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The 10 greatest tips for Greek Island Hopping of all time

Greek Islands ● 19 August 2018
 
Greek Island Hopping - Reading time: 4 minutes


Do you want to plan a once-in-a-lifetime journey in Greece? Greek Island Hopping is the next best thing in Europe and these are the best tips you can find on the web. Start your planning from reading this article and then we recommend you to read more articles in our blog that can really help you.

Three major things you should take into consideration: on which islands to go, your accommodation and your ferry tickets. It is not difficult to create the perfect journey. Everything is written here!

Stay inside one island group

The Greek islands are divided into island groups, and if you want to do Greek Island Hopping, we recommend you to stay inside one island group, where there are many ferry routes and the distance is really short. Which are these island groups? The Ionian Islands, the Cyclades, the Dodecanese, the Saronic Islands and the Sporades.
The Ionian Islands are located in the western side of Greece, in the Ionian Sea near Italy. These islands are ZakynthosKefaloniaIthacaLefkadaCorfuPaxoi and Antipaxoi. 
Cyclades are located in the southern side of Greece, in the part of the Aegean Sea that starts in Athens and ends in Crete. Some of these islands, like KythnosKeaSerifos and Andros, are situated in a short distance to Athens, while some other are located in the southern part of Aegean Sea near Crete, such as SantoriniAmorgos and Anafi. Western Cyclades are SifnosMilosKimolosFolegandros and Sikinos, while in the middle of the Aegean Sea are located popular Greek islands all over the world, such as MykonosParos, Antiparos, SyrosTinosIos and Naxos. Around Naxos, you can travel to the subgroup of Small Cyclades (KoufonisiaDonoussaSchinoussa, Irakleia), which has small untouched by mass tourism islands.
The group of the Dodecanese Islands is located in the eastern-southern side of the Aegean Sea, near Turkey. These islands are RhodesSymiTilosKastellorizoChalkiNisyrosKosKarpathosKasosLeros and Patmos.
The islands in northern Aegean Sea are ChiosLesvosSamosIkariaFourni and Limnos. Chios, Lesvos, Samos, Ikaria and Limnos are large islands with touristic facilities, while other islands are unspoiled destinations for total peace and privacy.
The Saronic Islands are located in a close distance to Athens (1-2 hours by ferry or boat) in the Saronic Gulf. These islands are AeginaAgistriPorosHydra and Spetses.
The Sporades are located in a close distance to the town of Volos in Thessaly. These islands are SkiathosSkopelosAlonissos and Skyros.

Ikaria

Travel in the low season

If you want to to do Greek Island Hopping on a budget, you can visit the touristic islands of Greece during the off- or middle season. The famous islands in Greece are expensive in the high-season, while in April, May, September and October, you can find super deals, and generally everything is cheaper than in summer. Travel agencies offer unbeatable packages for all the top Greek islands, and March and October are the best months to find super deals. Regarding the weather, remember that during summer, the temperatures in Greece can be really warm. If you are not used to it, you may find it exhausting. Something you may not know is that Greece has sunny weather with temperatures over 25 degrees from April to October. Moreover, in some places, like the Cyclades, the Dodecanese and Crete, good weather without rains can be expected all year long. With this weather, you can explore the beautiful Greek towns and villages as well as the archaeological sites without the danger of a heat- or sunstroke. Remember also that the sea, especially in the fall, is warm enough to swim and enjoy its emerald waters, while sunbathing is not as dangerous as in the summer, when the sun can really harm you.

Travelling during the low season offers you one more great asset: you avoid the crowds, you can do vacation away from mass tourism and live truly relaxing moments surrounded by friendly locals ready to please you.

Book early your ferry tickets

During the high or even in the middle season, it is wise to book your ferry tickets at least one month before departure because their seats are limited and there is always the possibility that you won't find a ticket. The best thing to do is to book online your ferry tickets and load them in your smart-phone. Thus, you don't have to worry about anything.

Buy a Greek Island Hopping Ferry Pass

The key for Greek Island Hopping is to buy island passes for many flexible routes. The distance between the Greek islands is very short, and you can easily travel from one island to another within one hour or even less. However, if you buy separated ferry tickets for each route, the whole island-hopping journey will be expensive and strictly scheduled. Your best chance is to buy a pass, such as Greek Island Pass, which allows you to make several routes to many Greek islands whenever you want paying only the one route. Thus, budget Greek Island Hopping is something achievable!

Travel by boat in the low season

The safest and cheapest way to travel between the Greek islands is by boat. You won't feel nausea, you can sit on the deck and enjoy the sea view and the sea gulls following you. Especially in the fall and the spring, when the weather is a little bit unstable, it is better to choose the boat in order to avoid cancellations.

