Our rep told us that busses in Greece run to GMT, that's "Greek Maybe Time". In other words they're unreliable. Well, compared to Switzerland maybe, compared to here in the UK they positively run like clockwork. In fact no, they do run like clockwork, no comparisons needed.
And they run a proper service too, for the convenience of people and not themselves. Most destinations in Santorini that you, as a tourist, would care to visit are covered by a bus service that runs very regularly throughout the day. This includes Oia (every 30 minutes), Kamari (every 30 minutes), Perissa (every hour give or take), Akrotiri (roughly every hour) and a variety of places that are on those routes (Megalahori, Emborio, Pyrgos, Imerovigli and so on). Fares are cheap being 1.1 Euro for near destinations (Oia) rising to 1.7 for destinations further afield (Perissa). The busses always left on time, and at busy periods (especially Oia sunsets and last busses back to Kamari/Perissa) they doubled up to cope with demand.
Arriva/Stagecoach should take note.
Fira - Oia, every 1/2 hour, takes 30 minutes and costs E1.10. Passes Imerovigli.
Fira - Kamari, every 1/2 hour, takes 15 minutes and costs E1.10. Passes through Messaria.
Fira - Perissa, every 1 to 1 1/14 hours, takes 35 minutes and costs E1.70. Passes through Messaria, Vothonas, Pyrgos, Megalahori and Emborio. A very useful bus route.
Fira - Akrotiri, every 1 1/2 hours or so.
There are also routes to other destinations, such as the airport and ferry port (Athenios). The buses to the port are not on a regular schedule, but rather are timed to coincide with ferry arrivals. A (handwritten) timetable is posted daily.
Buses (operated by KTEL Santorini) connect all the major settlements on Santorini.
The island is not particularly large, so no journey will take very long. The most popular route (and the only route that I undertook) is between the capital, Fira, and Oia in the north of the island.
The journey between Fira and Oia takes about 15 minutes and (at September 2005) costs 1 Euro each way. Buses generally run every 30 minutes or so and tickets are purchased from the driver.
The buses can become full, particularly on this route, and the driver will have no qualms about cramming as many people in as possible (even though this means dozens of people standing in the aisle).
it is very easy to travel around santorini on the bus as all buses head for fira were you can catch the bus you need they all line up at the bus station with the village name on the front .
at night if heading back they can get crowded
The buses circulate mostly every hour and are very comfortable. The tickets cost from 1 to 1.50 Euro and can be purchased from the ticket collector. If you go from the south to the north or in opposite direction you have to change in Fira
Most, if not all, bus connection are made from Fira. Be aware that there is no enclosed waiting area, and the fellow who sits in the booth has no social skills what so ever, in fact may not even be an employee. Who knows?? We did find out that he does not sell tickets for the bus though. A wave of his arm indicated where the tickets were to be purchased, but he waved in Greek, so we couldn't understand.
There are usually two or three buses parked on this tiny lot, but no drivers that we could see. When a bus does pull in, there is a mad dash by all tourists to find a seat, and the bus does a little back and forth motion, kind of like settling in your easy chair, and people moved with it. Consequently, just when you think you are first in line, the bus moves five feet forward. Now you are last. All three doors open, so people scramble madly for seats from three points. Don't be shy...push, and claim your rightful seat. I'm convinced that the drivers use this shuttle movement to amuse themselves, because it happened every time.
The people keep coming, the crowd gets thicker, jam packed, then an employee gets on...a pusher, who literally pushes people together. More tourists enter. Stand your ground...be tough, don't give way.
The bus takes off, and you are now worried, thinking you have no ticket, but feeling a bit glib, because you haven't paid. Fear not, because a skinny little pasty faced kid materializes, and demands payment from 'everybody' on board. Employee...? Lets hope so. Somehow this kid reaches everybody, and collects the fares. He even gives change, kind of. Be wary of this guy.
The ride proves to be uncomfortable, hot, and a tad smelly. This seems to be every bus ride we took on Santorini BTW.
Watch your belongings, keep your hand on your wallet. Even with the cattle car as full as it is, the travellers never seem to lose their cool. Everyone continues to be upbeat, even when trod upon, poked and prodded. Just go with the flow. Enjoy the experience...
The buses are so much nicer then I thought. I was expecting some dingy, rattly-old, schoolbus-type. But I was pleasantly surprised with the airconditioned, comfortable touring bus. The seats are comfy, the windows are huge. It is so worth taking the bus around the island. Although it can be tricky getting off at a stop outside of the main ones.
It is a unique experince to ride in one of these coaches, especially in the spiral roads that lead to port. Drivers manage to siftly turn in every steep corner while you fell you are about to fly out the window. Buses are very comfortable and have A/C.
Every little town in the island is served by a bus route from the main town of Thira. Go to the main bus station (located at the entrance of the town) and you will find schedules print in a black board.
You are most likely to always find a coach that leaves to the port when you are going to catch a ferrry as they need to pick up passengers that arrive. Still, allow plenty time as sometimes it can get crowded.
Fare is between 1 and 2 euros depending on where you are going. You can only pay at the bus. So don't buy any "advance" ticket at any agency as this will not be valid.
The main Santorini bus hub is the bus station in Fira. From here buses fan out to the key parts of the island. It is necessary to come here for changing buses, as few buses do any loops. There is a shelter and bus tables to the right in the photo.
The location is just below the taxi station between the two main automobile roads in Fira. Cannot miss it - Fira's driveable parts are limited.
The bus schedules are not always adhered to as we discovered. In fact, they were not to be trusted and we learned to keep the taxi option at the ready. From Fira and to the outlaying districts it's easier than between outlaying villages.
Despite attampts at being good, eco-friendly tourists we had to bite the grass and opt for other means at times.
The Santorini bus system was good. The rather small central bus station is in the town of Fira. The buses themselves appeared to be quite new. Actually, the first time we were waiting in Kamari at the bus stop and the bus arrived, we weren't sure it was the local bus and thought it may be tour bus,since it had a compartment for luggage on the bottom. You do not buy your ticket ahead of time, the fee is usually collected by a conductor once you are on.
The following are prices for some of the most popular routes...frequencies vary with the season
Kamari to Fira
runs every 30 minutes in high season
Fira to Oia
Runs every hour to every 30 minutes...more frequent routes later in the day
Fira to Akrotiri
Santorini has an extensive bus system used by locals and tourists alike to get around the island. The main bus terminal is in Fira, and although it's a small and congested little terminal, finding the right bus is easy and tickets are pretty cheap. If it's too crowded, you can always take a cab, but of course you'll end up paying quite a bit more.
I took the bus everywhere on the island, except when I went on my tour and got my superfast moto... Ok, not so fast, barely get up the hills moto. The bus stops at all the major "cities, " you just have to find the bus stop sign. Just ask a local.
The main service from Fira to Ia for the sunsets is available every 30 minutes in the high season and every hour in the low.
Fira to Perissa and all places along the way (Messaria-Pyrgos-Megalohori-Emporio) available every hour.
Fira to Kamari, every 15 minutes in the high season, every 30 in the low.