Santorini to Heraklion Ferry: The Easiest and Most Affordable Option


Heraklion is the main port and capital city of Crete. The Santorini to Heraklion Ferry is the most efficient way to get to Crete from Santorini.

Planning a trip around the Greek islands can be overwhelming. I know because I’ve done it. I spent several weeks exploring the Greek islands by ferry. Rest assured, the Santorini to Heraklion ferry is actually quite simple and very efficient.

In this in-depth post, you’ll learn everything you need to know about taking the ferry from Santorini to Heraklion.

How Do You Get To Heraklion From Santorini?

If you’re wondering how to get from Santorini to Crete you’ve come to the right place. You can get there by plane or by ferry. Since Heraklion is only about 75 miles from Santorini, you’d think the flight would be quick, but it’s not. It is however quick and easy by ferry.

Here are the two main ways to get to Heraklion from Santorini:

1. By Plane

Since Santorini and Crete both have their own airports, you can technically fly from Santorini to Heraklion. However, almost all of the flights are indirect and stop in Athens first before retracing steps back to Crete.

There are a few airlines that cover the route between Santorini and Heraklion. Aegean Airlines, Sky Express, and Olympic (owned by Aegean).

Note: The trip from Santorini to Heraklion by plane will take 3+ hours (not including driving to the airport, going through security, and waiting for your flight.

Round-trip airfare from Santorini to Heraklion will cost anywhere from $155 – $350 depending on the time of year, airline, and how early you purchase your flight. There are typically three Santorini to Crete flights each day.

If you do decide to fly, I recommend using Skyscanner to purchase your flights. You can find the best flight deals there.

2. By Ferry

Now that we’ve covered that we can move on to the BEST way to reach Heraklion…by ferry!

This is the option we chose because logistically, economically, and time-wise, it’s the option that makes the most sense. And, it’s just what you do in the Greek Islands!

Below I’m going to cover everything you need to know to have a seamless ferry experience.

Man and woman on a greek ferry
Super comfy on the Santorini to Crete ferry!

How Long Is The Santorini to Heraklion Ferry?

The ferry from Santorini to Heraklion will take approximately 1h 45m – 6h 10m depending on whether you travel with a highspeed or conventional ferry. Seajets is the fastest ferry company on this route.

This route is operated year-round, and during high season (May-September) there are 157 scheduled ferry crossings between Santorini and Heraklion, Crete per week. You can also take the ferry to Santorini from Heraklion.

Note: Ferries usually depart Santorini for Heraklion in the afternoon so plan on arriving in Heraklion in the early evening. If Heraklion is not your final destination, you may want to consider staying there for the night.

How Much Does The Santorini to Heraklion Ferry Cost?

For this route, ferry tickets typically cost between $80 to $120 for a one-way trip. The more expensive ferries are usually faster. In my opinion, the faster ferry is worth the price difference.

Infants ride for free and children ages 5 – 10 ride for half price. Some ferries offer business class and VIP for an additional cost.

Note: If you are bringing a car on the ferry, the price will increase significantly. You will also need to book your ticket much earlier since car deck spaces tend to sell out the fastest.

Santorini to Heraklion Ferry - view from above the Port of Santorini
Looking down on the Port of Santorini – it’s a steep hill up to the main town.

Which Ferry Companies Go To Heraklion From Santorini?

If you decide to take the Santorini to Heraklion ferry you can choose from several companies depending on the time of year. There are over 90 ferry companies that service the Greek Islands and the route from Santorini (Thira) to Heraklion is operated by 6 ferry companies.

The companies serving the Santorini to Heraklion route most often are Seajets, Minoan Lines, Aegeon Pelagos, Horizon Sea Lines, Sea Speed Ferries, and Fast Ferries.

The Greek Island ferry system is the most extensive in the world and operates on a strict and efficient schedule. Most ferries will get you where you need to go safely and according to schedule.

Which Ferry Company Is Best?

We took SEAJETS the most because they are the fastest. I recommend taking SEAJETS whenever you can. They are super comfortable, seat up to 800 people and 150 cars, and have TVs, and a coffee and snack bar.

Seajets also supports electronic tickets so there is no need to collect your tickets before boarding. This is really convenient.

TIP: Ferries leave exactly on time and DO NOT WAIT for anyone. Do not be late getting on or off! They are in and out of the ports in 5 minutes. It’s honestly amazing.

How To Book Ferry Ticket From Santorini to Heraklion, Crete

There are two ways that you can buy ferry tickets: online or in person. Both options are really simple. Here’s what you need to know:

Book Tickets Online

We wanted to have our tickets secured before arriving at the port so we booked them online, a few weeks in advance. Knowing that we had our tickets relieved all anxiety about tickets possibly being sold out.

