Boat Tours of the Santorini Caldera & Volcano
- A boat tour of the caldera is among my very favorite things to do in Santorini. Unforgettable and a must-do!
- 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 for your dates.
- Day tour or sunset tour? There is not a huge difference between the two types of tours beyond the time of day. A day tour/cruise usually runs from 9 or 10 am to 3 pm, serves lunch, and has lots of swimming. A sunset tour/cruise runs from about 3 pm to 8 or 9 pm, serves dinner, has a little less swimming than the day tour, and typically finishes by sailing beneath the Oia cliffs to watch the sunset.
- Private boat tour or small group tour? I’ll be honest, I definitely prefer the private. You get more input on where to go, how long to spend at different spots, what music to listen to, and (sometimes) where you get dropped off at the end. Yes, private tours are more expensive but I’d be shocked if anyone regretted the money they spent once they’re on the boat.
- The description says, “all you can eat and drink”, is that really true? Yes, but with some differences between tours. The private tours bring the drinks out before you’ve left the harbor. The less-expensive tours hold-off for a bit until the boat gets to the first destination and you’ve had a swim, which might be an hour to two, but after that, it’s an open bar.
- There are no ferries to the volcano. 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.
- The Jet Ski Tour To The Volcano is amazing.
- 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. If you ever need to cancel it’s usually much easier if you’ve booked through Get Your Guide.
The 8 Best Boat Tours in Santorini
All boat tours below provide meals onboard and have hotel pick-up 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.
Sunset Cruise (2:45pm departure) or Day Cruise (9:45am 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! If this tour is fully booked then try the Caldera Cruise or Santorini Sunset Cruise.
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, small group, or family. The day tour departs at 10:30am, the sunset-tour departs at 3:30pm. Both tours last 5 hours. Be prepared to be insanely pampered. If the above tour is fully booked – which is common from June to September – then try the Private Sunset Cruise.
Wonderful day tour with great food and friendly staff (10:00am 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.)
This is an incredible way to see the Santorini cliffs and stare up at the villages perched on the caldera’s edge. The motor yachts allow for much more freedom in getting around the volcanic islands and seeing the caldera from every different angle. On a catamaran, you feel like you’re on vacation. On the motor yachts it feels a little more like you’re on an adventure (though there’s still plenty of swimming, snorkeling, eating, and drinking).
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.
This tour is very well done and lots of fun. Boat around the Santorini waters on a local fishing boat. Fresh seafood lunch or dinner served on board (eat what you catch and empty from the nets). The daytime tour is best for families and serious fishermen. The sunset tour is best for couples.
Not a boat tour, obviously, but super fun. We’ve done a couple of these tours (it’s always a small group of 2 to 4) to the volcano and they rank as some of the most exhilarating activities we’ve ever done. (That’s my son in the photo, 14 years old at the time.) The perspective you get as you ride through the caldera is awe-inspiring. A boat travels with the tour and is there for any emergencies or if the water gets too rough for beginner riders. The South Coast Tour is fun, but to see the volcano and caldera (which I recommend) you need to do the Volcano Tour or Extreme Volcano Tour. I would be shocked if anyone did this tour and at its conclusion didn’t yell, that was awesome!!!
A fun and easy-going way to explore the Santorini coastline. The Morning Tour and Evening Tour stick to the south coast of the island. The Round The Lighthouse Tour goes into the caldera and offers incredible views of the caldera cliffs.