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How to get from Santorini Cruise Port to Oia, Greece

How to get from Santorini Cruise Port to Oia, Greece

If you’re visiting Santorini on a cruise and you’d like to get from Santorini cruise port to Oia then keep reading. In today’s post I’m sharing two of the easiest ways to get from Santorini cruise port to Oia, the top things to do in Oia when you get there and some of the best places to eat in Oia. Oh, and some gorgeous photos because Oia is just a photographer’s dream!

About Oia

The beautiful village of Oia in Santorini is one of the most famous spots on the island, if not in the whole of Greece.

The dazzling white buildings with blue domed roofs perched on the hillside create the most incredible views. With the blue sea as a backdrop and those famously incredible sunsets, it’s no wonder that Oia Greece is such a popular place. 

Oia attracts more than its fair share of photographers, Instagrammers and influencers who are all searching for the most incredible views. Honestly, this place is a photographer’s dream come true. And even if you aren’t a pro behind the lens, you’ll still love snapping a few shots because it’s virtually impossible to take a bad photo in this place (although I’m sure my dad would give it a good go!)

Some people will stay in Oia but many people will be visiting on a day trip, either from a neighbouring town on Santorini, from a nearby island or on a cruise ship.

I was visiting Santorini on a cruise ship so I thought I’d begin by telling you how to get to Oia from Santorini Port via a cruise ship!

Visiting Oia Greece

How to get from Santorini Port to Oia from a cruise ship

It’s actually very easy to visit Oia from a cruise ship. You don’t need to take a tour or an excursion as you can easily do it yourself. In fact, I’d strongly advise against taking a group tour because the streets in Oia are very narrow so it’s easier to explore alone rather than in a big group.

Not only that but cruise excursions are often very expensive and they employ their own staff, meaning local people and small businesses don’t make any money from your visit. Small islands such as Santorini make a huge portion of their income from cruise passengers so I feel it’s important to support them.

Visiting Oia Greece from a cruise ship
Thera cable car in Santorini

This is how you get from Santorini Port to Oia…

1. Cruise Ship

2. Tender boat to shore

3. Cable car up the hill to Fira

4. Taxi from Fira to Oia


4. Coach from Fira to Oia

Tender boat to the shore – Free

When your ship arrives in Santorini you’ll need to take a tender boat from the ship to the mainland. There isn’t a big port here so large ships will anchor out at sea and it’ll take 10 minutes to travel to the shore on the tender. 

You won’t need to pay for this, it’s something your cruise will provide for free.

Travel Hack Tip: If you get seasick then it’s worth taking a seasickness tablet before boarding the tender. This small boat can be rocky in comparison to the ship. Loo for an anti-drowsy seasickness tablet so you don’t feel sleepy once you arrive in Santorini! Alternatively, something sugary like a lollipop or a can of fizzy drink can really help with the queasiness.

Cable car – 6 euros

From the shore you’ll be able to take the cable car to the top of the hill.

The cable car costs six euros (accurate as of 05.10.21) each way and you are able to pay via card so you don’t need to worry about having cash.

You can also walk up and down the steep hill as there are large steps all the way up and down.

There are donkeys available to hire to take you up the hill but this isn’t recommended for adults and there has been a lot of recent backlash against this as it is thought to be cruel to the donkeys.

The town at the top of the hill is Fira and it’s a pretty place so definitely worth a look around if you have plenty of time. If you don’t have much time then I’d skip it and head straight to Oia.


Taxi from Fira to Oia

The easiest way to get a taxi to Oia is to now take a taxi. There is a coach but the queues were crazy and we didn’t want to waste too much time waiting for a bus!

Our taxi cost 40 euros for four people on the way from Fira to Oia and then on the return journey there were just two of us and it cost 30 euros. 

We paid in cash and there are plenty of cash machines available in both Fira and Oia.

If you’re struggling to find a taxi then you can go into a travel agent/excursion shop and ask for one there. There are lots of shops selling excursions and tours. The first shop we went into quoted us something ridiculous for a taxi so it’s worth trying a couple! 

In Oia, we got a taxi from the bus station and fees seemed to be set based on the number of people you have.

You could also pre-book a taxi online. Here’s a link to a Santorini transfer service with great reviews!

Visiting Oia Greece
Visiting Oia Greece

Bus from Fira to Oia – 2.30 euros

You can also take a local bus from Fira to Oia. It departs every 30 minutes and costs just 2.30 euros.

The bus actually departs from Imerovigli which is just one stop from Fira and is a short walk.

The bus from Fira to Oia runs between 7am-11pm.

The return bus from Oia to Fira runs between 7.20am-11.20pm.

But, like I said above, the bus was SO busy and the queue was enormous for the bus to Oia and back from Oia to Fira.

I think it’s better to try and get a taxi full of people and all take a taxi together.

