We will be taking the Blue Star Ferry from Naxos to Santorini in April, staying in Oia. This is our "vacation from our vacation" splurge stay for 2 nights, so we don't plan on renting a car. The Rick Steves guidebook talks about taking a taxi from the Port to Fira, then connecting to other options in Fira. We've never taken a taxi on any of our travels, always walked or used public transport. Here's my question: I'm wondering if this time it would make more sense/reduce stress/be easier just to take a taxi from the Port all the way to our hotel in Oia. Is it very expensive to do this? Do we tip, and if so what is appropriate? I emailed our hotel for transportation recommendations and did not receive a response. This is our first trip to Greece and any advice is very appreciated. Thanks!
A taxi from seaport to Oia costs about €25. Usually a Euro or 2 tip... depends on whether the taxi driver carries heavy bags down flights of stairs to a "cave" hotel.
Other option is: a bus meets the ferry, if it gets full, you'd stand unless you're a Sr. Citizen and can stare-shame some college kid into giving you a seat. The bus goes to the "bus yard" just beyond Fira Square where all busses leave from... you then jump on a OIA Bus (they run every hour off, season, takes about 20-25 minutes). Bus fare is about €1.5.
The small place where i stay in Firostephani has its own mini-bus & does the transfer Free. I don't know about any Oia hotels... our Oia reigning expert, Brotherleelove, knows all. If your hotel provides free transfer, the website will probably say so.
Thank you Janet. That is a huge help!
I don't think walking is going to be an option in this case, especially with luggage. As I recall, there's quite an uphill climb from the Ferry landing area to the main road, and Oia is not exactly close to that (it's at one end of the island). A Taxi is probably the most realistic option, but they may be in short supply as others from the Ferry may grab them before you can disembark. Again as I recall, there are usually large Coaches waiting for the Ferries, and you may be able to buy a ticket on one of those.
You may find it helpful to have a look at Matt Barrett's excellent Greece Travel website.
A taxi from Athinios Port to Oia is €25-30, and takes approximately 30 minutes. If the driver carries your bags down lots of steps to your hotel he deserves a LOT more than a €1-2 tip, but that's not a service that they normally provide. What usually happens is that the driver will call ahead for instructions from your hotel where to drop you off. There are only a few hotels in Oia with a caldera view that are accessible by car, so the hotel will send someone to meet you who will carry your bags to your room. That's the person who deserves the tip, at least €5, more if it's a long haul with lots of bags. Be sure to have the hotel phone number with you.
The total bus fare from Athinios Port to Oia is €4.1.
You can also book seats on with a shuttle van service that will meet you at the port and take you to Oia. It works out to be a bit cheaper than a taxi, €11 per person, and they will also call ahead to learn where to drop you. Check A2B Transfers and Santorini Transfers. Both have websites. This method will probably take longer than a taxi because the van makes other stops along the way.
We were able to contact our hotel and they will set up a taxi to meet us at the ferry. One remaining question: we travel light and won't need help with our luggage. Given that, it is appropriate to tip the taxi driver? If so, what is an appropriate amount assuming the ride will be about 25 euros? Thanks again.
No tip is necessary nor is it expected.
We did this exact thing last summer. Don't worry about transportation because there will be MANY buses at the port waiting to pick up passengers. Look for one with a sign in the window that says Oia, or ask a driver. The bus we got on went strictly to Oia without stopping anywhere else. An attendant on the bus collected the fare once the bus was underway, and asked each person their hotel so he could guide them to the correct spot. I don't remember the exact cost, but I don't think it was much, cash only. It takes between 30-60 minutes. It was super easy. We had so much fun!!
A direct bus from Athinios to Oia? Must be for the Peak Season only. That's a new one. Good to know.
Lee-I'm not sure if it was a special bus just to Oia, or that no one needed to stop in Fira, so the bus continued on. Either way, I was just glad not to have to change buses.
Changing buses in Fira can be a pain in the you-know-what, especially in High Season when there are 50 people fighting to get aboard, it's hot and you have luggage. A bus from the port to Oia without a change is a real blessing.