Greek island hopping routes are not hard to come by. With literally thousands of beautiful islands, each promising the holiday of a lifetime, you’d be crazy not to be looking at doing some island hopping in Greece – and we have the perfect Greek island hopping routes to get you started!
There are around 6,000 islands and islets across the Aegean and Ionian Seas. Of these, only around 230 are inhabited and only 80 have a significant number of inhabitants. Every island in Greece has its own unique look and feel which makes island hopping in Greece the perfect way to get around and really explore the country.
Quick Guide To Greek Island Hopping Routes
How To Get To Greece
Although Greece is pretty sparsely populated compared to a lot of Europe, it does cover a huge area in comparison to its neighbouring countries. Luckily though, they have excellent transport links all over the country and even to some of the most remote islands.
Flying into Greece is the easiest way of getting here, with Greece’s main airport being Athens. Depending on where you want to go island hopping though, Athens may not be the best place to head. I’ll detail the closest airport before going into each Greek island hopping route.
If you can’t get a direct flight there then Athens is an easy place to change flights or even stopover for a night or two before heading on to the islands. For a convenient place to stay that’s close to the airport check out Betty’s cosy apartment.
Areas To Consider For Your Greek Island Hopping Routes
I’ve split this guide into the best island hopping areas of Greece – the Ionian, the Cyclades and the Dodecanese.
You could also choose to go island hopping in the northern Aegean or the Sporades but I’ve chosen to focus on the ones that are the easiest to access, closest together so you have minimum time travelling and the most varied, beautiful, and interesting to explore.
The first decision you’ll have to make is which part of Greece you want to explore and your preferences will be individual – I’ve summed up each area below so you can get an idea of what to expect!
Don’t be tempted to squeeze in too much. My top tip would be to pick one of these areas and spend at least a week exploring it so you get the most out of your Greek island hopping experience!
The Ionian islands lie to the west of mainland Greece. Gentle, fertile, and mountainous, these islands often surprise people who expect the more dry and rugged lands found to the east of Greece. We found the Ionian to be a welcome surprise!
The Ionian islands have a shorter summer season and a wetter off-season, but they don’t experience the same Meltemi summer winds of the more eastern islands so they’re a good choice for sailors (and anyone who prefers their sandwiches without sand!) The summers are very hot but cooler than alternative island hopping destinations in Greece.
This island group is located in the centre of the Aegean Sea and contains over 2,000 islands – even though only about 30 of them are inhabited. Head here if you’re seeking the classic picture of the Greek islands, with whitewashed buildings and blue-domed churches, clustered villages, and barren mountainous terrain.
The weather here during the summer months is gloriously hot (perhaps a little too hot!) but the Meltemi winds blow regularly from July to September. Sometimes it’s a refreshing breeze but other times it’s pretty extreme!
This includes: Mykonos, Tinos, Naxos, Paros, Antiparos, Santorini, Sifnos, Syros, Milos, Amorgos and Folegandros.
The most popular island in the Dodecanese is Rhodes, but if you’re planning on going Greek island hopping here then there is a lot more to see. The islands here retained a long and rich history and have often served as a bridge between East and West.
They are so close to Turkey that you can see the Turkish mainland as clearly as the neighbouring islands and they share Turkey’s long, hot summers. The heat can be stifling if you aren’t used to it, and in the summer months, you’ll often be hit with strong Meltemi winds that are either refreshing or a bit of a nuisance!
Getting Between The Greek Islands
You have two options when it comes to travelling between the islands – by air or by sea:
Greek Island Hopping By Sea
Ferry: This is the most popular and probably the easiest and cheapest way to get around. You can book the ferry a few days before you leave if you want to be free to roam from island to island, but in the busier seasons, it’s advisable to book the ferries in advance to make sure you get a space. Most are used by daily commuters and tourists alike so they can get pretty busy!
The best ferry booking service to use out here is Direct Ferries. They have all the various ferry companies and routes to find you the best price and time. You’ll get a ticket through which can be scanned via your phone so you won’t have to find a printer.
If you are travelling through the night you’ll have the option to stay in a cabin. For longer journeys, this is usually the best way to do a ferry journey as you won’t be missing out on precious beach time!
Be Aware: If you’re visiting during the winter months the ferry timetable reduces significantly in certain areas and can be subject to favourable weather.
Speed boat: This is a great experience when travelling shorter distances, though will usually be more expensive.
Yacht: You can charter a sailboat from various charter companies all around Greece. You’ll need an ICC or day skipper qualification. If you aren’t so confident you can join a floatilla holiday for some support and guidance, and if you can’t sail then you can hire a sailboat with a skipper (though obviously that’s more expensive!) If you’re planning on seeing Greece by sailboat then check out the top 10 anchorages in Greece for inspiration.
Greek Island Hopping By Air
Plane: Most of the bigger islands (and even some of the smaller) have airports. Flying is usually the quickest option and often the most expensive. Going by plane will enable you to see more islands, but not necessarily the more remote, quieter islands. It’s often a good idea to fly out to an island to start your Greek island hopping route but then go by sea to explore the surrounding islands!