I use Ferryhopper to book all of my ferry tickets in the Greek Islands. With Ferryhopper, you can easily compare companies, ticket prices, times, and routes. This way you can choose the route and price that suits you best. There are no extra fees when booking through Ferryhopper.

Ferryhopper also has an App where you can get your e-ticket, check in for your trip, and even track your ferry live on a map.

If you plan on going to multiple islands during your Greece trip, Ferryhopper has a booking option that allows you to book multiple trips in one go. You can add up to five destinations. To do this, select “island hopping” instead of “single trip” (see photo).

Note: It’s best to show up at least 30 minutes prior to departure. The Port in Santorini has several restaurants and coffee shops where you can hang out. Port authorities will line you up to board about 20 minutes before your ferry arrives.

Book Tickets In Person

Each ferry company has a booth at the port. You can buy your tickets here. If you plan to buy your tickets in person, arrive at the ticket booth around 45 minutes prior to departure.

Note: I recommend buying tickets in advance during the high season. Santorini is the busiest port in Greece and you don’t want to risk tickets selling out.

Are There Seat Assignments On The Ferry?

The short answer is yes, but the more nuanced answer is it doesn’t always matter.

First, when you purchase your ferry ticket you can choose your seat type but not the exact seat. Meaning you can choose a regular seat, business class, car ticket, or VIP. But, you cannot choose your exact seat.

If you are traveling with someone make sure to purchase your tickets on the same booking – that way your seats will be together.

Now, we found that most people did not sit in their assigned seats. I believe this was because there were several open seats so it was not a big deal. The first time we took a Greek ferry we sat in our assigned seat, but we quickly realized that people tended to just sit wherever.

So yes, there are seat assignments on ferries, but don’t be surprised if people aren’t following them.

car deck of a ferry where all the luggage goes
On the Santorini to Heraklion Ferry. This is where you drop your bags when you get on the ferry. Look for the luggage cart with the name of your destination on it.

How Do I Get To The Ferry Terminal in Santorini?

There are a few ways to get to the Port of Santorini. You can take a bus, a taxi, or a private transfer.

To catch the bus, go to the central station in Fira (Thira). Purchase your ticket at the counter and search for your bus (heads up it can be a bit chaotic as this is the main Santorini bus station). It will cost around $3 USD and take about 20 minutes to get to the port.

To get a taxi, you can hail one in the street, walk to a taxi waiting area, or call +30 22860 22555 to book one. That being said, there are a limited number of taxis on the island. A taxi from Fira to the port typically costs around $35.

The last option, and my personal preference, is to book a private transfer. Booking a transfer ahead ensures you have reliable transportation to the port and it costs about the same as a taxi. This is one way to reduce stress and make sure you arrive at the port on time.

Where Is The Santorini Ferry Port?

There is one main port in Santorini, called Athinios Ferry Port, or the Port of Santorini. You can easily get to and from here via taxi, bus, or private transfer.

Santorini to Heraklion Route:

Can I Take the Ferry from Santorini to Chania?

If you’re like me you’re probably trying to figure out how to actually get to Chania, Crete from Santorini. Unfortunately, there is no direct Santorini to Chania ferry.

If you choose to take the ferry from Santorini to Chania you will most likely be routed through Piraeus Port in Athens, which is in the opposite direction. This can take up to 9 hours and cost almost double what a ferry to Heraklion will cost.

How Do I Get From Heraklion to Chania?

Many travelers want to make their way to the charming town of Chania after taking the Santorini to Heraklion Ferry. Chania is located on the west side of the island, about 85 miles (140km) west of Heraklion.

There are a few ways to get from Heraklion to Chania. You can take a taxi, a bus, a private transfer, or rent a car.

We rented a car because we planned on doing a lot of exploring on Crete. Driving from Heraklion to Chania is pretty straightforward and super convenient because you’re on your own time!

I use Discover Cars to book car rentals in Greece

It is possible to catch a taxi at the Heraklion port and take it to Chania but this is one of the more expensive options. The drive is about 2 hours and will cost around $200.

The bus is the most cost-effective option. You can catch the bus at Heraklion’s Central Bus Station which is just a few feet away from the port. Buses make this route every hour. You can purchase your ticket the day of at the bus station. It will cost you around $16 for a one-way ticket. The bus starts at 5:30 am and the last bus departs at 9 pm.

Bus schedules are published on this website

If you prefer to be picked up at the port, you can book a private transfer. This door-to-door service is the most hassle-free option. If you book a private transfer someone will be waiting for you at the port with a sign and take you straight to your place in Chania.

Santorini to Heraklion Ferry in the Aegean Sea

Santorini to Crete Day Trip

While you could technically take a day trip to Heraklion from Santorini, it is more common for people to day trip to Santorini from Heraklion. While there are lots of things to do in Heraklion, you’ll likely want to venture outside of Heraklion which will take longer.

I recommend spending at least three days on Crete, but ideally a full week. A Heraklion Santorini day trip may not be worth it.

There are however day trips you can take to other islands that are smaller and closer to Santorini. For example, this full-day cruise picks you up from your hotel in Santorini and takes you to Ios Island on a catamaran.

Santorini to Heraklion Ferry: FAQs

Can I do a day trip from Santorini to Crete?

Yes, you can do a trip from Santorini to Crete if you take a high-speed ferry. However, I recommend spending more than a day on Crete.

What is the best ferry to take from Santorini to Crete?

Seajets ferries will get you there the fastest. They also have business class and VIP tickets available for additional comfort.

What is the fastest ferry from Santorini to Crete?

Seajets ferries are the fastest ferries on the Santorini to Heraklion route.

Is it cheaper to buy ferry tickets at the port in Greece?

No. All ferry ticket prices in Greece are the same regardless of where you buy them. There are no additional fees when you purchase online through Ferryhopper. However, tickets are generally cheaper if you buy them in advance.

Where do you get the ferry from Santorini?

All ferries serving Santorini arrive and depart at Athinios Port (also referred to as the Port of Santorini). The Port of Santorini is located on the southwest side of the island, about 5 miles (8km) from Fira (the capital town of Santorini).

Can you bring luggage on Greece ferries?

Yes. Typically, one large piece of luggage and a personal item is allowed. However, each ferry company has its own baggage allowance policy. Read the baggage allowance policy of the ferry company you are traveling with to avoid excess baggage charges at the port.

Do I need to print my ferry ticket?

It depends on the ferry operator. When you purchase your ticket online it will say if the ferry company support e-tickets or not. All Seajet ferries accept e-tickets.

What happens if I’m late for my ferry?

Ferries do not wait. If you are late you will miss your ferry because they run on strict schedules. If you miss your ferry, tickets are non-refundable. However, you can usually change your ticket to another time.

Do you need to book Greek ferries in advance?

Not all Greek ferries sell out. However, it is recommended that you buy your tickets in advance, especially during high season or if you are leaving from/going to a busy port (like Santorini).

How far is Santorini from Crete by ferry?

The distance from Santorini to Crete is 75 miles. It takes two hours to travel between the two on a high-speed ferry.

The Wrap-Up: Santorini to Heraklion Ferry

Before taking the ferries in Greece I was a little intimidated. The network is so extensive, the ports are really big, and everything moves really fast.

I quickly learned that taking the Santorini to Heraklion Ferry is actually a super fun and unforgettable experience. Not only is it the most efficient way to get to Heraklion from Santorini, but the ferry ride offers breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea.

When it comes to booking your ferry tickets, Ferryhopper is the way to go. Their user-friendly website and vast network of ferry operators allow you to easily compare prices and schedules and choose the ferry that best suits your needs.

So don’t hesitate any longer, book your tickets today and experience the incredible Greek ferry system yourself!

Greece Travel Planning Guide

🚑 Should I buy travel insurance?

100% Yes! – Always buy travel insurance when traveling internationally. I recommend SafetyWing. It has great coverage, is affordable, and will just bring you peace of mind.

💧Can you drink the water in Greece?

It is perfectly safe to drink tap water on the mainland, but less so on the islands. To be safe, drink bottled water on the islands (cheap and readily available).

🚙 Is it safe to rent a car in Greece?

Yes — Renting a car is one of the best ways to see Greece! I always rent with Discover Cars, which checks both international companies and local Greek companies, so you get the best rates.

📲 Will my phone work in Greece?

Maybe – It depends on where you are coming from and what plan you have, so check with your provider. If you won’t have service in Greece, I recommend getting an eSIM card. Airalo All you do is download the SIM – you don’t have to go anywhere or change out your regular SIM card. I know… how far we’ve come!

⛴️ What is the best site to book Greek ferries?

Ferryhopper and Ferryscanner are both reliable sites to view ferry schedules and book tickets. Some people prefer one over the other for various reasons including loyalty but I have used both and had the same experience. I wouldn’t use anything besides Ferryhopper or Ferryscanner though.

🏩 What’s the best way to book my Greece accommodations?

From my personal experience, is the best site to book Greece accommodations.

✈️ What’s the best site to buy Greece flights?

To find and compare flights I recommend Skyscanner

🎫 Do I need a visa for Greece?

Currently, citizens from the EU/EEA countries and Switzerland, the USA, and the Schengen Zone do not need a visa to travel to Greece. Read the visa policy for Greece and familiarize yourself with the requirements for your nationality here.

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