By Darren Griffiths

Which is the Best Greek Island Hopping Route for You?

12th March 2023

Last updated on March 21st, 2024 at 04:03 am

Opting for an island hopping tour covering some of the most unmissable spots in Greece can turn out to be an adventure of a lifetime. With over 200 sublime patches of paradise to choose from, to prepare and decide from where to begin is bound to become a daunting task.

This ultimate guide will assist you in planning your Greek island hopping trip without any hassles, by taking into consideration the three most important factors that contribute to an ideal sea journey namely, money, time and the point of starting. We’ll also list the 5 best Greek island destinations so you can decide which best Greek island hopping route is for you.

When to go to the Greek Islands



The period between January and March is best for those looking for cheap flight tickets to their perfect activity holidays in Greece. The nearer the summer approaches, the higher the costs become. Most airlines charge more for the return leg, so it is advisable to fly in using the discount ticket and do your Greek island hopping route back to Athens, which actually serves the purpose of the trip.

Choose the Entry Point With Care



Your decision on your Greek island hopping itinerary entry point should be so chosen, that the islands you wish to visit lie nearby and can be accessed by ferry without having to take a domestic flight. Athens International Airport is usually the main point of entry into Greece.

Visitors can also fly in directly from abroad into the other international airports on the different Greek islands. These include Crete, Corfu, Kefalonia, Kos, Lemnos, Samos, Rhodes, Astypalea and Zakynthos.

Some of the Greek islands which have domestic terminals are Chips, Ilaria, Kalymnos, Kythira, Mykonos, Milos, Naxos, Paris, Santorini, Skiathos, Skyros and Syros.

Traveling by ferry is the best and economical way to see your best Greek island hopping route. The main seaport points on the mainland of Greece are indicated here to help in reaching some of the most popular islands. These are:


This is not only the main port in Athens but in entire Greece as well. Most of the top touristy islands are connected with Piraeus.


This is the second most important port of Greece, but a bit difficult to reach than Piraeus. For those heading for the island of Mykonos, this port should be avoided.


This port is the furthest from the city of Athens and quite small in size as well. It is ideally suited only for those who are boarding a private yacht or heading to the island of Kea


The second city of Greece, after Athens, the Thessaloniki port caters mainly to commercial ships. Some of the bigger Aegean islands though are connected to this port by ferry.


This port is located on the north coast of Greece, right opposite the island of Thassos


This is the principal entry port for people going to the island of Sporades. It is situated midway between Thessaloniki and Athens.


Situated at the mouth of the Gulf of Corinth on the west coast, this large port is mainly used to hop to Italy or the Ionian Islands.


This port is located on the northwest coast and connects Greece to Italy as well as Corfu.

Book your ferry tickets here

Synchronise your trip with the time available

Kusadasi bird island

Kusadasi Bird Island

The time factor will play a pretty important role on any best Greek island hopping route. Depending on the length of time at hand, you can then decide which mode of transport to opt for.

Remember to be a bit flexible with the number of days as ferry trips can get cancelled due to adverse weather conditions or strikes can occur.

Accordingly one can select a slow ferry, a fast ferry or if the route is long, say from Athens to Crete, then simply take a flight.

During certain days of the year, bargain flights are on offer, which makes travel comparably cheaper. The arrival and departure times of these services also need looking into to figure out which means of travel is suitable for you.

Decide on the Greek Islands to Visit

greek island hopping groups map

Greek island groups map

There are five main island groups in Greece. These are also the best Greek island hopping routes.

Ionian Islands

Situated on the west coast, the Ionian Islands, with their green landscapes, have a distinct Italian link which differentiates them from the Aegean islands. The main islands here are Corfu, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, Paxos, Ithaca, Lefkada and Kythira. The main highlights here are the dramatic mountain views and the lush landscape, and a range of water-based activities.

Argo-Saronic islands

Most suitable for those with limited time, these islands are closest to Athens and are situated in the Saronic and Argolic Gulfs. Salamina, Aegina, Agistri, Photos, Hydra and Spetses constitute the main islands here. Accessible within an hour from Piraeus, making it an easy Greek island hopping route, the islands have some good beaches and ancient temples.


The most famous of all the Greek Islands group put together, tourists make a beeline for the romantic getaways of Santorini and Mykonos. Even though there are scores of isles spread across the Cyclades, the idyllic setting of Santorini and the vibrant nightlife of Mykonos set them apart from the others. The Cyclades is a three to four hours ferry ride from Athens. Definitely a top choice for the best Greek island hopping route.


Home to the earliest of all known civilisations in Europe the Minoans, Crete is the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean region. Thanks to history and beauty it is an extremely popular destination. Some of the most luxurious beach resorts and the best of nightlife are located around Heraklion on the coast.


Rhodes, Astypalea, Kalymnos apart from others are the main islands of the Dodecanese group. A visit here is a must for history and geology buffs as Rhodes island boasts of a medieval town and rocky fortresses. Smart restaurants and a party atmosphere at Rhodes and Kos make for a good visit to this rather off the tourist radar group of islands.

Which Best Greek Island Hopping Route is for You?



Deep blue waters, traditional laid-back life and whitewashed houses make it easy to understand why the Greek Islands are so alluring. The number of islands in Greece are as endless as the number of itineraries one has the option to choose from.

From Greek island hopping in the Cyclades to going on a Cretan odyssey, the routes are inspiring and classical, as are the islands with their appeal and character.

The 168 islands which are inhabited are all located in the Aegean and Ionian seas and island hopping in Greece is the only way to experience this magical destination. 

After all, how else can you feel the spirit of an adventure and a joy of making a new discovery, while relaxing on the deck of a ferry with a drink in one hand?

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With over 200 sublime patches of paradise to choose from, with this guide we'll help you decide which best Greek island hopping route is for you.

With over 200 sublime patches of paradise to choose from, with this guide we'll help you decide which best Greek island hopping route is for you.