Sep 11th, 2018, 12:00 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 25

We (2 of us) will have a day to explore Santorini via cruise ship. (In port 0800-2200). We have 2 goals: to spend time at Oia and to see as much of the island as we can. How challenging is it to drive, and should we rent a car? Approximate cost?
Other options?
We are trying to stay away from ship excursions.
Thanks so much.
PatLinn is offline  
Sep 11th, 2018, 01:57 AM
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I haven't been to Santorini since 2010 when I stayed five nights near Fira. I relied on buses. With one day on the island using buses is not a good option. Not sure where you would rent a car, but I'm sure it's possible and hopefully where your ship docks. The roads appeared easy to drive and parking could be an issue near Oia and Fira as they are the most touristy. The ship's excursion to Oia will drop busloads of passengers. I took the first bus in the morning from Fira only to find it so crowded I was not able to walk down a lane--I just plodded along with all of them. Very disappointing and not at all what I remembered from 30 years ago. With a car perhaps you can visit Oia when the ship's excursions have left.

There are other places to visit since you would have a car. Two villages I visited briefly in 2010 were Pyrgos and Megalochori. I got some photos of doors that I liked. If I can figure out how to add some photos here I will do so. Thirty years ago I visited Akrotiri, an archaeological site. We took a tour and the woman who lead the tour brought the ancient city to life for us. I returned years later, but without a guide it wasn't the same experience.

There is a black sand beach that is popular, but with only a day I suggest you stick to seeing the buildings perched on the caldera in Fira and Oia.


luvtotravel is offline  
Sep 11th, 2018, 02:09 AM
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It's not challenging to drive in Santorini. Parking can be depending on time of year.
Odin is offline  
Sep 11th, 2018, 06:28 AM
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With only one day you probably only have time for Oia and Fira which is too bad, as some of the inland towns are quite interesting. Prygos and Emporio were two I enjoyed a lot. But by taking buses you're tied to a schedule which will slow you down but renting a car might be even worse as it takes time to get the rental, and find parking when you get where you are going, etc.

It is very easy to take a bus from Fira to Oia, they run every 20 minutes in summer so I think you can do that instead of taking the cruise ships excursion bus. Not sure how those work but if you want to just explore Fira and then take a bus to Oia and back that should be doable.

I've done two trips to Santorini, in 2009 and then just this past summer. Here are my photos combined from both trips. I haven't labeled them yet but the first town is Oia, then Fira, then Pyrgos and then Emporio and it's pretty obvious when it switches from one town to the next.
isabel is offline  
Sep 11th, 2018, 08:25 AM
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You will have to take a cable car back down the cliff to board your ship's tender. I saw huge lines of passengers for the cable car so allow enough time to get back to your ship.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Sep 13th, 2018, 07:07 PM
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Beautiful pictures, isabel! I can't wait to visit Santorini next year.
BuffaloGirl is online now  
Sep 14th, 2018, 11:42 AM
Original Poster
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Thanks everyone for your suggestions. Beautiful photos too!
PatLinn is offline  
Sep 14th, 2018, 11:49 AM
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Take the water taxi from the cruise ship tender dock to Amoudi Bay below Oia. Ticket price includes a shuttle bus ride to the Oia bus square and a bus ticket back to Fira. This eliminates some of the time you'd waste taking the cable car up the cliff into Fira and making your way from there to Oia (there is no road down to the cruise ship tender dock, only the cable car and steps). After you return to Fira you can rent a car for further exploration if you decide that's what you want to do. The closest rental office to the Cable Car building is Hertz.

If you live outside the EU and want to rent a car be sure to bring an International Driving Permit. If you live in No. America get it at your local AAA/CAA office, no test or membership required.
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Sep 14th, 2018, 05:49 PM
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We were just in Santorini in October; loved it, but yes, it takes time to tender, to take cable car up to Fira, walk to the taxi station (some blocks away), get the taxi to Oia and get back, but you do have till 10:00 p.m.. We called for a taxi to take us back to Fira, but it never came so we had to wait and hop on a very crowded bus back to Fira. I would choose the water taxi w transport back to Fira, or more probably a rental car. It would be easy driving depending on the month you are there. What line are you cruising? Once in Oia, you may not need as much time as you think, but do plan to have lunch and walk the narrow path that is jammed with people and shops. We were there on a splendid day, and do stop in at Atlantis Bookshop, an independent English-language shop tucked down along the pathway along the older section.
aliced is offline  
Sep 14th, 2018, 08:25 PM
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Unfortunately the water taxi service is not offered for a return from Amoudi Bay to the cruise ship tender dock. Your options will be a bus or a taxi or a rental car.
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Sep 15th, 2018, 06:09 AM
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The cable car isn't always available. Your other options are riding a mule down or walking. My group and I walked all 640 steps down to the tender.
interestingplaces is offline  
Sep 15th, 2018, 11:24 AM
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please do not ride the poor abused donkeys!!
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Sep 16th, 2018, 12:14 AM
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When has the cable car not been available?
Heimdall is online now  
Sep 16th, 2018, 11:14 AM
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Imerovigli is a cute town to visit, right on the caldera with gorgeous views and a paved walking path between Fira and Oia.

Personally, I wouldn't drive on Santorini. The roads are narrow with buses and shuttles on them, taking up most of the room. We took a bus from Imerovigli to/from Oia. It's walkable, but we didn't do that. We did walk several times from Imerovigli to/from Fira.
MoBro is offline  
Sep 16th, 2018, 07:35 PM
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Perhaps InterestingPersons meant that at times the cable car may not be an option because of the horrendously long lines (sometimes waiting in the sun for over an hour to get on) ... which might mean that people might miss the last tender for their cruise ship, if they waited for the cable car. Evidence of the crisis in crowding is the Island's new regulations limiting the daily maximum of cruise visitors to 8,000 (!!).
travelerjan is online now  
Sep 17th, 2018, 04:02 AM
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If the winds are too high the cable car doesn't run. They can't take a chance on it swaying and possibly hurting a passenger. Plus, it is not unheard of that if the weather is bad enough the car can come off the cable and crash.

The walk down the steps was LONG but it afforded some wonderful views.

Long lines of fellow travelers is one reason I only travel off season.
interestingplaces is offline  
Sep 17th, 2018, 08:21 AM
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I found it kind of interesting that all those cruise shippers go to Santorini for the sunset and then are stuck in a huge line waiting for the cable car during the sunset hour (in an area where they can't see it).
isabel is offline  
Sep 18th, 2018, 07:07 AM
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If you're heading to Oia for the sunset, make sure you get there at least an hour before - ideally set yourself up in a nice bar / restaurant with a view as it becomes a bit of a scrum in the street! Beautiful place though.
adi_plainsailing is offline  
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