The bus service in Santorini is not very well organized, but all the major settlements are connected by a network of routes, and almost all parts of our island can be reached in one way or another by public transport. Not always convenient, not always fast, but… yeah, we’re sure that you can do it 🙂

The intercity bus service in Santorini is provided by a unified Greek company called KTEL. This is an independent group of bus owners who have united to form a single organization.

Usually, the drivers are also the owners of the buses – this is one of the reasons why, firstly, they take great care to keep the interior clean (so eating and drinking on the bus is probably not allowed) and, secondly, all the buses look different: different makes, different models, different colours and different ages. Just look at it!

The bus station in Fira: public buses in Santorini, Greece
The bus station in Fira: public buses in Santorini, Greece

By the way, in 2024 we have only 23 public buses in Santorini!

Buses in Santorini are the most affordable and the cheapest transport that will allow you to get almost anywhere on the island

Santorinika Travel Agency, from personal experience of living on the island

In general, the public buses in Santorini are not the newest, but they are in fairly good condition. All buses are equipped with powerful air conditioners, so there are no problems with stuffiness in the cabins even in the hot season. Let’s move on to the details of bus services on the island of Santorini.

Santorini bus routes in 2024: how intercity buses operate on the island and where the main bus station is located

The intercity bus network in Santorini is a network with a single center from which all other roads branch off. The main bus station is located in Fira (Thira), the island’s capital. This is where all buses depart from and return to.

Main bus station in Fira, Santorini, Greece
Main bus station in Fira, Santorini, Greece

This is what a bus route map of Santorini looks like with stops:

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Main bus station in Fira

The main departure point for all routes is the central bus station in Fira. Most buses leave from the station according to a timetable and tickets can be bought from the driver or conductor.

Central bus station in Fira: public buses in Santorini island, Greece
Central bus station in Fira: public buses in Santorini island, Greece

This is the main point from which you can travel around Santorini by bus. Note that there are shops near the bus stop where you can buy food and water, but there is only a very small area of shade at the bus stop, so make sure you bring a hat and sunscreen if you plan to wait a long time for your bus on a hot day.

The bus network in Santorini is generally convenient, if it weren’t for the obligatory connections. If you want to get from the north coast to the south, you’ll need two separate buses! And although you only have to spend 10-15 minutes on each, it can take half an hour to an hour to change buses! The same story can be told if you want to go from one village to another, for example from Kamari to Perissa, which is only a few kilometres away: you have to go through Fira (Thira), where the central bus station of Santorini is located, and change to a suitable bus there. Nevertheless, it is still a very popular means of transport as it is the cheapest way to travel around Santorini.

Bus timetable in Santorini in 2024

The Santorini bus timetable can make you wonder and frown: everything is very complicated on our little island 🙂

Firstly, buses in Santorini run on winter and summer timetables. The number of trips in summer is much greater, as is the frequency with which trips are made. In summer, the same route can have ten rides in a day with an interval of 30 minutes, while in winter there will only be four and with a break of several hours between rides! Also in the afternoon all trips can be cancelled: in the morning you can leave a southern town, but you can return by bus only the next day. This is Greece in its essence!

Bus timetables in Santorini are still printed or even handwritten
Bus timetables in Santorini are still printed or even handwritten

Secondly, the routes and timetables of buses in Santorini are not only seasonal, but also changes on weekends. On weekdays there are always more buses, while on weekends their number is reduced by 20-30%.

The Santorini bus schedule is only a… reference point 🙂

Santorinika Travel Agency, from personal experience of living on the island

Thirdly, the Santorini bus timetable is generally… very approximate. We would advise you to use it as a reference point, but no more. You shouldn’t count on an exact schedule and risk a flight or a ship – it’s better to choose a bus a little earlier than in a very tight schedule. Of course, the drivers try to follow the timetable quite accurately, but the situations are very different – from traffic jams to dropping off the route because of the heat or… any other reason up to “the next bus will pick you up”.

The most accurate bus timetable in Santorini is… in the bus driver’s head!

