Santorini Cruise Port Information – Paul and Carole

Santorini cruise port review Greece

One of the reasons we booked our recent Aegean Shores Cruise on the Thomson Dream Cruise Ship was the excellent itinerary which included the island of Santorini in Greece. We had seen all the spectacular iconic photos and wanted to experience it for ourselves.

fira thira in santorini here is our cruise port review with information of this beautiful greek island of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea Greece

Approaching Santorini

Sailing towards Santorini on the Thomson Dream Cruise Ship and seeing the volcano with all white buildings across the top coming into view was quite spectacular.

Where do cruise ships dock in Santorini?

We anchored in the crater of Santorini which apparently is the world’s largest volcanic crater created 3,500 years ago by a massive eruption of the Thera Volcano, which is still active. The craters are currently snoozing and are under constant surveillance by scientists at Fira’s volcanology institute. This bay is also believed by some to conceal the legendary lost city of Atlantis. The nearest dock is the port of Skala.

Getting ashore – how does tendering work?

Ships can not dock at Santorini, and a tender is needed to get ashore. A tender is a smaller boat that takes passengers ashore. Sometimes the ships life boats are used, this time it was boats from the port of Skala that transported the passengers to shore.

fira thira in santorini here is our cruise port review with information of this beautiful greek island of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea Greece

The tenders taking passengers ashore in Santorini

Once we were on the tender, Skala Pier was a short 10 minute journey.

fira thira in santorini here is our cruise port review with information of this beautiful greek island of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea Greece

Skala Pier in Santorini

There are a selection of restaurants and souvenir shops at the pier, some shade to get out of the heat and some cafe’s and bars to grab some refreshments.

How do you get to Thira?

There are 3 options for getting to the village of Thira (Fira) which is 260 metres above sea level. Walking 580 steps for 45 minutes, getting on a cable car or riding a donkey. At the time of publishing this post, the price of the cable car and donkey were both 6 euros each way.

fira thira in santorini here is our cruise port review with information of this beautiful greek island of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea Greece

A look down on the 580 steps in Santorini to the port of Skala

We had planned to walk but the steps are very exposed and we had heard it was quite difficult avoiding the donkeys and their waste. There was no way we wanted to ride a donkey as we felt that was so cruel, so we decided to take the cable car which was very easy to find. When you get off the tender head left and walk approximately 5 minutes you will pass some cafes and shops and you will see the entrance to the cable car on the right. If you choose to walk or take a donkey you will also see the signs to the donkey station and the steps.

fira thira in santorini here is our cruise port review with information of this beautiful greek island of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea Greece

Cable Car from Skala port to Thira, Santorini

I am really not so good at heights, and previous experiences with volcanoes have not gone well. The cable cars are not as you would expect going in a loop. Instead they are 6 cable cars that travel all together literally just up and down. I opted for the cliff view rather than admire the stunning views. With my nursing back ground I was very conscious of my increased respiratory rate and pulse and tried very hard to ignore it, and must admit I was very relieved when we reached the top!

fira thira in santorini here is our cruise port review with information of this beautiful greek island of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea Greece

A little anxious in the cable car in Santorini

Are the views worth it?

Oh yes! Take a look at these.

fira thira in santorini here is our cruise port review with information of this beautiful greek island of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea Greece

Looking into the crater from Thira (Fira) Santorini

fira thira in santorini here is our cruise port review with information of this beautiful greek island of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea Greece

Stunning view from the top of the cable car entrance in Santorini

fira thira in santorini here is our cruise port review with information of this beautiful greek island of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea Greece

The view to the right by the cable car entrance in Santorini

What can you find in Thira, Santorini?

We explored the tiny alleyways and found some very expensive tavernas and shops. However after a bit of searching we found a little piece of paradise called the Aria Restaurant. Friendly staff and ice cold glasses for the Mythos was very welcome. It was lovely to get out of the blistering heat and rehydrate. As a guide we paid 4 euros for a pint of Mythos, and a bottle of water was 2 euros for 1 litre.

fira thira in santorini here is our cruise port review with information of this beautiful greek island of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea Greece

Paul and his sister Jan at the Aria Restaurant a great find in Thira, Santorini

There are plenty of shopping opportunities, souvenir and craft shops, clothes, and lots of jewellery shops. If you are after personal hygiene products that you may have forgotten on your cruise there is The Hondos Centre too where you should find what you need.

fira thira in santorini here is our cruise port review with information of this beautiful greek island of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea Greece

The colourful alleyways in Thira Santorini

Where can I find Wifi?

