Tuesday: Yialos, Ano Koufonisia – Fira, Santorini = 35 NM
- Wednesday: Fira, Santorini – Nea Kameni – Thirasia – Oia, Santorini(3) = 10 NM
- Thursday: Oia, Santorini – Yialos, Ios = 17 NM
- Friday: Yialos, Ios – Parikia, Paros(4) = 36 NM
- You should have arrived in Paros from Saturday for your check in. You may spend this day to explore Paros.
- During Sunday route you may swim in Rhenia and visit the ancient site of Delos before mooring in Mykonos. Spend the rest of the day to see the sights of Mykonos’ Chora, and enjoy the famous sunset and the hectic nightlife.
- From Tuesday afternoon until Thursday noon, the time belongs to Santorini. Find out what things to do in Santorini.
- After checking out in Paros, you may arrange to be in Mykonos the same evening otherwise you may start exploring the rest of Mykonos the other day in the morning. Find out what things to do in Mykonos.
How to get to Santorini from Mykonos
As mentioned before Mykonos has international airport. However berths in Mykonos are limited whilst it is one of the most sought after destinations for hotel and sailing vacation alike. So although there are some possibilities to book a yacht charter from Mykonos many months ahead of the desired start of vacation, the choices can be very limited as summer approaches. In case there aren’t any more boats available in Mykonos, as mentioned above, chartering can be arranged from Paros where in this case, after landing to Mykonos, you will take the ferry to Paros. On return, you check-out to Paros and take the ferry to Mykonos so to fly back home from there.
The benefit of selecting to start either from Paros or from Mykonos is that you can include together in the same week-long itinerary, both of the most bustling and cosmopolitan islands, Mykonos and Santorini. This way you can enjoy both, the magic of Santorini and its famous sunset as well as the perfect picturesqueness and the wild party lifestyle of Mykonos. In addition, ending your sailing itinerary in Mykonos you can continue there with a hotel vacation if you wish.
Oia of Santorini is 62 NM away of Mykonos which is a bit less than 9 hours of sailing. So starting from Mykonos, you can get to Santorini in two days with a stopover at Naxos, having first leg the route from Naxos to Mykonos which is a distance of 23 NM or else 3 ½ hours, and second leg the route from Naxos to Oia of Santorini covering a distance of 41 NM in just under seven hours.