Greek Island Hopping Routes
For each of the three Greek island hopping areas, I’ve put together a two-week itinerary. If you only have a week then I’d suggest picking the week you fancy rather than trying to rush through more islands. You want to relax a little – this is a holiday after all!
With more than two weeks you can spend more time on each island or catch a flight to a new island-hopping area and explore a whole new region of Greece!
Greek Island Hopping Routes In The Ionian
Lefkada (3 days)
Start your Greek island hopping route in the Ionian in Lefkada. Lefkada is only sort of an island, as it’s connected to mainland Greece. This makes it an easy place to get to and the perfect place to start your island-hopping adventure.
How to get there: You can fly straight to Aktion international airport or get a transfer from Athens and then get a car transfer to Nydri in Lefkada.
What to do in Lefkada
Nydri in Lefkada is a pretty touristy place, so there’s a lot set up to do here. It isn’t the most authentically Greek destination we’ve come across, but it is the perfect place to start from and there’s lots to do in the local area.
On your three days here you should consider hiring a bicycle. There are pretty beaches and beautiful waterfalls just a few kilometres away from the actually town and cycling around the local area is a great way to take in the stunning scenery here. You can hire a bike from several places along the main street here.
If you want to do some exploring then a must-do while you’re here is to visit Dimosari waterfalls. Take a picnic and your swim stuff and make a day of it – you can find all you need to know in our post onDimosari falls.
Another must do while you’re in Nydri is to take a boat to some of the neighbouring islands. Kastos island was a particular favourite of ours and this boat trip will take you there and to two other beautiful nearby islands for exploring, swimming and a delicious lunch on board. Make sure you book well in advance as this is a popular trip during the summer months.
If you fancy something a little more adventurous then book onto a sea cave kayak tour where you’ll be taken by an experienced guide along Nydri’s beautiful coastline to explore the sea caves and natural beauty of the area. This is the perfect activity for the summer months when you’ll want any excuse to be on (and in!) the water! Or even more adventurous still is the PADI try dive experience where your guides will teach you the basics of scuba diving and you’ll explore the underwater world in Greece’s crystal clear sea.
For something a little more romantic treat yourselves to a wine tasting sunset tour with the most beautiful backdrop. This is the perfect activity to indulge in on a romantic Greek island hopping holiday.
Where to stay in Nydri
- Aggelos Apartments – Best for views: A great location, stunning views and bright, airy rooms. This place is a no-brainer if you’re staying in Nydri. We loved the pool which has views of the mountains. Find out more information and availability here.
- Athina Studios – Best for living local: If you want to stay somewhere with a bit more charm and character than a nice hotel then this is a great choice. With friendly staff, nice rooms and a lovely outdoor ‘chill’ area you’ll feel right at home here. Find out more information and availability here.
Meganisi Island (3 days)
Next on your Greek island hopping route is Meganisi island. It’s a half-hour ferry ride (find times and prices here) from Nydri and a pretty one, so try to get seats outside if you can!
Meganisi is a beautiful island, full of greenery and incredible views. It’s also pretty quiet here compared to a lot of the Ionian. People that visit tend to come for the day rather than to stay overnight.
What to do on Meganisi Island
There are no buses here so you either have to hire a car or walk if you want to explore. Luckily the island is small enough to walk most places and if you do you’ll be rewarded with incredible views out to sea.
The main villages in Meganisi are Vathy and Spartochori, where most hotels are located. Vathy, in particular, is very picturesque and the harbourside restaurants draw quite a crowd at times. With many yachts to watch mooring up in the summer months it’s a great place to pass a few hours with a morning coffee.
Agios Ioannis, Spilia, Barbarezou, and Fanari are the most popular beaches in Meganisi. If you follow any trail out of town you’ll come across a small cove or beach with the bluest of water.
Where To Stay In Meganisi
- Melissa Stone Houses – Best for seclusion– The perfect place for a secluded retreat that still has access to the main town of Vathy and numerous secluded bays and pretty beaches. It also has views to die for! Find out more information and prices here.
- Villa Lydia – Best for restaurants and bars: If you’re keen on staying closer to the action (and by action we mean a choice of restaurants and a bustling harbour – we’re hardly talking city life here!) then stay in Villa Lydia set back a little from the harbour so that you have fantastic views, a little peace and easy access to all the fun of Vathy Bay town. Find out more here.
- Teacher’s House – Best for views: Alternatively head to Meganisi’s other main town, Spartokhórion, and stay in Teacher’s House. Book the room with a balcony for awesome views. Find out more information and availability here.
Ithaca (4 days)
Home of Ulysses, the legendary hero of Homer, the tiny island of Ithaca draws in holidaymakers from all over the world. It isn’t as popular as some of its neighbouring islands, so it’s the perfect place to escape the crowds a little.
From Meganisi island it’s easiest to hop back over to Nydri and catch a ferry to Ithaka from there. It should only take you a few hours in total. Alternatively, you can hire a small boat to take you over to Ithaka (It will be quicker but more expensive!)
What to do on Ithaca on your Greek island hopping trip
In our opinion, the most beautiful towns in Ithaca are Vathy and Kioni (Kioni was our favourite). Try to plan a trip to at least one of these pretty Greek towns. In Kioni you’ll find a lovely walk up to three abandoned windmills, and lots of other walking trails listed on the large map in the town centre.
