Turn your Greek island hopping dreams into reality with this guide to visiting the best Greek islands. I'll show you how to book a ferry easily, which Greek islands to visit, and more!
So you want to go Greek Island Hopping…
One vacation. 227 inhabited Greek islands. Where do you begin? I've written this guide to Greek Island Hopping with the aim of keeping it simple.
As such, if you're really only interested in the classic Athens – Mykonos – Santorini itinerary, take a short cut and check out my guide here: 7 Day Athens, Santorini, Mykonos itinerary.
Also, if you really only want to know how to book a Greek ferry ticket online quickly and easily, go directly to this site: Ferryhopper.
But if you want to know more, make yourself a nice cup of
tea frappe, and let's get started!
Guides To The Best Greek Islands To Travel
To begin with, I'm going to list the Greek islands I've currently got travel guides about. Underneath that, I've included useful tips and advice for planning a Greek island hopping adventure.I think this guide will have everything you need to go island hopping in Greece. You can always ask me questions via the comments at the end of the travel blog post.
Cycladic Islands Travel Guides
When most people think about Greek islands, they've probably got images of Santorini and Mykonos in mind. These are two of the Cycladic islands, but there are dozens more.
I've not been to all of the Cycladic islands yet… but I'm working on it! These are the Cycladic island travel guides I have so far:
- Santorini Travel Guide
- Best time to go to Santorini
- Santorini in October
- Santorini in November
- Random facts about Santorini
- How to get from Athens to Santorini by ferry
- How to get from Mykonos to Santorini
- Crete to Santorini by ferry
- Naxos to Santorini by ferry
- Santorini Airport Transfers made easy
- Best Santorini hotels with a sunset view
- How to book a Santorini hotel with breaking the bank
- One day Santorini itinerary
- Two day Santorini itinerary
- Three day Santorini itinerary
- Day Trips from Santorini
- Wine tasting in Santorini
- Red Beach Santorini
- Hiking from Fira to Oia in Santorini
- Best Santorini tours and excursions
- Best boat tours in Santorini
- Mykonos Travel Guide
- Milos Travel Guide
- Tinos Greece Travel Guide
- Andros Island Travel Guide
Ionian Islands of Greece
Perhaps the other island chain that people associate with Greek island hopping, are the Ionian islands. Located over on the west coast of mainland Greece, they include popular holiday destinations such as Zakynthos and Corfu.
Whilst many people from outside of Greece might associate these islands with a ‘resort' holiday, they are actually ideal for island hopping. They are not too far apart, and regular ferry services run between the islands.
Crete and the Cretan Islands
Crete is the largest of the Greek islands, and has a number of smaller islands surrounding it. Whilst some people seem content with visiting Crete for just a day or two, it really deserves weeks not days.
From Crete, you can island hop either to the Cretan islands (often on a day trip), or further afield to places such as Santorini.
- Crete Travel Guide
- Best time to visit Crete
- Crete in October for autumn sun
- Athens to Crete (Chania) by ferry
- Transfers from Heraklion airport
- Best things to do in Heraklion
- Heraklion tours and day trips
- The Palace of Knossos (near Heraklion)
- Chania tours and day trips
- Top 5 experiences in Crete
- Plan a road trip in Crete
- Chrissi Island near Crete
- Crete to Santorini ferry guide
Although the name seems to indicate that this would be an island chain of 12 islands, there are in fact 15 larger ones and a few smaller ones. Welcome to Greece!
The most famous of the Dodecanese islands is Rhodes, and whilst I have visited the island, I haven't gotten around to writing any travel guides yet! As such, only Patmos is listed below.
I've still got over 200 Greek islands left to visit and write about. As the Greek saying goes, Siga Siga…
You might also be interested in: Gulet Cruise Around Greece
Travel Tips for Greek Island Hopping
I think you'll find the following travel tips useful as you start looking where you want to go Greek island hopping.
These tips have come from my own experiences, as well as those of readers who have left me comments and sent emails. In my opinion, these Greek island hopping tips are essential before you book anything!
Look at a map of Greece
More than once, someone has asked how they can go island hopping between Santorini and Zakynthos. The answer being, with great difficulty!
It really pays to look at a map, and then narrow down the places you'd like to visit. For most people, this means choosing an island chain (for example the Cyclades), and then looking at which islands best suit them.
Greek island hopping routes are best done either within one island chain, or neighboring chains.
Ferry or Plane
In the past, Greek island hopping was associated with only ferries, and still that is what most people think of today. It is, however, just about possible to hop between some of the bigger name islands by using low cost airlines and Greek national airlines.
For the ‘return leg' back into Athens for your flight home, I'd suggest taking a flight rather than a ferry. One person wrote to me asking if their itinerary looked ok, arriving at Piraeus at 18.00 and flying out of Athens at 20.00. That's leaving it far too tight. What if the ferry was delayed?
Which ferry service to use in Greece?
I've used most of the Greek ferry companies now, and there's not much difference between them. You'll probably narrow down your choice by the most convenient crossing and price in any case.
Take a look at this comprehensive guide to the ferries in Greece.
How to book a Greek ferry ticket
Time was you used to have to go to an office to buy tickets. Now, most tickets can be bought online. I personally use Ferryhopper. It's an easy to use platform, and reliable.
Don't book a hotel first
Don't make the mistake of booking a hotel first which might be non-refundable, and then looking for connections between the islands after. If no connection exists, you've lost out.
When you do book a hotel, use Booking. After you've used it a few times, you'll be given ‘genius level' which gives you discounts.
Best Time To Go Greek Island Hopping
May through to October is the best time to go Greek island hopping. From November until May, ferry services may be reduced to some of the islands. Additionally, tourism all but closes down on the islands.
There are exceptions, as the off season months such as November can be a good time to visit Santorini as there are far fewer tourists.
Cheapest Time To Go Greek Island Hopping
Forget July and August, when hotel prices are higher. You might also want to skip high end destinations such as Mykonos and Santorini altogether if you want to plan a budget island hopping itinerary.
Instead, travel slower, and for longer, and to the smaller less popular islands. You can still get nice 30 Euro a night rooms (and cheaper!) on the islands if you look hard enough. A lot of Greek islands also have camping.
Strong winds can be STRONG
I'd never heard of the Beaufort Scale of measuring wind before I moved to Greece. Now I know it intimately! Strong winds known as the Meltemi can plague some of the Cycladic islands during August. In fact, they can sometimes be strong enough that the ferries cannot sail.
This is nature at her finest, and nothing that can be predicted. I would suggest that you arrange to fly into Athens from your last island rather than rely on a ferry. That way, you won't miss the flight home. Although I guess there are worse places to be stuck than in Greece!
Do you have any travel tips you'd like to add? Please leave a comment below, and I'll include them in the blog post!