(updated for summer 2020, added #5)
I want to help you to pick a great boat tour around Santorini. Here I compared tours for you and even created maps so you get an idea where the boat is sailing.
Two boat tours that take you to the Volcano, and two different catamaran cruises to snorkel and chill.
- 5 best boat Volcano tours in Santorini
- full map with all stops (by each tour!) <<< read this!!
- Table Chart – Comparing all Tours
- Prices and what is included
- How to book
- Where is the Volcano?
- What to bring?
- Is it worth it?
- More great things to do – in my opinion
- Where to stay
5 Best Boat Tours of the Caldera & Volcano in Santorini
In this list I will only share the tours I really, really recommend!
There are a few more tours, but some of our readers and others had no good experience. You can find all Volcano Tours by yourself with Get Your Guide. I also recommend to check Airbnb Experiences. There is also unique tours listed; even private ones with snorkeling and such.
So we narrowed it down for you to the best Santorini Volcano Tours.
All you need to do? Pick the one you fancy most e.g. the Catamaran, Dinner Cruise or Sunset.
As for accommodation, we stayed at Caveland, an absolutely stunning dream luxury hostel. You are sleeping in a cave, former winery and it comes with a pool, views, yoga and so much more.
Also, I recommend renting a small car to explore the small villages around. My go-to website is always Discover Cars. It compares the local car rentals with a click.
Let’s charter this…here’s a quick overview of how the boats look like.
1. Volcanic Islands Cruise with Palea Kameni Hot Springs
A great and the cheapest one on this list is this volcanic island cruise.
Cruise to the volcanic islands of Santorini’s caldera region. Swim in the hot springs, admire views from an active volcano and explore island villages.
The highlights are:
- Peer into the crater of an active volcano
- Swim in volcanic hot springs
- Explore the the city of Thirassia on your own
- Experience a spectacular sunset in Oia
Below I created a map for you. Here you see where this tour takes you.
You get on the boat at Athinios Port, the main island of Santorini itself.
First stop is at Nea Kameni. There you take the path to the crater of the active volcano. As with every tour you have some time to explore and wander.
Next you head to Palea Kameni, the island left-hand and swim in the hot springs.
The hot springs are not super hot water, if this is what you expect, but more warm water.
After getting dry you will sail to Thirassia to visit Manolas, a village accessible by winding stairs, or by a donkey ride up to the village.
In Thirassia you have the time to get lunch. The crew has some recommendations on restaurants. They are good places to eat. However, if you are a bit in shape, you can walk up the village and eat at Panorama Restaurant. It’s a bit cheaper, and the views are wonderful. (make sure you are back on time!)
The last stop takes you to the North of the main Island, the famous Oia village, for a brief stop.
There is the option of extending the tour in Oia to admire the panoramic views and a spectacular sunset.
Depending on what you chose, the duration of the tour is between 6 and 10 hours. This tour is the cheapest one of all, starting from 35€.
I could not find this specific tour on Airbnb Experiences.
Here I created a map with the stops and rough itinerary.
2. Sunset Dinner and Volcano Tour
The more classy version including sunset dinner, the Sunset dinner Volcano Tour.
Cruise around Santorini and get some free time at Nea Kameni volcano. Languish in the hot springs, and watch the sun set over the island on a dinner cruise.
The highlights are:
- Climb to the top of the volcano on Nea Kameni Island
- Swim in the hot springs at Palia Kameni
- Watch the sunset while being wined and dined on a dinner cruise
The tour actually starts at your foot step. They will pick-up at your hotel, and then drive to Athinios Port to hop on the boat.
Cruise to the island of Nea Kameni and get the chance to climb to the top of the volcano.
Continue to Palia Kameni to dive and swim in the hot springs created by the underwater powers of the volcano.
Sail above the underwater craters to Thirasia Island, and anchor close to the shore to relax over a dinner buffet of pork rolls, chicken rolls, rice and baked potatoes, along with Greek salad, tzatziki, bread and seasonal fruit, all served with local wine.
Set sail as the sun begins to sink into the sea and experience the true romance of Santorini from the water.
The itinerary is pretty much the same as #1 in this list. Yet, this activity includes lunch and is usually less busy.