Santorinika Travel Agency, from personal experience of living on the island

Below on dedicated pages for each route and village we have collected details of Santorini bus timetables:

Where to buy bus tickets in Santorini: fare and baggage fees in 2024

The cost of bus tickets in Santorini in 2024 ranges from 1.60 euros to 2.50 euros. You won’t be able to buy a ticket at the central station ticket office: the drivers and conductors do this either on the bus itself or when boarding. The ticket office at the central bus station in Fira is increasingly becoming an information center, where you can see the latest bus timetable, ask about changes or clarify any questions about the routes.

If you arrived at the last moment and literally jumped in a departing bus, do not worry about tickets – the fare can be paid on the way. This also applies to any other stations, destinations, and intermediate stops. By the way, for the same reason it’s almost impossible to ride the bus without a ticket or get a penalty – the conductor just comes up and checks the ticket or charges you for the fare as soon as you get on the bus.

On the one hand it may be convenient, but the disadvantages of such a system are obvious: tourists can not buy a daily ticket or a season ticket for a week to immediately solve the issue with tickets for the whole vacation. There is also no way (at the moment) to buy a ticket online – drivers, first, will ask you for cash, and second, preferably in the form of coins without change or very small banknotes like five euros. It is almost impossible to get on a bus with a banknote of 100 euros and larger: the driver will not be able to give change. People sometimes use this as a trick to get a free ride, but… why incur the wrath of the Greek gods? 🙂

How to use buses in Santorini

If you are a resident of a big city with a complex and well-organized transport system, then many of the things you see on our island will seem at least strange to you. For example, writing a bus schedule by hand and attaching it to the board with a paper clip is still a normal practice:

Bus schedule from Fira to Santorini seaport of Athinios, Greece
Bus schedule from Fira to Santorini seaport of Athinios, Greece

To make it easier for you to adapt and make your own routes around Santorini by bus, we want to share some basic facts about using public transportation on our island.

Traveling around Santorini by bus: general instructions for independent travellers

Buses are the cheapest type of transport on the island, but this is only at first glance: if you want to plan a trip around Santorini by bus in one or more days, such complex routes will require numerous transfers with connections. You can easily spend several dozen euros in one day of active rides. However, it’s still cheaper than a taxi, plus all buses have comfortable seats and air conditioning – and that’s wonderful.

All in all, it’s a pretty comfortable, safe and reliable transport, which, unfortunately, doesn’t always follow the schedule. Just like the rest of Greece: “siga-siga” – everything is slow, there’s no hurry!

Timetables

The bus timetable in Santorini changes frequently. No, even very often! Of course, buses on our island run all year round: in the summer season there are more routes and connections, and this is especially noticeable during the period from May to August inclusive. Buses go to the main towns like Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli and Oia every 30 minutes. For the other settlements there are buses every 30 to 90 minutes, but only during high season. With the coming of autumn, the bus service in Santorini changes drastically: the number of buses decreases many times, and some routes stop completely! In winter, buses are even more difficult to find: there are very few or, for example, they only run until noon. Want to go back? Wait for the next morning!

Bus tickets

Tickets for the bus are purchased at the boarding and only for cash.

Bus tickets are sold individually and on a one-time basis: we do not have daily or weekly bus passes, nor do we have tickets for any strictly defined number of rides.

All bus tickets are sold one-way – no return trip and no connections.

Bus stops and connections

Buses in Santorini are almost always means connections. Lucky for those travelers who stop in Fira: they can get to any point on the island by one bus.

This is a way to indicate the name of the bus stop in Santorini, Greece
This is a way to indicate the name of the bus stop in Santorini, Greece

Travellers staying in any other village will need at least two different buses to reach any other point on our island. For example, to get from Oia (north of the island) to the archaeological site of Akrotiri (south of the island), you would need to buy a bus ticket from Oia to Fira, then get off at the main bus station, find a suitable bus, buy a second bus ticket and get to the south. That’s four bus rides in one day, but if you have more serious plans and want to visit several places in one day, you might need eight or ten tickets.

Fira is the main bus transportation hub and all bus routes start and end in the capital. At the bus station of Fira you can find the most up-to-date bus timetable, including information on the route of the port of Athinios (ferry port), which can change every day and depends even on the weather. Of course, it is the ships that depend on the weather at sea, but the bus schedule is always coordinated with them, hence this correlation.

