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TheBandit

Find it Here: Santorini, Firá, and Oia Q & A

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I am resurrecting this thread as I just got back from the Greek Isles and did the Santorini ferry to Oia.      We purchased the tickets from Aegean Traveller to take us from the port in Fira to Oia, a bus up the hill to Oia and a return bus back to Fira.

 

A few things to note.      It is VERY misleading that the bus will take you up the hill to Oia.   IT DOES NOT.   You have to walk up a very steep, long hill to get to the top.  The bus will then take you to the depot.     The hill is the hardest part and if you have medical issues or a hard time walking, it will be a very difficult climb.     We were told to look for a bus when we got off the boat that said NST.    We did find one at the bottom of the hill, but the driver kept yelling at us to walk to the top to look for a big white bus.    

 

Also what they don't tell you is that there is one dock for the boats and catamarans .... so there was a long line of boats to dock and let people off / on the boats.    

 

On a positive note, the lineup for the Cable Car at the end of the day took about 15 minutes.

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Also to add to this after just returning from Santorini...  our ship docked in port at 7AM and we were off on the first tender out to ensure we would avoid the potential crowds and lines to get to Oia.  Our original intent was to purchase the ferry tickets as discussed but the ferry operators were not yet open at that time.  We thus took the cable car up with no wait and proceed to the bus terminal.  Unfortunately, again at that early hour the buses weren't running frequently and the next one wasn't for another 45 minutes.  We instead grabbed a cab and for 30Euros, the driver took us straight into Oia. 

 

On the way back, we did take the local bus from Oia to Fira which was cheap, comfortable and convenient.  However despite being only one cruise ship in port that day, there was an extremely long line for the cable car down so we opted to take the walk back. 

 

Guess bottom line is to do the research and ensure you're aware of the different options because if one plan doesn't pan out, you have a back-up to fall back on!

 

I included a copy of the bus schedule between Oia and Fira in hopes that it can help others plan their day on the island.

IMG_1787.JPG

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Ah the advice about the taxi has helped me with plan B.  We are in port 2 pm - 10 pm and there are other ships already in port.  My first choice would be to take the water taxi to Oia and then the public bus back.  I was thinking of getting off the bus before we get to Fira and walking back (Mid September) the last 40- minutes.  That would depend on how we are doing for time.  

 

It is good to know the taxi options - because even the worst case scenario - having a return taxi between Fira and Oia, will cost less than a ship tour, and restrict us to a Ship tour which we do not really enjoy.  

 

Still thinking about sunset.  This will take place before we sail away. Now I think sunset in Santorini may be a little bit over-hyped.  I visited Santorini 40 years ago.  Same island, same sun.  We enjoyed the beaches, we enjoyed the iced coffee and I am sure we enjoyed the ouzo.  No recollection of sunset as a ‘thing’ to do.  

 

So I think we may well be back on board for sunset and then go to the MDR for dinner.   

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We were in port from 2:00 - 10:00 (in July 2019), and there were 3 other ships in port.    Luckily the other ships all left by 8:00 so the cable car back down wasn't an issue.   But we were back on board for sunset.   But it was still spectacular.    

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I'm not sure if the boats to Oia will still be running at that point? They seem to go in the mornings, not afternoons.

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The boats know when the cruise ships are in port... they were there when we arrived at 2:00 pm.    

 

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Does anyone who has visited recently know if taxis are waiting at the top of the cable car? I read that someone hired one to drive them to Oia. Do you know if you can hire one to drive you around for the day, stopping at your chosen points of interest? Or, were there tour companies trying to get your business at the top of the cable car? Just wondering if this is an option.

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22 hours ago, shipster60 said:

Does anyone who has visited recently know if taxis are waiting at the top of the cable car? I read that someone hired one to drive them to Oia. Do you know if you can hire one to drive you around for the day, stopping at your chosen points of interest? Or, were there tour companies trying to get your business at the top of the cable car? Just wondering if this is an option.

