Transportation in Santorini Island Buses
Transportation around Santorini Island is made easy by an efficient, affordable bus system. Schedules change, buses get crowded, and the island is hilly … so pay attention and hold on.
Transfers, Tickets and Timing
Public bus transportation (KTEL) on Santorini Island is efficient and affordable. It is used by locals and tourists alike. Fira or Thira (the spelling depends on which alphabet you use) is Santorini’s main city, and home to the central bus station. Buses run to/from Fira to popular tourist destinations including: Perissa (Black Beach), Kamari Beach, Akrotiri (Red Beach), Oia, as well as Athenios port, and the airport. All journeys are under an hour. There are no buses that run directly from one side of Santorini to the other. Visitors who hope to travel to both sides of the island will become very familiar with the station in Fira where transfers occur.
Ticket price depends on the destination, but are usually under two euro. Tickets are purchased on the bus from the driver or a conductor. Be wary of anyone selling tickets elsewhere. Keep your ticket until the end of your journey.
Buses run from approximately 7 A.M. to 10 P.M., though in the high season they run later. In winter most routes run every 90 minutes while in summer they run as often as every half hour. Schedules are pinned or glued to boards at bus stops but they change frequently. Check with your hotel for the most current schedule.
Order from Chaos
It is a misconception that buses run on “GMT” (Greek Maybe Time). Buses do tend to stick to their schedules. Those schedules just change…
Fira’s bus station does not look like a bus station. It is an open air terrace with buses packed in a tiny space and people all around. Crazy, but it works! The station is just south of the main square on a one-way side street. Buses may be unlabeled and empty when you get there. Know what time your bus is supposed to leave and be patient. Your driver will most likely appear out of nowhere just before departure. Look for your destination to appear on the front of a bus and get in line, fast!
Buses have luggage compartments underneath. Once onboard, expect air conditioning and comfort, if it’s not too crowded. The hour just before sunset is the most popular time for bus travel, especially to Oia. Expect to stand then if you can get on at all. Smart travelers will take an earlier bus!
The ride itself will be exciting as the driver zips around steep spiral turns and navigates cliffs that drop to the sea. You may feel like you are about to fly out a window but you will be thankful you did not rent a big car. Watch your belongings and keep your hand on your wallet.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about Santorini Island bus transportation.
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