Information for cruise ship passengers getting ashore

Created by the volcano erruption in 1650 B.C., Santorini’s Cruise Port port of call is located at the bottom of the Caldera Cliffs in Fira, the capital of Santorini. It doesn’t have a cruise terminal and visitors are tendered ashore by small boats. During high season the island hosts about 80,000 visitors per day, and there can be as many as five cruise ships arriving in the same morning, making the port one of the most crowded ports of the world.

The offcial name of the cruise port is Skala. Skala was an old port serving Thira before the bigger port of Anthinios took over. This pier became a tourist hub of sort, a small town of seaside cafés, boat rental agencies and trinket shops.

Essential Information

Santorini Travelers arriving by ferry, are advised to visit the ferry port of Athinios travel guide. Any ferry you book will dock at Athinios.

Where cruise ships dock

The main harbor of the island (Athinios), cannot accommodate large cruise ships being able o dock, so most ships use their engines to hold their positions into the cone of the volcano (now extinct) and make adjustments at times.

Cruise Passengers are brought to land with tenders (small boats), operated by the Santorini Boatmen Union.

Transportation from the ship to shore.

Passengers booked on the ship’s shore excursions are tendered at the ferry port of Athinios ( and take coach tours from there.

The remaining passengers will tender to the port of Skala below Fira, the capital of the island.

The old port

As seen from the top.

Arriving at the old port (Skala Pier)

At this small harbour you will find Duty-free stores, restaurants, taverns and small shops where you can buy souvenirs or traditional local products. During summer times, there are tours going to the nearby volcano and hot springs.

From Skala, there are three ways to reach at the top of the cliff which is 260 metres above sea level,

  1. cable car (daily, 6.30am-10pm, every 20 mins, €5 / $5.44),
  2. mule ride (€8/$8.70), or a
  3. tough hike up 580 steps (following the same path as the mules).

The Cable Car (Teleferik – Tram Funicular) Option

The cable car is located at the north end of the harbor dock. Getting to the Cable car you need to walk up quite a few steps, the steps are low and long, but gradually get steeper.

When reaching it, there are steps up to the station, then steep steps onto the cable car itself. The Funicular travels up the path and in three minutes time you are comfortable in the beautiful town of Fira, at an altitude of 220 metres.

The cars are quite tiny, and the descent is steep, but you will appreciate the views of the rock formations, and Fira, clinging to the edge of the cliffs.


old port map