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Athens to Crete then Santorini OR Athens to Santorini then Crete

We are travelling next April 8 to 24 to Athens. I'd like to also stay in Crete and Santorini. I can go to either from Athens by flight, but wondered if it would be easier to travel from Santorini to Crete or vice versa. Anyone with experience with the ferries and can recommend which direction would be easier? The ferry schedules won't be out for April till January or later, and I'd like to book my accommodations and possibly my flights from and back to Athens. Thank you!

Posted by
1351 posts

From mid-April there are daily fast ferry ferries between Heraklion and Santorini (in both directions) operated by Seajets. The trip takes just under 2 hours. But indeed it will not be possible to know before January 2024 from which date these ferry connections will start.

In 2023 it was from April 12.

Posted by
357 posts

Have you considered an open jaw flight? IE fly into Heraklion, Chania, or Santorini and then fly out of Athens? It would save you a travel day.

Posted by
14117 posts

I flew from Athens to Heraklion. Then from Santorini back to Athens. I took the ferry between Heraklion and Santorini. It was only two hours.

Which way you go is up to you but there is no reason to go back to Athens.

Posted by
3256 posts

I've done this trip several times, and know which sequence is more efficient ..... depending. Why why why are people so hesitant to say where they're coming from?? Please, unless you are in some Witness Protection program, please at least say which continent. It DOES matter - for instance, if coming from UK or Europe, there may be direct flights into both Crete cities... but from N America, all the nonstops (fastest, least exhausting) go only to Athens.

I'm guessing that your dates include travel time from N America -- so IN-Greece time = April 9@ noon thru Ap23; 14.5 days.. enough time to "do" Crete, Santorini, Athens fairly well. We "old hands" usually advise to save Athens (and Mainland) for last ... getting over jetlag is more fun on an island, and you learn how Greece works, & thus are more savvy about navigating a bustling capital. Plus, its world-famous landmarks then resonate more. Most efficient transit involves arriving ATH before noon, allowing 2 hr layover, & taking 1st available flight to farthest destination. Best schedule between islands is Crete to Santorini (8 or 9 am) vs Santorini-Crete (late afternoon). Thus, I'd suggest April 9 flight to CHANIA, Then Santorini, then back to Mainland.

Itinerary? 5-6 days in Crete, (2 days in CHANIA, then car rental to go South, then NE for 2 nts/ 1 full day HERAKLION (for Knossos & Fab Herak Museum), Then AM ferry to Santorini for 3 nights 2.5 days (it's mainly about the Famous Caldera View from yr balcony). Then AM flight to ATH, book accoms close/walkable to Acropolis for last 3-4 days... If u want more athens time, trim isle time. This sequence is workable ... the only cautionary note involves Ferry. Since you've selected such early dates, the only daily ferry between Crete & Santorini is probably a Seajet Superrunner, 500-800 passenger, no open-deck, if windy can be bumpy ride (however wind is worse in Autumn); something to consider.

If coming from N America, nonstops no longer have "sales" but Olympic/Aegean and Sky Express do have promotional pricing late in year, so u might hold off - this link gets u email alerts to price cuts. Good luck & have fun planning!