Santorini Public transport buses: timetable, reliability and tips - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Santorini Public transport buses: timetable, reliability and tips

Santorini has a public transport system but it is pretty unreliable. This post shares what I found out about Santorini's bus network and how best you can make use of it.

Basic information about public transport buses in Santorini

  • Buses do not operate in evening n early morning. Most buses operate only between 8 AM and 5PM, weekend even lesser duration
  • Frequency is poor- like once in 90 minutes or so. And buses do not stick to published time table- there could be deviations. So hard to plan or rely on a bus service 100%, particularly if you are time bound.
  • Buses have conductor, they take only cash. No cards.
  • Buses are decent
  • Entire island is about 20kms in length, so if you are good at walking, you are better off walking 5-6 kms to your destination instead of waiting for a bus. Bike, ATV, Car rentals are other options which are lot convenient if you can spend a bit more.
  • There are just a few taxis in Santorini- few are based in airport, few near main taxi terminal near Fira bus stand. You won't be able to find an empty taxi to hail if you wait by the road side. Go to one of these spots where you can book a taxi, or ask your host to arrange transport.
  • Crew speak basic English, so no big issue explaining where you want to go as long as it is simple and straight forward (like Airport, Fira, Oia, Kamari beach etc. It will be difficult if you show some address and try to seek help how to go there or where to get down to reach there. Do your research or take help from your host.

Santorini has a bus station in Fira and there are a few buses operating like once an hour to Oia, Akirotiri, airport, etc. Saturday evening 3 PM above was the situation in Fira bus depot- 2 buses waiting, just a handful of tourists. Locals do not seem to depend on public transport in Santorini- they have their own vehicles. So it is only budget tourists who try to use these buses, not wanting to spend a bomb on taxi or day tours.

The main time table published at Fira Bus stand is easy to understand. Given below.

But on Sunday morning 8.30 AM when I visited the bus terminal, there were no buses operating as per time table. My plan was to take bus to Akirotiri but no buses were there, so I changed my plan and boarded a bus that was heading to airport first and then to Kamari. Though I had started my day at 8 AM, it was about 9.30 AM when I reached Kamari and was like 1.30 PM when I came back to town after exploring ancient Thera and freshwater spring. Next bus to Fira was only by 3.15 PM, which came by 3.45 PM, so I couldn't do much in second half (no bus after 5-5.30 PM, so couldn't take another bus to Akirotiri or Oia unless I was ready to walk back 10-12 kms or spend on taxi.

Rest of the timetables displayed at various bus stands enroute are difficult to comprehend. Asked a few locals in Kamari what time I will get a bus to Fira, they had no information- I was asked to refer to timetable, but in below time table, it was impossible to know what time I should be expecting the bus from Kamari to Fira. It was about 1.45 and I senses next bus is probably at about 3.15. It actually came at about 3.40 PM when I was about to give up and start walking 6 kms towards Fira. Most of the time it makes no sense waiting 2 hours for the bus, as you can probably walk the distance before bus arrives.

Tips to manage using buses in Santorini

  • Take the bus to the last stop or final destination and plan to explore around as much possible on foot. Because next bus is hour or more away, no point waiting for the same
  • If you are a group of 2-3, hiring a bike or car or ATV will save lots of time than waiting for bus
  • If depending on buses you will not be able to explore a lot in same day. Plan well keeping some buffer. Places you can explore on foot around your hotel-keep them for after 5 PM (no buses in evening)

Hope this post helps. I have a detailed guide to help you plan your Santorini visit.

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