With the fast paced world that we live in, we tend to ignore the beauty of taking things slow. After all, it is said that travel is not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Being in Greece though, travel is both about the journey and the destination! The destination? Athens. The journey? Either a less than an hour flight or an 8-hour ferry trip across the Aegean Sea? Needless to say, we chose the latter!
The essence of traveling to Greece aside from exploring the mainland is being able to experience sailing the Aegean Sea and seeing the famous and countless Greek Islands. And one of the best and cheapest ways to do so is by taking a ferry ride, which to put it into simple terms, is more or less like a cruise as it stops on some islands to drop off and pick passengers along the way. As for us, we chose the ferry line by Blue Star to bring us from Santorini to Athens – our ferry was the BLUE STAR DELOS.
As I said, going by ferry is cheaper than taking the plane – only 45 Euros per person for a comfortable Numbered Aircraft Type Seat. If you want cheaper ones or more expensive ones, there are also other classes to choose from ranging from economy to cabin classes. However, I believe the Numbered Aircraft Type Seat is sufficient and very comfortable for an 8 hours sail. It’s more comfortable than an actual aircraft seat actually!
*Just make sure to choose your seat numbers if you want to be seated beside your travel companions! Jill and I had seat numbers rows apart! Luckily, the ferry didn’t get full so not all seats were taken and we were able to seat beside each other as I believe no one bought those beside mine (or they were kind enough to let us be and sat in a different seat).
Another advantage is that there are more departure times to choose from rather than a plane ride to and from Santorini which, the last time we checked, only had one schedule per day and is very early in the morning. And would you rather have a vague view of the skies from your plane window or a closer view of the sea and the islands that you pass by in the ferry? One of the main reasons that we opted for a ferry ride are the spectacular views and scenery that you get to see along the way as a bonus!
Jill and I decided to take an hour nap after Blue Star Delos left Santorini and when we were rested enough, we decided to explore the ferry which was quite huge (it was a RO-RO)! The Blue Star Delos amenities had everything you might need on your journey, it’s like a small mall: it had its own food court with a number of restaurants/fast foods to choose from, coffee shop, a travel shop and very clean washrooms! The front deck though is not open but comfortable cafe like seat are provided to let you enjoy the view in the front. Before I forget to mention, the whole ferry is air-conditioned!
Searching for a place to smoke, we found ourselves in what is now our most favorite part of the ferry and where we enjoyed our ferry ride from Santorini to Athens the most: the REAR DECK! The very spacious rear deck is perfect for those who want to feel the breeze and enjoy the views out in the open! And we can smoke freely, something we definitely won’t be able to do if we were on a plane!!!
The open rear deck had numerous seats as well so it felt like you were in a moving coffee shop where you let time pass with awesome scenery to match! It was here that we stayed for the rest of our journey (which was still around 6 hours more at this point)! It’s a bummer though that the top deck wasn’t open for passengers. We can only imagine how cool it would be up there!
A few hours on the journey, we arrived at the first stop of Blue Star Delos on its way to Athens: the Cycladic Island of NAXOS. The island of Naxos is the largest among the islands that make up the Cyclades Group of Islands.
One the fun parts of every port of call of our ferry trip is when the crew starts to lower and prepare the passenger and vehicle ramps as we start to approach each island!
Naxos by itself it an interesting Greek Island since it was the centre of Archaic Cycladic Culture. It is widely connected to Greek Mythology as well, being believed to be where the young Zeus (the most powerful Greek God) was raised, the nuptial isle of Dionysius (the Greek God of Wine), the place where Theseus (a Greek Mythology Hero) abandoned Princess Ariadne after he killed the Minotaur in the Labyrinth, and many more! Definitely on our list of places to go to in Greece the next time we travel there!
As I’ve reiterating, the views we got to see along the way was the main reason why we chose a longer ferry ride to Athens over a faster but boring plane ride to Greece’s capital! Here are more of those scenery as we make our way to the next port of call:
Still 160 kilometers away from Piraeus Port which is the main port of Athens, we make our second a final stop along the way: the island of PAROS. The island of Paros is in a way, different from Naxos, by the fact that the white washed buildings are more spread out and seems more mountainous although it is actually a single mountain with rolling slopes. The shoreline is less imposing but more calm and felt more laid-back.
Renowned for its marble, Paros is now more famous as a tourist destination. It is worth noting that before the modern country of Greece was formed, Paros was actually outside Greek rule for more than 600 years as it was conquered at first by the Venetians and then by the Ottoman Turks.
After sundown, there was nothing much to see aside from the lights in the islands we passed-by but the cold breeze kept us entertained. Feeling a bit hungry, Jill and I went straight to the food court of Blue Star Delos. Ever since we arrived in Greece 4days ago, we haven’t had a try of Greek Fastfood! That said, we decided to try out the country’s biggest fast food chain, GOODY’s.
Reasonably priced, with the selection and quality of food you’d expect from a fast food chain, I decided to have their extreme burger while Jill had my fried as she wasn’t as hungry as I was.
We arrived in Piraeus Port in Athens at almost 12 midnight. 8 hours came by so fast most probably because we enjoyed the trip a lot. The driver who was to pick us up at the port was kinda late that we almost grabbed a cab but good thing we saw each other before we did LOL! All in all, our choice of taking a ferry ride instead of a plane ride was very much worth it and given the chance, we’ll do it once again! For us, our ferry trip from Santorini to Athens is one of the best highlights of our trip to Greece and most probably, it would be yours too!
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