The ultimate guide to Greek Island Hopping
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The ultimate guide to Greek Island Hopping

Greek Islands ● 21 January 2018
 

Greek islands are more than 5,000! With this fact, you may wonder that it is really difficult to choose an island and organise your vacation in Greece. With this guide, you can learn everything you need to know about the Greek islands, book your accommodation and ferry tickets and get ready for unforgettable holidays. Plus, you can think about having the amazing experience of island hopping and visit more islands during your journey. The distance between the islands is short, and you can explore various destinations. In this article, you will learn about the island-groups in Greece and how to travel from one island to another. Then, you can choose which is the most fascinating for you and prepare your schedule in order to have as many gorgeous moments and cool photos to remind you of your summer in Greece!


The various island-groups

Ionian Islands
The Ionian Islands are located in the western side of Greece, in the Ionian Sea, which is part of the Adriatic Sea near Italy. These islands are Zakynthos, Kefalonia, Ithaca, Lefkada, Corfu, Paxoi and Antipaxoi. They are distinguished by lush greenery, verdant nature, Italian-style architecture and long sandy beaches with turquoise waters.

Cyclades
Cyclades are located in the southern side of Greece, in the middle of the Aegean Sea. Some of these islands, like Kythnos, Kea, Serifos and Andros, are situated in a short distance to Athens, while some other are located near Crete, such as Santorini, Amorgos and Anafi. Western Cyclades are Sifnos, Milos, Kimolos, Folegandros and Sikinos, while in the middle of the Aegean Sea you can find renowned Greek islands, such as Mykonos, Paros,  Syros, Ios and Naxos. Around Naxos, you can travel to the subgroup of Small Cyclades (Koufonissi, Donousa, Schinoussa, Irakleia), which has small undiscovered islands. Cyclades are characterised by dry and wild nature, strong winds, sunshine, whitewashed villages, rich history and significant archaeological sites as well as impressive beaches with turquoise waters.

Dodecanese
The group of Dodecanese Islands is located in the eastern-southern side of the Aegean Sea, in a very close distance to Turkey. These islands are Rhodes, Symi, Tilos, Kastelorizo, Chalki, Nisyros, Kos, Leipsoi, Karpathos, Kasos, Leros, Patmos, Arkioi, Telendos and Farmakonisi. The characteristics of these islands are the hospitality of the local people, their authentic and virgin character, the deep blue crystal clear sea waters, the neoclassical well-preserved architecture and the important historical sites in islands, such as Kos, Rhodes and Patmos.

Northern Aegean Islands
The islands in northern Aegean Sea are Chios, Lesvos, Samos, Ikaria, Fournoi, Psara, Limnos, Agios Eustratios and Oinousses. Chios, Lesvos, Samos, Ikaria and Limnos are large islands with touristic facilities, while the other islands are unspoiled destinations for total peace and privacy. They have the same characteristics with Dodecanese islands and are also located close to Turkey.

Saronic Islands
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 Aegina, Agkistri, Poros, Hydra and Spetses and their characteristics are the crystal clear sea waters, the lush greenery with pine trees, important historical sites and neoclassical harbours.

Sporades
Sporades is the island group in the Pagasetic Gulf in a close distance to the town of Volos in Thessaly. These islands are Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos and Skyros. Their characteristics are that they have verdant nature, traditional towns and impressive beaches with warm sea waters.


Travelling between the islands

The easiest and cheapest way to go to the Greek islands is by boat from Athens (Piraeus Port) to the Saronic islands, Cyclades, Dodecanese, Crete and the islands of northern Aegean. To Sporades, you can take the boat from Volos Port or Agios Konstantinos Port. To the Ionian islands, you have to take the boat from Patras or Kyllini Port.

To some islands, which are located close to the ports, such as Aegina, Poros, Kythnos and Andros to Athens, or Skiathos to Volos, or Zakynthos to Patras, the duration of the journey by boat is less than 2-3 hours, but to other remote islands, such as the northern Aegean islands, Crete or Dodecanese, the journey can be long. In that case, you can travel by ferry or aeroplane (when the island has an airport).

The greatest disadvantage of ferry is the high price of the tickets. The good news is that you can travel on a budget even by ferry if you choose the Cyclades for your island hopping. Greek Island Pass is a ferry pass when travelling to Cyclades or Crete (click here to learn more). 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 traveller, who wants to reach the destination conveniently and quickly, but you wonder about the budget, this ferry pass is your thing. You can plan your itinerary, make several routes and explore the Aegean Sea affordably!

Where to Stay

Hotel in Heraklion, Greece Arolithos Traditional Cretan Village
Arolithos Traditional Cretan Village
11th km of old road Heraklion-Rethimnon, Tílisos, 71500 Heraklion, Greece

The Arolithos Traditional Village Hotel is located in a complex of buildings representing traditional Cretan village 12 km away from Heraklion. The distance from the Nikos Kazantzakis airport in Heraklion is 15 km. The distance from the beach is 5 km.

Hotel & Appartment in Heraklion, Greece Dimitra Hotel & Apartments
9 10
Dimitra Hotel & Apartments
Kokkini Hani, 71500 Heraklion, Greece

Dimitra Hotel & Apartments is located in the village of Kokkini Hani, 11.7 km from the city centre of Heraklion. Heraklion International Airport is an 11-minute drive away and Heraklion Port is a 20-minute drive away.

Hotel in Heraklion, Greece Georgia Hotel
8.9 10
Georgia Hotel
10, Vagias Str., Amoudara, 71500 Heraklion, Greece

Hotel Georgia is a family run hotel located in the area of Amoudara, just 100 m from the long sandy beach. The distance from the center of the lively and bustling capital of Crete, Heraklion is 3.2 km. The international airport of Nikos Kazantzakis is at 10 km and the main port in Heraklion is 7 km away from the property.


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