There are so many beautifully unspoiled Greek islands to choose from for your holiday that it can often be difficult to decide which one to pick. Pebble beach or sand? Traditional Greek dancing or clubs where you can dance until dawn?
Whitewashed villages or high rise hotels? Well, what if I told you that there was a way you could do it all? Yes, island hopping is the way forward for a dream holiday. Start your getaway on one island and fly home from another. It’s actually not as complicated as it sounds. Let’s take a look at how it can be done.
Planning a route
The best way to island hop is by ferry. Greece has an extensive ferry network between the islands, but they can often be met with cancellations or delays due to rough seas. For this reason; it’s best to plan your route in advance.
The Greek islands are grouped. Travel experts advise that for a short holiday (less than 10 days), you don’t mix island groups as this will help you maximise your time and avoid spending it aboard a ferry. The groups are as follows:
The Cyclades are the most popular island group. The Cyclades consist of Mykonos, Santorini and Ios. The islands are so popular because not only are they STUNNING (think of those white and blue buildings from a postcard) they also benefit from frequent ferries with short journey times.
If you wish to explore this group of islands, it’s recommended that you fly into Mykonos as it’s in the middle of the island group. Santorini is also on the ferry route between both Athens and Crete, making it a perfect base for exploring the rest of the country.
This island group is on the Turkish border, which makes it an ideal base for day trips into Turkey. The group consists of the likes of Rhodes and Kos; popular resorts which make hopping around the island group ideal.
This small island group consists of Skiathos, Alonissos, Skopelos and Skyros. Although the group is small, the islands are all very varied, making it a perfect traditional Greek holiday.
The Ioanian islands are very popular with holidaymakers, with islands such as Zante and Crete within the group. However, the islands are rather impractical for island hopping as the ferries can be irregular.
This island group, consisting of the likes of Samos and Lemnos, are very spread out. As a consequence, the journey times between them can be long, but the islands are very picturesque.
If you go on holiday to Athens, this island group is close by, making it great for day trips. In the summer, there are daily ferries to the likes of Hydra and Aegina.
Once you pick your island group of choice, planning the rest of your holiday will be easier for you!
It is important to pre-book your accommodation, particularly in peak season. Cruise trips can often stop off at the islands and book up all the hotels! So, the last thing you want to do is arrive at an island to find there isn’t anywhere to stay. In the summer, it’s said that visitors often outnumber the amount of beds available, so try to book as far in advance as possible.
Island hopping can be an idyllic way to see the very best of the Greek islands. If you don’t like the idea of planning the trip yourself, cruises and tour operators can arrange your holiday for you. However, for a calmer experience, it would be better to go in low season, such as September. You may have to deal with irregular ferry timetables, but there will be fewer crowds and more accommodation choices- you can be more ‘free’ with your schedule.
Alternatively, you could consider flying between the islands to save time. Some local airlines will have affordable fares.
Whichever island group you choose, you’re sure to be greeted by unique Greek hospitality, amazing food, beautiful landscapes and rich culture. Don’t waste your island hopping holiday inside, get outside onto the glorious beaches and enjoy!
Leila Jones is the editor of www.holiday-numbers.co.uk. Leila lives in the UK and enjoys travel, social media and blogging. She dreams of visiting Santorini and the famous whitewashed buildings.