Wifi is free and available in the majority of restaurants and bars in Thira and at the pier in Scala.

Where else can I explore?

If you want to explore the island the advice we were given is not to take local buses as they were infrequent, however taxis were available, but always make sure you agree a price before you get in. Excursions were available to Oia Village, the Thermal Springs, and Akrotiri if you wanted to explore more of the island. If you do decide to do this make sure you are back well in time for sail away, as the ship will not wait for you!

Tips for staying safe in Santorini

Wear walking type sandals not flip flops – I learnt the hard way. It was a extremely hot the day we visited and my feet were very sweaty. Whilst I was videoing the cable car, my feet slipped forward and sheared the thong off both of my flip flops and lifted one of my toe nails. Luckily I didn’t fall down the cliff as a wall was in the way! Instead of doing the sensible thing and buying new sandals there I decided to chance it by hopping back to the tender through the various bits of shade. You may have noticed I am not built for ninja warrior type exercise and the strange looks I got running and hopping from shade to shade was not surprising. By the time I got back to the ship my feet were pretty burnt and I plunged them straight into a cold bath! So our top tip for Santorini is wear sensible shoes!

There are shady areas to be found but would definitely recommend wearing a hat and drinking plenty of water. It gets hotter as the day goes on so a visit in the morning, we think is preferable.

Santorini is also not suitable for anyone with mobility problems. We were on our cruise with Paul’s father who has mobility problems and he decided to stay on the ship which was a wise choice.

Conclusion

Santorini did not disappoint it was breathtakingly beautiful, we really enjoyed our visit to Thira and if we had had more time we would of loved to explore more of the island. We have cruised many times and both agreed this is an excellent cruise destination. 

We were leaving at 1900 so could not stay for the iconic Oia sunset shot as the sun was setting at 2045 but we were able to admire this view as we sailed away to our next port of call which was Rhodes Town.

fira thira in santorini here is our cruise port review with information of this beautiful greek island of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea Greece

Sailing away from Santorini

Have you visited Santorini? Is there any other useful information you could add? We would love to hear in the comments below.

fira thira in santorini here is our cruise port review with information of this beautiful greek island of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea Greece

Looking over the white washed buildings to the Thomson Dream in Santorini

 

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Here are some travel accessories that we recommend for your visit to Santorini – our EC Technology travel bank to keep your camera’s and phones charged so you can take lots of photos, good walking shoes and a sun hat to protect you from the heat. Click through to Amazon to buy for your next trip!

For more of our favourite things that we always take travelling, do check out our

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Read our other cruise port reviews here –

Santa Cruz Tenerife Port Information

Las Palmas, Gran Canaria Cruise Port Information

Adriatic affair cruise ports – Dubrovnik, Rijeka, Koper, Venice, Korcula, Durres

fira thira in santorini here is our cruise port review with information of this beautiful greek island of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea Greece

Looking into the crater from Thira (Fira) Santorini

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Santorini

Two Traveling Texans

Santorini cruise port review Greece

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About paulandcarole

A travelling, cruising, housesitting couple who hope to inspire others along the way!
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38 Responses to Santorini Cruise Port Information – Paul and Carole

  1. Lolo says:

    Goodness those views are amazing!!!! So cool that you dock in the world’s oldest crater but a little scary the volcanoes are still active! Stumbled #feetdotravel

  2. Great information. I would love to visit Greece one day…. and I think it may be on the cards for sometime in the next few years! I have pinned this for later.

    • It is a beautiful country, we have visited before but not to Santorini. We plan to spend more time in the future on the Greek islands are they are just stunning and we also love the food! #feetdotravel

  3. Having stayed in Santorini a few days this summer, it is always interesting to see someone else’s perspective. We loved the views, too! Loved the food, but not the crowds or expensive trinkets.
    Carmen Baguio recently posted…6 “Must Do” Activities in Mykonos, GreeceMy Profile

    • Agree, we are glad we visited, but it was very crowded and expensive as you say. This was another tick on the bucket list but not sure we would return as there are far quainter greek islands out there!

  4. Bee says:

    Great information. We took the boat trip to Oia, you’ll see and hear the guys selling the trip on your way to the cable car. You get the boat there, then a bus up the cliff and then left to explore on your own. They give you a list of the bus times for the return to Fira so you can decide how much time you want to spend there. Where you get dropped off is a 10 minute walk to the cable car station for the return to the ship. Think it cost about 15 Euros each for boat and bus. Fantastic day, one of our favourite ports.

    • Thanks for the information Bee, sounds like a great option so you get to see Oia too! Would definitely do this if we returned. Thanks again for your useful comment.

