Naxos to Santorini: Your Essential Travel Guide

Melina Thalassinou
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Table of Content
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Key Takeaways

  • The trip from Naxos to Santorini allows travelers to experience two distinctive Greek islands within the Cycladic Islands.
  • Various ferry services offer a range of ferry timetables and ticket options, accommodating different itineraries and budgets.
  • Santorini's arrival promises stunning volcanic landscapes and cultural sites, while Naxos offers lush nature and ancient history.

agios prokopios naxosAgios Prokopios Beach, Naxos - credits: Constantinos Iliopoulos/Shutterstock.com

Traveling from Naxos to Santorini is a journey between two jewels of the Aegean Sea, providing an unforgettable experience of Greek island charm.

Whether opting for the slower, scenic ferry routes or the swift, direct crossings, each option offers a unique perspective on the Cyclades' marine beauty.

Understanding the Geography

ammoudi beach santoriniAmmoudi Beach, Santorini - credits: ian woolcock/Shutterstock.com

The geography of Naxos and Santorini, situated in the azure waters of the Aegean Sea, is a testament to the natural beauty of the Cyclades Islands and is crucial for travelers planning their journey between these Greek gems.

Why Travel from Naxos to Santorini?

ammoudi santoriniAmmoudi, Santorini - credits: Georgios Tsichlis/Shutterstock.com

Traveling from Naxos to Santorini provides an opportunity to experience the stunning contrasts of the Cyclades.

The Unique Appeal of Santorini

Santorini is renowned for its volcanic landscape and the breathtaking Santorini Caldera.

The island’s geology gifts visitors with dramatic cliffs and views that are starkly different from the flatter terrain of Naxos.

Its sunset views are legendary, often enjoyed from whitewashed villages perched high above the Aegean Sea.

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Contrasts between Naxos and Santorini

  • Naxos Beaches: Naxos boasts some of the most extensive and family-friendly beaches in the Cyclades, with soft sands and clear waters.
  • Santorini Landscape: By contrast, Santorini amazes with its rugged beauty and volcanic beaches, featuring pebbles and distinctive black, red, and white sands.

These contrasts offer travelers a rich variety of experiences within a short distance.

Transportation Options

black beach santoriniBlack Beach, Santorini - credits: elen_studio/Shutterstock.com

Travelers looking to journey from Naxos to Santorini have two primary transportation methods available: ferry services and flights.

Each option offers a balance between speed, cost, and frequency that caters to different preferences and schedules.

Ferry Services

The ferry route between Naxos port and Santorini is well-serviced by a variety of ferry companies. Both the Naxos and the Santorini ferry schedules are packed, especially during peak season.

Passengers can choose between high-speed ferries and conventional ferries, with high-speed options being the faster yet generally more expensive choice.

Companies Operating Ferries:

  1. Blue Star Ferries
  2. SeaJets
  3. Minoan Lines
  4. Fast Ferries
  5. Hellenic Seaways
  6. Golden Star Ferries

Types of Ferries:

  1. High-Speed Ferries: Travel time is approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes.
  2. Conventional Ferries (Blue Star Ferries): Travel time is about 2 hours.

Schedules and Prices:

  • During peak season (April to October), there are typically 4-9 daily crossings.
  • Ferry schedules change seasonally, with the earliest ferry often departing around 07:10.
  • Ticket prices range from €23.50 to €58 depending on the ferry type and company.


  • It is recommended to book ferry tickets 2 to 3 months in advance, especially for high-season travel.


medieval castle naxosMedieval Castle, Naxos - credits: saiko3p/Shutterstock.com

Alternatively, flights from Naxos to Santorini offer a quicker but sometimes less frequent travel option. The companies providing this service include Sky Express, Olympic Air, and Aegean Airlines.

Flight Details:

  1. Average Duration: Around 4 hours and 28 minutes (including layover)
  2. Distance: About 76 km
  3. Frequency: Typically 20 flights weekly, varying on weekends and holidays


  • Variability in cost exists, so travelers should check current prices with the airlines or aggregators to find the best deal.

Fastest Way to Santorini:

  • Despite the layover time, flights represent the fastest way to Santorini when considering direct travel time.

What to Bring on Your Journey

couple santoriniCouple in Santorini - credits: Kalamurzing/Shutterstock.com

When preparing for a ferry trip from Naxos to Santorini, passengers should be mindful of the Baggage Allowance.

Most ferry companies permit one piece of luggage up to 20-25kg, alongside a small carry-on item.

It's advisable to check specifics with the chosen ferry operator to avoid Hidden Fees for excess baggage.

Essential Items to Pack:

  1. Valid identification and ferry tickets
  2. Sun protection (sunglasses, hat, sunscreen)
  3. Light jacket or sweater for cooler sea breezes
  4. Water and snacks for the journey
  5. Camera or smartphone for capturing scenic views

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For those traveling with pets, Pet Travel policies are in place to ensure the safety and comfort of animal companions.

Carriers are typically mandatory, and pets need to stay in designated areas on the ferry.