Ithaca is full of stunning beaches, so you should definitely schedule a beach day or two while you’re here. The beaches of Filiatro, Sarakiniko, and Agios Ioannis are some of the best-organized beaches in Ithaca. There are also many secluded coves that are easy to stumble upon if you set off along one of the many walking trails.
If you fancy doing some sightseeing while you’re here then there are a few interesting sites on the Greek island of Ithaca. Alalcomenae is an ancient town placed on a hill above the modern small village of Piso Aetos, to the south of Ithaca island. The Cave of Nymphs is a chamber 7 meters wide, 4 meters deep and 3 meters high. It’s found down a narrow pathway leading to the cave.
Where To Stay On Ithaca
- Familia – Ideal for character and delicious breakfasts! This hotel is a family owned old olive oil factory converted into lovely rooms in the perfect location. The decor is full of style and character and you’re a stones throw from the harbourside and all the action. Check rates here.
- Val di Compare – ideal for tranquility:Situated up in the hills and away from it all but with all the modern amenities to make your stay comfortable, this place is perfect for anyone looking for a bit of an escape. Find out more here.
Kephalonia (4 days)
The Ionian island of Kefalonia is a must-see on your Greek island hopping route itinerary. It’s known for being one of the most beautiful islands in Greece and it has a breath-taking and diverse landscape with a lot to see and do. 4 days here is just enough time to get an idea of all it has to offer – and we’re pretty sure you’ll be leaving wanting more!
What to do on the Greek island of Kephalonia
It would be possible to spend two weeks here alone and still leave not having done it all. We’ve listed a few real highlights below – it might be worth hiring a car here to see as much as possible in a short time.
Visit the north – Myrtos, Assos & Fiskardo.
Myrtos beach is world famous for it’s stunning blue waters and sandy stretch of beach. The view from the road above is breath-taking so make sure you schedule in time for a walk to the top.
Assos was a real highlight for us. It’s a pretty town that stretches out onto a semi-island with ancient ruins and views to die for. There are some great places to stop for lunch on the harbourside and people watch. If you don’t have a car then just jump onto a transfer.
Fiskardo has a chic vibe, with super yachts and fancy places to eat. You can hire a little motor boat from here and explore some of the harder to get to private coves along the nearby coastline.
Visit Melissani Cave & Sami on your Greek island hopping route
Another great day would be to visit the pretty town of Sami with it’s fancy marina and harbourside cafes and restaurants. Stop for a bite to eat here before heading to Melissani caveswith their incredible crystal clear waters.
Spot Turtles In Argostoli
Argostoli is one of Kephalonia’s biggest towns. Its sheltered harbour is a favourite stop for many sailors and in the waters of the bay, you’ll find resident turtles that surface for scraps from the waterside restaurants.
Although it’s tempting to focus on Greece’s incredible beaches, you’d be doing it an inservice if you didn’t learn a little more about its fascinating culture, and this tour in Argostoli is the perfect way to do that. You’ll learn about the history, food, and culture (and even get to see how the famous sweets here are made!)
Lixouri is a short ferry hop from Argostoli and has a much more laid-back vibe. There are some lovely small beaches here with great water for paddling (fantastic for you ger kids) and you can also rent a small boat (license free) and head out to explore the little coves in this sheltered fork of the island!
Take a sunset cruise to several of Kephalonia’s most beautiful beaches and enjoy delicious food and wine while you soak in the sea views. This is the perfect way to end your Greek island hopping adventure, before your flight back home.
Where to stay on Kephalonia
As Kephalonia is so spread out there really isn’t a ‘best’ area to stay in. Many of the tours depart from Argostoli, so if you don’t have your own transport then this would be a great place to base yourself.
Aenos Hotel – located on the main square of Argostoli and in the perfect location for anyone keen to explore and make the most of the nightlife here. Most rooms have a private balcony overlooking the main square and the port of Argostoli. Check availability and prices here.
Byron Hotel Best for budget – Centrally located in Argostoli Town, Byron Hotel is just a 5 minute walk from cafés, taverns and shopping. Rooms are comfortable and come with a balcony, and the staff here can help guests arrange car and bike rentals. This is a great budget option close to all the action, with rooms from 55euros a night! Head here for prices and availability.
Mariangela Apartments– Not in Argostoli but just a short ferry hop away (about 10 minutes ride) you’ll find Lixouri, brimming with the charm of an authentic Greek town but within easy reach of the choice of things to do in Argostoli. A stay here is perfect for anyone seeking a little more peace and quiet, and easy access to lovely beaches. For availability and prices head here.
That’s your two weeks island hopping routes in the Greek Ionian over. Argostoli has a well-linked international airport that’s easy to reach via shuttle bus or taxi. If you have longer to spend Greek island hopping in the Ionian then the next place on your list should be Zakynthos with its famous shipwreck beach and blue caves.
Greek Island Hopping Routes In The Cyclades
The Cyclades in Greece contains some of the most famous islands here, and it’s here you’ll find the white-washed streets tinged with blue and endless stunning views. You can get a great mix of tourist hotspots and quiet, off-the-beaten-track destinations so it’s the perfect place to head if you want a taste of it all!