  5. Esther says:

    My husband and I visited Santorini a couple of years ago, but we did a ‘DIY island hopping’, as the ferries are so convenient. And those caldera views, fabulous indeed! But even though Santorini is beautiful, I did prefer Naxos as it was just that little more authentic. Did you visit?
    #TheWeeklyPostcard
    Esther recently posted…Day trip from Amsterdam: MuidenMy Profile

    • We agree it was beautiful, and glad that we visited for those spectacular views. We have not visited Naxos but would love to explore more of the smaller greek islands. On our cruise we also went to Rhodes Town, Chania in Crete and Kefalonia and tehy were beautiful! Thanks for your comment.

  6. Oana says:

    The views are absolutely amazing, I would love to visit Greece one day. I would have take the stairs or the cable as well, leaving the donkey out. I almost never wear flip flops, I bought some travel sandals that will keep my feet safe. Great job capturing the beauty of Santorini.

  7. Lizi Sutherland says:

    Looks like you had an amazing time! Cannot wait to check it out for myself! Thank you for sharing!

  8. Anda says:

    I am still debating if I should go on a cruise in Greece, or just do island hopping. It’s definitely more convenient on a cruise, but then you don’t get to stay for too long in any place. Santorini looks fabulous! #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • Cruising is a great way to get a taster of destinations to decide whether you would like to return. We plan to do some island hopping around Greece in the future, looks very easy with all the ferries. Both options are good! Thanks for your comment.

  9. Ahhhhh Santorini – a place I need to visit! Greek island hopping is on my bucket list and this is such an iconic destination, I cannot wait to see it for myself! So glad it didn’t disappoint, and I will ensure I wear sandals and not flip-flops, thanks for the tips and for sharing. #feetdotravel

  10. Daria says:

    I have never taken a cruise before, as I usually like travelling independently but this Thompson group itinerary seems a very intriguing one! I was in Santorini few summers ago and I really loved it. It swear it is one of the best destination for seaside and active vacations in Europe.
    Thank you for sharing the flip flop experience with us on #TheWeeklyPostcard 😉

    • Cruising is ideal for getting a little taste of a place to see if you would like to return. Santorini is a great destination and we would like to see more of it. Thanks for your comment!

  11. Wow, those are pretty fantastic views! Love the little Aria Restaurant you found, too! It looks so charming – just the place we like to recharge on our travels. We’ve been thinking that collecting all of your port reviews would be a really helpful eBook! Plus, they really make us want to book another cruise. 🙂 Thanks for joining us on #TheWeeklyPostcard!
    Rob+Ann @TravelLatte(.net) recently posted…Why Summer Really is the Best Time to Escape to BelizeMy Profile

  12. We absolutely loved Santorini & did walk down to the port but used the cable car back up. I completely understand your heart rate. It’s a pretty hairy experience, but one I’d recommend. Sunset from the patio of Santo Wines overlooking the Caldera is a pretty special event. A lot less crowded than both Fira and Oia and their tasting options are generous. What a gorgeous place Santorini is. Glad you liked it too.
    Shona @ paraphernalia.co recently posted…Cape Town: Woodstock’s Evolving Personality!My Profile

  13. Great information on the cruise port Santorini and what to expect. Stunning photos of the views from Thira. Thanks for sharing! #TheWeeklyPostcard

  14. Travel Lexx says:

    Wow, these Greek islands are everywhere at the moment. It looks so beautiful and these whitewashed houses are just mesmerising. Great tips on how to explore the island and get up the village of Thira. I would really love the walk up – can’t say no to a quick hike, even if it’s really hot! Great post and thanks for sharing!

  15. Wonderful article on Santorini. I a ready to visit. Not sure if I will take a cruise there or by staying overnight for a few days. Looks so beautiful. Great photos and video. Thanks for sharing! #feetdotravel

  16. Anna says:

    Whoa, that cable car looks amazing… and so steep! I can see how you’d be nervous. I love riding cable cars though, and the views are gorgeous. I’d love to go to Santorini someday… it just looks so beautiful.

  17. George says:

    I’ve never been on a cruise and would love to visit Greece on a Thomson Dream Cruise Ship. The itineraries look great and maybe I could find some roots of my ancestors which sailed from Greece to South Africa.

  18. James says:

    Interesting you mentioned the Santorini caldera because I was reading about it recently and found out it’s one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. Lets hope it keeps sleeping. I think I’d choose the cable car over walking over a donkey, they won’t be any quicker than walking and I’d imagine they are pretty uncomfortable. Interesting to read how the cruise port and tender system works in Santorini.

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