With 6,000 islands and islets scattered across the Aegean and Ionian Seas, island hopping is a popular way to experience Greece.
And as the main characteristic of Greece’s morphology and an integral part of the country’s culture and tradition, this is a great adventure for the people who love discovery.
If you’re dreaming of an island hopping adventure in Greece, the following tips will help you plan it out.
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Island Hopping: 5 Tips for Planning a Trip to the Greek Islands
Choosing Your Islands
When it comes to island hopping in Greece, choosing your islands should be first and foremost. Each of the Greek islands has their different personalities and claim of fame. However, most of them offer the same ingredients of rugged interiors, coastal coves, fishing villages, and hotels.
Many of the Greek islands are uninhabited, though the most popular islands (Santorini, Ios, Mykonos) have sizable cities, or at least a small town, which allows you to set up for a few days and establish a base.
When choosing a series of islands to hop between, you should research their specialty, and make sure it suits your interests and needs. The most common Greek islands are Santorini and Mykonos. These are well connected to Athens and this could be one of the reasons they are the most preferred.
The fact that Greek ferries pass from Athens to Santorini, Ios, Mykonos and Paros islands means that it’s pretty easy to plan an island hopping experience yourself.
Related: Greek Island Day Trips from Athens
Planning Your Time at Piraeus
For those flying into Athens, you’ll likely take your first ferry at Piraeus. This is the largest seaport in this country, and hundreds of ferries head to the islands from this harbor during the day.
This seaport isn’t really an interesting place, so if you intend to stay overnight at Piraeus, you could spend a little more money to enjoy a touch of luxury. There really isn’t anything to do here during the day, so you might appreciate the facilities of an upscale resort.
Find the Best Seats on the Ferry
Your ferry crossings are part of the island hopping experience too, so you should be mindful of finding the best seats on the ship. Most have both indoor and outdoor areas.
The outdoor areas are shaded on most of the ferries and usually offer you the best views. You can enjoy the ferry ride while you sip ice coffees, eat feta pastries, or fresh spinach.
The ferries can get very crowded, so don’t dally when picking your seat; go straight to the outdoor area of the top deck so you can enjoy the best sea views.
If you’re feeling adventurous you can definitely haggle for a room while at the port. You will find many local hosts ready to accommodate you for the night. However, this is not always the case for all seasons, and if you’re traveling in August, we recommend booking in advance.
August is peak season, and you may struggle to find a suitable and affordable place if you just rock up without a plan. June or July is shoulder season – still a great time to travel, but with the benefit of fewer crowds.
When it comes to getting around on the Greek Islands you may opt for organized tours, or if you’re more interested in setting your own itinerary and traveling at your own pace, a car rental is a great option.
The most popular islands like Santorini, Ios, and Crete are sizable, with attractions like archaeological sites, beaches, and churches well spread out. Not only is hiring a car one of the best ways to take the stress out of travelling around the larger islands, it’s also a fantastic method of experiencing all they have to offer.
The largest island in Greece, Crete in particular is a great destination for planning a road trip, and car hire Crete with Rental Center Crete is the best way to see the whole island in just a couples of days.
Local transportation is also available and coaches are another option for transport that will save you money. The only challenge you might encounter is the fact that it might take slightly longer to arrive when you use public transportation.
Bonus Tip: Be Loyal to the Bars Attached to Your Sun Loungers
You may decide to rent umbrellas and sun loungers on the beach. There are bars attached to these, and it is courteous to be loyal to these bars or hotels.
Always reciprocate the hospitality extended to you by buying drinks and snacks at the bars. The owners of the bars are actually very hospitable people and you will enjoy the relationship.
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