If you plan to watch the sunset in Oia and then go back to the cruise ship

If you’re planning to watch the sunset in Oia and then go back to the cruise ship on the same evening then I highly recommend checking and double checking the times of everything.

The cable car back down to the cruise port finishes between 4pm and 11pm depending on the time of year. Don’t get caught out and miss your cruise departure because you can’t get back down to the cruise! You can of course run down the steps if you miss the last cable car but it’s something you’re going to need to factor in time-wise!

Is car rental in Santorini an option?

If you’re visiting Santorini for a day during a cruise then I wouldn’t recommend hiring a car. By the time you’ve got through all of the paperwork to hire it, found the car, get to where you’re going and parked up…well you might as well just taken a taxi.

What about hiring a quad bike on Santorini?

Hiring a quad bike or a scooter on Santorini is an option. If you’re a confident and competent driver then I think this is a better option than hiring a car because they’re much easier to park. You’ll find scooter and quad bike hire shops around Fira.

OK, so we’ve figured out how to get to Oia from the cruise port. What are you going to do while you’re there!?

Things to do in Oia Greece

So you’ve arrived in Oia! What do you do!?

Oia isn’t the kind of place where you need to rush around ticking sights off your list. Oia is a place to stroll and mooch and stop for a drink, stop for a coffee, have a look in the shops, stop for ice cream or lunch and stop at every beautiful photo location along the way.

If you’re wondering how to find these beautiful photo locations in Oia, don’t worry, you’ll see them! 

The photo spots in Oia are often surrounded by a small group of people queueing patiently to get a photo. It isn’t unusual to see whole families using the perfect backdrop for an informal photo shoot so the queues can be slow but at least you have gorgeous views to admire while you wait your turn!

Visiting Oia Greece

Things to do in Oia, Greece

#1. Watch the sunset

Watching the sunset in Oia is definitely the most popular thing to do. BUT be aware that it gets very very busy. So busy I’d say it’s unenjoyable. It’s a bit ridiculous and it can be hard to get around. If you’ve got time then definitely stay for the sunset but don’t imagine it’s as relaxing and peaceful as the photos would lead you to believe!

Travel Hack Tip: If you have time then I’d definitely take a sunset boat trip. Whether it’s a romantic cruise or a party boat, this would be a beautiful way to see the sunset.

#2. Walking tour with a photographer

Want to see all the hotspots in Oia and get gorgeous photos you’ll treasure for a lifetime? Then this might be the tour for you.

Visiting Oia Greece

#3. Wander

OK, my personal favourite and not exactly a detailed travel tip from a seasoned travel blogger but I actually don’t think you need a plan when you visit Oia. Just have a wander, get lost, get found, keep walking, take photos, find a cafe, find a bar and generally have a lovely time!

Travel Hack Tip: If you’re getting off the beaten path then I like to drop a pin in Google Maps to remind myself where I need to get back to. It’s unlikely you’ll get lost in Oia but it gives you a bit of confidence knowing you’re not going to lose your bearings. 

Visiting Oia Greece

#4. Walk to the windmills

Make sure you walk over to the windmills – partly because they’re beautiful but they also make a good destination to walk to before turning back.

The windmills are actually luxury suites you can rent. It’s a serious bucket list kind of place if you’re planning a special holiday!

Oia windmills
Oia windmill

#5. Visit the castle 

The Castle of St Nicholas isn’t really anything to write home about but it’s worth visiting for the panoramic views of Oia Greece!

view from the castle Oia

#6. Shop in the little boutiques

There are so many gorgeous little shops in Oia. You’ll stumble upon lots of boutiques where local crafters are painting, sculpting, cutting, sewing and generally making lovely souvenirs. Shop around to find the really authentic ones.

Blues of santorini

#7. Wine tasting + highlights tour

There are lots of tours offering a ‘highlights’ tour as well as wine tasting and sunset in Oia. If you’ve got one full day in Santorini then this would be an incredible way to cram in a lot!

Where to eat in Oia Greece

We found that it is best to have an idea of where you’d like to eat in Oia. There are lots of options and many places were very busy or just didn’t feel quite right for us.

We ate at Karma Greek Restaurant which I can’t recommend enough. It doesn’t have any views but felt like a peaceful sanctuary off the busy streets. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was cosy, relaxed and stylish. 

Pito Gyros Traditional Grill House is a great option for meat eaters. They serve traditional Greek dishes in an informal setting. It’s great value here too.

Fino Cocktail Bar and Restaurant is the one for you if you’d like a modern, stylish bar with delicious cocktails.

Lolita’s Gelato is the place to stop for a quick gelato pick-me-up to keep you refreshed while you’re walking the busy streets!

Armeni Restaurant is the best option if you’d like to eat with a view out to sea!

Visiting Oia Greece | The Travel Hack

Read more about our trips to Greece:

My layover tour in Athens: How to see Athens with just 5 hours!