On top of that, the highlight here is the sunset from the boat.
3. Exclusive Catamaran Tour
This list would not be complete without a Catamaran tour. This tour does not take you to the Volcano BUT the Caldera – important.
This is my #1 recommendation if you prefer a semi-private tour with less than 25 people.
It is a bit more expensive, but 100% worth it!
It’s a different option and I think it’s important to you to see what other options you have.
The tour includes:
- Sail in the Caldera during morning or evening to see a spectacular sunset
- Swim and snorkel near the Red and White Beach
- Enjoy a barbecue meal of local delicacies with drinks
- Visit the Hot Springs
- Discover unique parts of Santorini not reachable by car
Yes you read well, a barbecue is included, as well as drinks (white wine, beer, soft drinks, water).
They do also bring snorkeling equipment. You only have to be willing to jump in the water!
And the groups are small. A really nice way to meet other fellow travelers and enjoy Santorini and its hidden beach spots.
I could not find this tour on Airbnb Experiences. There is more private tours, although we enjoyed this one!
4. The Santorini Catamaran Red Cruise with Meal & Drinks
Climb aboard the 74-foot Ocean Voyager or the 80-foot Tahiti catamaran for a 5-hour sunset cruise around Santorini in the Aegean Sea.
Sailing, snorkeling, snacks, white beaches, good vibes only and a mud bath!!
Head over to a secluded White Beach, only accessible from the sea, for more swimming and snorkeling in the shadow of the towering white cliffs.
Free snorkeling equipment is available on board the catamaran where you’ll also be served a barbecue supper of salads and grilled pork.
Continue sailing inside the crescent-shaped Caldera, close to the volcano, and enjoy a final dip and mudbath in the Hot Springs.
Now, this is how you spend an epic, unforgettable day!
Update: 5. Luxury Catamaran Cruise
The newest cruise I add is the Luxury Catamaran Cruise.
(Personally I did not do this so far. It was added by a close friend of mine visiting Santorini beginning of May 2019)
This is the most complete volcano tour out there! A bit more upscale than the others mentioned.
You start in the North, near Oia, cruise around the Volcano and the Hot Spring all the way to the lighthouse and exclusives beaches in the South.
For me, it includes all the best parts of all the tours mentioned above.
It includes a delicious Greek meal, local beer and wine, cocktails, and is overall a more intimate experience. The group is kept very small, only up to 10 people can join.
The staff makes this cruise extra special too! The pickup at your hotel/ hostel/ apartment goes smooth, and they even offer vegetarian meal options, besides the typical Greek dishes of BBQ fish, shrimps and chicken.
Below I include a photo of the meal….yummy!
All Volcano Tours in Santorini put on a map
A map is always helpful. I created a map with the 5 tours to show you the stops.
I kept the same order form #1 to #5 and kept them in a different color. I hope it is clear enough.
- BLUE: Volcanic Islands Cruise with Palea Kameni Hot Springs (cheapest!)
- RED: Sunset dinner Volcano Tour
- PURPLE: Exclusive Catamaran tour
- YELLOW: The Santorini Catamaran Red Cruise with Meal & Drinks
- GREEN: Luxury Catamaran Cruise
(You can activate and deactivate different layers and routes in the left sidebar. Open the map in a new tab here)
Comparing all 5 Tours
Alright, let’s get even more into details. Here is an overview of our handpicked cruises. In this chart we compare prices, duration and what’s special for every tour.
It will help you to take a decision.
|#1 Volcanic Islands Cruise||
Cheapest and great fun!
|#2 Sunset Dinner Volcano Tour||Dinner and Wine sunset||6 hours||from 80€|
|#3 Exclusive Catamaran tour||Visit Caldera (not Volcano)||5 hours||from 145€|
|#4 Catamaran Red Cruise||Same route as above, cheaper with more people||5 hours||from 95€|
|#5 Luxury Catamaran Cruise||The best of all! Most exclusive, great food!||5 hours||from 135€|
This information can vary by season and availability. Please take this into account.
Prices? The costs per person
As you can see in the chart above, the prices start from 39€ up to 165€ per person.
I have seen as well cheaper ones when I was there. But, I do not recommend going for anything cheaper.