When we were there last month, the taxis were not waiting at the top of the cable car.  Rather they were waiting in a little lot by the bus station a few streets further into the main part of town in Fira.  We did not see any tour companies trying to garner our business.  Granted, it was early in the morning so not sure if that had anything to do with my previous two statements.  Should you wish to have the taxi drive you around for the day and make multiple stops, I presume that can be arranged directly with them.

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On 8/6/2019 at 5:38 PM, shipster60 said:

Does anyone who has visited recently know if taxis are waiting at the top of the cable car? I read that someone hired one to drive them to Oia. Do you know if you can hire one to drive you around for the day, stopping at your chosen points of interest? Or, were there tour companies trying to get your business at the top of the cable car? Just wondering if this is an option.

 

If my memory serves me correctly, the top of the cable car empties into a pedestrian only area of Fira.  You wave to walk a couple blocks to get to an actual road.  The bus depot was probably a 10 minute walk away.  If you are just going to Oia, I would take the bus.  There's only one road there, so a taxi isn't really going to get you there any quicker and similar to Fira, it pretty much all pedestrian walkways to get around Oia.  So the taxi isn't going to get you any closer than the bus.  Now if you're doing a longer tour going to multiple areas of the island, then a taxi may be worth it for all day.

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The cruise I'm looking at has Santorini from 2pm-10pm.

 

Can we take the bus at the bottom near the port all the way up to Oia?  Hang out there for a few hours, take the public bus back down as far as Fira, hang out there for a while, then take the cable car back down to port?

 

I'm getting a little confused with all of the various modes of transportation and how/where they take you to...

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4 hours ago, ilovetotravel1977 said:

The cruise I'm looking at has Santorini from 2pm-10pm.

 

Can we take the bus at the bottom near the port all the way up to Oia?  Hang out there for a few hours, take the public bus back down as far as Fira, hang out there for a while, then take the cable car back down to port?

 

I'm getting a little confused with all of the various modes of transportation and how/where they take you to...

 

There is no bus up to Oia, unless you mean taking a ship's excursion, in which case they will take you by bus to Oia (at a cost) and then eventually drop you at Fira. As for hanging out for a couple of hours, you will be there are long as the ship's excursion dictates, unless you opt to make our own way back.

 

If you don't choose a ship's excursion you will be dropped at a different tender dock and from there you can get the cable car or walk up to Fira, or take the boat to Oia. The only thing about your arrival time is that the boats often don't run in the afternoons, only in the morning when most ships arrive.

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7 hours ago, ilovetotravel1977 said:

@Bobal, so we essentially have to take the cable car up and back down from Fira...? I'm okay with that. Sounds like less hassle TBH.

 

Yes that's correct. Sometimes the lines for the cable cars can be very long but most ships arrive in the morning so that's the worst time. We had similar arrival and departure times (2-10) earlier this year and walked straight on to the cable car both up and down

 

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We are in Santorini next June from 1pm-10pm. Would like to go to Oia, of course. Any advice would be great. I assume it is very busy at that time. Also, would we have time to got to a restaurant to view sunset and get back down to the ship on time?

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We were in Santorini this year from 1:00 pm - 10:00 pm.   Check to see how many ships are in port the same day and what times they arrive / depart.    There were a total of 3 ships in port (including ours).    2 arrived early (before us) and left before us.     We had priority disembarkation and were the first tender off the ship.    There were no lines at the Cable Car.     Coming back we waited maybe 10 minutes for the cable car.     We were back on the boat before sunset and headed to the top of the ship to watch it.     Depends on what time your ship leaves port if you will see the sunset from a restaurant.   

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As above, probably good timing.

 

Arrival and departure times are now staggered with the aim of reducing congestion and long waiting  lines up and down for the cable car.

 

With a 10pm departure time you should be able to watch the sunset from your ship so need to look for a restaurant ashore unless you especially want the restaurant experience.