Top Tip: During the summer the Meltemi winds can be furious, and it’s not uncommon for them to blow for weeks at a time. It probably won’t bother you too much, and it can provide great relief from the hot sun, but lying on the beach might get tiresome if you don’t pick a sheltered one!
Santorini (3 days)
Santorini is the easiest place to get to in the Cyclades and famously beautiful, so it’s the perfect place to start your Greek island hopping route.
How To Get There: The easiest way to get to Santorini is to fly here. There are direct flights from some countries or you may have to transfer in Athens, but with regular flights all through the summer this shouldn’t be too hard!
You can also take the ferry from Athens. The journey takes between 5 and 8 hours and is an adventure in itself, so if you choose this method of transport then make sure you spend some time watching out for dolphins on the deck!
When you arrive hire a car or use one of the many good value shared transfer services to reach your hotel.
What To Do In Santorini
Spend some time exploring Santorini’s two most famous towns – Fira and Oia. Start in Fira and spend the morning exploring the pretty alleyways and enjoying the views before you head off on the 2 hour trek to Oia. This is a great way to take in some incredible views and get a feel for the island.
Again, Oia is the perfect place to pass some time, shopping in boutique stores and enjoying the restaurants and coffee shops. Head to the Oia Byzantine Castle ruins to admire the sunset. It’s the best sunset spot in Santorini!
If you don’t have a car then book onto this tour which will take you round some of Santorini’s most beautiful towns, and will finish in Oia for that incredible sunset.
Once you’ve had some time to explore inland you should take some time to explore what Greece really does best – the coastline. Sail around Santorini caldera aboard a luxurious catamaran. Snorkel, swim in hot springs, spot the famous volcano, then indulge in freshly prepared food and drinks. You can choose between a morning or sunset cruise.
If you want something a lot more special you can opt for a private catamaran experience with a BBQ and drinks. This is one of those once in a lifetime experiences if you want to really treat yourself (or the person you’re with!)
If you’re on a budget then book a group tour of the volcanic islands of Santorini’s caldera region. Swim in hot springs, admire views from an active volcano and explore the typical villages of Thirassia and Oia. This one is great value – Find out more information and prices here.
There’s still so much to do here so you’ll have to decide what suits you best. I’ve listed a few of my favourite options below, but to be honest, another day just wondering the pretty towns would be another day in paradise! This is a must-see destination for your Greek island hopping route in the Cyclades.
- Visit any of the other beautiful villages like Pyrgos, Megalochori and Emporio.
- Head to archaeological sites – Akrotiri and the Ancient Thera.
- Spend some time relaxing on one of Santorini’s beautiful beaches. Don’t miss the Red Beach and its stunning cliffs, or Kamari and Perissa beaches with their volcanic black sand. There are so many more to choose from too if you’ve had enough of one!
Where to stay in Santorini
Santorini isn’t the cheapest of islands in Greece because of it’s popularity – but places are usually popular for a reason so it’s definitely worth three days of your time (and money!)
To find cheaper accommodation you can stay out of the main towns, though it will be harder to get around and you may want to consider hiring a car.
Be aware: Santorini is an extremely popular holiday destination so it’s worth booking in advance if you want the best choice of places to stay in Santorini.
Best hotels in Oia
- Laokasti Villas– Best for budget and location: Located just a 10 minute walk from Oia and a stones throw from a huge range of restaurants is this little gem! Prices start from €89 per night with breakfast included – just a few minutes from centrally located hotels charging hundreds per night. It has a swimming pool and views out to sea, and you won’t find much cheaper in Oia so it’s a great budget option (that won’t feel like budget!) Find out more information and availability here.
- Anemi House And Villas – Best for character and charm With prices starting from €250 per night, breakfast included, these studio cave apartments have so much character and charm that I just had to include them. They were renovated from ancient cave dwellings found here in Santorina and have been tastefully decorated with views to die for. Find out more information and availability here.
- Armeni Luxury Villas – Best for ultimate luxury If you want to feel as though you just stepped out of a magazine photo shoot then you have to check this place out. Each villa comes with it’s own private pool or hot tub, INCREDIBLE views and a hydro-shower or hot tub. Prices from €350. For more information and availability head here.
Best hotels in Fira
- Sweet Pop – Best for budget: Centrally located in Fira Town, Sweet Pop offers an outdoor pool with sun terrace and although the decor might not be to everyone’s taste, we think it’s fun and quirky! For a budget place to stay in Santorini (from €50) this is a great choice! For more information and availability head here.
- Caldera Edge Suites – Best for romance: These suites all come with their own indoor or outdoor spa pool and fantastic views. They’re a great option for if you want a little luxury without the insane price tag that so often comes with luxury accommodation in Santorini. Find out more information and availability here.
Amorgos (3 days)
Despite being a quiet island, Amorgos became popular thanks to the movie “The big blue”, which was filmed there! Boasting a mindblowing natural landscape and fabulous beaches, Amorgos island is a perfect stop off on any Greek island hopping route.
It takes around an hour by ferry to reach Amorgos, so you’ll get there in plenty of time to enjoy your first day here!
