How to get to the Greek Islands

With 3,500 Greek Islands, figuring out how to get from one island to the next can be a bit of a logistical nightmare. Let us help you take out the guesswork with a look at all your options...

The most popular islands surrounding Greece can be reached by ferry but with timetables not being released until two months prior (at the earliest!) it does make planning travel a little on the difficult side. That's where we come in.

Island Hopping Packages

Exploring the wonders of the Greek Islands should be about enjoying the island pace of life, seeing amazing archaeological sites and relaxing on beaches, not about logistics. With our Island Hopping packages, we can make your island dreams come true without breaking the bank. The self-guided itineraries include the option to choose the standard of your hotel accommodation, whether you'd like to take fast ferries (timetable permitting) and all port and airport transfers.

For travellers who like to traipse a route less seen, we can always tailor-make an island hopping itinerary perfectly catering to your wishes - while still enjoying the benefits of 24 hour assistance, hotels, transfers and more.

Ferries to the Greek Islands

As mentioned above, generally ferry schedules are not released until two months prior to your travel dates and even then they are subject to change without notice. Because of this when we organise your Island Hopping holiday, we will not issue you with your tickets in Australia. Instead, upon arrival one of our local representatives will meet you or come to your hotel to provide you with all of your tickets. Ferries between the same island groups are reasonably frequent (for example, in the Cyclades) but less so between different island groups (like the Cyclades and Dodecanese). This is part of the reason why leaving the fine details of your Island Hopping itinerary to us makes your life a lot easier.

There are three types of ferries to choose from, although not all options are always available. Ferry times are subject to change without prior notice, but our local representative will alert you of any changes that could affect you. When organising your trip, let us know your preferred ferry type and we will try to accommodate your preferences where possible.

Conventional Ferries (CONV)

Do like the locals do and catch one of the conventional ferries. Not for the time poor, these ferries take the longest amount of time but are also the cheapest. They usually only provide a single class of travel but sometimes offer a choice between economy and business with different tariffs. They also tend to be larger ferries and so are less likely to be rescheduled due to inclement weather.

Example: Athens to Santorini = 12 h 30 min

Fast Ferries (Blue Star)

The Blue Star ferries are faster and offer a higher standard of service than the conventional ferries, although schedules are subject to change without prior notice. Also, unscheduled stops along the way are not unusual. Blue Star has two classes (business and economy) and usually allows pre-allocated seating.

Example: Athens to Santorini = 7 h 30 min

High-speed Catamarans (HS)

Catamarans are the fastest and most direct route between islands but they are always the first to be cancelled in a case of bad weather. Further, they are the most expensive and do not operate between many of the islands.

Example: Athens to Santorini = 4 h 50 min

Please note that all of the above time examples are to be used as a guide only and are subject to change.

Flying to the Greek Islands

Flying is both a faster and more reliable method of transport to the Islands. During the months of October to April, ferries are even less frequent so flying is the recommended option. If you are planning a trip to one of the larger islands such as Crete with only a small amount of hopping to other islands, flying really makes the most sense. If however you plan on going to a number of islands on a broader itinerary, many of the flights will not fly directly between islands but be routed back via Athens adding time and expense.

Other things to note


Even if you do not plan to spend time sightseeing around Athens, we really recommend booking a night in the capital either side of your Island Hopping adventure. With ferries subject to change without notice due to weather or additional stops being added, a night either end of your trip will save you a considerable amount of stress.

Hotels on the Islands

Tempo Holidays can organise accommodation for a range of budgets on the various islands but it is important to note that the more remote the island, the more basic the accommodation. Hotels on the islands in general tend to be more rustic than hotels in Athens, with a more traditional feel. During peak season, many hotels have strict cancellation policies and minimum night stays.

On many islands it is difficult to get taxis in the high season, so pre-booked transfers are the best option.

24 Hour Assistance

Hopefully your holiday will be hassle-free but there is always something unavoidable that will crop up. Instead of you having to deal with any issues on your own, Tempo Holidays customers can sit back and relax as our consultants work in conjunction with our highly experienced ground team to take care of everything. This is particularly important with the changeable weather conditions affecting ferry schedules with delays, cancellations or other alterations.

Car Hire

Many of the popular Greek Islands offer car hire depots. Note however that on some of the islands, cars are not allowed into the old towns - for example, in Mykonos Town.  Larger islands such as Crete really lend themselves to exploration by car. In fact, we offer two self drive itineraries to discover the wonders of Crete: Charming Crete and Discover Crete.

Any other questions about the Greek Islands? Contact one of our destination specialists today to organise your Island Hopping adventure!