The journey from the stunning Cycladic island of Santorini to the larger, southern-most Greek island of Crete is 88 miles (141 km) across the glittering Aegean Sea.
The fastest and most practical way to hop between Santorini and Crete is by ferry. Many different ferry companies operate the line between the Santorini Thira Port and the Heraklion Port on Crete.
If you don’t wish to travel by water, it is possible to fly from Santorini to Crete. Unfortunately, there are no direct flights between the two islands, leading to more extensive travel. Normally, flights route you up to Athens and then direct you back down to Crete.
If you're looking for a more luxurious option, you can rent your own yacht and crew. This way, you can mosey from Santorini down to Crete however you please.
For an 8-day tour of Crete that includes outings to Chania's hot spots, plenty of white-sand beaches, a hike to Samaria Gorge, and more, check out this itinerary.
By Fast Ferry
Duration: 1 hour, 45 minutes
SeaJets and Minoan Lines operate the fast catamaran ferries, which arrive at Heraklion Port in about two hours. Ferries offer economy, business class, and VIP seats, and many accommodate vehicles and pets. All ferries offer on-board cafes and bathrooms. Throughout the high season, this line operates between three and four times per day.
Both conventional ferries and fast ferries operate this line. All ferries offer on-board cafes, bathrooms, and an array of different seat options, from economy to VIP, for ultimate comfort. Plus, many ferries can accommodate rental vehicles and pets.
Note that if you can’t print your ferry ticket yourself, you must arrive at the Santorini Thira Port approximately 30 to 45 minutes prior to departure to pick up your ticket.
By Conventional Ferry
Duration: 3 hours
Golden Star Ferries operate conventional ferries once or twice per day throughout the high season, leaving from the Thira Port and arriving at the Heraklion Port about three hours later.
Like the faster ferries, Golden Star Ferries feature economy seats, business class seats, and VIP seats, along with bathrooms and cafes for mid-trip snacking. The conventional ferries also accommodate vehicles and pets.
Duration: 5 hours, more depending on layover
Flights depart daily from the Santorini Airport (JTR), which is to the north of Kamari. Airport buses depart from Fira, but the bus departure times can vary throughout the seasons, and they aren’t terribly reliable. It’s better to take a private transfer or taxi to the airport.
You have two airports on Crete to that you can fly into: the larger and more popular Heraklion Airport (HER), or the Chania Airport (CHQ).
As there are no direct flights to either of these from Santorini, you'll first have to take a flight from Santorini Airport to the Athens International Airport (ATH), and that journey takes 50 minutes. After that, your next flight to Crete will take about 45 minutes. The waiting time at the Athens International Airport varies. However, know that the Athens Airport is quite comfortable, with a wide array of shopping and dining options.
Heraklion Airport offers frequent buses to Eleftherias Square in Heraklion. Chania Airport offers infrequent buses. Both airports play host to their fair share of taxis and private transfers, so getting to your hotel shouldn't be difficult.
By Private Yacht
Duration: Multiple days or more
You have the option to charter your own yacht, but this is only recommended for travelers with larger parties who are more concerned with luxury. Boat options suit between eight and 12 guests, along with a crew of two or three boat workers for ultimate ease and safety. For more information about chartering your own private yacht, check out this article for tips on taking yacht trips in Greece.