What To Do On Amogos
Amorgos is a beautiful island on which to spend a few days, and it’s less busy that Santorini so you can choose whether to see as much as possible, or take it a little more slowly! Here are some of the highlights to see on this beautiful Greek island:
- Visit the lovely village of Hora (Amorgos’ capital) and see the iconic old mills.
- Tour the Monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa
- Make a stop at Agia Ana cove, just below the monastery
There are also some great walking routes around Amorgos. Greece is full of amazing hiking trails and Amorgos is no exception. It’s a great way to see as much of the islands countryside and stunning sea views as possible. Be aware that many of the trails are pretty hilly, so make sure you take plenty of water and sun cover ups!
You can find the best walking trails here. They’re labelled easy, medium and hard so you can choose how you’re feeling on the day!
If you started your time here with some walking then rest your aching legs with a day dedicated to exploring Amorgos’ beautiful beaches. Here are a few of the best:
- Relax at Kalotaritissa Beach and visit the nearby ship wreck Olympia from “The Big Blue” movie.
- Head to Mouros beach for the crystal clear waters and great vibe
- Seek out Maltezi beach for a bit of seclusion
Where to stay in Amorgos
Stay in either Katapola or Aegiali for the best choice of restaurants and cafes. These two towns make great bases for exploring the island. Below are some great options.
Best hotels in Katapola
- Barbara Pension – Best budget option: Just 5 minutes away from the beach and right next to the port of Katapola. This is a great budget option, and the kitchen and fridge in these studios mean you can cook for yourself and save even more on eating out! From €55 per night. Find out more here.
- Amorgos Pearls – Best for romance. Amorgos Pearls is located in the center of Katapola Bay, just 250 yards from Katapola Port. It’s the beautifully decorated rooms and bathrooms that make this place really stand out – with Cycladic architecture, king-size beds, beamed ceilings and well-chosen furniture. Each unit includes a kitchenette and a luxurious bathroom. There’s also a lovely garden from which you can enjoy breakfast or a drink in the evening. Find out more here.
Best hotels in Aegiali
- Aelia Studios – Best for budget and location: These apartments are super pretty and in a great location, we’re pretty sure they could charge a lot more than they do! At prices from €37 per night you’ll get a charming apartment with a little kitchen a lovely bathroom. These are our top choice in Aegliali. For more information and availability head here.
- Vigla Hotel: If you’d prefer to stay in a hotel rather than an apartment then take a look at Vigla Hotel. It has a lovely pool and is just 10 minutes from the beach. The rooms are modern and bright and the restaurant serves delicious Greek dishes! For more information and availability head here.
Naxos (3 days)
Naxos is just over an hour’s ferry ride from Amorgos. It’s the largest island in the Cyclades so there’s a lot to see and do here but you can see the best bits in three days if you’re determined!
Things to do in Naxos
Visit the main town of Hora where you can visitThe Portara. It’s the only remain of a former temple dedicated to Apollo. The view from here is incredible so make sure you’ve got your camera ready! Make sure you also have a wander around the Kastro district and stop for refreshments along the harbourside.
Head to Halki, located in the centre of the island. Here you can find the only distillery making a local liquor named “Kitron”. Agios Giorgios Diasorites church is a 10-minute walk from the village.
You should definitely take a boat trip while you’re here. This budget option takes you to some of the best beaches on Naxos and includes a Greek BBQ. For a luxury option that won’t completely break the bank book in this catamaran tour where you’ll get to cruise the best spots on the Naxos coastline, stopping to dive off the boat into crystal clear waters.
Hike to the summit of Mount Zeus, the highest point of the Cyclades. It takes around 1h30 to reach the top.
One of the best things to do on the island of Naxos is to take part in a cookery course. You’ll learn the secret of Naxian cuisine on a 4-hour cooking lesson experience in one of the most traditional villages on Naxos! It’s a really unique experience and we can highly recommend it!
Where to stay in Naxos
The best place to stay on Naxos is in Hora (the capital city).
- Anatoli Hotel – Best for budget: Located a 10-minute walk from Naxos centre and the beach. This hotel has a lovely pool and bright, modern rooms. It’s a great option for anyone on a budget. For more information and prices head here.
- Euphoria Downtown – Best for couples This place screams romance, with it’s beautiful decor and spa baths in every room. It’s also in a great location, so it’s got a lot going for it! Find out more here.
- Hotel Grotta: This is a best seller for a reason. Located only 700m from the Portara and 15 minutes from the beach, this hotel is pure luxury at an affordable price.
Paros (3 days)
Just 40 minutes ferry ride from the Greek island of Naxos is the equally stunning Paros. This popular Greek island has everything you could want from a holiday in Greece – culture, romance, nightlife, and beaches to die for. It’s well worth a stop on your Greek island hopping tour.
What to do on Paros
The two main villages of Paros Greece are Parikia and Naoussa, and this is also where you’ll find most of the nightlife. Full of traditional taverns, restaurants, and modern bars, Parikia and Naoussa overflow with holiday seekers ready to party. If loud music and crowded bars aren’t your scene then not to worry. The tranquil, traditional villages of Lefkes and Marpissa show a different side to Paros and you’ll find this is an island of many faces.
