If you had to picture Greece – what comes to mind? Incredible ancient history, Grecian cuisine, picture-perfect beaches? What about island hopping? Greece is well known for its plethora of amazing sun-soaked islands, so here is our guide on what to expect when planning an island-hopping trip of the Grecian isles…
First, how do you choose which islands to visit? The islands are grouped geographically and combining two or more islands within the same island group is the best way to create a Greece island-hopping holiday. Greece has six main island groups, plus a significant stand-alone: Crete. Ferry lines service specific island groups and getting between different groups may require returning to the mainland (Piraeus). The hub is Athens, with its main port is Piraeus. If you want to be able to sit in a nice and comfy place without purchasing expensive first-class tickets, make sure to arrive at least one hour before departure. However, we recommend rather booking all your Ferry tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.
The Cyclades are one of the most popular Greek island groups (Santorini, Mykonos, Paros, Naxos) but also the busiest, therefore it is recommended to book early. These islands also have their own airports and a stop in Athens can be avoided. Mykonos is known as the being very LGBTQI friendly, with numerous gay-friendly hotels, beaches and clubs on the island. Also, part of the Cyclades is Los, which is renowned as a summer party island.
Rhodes, Leros, Lipsi and Samos belong to the Dodecanese group of Islands. I was lucky enough to spend a few months on the island of Rhodes, and what I loved about it was the diversity of the island. Rhodes old town offers culture, architecture, ancient ruins and an abundance of restaurants, Lindos offers that seaside town feel and Falaraki, offers the typical beach holiday that the British youth flock to every summer.
The Sporades with Skiathos island has a very distinctive character and differ from the more popular Cyclades islands. Skiathos was made popular by the Mamma Mia movie, if you need some inspiration!
The best time to travel is between May and September, the European summer. You can enjoy lower prices, mild weather, and fewer crowds during April, May and October however some hotels, shops and restaurants do not open until the summer season. July and August are the busiest and most expensive months to travel, the days are also the hottest with little to almost no rain.
Accommodation varies, and there really is something for everyone’s budget. From self-catering to private villas with your own pool…you choose! You can also stay on a sailboat or yacht for a few nights and then have the luxury of island hopping in style.
Hiring a small car or scooter is one of the best ways of travelling around the larger islands and experiencing all they have to offer, exploring small villages and finding secluded spots away from tourists. We rented a little Suzuki jeep, which was perfect and lots of fun with the roof down!
The Greek cuisine offers an incredibly rich and diverse array of foods, with flavours changing with the season and geography. The locals only start flocking to the local eateries between 8 and 10pm, therefore restaurants stay open late. A typical meal out at a traditional taverna consists of meze, small plates of delicious local food, like the Spanish tapas. We managed to eat out most of the time and paid as little as €10 for lunch with two glasses of wine for two.
ATMs are readily available in all the big cities and popular holiday resorts, though they can be difficult to find on smaller islands. You can use your credit card to pay for most purchases at shops and hotels, but a few bars and tavernas may only accept only cash. We recommend carrying some euros with you, especially for smaller purchases. You should not have any WIFI issues, as most of the local hotels and establishments offer free WIFI.
Get in touch if we can help plan your next Greek island adventure, we would love to be part of the journey!
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