10 reasons why I love discovering Greece by boat

A perfect day in Mykonos

My cruise: The details!

I’ve travelled on many cruise ships and this cruise with Celebrity Cruises was one my favourites and this stop at Oia was one of my favourite cruise destinations! There was no rushing around or packing a day with activities. Just a lovely, relaxing, gentle stroll in one of the most beautiful locations possible! I also fell in love with Santorini Island so this gave me a lovely taster of what it’s like there and reassured me that I should come back at some point!

My cruise started in Athens and Santorini was our first stop.

We went to:







It was dreamy!


Saturday 16th of September 2023

Thank you so much for fantastic review and honest travel tips.!


Wednesday 16th of August 2023

Hi Monica, thank you for your informative blog. I still have questions and wanted to clarify a few things. Hope you’ll help me with it. Coming off our cruise ship and get tendered into the Fira old harbor: 1) The option of getting a bus, a taxi or cable car up to Fira village is right there as soon as we get off the tendered boat? I’ve read different things on this and very confuse as how to get to Fira village after getting off the boat

2) Getting to Oia from Fira. Is there a bus that go to Oia directly from Fira? Since you mentioned Imerovigli is a stop away from Fira, a short walk, to get to Oia by bus. It sounded like we have to take a bus from Fira to Imerovigli then transfer to a different bus to get to Oia, correct? I googled map going from Fira to Imerovigli is 45 mins walk… that didn’t sound right

3) is there a place to rent a dress in Oia without having to book thru Get your Guide?

Please and thank you! ?? TraMi


Wednesday 23rd of August 2023

1) Yes, the cable car is right there after you get off the tender boat. Literally like 10-20 metres away. 2) There is a bus from Fira. We didn't get the bus because the queue was very very long and it was very hot. But you can get the bus and it's easy to see where it leave from because this is where there'll be a massive queue! 3) I'd have a look on Get your Guide and try and find the name of the company and then do a Google search for that company and book direct.


Monday 24th of July 2023

Good tips but just wanted to note something about you saying cruise lines hire their own employees for excursions. This is not entirely true. Most of the excursions/tours are chartered by the cruise lines and are independently operated. For each excursion that someone books directly with the cruise itself, the company and the cruise line split the profits based on what each agreed to. While I'm no expert I have some knowledge of this. I worked in Alaska for 3 summers in college doing kayaking trips with the major cruise lines. Most of the people on our tour booked through the cruise line however people could also book through us or through online booking sites (Tripadvisor, Viator etc). Of course it was cheaper going through us (and we ended up making more), but some for whatever reason still booked via the cruiseline. I'd assume it's due to convenience, having ship credit, the whole guarantee to get you back on the ship on time, or just a lack of knowledge of this. The reason why businesses go into business with cruise lines is due to having steady profits coming in where you know it's regularly coming in opposed to not being affiliated with a cruise ship and not knowing what you will be making in terms of profit. There is security with being chartered by the cruise lines. There are even some companies who signed agreements with cruise lines where cruise ship passengers cannot book directly with the company itself (mine didn't do this though) when cruises were in port where it fit in with the schedule. I don't know if I'm explaining this well. The best non related example I could think of is when someone in the beauty industry works for the salon and not as someone merely renting space. They know what they will be making each week or month as a base when working under someone. When they get hired by the salon a savvy salon owner will have them sign non competes to where they wouldn't try to drum up customers there only to take those customers with them if they leave the salon (or making arrangements at home or whatnot).


Tuesday 2nd of May 2023

Thank you so much for your tips. My hubby and I will be in Santorini in July for my special birthday cruise and we were hoping to stop in Kira as well as Ola since we dock pretty early and then heading back down to the marina to board our sunset catamaran cruise. Being a former airline employee, I reached out to my former coworkers for gave me some tips as well.

If I had to skip one of the towns, since we are trying to do the sunset cruise on the same day, which one would you recommend we do?

Thank you for your advice ?

Warm regards, Monica


Wednesday 3rd of May 2023

Hi Monica. Do you mean Oia or Fira? If I could only choose one then I'd say Oia!

Cindy Bristow

Tuesday 17th of January 2023

Thank you so much for such an informative blog! We are in Santorini via a cruise beginning of June. My daughters and I are wanting to do a flying dress photo shoot. Do you have any info on a good company to go with? I am thinking about getting a cab to Oia and exploring on our own. Are cabs fairly easy to get? In your opinion is it difficult to navigate/see on your own? Thank you so much!


Wednesday 18th of January 2023

Hi Cindy, yes it's absolutely easy enough to find a cab and navigate Santorini on your own. You just need to make sure you're back in time for the cruise departure and, if you need to get the cable car, then factor in the time for the last cable car. You can prebook photoshoots in Oia. There's even one here where you can get the dress rental included -

Or another here if your daughters already have a dress!