Santorini Boat Tours

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by Santorini Dave • Updated: July 14, 2018

  • My favorite tours in Santorini are the boat tours of the volcano. A must!
  • Don’t worry too much about which tour you book – they’re all good. Emphasis should be on getting something booked in advance before they sell out.
  • The only way to do a volcano tour is to do a boat tour. You can not access the volcano unless you’re part of an organized (private or group) tour.
  • All boat tours have great views of the caldera cliffs.
  • Cruise options include: hike the volcano; swim in the hot springs (you can always stay on the boat if you wish); visit Thirassia and explore its villages; stop at Red Beach and White Beach to swim and snorkel; eat lunch or dinner on board; and watch the sunset below Oia.
  • GetYourGuide.com is the best way to book tours in Santorini.
The cliffs of Oia and Imerovigli from a boat tour of the caldera.

A boat tour of the caldera is stunningly fucking awesome. There’s no way you should visit Santorini and not do a boat tour.

The 4 Best Boat Tours in Santorini

All boat tours below provide meals onboard and have hotel pickup and drop off (which doesn’t sound like a big deal when you’re booking but makes the day so much easier and hassle-free when the time arrives). Also, all tours enter the caldera, sail to or near the volcano, and have plenty of swimming and snorkeling. Food on the tours ranges from surprisingly good to great. And the boats are very generous with their alcohol – after every tour, I ask myself how they make money when they’re so lavish with the food and drink.

1. Private Catamaran Cruise (5 hours)

Wonderful private cruise of the caldera. Great food and plenty of flexibility on what to see and where to sail. Ideal for a luxury honeymoon cruise or a small group (up to 6 people). The day-tour departs at 10:00am, the sunset-tour departs at 3:00pm. Be prepared to be insanely pampered.
The best private boat tours in Santorini.

2. Luxurious Small Group Catamaran Cruise (5 hours)

Sunset Cruise (3:15pm departure) or Day Cruise (10:15am departure). Awesome cruise around the volcano, staring up at the cliffs of the caldera. You stop at a few beaches for swimming and snorkeling, then swim in the hot springs near the volcano, eat a huge lunch or dinner, and finally see the sunset from the cliffs below Oia (for the sunset cruise). Lots of fun!
Sunset boat cruise of caldera and volcano in Oia, Santorini.

3. Small Group Cruise by Luxury Catamaran (5 hours)

Wonderful day tour with great food and a friendly staff (3:30pm departure). You can’t go more than 5 minutes without someone asking if you want another beer or glass of wine. But it’s far from a drinking cruise – the emphasis is on swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing on the top of the catamaran. You’ll visit a few beaches and the hot springs and have plenty of time to explore the sights of the caldera. (I did this boat tour last summer and it was awesome.)
Santorini volcano and caldera boat tour.

4. Volcano Boat Cruise (6 hours)

Much less expensive and with a larger boat and group of people but still very fun. This tour is almost the opposite of the Sunset Catamaran Cruise. You get the volcano, hot springs (with swimming), and a visit to Thirassia island – but no beaches or going outside the caldera, and no sunset. This is the cheapest boat tour of the caldera.
Best boat tours in Santorini.

Santorini Boat Tours – Tips & Info

Boat tour of the caldera.

View of Imerovigli and Fira from below Oia.

Boat tour into the caldera.

Close-up view of the Santorini cliffs.

Fira boat tour.

View of Fira from a boat tour.

Boat tour scenery of the caldera.

View of Imerovigli from a boat tour.

Oia boat tour of the caldera.

The caldera-side of Oia.

The white beach and white rock scenery of Santorini.

The white rock towers of southern Santorini.

Fira boat tour to the volcano.

The view of the volcano with Fira in the background.

Oia boat tours of caldera and volcano.

The view of Oia from the Amoudi Bay where many boat tours begin from.

Swimming and cliff jumping on Santorini boat tour.

Jumping from the rocks below Oia.

Greek food on Santorini boat tour.

Barbecue on a Santorini boat tour.

Santorini volcano and caldera boat tours.

So much to see. Awesome!

Hot springs and volcano boat tours.

Swimming from the boat to the warm waters of the hot springs.

