Buses, Santorini Island
Santorini has a good bus system. You can go to several villages there by bus. There is no need to rent a car or a bike in my opinion to explore this island.
I think buses run until 10 in the evening.
First things – first. The Bus Station does not look like a Bus Station. It is just a big parking area for the busses in Fira. It is just South of the main Square and on a one-way side street. Schedules are in English and posted to the right-hand side near where the benches are to sit on. Most routes are served every hour or half-hour from 7am to 11pm during the high season. You pay the conductor on board and prices range up to 3 Euros.
• Athinios (ferry pier)
• Ia (or Oia)
• Monolithos (airport)
• Perissa (beach)
• Perivolas (beach)
The buses are modern and air-conditioned.
Please note: Sunset is the busiest time on buses and you will likely have to stand.
We had a lot of problems with the bus. Unfortunately, we were pretty limited in terms if transportation, however. We caught the express bus from Fira to head back to our hotel in Perivolos. I had several bags. The ticket collector, a young guy named Nico, was rather rude. He shoved through the crowd to get fares.
Anyhow, I got off the bus only to find that my wallet was gone. After waiting a few hours to get a bus back to Fira, we spoke to the man at the main desk at Fira Bus Station, who told us that a wallet from that bus hadn't been turned in. I ran to an Internet cafe to tell my aunt to cancel my card. (The wallet had my debit card, driver's license, and 80 Euros.) When we got back to the bus station, a nice driver pointed us to bus 21, where my wallet went missing. There was Nico, the rude ticket kid from earlier. After talking with him for a few minutes, he understood exactly what I was missing, said he hadn't seen it, and started speaking Greek with the driver. Then, we got out of the bus and he chAnged his story. He had seen my wallet. He found it. When I asked him where it was, he shrugged. Once again, I repeated, "You found a pink wallet." Nico said, "Yes," but when asked where it was, he shrugged again. He then started to walk toward the office and said come with me. He told the man in the main office of the bus station that he'd found a pink wallet and gave it to the bus driver. Then, a girl came along and said she was missing a pink wallet, so the bus driver gave it to her. He was using his boss as a translator now. Now, it was gone. So recap:
First, Nico understood in English and hadn't seen a wallet.
Then, he had seen a pink wallet. Out of earshot of the driver, suddenly the driver had given it away and Nico didn't know anymore English.
We had to get back on the bus where guess who was the ticket collector. He shoved my mother out of the way to get to the other passengers. Then, she said to him, "I gave you ten," after he gave her 60 cents. He should have given her 5,60 because the bus trip was 4,40 for both of us. Without even blinking or questioning her, OR acting like he didn't understand, he gave her the rest of the amount and shoved past me. This was not before several other passengers were told they were paying too little or questioned their change.
Moral of the story- always have exactly the correct amount and double-check your wallet. We have not encountered any other shady individuals on this level, so it's, I'm sure an unfortunate coincidence.
We visited from MAY8- MAY11. Thank God, we had pre booked a small car. We understood that May is just the beginning of tourist season. And it was, we saw lots of travellers all over. We stayed in Oia and realized that there were hardly any public transport to go around the Island. There is a lot to do and see and without your own conveyance it would be a nightmare if you are planning the dates we did.
Santorini is very steeps so a big car is a huge challenge. pre-book your transport and then you can see it all, even if you spend only 3 nights!
The public transport can drive you to the whole island and is cheap. The buses are not the state of the art, but you dont need it just for a 15 minutes or less trip. Only one observation, last bus departs at 10 pm more o less, and the first starts at 7 am.
Buses to Athinios port are timed to leave Fira from the main station and get the people on time to the ship 1 hour to 90 minutes prior departure.
Routes and pick-up points vary according to the number of buses that are being deployed.
The traditional route is via Farterados, Messaria, Vothonas, and Pyrgos.
During the middle of high season, express buses go to Perissa and Perivolos villages.
On the way to the up side they skip out some of the villages and arrive faster.
There are times however when on the downside the express buses can be cancelled although advertised that they will do the route faster!
During the high season in summer some bus routes operate as late as 3:00 a.m.
There are no buses travelling across the island, going from one side of the island to the other.
Every bus goes to the main bus station at Fira and any changeovers for the next bus destination must be made from the main station only.
Be patient first of all.....
Bus timetables and frequencies changed regularly depending on the season.
1. Winter every one hour - maximum every 90 minutes.
2. Mid season buses run every hour to most areas.
3. Summer frequency - every half an hour to most areas.
The main bus station is near the central square of Fira on the lower side road.
Santorini has an efficient mode of public transport.
Have in mind that busses stop running at midnight every night.
They start running again after five in the morning so if you plan to use the buses you should plan accordingly.
Get update information if you are going to be using the local buses.
The main bus station is located in Fira near the main square. It should be noted that there are no busses which run directly from one side of Santorini to the other so visitors who expect to travel to both sides of Santorini will likely become very familiar with the main bus station which is where major bus transfers will occur. There are seven main bus routes used by tourists.
The local bus system is pretty good and the journey from Kamari to Fira takes about 20 mins and costs EUR1.40 each way.
There are numerous journeys you can take around the island but to really explore you need to either hire a car, a quad bike or scooter.
Buses ARE very frequent & on time; in fact this is a good way to get around.
You want the Monolithos (airport) line to reach Fira/Thira. Fira is the hub for all destinations.
KTEL Buses run to/from Thira to several popular destinations, including Perissa (Black Beach), Akrotiri (Red Beach)), Kamari Beach. The Red Beach is worth visiting & you can swim there.
The only problem with the bus routes is that there are no direct buses from any of the above mentioned destinations to each other, so you have to return to Fira if say you want to see the sunset at Ia (or Oia).
At popular times (eg just before sunset), the bus becomes very full, so you'll probably have to stand up! Hence I suggest going a little earlier :)
Schedules are glued or pinned to a board.
Let me just say that First, this guy or gal is a pretty good writer, Second, every word is true. Having lived on Crete for 3 years, I know first hand how difficult it is for an American to understand the cigarette smoking, break taking, skinkier than a skunk ticket taker. I learned very early to rent a car or moped to get around.
Buses are chep, but they smell like crap and so do most of the people on board after waiting at the station in the 135 degree temp summer. Also, I can't tell you how many times I actually feared that we would somehow drive off the side of the cliff and crash to the sea below. It's not as bad as the movie "Touristas" but you may feel very uncomfortable and lost at times.
Most people on Santorini really DO speak English, especially all of the people under 40 yrs.
Don't let any of these comments keep you from visiting my #1 most loved vacation spot on earth. Just be prepared to endure a little crap along the way. It really is so worth it!
I know many people rent scooters on the islands, but I found the bus system in Santorini very easy to use.....
We stayed in Fira (at Athina Studios) near the bus stop, and it was so nice to just hop on the bus to get to Perissa and some of the other beaches, as well as Oia.
We did not have to worry about where to park a scooter, or any of that.
This is one island where I highly recommend using the buses to get around! Ask your conceirge for a schedule when you check in
there are no direct busses from Perissa to Akrotiri. so you either have to go to Thira and then to catch a bus to Akrotiri, or to get out a half way in Megalohori and to wait to wait for 10-15 min to catch a bus from Thira. (there are fewer busses on Thira-Akrotiri route, so check the schedule first).
the bus will bring you to the ancient Minoan Thira site (currently closed for excavations), from there you will have to walk down the dirt road for about 15 min to get to the beach. if you are planning to catch a bus from Akrotiri, give yourself additional 10-15 minutes as you will have to climb uphill on your way back.