The things to do here are plentiful! Take your pick from a huge range of sight-seeing, adventure, and relaxing activities.
This island is famous for one thing in particular: its beaches! Some of the most famous (and busier) options are Santa Maria, Golden Beach Paros, Punta, and Kolymbithres but like everywhere in Greece there are also many secluded beaches, for those who seek privacy.
Parikia is the island’s capital. Here you can discover its old town and Panagia Ekatontapyliani church or visit the Byzantine Museum and the Archaeological Museum. There are also numerous cafes, restaurants, and bars to sit back and watch the world go by.
We might be biased, but in our opinion the best way to see any island is by sailboat! This full days sailing trip is really well priced and you’ll get the chance to explore some of the less frequently visited islands of the Cyclades, like Iraklia where you can snorkel around a World War II plane wreck (this is a very cool experience!) You’ll have lunch on board and won’t return until sunset.
If you’re feeling energetic then trek along the Byzantine trail that connects the three lovely villages of Lefkes, Prodromos and Marpissa.
Where to stay in Paros
Most of the accommodation is centered around Parikia (where the ferries arrive), or in Naoussa, the island’s main seaside resort. You can also choose to stay away from the main towns and head somewhere a little more secluded. We’ve found you great options for all of these choices!
Best hotels in Parikia
- Margarita (Best budget):Only 300m from the church of Parikia, and 400m from the beach. The double rooms with balcony start from 37€ per night. This is the perfect budget option for anyone wanting to stay close to the action!
- Nostos Studios (best for sunset views): Located only a minute walk from the beach and 1km from the port. These studios for 2-4 people comes with incredible sea views and are perfect for those that want the option to cater for themselves.
- Hotel Dina (Best for authenticity): Housed in a traditional Cycladic building, Hotel Dina is located centrally and is a great option for anyone seeking something tasteful and classy.
Best hotels in Naoussa
- Adonis Hotel Studios & Apartments: It’s clear why this is a best seller in Naousa, with it’s incredible views, luxurious pool and tasteful decor. This is somewhere you have to check out further!
- Hotel Manto: This pretty boutique hotel is cool and welcoming on a hot summer’s day. It’s also incredibly priced and well worth checking out as a budget option!
Best Quiet Stays In Paros
BilMar Little Palace: Located in the Tsoukalia area, just 10 minutes from the cosmopolitan center of Naousa but far enough away to provide the peace you’re looking for. This house is perfect for families or couples seeking seclusion, and the beach is only 40m away! What more could you ask for!
Ios (2 days)
Ios is sadly the last destination on your Greek island hopping route in the Cyclades, but don’t worry – it’s a good one! It will take you about an hour to reach Ios if you go by ferry.
Tiny whitewashed houses, narrow cobblestone alleys, picturesque clifftop villages and, of course, mesmerizing beaches, Ios is the perfect place to end your island hopping trip in Greece.
Things To Do In Ios
The traditional windmills of Ios are well worth exploring. The majority of the windmills are found in the beautiful Cycladic town of Chora where twelve windmills sit on the mountain slope decorating the horizon. Back in the day, the windmills were used to produce energy to grind grains and helped enormously by adding to the agricultural economy and satisfying the food requirements of the island.
Jump into a speedboat and visit the thing Ios is most famous for – its spectacular beaches. Visit the endless golden sands of Mylopotas beach with its incredible deep blue waters, snorkel the beach of Kalamos and explore more remote beaches along the way!
Vsiti the Odysseas Elytis Theatre in Ios with its breath-taking views. Though the amphitheater is made of marble in the ancient Greek style, it was constructed relatively recently compared to other architectural structures on Ios. During the summer musical concerts, plays and other performances take place at this theatre so if you’re lucky enough your visit might coincide!
Head off on a canoe safari starting from Mylopotas Bay. Enjoy a barbecue lunch, then continue paddling to Kolitsani, a remote beach surrounded by scenic hills. This is the perfect way to stay fit while on holiday!
Enjoy a romantic sunset sail on this half-day pirate ship adventure from Ios. Explore the many beautiful little bays of Ios, and drink cocktails along the way! The boat’s pretty impressive too!
Where to stay in Ios
With only two days here you won’t want to stray too far from the harbour, but not to worry, there are some fantastic options located around here.
- Avra Pension:Located close to the port and a 10-minute walk from the beach. This is a great budget option, with its tastefully decorated rooms and a delicious breakfast!
- Avanti: The Avanti is peacefully located in the upper part of the Chora offering splendid views of the town and sea. The pool area is gorgeous and you won’t have any regrets about booking this place as your last stay.
Greek Island Hopping In The Dodecanese
Rhodes (4 days)
Rhodes is the obvious place to start your Greek island hopping adventure in the Dodecanese. It’s one of Greece’s main islands and has a busy international airport and good transport links to and from the island so you shouldn’t struggle to get here.
Days 1 and 2: Leave Rhodes and head straight for the pretty town of Lindos. This typically Greek town with it’s white washed houses and beautiful beaches is a great place to settle into your holiday. You could easily spend a whole week here, but try to pick a few great activities from this list of the best things to do in Lindos.
