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Tips for Choosing the Perfect Combination of Greek Islands for Your Island-Hopping Adventure

Greek Islands ● 14 December 2017

While there’s plenty to keep you and the thousands of other tourists busy in mainland Greece, the islands located off the coast of continental Greece in the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas seem to exhibit some kind of pull or call that attracts still more visitors every year. And with the unique combination of classic Greek values fused with the individual cultures that each island developed on their own, it’s no surprise that island-jumping has become a popular travel activity. Visitors can’t seem to get enough of the islands, with many experienced travelers admitting to staying in one island several days longer than they expected because they just couldn’t bring themselves to leave. 


Each Greek island will certainly have its own legacy and vibes, but the vast majority of them are armed with a similar foundation. You’ll probably find at least one charming fishing-based village that thrives off of the tourism industry, largely by catering to visitors by providing a variety of lodging options as well as a plentiful supply of seafood tavern. The hotels and tavern likely have some claim to the sun umbrellas, lounge beds, even bars or clubhouses that line the soft-sand beaches with crystal clear or blue water. You’ll follow rugged, narrow roads from one cove to another, with most of the hotels, restaurants, churches, and locally-owned shops having rugged, rustic interiors but bright, clean exteriors. Each island is likely to have at least one main village or town, where you’ll find the heart of public transportation, usually with taxi stands and a bus station for transit around the island and likely having some ports providing access to other islands via cruise ships or passenger ferries. Lastly, no matter what island you visit, you’re likely to find some kind of historical or archaeological museum with an array of ancient artefacts, or at least an exciting natural site of some kind of ancient ruins. However, as you do your research on the different Greek islands, you’ll find that some of the larger islands are better prepared to accommodate tourists than the smaller, less-populated islands.

The truth is that since each individual traveller is a little different, it’s hard to stamp out a perfect template or combination of islands that you should hit along the way. The first thing you need to do is to decide what you want to get out of this experience. Are you looking for a classic tourist-friendly adventure? Then you’ll want to do some research on which islands are more known for their high-quality tourist accommodation. Many of the islands’ economies are built primarily if not solely off of the tourism industry, so some will be better prepared to host English-speakers than others. However, if you’re looking for a more authentic rural Greek experience without the crowds and commercialism, study up on some of the smaller, less populated islands. You’ll need to know all the courtesy customs and it might even be wise to learn a few key words in the local dialect before simply showing up unprepared.


If we had to guess, the top three most popular Greek islands for tourists - and, not unsurprisingly, those with the greatest amount of connections to other islands - include Crete, Mykonos, and Santorini. Crete is the largest island in Greece (in fact, there was a period of history where it was an autonomous entity), and often the one that attracts the most visitors and keeps them the busiest, with everything from beaches, authentic Minoan ruins, mountain trails, and rural villages. Mykonos is extremely popular with young travellers, enjoying visits from a party-happy group of international travellers, with a windmill-dotted fishing village and humble ancient ruins juxtaposed against a bustling downtown with plenty of dance clubs. Santorini is famous for its picturesque natural landscapes, particularly the famous whitewashed villages that line the rim of a flooded, dormant volcanic crater.

If you’re looking for variety, it’s advisable to combine your visit with some of the more mainstream islands like the three listed above with a trip to some of the smaller islands for a more authentic feel. You likely won’t feel like you’re on a luxurious relaxing trip on one of those smaller islands, so it’s important to understand the difference between vacations and traveling before you make your decision! Some of the smaller islands include Rhodes, Hydra, Paros, and more. Each of these have their own histories, and some are abandoned altogether, really worth only a day-trip and not an overnight stay.

Once you’ve planned out what you want to get out of your journey, you should start looking up airfare and ferry ticket prices as well as scheduling. You should be able to map out a journey that gives you a little bit of everything. Choose wisely - it often makes the most sense to limit your jumping range between islands that are fairly close together. For this, you can hire a travel agent as well as reach out to the community of experienced Greek island hoppers that exist online, active in discussion threads and forums.

We hope this guide to choosing the right combinations of islands for you to include in your island-hopping adventure was of some help to you! Remember, you can always come back for more if you didn’t feel like you saw and experienced everything that you were hoping to. Stay safe, and take lots of pictures - you won’t want to forget a thing!

Where to Stay

Hotel & Appartment in Leros, Greece Irene Hotel
Irene Hotel
Alinda, 85400 Leros, Greece

Surrounded by gardens, Irene hotel is located in a quiet location in Alinda village just 270 m from the beach. The capital of Leros, Platanos, is at 3 km, while the port of Agia Marina is 2.5 km away. The port in Lakki village with connection to Kos, Patmos, Kalimnos or Lipsi islands is 7 km away. Leros Airport is within 4.5 km.

Hotel in Chalkidiki, Greece Hotel Estelle
Hotel Estelle
Beach of Gerakini, 63100 Chalkidiki, Greece

A family-run hotel Estelle is located just 20 m from the beach in Gerakini village in Chalkidiki. Thessaloniki Airport Makedonia is at 70 km and the center of Thessaloniki is 78 km away.

Studio & Appartment in Poros, Greece Zontanos Studios
Zontanos Studios
Askeli, 18020 Poros, Greece

Zontanos Studios is located in Askeli, just a 2-minute walk from the beach. Poros Port is a 5-minute drive away.