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Home Trip Inspiration Summer Travel Plan your perfect Greek island-hopping adventure

Plan your perfect Greek island-hopping adventure

Scattered like pearls across the shimmering Aegean and Greek seas, the charms of the Greek islands have lured several. From mythical being and his adventuring Argonauts to Frankish Crusaders and Mamma Mia film crews, story and enchantment envelop the islands very similar to their ribbons of sugar-soft sand. There’s nothing quite like recognizing the bounds from a covered ferry deck or sailing into a spirited port. In Greece, obtaining there’s a vital a part of the journey and, thankfully, island hopping could be a breeze.

Adventure awaits at the quiet harbour of Makrygialos village in southern Crete © Georgios Tsichlis / Shutterstock
Adventure awaits at the quiet harbour of Makrygialos village in southern Crete © Georgios Tsichlis / Shutterstock

When to go to the Greek islands

While the Greek islands area unit gorgeous at any time of year, aim for your visit to fall between Orthodox Easter (usually April) and also the finish of might, or from Gregorian calendar month to period of time. throughout these times, services and amenities area unit up and running, temperatures area unit balmy and crowds area unit dilutant. From June till the tip of August, you may positively have heat ocean water and weather, however you’ll be sharing it with the plenty, paying high bill, and also the meltemi (dry northerly wind) will play mayhem with ferry schedules. within the low season, several ferry routes stop to work and hotels and restaurants shut up look.

Depending on that Greek islands you are hoping to go to, it is a smart plan to conjointly check the native calendars for panigyria. These Greek summer festivals are distinctive cultural experiences which will be plenty of fun, however conjointly may have an effect on ferry schedules, gap hours at attractions, and turn out crowds and parades which will otherwise complicate the provision of obtaining around. Panigyria on Ikaria, as an example, occur all summer long on varied saint’s days, and a few of the festivities run from hour until dawn.

To plan or not to plan

In reality, it’s best to try to to a touch of each. a touch of designing will positively take you a protracted approach. Deciding wherever you wish to travel and obtaining your head around ferry schedules before you go can take the total of your vacation. Having aforementioned that, Balkan state is understood for its easygoing angle, and it’s value emulating this whereas island hopping. Ferry schedules area unit invariably liable to modification, even pre-booked and paid journeys. something from windy weather to employee strikes will mean delay or cancellation at short notice. Building a touch flexibility into your schedule is sensible.

Plan well, and the hardest part might be simply narrowing down which Greek islands to visit.

Evening in the port of Piraeus, the starting point for many Greek island-hopping trips © Milan Gonda / Shutterstock
Evening in the port of Piraeus, the starting point for many Greek island-hopping trips © Milan Gonda / Shutterstock

Suggested routes through the Greek islands

You can positively handpick many islands from varied teams and build your own route; but, several ferry lines service specific teams therefore coming up with may be easier if you continue one space. All flights cause Athens – about it looks – and inward within the capital not solely offers you the chance to require in its jaw-dropping sights, however it conjointly brings you shut to the port of Piraeus for boats to the Cyclades, Saronic Gulf islands, and even additional remote ones just like the Aegean island. Athens conjointly neighbours the port of Rafina for routes to the jap Cyclades and additional abroad. to go to the Northeastern Aegean islands, land in Salonica, Greece’s second town.

If you’re getting to pay most of some time in an exceedingly specific island cluster, it’s value catching a flight from Athens to urge you started – it’ll prevent each time and cash. usefulness aside, there’s nothing quite like downward-sloping in an exceedingly twin engine onto a small landing field within the middle of the brilliant blue ocean. a number of these island destinations are served by international flights within the peak season.

Arrival into the port of Fira on the caldera edge of the stunning Santorini island in the Cyclades © Murat An / Shutterstock
Arrival into the port of Fira on the caldera edge of the stunning Santorini island in the Cyclades © Murat An / Shutterstock

The Cyclades

The charm of the Cyclades is plain, and it’s here that you’ll notice a number of the foremost widespread islands. Be ready to share, particularly in peak season. From Piraeus, hop a ferry to Mykonos, the foremost exciting of the Greek islands. unnoted by its painting windmills, you’ll rub shoulders with the known as you explore the flower-filled lanes and shop outlets and cafes.

From here, day-trip to the little island of Delos with its ancient sun-bleached ruins. stick with it to Naxos, the most important of the Cyclades, with a walled seacoast capital close a brow castle. Even additional south, you’ll reach Santorini with its painting sunsets, black-sand beaches, vineyards and unbelievable Minoan web site. Complete the loop with a stop in easygoing Milos, with dozens of beaches and charming villages to explore. At the tip of the day, hop a ferry back to Piraeus.

An island-hopping yacht moored in a secluded cove on Kalymnos island in the Dodecanese © Matt Munro / Lonely Planet
An island-hopping yacht moored in a secluded cove on Kalymnos island in the Dodecanese © Matt Munro / Lonely Planet

The Dodecanese

In the Aegean island you’ll see and style the historical influences of the parade of cultures that have undergone, from Romans and crusading medieval knights to Byzantine and Ottoman rulers. suppose many alimentary paste, sugared pastry, gorgeous minarets, walled cities and crumbling mountaintop castles. The sailboat service that frequently connects the islands makes island hopping straightforward. Begin by catching a flight to Rhodes, that abounds in sandy beaches, ancient history and a noisy town life.