Force majeur

An important point regarding the planning of bus routes: in most parts of Greece, there are public transport strikes on different days throughout the year. These strikes can affect all types of transport, including buses.

During strikes, the schedule becomes unusable: rides usually do not take place; sometimes drivers leave only a few key and most important routes, but it is only at their will – you can’t guess in advance. The cherry on the cake: strikes can happen at any time of the year and last… indefinitely: a day, two days, a week… such is the Greek reality 🙂

How to travel by bus in Santorini

Do not confuse a public bus with a tourist bus – sometimes they can look almost identical. In the lower left corner of the windshield of the public bus there should be a yellow sign, a plate or a sticker with the words “LOCAL BUS”:

Local public bus in Santorini, Greece
Local public bus in Santorini, Greece

The number and/or destination of the bus may also be indicated there. In addition, sometimes drivers announce the route loudly before leaving the bus station.

Getting on the bus

If you get on the bus at the central bus station, then walk right up to the bus you want and stand in line for boarding (there will most likely be a queue):

Bus station in Fira, Santorini, Greece
Bus station in Fira, Santorini, Greece

If you plan to get on a bus at a stop on the street or even right on the side of the main road, you need to somehow indicate your intention to the driver so that he knows you need him to stop. Buses in Santorini don’t always stop even at bus stops, so it can easily pass by if the driver decides for some reason that you don’t want to get on his bus.

Buying tickets

You can buy a bus ticket either from the cashier on the street in front of the bus or from the driver on the bus. There are no other places to buy bus tickets. For buses coming from the seaport, airport or bus station of Fira and Oia, payment is usually taken before boarding the bus; in all other cases you first get on the bus and then pay the conductor.

You can only pay for your ticket in cash! The exact fare is not required: you may be charged a few dozen cents more or less, depending on where you get on the bus and where you are going to get off (it must be announced to the conductor or the driver in advance).

Luggage transportation

There is no charge for luggage on the bus. Large luggage is often placed in the lower luggage compartment below the passenger level. This is especially true for buses on routes leading to or from Santorini Seaport or Airport. For inter-town bus routes, luggage racks in the cabin are more common, but you can always ask the driver to place your luggage in the lower section.

Bus seats

Buses in Santorini are not seat-enumerated, so each seat is not numbered – just walk up and take whatever seat you have available. Popular routes in high season often include standing seats! In this case, one only has to remember that distances on our island are quite short, and all routes usually do not require much time.

If some bus fills up and there are quite a few passengers left, then additional buses can be put on the route, which will not be on the schedule, but only if the bus station will be able to do so.

Traveling in a bus

When taking a bus around Santorini, hold on tight: the roads on the island are winding and hilly, especially the route to the seaport of Athinios. Our public buses have no seat belts, but there are handles on the backs of the seats.

Buses always stop at the final destination listed on the sign on the windshield, but they don’t always stop at stops along the way 🙂 This, by the way, is one of the reasons for the poor timetable matching. To get off at the bus stop you want, let the driver know in advance, preferably immediately upon boarding.

What can be useful for holidays in Santorini

Are you planning a holiday in Santorini? Or are you already on the island? We are happy to help you organise your vacation! Check out tips, services and offers:

Airplane tickets

If you try SkyScanner or Aviasales, you can find low-cost tickets to Santorini in advance.

Hotels and villas

If you check accomodation in advance, you’ll be pleased with the number of great hotels in Santorini. We also recommend you to pay attention to the selection of our favorite hotels. We stay in many of them ourselves

Transfers

If driving is not your thing, it’s best to arrange a way to get around the island beforehand. Check the bus timetables, compare taxi offers from Kiwitaxi and our transfer options.

Book a car

There are not many cars in the car hire companies, so once again the aggregator service comes in handy: all the options in one place.

Tours and guides

In our online store you can choose and book group or private tours in Santorini in advance.


Santorinika

Santorini Travel Agency: group excursions and boat trips, private guides and individual itineraries, helicopter aerial excursions, yacht and catamaran rentals - everything you may need for your vacation in Santorini!