The Magic of Island Hopping in Greece: Tips, Tricks, and Packing List

Cruising-the-Greek-Islands-Paros, Greece

Hey there, ready to start your island hopping adventure in Greece? We are so excited for you! Greece is one of the most stunning destinations in the world and is famous for its silky sandy beaches, vibrant nightlife, warm weather all year round, and delicious food. We totally get why millions of people flock to this beautiful country every year.
But where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know to plan your perfect Greek island hopping trip.

When to Visit the Greek Islands

First things first, when is the best time to visit the Greek islands? We recommend going during the off-peak seasons, from April to mid-June and from September to October. This way, you’ll enjoy warm but not too hot temperatures (around 24°C to 28°C), and fewer tourists around, giving you the freedom to explore and relax on the beach without the crowds.

Getting to Greece: A Brief Overview of Airports

Getting to Greece is easy with many international airports throughout the country, including Athens International Airport (ATH), Thessaloniki International Airport (SKG) and Heraklion International Airport (SKG). Several regional airports such as Chania International Airport Ioannis Daskalogiannis (CHQ), Rhodes International Airport Diagoras (RHO), Corfu International Airport Ioannis Kapodistrias (CFU), Santorini National Airport (JTR), Mykonos International Airport (JMK), Zakynthos International Airport (also known as Zante International Airport) (ZTH), and Kos International Airport (KGS) also serve domestic and international flights. From North America, direct flights to Athens are available from major cities such as New York and Toronto. If you’re traveling from within the EU, you can easily fly into any of the airports mentioned. Keep in mind that flight prices can vary depending on the season and availability, so it’s best to book your tickets in advance to ensure a stress-free journey.

If you’re up for a road trip, driving is also an option. You can enter Greece by car from any of its land neighbors, with the best route being through Austria, Slovenia, Serbia, and Macedonia. And if you don’t mind a long travel time and want to enjoy the scenery, you can also take a train.

From Island to Island: Getting Around Greece

Once you’re in Greece, the best way to hop between islands is by ferry. The travel time between them ranges from 45 minutes to 2 hours, and ferry tickets need to be bought in advance. Prices vary depending on the route and distance, and we recommend checking out for schedules and purchasing your tickets.

Driving is also a great way to explore the islands, and whether you choose to bring your own car or rent one there, it’ll definitely make your trip more enjoyable. Just a heads up, to drive in Greece you need to be at least 21 years old. Also, make sure to stick to the right-hand side of the road and always follow the speed limit. Most importantly, please don’t drink and drive. Let’s keep ourselves and others safe on the road!

Buses are available and can take you to most main cities in Greece, with two main bus stations in Athens: Kifissos and Liossion. Train networks are limited but are often much cheaper than other means of transportation, so it’s a great option if you’re looking to save some cash.

Now that you know how to get around, it’s time to plan your island hopping itinerary!

Island-Hopping Itinerary for Young Professionals (Digital Nomads)

If you’re a digital nomad looking to explore Greece while also getting some work done, this itinerary is perfect for you. We’ve curated a list of the best islands to visit, taking into account their scenic beauty, nightlife, and access to reliable internet. So pack your laptop and get ready to experience the best of Greece while staying productive.

Day 1-3: Athens – Start your adventure in Athens, the capital city of Greece. Spend a few days exploring the ancient ruins, world-class museums, and trendy cafes.

Day 4-6: Mykonos – Hop on a ferry to the famous island of Mykonos, known for its party atmosphere and picturesque beaches. Spend your days soaking up the sun, trying out water sports, and exploring the nightlife.

Day 7-8: Paros – Next, head to the charming island of Paros, known for its white-washed buildings, narrow streets, and laid-back vibe. Rent a scooter and explore the island’s hidden gems.

Day 9-11: Naxos – Take a ferry to Naxos, the largest island in the Cyclades. With its stunning beaches, mountain villages, and historic sites, there’s plenty to see and do here.

Day 12-14: Santorini – Finish your island-hopping adventure on the picturesque island of Santorini. Take in the breathtaking views of the caldera, sip on local wine, and watch the famous sunset.

NOTE: In general, Greece has good internet connectivity and it’s easy to stay connected. Most hotels, cafes, and restaurants offer free Wi-Fi, and there are many public Wi-Fi hotspots in cities and towns. However, the speed and reliability of the internet can vary depending on the location and the provider. In some remote areas or on smaller islands, the internet connection may be slower or less reliable. If you’re a digital nomad or someone who needs a reliable internet connection for work, it’s a good idea to check the internet speed and quality of your accommodation before booking. You can also consider getting a local SIM card with a data plan for your phone, or purchasing a portable Wi-Fi device.

