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A Guide to Island-Hopping in Greece

Whether you are looking to party all night in Mykonos, watch the sunset in Santorini, discover ancient archaeological sites in Crete or swim in the turquoise waters off Naxos, there is a Greek island for you.  

Greece has many islands and islets. With up to 6,000 scattered in the Aegean and Ionian seas to explore, the only question is where to start!  

Naoussa Port, Paros island, Greece

Getting There 

Travelling around the Greek Islands is easy! There’s two common ways in which you can island-hop, and this is either by flying domestically or taking a ferry. 

Taking a ferry is the most popular form of transport but don’t mistake these for a cruise, as they only have basic facilities. Ferries don’t usually have baggage assistance so if you’re needing this service, we recommend packing light.  

The next way to travel around and of course the faster way is flying. Flying is especially recommended during the months Oct – Apr when the weather is more unpredictable. If you’re opting to travel, you should still expect to take a ferry as some islands are too small to have an airport.  

If you’re opting for the Ferry route, below is our quick guide to the ferry type, frequency and duration:  

This Information is to be used as a guide only and is subject to change. All information is based on the proposed 2020 Summer schedule which typically runs April–October.

The Islands 

Believe it or not, the Greek Islands are split into 6 groups.  

The first and most popular, the Cycladic Islands. This group of islands is considered the birthplace of Apollo and home to many archaeological ruins. It showcases a variety of iconic spots you see all over Instagram and is renowned to be the home of epic parties, the traditional white and blue architecture, hiking trails and plenty of sandy beaches.  

In the Cycladic Islands is where you’ll find: 

Santorini - The island with the famous blue church domes overlooking the caldera. Perfect for couples who are opting for that romantic holiday. 

Mykonos – Popularly known as the summer party central island and iconic windmill structures overlooking the Mykonos town. 

Naxos – Only four hours away from Athens and the largest of the Cyclades island group, Naxos is the place to be for greenery and mountainous views. With high mountains and breath-taking valleys, it’s an island that should be on everyone’s travel wish list.  

Traditional street on Naxos, Greece

Ionian Islands is another group which boasts the most stunning mountain ranges, white powdery beaches, deep waters and lush landscapes. Whether you’re after food, vibrant culture, crystal clear beaches and adventure, Ionian Islands is the place to escape to.  

Some iconic islands from this group are:  

Kefalonia – Surrounded by sandy turquoise coves and rugged lush mountains, the island’s cliffs are made up of limestone, remote stretches of sandy beach and bays that are only accessible by foot. It really is one of the most underrated Greek islands that should be a point of interest for every avid traveller.  

Zakynthos – Known for being the site of the popular shipwreck cove framed by high cliffs, this island is a top pick for keen adventurers. If you are a beach lover, then Zakynthos will stun you for its beautiful iconic turquoise waters. To get the stunning cove, take a bus to Zakynthos town and catch a boat to Navagio.  

Corfu – Looking for an underrated, Instagrammable and unique destination? Look no further than Corfu. This island is known for its legendary stories and Greek mythology so if famous Greek myths are of interest to you, Corfu is the perfect spot to visit. 

Dodecanese Islands are known for being surrounded by Medieval castles, Byzantine churches, picture perfect beaches and ancient sites.  

Rhodes – The largest island in the Dodecanese, the city of Rhodes embodies the historic past of Greece which is still displayed all throughout the city. Through the golden beaches, castles and baroque style architecture, this UNESCO World Heritage site is perfect for those who are looking for the perfect balance of relaxing and action-packed holiday.  

Kos – Sightseeing, water sports, restaurants, ancient sites, thermal springs and more, Kos is the ultimate all-rounder island destination!  

These are just 3 and the most popular groups of islands and as you can already tell, there really is an island that can suit anyone!  

Zakynthos Island, Navagio Beach, Greece

Best Time To Go 

 Greece’s Mediterranean climate means the islands are generally sunny throughout most of the year. Luckily, even if it’s a bit chilly, instead of relaxing by the sandy beaches you can go hiking or explore the ruins.  

In terms of months to go, you can never go wrong with a hot Summer holiday from July – September. However, keep in mind that this is the most popular season with prices much higher than other months and larger crowds. August being the most expensive month but also the best time for partying. 

To avoid the large crowds and still take advantage of the sun, the best months to visit would be late September – early October.  

Regardless of the time of the year, Greece is still the perfect destination with so much to do for families, couples or if you’re travelling alone.  

Looking to book your island-hopping vacation with Tempo Holidays? Check out our top picks here