Travel by ferry to visit many islands

By ferry, you can go to your destination quickly, and during your Greek Island Hopping, you can go from one island to another in less than one hour. However, as above mentioned, if you travel in the off-season, consider the strong winds and be prepared that a route by ferry in autumn or spring may be cancelled. The biggest disadvantage of ferry is the high price of the tickets. However, with Greek Island Pass, you pay the price of only one ticket, but you can do more routes and visit more islands with great flexibility whenever you want. So, if you are the type of traveler, who wants to reach the destination conveniently and quickly, but you wonder about the budget, this ferry pass is exactly your thing!

Book early your accommodation

If you are a risky traveler, you may think that you can book your accommodation when you reach the island. Well, this can be a solution if you travel in the low-season. In July and August, this thought can cause your problems as many popular islands are fully booked and it is really difficult to find a room at reasonable price. If you do this, you may end up paying much more than you had in your mind. For quality and budget accommodation on the Greek islands, check the super deals of Hostelbay!

Be on the port at least one hour before departure

Most ferries and boats to the islands depart from Piraeus Port in Athens, the largest port of Greece. You can go to the port from Athens center by train, but, since the port is huge with literally hundreds of boats and ferries to the Greek islands, you may need a taxi to take you to the right gate. Especially at mornings, the traffic jam in Piraeus Port is so heavy that you can easily miss your boat if you don't arrive early, at least one hour before departure. On other ports of Greece, things are not that bad with so heavy traffic jam, but generally remember to depart early from your hotel. If you miss the boat, it is possible that during the high season you can't find another one to go to the island you want.

You don't need a car for all islands

Regarding the transportation on the Greek islands, some islands don't have convenient public transportation and you need to rent a car. Ask your hotel if there are caiques or small boats to take you to the beaches. Check also if the island is so tiny, such as Koufonisia or Donoussa, and you can go on foot wherever you want.
Koufonisi

Protect yourself from the sun

The constantly shining sun during summer on the Greek islands is not a legend. Especially in the Aegean Sea, in the Cyclades and the Dodecanese, the chance of rain in July and August is significantly low. The sun is the fountain of life and is combined with several benefits such as good mood, lack of anxiety and depression, creativity, better bone density and lower chances of cancer. However, the sun can be dangerous if you don't protect yourself. During summer, the sun from 12 to 3 p.m. can cause a sun- or heatstroke, so you have to be careful in order to enjoy only the benefits of the Greek sun without suffering afterwards or having to deal with skin cancer, which is caused in 90% by sun exposure. So, remember to use sunscreen protection on your whole body of at least 15 SPF. We recommend using on your face sunscreen of at least 30 SPF. Sunscreen cream must be water-resistant in order to protect you while swimming. Remember that sea water does not protect you from the sun, the UVA and UVB radiation. Reapply the cream every 2 hours, especially after swimming and sweating. Moreover, don't forget your sunglasses and your hat. Especially a hat is the only way to protect yourself from a sunstroke.
Greek sun

Bonus tip: cheap sightseeing

Sightseeing is something that is definitely worth on the Greek islands thanks to its rich and long history. Entrance fees to the archaeological sites are very cheap compared to other European countries, but the budget traveller has one more option. Many museums are free, while all historical sites and museums have free admission days several times per year. Check these dates and save money for other activities you may like. On popular islands, you can also find free guided tours that are offered by the locals. Don't miss them!

Where to Stay

Hotel in Athens, Greece Elikon Hotel
7.9 10
Elikon Hotel
3, Dorou str., 10431 Athens, Greece

Located in the centre of Athens, Elikon Hotel is just a 2-minute walk from Omonoia Metro station, making transport easy throughout Athens. Piraeus Port is only 20 minutes away using the metro.

Appartment in Agios Nikolaos, Greece The Traditional Homes of Crete
The Traditional Homes of Crete
Mavrikiano, 71202 Agios Nikolaos, Greece

Combining rustic and modern features, The Traditional Homes of Crete are situated in the peaceful village of Mavrikiano, just a 5-minute walk from the center of Elounda and from Elounda Beach. Nikos Kazantzakis International airport in Heraklion is at 70 km. The port in Agios Nikolaos town with a ferry connection to Piraeus, Athens is at 10 km.

Hostel in Athens, Greece Student and Travellers Inn
8.9 10
Student and Travellers Inn
16, Kidathinaion str., 10558 Athens, Greece

Student and Travellers Inn – the first hostel in Greece since 1977 is located in the heart of Plaka, right below the Acropolis. Traditional cobbled streets full of taverns, shops, cafes are right at our hostel's doorstep. The main square of Athens, Syntagma, is at 600 m, while the lively Monastiraki square is at 800 m. The nearest metro station and the bus stop for the X95 Airport Bus can be reached within a 7-minute walk.


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