Island-Hopping Itinerary for Those Looking for a Relaxing Adventure

Are you looking for a relaxing Greek island hopping experience? Look no further than our specially designed itinerary. We’ve handpicked the best islands to visit, taking into account their scenic beauty, accessibility, and leisurely pace. Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun on the beach, indulge in some delicious Greek cuisine, or simply take in the stunning views, this itinerary is sure to provide you with a memorable and enjoyable vacation.

Day 1-3: Athens – Begin your trip in Athens, where you can explore the ancient city’s rich history and culture. Visit the Acropolis and other ancient sites, and relax in one of the many traditional tavernas.

Day 4-6: Hydra – Take a ferry to Hydra, a car-free island known for its tranquility, artistic culture, and stunning natural beauty. Spend your days exploring the island’s walking paths, boutique shops, and charming cafes.

Day 7-8: Poros – Next, head to Poros, a small island with a laid-back atmosphere and stunning views. Rent a bike or take a leisurely stroll through the island’s lemon groves and enjoy the fresh sea air.

Day 9-11: Crete – Take a ferry to Crete, Greece’s largest island. Spend your time exploring the ancient Minoan civilization, hiking in the stunning Samaria Gorge, and relaxing on the island’s beautiful beaches.

Day 12-14: Rhodes – Finish your island-hopping adventure in Rhodes, a historic island with a rich cultural heritage. Explore the medieval Old Town, take a dip in the crystal-clear waters, and enjoy the island’s delicious local cuisine.

10 Must-See Gems: Explore the Best Sights in Greece

Acropolis of Athens: No trip to Greece is complete without a visit to the Acropolis of Athens. This ancient citadel sits atop a rocky outcrop and is home to the iconic Parthenon temple, as well as other important structures and ruins.

Santorini: This picturesque island is known for its stunning sunsets and traditional white-washed buildings with blue domes. Take a dip in the crystal clear waters, visit the red and black sand beaches, and explore the island’s rich history and culture.

Meteora: Located in central Greece, Meteora is home to a complex of six Eastern Orthodox monasteries built atop towering rock formations. Visitors can take in breathtaking views and marvel at the incredible feats of architecture and engineering.

Palace of Knossos: Located on the island of Crete, the Palace of Knossos is an important archaeological site that dates back to the Minoan civilization. Explore the labyrinthine ruins and learn about the fascinating history of this ancient culture.

Neda Waterfalls: Located in the Peloponnese region, these waterfalls are a bit off the beaten path but offer stunning natural beauty and hiking opportunities.

Zagorohoria: This is a cluster of 46 traditional picturesque villages located in the northern Pindus Mountains. It is a great place to experience the local culture, architecture, and gastronomy.

Methoni Castle: This medieval castle in the southwestern Peloponnese is a well-preserved historical site that offers spectacular views of the sea and the surrounding area.

Delphi Archaeological Site: Delphi is an ancient site located on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. It was considered the center of the ancient world and was home to the famous Oracle of Delphi.

Vikos Gorge: Located in the Pindus Mountains, Vikos Gorge is one of the deepest and longest gorges in the world. Visitors can hike through the stunning landscape and take in breathtaking views of the natural scenery.

Hydra Island: Located in the Saronic Gulf, Hydra is a picturesque island known for its charming architecture and car-free streets. Visitors can explore the island’s beautiful beaches and charming villages, and experience a more relaxed pace of life.

Rest, Recharge, Repeat: Where to Stay in Greece

Boutique hotels: Greece is home to a plethora of charming boutique hotels that offer personalized service and unique amenities. Some popular options include Hotel Grande Bretagne in Athens and Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites and Spa in Santorini.

Vacation rentals: For a more authentic experience, consider renting a traditional Greek villa or apartment. Popular vacation rental sites include Airbnb and Vrbo.

Beach resorts: Greece is known for its beautiful beaches, and there are plenty of beach resorts that offer luxurious accommodations and access to the crystal clear waters. Some popular options include Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas in Crete and Mykonos Blu Grecotel Exclusive Resort.

Greece on a Plate: A Guide to Local Cuisine

Seafood: With its long coastline and rich fishing tradition, Greece is home to some of the freshest and most delicious seafood in the world. Try grilled octopus, fried calamari, or a classic Greek fish dish like psari plaki.

Meze: Meze is a type of Greek tapas, consisting of small plates of savory dishes meant to be shared. Try a variety of dips, cheeses, olives, and grilled meats, paired with a glass of ouzo or raki.

Souvlaki: Souvlaki is a popular Greek street food consisting of grilled meat (usually pork or chicken) skewered on a stick and served with pita bread and tzatziki sauce. It’s a quick, tasty, and budget-friendly option for lunch or dinner.

Top Travel Apps for Exploring Greece

Travelen: This is a Greek travel blog that focuses on sustainable tourism. It offers information about eco-friendly accommodations, activities, and tours in various destinations across Greece.

Green Pearls: This is an international platform that promotes sustainable travel and tourism. It features a range of eco-friendly hotels, resorts, and activities in Greece and other destinations around the world.

