Why taxi drivers avoid using Uber in Santorini. The alternative transportation options you can safely use, and practical travel tips.
Last updated: 18 Nov 2023
If you are planning to visit the island of Santorini in the near future, one of the most likely questions you are going to ask is, “Is there Uber in Santorini?”
The operation of the ride-hailing platform is not a given in all countries, and naturally, Greece is no exception.
As you can read in detail in the article “Uber In Athens? What’s Really Going On!“, Uber partially suspended its operation in Greece back in 2018 after facing legal challenges with the local taxi driver industry.
As a result, it was found to operate solely in Athens and only with the Uber Taxi service.
Despite this, Greece is a top tourist destination, and the company was seeking ways to extend its services to other cities within the country.
Is There Uber in Santorini?
Fast forward three years to 2021, Uber successfully found a solution with the local authorities.
As a result, they added the picturesque island of Santorini to the destinations they serve.
They also launched “Uber in Corfu” and “Uber in Thessaloniki.”
Consequently, today, the users of the application have the ability to choose between three different transport options.
These options are: regular taxi, comfort, and van.
The first option is provided by licensed local taxi drivers.
They employ a taximeter, and the calculation of the journey cost is based on the distance.
However, if you’re departing from the port or the airport, be aware there’s a small additional fee.
On the other hand, the remaining two options are provided by a company that collaborates with Uber in Santorini, offering services at a flat rate.
Nevertheless, you should take into account some important information about these options that will make your trip easier.
Is It Easy to Get a Taxi in Santorini?
In Greece, the taxi market is state-regulated.
This regulation permits only a specific number of taxi licenses for each city or island.
However, Santorini, hosting millions of visitors every year, experiences a scarcity of taxis compared to the demand.
This situation is especially noticeable in the high season, which spans from April to October.
Consequently, securing a regular taxi through Uber tends to be quite challenging.
Most drivers opt to pick up passengers off the street, or through phone appointments, shunning the app in order to evade the fees it charges.
It is exceedingly common for drivers to distribute cards with their phone numbers, facilitating direct transfer bookings.
Therefore, even on the streets, free taxis are often hard to find, leading to potential hours of waiting before finding service.
Uber Alternatives in Santorini
1. Pre-booked taxi in Santorini
Should you be arriving from a long journey or need to catch your flight, I strongly recommend utilizing a pre-booked taxi to avoid any unnecessary hassle.
The last thing you want on vacation is to be stuck in a queue or feeling stressed.
As such, the service I frequently rely on, especially for airport and port transfers, is the local startup Welcome Pickups.
It offers excellent service and has seen swift expansion into many cities abroad.
Despite their flat rate being marginally more expensive, their service warrants the cost.
2. Car Rental in Santorini
Renting a car constitutes a second alternative to Uber in Santorini.
This is the best solution if you wish to explore the entire island while maintaining your autonomy.
In this case, ensure you use a search engine that compares prices and features user reviews.
Personally, I tend to opt for Rentalcars.com as it offers competitive prices and collaborates with the most reliable car rental companies.
Moreover, ensure you book as early as possible for cost-saving purposes, and select a trustworthy company.
Nevertheless, keep in mind that roads during the high season can be congested, necessitating careful driving.
Parking spaces can also be sparse.
On my last trip to Santorini, I applied a mixed approach.
For transfers from the port to the hotel and back, I used a pre-booked taxi.
Additionally, out of a four-day stay, I rented a car only for a day, specifically to visit Perissa Beach and the southern part of the island.
3. Public Transportation in Santorini
If you don’t plan to visit the less touristy parts of the island, then local buses serve as a third viable solution.
Surprisingly, for the size of the island, Santorini has relatively good public transport.
Furthermore, bus prices are really affordable, with ticket prices starting at less than two euros.
However, remember that during summer, buses may overcrowd, and road traffic can cause delays.
Moreover, be aware that there are usually no direct routes from one area of the island to another. All bus routes start from Fira and make stops in the intervening villages.
During the high season, authorities usually add extra itineraries that provide direct service to the island’s main beaches – namely Kamari, Perissa, and Perivolos.
Do I Need Uber in Santorini?
If you are planning to stay in the bustling capital of the island, Fira, and you’re not particularly interested in swimming in the sea, then your transportation needs may be limited to getting to and from the airport or port.
In this case, the optimal solution is to use Uber or a pre-booked taxi up to your hotel.
From Fira, you can easily reach nearby locations on foot.
Firostefani, for instance, is just a 15-minute walk away.
Imerovigli, on the other hand, is slightly farther.
Known as the highest point of the Caldera coast, it’s about a 30-minute stroll away.
At the same time, if you like hiking, a two-hour trek could take you to the beautiful Oia.
Though the route is fairly simple, ensure you’re wearing comfortable footwear.
However, if you want to explore all that Santorini has to offer, renting a car or using the local buses would be your most suitable transportation solution.
I hope this article has shed some light on the situation regarding Uber in Santorini.
If you’re contemplating extending your stay in Greece to visit Athens, you might also be interested in my step-by-step itineraries.
They include the best spots in town and their corresponding pins on Google Maps, ensuring you don’t miss out on anything.
These itineraries have been carefully and clearly designed to suit the number of days at your disposal: Athens in 1 day, Athens in 2 days, Athens in 3 days, Athens in 4 days, or even a hidden gems of Athens itinerary if you plan to stay even longer.
Make Your Trip Easier
I always book my accommodation with a reliable service like Booking.com. Besides their price guarantee, you can rest assured that you will have 24/7 support in the event of any problems with your hotel. Always make sure you read reviews from other guests before booking.
Don’t forget to use Skyscanner before booking your flights, as it compares different airlines to provide the cheapest and fastest solutions. Moreover, you can save a lot of money if you are flexible with your dates.
Nobody wants to think about all the things that could go wrong on a trip. However, these things can happen, so do not miss taking out travel insurance: SafetyWing is the one I use as its plans are affordable and can save you a lot of trouble.
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