Nearly every travel path to Santorini requires a stop in Athens. While there are some international flights directly to Santorini airport from larger European cities such as London and Frankfurt, these are infrequent compared to the flights from Athens. In addition to the information on this page, there are many travel guides and web sites on Santorini, such as www.santorini-island.biz.
Getting to and from Athens (ATH)
Air transportation to Athens International Airport (ATH) is available on a regularly scheduled basis through nearly all of the major international airlines and many discount or charter companies. Most arrivals from the United States will be in the morning, afternoon or just after midnight; we recommend arriving in the morning or afternoon. If you elect to fly to Santorini Airport (JTR) from Athens, you will need to pass though customs and immigration when you first enter the European Union. Departures from Athens for the United States tend to be in the morning or early afternoon. It is normally possible to arrange flight schedules so that overnight stays in Athens are not required when flying to and from Santorini.
Getting to Santorini (JTR) from Athens (ATH) by air
Air transport to Santorini from Athens takes less than an hour and is available multiple times per day. The airport is about 10 km from the central town of Fira where the Nomikos Conference Centre is located, and transportation to Fira is normally by taxi, public bus, or hotel shuttle service. Airlines servicing Santorini (JTR) from Athens include the Greek flagship carrier Olympic Airways and the newer award-winning independent carrier Aegean Airlines. Flights take 40-50 minutes. Due to past history and the uncertainty with Olympic's business reorganization, we currently recommend flying Aegean Airlines.
Getting to Santorini (JTR) from Europe by air
Nonstop air transport to Santorini is available from many of the larger cities in Europe during the summer months. Flights through discount airlines as well as charter services are available. For specific information, please contact a local travel agent in your area.
Getting to Santorini from Athens by sea
Boats to Santorini leave from the Athenian port of Piraeus (TZE) located about an hour's drive away from the airport. There is public transportation from the airport and other parts of Athens to Piraeus. The train station in Piraeus is directly across the street from the port itself. Boat tickets can be arranged beforehand or purchased as late as the day of travel, but often the less expensive classes of travel fill up early. If you are flying in to Athens and want to take a ferry the same day, we strongly recommend arranging the sea tickets beforehand. If you are planning a few days' stay in Athens before going by ferry to Santorini, then it is possible to purchase tickets in Athens. Ferry ticket prices are controlled, so shopping between agents for price is not necessary, although some agents do not represent all carriers and not all agents accept credit cards. Boat schedules are available on line through www.gtp.gr.
There are two broad classes of boats which serve the Aegean islands: traditional ferries, and high-speed ferries. The traditional boats are slower, have open decks, make more stops, and are less expensive. The high-speed ferries are faster, enclosed, and are more costly. Be sure to check the transit time in addition to the departure time for any boat you are considering, as some boats make many stops on the way to Santorini. There is only one seaport in Santorini (ATI). Slower boats can take 10 hours, and high-speed boats as little as 4 hours, depending on schedule and number of stops. Be certain to verify the route and schedule when booking. As of Summer 2009, passage on a high-speed boat from Piraeus to Santorini was approximately EUR 60. Smoking is permitted on ferry boats, and non-smoking sections are available.
Upon arrival in the small port of Santorini you will be greeted by many hoteliers clamoring to make last-minute bookings, and taxi drivers looking for fares. Be aware that taxi prices vary considerably with negotiating skill. An inexpensive public bus to the center of Fira is available and meets most boats; tickets are purchased on the bus. Some hotels have pickup service from the port if you arrange the details beforehand; we recommend phoning from Athens to confirm. The drive up the caldera face to the town of Fira can be breathtaking; be sure your camera is handy!
Getting Around Fira/Firostefani
The town of Fira, where the conference is held, is continuous with the town of Firostefani. These towns are readily explored on foot, and many establishments are not accessible by any other means. Vehicles, even scooters, are not allowed on most of the pathways in the heart of the town.
Getting Around Santorini
The island of Santorini is small enough that it can be circumnavigated in a single day by motorized vehicle. There is frequent bus service from Fira to all of the other towns and beaches; the bus depot is near the center of town and the inexpensive tickets are purchased in cash on the bus. Cars, motorized scooters, and bicycles are readily available for hire, but you must have a motorcycle license to rent even the smallest of scooters. Filling stations are strategically placed around the island. The central taxi station is in Fira. Although it is possible to hail cabs, they are relatively infrequent, and best arranged by phone or by going to the main taxi stand in Fira. When calling for a cab, be prepared for a long and somewhat ill-defined delay before one arrives. Make sure that the taxi driver sets the meter when you enter the cab. Longer taxi rides should normally not exceed 20 euros.
Local travel agencies offer day trips to the nearby islands and especially the volcano and hot springs in the caldera. If you visit the volcano, be prepared to walk uphill for 20 minutes. You will need a hat and sun cream as there is no shade, and sturdy shoes as the volcanic rock is sharp and can be hot. If you visit the hot springs, be aware that the high mineral content, especially sulfur, can discolor swimwear. In 2006, the volcano excursion had reports of jellyfish in the springs.
What Santorini Looks Like Right Now
The Hotel Heliotopos has a nice webcam of Santorini showing a view of the caldera (don't forget that Greece is on Eastern European Time, GMT+2, when viewing). Find it at http://www.santorini.net/caldera.html, along with a second webcam of the central volcano at http://www.santorini.net/volcano.html. Our conference currently has no association with Hotel Heliotopos; although a very nice luxury hotel, it is not on the list of recommended hotels only because it is located in the town of Oia, quite far from the conference center.
In addition, we have put up a page of collected web cams of Santorini. Some of these are more reliable than others. If you find one that is not listed on that page, please let us know!
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