EcoZante: This is a website that promotes sustainable tourism in Zakynthos, a popular Greek island. It offers information about eco-friendly accommodations, activities, and tours on the island.

Responsible Travel: This is an online travel agency that offers a range of sustainable tours and activities in Greece and other destinations. It works with local tour operators and businesses that prioritize sustainability.

Sustainability and Responsible Tourism

When traveling to the Greek islands, it’s important to remember that the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the islands are a finite resource. By being responsible travelers, we can help to ensure that these treasures are protected for future generations to enjoy. Here are some tips for minimizing your impact on the environment and local communities during your trip:

Choose eco-friendly accommodations: Look for hotels, guesthouses, or apartments that have eco-friendly practices such as recycling, energy efficiency, and water conservation.

Use public transportation or walk: When exploring the islands, try to use public transportation or walk instead of renting a car or scooter. This will help to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution.

Support local businesses: Choose locally-owned restaurants, shops, and tour operators to support the local economy and culture.

Reduce plastic waste: Bring a reusable water bottle and shopping bag, and avoid using single-use plastics whenever possible.

Respect the environment: Avoid littering, stay on designated trails, and be mindful of the impact of your activities on the natural environment.

Ferry Ride Essentials: What to Pack for a Smooth Sailing Experience

Preparing for an overnight or all-day ferry ride in the Greek islands can make your trip more comfortable and enjoyable. To help you pack and prepare for your journey, we’ve put together a checklist of essential items you should bring with you on board. By having everything you need, you can relax and enjoy the beautiful views and sea breeze as you island hop in Greece.

Passport or ID: Even if you’re not leaving Greece, it’s always a good idea to bring your identification with you when traveling on ferries.

Sunscreen: With plenty of sunshine and beautiful beaches, you don’t want to get sunburned while exploring the islands.

Hat and sunglasses: Protect your eyes and face from the sun with a hat and sunglasses.

Swimsuit and beach towel: With so many beautiful beaches to explore, you’ll definitely want to bring a swimsuit and beach towel.

Comfortable walking shoes: Whether you’re exploring the winding streets of a Greek village or hiking up a hill for a panoramic view, you’ll want comfortable shoes.

Water bottle: Staying hydrated is important, especially in the hot Greek sun. Bring a reusable water bottle to refill throughout the day.

Snacks: You’ll find plenty of delicious food on the islands, but it’s always a good idea to bring some snacks with you, especially if you have any dietary restrictions.

Prescriptions: Remember to pack any prescription medications or nutritional supplements you might need during your trip. It’s always a good idea to bring extra, just in case. And don’t forget to keep them in their original containers, especially if you’re traveling internationally!

Camera: With so much natural beauty and picturesque architecture, you’ll want to capture all the memories with your camera or smartphone.

Power bank or charger: Make sure your devices stay charged throughout the day with a power bank or charger.

Cash: While many places on the islands accept credit cards, it’s always a good idea to bring some cash for small purchases or if the card machine is down.

Light jacket or shawl: Even in the summer, it can get cool in the evenings, especially if you’re on the water. Bring a light jacket or shawl to stay comfortable.

Tried and Tested: Our Favorite Gear for any Adventure

If you’re looking for a versatile bag to use while exploring the Greek islands, I highly recommend the Longchamp Le Pliage Original. It’s lightweight, durable, and can hold all your essentials.

For those who prefer a hands-free option while sightseeing, I suggest the Longchamp Le Pliage Energy with a removable cross-body shoulder strap. It’s stylish and practical, and the strap can be easily removed when you want to switch up your look. This is my personal favourite. I’m only 5’2″ so I use size ‘S’ for everyday and ‘M’ for day trips or overnights. The ‘L’ is great but too large for my stature. 

Your footwear can make or break your island-hopping adventure, so it’s important to choose wisely. I suggest bringing a pair of breathable and comfortable sneakers, such as the Adidas UltraBoost Slip-on DNA, to tackle long walks and hikes. For stylish yet comfortable sandals that will take you from day to night, check out Pikolino’s Calella. Trust me, your feet will thank you after a day of exploring Greece’s beautiful islands.

A Milu stainless steel water bottle (available in 350ml, 500ml and 750ml) is a must-have for island hopping in Greece. It will keep your water cold all day long and help you reduce your use of single-use plastic bottles.

Don’t forget to pack a mini umbrella, like the compact and lightweight Doppler Zero,99 Umbrella – weighs less than a chocolate bar! It’s always a good idea to be prepared for unexpected rain showers during your island hopping adventure.

Island hopping in Greece is an unforgettable experience that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. From the pristine beaches to the ancient ruins, there’s something for everyone to discover. By following these tips for responsible tourism and sustainability, we can all help to protect the Greek islands for future generations to enjoy. So start planning your own island hopping adventure today, and get ready to make memories that will last a lifetime!

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