Visit volcanic Nisyros to hike through its abundant forests and into its steaming crater, and Karpathos for its dateless brow village of Olymbos. Kalymnos can decision climbers and diverse with its submarine wrecks and stone cliffs, whereas Patmos has associate ethereal quality, wherever life is in tune with the cloister bells and wherever St John skilled his Revelations. If you’re visiting around Orthodox Easter, Patmos is that the place to be. Loop back to widespread Kos for associate endless strip of brown-sugar sand, nightlife, simply cycleable roads, associated an aerodrome with regular flights to Athens.

A solitary sailboat at the famous Navagio beach on the Ionian island of Zakynthos © Samot / Shutterstock
A solitary sailboat at the famous Navagio beach on the Ionian island of Zakynthos © Samot / Shutterstock

The Ionians

Nestled on the coast of the Peloponnese within the Ionian Sea, these islands have a rather cooler climate, copiously wooded mountains and infinite stands of olive and cypress trees. From Athens you’ll be able to fly to Corfu wherever you’ll be wooed by Parisian-style arcades, Venetian alleyways and Italian-inspired delicacies. Corfu is giant enough to flee the crowds to cypress-studded hills, lofty villages and sandy coves.

The next island is little Paxi, with stunning harbour villages, rolling hills and ancient olive groves. Visit Lefkada for its sandy beaches and Kefallonia to kayak on the brilliant cobalt-blue bays. soak up time-forgotten Kythira for sugar-cube design and unspoiled geographic region. remote to the south, you’ll be able to ferry back to Piraeus from here.

Travellers board a ferry in the port of Aegina island in the Saronic Gulf © Rolf G Wackenberg / Shutterstock
Travellers board a ferry in the port of Aegina island in the Saronic Gulf © Rolf G Wackenberg / Shutterstock

Ferries to the Greek islands

With a network covering each underpopulated island, the Greek ferry system is immense and varied. The slow rust buckets that when plied the seas area unit nearly a issue of the past. High-speed ferries area unit more and more common and canopy hottest routes. native ferries, excursion boats and little, personal fishing boats (called caiques) typically connect close islands and islets. Meanwhile, plush catamarans will drastically scale back time period and cope higher with poor weather. For long-haul ferry travel, you’ll be able to travel in serious comfort.

Many ferry corporations have on-line booking services. Not amazingly, high-speed boats sell out quicker than slow chuggers. For nightlong ferries, it’s invariably best to book ahead. the subsequent resources area unit helpful for coming up with and booking:

  • Danae Travel A good site for booking boat tickets.
  • Greek Travel Pages Useful search option and links for ferries.
  • Greekferries Search ferry schedules, including accommodation options and multi-leg journeys.
  • Open Seas Reliable search engine for ferry routes and schedules.
A fishing boat laden with nets lolls in the harbour on the Northeastern Aegean island of Lesvos © Tan Yilmaz / Getty Images
A fishing boat laden with nets lolls in the harbour on the Northeastern Aegean island of Lesvos © Tan Yilmaz / Getty Images

Tips and tricks for traveling the Greek islands

When you book a price ticket, you will find that deck-class is simply that; access to the deck and interior however no bunks, berths, or cabins. confine mind that unless you state otherwise, you may mechanically incline deck category once buying a price ticket. If you are hoping for additional luxurious or nightlong accommodations, costs climb with plane reclining chair seats right up to personal cabins with loos.

If you’re considering taking a ferry nightlong, it’s value basic cognitive process that a bed for the night in an exceedingly cabin from Piraeus to Rhodes may be dearer than a reduced airline price ticket. It’s value looking around, reckoning on wherever you land within the diagram of issues like price, time period, comfort, and a want to expertise of sailing the high seas. If you are traveling in Balkan state with children in tow, on several ferry services kids below 5 years old-time travel for free while tickets for those aged between 5 and ten area unit typically 0.5 worth.

Food on ferries may be expensive and underwhelming. Bring snacks and water, or save your appetency for the magnificently sturdy food scenes in destinations like Rhodes and Symi. you’ll not have abundant appetency, though, if you veer towards mal de mer or overgorge on Greek cocktails. The water may be rough, so stare at the horizon, not the ocean. be deck for contemporary air and don’t be tempted to browse or use binoculars.

If you are hoping to explore the Greek islands by automobile, note that delivery a automotive on board the ferries is dear and usually needs advance booking. Care rent on the islands is comparatively low-cost and potential on virtually each island.

If you have some energy left, or an additional area in your itinerary when returning to the ground, keep in mind that Piraeus is over simply the entranceway to the Greek islands. You can easily spend a whole day in Piraeus itself, or at the very least check out the city’s vibrant nightlife at popular clubs like Beluga and Madama after you disembark the ferry.

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