Greek Ferries

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by Santorini Dave • Updated: June 11, 2018

  • FerryHopper.com is the best way to buy ferry tickets for Greek ferries.
  • Most ferries do not sell out. But for peace of mind, book tickets 2 to 3 months in advance.
  • If a ticket purchased online doesn’t have a barcode you’ll have to pick up a real ticket when in Greece. This is usually done at the ferry port 30 to 45 minutes before departure. Don’t worry about pick up – it’s easy and effortless.
  • Island hopping around the Greek islands is fantastic fun.

The 2018 Guide to Ferries in Greece

One of 3 main ferry lines in Greece.
Note about Greek ferries and ferry routes and schedules: all the information below can change with little notice. Please double check everything on your own to ensure the ferry schedules work with your plans.

The Best Website for Booking Greek Ferry Tickets

FerryHopper.com is great for booking ferry tickets in advance. If you don’t want to book in advance then it’s fine to book in Greece at any shop that says “Ferry Tickets for Sale”. Booking online will occasionally have a small extra fee but that’s usually only if you want to have them delivered to you. Within Greece, ticket prices are all the same regardless of where you purchase.

Greek Ferry Schedules for 2018

To research ferry timetables start with FerryHopper.com. If you’re not finding the information you need or want to double check a ferry schedule then search gtp.gr – it will sometimes have more current ferry information and will give a better idea of the actual ferry route. E.g. If you’re searching for a ferry from Mykonos to Santorini you’ll see that it makes stops in Naxos, Paros, and Ios, before stopping in Santorini, then continuing to Crete.

Greek Island Ferry Routes

Ferry routes to, from, and between the Greek islands have the most frequency from June to September. In late March, April, May, October and early November they run on at a decreased rate but still usually enough to get where you want to go on any given day. From December to February there is a bare-bones schedule that can make getting between some islands difficult (or impossible).

Common Ferry Routes for the Greek Islands

  • Athens to the Greek Islands – For almost all Greek islands there is at least one ferry per day to and from Athens, 365 days a year.
  • Mykonos to Santorini – Daily ferries usually run from late March to early October. In other months you’ll need to ferry or fly via Athens.
  • Naxos, Paros, Ios to Santorini – Daily ferries usually run year-round.
  • Crete to Santorini – Daily ferries usually run from late March to late October. In other months you’ll need to ferry or fly via Athens.
  • Rhodes to Crete – Sporadic service year-round, often on an overnight service.
  • Rhodes to Santorini, Mykonos, Cyclades – There are daily ferries from Rhodes to Athens that will sometimes make stops in a Cycladic island (usually Syros, Naxos, or Paros). From there you can take a ferry to other Cycladic islands.
  • Corfu to Santorini, Crete, Mykonos – There are no ferries from the west coast islands (Corfu, Zakynthos, Kefalonia) to the Cycladic islands, Crete, Rhodes, or any of the islands in the Aegean.
  • Italy to Greece – There are summer ferries from the east coast of Italy to the west coast of Greece (Corfu, Igoumenitsa, Patras) but no ferries from Italy to Crete, Italy to Santorini, Italy to Mykonos, or any of the islands in the Cyclades.

Greek Island Ferry Pass

There is no ferry pass for Greece or the Greek islands. Eurail does have a pass that includes a ferry ticket from Italy to the west coast of Greece and then a limited number of ferry passes within the Aegean. Whether this train and ferry pass is worth it depends on a wide range of variables and how much you plan to use the train while in western Europe (there are few functional train routes for tourists in Greece.

Occasionally, there will be Greek island package vacations advertised that include a “Greek Island Ferry Pass” – the ferry passes are just individual ferry tickets purchased by the Holiday company. These holiday packages are rarely a good deal – you’ll usually get better prices by booking hotel, ferry, and flight on your own.

Greek Island Ferry Map

Map of Greek Ferry Routes

I recommend visiting islands in the same island group. The Cyclades are the best islands for the first time visitor to Greece: frequent, short ferry connections with the other islands makes hopping between islands fun and easy. 

FAQ – Greek Ferries

How much do ferry tickets cost on Greek ferries?
Every route is different. It’s based partially on distance but a 20-mile ferry hop will still be 50% of a 200-mile run – so you pay more for each stop then you do for each mile. There are no return tickets or multi-stop ticket. Every destination is an individual ticket.

How many ferries per day run on most routes?
This can range from a half-dozen ferries between popular islands per day in summer (say, Naxos to Paros) to one ferry per day for some routes in the winter months. And, of course, many islands are not connected at all (e.g. Corfu and Santorini) or are only connected during the summer months (Mykonos and Santorini; Santorini and Crete).

Can you buy food on board a Greek ferry?
Yes. Sandwiches, ice cream, pastries, chips, cookies, beer, wine, coffee, and soft drinks are available on almost all Greek ferries.

What are the bathrooms like on a Greek ferry?
Toilets and bathrooms are quite nice and kept in a good level of cleanliness. No worries here.

Are ferries rough? Will I get seasick on a Greek ferry?
Ferries can be bumpy during rough seas and windy weather. Generally, the bigger the ferry the smoother the ride. If you’re susceptible to seasickness then try to travel on the Blue Star ferry. I find getting up and walking about can lead to seasickness even if you were feeling fine. Try to stay seated as much as possible. They do have sick bags too, so ask for them when you board if you think it might be an issue.