Where to stay in Lindos
- Captains House: In the heart of Lindos, this placeneeds to be seen to be believed! This traditional 17th century villa has all you could need from a house but in the style of a traditional 17th century building. It even has a beautiful mosaic terrace.
- Villa Panthea: This villa is perfectly located and so pretty. You won’t be disappointed turning up here after a long journey! It’s kept many period features but this villa is clean and modern feeling, with an incredible outdoor seating area for balmy evening drinks.
- Casita Casita: This adults-only hotel is a short walk from Lindos town, but is worth it for the pool views over the white-washed buildings and the acropolis! The attention to detail in this hotel is just lovely, with comfy poolside seating, hammocks, and dining area.
Days 3 and 4: Spend a couple of days in Rhodes town where you’ll fall in love with the historic towns alleyways, architecture and incredible restaurants and cafes. The best thing to do in Rhodes is to simply wander and see what you discover, but you should start your time here with a tour of the main sites so you know what you’re looking at as you wander.
Take a segway tour to see the hidden spots of Rhodes town that you might miss if you weren’t with an experienced local guide! We love taking proper tours when visiting a historic city like Rhodes, as you get to discover the significance of places you might otherwise miss. Doing it on a segway just adds to the fun!
If segways are a little too adventurous for you then go on a traditional walking tour of the city. This is a really good one, that covers all the best spots in Rhodes old town like the Jewish Quarter, Ippokratous Square, famous Street of the Knights, Grand Master Palace, Archeological Museum and Fortifications of the Palace.
Where To Stay In Rhodes
With only a few days here splash out a little and stay in the charming old town area. You won’t regret it!
- Casa De La Sera: Best for budget, this place manages to retain charm and class. It’s on the outskirts of the old town so you’ll still be close to all the action but with a little less of the cost!
- Petrino:This is so charming and pretty. If you want to stay in your own slice of history then book this place! The photos don’t do it justice!
Symi (3 days)
Symi is one of the most beautiful islands on this Greek island hopping routes post. We fell head over heels for this island and could have easily spent weeks here.
It takes just over an hour to get here by ferry. Make sure you book in advance as this is a very popular ferry route and was nearly full when we booked 3 days prior to travel.
We’ve written about all the best things to do in Symi, which include some great boat trips, beautiful beaches and Symi town itself is a real highlight. You won’t be disappointed with this stop on your Greek island hopping route!
The best places to stay on Symi island
Symi town is by far the best place for a short stay on Symi island as it’s central to everything. You should be awar though that a lot of the accommodation in Symi town is up sets of stairs. We’ve found a great option below if stairs aren’t your thing.
- Pitini apartment – Boasts the perfect location, being only a few minutes walk from the harbour and all the restaurants and bars. It’s got a real traditional vibe, and coffee on the balcony in the morning with those views is like something from a movie set! You have to stay here to believe it! You can book here now but be aware this place sells out quickly during peak season!
- Thea – One of the highest rated places to stay in the whole of Symi and we can see why! This apartment is worth staying in just for the bathroom! With incredible views and in a great location you should definitely consider a stay here when visiting Symi island in Greece.
- Danezis – a great option if you aren’t keen on stairs. This villa is on the harbour front and is just a short walk from the main town, so you still get the views but without the big climb!
Lipsoi (2 days)
Catch the ferry from Symi town to the small island of Lipsi. This is a long journey at around 7 hours and most of the ferries operate overnight. It should still cost you under £50 though, which is cheap considering it’s a nights accommodation. Make sure you book a cabin in advance and get rested up for your days of exploring on the island of Lipsi.
Things to do on Lipsi: Lipsi island is one of Greece’s quieter islands and the perfect place to get to know the local culture and immerse yourself in this beautiful country. It’s super under developed so there really isn’t much to do here apart from completely unwind.
Follow any of the roads and you’ll get some great hikes, almost all of which will lead to secluded beaches and coves. Pack a picnic and your kindle and pick a direction, then relax and swim in the crystal clear waters.
There are some great farms and local stores dotted along the roads so if you spot one make sure to pop in and purchase some local Greek goods. The honey is delicious!
Where To Stay On Lipsi Island
Stay in the main ‘town’ of Lipsi for the most convenience. It’s very small and very local – make sure you try out the different taverns as they’re all charming and serve delicious Greek dishes.
- Michalis Studios – In a great central location, these studios are perfectly set up for a short stay in Lipsi. They have balconies and kitchenettes, so you can choose whether to eat out or in. From 35 a night they’re also excellent value for money!
- Studios Akrogialli – Stay here if you want to be right on the waterfront with a balcony overlooking the sea.
Patmos (3 days)
Just a short ferry hop from Lipsi is the beautiful island of Patmos. It will take you about 30 minutes to get here by ferry.
According to the tradition, Saint John the Divine was inspired to write the Book of the Apocalypse inside a cave in Patmos. Thousands of pilgrims come to Patmos island every year to visit this important religious island. If history and religion isn’t for you then don’t worry – this island has some stunning beaches and incredibly pretty towns too!
What To Do On Patmos Island
The so-called “Cave of the Apocalypse” is one of the island’s main attractions. There’s also a large monastery dedicated to Saint John above Chora, the island’s capital. It would be a crime to come here and not visit these important historic and religious sites!