Meals onboard Santorini boat tours.

Food on the boat tours is surprisingly good – sometimes great.

Santorini swimming on boat tour.

My son jumping from the boat.

Toilets onboard Santorini boat tours.

Most boats and catamarans will have 2 or 3 bathrooms. They are always clean and well maintained.

Hot springs boat tour in Santorini.

Jumping into the hot springs from the boat.

Caldera boat tour.

The views of the cliffs and caldera from the boat are awe-inspiring.

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30 Questions and Comments

  1. Boat Tours Sold Out

    I tried to book the private boat tour and the sunset tour above but both were fully booked for our dates. Do you have another good boat tour that you could recommend? Preferably a private one. Thanks!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      There’s another Spiridakos boat tour that is excellent and very similar to the private tour I’ve listed above. It has departures of 10:30 (day tour) and 3:30 (sunset tour).

  2. Santorini Day or Sunset Boat Tour

    Dave, your advice on this site is awesome and very detailed. My fiancee and I are going to be in Santorini in August for our honeymoon and are definitely booking one of the boat tours, but we just can’t decide on whether to do a day or sunset voyage. Anything you can tell us that would help make our decision easier? Not sure if this has an effect on the analysis, but we are staying in Imerovigli which I understand has nice views of the sunset. Thanks!!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      There’s not a huge difference: the day tour has more swimming time, the sunset tour has more evening hours. Be sure to take a change of clothes for the sunset tour (it can get chilly at night). The sunset tour has a later starting date which allows you to do something in the morning.

  3. Santorini Boat Tours in November

    Hello Dave.

    I’ll be staying in santoniri for a day this November. Arrive Friday morning to either Katikies or Kirini hotel, and then leave late Saturday afternoon to Athens. (Though I have to check out from my hotel by 12pm). Would you recommend a boat tour? If yes, which would it be. My issue mainly time and not price.

  4. What Day is Best for a Santorini Boat Tour

    I am about to book the semi-private boat tour and we are going the last week of June into July (which, from what I understand, is a very crowded time of year). Do you think that the day of the week that we book the day tour matters much (Friday vs. Saturday vs. Monday)? I assume everyone on board is likely vacationing so I’m not sure if this would be significant, but if it may make a different in terms of the number of people on board, I’d love to know. Thanks!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      There’s no difference between days of the week and busyness. Do whatever works best.

  5. Boat Tour or Sea Kayaking in Santorini

    I have 3 full days in Santorini in the beginning of July. I’m looking into a boat tour or sea kayaking. Is it worth it to do both? What would you suggest? Thanks for your amazing resources!!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      If you can only do one do the boat tour but if time allows do both, as they each have a very different feel. It’s a more surreal feeling being in a kayak at water-level looking up at the huge cliffs (depending where your tour goes). But you do get to do more when on the boat tour – it’s a more complete introduction to the caldera.

  6. Passport Information To Book Tour

    I am looking to book the sunset catamaran trip this summer. In the check out it asks for passport information. I just wanted to check this was a normal request/it’s safe to provide my information to this company?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      Yes, it’s safe and secure. The information is requested by the port authority but it’s never used. You could put in your correct name and then just make up a letter/number combination for the passport number. They’ll never know and never look at it.

  7. Santorini Boat Tour on Day Trip from Crete

    We are going to Santorini for one day in July via fast ferry from Crete. Are there any shorter cruises around Santorini that we can do in that window of time that we will be there?

    Thanks,
    Ed

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      No, sorry. There’s no boat tour (that I know of) that would get you back in time to get your return ferry to Crete.

  8. Milos Day Trip

    We will be in Santorini for 3 days after ferries from Athens-Mykonos then Mykonos-Santorini. We were thinking of taking the ferry to Milos for a day trip. Is it reasonable to do in a day or will we be ferried out?
    Thanks for your insight, love reading all of your suggestions.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      Not worth it. If you want to visit Milos stay at least 2 nights and 1 full day.