Cheaper usually simply means more people will join. For me, the quality dropped significantly.
So while you may save 5€, you will end up with 50% more people on the boat. Unless you are really on a tight budget, do not do this.
How to book?
It makes things easier.
With both websites I receive an instant confirmation email, and the payment can be done online with your credit card. Very simple! The guide will send you an email or call you about the pick-up and meeting point.
Everything is pretty straight forward and simply.
Pick your favorite tour, add your dates, and finalize the booking. Make sure you receive the confirmation email.
And that is it! Congrats, you are about to have a great time!
Especially in summer I recommend to book your tour as early as you can. Tours can be sold out easily, and then you are left with the “less good” tours.
Can you book a Santorini Boat Tour for the next day?
Yes! Just visit Get Your Guide and type in your date. Check the availability. When booking, you will receive a booking confirmation with a phone number. The tour operator will get in touch with you. If the tour is sold out, you won’t be able to book it.
Where is the Volcano in Santorini anyways?
Santorini is basically a Volcano itself. Or better to say, what remains from it after an enormous volcanic eruption.
When looking at Santorini you will notice a giant central, rectangular lagoon.
It measures about 12 by 7 km and is surrounded by up to 300 meter tall cliffs.
The active Volcano (yes, you read well, it is active!) had the last eruption on 1950. Nowadays, it only has fumarolic activity.
We talk a bit more about this on our article about things to see in Santorini.
What to bring on the tour?
First of all, it depends what tour you choose and what that tour includes. If the tour includes the food like the #2 in this list, that’s covered.
My #1 volcano activity does not include lunch. But, you are nearby restaurants and taverns for getting your Greek food.
Remember, these cruises take at least 4 hours, so it more like a half-day trip.
Yet, I always recommend bringing:
- cash in EURO (and credit card)
(do not bring a white bikini due to the mud-bath!)
- a beautiful and light dress
(for wearing on the boat, restaurant and take even more beautiful photos!)
- linen shirt
- cold water
- some cards to play maybe
- GoPro – worth it!
Some of the tours we mention also cover drinks and meals. Please check this before booking.
Keep always in mind, Santorini is a summer destination, and you have sunshine (almost) all year long. Do not get sunburned on your first day and then suffer through the rest of your holidays.
Please don’t! Do not be that tourist!
Santorini is way too beautiful to do that. Rest assured, you can skip the sunburn experience!
Santorini Volcano Tour worth it?
In case it did not come across by now: Absolutely, that’s a definite yes!
Again: YES, a volcano tour in Santorini is worth it your time and money!
I consider the Volcano Tours a must-do when you are at least 2 days here.
Even on a day trip to Santorini it would be worth it. Yet, I don’t think there is any tour that is early enough back to get you back to an official ferry schedule.
If you are only visiting Santorini for a day trip, I recommend taking the traditional bus tour including wine tasting, cute villages and sunset in Oia.
You see, the island is a Volcano itself.
Earlier I mentioned, it is actually what is left after an enormous earthquake thousands of years ago. It changed the whole island form and destroyed human life on it.
Read the full wikipedia article on this topic here.
So I would say: It is worth to take the tour.
Simply because Santorini’s history is closely related to it, no, because it is a Volcano.
Here is some reviews:
“Very well-organized cruise that delivers what they promise, with a fun vibe. Great for all ages and the boat never felt too full, even with about 30 passengers on board. We stopped three times to swim, and one included snorkeling. Dinner was tasty and plenty of good, drinks on tap apart from beer, which was charged for. Highly recommend it.”
– Louise, Japan
“If you want to get into the water, layout in the sun and visit several beaches, this is the tour for you. We had an incredible time. Our guides were so much fun, the food that was BBQ’d was delicious and the group we toured with were great! Drinks (beer and wine) are included in the price, which is also a HUGE plus. We got to swim with the fishes, take a dip in the hot springs and see the red and white beaches. The catamaran itself was about 3 days old so it was a very nice/clean looking. This was a day we will never forget. We cannot be any happier with this tour!”
– Melisa, United States of America
More unmissable things to do in Santorini
I love to keep it simple. For me there is only three things you cannot miss.