There are some great beaches on Patmos. Skala is the most popular and there are plenty of facilities here. Our favourite was Petra with it’s giant rock feature rising from the sea. You can climb it for impressive views but careful of your footing!
Skala town itself is pretty and full of the usual delicious Greek tavernas to while away the hours with a glass of wine or beer. Great seafood is served on the island too.
If you visit in autumn or spring then there are some great hiking trails on the island of Patmos. Just pick a direction and go! The paths here tend to be hilly, so make sure you have comfortable shoes and plenty of water!
Where To Stay On Patmos Island
- Maria Studios: Located in Skala, where the ferry stops, this studio is in a great location and is a good choice for anyone wanting to self-cater. The building and outside areas are really lovely too!
- Theologos Houses: Traditionally built with stone, wood, and ceramic tiles, all units boast panoramic views of Grikos Bay and a pool area you won’t want to leave. If you’re looking for pure luxury then look no further!
Leros (2 days)
This is one of the most unusual Greek islands we’ve visited and a good ending to your Greek island hopping routes. It will take you about an hour on the ferry to get here from Patmos, arriving into the port of Lakki.
Your two days in Leros will probably be full of hiking and exploring the beautiful Agia Marina town. We’ve written a full guide to exploring Leros which details all the best things to do here. After spending four months on this island we can say hands down that you won’t be bored here, and it’s the perfect place to end your Greek island hopping adventure.
Leros has it’s own airport with internal flights most days of the week, so you can fly back to Athens and spend a few days there before you head home if you have time, or just catch a flight home straight from Athens. The flight back to Athens is pretty spectacular.
Where to stay on Leros on your Greek island holiday
- Asterias – Opposite Agia Marina, just 100 m from Panteli Beach, Asterias is a great choice for anyone wanting to unwind. The property has a private set of stairs leading to the beach where you’ll find local tavernas, or you can walk easily into Agia Marina for a wider choice. You can find out more information and prices here.
- Crithoni’s Paradise Hotel – If you’re here for a special occasion, or just want to treat yourself, then here is the place to stay. This luxurious hotel is right next to the sea and has an incredible swimming pool for hot summer evenings. The rooms are beautiful, as are the communal areas. It’s in a perfect location too, close to the pretty town and the castle. We didn’t get to stay long, but what we saw we loved! You can find out more information and prices here.
What To Pack For Island Hopping In Greece
The best bit of advice I can give when it comes to packing for your Greek island hopping adventure is to pack light. When you’re moving around as much as this you’ll want as little as possible to lug around or possibly get lost. There are a few main items you’ll want to bring for sure that will make life easier and save you money!
- Water filter bottle – the water on Greek islands isn’t always suitable for drinking
- Waterproof bag – Greece is all about boat trips and crystal clear waters, protect your phone and camera with a waterproof bag
- Reef safe sun cream
- Mozzie spray
- Kindle – Perfect for packing light and entertaining yourself on ferry journeys. If you don’t already have one then go for the waterproof option
If you want a full packing list for what to wear and pack for your holiday to Greece then check out our ultimate Greek packing list with a handy tick list.
Travel Insurance For Your Greek Island Hopping Routes
Travel insurance is an essential part of any holiday planning and Greek island hopping is no exception. There are tonnes of travel insurance companies out there but we always go with World Nomads as they have an easy sign up process that shows you clearly what activities you’re covered for.
For example, if you want to go sailing then you’ll need to make sure you’re covered for this activity and when we were booking this for ourselves we found most insurance companies put exceptions deep in their small print! World Nomads has it all in a clear tick list, and you can choose the best policy for whatever activities you’re planning.
Money Matters On Greek Island Hopping Routes
Make sure your bank knows you’re travelling if you’re planning on using your bank card – there’s nothing worse than being cut off unexpectedly mid trip! We use Revolut for all our travels. It works everywhere that accepts card in Greece, you can keep track of what you’re spending and where in a handy app and you can top it up manually or set it to top up automatically so you never run out of money (but if it’s lost or stolen then there’s only a little money available).
It has super low exchange rates and you can use it to withdraw £200 a month in cash free of charge. It’s been a real life saver for us on many occasions!
You can get one sent to you for free before your travels using this link.
Reading Material For Greek Island Hopping Routes
Here are some great books you should read before you go, or on your Greek island hopping trip!
- The Lonely Planet Greek islands travel guide – I always take a guide book with me when I travel, and Lonely Planet is always my go-to. They have great local tips for interesting places to eat and more than anything, I think guide books are a great memento of places I’ve been!
- Burning Island – A gripping, heart-wrenching read based around the island of Corfu. This is a bit of a tear-jerker but I couldn’t put it down.
- The Island – A number one bestselling paperback in the UK, this is a captivating and epic tale of family ties, romance, war, disease, and history all set on the beautiful Greek Island of Crete
So there you have it – the ultimate guide to the best Greek island hopping routes! I hope you’ve found this post useful when planning your next Greek holiday. If you have any questions at all then feel free to ask away in the comments below. If you’ve found this useful then we’d love you to share, and follow us on social media for more travel inspiration!