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Santorini - is there a cable car alternative?

Santorini - is there a cable car alternative?

Nov 3rd, 2010, 12:59 PM
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Santorini - is there a cable car alternative?

It is my understanding, all tours, even those who pick you up off the tender, drop you off on the top to take the cable car. For those who can't walk down or use a donkey, and cannot stand for an hour in line, is there an alternative?

Is there a tour that does not drop you off at the top? Bus tour, or boat tour that can be taken from the tender point and back without going "upstairs"?

I guess, my question is, if not for cable car, what else is there to do
Dayenu is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2010, 02:36 PM
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Santorini is not a big place, but it is bigger than you think. There are quite a few villages, an airport, and hundreds of churches. The cable car is located at Oia (pronounced as E-AH).

Typically, they will tender you off to Ormos Athinios, while there is a decent size parking lot for the tour buses and dock facilities. The buses will pick you up there and drive up a very steep hill through several hair-pin (and hair raising) turns to get you off the shore line and onward to wherever you are going.

The tours will finish off at Oia and you will find your own way back to the tender peir to get you back to the ship, which is not the same place where you had landed earlier.

Oia is village built on the side of the hill. There is no roads within the village once you get off the parking lot. It is a 15 to 20 minutes walk on a gentle slope, uneven cobble stone surface to get to the cable car terminal, or the walk way to go down; and of course, the doney path and the walk way is one and the same.

There is no way down except cable car, walk or donkey. That's it.
If you don't wait till the last possible minutes, the wiat is not long at all.

There are 4 cars in tendum with 6 seats each (24 people each time). It is a 3 minutes ride. We didn't have to wait at all and we decided to get back to the ship about one hour prior to the last tender.

There are shops at the bottom of the cable car terminal as well so there are some things to do while you wait for the tender.
Eschew is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2010, 02:51 PM
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So even if I take a private tour, I am still confined to a cable car ride?

The more I read about them, the more I want to avoid them.
Dayenu is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2010, 03:32 PM
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The cable car is not bad at all, unless you are afraid of such things. I don't care for heights that much, but the cable car is not aprticularly frightening. I've been on far worse, even on a bus. Even though the lines look lo0ng, they really do move along. For example don't allow anyone to leave the line to go to the toilets. Your turn may come before they get back.
Aristotle is offline  
Nov 4th, 2010, 08:11 AM
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My bad ... the cable car is at Thira, not Oia. We stopped at so many places and the names, it is so confusing.

It is about 800 steps and 20 minutes walk to go down to Scala from Thira. Skala is the place where the tender will pick you up and take you back to the ship. The cable car is really nothing to worry about and it is efficient.

It sure looks like you are stuck with the cable car even if you take a private tour, unless the private tour can take you to Skala through our means.

When are you leaving and on what ship? What are the stops? You may want to ask the cruise line where they tender you off to shore and where they tender you back to the ship. Maybe your ship will tender you both on and off at Athinos?

By the way, the bus ride from Athinos to Pyrgos can be more scary than the cabe car ride, especially if you are sitting at the front of the bus looking out.

I will be posting some pictures once I have a chance to sort them out. I have pictures of the doney path and the cable car. Maybe that will ease your fear once you have seen the pictures.
Eschew is offline  
Nov 4th, 2010, 09:05 AM
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We are going on Norwegian RT from Venice in May 2011. 4 stops in Greece only, 7-night cruise. Stops, in random, Corfu, Katakolon, Santorini, Mykonons.

I think I'm afraid of hights only when I am not attached to land, been in the mountains on buses and cars 1,000 times, never scared. Well, a little But on small cable cars it gets bad, I am shaking when I get off.

Besides, standing still is a problem, and somebody said it's waiting on a slanted hill going back. So I've tried to find alternatives. I guess, we'll have to decide when there. I'm doing research like we're taking the cable car.
Dayenu is offline  
Nov 5th, 2010, 08:20 AM
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The village is built on a hill, and the sidewalks (alleys?) are cobble stone and on slopes. The building where the cable cars are will be fine as there is a concerte platform and waiting area.

If you book any type of shore excursions, the cable car ride down is part of the package and it is free.

I will probably post some pictures within a month. You can look at the pictures and decide. The ride is only 3 minutes, just close your eyes.

You can always walk down. It's about 800 steps, so it is a 20 minutes walk, maybe 40 minutes if you go real slow. But you will have to share the path with the donkeys. or depending on your point of view.
Eschew is offline  
Nov 5th, 2010, 08:59 AM
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I'm really afraid of heights and small spaces, and even I was fine with the cable car. We took it up. Stupidly, we decided to walk down instead of waiting in the line (you're about right - if you come at peak loading time, it's about an hour). Do you know how hard it is to not step into donkey stuff??? . Just be prepared to wait - or make sure you come back well before loading time when there won't be a big line..... Enjoy - Santorini is really beautiful....
Debi is offline  
Nov 5th, 2010, 09:42 AM
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Dayenu, I tried something new and this is what I ended up with, a slide show on Tripadvisor. Here is the lionk below.
You will see a picture of Thira, the pathway down, the donkeys, the cable cars and Skala. Tell me what you think.

Eschew is offline  
Nov 5th, 2010, 11:15 AM
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Eschew, thank you for your photos! That tiny thing takes only 6 people? I am half-dead already! I took a bigger car in Portland, OR, came out shaking.

It's so beautiful there! Maybe I'll send my husband up to take photos. We've decided not to make any prior arrangements, and see how it goes.
Dayenu is offline  
Nov 5th, 2010, 04:21 PM
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Dayenu - Are you on the Jade for that cruise? If so you are really in luck. Your time in Thira is 1pm - 10pm I believe. You will be arriving later and leaving later than most of the other cruise ships. That means you won't have the long lines for the Gondola. When we were there we left later as well and we just walked onto the gondola without any line at all. Most of the ships do the 8am t0 6pm give or take a couple of hours so your timing will make it a lot easier. (I am sure you said somewhere you were going to be on the Jade)
traveller69 is offline  
Nov 8th, 2010, 10:11 AM
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Dayenu, we walk on and off the cable car as well with no wait. It all depends on how many ships are in port. It get dark around 7 or 8 pm though.

If you do not take any excursion, the ship will tender you to Skala. You can then decide if you want to walk up the pathway or take the cable car up, ior just sit at Skala (a vey small place) and do nothing. But then, you will be missing out on the whole experience.

Because the cable cars are in tandum and there are no towers for transition, it is very stable, just like riding a very fast elevator. It is safe and you just have to overcome your fear. Like I said, close your eyes and pray.

The width of the cable car is about he width of a back seat of a car: comfy for 2 but cramped a bit for 3.
Eschew is offline  
Nov 8th, 2010, 11:24 AM
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Thank you. I'll post a report at the end of May.
Dayenu is offline  
Nov 13th, 2010, 11:14 AM
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I don't like heights, particularly in cable cars, so when we docked at Santorini, I walked up and down the steps. It's not a big deal, if you are at all mobile. You can also take a donkey ride, but walking was fine for me.
scdreamer is offline  
Nov 14th, 2010, 02:14 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 522
Hi there,
I too am very scared of heights but the cable car was the only option. I made sure I sat in the middle and closed my eyes the whole way up. It was worth it for the magnificent view. It was not so bad coming down but I did the same thing on the way back.
Do not let the cable car stop you from visiting such a beautiful place.
After a day trip on a cruise, we returned for a week and stayed on this gorgeous island.
Have fun
Lordy is offline  
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