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How to do Island Hopping in the Cyclades

Cyclades ● 10 May 2018

Island hopping in the Cyclades is a must for this summer, as the Cycladic islands are the most unique complex of islands in the Aegean Sea. Here, you will learn everything you need to know about the Cyclades. They are so many and so beautiful that travelling between the islands and visiting more islands is the best thing you can do! And don't worry that you have to pay a fortune for the ferry tickets!

The Greek island hopping ferry passes of Hostelbay can make your dream become true. Forget the expensive prices of ferry tickets that made island hopping in the Cyclades impossible for most of the travelers in Greece. With these cheap island passes, you visit more islands easily, flexibly and on a budget while exploring the mythical Greek Island Hopping. Just book online one of the Hostelbay Island Passes and pay the price of only one ticket but go to more islands (up to 9) in every combination you want within 20 days! 

Which islands?

It is really impossible to present you in only one article all the Cycladic islands with their characteristics. All of them have something unique and charming to offer to you. And we know that despite the fact you are ready to do Greek Island Hopping in order to visit as many islands as possible, you can't see all the islands that are worthwhile. This is why we gathered the most important islands, which have as common characteristic that each of them have many sides and advantages. Enjoy!

Mykonos: party, stunning Chora, fashion and wonderful beaches

Mykonos is a popular destination for its wild nightlife, its cosmopolitanism and the attitude to see and to be seen. Every beach -of the many wonderful sandy beaches Mykonos has- has a beach-bar with famous DJ's organising unforgettable events. Chora of Mykonos, one of the biggest and best-preserved in Cyclades, has also innumerable bars and clubs to offer, where the night lasts till dawn or even later in the morning. Bar-hopping is the top activity to do in Mykonos Town when you wander around the beautiful cobblestone streets, which are full of young people, trendy fashion stores, luxury restaurants and boutiques.


Santorini: sunset, romanticism and caldera

Santorini is the ultimate romantic destination worldwide thanks to its amazing sunset and the fascinating volcanic villages with a breathtaking view of the caldera and the Aegean Sea. There is nothing more romantic than watching the sunset in Oia, Fira or Imerovigli, when the sun paints the sea in gorgeous colors and the beauty can't be easily described by words. You can't discover better scenery to live your love than the volcanic Caldera and the famous sunset all over the world. 


Milos: gorgeous beaches

Milos has volcanic soil, which creates an astonishing scenery with beaches that look like the painting of the most inspired painter. The whole island can be described as a natural geological miracle with its impressive rocks covering the island's surface. 80 beaches, endless options and extraordinary beauty make Milos  a heaven on earth for those, who love sea, sunbathing and swimming. Beach hopping at its best!!


Ios: nightlife and top beaches

Ios is the ultimate island for youngsters and people that want to relax as well as discover the party side of the island. Calm beaches and crowded coves with elegant beach bars, cocktail bars in the picturesque Chora as well as clubs and fun until the dawn, young people and families or couples that want to relax and feel the mystery of this island in the middle of the Aegean Sea. Ios combines everything!


Paros: amazing Chora and party atmosphere

Paros is the counterweight to Mykonos, but it is definitely cheaper than Mykonos. It also has wonderful beaches, Naousa, a lovely port with bars and seaside taverns, crowds of young people and generally the aura of the Cyclades. In Paros, you will meet numerous friendly youngsters, wander around the cobblestone paths of Naousa, eat fresh fish by the sea and spend great time in the beach bars of the island, such as in Pounda Beach.


Naxos: gastronomy, beautiful villages, sandy beaches and history

Naxos is a top gastronomic destination, where you can taste the treasures of Greek cuisine. This island was the place that charmed with its cuisine the top chef Anthony Bourdain! Naxos has also wonderful mainland villages, such as Apiranthos, a lovely Chora with a castle on the top of the hill, as well as great opportunities for cultural vacation. Portara is the symbol of Naxos and the first thing you will see on the cliff above the port, as the boat reaches the island. Portara is a gate, which is the only remain of the ancient Temple of Apollo that was constructed on the island in the 6th century B.C., and it is a true jewel, which can be seen from everywhere in Naxos reminding its glorious past. In Naxos, you can also visit the Archaeological Museum, the Temple of Demeter and the Kouros statues.


Koufonisia: amazing sea waters

Koufonisia is a small island near Naxos, which is truly the Caribbean of Greece.Emerald waters, golden soft sand and stunning caves create exotic scenery that is a paradise to relax and swim the whole day. The best thing is that all the beaches are within walking distance from the port, since Koufonisia is a tiny island where you can make all routes on foot. Cool? Pori, Gala, Italida and Fanos are some of the best beaches you have ever swam!


