Local Buses on Santorini
Local Buses on Santorini Reviews
Transportation in Santorini (Buses, quads, mopeds, taxi's) Mar 15, 2013
For maximum frustration and bare-faced rudeness, use the buses in Santorini. Two days of them caused me to eagerly switch to a quad bike for everyday transport just before my civilized patience was depleted.
Bus staff have a driver and conductor. They seem to feel empowered working in pairs and also seem to be competing and chuckling to each other in a game of who can be the rudest to visitors. Zero eye contact is made on attempt to speak with them. Same thing if they mumble any reply to you.
Conductors may physically attempt to walk through you rather than communicate and will shout loud if they are unsuccessful. I witnessed other tourists get pushed out of the way and lose their balance as a result, falling into seats and stuff. If one of them had been me, I doubt I could be writing this review now.
The 'buses' are actually coaches and are quite luxurious to ride in. However, the drivers are far too trustworthy of these vehicles considering their size, the speed they drive them, the surrounding infrastructure and the passengers on-board. Let me give you an example.. our frightening bus journey up to Oia.
Oia is the highest, most popular point on the island and is virtually on a mountain top with a long ring road circling its perimeter up to its peak. Every view to your right side is a cliff drop of roughly 1km. Our driver drove roughly 50mph around the entire mountain (with on-coming traffic) relying on wheel traction alone to hold our full bus load onto the steep, narrow road. One slip of the steering wheel would've been terrible for everyone.
If you have no other option, your tolerance is high, you're not squeamish, you don't mind being treated like cattle and you're happy waiting and waiting around on holiday; use their bus system..... Alternatively, rent a quad-bike.
The law in Greece has now changed to allow any foreigner with any full driving license to rent and ride a quad whether you have CBT training or not. I haggled to 25 euros for three days rental, which required my license as security. Quads can seat two people but must then be driven with extra skill. They are fairly cheap to run in fuel. They can reach about 50mph themselves and 15 euros will completely fill the tank lasting you about 2 days reasonable exploring. There is no way to gauge the fuel tank level so you kinda need to trust the honour of the fuel filler. I wouldn't recommend using the quad in the top half of the island from say Pyrgos upwards - roads & drivers then become more serious.
Not all quads have reverse gear, try to get one with reverse gear and lockable storage on the back - those ones are usually faster aswell. You can park them at the beach, your hotel, the restaurant, the town, anywhere.. no-one will touch it - you'll see many other tourists using them also over mopeds.
Cars do not care about mopeds at all. They will barely overtake them with a foot of space and actually speed up whilst doing so out of impatience. Cars don't really stick to a 'side' of the road here but they'll move over if something comes towards them. Almost every road has a tight bend at some point, often with long drops. This fact underpins the local lore of nasty accidents involving tourists misjudging handling on the peds.
When you need to use public transport take a taxi. In fact I'd advise nabbing a taxi driver from your arrival - you'll be glad you did. Their island knowledge is astounding. They'll skip the corny stuff and tell you about the REAL Santorini. We learnt more about the island in a single taxi ride than we did in the 6 days we were there. The whole bus business could've been totally avoided. Taxi's are not cheap but a hotel will have a personal one who'll then give you a realistic price.
I think if I go again, I'll try renting a car. A car might be a little bit overzealous considering the size of the island but it should level out the playing field on the road with the locals.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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Local Bus on Santorini Jun 04, 2011
If you arrive by ferry and don't want to pay for a taxi, get on a "Local Bus" that will be waiting nearby. You'll pay 2.20euro each for a ride up the hillside to the town of Fira and it's Bus Station. Don't offer the driver money, he'll just yell at you to sit down. All buses have a conductor, sometimes he doesn't get on until halfway to the destination, but there'll always be one. All the local buses are big tourist type coaches with space underneath for luggage, there is no extra charge for your bags.
At the Bus Station you get off and find the bus for your actual destination ( e.g Kamari, Perissa beach etc) Sometimes, you'll have to wait around. There is a timetable but don't treat it as gospel. The drivers will often wait around until the bus is full before leaving. Full means every seat and all available aisle space including stairwells. So, get on as soon as you can, even if you sit in the bus for 10 or 15 minutes, it's better than standing all the way.
If you're unsure where to get off, mention your destination to the conductor. He will usually yell out and let you know when it's your stop.
The local buses are a cheaper option for getting around the island, as long as you're not in a hurry or on a strict timetable.
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy