You have heard it lots of time! Greek island hopping is a must and not a new concept. You have at least one friend who will constantly tell you about the awesomeness of their holidays in Greece. That’s OK. Most people know Greece for the islands anyway.
That is not by chance. If you want to do something epic this year, something you will cherish and remember for ever, then Greek island hopping is that thing!
You can choose to organize everything by yourself or have an expert like Artisan Travel, to organize a mega-yacht cruise and let go!
Especially in the summer time, Greek islands offer an unparalleled combination of great blue waters, bright sun & spectacular local food. These are the main reasons travelers come again and again. Doesn’t matter if you travel solo, as a couple or with the family. There are options for all cases, to get all the fun.
Cycladic and Saronic islands are the best cases, especially when you plan to stay in Athens before or after your trip.
You would love to know hot tips and a great itinerary for your Greek island hopping, right? Well, we prepared one for you. Read along.
Greek Island Hopping Things to Know
There are some Greek islands that are special both for Greeks and foreign travelers. Each island has a special reason for being such. Each of the following Greek islands offers a completely different experience and as such they are carefully chosen.
Close to Athens, with fantastic beaches and some special places to visit. We’ve been in Kea and it is fantastic. Read about the things to do in Kea.
Mykonos & Nearby Delos
Mykonos is maybe the most popular island in the world (next to Santorini). Many don’t even know that Mykonos is actually is in Greece. They just know it by “Mykonos”. Well, it is in Greece and it is the island glowing with the most bright sunlight you’ll ever see. Mykonos is an excellent option for those seeking to take fantastic photos and get closer to it’s cosmopolitan allure. Don’t neglect to visit the island of Delos and the temple of Apollo.
Maybe the most photographed Greek island in the world. The photos of the Caldera are simply majestic. This island is blessed with amazing beauty. The volcanic rocks add a special energy to the whole experience. Do visit the volcano and experience the Santorini romance & wines. Many are troubled as which island is best… Mykonos or Santorini?
The biggest island in Greece. You can’t experience Crete in a few days. That is the reason most travelers come back for many years. We’ve been twice there and despite the fact we did all these things in Crete, there is still hundreds more waiting for us (and you).
Monemvasia & Nafplio
A spectacular combination of history, forts & scenic castle cities. Movemvasia is a castle city next to the sea worth to visit. Nafplio is a whole different experience. It combines the famous castle of Palamidi, along with a beautiful city to walk through and learn its history. You may don’t know this but Nafplio was the first capital of Greece, after Greece became free from the Otomans empire occupancy (around 400 years of such). Both are located in Peloponnese.
A car-free island! You can move around with bikes, horse carriages of local transportation. Hydra is considered a cosmopolitan island very close to Athens. Fantastic harbor and architecture.
Things to Know for Greek Island Hopping
While islands like Hydra or Kea are close to Athens, others like Crete, Santorini and Mykonos are not. You need to plan in a perfect manner in order to be able to visit them and explore all the different things they have to offer; from tastes to sightseeing.
There are different island groups in Greece. These are:
The Saronic Gulf Islands (Argosaronikos): These are between Peloponnese and Athens. Hydra belongs in these but not only. There is also Aegina, Angistri, Poros, Salamina, Spetses.
The Sporades Islands: Biggest one is Evia island, which you can reach with a car too (around 1.5 hour from Athens). Sporades are great for a weekend and are characterized by luscious green. Skiathos and Skopelos are really popular.
The Cycladic Islands (Cyclades): A style of their own, widely seen for their chalk-white houses, bright sun and fantastic beaches. Seen in many postcards with white windmills. Most famous ones are Mykonos and Santorini, but there is also Naxos, Paros, Tinos and many more. They are many and can be a different Greek island hopping vacation idea by themselves.
The Dodecanese Islands: Closer to Turkey and famous for their great food. Rhodes is one of the most famous ones, exhibiting an appealing and very real-feeling old town. Patmos is a well-known religious destination.
The North & South Aegean Islands: Less famous but top choices for those who know and want to know more of Greece. Each island has something unique. Some are great for windsurfing, others for the food, and the great beaches. Ikaria is a popular island for extreme tranquility, while Samos is fantastic for their wine and windsurfing locations. Lesvos is the “ouzo” capital of Greece. This is where most ouzo is produced.
Crete is Greece’s biggest island. It is considered like a small country by itself (not formally but due to its size and autonomy in producing all of their goods). You need weeks to explore all of Crete and still you will not see all worth seeing.
In all islands the capital city/village is usually called Chora. So, don’t be surprised if you see this word repeated in your destinations.
All islands have isolated beaches. This alone makes Greek island hopping unique. If you travel with a yacht or sail around, you will be able to experience most of them. Usually they are free from crowds. In all, waters are so clean you will seem like floating in the air.
There is nothing to be compared with Greek island hopping. The fantastic combination of sun and blue are the things most carry back to their countries after leaving Greece. Well…, maybe with some extra bottles of wine, honey and “round around the edges” after trying all the tasty foods.
Have you ever done any Greek island hopping? We would love to know!