Schinoussa and other Small Cyclades

Koufonisia are part together with Schinoussa, Irakleia kai Donoussa of the island complex of the Small Cyclades. They are perfect for those seeking something different, wild and authentic beauty. Dry landscape, hospitality, untouched scenery and emerald waters make these small islands a paradise where you can explore the virgin side of the Greek islands. The structures are undeveloped, so be prepared to walk, since there are no taxis, no car rentals, and many roads are dirt. However, on foot, you can explore the amazing coastline of the islands and feel like an explorer in a yet undiscovered place. Small Cyclades are also the meeting place of the free-campers in the Cyclades.


Amorgos: relaxation and white chapels

In Amorgos, another must-stop during your island hopping in the Cyclades, you can relax and enjoy peace and privacy. It is an off-the-beaten-path Greek island with unorganised coves, traditional shops and the feeling that it has remained untouched by mass tourism. Amorgos is great to get rest, stroll around in its well-preserved Chora, be impressed by the endless blue and dive as it is the island where the movie Big Blue was filmed.


Syros: Venetian architecture

Syros is not typically Cycladic, but it impresses with its Venetian architecture. Ermoupolis, the main town, capital and harbour of the island, reminds more of Dodecanese than Cyclades with its neoclassical imposing mansions. It is one of the most beautiful and imposing towns of Greece. The most impressive building and at the same time the trademark of Syros is the Town hall, which was built in the 19th century by the famous architect, Ernst Ziller.   


Tinos: religion, sculpture and numerous villages

Tinos is located in a very close distance to Mykonos, but is has a totally different character. The whole island -with the numerous small white washed houses is the ultimate elegant destination. Every village is lovely, with typical Cycladic houses, local shops and cobblestone paths. Cafés and bars have a beautiful taste, pigeon houses are everywhere, designed with the traditional architecture and made from the local marble of Tinos that is famous all over Greece. Don't forget to visit the Marble and Sculpture Museum in Pirgos! Chora, the harbour and capital of Tinos, has the mot famous orthodox church and monastery of Virgin Mary in Europe.

Kythnos: exotic beaches near Athens

Kythnos is an island that now becomes well-known, but it is still an unexplored paradise. The most beautiful beach of Kythnos is Kolona with its both sides overlooking the azure sea waters, but Kythnos has numerous astonishing beaches, most of them unorganised and ideal for privacy.The most traditional villages on the island are Chora and Driopida, which have stone houses and paved streets, while Merihas and Loutra have the most touristic facilities. Kythnos is very close to Athens, so you can start your journey from here.


Andros: lush greenery and elegance

Andros is a large island with rich history and amazing beaches. You will be impressed by the port of Andros, Batsi, which is not typically Cycladic. Batsi as well as the Chora and the other villages have neoclassical elegant and not white-washed houses, while the island is also green, full of trees and lush greenery. Batsi is the most touristic spot of Andros, while Chora is a cosmopolitan town full of museums, galleries and boutiques. The most famous organised beaches of Andros are Agios Petros and Golden Beach, while astonishing are also the beaches of Ahla, Vlychada and Vitali. 

Serifos: stunning Chora and great beaches

Serifos is an island with top beaches and a typical Cycladic Chora on the top of a cliff, from where you can have a magnificent view of the Aegean Sea. The central square is the best spot of Chora, where you can relax, eat, drink and buy local products from the shops in the lovely streets around. Beaches like Agios Sostis, Kalo Ampeli and Ganema are one of a kind, while very beautiful is also the beach of the small port (Livadakia), where you can also eat in a tavern at the beach front or have fun until the dawn in the famous bar "Yacht Club".


Sifnos: hospitality and captivating Chora

The capital of Sifnos, Apollonia, is built amphitheatrically around three hills, and it is one of the best spots of the island. The village is picturesque, consisting of narrow, paved paths, elegant shops, white arches and Cycladic houses with bougainvilleas hanging from the windows. Apollonia has great nightlife, but -if you want something more romantic and quiet- stay at the other village of the island, Kastro. Kastro is a romantic place to eat and relax as well as visit the historical medieval site and enjoy the breathtaking view from there.

Folegandros: rough beauty and romanticism 

Folegandros is a new trendy destination that gives to its visitor something really different. This small, rocky and mountainous island has become fashionable lately, but at the same time it has managed to keep its authentic character. Its Chora is built on the top of a cliff and has romantic hotels, cocktail bars and restaurants at the edge that remind of Santorini. The church overlooking the Chora gives the scenery a spiritual and religious aura. The beaches Agkali and Katergo are the best of the island.