 

This is a recent thread you may find useful to read, and the photos on one reply will maybe have you reconsider being ashore for sunset.

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2690182-sunset-on-santorini/?tab=comments#comment-58190983

 

 

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We just got back and were there last week. Our ship was there from 1PM-10PM. There were 4 other ships there at the same time and it was crazy busy. We took a tour to a winery and Oia that ended at around 6:15PM. We then went to dinner in Fira and watched the sunset from there. The service was slow and our dinner didn't end until 8PM. The last tender was 9:30PM and we heard of 1.5 hour waits for the cable car. We ended up walking down the donkey steps in the dark which was not fun. 

We talked to people on your tender and they said the wait for the cable cars was about 1 hour. 

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7 hours ago, ElmwoodPark said:

We just got back and were there last week. Our ship was there from 1PM-10PM. There were 4 other ships there at the same time and it was crazy busy. We took a tour to a winery and Oia that ended at around 6:15PM. We then went to dinner in Fira and watched the sunset from there. The service was slow and our dinner didn't end until 8PM. The last tender was 9:30PM and we heard of 1.5 hour waits for the cable car. We ended up walking down the donkey steps in the dark which was not fun. 

 

 

I was on the same sailing as ElmwoodPark - we got in the cable car line on the way back around 8:30-8:40pm and ended up on the last tender back to the ship an hour later along with the ship officers who were monitoring the line. Nobody was left behind. 

Edited by cmich068

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Even with more than 2 ships docked, you will still be able to visit Oia, but you will be pressed with time. Depends on the crowds for the cable cars. But still there should be plenty of time for you to enjoy Santorini.

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When we got off the tender there were boats selling transfer from the pier to another pier closer to Oia - doing that you avoid the cable car line. If we ever go back that's what I'll do. 

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Like others I did NCL Star with 1-10pm, they arrived earlier, we took a tour that took us to the pier, but be warned the pier is a jammed place as part of it was destroyed and getting rebuilt.  If you are looking to secure independent transportation it was a mess with it backed to the main road at the top.  we were lucky our van and bus tours all were down and waiting, but if you are securing some transportation that wasn't prepared you could be stranded for hours.

 

We had time for tour of of several places, and timing wasn't perfect as even though you leave at 10, you do need to plan to either negotiate the walk down ( donkey gifts and all ) or wait in the long line for the cable car, for us we were the last ship and we still waited almost 45' to get down.    

 

We did hit all the check boxes including a very nice almost sunset view.   In the end have no desire to be with the hordes to catch that sunset, LOL

 

 

Santorin.JPG

Santorini_Sunset_Crowds_a.jpg

Santorini_Sunset_Crowds_b.jpg

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Our scheduled arrival in Santorini is 7:00 am.  Does anyone know what time they generally start giving out tender tickets, 1 hour before scheduled arrival?

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3 hours ago, pthardy said:

Our scheduled arrival in Santorini is 7:00 am.  Does anyone know what time they generally start giving out tender tickets, 1 hour before scheduled arrival?

We were just in Santorini this past May onboard RCI Vision. How/when your cruiseline does tender tickets will depend on their policy.

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On 9/11/2019 at 6:34 PM, cmich068 said:

When we got off the tender there were boats selling transfer from the pier to another pier closer to Oia - doing that you avoid the cable car line. If we ever go back that's what I'll do. 

This is a great option...works out well. We did a private group tour this past May that included this speedboat transfer to Oia.

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On our visit last week there were 5 ships in port. We were the last ship in and the last ship to leave. The line for the cable car was insane so we opted for the speedboat. They got us where we needed to go but not without headaches. The boat drops you off at the base of a steep hill and you have quite a hike up to the bus that brings you into Oia. The return trip to Fira  runs every couple of hours. The bus meeting point was a disorganized mess. Oia was completely overwhelmed with tourists. We could barely move on the narrow streets. The line for the cable car back down was so long we opted to walk down the donkey path. That was the most peaceful part of the day!

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