Taking the ferry from Athens to Naxos: my experience & tips

Taking the ferry from Athens to Naxos: my experience & tips

Traveling by ferry from Athens to Naxos: what to expect? In this article, I share my experience and practical tips for a worry-free trip.

The pleasant breeze of the Aegean Sea, the promise of adventure, and the enchanting charm of Greece. These elements form the core of my journey by ferry from Athens to Naxos, the largest island of the Cyclades.

Taking the ferry from Athens to Naxos: my experience

One early morning in October, I find myself in the port of Piraeus as early as a quarter to seven. I have spent the past five days in beautiful Athens and I am ready for a new adventure. For the next 1.5 weeks, I will be enjoying Greek island life, starting on the island of Naxos.

Looking for the gate

To get there, I booked a ticket for one of the first ferries today. My ferry, from the shipping company Blue Star Ferries, sails via the islands of Paros and Naxos to Santorini. My ticket says I leave from Gate E7, so I need to find that first. As soon as I walk out of the metro station I see a big ship with Santorini on it at 7:25, that must be mine!

The ferry is already waiting in Piraeus

Get on the ferry

I have no idea what exactly to expect, so I just follow some other people and walk up on the ferry. There is barely a line and I have my phone with the ticket’s QR code at the ready. A lady scans it and I’ve got the right ferry, so I can continue and go up an escalator. There is a baggage drop-off point, but I don’t feel much like dropping off my backpack, so I just keep walking.

Nobody says anything about that, so I think it’s allowed. The ship has eight floors. Decks 1 to 5 are for vehicles, 6 to 8 for passengers. Much of Deck 7 is for Business Class passengers, but otherwise, you can sit anywhere you like.

A map of the ferry hangs in many places
A map of the ferry.

I always love sitting outside, so I walk all the way up and sit on the back of Deck 8. Here are all tables and chairs and most of them are still empty. It also takes about 30 minutes for the ship to depart.

I bought breakfast at the station, this is a great place to enjoy it. You can bring your own food and drinks on the ferry. This is very convenient since the food and drinks on board are on the pricey side. As I sip my hot green tea, I watch the sun slowly rise over Athens. For me, these are the beautiful moments of travel. Punctually at 7:25, a big horn sounds and the boat’s heavy engine begins to vibrate. Slowly we leave the port of Piraeus.

We sail out of Athens as the sun rises

Exploring the ship

It is not at all crowded on the ship (I love traveling in the low season) and I regularly take a walk to explore all the places on the ship. There is plenty to see! There are several restaurants, where I see many people sitting and lying on the chairs. I also see some televisions, coffee shops and even a little store where you can buy some souvenirs, sweets and pills against seasickness.

The restaurants and store have limited opening hours, every time they are open it is announced, both in Greek and English. There are more than enough toilets (some even overlooking the sea) on board and I even spot a couple of showers.

I have a great time reading a book and staring over the ocean. There is a pleasant breeze and I thoroughly enjoy the view of the blue sea. Occasionally we sail past an island and sometimes the wind picks up a little, rocking the boat a little more. But nothing wild, it’s a very relaxing trip.

My spot on the ferry from Athens to Naxos
My spot on the ferry from Athens to Naxos

There is also the option to connect to wifi for a fee, but I have cell coverage most of the time, so it’s not necessary to pay for that. After more than 4 hours of sailing, we dock at the island of Paros. Many people hopped on the ferry here, making it suddenly a lot more crowded. Getting in and out of Paros is super fast, before I know it we continue our trip.

Mooring in Paros

There’s Naxos!

The trip is almost over, and we arrive at the dock of Naxos about an hour after leaving Paros. We ended up arriving about 10 minutes later than planned, so a little bit of a delay. But who cares about that if you’re in such a beautiful place? The disembarkation goes very smoothly and then I am standing on the island that will be my home for the next week. This was definitely a fun way to get here, I’d love to do more trips like this in Greece in the future!

