Greece › Island Hopping
by Santorini Dave • Updated: March 16, 2021
Island Hopping Guides
The 2021 Guide to Island Hopping in Greece
Note: In 2021, all ferry routes and schedules may be impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Please use ferryhopper to find the most recently updated information.
• Updated: Download and print the Greece Ferry Health Questionnaire for domestic ferry travel to the Greek islands
- The Best Time to Visit the Greek Islands
- The Best Beaches in Greece
- The Best Greek Islands
- The Best Places To Go in Greece
- Flights to Greece
- Greek Ferries
- Crete-Santorini Ferry & Flight Information
- Mykonos-Santorini Ferry & Flight Information
- Athens-Santorini Ferry & Flight Information
- Athens-Mykonos Ferry & Flight Information
- The Greek Islands with Kids
- Crete – Best Hotels
- Crete – Tours & Things To Do
- Crete – Best Time To Visit
- Naxos – Best Hotels
- Paros – Best Hotels
- Ios – Best Hotels
- Milos – Best Hotels
- Folegandros – Best Hotels
- Sifnos – Best Hotels
- Rhodes – Best Hotels
- Kos – Best Hotels
- Skiathos – Best Hotels
- Skopelos – Best Hotels
- Paros or Naxos?
- Crete or Santorini?
- Mykonos or Santorini?
- Athens Airport Rental Car
- Greece Travel Agencies
Greek Island Hopping – Tips and Information
Greek Island Hopping Cruises
Greek cruises suck. Don’t do them. It’s much better to island hop on your own. The best websites for booking a Greek holiday are Booking.com (for hotels) • Kayak.com (for flights) • Ferryhopper.com (for ferries). It’s fun and easy to book your own trip – and much more rewarding.
Greek Island Hopping Packages
The same applies for package tours. You get better hotels, better choice of flights, better prices, and a better experience by booking hotels, flights, and ferries on your own. There are no ferry passes for Greece (though Eurail does include some ferry passes for some of their European train passes). Ferry tickets need to be booked for each leg of every itinerary and there is no discount for return tickets or multiple-stop tickets.
Greek Island Hopping Tours
I highly recommend doing one of the wonderful Santorini tours, Crete tours, or Mykonos tours. These are day trips from or around each island. Smaller islands also have their own tours but are typically best booked after arrival. For Santorini, Mykonos, and Crete it’s usually better to book tours in advance.
Greek Island Hopping Itinerary
Your route is only bound by the ferry schedule. From late May to early October, there are ferry connections between most islands in an island group (the Cyclades, the Dodecanese, the Sporades, the Saronic islands, the Ionian islands) and from Crete to the Cyclades. But there aren’t ferries between every Greek island. To get from one island group to another requires a bit more planning. For example, to get from Santorini to Rhodes you may need to ferry to Mykonos and then catch a different ferry onwards to Rhodes. Once again, this is half the fun. The Cyclades – a collection of wonderful small islands that are connected by short frequent ferry routes – makes the best island group for first-time island hoppers.
Booking Hotels in the Greek Islands
The best Santorini hotels, Mykonos hotels, Crete hotels, Paros hotels, and Athens hotels get fully booked 4 to 8 months in advance. For cheaper hotels and other smaller islands you have more flexibility and last-minute bookings are possible.
Greek Island Hopping & Honeymooning
It doesn’t get much more fun and romantic than bouncing from Mykonos (great nightlife) to Naxos (great beaches) to Santorini (jaw-dropping scenery). The best Greek islands make an awesome honeymoon destination.
Greek Island Hopping from Athens
Athens makes a natural start or finish to Greek island hopping. The closest Cycladic island (the best island group for island hopping) is 3 or 4 hours from Athens by ferry – and from there the magic begins. If possible try to fly into Greece and out of Greece from different airports to save yourself the time, hassle, and expense of backtracking. For example, fly into Athens, ferry through the Cyclades and onwards to Crete, then fly from Crete to western Europe (and home) – there’s no need to return to Athens to get your return flight. The Greek islands with the most flights are Santorini, Mykonos, Crete (both Heraklion and Chania airports), Rhodes, Kos, and Corfu.
Cheap Island Hopping
Ferry tickets in Greece are not expensive but not as cheap as they used to be. The best way to save money is to make fewer stops (choose 2 or 3 islands and explore them more thoroughly instead of hitting a half-dozen islands each for a night or two). In high season the owners of small and budget hotels will meet most ferry arrivals with offers of cheap accommodations. These are nearly always legit, decent places to stay. The thing to watch for is location. Hotels will say, “yes, very close, we drive there together” and then once you get there you realize you’re not walking distance to the beach or main villages. Try to walk there with hotel owners, then you know for sure it’s within walking distance (though this isn’t practical on all islands).
Greek Islands and Public Transportation
Most areas in Greece, including Athens and all major islands, have public transportation strikes throughout the year. These strikes can affect all forms of transit, including, buses, trains, ferries, flights, and taxis. During strikes no buses, no ferries, and only a handful of trains and flights will depart on time (or at all); taxis tend to be the least affected mode of transport. Though strikes can occur any time, there is always a huge strike on May 1. Avoid booking any ferries, flights, or trains that day.
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