A pet ticket may be required; thus, passengers should confirm with the ferry company for service ahead of time.

Travel Tips:

  1. Always arrive at the port early to navigate boarding procedures smoothly.
  2. Keep valuables and essential documents on your person.
  3. Wear comfortable clothing and footwear as you may wish to explore deck areas.

Exploring Naxos Before Departure

emerald beaches naxosNaxos Beach - credits: Alessandro Carnevale/Shutterstock.com

Top Attractions and Activities in Naxos

Naxos, renowned for its majestic landscapes and ancient sites, provides travelers with a treasure trove of experiences.

Key attractions include:

  • The Portara: This massive marble doorway stands as a remnant of an unfinished Apollo temple, offering breathtaking sunset views.
  • Naxos Town (Chora): The island's capital blends Cycladic architecture with a Venetian Castle, narrow streets, and seaside promenades.
  • Agios Prokopios and Agia Anna Beaches: Both beaches boast crystal-clear waters and golden sands, perfect for relaxation and water sports.
  • Mount Zas: As the Cyclades' highest peak, it invites trekkers to explore its trails and discover the cave where Zeus is said to have been born.

Visitors can engage in various activities, such as windsurfing, hiking, or exploring the island's quaint villages and archaeological sites.

A day trip around the island can reveal hidden gems of the Cycladic landscape.

Arriving in Santorini

emporioEmporio, Santorini - credits: Felix Lipov/Shutterstock.com

Upon arrival, visitors are greeted by the stunning vistas typical of Santorini—the whitewashed buildings and blue-domed churches perched high on the caldera cliffs.

Efficient transportation options and a variety of accommodations await newcomers as they embark on their island adventure.

Transportation from the Port/Airport

Transfers: Once at the Port of Athinios or Santorini Airport, travelers have several options to reach their accommodations:

  • Shuttle Services: Shared and private shuttle services are available, providing transportation to various parts of the island.
  • Taxi Rides: Taxis offer a quicker, although more costly, way to travel directly to a specific destination.
  • Car Rentals: Numerous rental services are accessible at both the port and airport for those who prefer driving themselves. It's advisable to book rental cars in advance during the high season.

Things to Do in Santorini

filoti naxosFiloti Village, Naxos - credits: Apostolos Mantzouranis/Shutterstock.com

Notable Villages and Views

  • Oia: Known for its iconic blue-domed churches and panoramic sunset views.
  • Imerovigli: Offers the best vantage points for views over the caldera.


  • Red Beach: Named for its distinctive red-hued sands.
  • Perissa Beach: Features black sand and crystal-clear waters.

Archaeological Wonders

  • Ancient Akrotiri: Well-preserved ruins of a Minoan Bronze Age settlement.
  • Ancient Thera: Offers ruins and a historical experience set against a backdrop of remarkable views.

portara naxosPortara, Naxos - credits: leoks/Shutterstock.com

Local Flavors

  • Various local bars and restaurants offer a taste of traditional Greek cuisine and the chance to sample the island's unique wines.

Outdoor Activities

  • Volcano Tours: Hike the active volcano and take a dip in the hot springs.
  • Caldera Walk: A scenic hike from Fira to Oia, offering breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea.

Final Thoughts

grape picking santoriniGrape-picking in Santorini - credits: Alexandros Michailidis/Shutterstock.com

Naxos and Santorini are quintessential stops in the Greek island-hopping itinerary.

They present a rich tapestry of Greek culture through their respective attractions and experiences.

Visitors are encouraged to immerse themselves in the historic charm of Naxos and the iconic vistas of Santorini.

For travelers contemplating the journey between these islands, the ferry system stands as the backbone of transport.

Travelers have the option of choosing between a fast ferry crossing and a more leisurely cruise. Each option affords an opportunity to savor the Aegean Sea's panoramic beauty:

  • The fast ferry typically takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
  • The slower Blue Star ferry provides a more relaxed voyage of approximately 2 hours.

kastro old town naxosNaxos streets - credits: Nicole Kwiatkowski/Shutterstock.com

Those with a flexible schedule may prefer the slower journey to enjoy the sea's tranquility at a reduced fare.

The choice between Naxos and Santorini ultimately rests on individual preferences and budget.

Whether one seeks the solace of Naxos' green landscapes and cultural relics or the allure of Santorini's sunsets and sandy shores, the journey across the cerulean waters is an integral aspect of the experience.

Visitors are encouraged to plan their travel itineraries with these considerations in mind to ensure a trip that harmonizes with their expectations.

Our Tailor-Made Trip Planning
Hop on a quick call with a local expert from our team
Receive a tailor-made itinerary for your journey
Fine-tune the details and you're ready to go

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the duration of a ferry trip between Naxos and Santorini?

Are there direct flights available between Naxos and Santorini?

How far is Santorini from Naxos, and can it be covered in a day trip?

What are the typical ferry ticket costs for traveling from Naxos to Santorini?

What are the available means of transportation from Naxos to Santorini?

Between Naxos and Santorini, which island is recommended for a longer stay?

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