  9. Santorini Boat Tours in May

    Hi Dave,
    I’m planning a honeymoon in Greece this upcoming May and your site has been an amazing resource – thanks! Quick question: Is May too early for the boat tours that have swimming? Thanks.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      Yes, they’ll be running in May (usually start in April) and you’ll be able to swim. But water can still be a bit chilly. And note, hot springs are not “hot” just warm.

  10. Santorini Boat Tours

    Hi there, I love to read and follow all of your posts so thank you for always having the most up to date information! We will be in Santorini in July and I would like to do a catamaran tour of the island and go into caves and see some of the hidden gems of Santorini. Is there a tour or boat that would do that?
    Also, is there a boat that will take you to Mykonos for a day and back to Santorini?
    Thank you,
    Alissa

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      I don’t know of any boat tours that take in caves. And don’t know of any Santorini to Mykonos tours either. There are much better islands to visit on a day tour from Santorini. Ios for beaches, Naxos for inland sightseeing. (That said, I typically don’t recommend doing a day trip from Santorini as time is much better spent on Santorini than on a boat. If you do want to see another island then stay a night or two to see it best.)

  11. Tour of Santorini Beaches

    I am looking for a beach hopping trip in Santorini to visit the Black Beach, Red Beach, White beach etc. tour starts at 4PM or 5PM. How much for 2 people?

    Harun

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      For these beaches best to do it yourself with this boat from Akrotiri. It will be 10€ per person round trip. Can also take a different boat back to Kamari (if you were taking the bus, if you’ve got your own car then you’ll need to return to Akrotiri). Last boat is about 6:30pm (but double check) so you won’t have a lot of time.

  12. Best Boat Tour in Santorini

    Hi Dave – Awesome site. Just became a patron!

    Trying to select the right boat tour for my husband and I (going in a few weeks!). They all seem great so it’s hard to select. What are the key differences between these three tours:

    Semi-Private Luxury Catamaran Day Cruise
    5-Hour Small Group Catamaran Cruise
    Sunset Catamaran Sailing Cruise in Caldera

    In particular, trying to understand if it’s worth paying the premium for the semi-private luxury catamaran day cruise.

    Many thanks!
    Lily

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      The single biggest difference is whether the tour goes through the day or in the late afternoon (and gets the sunset). The 5-hour small group tour is cheaper than the other two but will have a few more people on the boat and the food served is not quite as robust as for the semi-private and sunset catamaran cruises. More appetizers than the full meal you get on the other two. Fewer drinks are served as well. All 3 are great and you’ll love whatever you choose. My advice is to first decide whether you want the sunset or more sun/swimming.

  13. Private Boat Tour of Caldera and Volcano

    Would like to do a private boat tour of caldera. It’s our honeymoon and want a super special day out on the water with food, wine, swimming, snorkeling, and the hot springs. Maybe take in the sunset too, but as you say, it’s a choice between more swimming/sunshine and sunset/evening so not sure what we’ll decide. What’s the best tour to book for our needs?

    Thanks,
    Colin

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      The Private Half-Day Catamaran Cruise of Santorini is simply awesome. It is expensive but I’m sure you’re expecting that already. There’s a morning departure (for lots of swimming and sunshine) and an afternoon departure (for the sunset – but still plenty of time to swim too). Food is top notch. If it’s within your budget this is the one you want. (If you do the sunset tour bring a change of clothes so you can change out of your wet swimming stuff and enjoy the sunset without a chill.)

  14. Self Guided Tour of Volcano in Santorini

    Hello,

    We are visiting Santorini in the next few weeks. Is there a ferry that 2 people can take on their own and explore the volcano/hot springs, or is it only by tour? Please let me know! Much appreciated.
    Gabriel M

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      There are no ferries to the volcano or hot springs. You have to do a tour or a chartered/private tour. There are small boats that do regular routes to the neighboring island of Thirassia (that forms the western side of the caldera) but this isn’t the volcano.

  15. Best Sunset Cruise in Santorini

    We are looking for the best sunset tour around Santorini. Our only concern is that we also want lots of swimming. If we do the sunset tour will we have enough time to swim?

    Thanks
    Miller

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      Not sure what you mean by “enough” but you’ll certainly get a good stretch of time to swim. It won’t be 10 minutes and let’s go. More like 2 to 3 hours.

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