My top 6 best things to do in Santorini are:
- Oia Village for Sunset
- Eat and Drink Greek delicacies
- 4 Hour Sunset Wine Tour
- Romantic Photo Shoot with Private Photographer
- Fun and elegant Scuba Diving
- Traditional Sightseeing Bus – a Must-Do!
I wrote up a more detailed guide on more activities out there. Give it a read.
Where to stay in Santorini Greece
You can choose from anything really:
Airbnb Apartments – Unique!
Airbnb is an incredible resource to find unique accommodation. Such as this gorgeous Cave House in Oia with a small pool.
It is a very cosy place with an amazing view over the sea and volcano. At the same time, you are located in the centre of Oia, with restaurants and bars around.
I doubt it gets any more beautiful than this!
This is just one of many places you can find in Airbnb. It was also the place I stayed in in my last visit.
Note: Airbnb’s in Santorini fill up one year in advance. Find all Airbnbs in Santorini here.
Boutique & Luxury Hotels
There is many Luxury Hotels to choose from. I especially like Aenaon Villas. It is located on a cliff with amazing views over the sea and area. A very calm area, quite secluded. You will need a rental car or quad to go around. They do offer as well airport transfer.
Other amazing 5 Star Hotels in Santorini:
My best recommendation for families with 1 or 2 kids is the Astra Suites. It has a beautiful pool , suitable for kids, sunset views (for the romantic part of the vacation), and many facilities of luxury.
Some of the rooms also come with fully-equipped kitchen; this is obviously very helpful and a must-have to families.
Another high-end family-friendly hotel in Santorini is the Katikies Garden Santorini – The Leading Hotels Of The World. It offers several different room options for 2 adults and 1 child.
That being said, the cheapest options for families traveling to Santorini will be found on Airbnb. An apartment might be more suitable for you and your loved ones.
Hostels – Cheap AND Cool!
Do you think Hostels are ugly? Uhhhhhh…NOT in Santorini! Have a look at the photos below. During my stay, we also checked out the best hostels in Santorini.
- Caveland – 5 Star Hostel with pool
- Bedspot Santorini – best for couples
- Fira Backpackers Place – best for backpacker
If you are a female solo traveler or traveling with a friend, I urge you to check out Caveland and Bedspot Santorini. Just have a look, really. It is worth it.
How do I get to the Santorini volcano?
You will need a boat to get there and come back. You cannot swim! The absolute best way is a day trip to the Volcano. Tours depart from the port of Athinios and from Gialos, the old port of Fira. Please refer to the map.
What are the best Volcano Cruise Tours in Santorini?
The five best tours are:
- Volcanic Islands Cruise with Palea Kameni Hot Springs (cheapest!)
- Sunset dinner Volcano Tour
- Exclusive Catamaran tour
- The Santorini Catamaran Red Cruise with Meal & Drinks
- Luxury Catamaran Cruise
See the complete comparison in price, what is included and itinerary here.
Where is Volcano in Santorini?
Most commonly said, the Santorini Volcano would be the central one. However, visible above water is the circular Santorini island group. It consist of Santorini (the main island), Therasia and Aspronisi at the periphery, and the Kameni islands at the center. The Kameni Island would be the one most people refer to as Volcano.
Is Santorini volcano dangerous?
At present, the volcano of Santorini is still dormant, or “sleeping“. This means that it is indeed still active, but an explosion is not believed to be imminent. Please note that there is always a minimal risk when visiting a Volcano.
Please please please drop me a line below. If you have any questions, any doubts, please leave a comment below.
Your comment helps me to improve the article and it helps you to travel a bit better, I hope.
I am keen to help!
Safe travels and enjoy Santorini!
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Smart and Simple Packing List
It is time to see what you should pack in your backpack or suitcase. Make sure you always pick a quality accommodation, it totally reduces the things you need to pack. Here is our ultimate packing list. It features 23 items you should really throw in your backpack.The most important things to pack are:
- eye mask
- key chain flashlight
- the right backpack, the Nomatic (our review of Nomatic here) or Lowe Alpine Lightflite 45 Pack
- packing cubes
- generic padlock (fitting all locker types)
- quick-dry travel towel
- universal power adapter
- travel-sized toiletries