The best tips

Where to sit in the boat or ferry

Most boats and ferries have indoor and outdoor areas to stay during the trip. If you want to relax and sleep, the seats in the indoor area are definitely better than the deck. However, if you suffer from nausea, you should go  to the outdoor area of the top deck to enjoy a great sea view and feel the fresh sea breeze on your face. Especially when you travel in the Cyclades by ferry, the strong winds can make the journey really hard for those suffering from nausea, so try to avoid travelling in August, when meltemi, the north wind in the Aegean Sea, is at its peak.

Book early

As you have noticed, Cyclades have two categories of islands. The one consists of popular, overcrowded islands, such as Mykonos and Santorini, that are overbooked in the high season. The other consists of virgin islands away from mass tourism, such as Schinoussa and Kythnos that have only a few hotels and rooms to let. Either way, you should book your accommodation early in order to get the best hotel deals and avoid searching for a place to stay the whole day.

Necessary things to take with you

The biggest mistake you can make is to forget your sunglasses, your hat and your sun-protection cream in the Cyclades. The sun shines constantly even during winter, and in the summer -although the temperatures are not very hot due to the meltemi wind- the sun can be dangerous. So, be sure you protect your skin and your head in order to avoid a sun- or heatstroke every time you leave the hotel.

The optimum ferry routes with island hopping ferry pass

Are you wondering how to combine the islands by ferry if you buy the Greek Island Pass of Hostelbay? No problem! Just read these tips!

Start from the further destination

Santorini is the further destination from Piraeus, and it is wise to start with this island, when you have all of your energy at the beginning of the journey. Afterwards, you can take the ferry or the boat to go the other islands you want on your return to Athens. The same you can make when you want to visit Amorgos or Folegandros, which are also located away from Athens.

The closest islands to Santorini

The closest island to Santorini, which is connected with it by several boats and ferries each day, is Ios. Ios is located less than 50 minutes by ferry from Santorini, so you can definitely visit it after a few days on the volcanic island. Close to Santorini and Ios is also Folegandros.

Paros or Naxos afterwards?

Ios is connected also with several routes by ferry or boat with Paros and Naxos. If you start your journey from the further destination, Naxos is closest to Santorini and Ios, so you should visit it first before going to Paros and then back to Piraeus. If you want to make the opposite, visit first Paros. Just remember the route: Piraeus-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini.

Combine Amorgos with Naxos or Paros

Amorgos is connected only with Naxos or Paros by ferry. So, from Santorini or Ios, you have to go to Amorgos via Paros or Naxos. The same you can make for Koufonissia and other Small Cyclades, which are connected by boat only from Naxos.

Mykonos is connected to other islands only by ferry

Mykonos is connected only with Naxos, Ios and Santorini. So, to go from Mykonos to Paros or Amorgos, you have to do that via Naxos. The connection of Mykonos with these islands is made only by ferry, but this should not worry you. You will avoid the expensive prices of the ferry tickets by buying the Greek Island Pass, which gives you the opportunity to travel on a budget even by ferry.

Which islands have airport

Mykonos, Naxos, Paros and Santorini are the islands in Cyclades that have airport. So, it is not obligatory to return back to or to start island hopping from Piraeus. You can begin or end your journey in one of these islands and then take the aeroplane back home.

Where to Stay

Hotel & Studio in Andros, Greece Blue Bay Resort Village
9 10
Blue Bay Resort Village
Delavogias, Batsi, 84501 Andros, Greece

Blue Bay Resort Village is located 1.5 km away from the centre of Batsi, close to Delavogias Beach. Andros Port is 8.2 km away and Andros Town is 24.7 km away.

Hotel in Naxos, Greece Annita's Village Hotel
9.1 10
Annita's Village Hotel
Main Street, Agia Anna, 84300 Naxos, Greece

Annita's Village Hotel is located in Agia Anna, a 10-minute walk from Agia Anna Beach and Plaka Beach. Naxos town, the capital of the island, and the main port are at 7 km. Naxos Airport is a 10-minute drive from the property.

Studio in Naxos, Greece Depis Aqua Beachfront Studios
Depis Aqua Beachfront Studios
Plaka, 84300 Naxos, Greece

Depis Studio Plaka is located in Plaka, just a 2-minute walk from the beach. Naxos Port and Naxos Town are approximately 10 km away. Naxos National Airport is 6.4 km away.