From the Old Port (Skala Pier), there are three ways to reach the top of the cliff and Fira, which is 260 metres above sea level:, by cable car (daily, 6.30am-10pm; takes about a few minutes to reach the top), mule ride, or a tough hike up 580 steps.
With one or more large cruise ships off-shore, long lines may queue at the bottom of the cable car. Casual Fira walkers/shoppers may meet many others at the top returning after a few hours, and long queues may form at the top of the cable car before passengers are expected back aboard their ship(s). There are six small cable cars ganged together (each holding six persons max), taking about a couple of minutes to descend. Do the maths, and plan accordingly.
Santorini’s bus system is excellent and the main terminal is in Fira, which is the island’s social/commercial center. All buses to the other parts of the island, as well as the airport and ferry port, originate here. https://www.ktel-santorini.gr/index.php/en. Tickets are purchased on the bus.
CAR & MOTORCYCLE
Having your own wheels is the most convenient way to explore the island during high season, when buses are overcrowded. Be very patient and cautious when driving – the narrow roads and heavy traffic, especially in and around Fira, can be a nightmare. Lots of companies offer cars, mopeds and ATV four-wheeler bikes for rent.
Note: scooter hire requires you to have an appropriate licence, while four-wheelers require a regular car licence.
Taxis are usually waiting at the airport, but competition for them can be keen. You should agree on the fare with the driver before departing. Many Santorini hotels offer airport transfers, usually for a fee that’s more than a taxi would charge you, but some may find it worth it for the convenience.
Fira’s taxi stand is on Dekigala just around the corner from the bus station.
The island is small enough that it can be thoroughly explored by bicycle. Bicycle rentals are available, but Santorini is not very bicycle-friendly – there are no dedicated bicycle routes and the the island is very hilly.
Recommended routes by foot include the amazing walk from Fira to Oia (note that this walk is less nice in reverse, it can take less than three hours but can be difficult, for up and downhill climbs, the rocky surface at times, and the proximity to unprotected cliffs that drop sharply into the caldera) along the caldera, as well as the paths over Perissa Rock connecting Perissa, Kamari, and Pyrgos. The walk between Perissa and Kamari is fairly short (via Ancient Thira), while the walk to Pyrgos is somewhat longer, passing through the highest point on the island. The views are breathtaking and you could find different kinds and colours of rocks and plants as you walk. The walking route is different from where the city buses go.