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Day 4 Santorini, Greece

Wednesday 7th September’s port of call was the Greek Island of Santorini. This is clearly a cruise ship hot spot, with no less than five liners anchored in the bay on this occasion, transporting their passengers to shore by tender!

Two excursions were available to the Coral’s passengers in Santorini:

  • Thira and Oia Village
  • A Santorini sailing and volcano trip

Once more we decided to go ashore independently and visit Fira (the capital of Santorini). A trip to Fira is not recommended for anyone who doesn’t have a head for heights!

There are two ways to visit Fira, 700ft above the harbour. The easy option is to take the cable car – the short spectacular ride costs 4 Euros each way.

For the more energetic, the 600 steps up to the town are said to take around 30 minutes to climb, although donkey rides up and down are available if you want to experience a traditional mode of transport. Two of the ship’s crew assured us the descent can be done in eight minutes – something they discovered when they were late leaving Fira. We didn’t put it to the test!

Fira is a delightful little town, but with five ships in port it was very crowded. The winding narrow streets were jostling with tourists and the souvenir shops were doing a brisk trade.

Off the main drag, Fira is very picturesque and the views are breathtaking – exactly what you would expect from a Greek Island.

A word of warning about the Santorini Cable Car

At a briefing meeting held aboard MV Coral, passengers visiting Santorini were advised … ‘If there is a queue for the cable car, have a coffee or wander round the shops and go back a bit later.’

Be aware, if there are a lot of cruise ships in the harbour, this is NOT a good idea. The cable car has a limited capacity and on our trip, several thousand people were all trying to return to the harbour at the same time.

Fortunately, we went to the cable car with an hour to spare to make our descent. Forty five minutes later, we reached the quay with just fifteen minutes to catch the last tender back to the Coral, which was scheduled for 12.30pm.

As it happened, the last tender didn’t leave the quay until around 2pm. Some of our fellow passengers queued for around 1½ hours in a state of panic thinking they would, quite literally, miss the boat!

The Catholic Catherdral in Fira, Santorini, Greece

The Catholic Catherdral in Fira

Inside the Catholic Cathedral, Santorini, Greece

Inside the Catholic Cathedral

Oira Village on Santorini, Thira, Greece

Oira Village on Santorini

Santorini, Thira, Greece


Santorini, Thira, Greece


Fira perched above the quay on Santorini, Thira, Greece

Fira perched above the quay on Santorini

Santorini, Fira, Thira, Greece

The quay for Fira on Santorini

Santorini cable car to Fira, Thira, Greece

Santorinin cable car from the quay to Fira town

In Fira on Santorini

In Fira on Santorini

View from Fira, Thira, Santorini, Greece

View from Fira to the volcanic island