Santorini Cruise Port & Nearby Activities
Santorini Cruise Port
Whitewashed villas and dramatic cliffs set a postcard-worthy backdrop for ships pulling into Skala, Santorini's bustling cruise port. During high season, Skala welcomes up to five cruise ships each day, making it one of the busiest ports in the Mediterranean. Because there is no cruise terminal, cruise visitors are tendered to shore on smaller boats. Once on land, take a cable car to Fira, where you'll find archaeological treasures in the Museum of Prehistoric Thera as well as charming seaside restaurants and stores along its main thoroughfare. If you have a few hours or a couple days in Santorini, hit the sands at Kamari Beach, savor top-notch vino at Boutari Winery or catch the sunset from the cliffs of Oia — all of which are within easy reach via or bus. Here are the essentials you need to know to decide how to spend your time at port and whether Santorini should be on your cruise itinerary.
What You Need to Know
- Santorini has a cruise port and a ferry port Santorini's cruise port is often referred to as Skala or Old Port. The ferry port, located about 7 miles south, is called Athinios. Make sure you specify which port when you travel around the city.
- You can reach the pier in three different ways The cruise port is nestled at the bottom of the caldera, so you need to either take a cable car, ride a donkey or walk to reach Skala Pier. The most convenient way to reach the pier is by cable car, but be prepared for long lines, especially if many cruise ships are docked. A one-way ticket is about $6 USD for adults.
- Arrive in peak season: Though you'll contend with heavy crowds and expensive rates, prime visiting season (July to early September) ushers in consistently sunny weather, with temperatures hovering in the 70s and 80s. Plus, it’s an ideal time to check out the island's iconic natural and historic sites.
How to Spend Your Time in Santorini
Things to Do Near the Port of Santorini
- Private Boat Tours (<0.5 miles) At the pier, cruisers can rent boats by the hour from Alex Motor Boat Rental, a reputable independent outfitter. Half- and full-day excursions to Anafi, Ios, Sikinos and other surrounding islands include traditional Greek meals and drinks on board.
- Museum of Prehistoric Thira (<1 mile) The prehistoric museum houses the archaeological treasures found during the excavation of Ancient Akrotiri and other dig sites around the Aegean Islands. Spend an hour or two at this small attraction to learn more about early human life on the Greek isles.
- Erythrou Stavrou (<1 mile) The main thoroughfare of Fira is lined with restaurants and shops worth exploring. Chow down on stuff grilled squid and chicken souvlaki at To Ouzeri or browse for accessories in charming boutiques.
Read On: Top Things to Do in Santorini
Popular Tours in Santorini
Have a few hours to spare in Santorini? Book a tour through your cruise line, explore the city on your own or check out tours available from independent outfitters.
- Akrotiri Ruins Ancient Akrotiri was buried by a volcanic eruption in the 16th century B.C. Today, visitors can explore the well-preserved archeological site to admire homes filled with frescoes and furniture and check out the site's advanced draining system, which was preserved by a cloak of lava and ash. Explore the ancient ruins with Royal Caribbean, MSC or Cunard.
- Perivolos Beach Embark on a half-day adventure to Perivolos Beach, one of Santorini's most renowned black-sand beaches. Swim in a family-friendly setting and enjoy jaw-dropping views of the isle with this shore excursion, offered by a variety of cruise companies, including Royal Caribbean and MSC. Other notable beaches include Kamari Beach and Red Beach.
- Volcano Hiking For an elevated hiking experience, ascend an active volcano. Cruise lines, such as Norwegian and Princess, offer excursions to Palaia and Nea Kameni, uninhabited islands located in the center basin of the city and created by a series of volcanic eruptions roughly 3,500 years ago. The steep lava fields with loose rocks and uneven terrain propose the perfect challenge for adventurous travelers.
- Oia Village This traditional village offers panoramic vistas, whitewashed buildings, charming stores and art galleries. And the blue-domed churches and sun-drenched verandas create the perfect photo op. Wander past whitewashed buildings on your own or with a variety of cruise companies, including Norwegian, MSC and Oceania.
- Wine-Tasting Tour Sampling Greek wine is must, especially if it's at the famed Boutari Winery. The region's micro-climate, rich volcanic soil and unique vinification methods produce world-class wines. Soak in spectacular scenery as you savor a heavenly glass on a tour with Princess or Oceania or an independent outfitter, like Santorini Wine Adventure Tours.
Restaurants near the Port of Santorini
The fertile volcanic soil of Santorini is the secret behind Santorini's savory dishes, including tomato fritters, stuffed grape leaves and baklava, scrumptious, flakey pastry. Here are top recommended places to eat near the Port of Santorini.
Santorini's cruise port, Skala, is about 5 miles west of the Santorini International Airport (JTR). Cruisers can rent cars at the airport and port. Three car rental companies can be found at the airport and both Hertz and Santorini Car Hire are located in Fira.
Taxis in Santorini have fixed rates at around €12 EUR (around $13 USD). A taxi from the airport to Fira should cost no more than $50. If you're planning on visiting a less-frequented site, agree upon the rate with your driver before hopping in the cab.
A bus runs from the airport to the main bus station at Fira, which is less than a half-mile south of the cable car drop-off point. The journey costs about €2.20 ($2.50 USD) each way. Santorini's public buses make stops at all island's villages, making it easy to get around.
Read more about Getting Around Santorini »
Which cruise companies sail to/from Santorini?
- Azamara Club Cruises (2 ships)
- Celebrity Cruises (3 ships)
- Costa Cruises (3 ship)
- Crystal Cruises (2 ships)
- Cunard Line (1 ship)
- Holland America Line (5 ships)
- MSC Cruises (3 ships)
- Norwegian Cruise Line (1 ship)
- Oceania Cruises (3 ships)
- Princess Cruises (2 ships)
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises (3 ships)
- Royal Caribbean International (5 ships)
- Silversea Cruises (3 ships)
- Sunrocks Hotel Santorini
- Carpe Diem Hotel
- Hotel Atlantis
Nearby Cruise Ports
- Athens (Piraeus)