Visiting Santorini from Naxos
Santorini is one of the most famous Greek islands in the Cyclades. Its beautiful white-washed buildings and iconic blue domes draw hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. And the beautiful caldera views are one of the main attractions when visiting Santorini. Many travelers on our Naxos Slowcation choose to spend some time in Santorini before, during, or after their time in Naxos.
Visiting Santorini from Naxos is definitely doable but there are some things to consider when planning your trip there. While it is just a 2-hour ferry ride away from Naxos, it can be very difficult to do a day trip there. We strongly recommend spending at least 1 night to get the most out of your time in Santorini.
Read on to learn more about why spending the night there rather than a day trip is better as well as booking hotels, when to go, how to get there, and more.
Day trip vs overnight in Santorini
In the past, travelers on our Naxos Island Slowcation tried to do Santorini in 1 day and returned disappointed. The main reason is that a day trip usually only allows you to explore this amazing island for a few hours at the very most. Also, all the other day trippers and cruise ship passengers arrive at the same time causing the island to be extremely crowded which makes it hard to enjoy the views.
During our slowcation, the earliest ferry from Naxos usually arrives in Santorini around 12:30 PM. You should factor in at least another 30 minutes to get off the boat and find a cab/bus to Fira, a main town of Santorini. (If you want to go to Oia, it’s a bit further from the port.) The actual time that you can start exploring the island is around 1:00 PM or so. The last ferry back to Naxos is usually at 3:30 PM. You should try to be at the port about 30 minutes before departure. Don’t forget, it takes about 30 minutes to get back to the port from Fira! That only leaves you approximately 1.5 hours to explore Santorini!
See below for an example of the schedule for a day trip:
- 10:30 AM – Ferry departs from Naxos
- 12:30 PM – Arrive at Santorini port + 30-minute cab/bus to Fira (more if going to Oia!)
- 1:00 PM – Explore Santorini
- 2:30 PM – Cab/bus back to Santorini port
- 3:00 PM – Arrive at the port
- 3:30 PM – Ferry departs back to Naxos
- 5:30 PM – Arrive back in Naxos
*All times are approximate
Because Santorini is so beautiful, we think it deserves much more than a few rushed hours to enjoy the island. That’s why we very strongly recommend an overnight stay there. Plus, staying overnight lets you enjoy fewer crowds before all the day trippers and cruisers arrive!
If you’re determined to do a day trip to Santorini from Naxos, we suggest booking a pre-planned, full-day tour such as this one by Greeka.
Where to stay in Santorini
Booking a hotel in Santorini is a pretty straightforward affair. Be forewarned, there are a lot of choices that tend to be pretty expensive, especially in high season! If you’re on our 10-day Naxos Slowcation and want to go to Santorini, we recommend spending the night as mentioned above.
It’s best to book your room as soon as possible if you plan on staying overnight in Santorini!
If you’re on our slowcation, we recommend El Greco Resort & Spa. This hotel is centrally located in Fira, the capital of Santorini. It offers air-conditioned rooms with a balcony, 5 outdoor pools, 1 indoor pool, and 2 outdoor jacuzzis. It is one of the few larger hotels in Santorini so it’ll be easier for those in a group to book there. Most hotels in Santorini are smaller with limited rooms that sell out fast. Be aware that even in the shoulder season, hotels can sell out quickly!
When to visit Santorini
If you’re on our Naxos slowcation, we recommend that going to Santorini on Day 7 of your slowcation and returning on Day 8. This saves you the back and forth within the group and the frustration of deciding who wants to go and when.
Before making any bookings, please refer to the itinerary of your slowcation to confirm the dates we recommend to visit Santorini. Or feel free to reach out to us to double-check.
How to get from Naxos to Santorini
Getting from Naxos to Santorini is relatively easy and you can book ferry tickets during your trip. Ferry tickets typically cost around 60 EUR each way and the travel time from Naxos to Santorini port is approximately 2 hours.
There’s usually no need to book ferry tickets ahead of time as they do not usually sell out. You can check the most up-to-date ferry schedules by visiting Ferryhopper.com.
Note: Ferry tickets usually become available for purchase approximately 2 – 3 months prior to the desired travel date. For example, if you need a ferry in May, you can start booking it online in February or March and after.
Things to do in Santorini
There are plenty of things to see and do in Santorini. Fira is the most famous town on the island and many choose to walk around the charming streets and admire the caldera. Fira also has lots of shops, restaurants, and cafes where you can enjoy some shopping and have a delicious meal.
For stunning views of the island and caldera, you can take a cable car or walk down the famous steps to the Old Port. If you love the beach, head to Kamari for some R&R on the volcanic sand and a swim in the clear blue waters. We also suggest trying some of the local wines as there are many wineries around the island where can do a tasting.
Visiting Santorini from Naxos is a bucket list item for many on our 10-day Naxos Greek Island Slowcation and with good reason; it is a beautiful place! Just be sure to have realistic expectations about your time there and you’ll have an amazing experience. Happy travels!