Ferry from Athens to Naxos: practical tips & tickets

Would you also like to travel by ferry from Athens to Naxos? If so, I hereby share a few practical tips.

Which ferry company?

Several ferries go daily from Athens to Naxos. When I checked for my trip in October, the tours were done by two companies: Blue Star Ferries and SeaJets. In high season (July and August) there may be other companies sailing to Naxos, but in this article I will limit myself to Blue Star Ferries and SeaJets, as I have experience with both organizations.

Is there a difference between these companies? Absolutely. Blue Star Ferries is the slower (and cheaper) of the two. The crossing from Athens to Naxos takes 5 hours and 20 minutes. On this ferry, you can sit anywhere you want and there are also many options for sitting outside.

SeaJets has fast ferries and takes less than 4 hours for the trip. Here, however, you have a fixed seat on the ship and virtually no outside space (only to stand). Also, SeaJets is usually more expensive than Blue Star Ferries. I myself took a SeaJets ferry from Naxos to Mykonos and I actually found it a bit disappointing in terms of facilities. But of course, it is a lot faster!

So the choice is yours: do you want a big ferry that takes a little longer with lots of freedom on where to sit or do you want a fast ferry with a fixed seat? In addition, there is also a price difference, for example, I paid about €50 for my ticket for Blue Star Ferries, a ticket for SeaJets was €70.

Where do you book the ticket for the ferry?

Tickets can be booked through the ferry company itself, but then of course you won’t see all the ferry connections between Athens and Naxos. Therefore, it is convenient to visit the website Direct Ferries. This website has a nice overview of all possible ferries between Athens and Naxos and you can check the costs at a glance. On this website you can also book tickets for all your ferries very easily.

How to travel by ferry in Greece?

Once you have purchased your ticket for the ferry, you must check in between 48 hours and 2 hours in advance, just like when traveling by airplane. You get a boarding pass with a QR code on it and some extra information. According to the additional information, you must be present at the port one hour before departure.

If, like me, you travel in the off-season, being there one hour before departure is not necessary. I got there 40 minutes in advance which was early, as I was on board within 5 minutes. In high season, it does make sense to arrive on time, also because the seats fill up much faster.

You can just walk onto the ferry and someone will scan your ticket. According to the instructions on the ticket, this also requires you to show your passport or ID, but I have not experienced that myself. In any case, it can’t hurt to at least have those on hand.

Then you can drop off your large luggage (at Blue Star Ferries) or put it in the rack (at SeaJets). Then find your seat and enjoy the crossing over the beautiful Aegean Sea.

This is also how you can travel from Athens to Naxos

The ferry is not the only means of transportation between Athens and Naxos; you can also go by plane. The flight time is only 40 minutes, but keep in mind that it also takes some time to get to the airport from downtown Athens. For all options, check out WayAway.

Book a trip to Greece

These were my tips and an experience of taking the ferry from Athens to Naxos. I hope it was helpful to you! Do you have any further questions? Ask them by leaving a comment below this article.

Would you also like to discover Greece? These websites are useful for booking your trip.

🚘 Rental car – If you want to explore Greece, it’s useful to rent a car. Check Rental Cars or Discover Cars to find the best deals.

🛏️ Accommodation – There are many beautiful places to stay in Greece. From small-scale guesthouses to luxury resorts in the mountains. Check Booking.com for options and availability.

🎒 Tours and activities – Would you like to learn more about the history of your destination or are you looking for a fun active activity? Check Get Your Guide.

Read more about Greece

Would you like to discover more beautiful places in Greece? Get one of these travel guides for more tips and inspiration:

Lonely Planet Greece

Fodor’s Essential Greek Islands: with the Best of Athens

On this website, you can also find more information on traveling to Greece. You might like to read these articles as well:

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As a girl from a small town in the Netherlands, I always dreamed of traveling. I thought it would always be a dream, but nowadays, I travel 6 to 8 months a year and I hike thousands of miles on the most beautiful hiking trails. On this website you can read all about my favorite destinations.

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