Hopping round the Greek Islands is brilliant. Absolutely my idea of a summer holiday well spent. And the ferries, although not always on time, are definitely the easiest and cheapest way to get around.
I’ve done two separate little ferry tours of Greece. One around a few of the islands of the Cyclades – Ios, Santorini and Mykonos. And another around three quarters of the Sporades – Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos.
Travelling by ferry means you can sit up on deck cruising the blue waters, enjoying the sun caressing your face while sipping a beer from the on board bar as your captain takes you to where you need to go. After a few beers and a bit of imagination I’m sure you could start to see the trip a bit like a cruise… but not even nearly as expensive.
Thanks to the regular ferries you can also put together your own schedule with the places you actually want to visit, rather than having to be at the mercy to someone else’s schedule. One of the best things about ferry hopping in Greece is that with all the Greek food you need to try, and the ouzo (spirit) and Mythos (beer) you need to knock it back with, you’ll get to try the regional varieties on every island.
7 great islands for Greek Island Hopping
The shores of Paros are well known for their beauty – it’s often called a ‘pearl’ in the Aegean Sea. There are lots of picture postcard villages to explore on this island, which despite the popularity of the island have managed to retain their Paros character. Stuff yourself with meze here – Greek tapas – it’s what I plan to do when I visit anyways.
Naxos is a bit of a foodie island thanks to the thriving agriculture here. You can find high quality cheese, sausages and meat among all the usual Greek foodie favourites. There’s a fertile and mountainous landscape here making for some great hikes with beautiful views across the almost 100km of white beaches and incredibly clear waters. Great nightlife comes as standard, of course.
I’ve been to Ios. I spent a few days on the island and had a great time checking out the clubs and exploring the Byzantine Churches and beautiful landscapes via quad bike. Once upon a time it was a bit of a mecca for hippies, but now it’s where the party people unite. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of space to give that kinda life a wide berth if you want to.
Santorini / Thira
Well, it’s all about the sunset in Santorini isn’t it? People love the caldera here – a moon shaped crater popular with the crowds looking for the best photos of the sunset. Again, I went round Santorini on a quad bike, and had a blummin brilliant time. Check out the cute little bookshop built into the mountain side, and just so you know, Thira is the alternate name for the island. Didn’t want you to get confused.
If you like your Greek islands a little less touristy, how about Hydra?
Check out Megan Starr’s post on the best things to do in Hydra for more inspiration.
Oh Mykonos, favourite destination of the young and fabulous worldwide. It’s one of the most popular islands in the whole of Greece thanks to the amazing beaches, great shops, bars, clubs and restaurants. This also makes it one of the more expensive islands and you might struggle to get a sun lounger in July and August – try to visit in the surrounding months instead.
Katapola / Amorgos
The main tourist attractionon Amorgos is the wonderful Hozoviotissa Church – it’s a must see on the island. You can also explore the rugged and cliff-girt landscapes, and beautiful villages too. This is a popular island for hiking and diving and has some really cute settings for romantic meals al fresco away from the crowds of some of the other islands.
Crete is one of the top destinations for Brits in Greece, with many people going for a week or two for their annual summer holiday. Heraklion is the capital of the island and it’s port city – well-known for its history with the Palace of Knossos and the Heraklion Archaeological Museum. The Bronze Age complex is considered Europe’s oldest city, dating back to 7000BC.
People like to eat snails here, just so you know…
Getting around the Greek Islands
With the Inter Island Pass you depart from Piraeus in Athens and can travel to Paros, Naxos, Ios and Santorini in one price.
The pass is valid for 20 days and costs just €68.
Greek Island Pass
With the Greek Island Pass you depart from Piraeus in Athens and can travel to Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, Ios, Amorigos, Santorini, Heraklion and Crete. Absolute bargain!
The pass is valid for 20 days and costs €99.
Your pass comes as an e-pass so you can book your journey online, and when boarding your don’t even need a printed copy of the ticket. Just show your e-pass before boarding the Hellenic Seaways ferries and you’re gone.
The Greek Island hopping passes are an easy and affordable way to explore the Greek Islands. You can do (almost) any route you want across the Aegean Sea to the islands included, so you can design the trip your way.
With HostelBay you can also get accommodation on each island starting from €20. Whooopahhh!