How long before departure should I arrive at the ferry port?
30 minutes is fine, maybe 45 minutes if you have to pick up your reserved tickets. Ferries do not wait for anyone.

What is the best way to get from central Athens to the Piraeus ferry port?
There is a direct train from downtown Athens (Monastiraki station) to the Piraeus ferry port. It takes about 20 minutes from central Athens to the ferry port.

What is the best way to get from the Athens airport to the Piraeus ferry port?
The easiest way from the airport to the ferry port is the train. First, take the airport train into Athens. Switch trains at the Monastiraki station to the M1 line which will take you straight to the ferry port. Trains do not run 24 hours so if you’re traveling in the middle of the night then use the X96 bus to the ferry port.

Greek Ferries – Tips and Information

Blue Star Greek Ferry.

There are 3 main types of Greek ferries. The largest (and most common) is the passenger ferry like the Blue Star. Often called a car ferry though the high speed ferries also take cars. Hellenic Seaways, SeaJets, and Golden Star also have similar large ferries.

Greek High Speed Ferry

A little smaller are the high speed catamarans like the High Speed 6 and High Speed 7 by Hellenic Seaways. SeaJet has similar ferries Tera Jet (a little bigger) and Champion Jet (a little smaller). These ferries can give a rough ride in choppy seas but are generally pretty stable.

Small catamaran ferries in Greece.

The smallest ferries are the small catamarans like the Superjet, SeaJet2, and Fly Cat 4. These will have the bumpiest rides and are not a great choice if you have trouble with seasickness. They’re also more likely to get cancelled due to bad weather.

First class and reserved seating on Greek ferry.

First class and business seating is usually worth the extra cost for its roomy seats and quieter atmosphere. If you do get economy seating (on the Blue Star) then I recommend getting reserved seats (airplane-style seating) for the small extra fee.

Greek Ferry Seat Types

This is airplane style seating for economy class seats. It only costs a few more euros which makes air seat reservations worth the price.

Outdoor seating on Greek ferry.

The large car ferries like the Blue Star are the only ones with outdoor deck seating. All outdoor seating is open for all seat classes. There’s no reserved outdoor seating.

Food, snacks, and drinks on board Greek Ferry.

All ferries will have food, snacks, and drinks on board. It’s reasonably priced and good quality – but nothing fancy.

Places to buy food near Athens ferry port.

In Athens there are many places to buy food and snacks before boarding the ferry. These shops (located directly across from the ferry port) are open 24-hours a day.

Boarding a Greek ferry in Athens.

Boarding the ferry with luggage. Arrive at the ferry about 20 to 30 minutes before departure. Ferries generally leave Athens on time but can be late for destinations along the route. For example. the Athens to Naxos, Paros, and Santorini ferry will leave Athens on time, but might be a little late leaving Naxos and Paros for Santorini.

Luggage storage on Greek ferries.

On large car ferries and large high speed ferries there is luggage storage on the bottom level as you enter the ship.

Getting off Greek ferry with luggage in Santorini.

Getting off the ferry in Santorini. Ships do not stop for long. Be downstairs with your luggage and ready to depart when the ferry pulls into your destination port.

Online Greek Ferry Ticket.

Online reservations can look something like this – but if they don’t have a bar code they are not ferry tickets. You need to pick up your actual ferry ticket from a ferry kiosk or travel agent.

Greek Ferry Ticket

This is an actual Greek ferry ticket. It needs to have a barcode to be able to board the ferry.

Where to pick up tickets at Athens ferry port.

In Athens (Piraeus), the ticket kiosks to pick up ferry tickets are to the left as you enter the port area. Get here about 45 minutes before departure to get your tickets.

Piraeus Ferry Port in Athens

The ferry port in Athens is almost directly across the street from the subway station. Follow the crowds as they leave the train and you can’t miss the ferries.

Where to pick up tickets for ferries in Santorini, Greece.

In Santorini, you pick up ferry tickets at travel agents in Fira (not the port).

Greek ferry ticket pick up in Heraklion, Crete.

In Heraklion you’ll pick up ferry tickets at the port, directly in front of the departing ferries.

Where to buy ferry tickets in Athens.

You can buy ferry tickets from any shop that has signs like this. But you can only pick up reserved tickets from specific agencies which should be in your confirmation email.

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4 Questions and Comments

  1. Mykonos to Naxos Ferry

    Could you recommend which ferry to take from Mykonos to Naxos for someone who easily gets seasick? You have recommended Bluestar for a stable ride, but it does not run this route. I see Superrunner ( 1 hr 40 min) and Ekaterini (1 h 20 min) – would these be similar in stability to the large Bluestar ferries? Thank you for all your time and energy in creating these informative guides – we love them!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      Both of those ferries will be fine. The best (if available on your dates) are the Tera Jet and JET1/JET2 ferries. The absolute worst is the Flying Cat 4.

  2. Length of Ferry from Athens to Santorini

    How long is the ferry ride from Piraeus ferry port to Santorini?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      It depends what ferry and what route but from Athens to Santorini takes about 5 hours on the SeaJet, 5 hours on the Golden Star Superrunner, 5.5 hours on a Hellenic high speed ferry, and 7.5 hours on the Blue Star. Though the slowest the Blue Star is the only one that allows you to walk and sit on the outdoor decks.

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