The Ultimate Travel Guide to Greek Island Hopping

Travel Guide to Greek Island Hopping

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If you are not familiar with Greece and Greek island hopping then this is the right article for you! 

The Greek Islands are simply a magical place offering a perfect climate, rich culture, world famous hospitality, sandy beaches, tall mountains and thousands of years of ancient history to explore.

Additionally Greece is blessed with hundreds of islands spread throughout the country that make for some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. 

If you’re thinking about taking a trip to Greece now or in the near future, this guide will help you plan out your itinerary, as well as offer you tips on Greek island hopping so that you are prepared once you get there! 

Greek Island Hopping: Why Head to the Sea? 

The Greek Islands are the perfect place to relax and unwind, with a wide range of activities, water sports and exploration opportunities for everyone. Whether you’re looking for an adventurous and action packed trip, or just planning to dine and party with your friends, the Greek Islands have it all.

Most of the Greek islands offer a great opportunity to explore history and culture while enjoying some of the world’s best food and wine along the way. 

Greek Island Hopping - Boat to the sea

There are many different types of Greek Islands to choose from depending on what type of experience you want. You can party hard in Mykonos or Rhodes, or you can choose to unwind and chill on an island paradise with pristine beaches like Milos or Corfu. 

There’s something for everyone and every budget and Greek Island Hopping is the key to getting the right mix in the right amount of days.

Planning Your Greek Island Hopping Trip 

Planning your Greek island hopping trip can be a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work, so it is important to make sure you have all the right information you need before planning your Island Hop. 

Here are some tips: 

  • Research the islands that interest you and make a list of those that seem like a good fit for your travel style, interests and budget. Keep in mind that getting to certain Greek Islands is not possible with ferries alone, and instead requires air travel. This adds cost and time to the Island hop so plan accordingly.  
  • If you want to spend most of your time relaxing and taking in all the beauty with occasional visits to beaches, sites and enjoying some fine dining,  then Santorini would be an ideal choice.  A favourite area on this breath taking island is Imerovigli Village that is perched high  overlooking Santorini’s caldera islands 
Greek Island Hopping - Imerovigli Santorini
  • If exploring and adventure is what gets your heart racing and makes life worth living, then Crete might be more up your alley as this is largest of the Greek Islands.  Renting a car  is a must and having more days at your disposal will allow you to explore this ancient island dating back to the Minoans as early as 3500 BC.  
  • Logistics is the name of the game when it comes to traveling the Greek Islands, so before booking anything map and plan out as much as possible so that you know what you can realistically accomplish within the amount days allocated to your island hop. 
  • Now that you have your Greek Islands chosen it’s now time to plan your inter-island travel.  Greece offers a vast and efficient ferry boat system featuring all types of vessels.  In addition there is inter-island air service offered by multiple airlines including sea planes.  
  • It is very important to consider how much money will be needed to execute your Greek Island Hop as the cost for inter-island travel, dining, entertainment and tours can drive up the cost of your adventure rather quickly.  If everything is planned ahead of time you will be relaxed and prepared and you will be free and enjoy yourself in Greece. 

How Many Days Do I Need? 

If you want to visit multiple islands on your trip than a week is simply not enough.  It is recommended to have a minimum of 10 days to Greek Island hop smoothly and efficiently so as to be able visit two to four islands. 

For those fortunate enough to have more days at your disposal 14 days is ideal. This will allow for more complex itineraries and potentially more islands.  

If you’re planning on staying put on one island such as Paros or Samos and enjoying its offerings, three to five days will be enough to get a taste of the island lifestyle. 

For smaller Greek Islands such as has Chalki or Kastelorizo located in the Dodecanese group of islands, two to three days should do the trick! 

Which Islands Should I Visit? 

The first step to planning your Greek Island hopping trip is deciding which islands you want to visit. There are hundreds of options, so this can be a daunting task. 

We’ve put together a list below of our recommended islands, but feel free to add or remove suggestions based on your own personal preferences and travel goals. 

Greek island hopping - Rhodes Greece
  • For family vacations we would suggest Naxos, Crete, Kos, Karpathos and Rhodes which are all great destinations for families with kids.  These islands offer plenty of activities like water sports, hiking trails and museums that will keep everyone entertained while providing some relaxation time as well.
  • If you’re looking for something more adventurous then consider visiting Santorini, Ikaria or Syros with their rich culture and beautiful wineries where you can enjoy wine tasting tours among other things.
  • For honeymoons romance is the name of the game then Paxous, Astypalaia and Sifnos are highly recommend as these  islands offer stunning views along their coastlines where couples can spend time relaxing together without feeling crowded by throngs of noisy tourists.  These destinations aren’t as busy as compared to Santorini and Mykonos but still offer plenty of opportunities for enjoying each other’s company through activities such as boat trips, beaches and romantic dinners.
  • For those seeking water sports activities our favourite island choices are Naxos, Paros, Rhodes, Kos, Karpathos and Lemnos. On these islands you will get your heart racing with the ancient Greek God Poseidon while kite surfing or windsurfing.

Where to Stay on the Greek Islands 

  • When choosing where to stay on the Greek Islands, there are many     options. Hotels and resorts are common in larger towns and cities, while apartments, small homes and pensions are more common in smaller island communities. 
  • It’s important to choose accommodations where you can easily access the things you want to do and see during your stay. You also want to be in close proximity of shops, restaurants, supermarkets and bars so as not to need a car or taxi for basic needs.  
  • You must be conscious of what season it is when you choose your stay.  In the height of the season you may want to be outside or town, (Chora) where as during the off season you may prefer to be in the center of town.  

How to explore the Greek Islands?

  • Renting a car is a great option for exploring different parts of each island and getting around. However, before deciding to rent a car consider if you will be staying in town our outside of town. 
  • In addition check to see if there are scheduled buses that can take you to beaches and other villages. Lastly, keep in mind that driving on the Greek Islands can be dangerous due to windy and unpaved roads with insufficient lighting.  

The Best Time of the Year to Visit Greece 

The best time of the year to visit Greece is the late spring or early fall as the weather is pleasant, crowds are smaller and prices are much more affordable.

The peak Summer time from June through early September can be very hot, expensive and over crowded. 

Winter although mild on the Greek Islands is cold and rainy and is not ideal for most travellers.

There is great skiing in Greece on the mainland during the winter but believe it or not there is great skiing on the wonderful island of Crete during the winter season!

Greek Island Hopping: Conclusion! 

Greece is a beautiful country and you should definitely plan a trip there. There’s so much to see and do, from the ancient ruins to the beautiful beaches and the people of Greece are ready to welcome you. 

Greek island hopping - ancient ruins

If you are planning on doing some island hopping make sure that you do your research and know exactly what islands you are going to visit and where you all be staying as many hotels sell out rather quickly during the high season.

Before booking flights and finalising travel arrangements make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your departure.

Lastly, you may want to work with an experienced Hellenic Travel Agency that can assist with all the planning and reservations to insure a worry free trip.

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