The trek from the volcanic island of Santorini to Heraklion, the port and capital city of Crete, spans 75 miles (121 km), with ferry, airplane, private yacht, and private jet options.
The best way to travel from Santorini to Heraklion is via ferry, disembarking from the Santorini Thira Port to the Crete Heraklion Port. Throughout the high tourist season (from May to late-September), both catamaran and conventional ferries make the trek at least twice per day. These journeys take between two to four hours, depending on which vessel you choose. Faster ferries tend to be more expensive than slower ferries, but are generally similar in comfort. Slower ferries, however, do offer first-class cabins, while most faster ferries do not.
If boating’s not your thing, both Santorini and Heraklion have their own airports, meaning you can technically fly from Santorini to Heraklion. However, most planes are not direct, rerouting you back to Athens before whipping you all the way across the Cyclades to the southern-most island of Crete. This usually takes several hours longer than a fast or slow ferry, depending on the route you choose. Plus: the ticket is far more expensive.
If you want to up the luxury of your Grecian vacation, think private. Book a private yacht for your own personalized trek across the Aegean with your own crew.
By Fast Ferry
Duration: 1 hour and 50 minutes
Throughout high season, fast ferries from SeaJets and Minoan Lines offer direct ferries from the Santorini Thira port, straight to the Heraklion Port. All ferries feature economy, VIP, and business class seats. Most ferries accommodate both people and vehicles, as well as pets. All fast ferries offer on-board food and drinks.
Remember that throughout the tourist season, tickets sell out quickly. Make sure to book your journey well in advance.
By Slow Ferry
Duration: 3 hours and 15 minutes
Golden Star Ferries offer slower treks across the Aegean, disembarking from the Santorini Thira port to the Heraklion Port once per day. All Golden Star conventional ferries accommodate both passengers and their vehicles, and tend to be cheaper than the faster ferries. Seat options include economy, airplane-like seats, business class seats, VIP seats, as well as first-class cabins, and a café allows for mid-boat dining and drinking. Make sure you book your seats in advance during the high season, as tickets sell out quickly.
Duration: Between 2.5 and 6 hours, depending on flight routes
It is possible to fly from Santorini Airport to the Crete Heraklion Airport. However, flights are ordinarily not direct, and take you back to Athens before heading all the way to Heraklion Airport.
The Santorini International Airport is located on the east side of Santorini, close to the village of Kamari, and is easily reached via taxi, public bus, or rented car. Taxis from the Santorini town of Fira take approximately 25 minutes and are the easiest and quickest options. Buses leave from Fira about 17 times per day, and are incredibly low cost, without excess luggage limits. Traffic can be dicey on the island, and buses are usually overcrowded, making this a less desirable option.
The Heraklion Airport is located approximately 3.1 miles (5 km) from the center of Heraklion. Car or taxi trips take approximately 10 minutes, while a bus trip takes around 35 minutes.
By Private Yacht
Duration: A few days or more, depending on your trip preferences
If you want to maximize your time on the Aegean waters, opt to charter your own yacht. Check out our tips to choose the best service here.