Island hopping in Greece: the ultimate travel itinerary

by suitcasestoriesbe
Island hopping in Greece the ultimate travel itinerary

If there’s any country in Europe where we lost our hearts, it’s Greece! White houses, beautiful blue skies, hidden beaches, delicious food, and friendly locals… do we need to say more? But with so many islands to choose from, all with their own unique character,  how do you decide which ones to visit? An island-hopping trip in Greece is the perfect way to see some of the most beautiful islands in the world and experience the authentic Greek island life like never before.

How many islands you can visit, depends on how long you can travel. Count at least two weeks to go island-hopping in Greece and a minimum of three to four nights on each island. For this ultimate travel itinerary, we picked out our most favorite islands and listed down the number of days we recommend staying at each island, some recommendations on where to stay and the best things to do. Every time we visit a new island, we will update this article. And to help you visualize how to get around we’ve put it together on a map as well.

Tip: if you are traveling solo or would like to join an organized trip, definitely check the amazing tours of TourRadar here. They have really great island-hopping tours in Greece. Super cool!

Island hopping in Greece: an overview of our travel route

START Athens | END Athens

DURATION 14-16 days

METHOD OF TRANSPORT Flights + Ferry

BEST TIME OF YEAR June – September

WHEN DID WE GO September

HIGHLIGHTS Zakynthos, Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, Paros, Naxos, Ios

Island hopping greece travel itinerary

Athens

A visit to the Greek capital is a wonderful place to start or end your island hopping trip with. It’s most of the time the cheapest place to book your flight to. From here you can catch ferries to almost every Greek island. The city itself is worth a visit too with so many beautiful places to visit and streets to stroll around, and can be easily done in one full day.

Read also: The best things to do in Athens (in 24 hours)

Recommended stay

  • 1 – 2 days

Where to stay

Things to do

  • For all the best things to do in Athens, check out our full article here

How to get to Piraeus port from Athens

  • First book a flight to Athens International Airport
  • From the airport, you can take a taxi direct to the port (40 minutes) or city center (30 minutes)
  • Where you have the choice to connect with a bus or subway to the port in about 30 minutes
  • Taxi from the city center is about 20 minutes
  • From Piraeus port, you hop on the ferry to one of the different islands

Mykonos

Picturesque, trendy and beautiful in every way. Considered as the party island, but has so much more to offer: lovely beach clubs, chic boutiques, plenty of great restaurants, narrow alleys to wander around, white sandy beaches and a boho-chic atmosphere. Mykonos is the stylish kid in town, but really a place where you definitely want to come over and over again.

Recommended stay

  • 3 – 5 days

Where to stay

Things to do

How to get in Mykonos

Santorini

Everyone knows the typical postcard images of blue-domed houses perched on steep cliffs, overlooking the Aegean Sea, yup… this is Santorini! Santorini is the most romantic island of all, and home to dramatic sunsets and beautiful views everywhere you go. Above all, it’s also one of the most famous honeymoon destinations in the world. Worth a visit, right? To have great views of the beautiful caldera, volcano, and sunsets every night, be sure to stay in one of the four towns: Fira, Oia, Imerovigli or Firostafani are located on the cliffs. A bit more expensive, but you’ll love it!

Recommended stay

  • 2 – 4 days

Where to stay

Things to do

  • Our first introduction to diving was in Santorini. The clear water and rock formation are incredible!
  • Walk along the crater from Fira to Imerovigli (or Oia if you want to go for a longer scenic walk)
  • Have dinner in Oia while watching the sunset
  • Walk through the narrow streets of Fira and stroll around the lovely shops
  • Visit a winery and taste some delicious Greek wines
  • Take a thousand pictures of the beautiful blue-domed churches
  • Chill at Perissa Beach
  • Slow down and just enjoy the views
  • Watch the sunset and have dinner on a Catamaran Cruise

How to get in Santorini

Paros

Paros is well known, but only a few really visit this cozy island. It’s an island ideal for young people, couples and families. Chill vibes, unspoiled nature, picturesque whitewashed villages, and beautiful beaches are the things you may expect. It’s not too big and not too small, which makes it just perfect! As it’s located almost in the center of the Cyclades, it’s ideal to combine with other islands. And ow yeah, the restaurants in Paros are among the best.

Recommended stay

  • 3 – 5 days

Where to stay

Things to do

  • Visit the beautiful fishing village of Naoussa
  • Chill on Parikia Beach
  • Take a boat trip to Anti-Paros
  • Explore secret beaches and snorkel in crystal clear waters on a sailing trip around Paros
  • Rent a quad bike and discover the whole island and its beaches

How to get in Paros

Ios

Our all-time favorite! With no airport, the island of Ios is laid back, unspoiled, peaceful and easy-going. During the summer months, it is well known among the locals as the party island, but when you visit it like us during September you will have the whole island almost for yourself. Count on impressive views of the beautiful Aegean Sea wherever you go and the most beautiful sunsets every evening. Aaaahh… Lovely! Besides picturesque bays and authentic villages, Ios offers also some cultural sights to visit.

Recommended stay

  • 3 – 5 days

Where to stay

Things to do

  • Chill at Mylopotas Beach and Manganari Beach
  • Rent an ATV and explore the whole island and beautiful beaches (you can fill 2 full days with this)
  • Jump on a snorkel cruise with Dream Boat to more remote beaches and enjoy their delicious bbq on board
  • Get lost in the beautiful village Chora (Ios main town)
  • Climb to the top of the hill in Chora for spectacular sunset views
  • Visit the Odysseas Elytis Theatre and Homer’s Tomb
  • Enjoy local Greek cuisine at one of the several traditional Greek restaurants (check our favorite places here)

How to get in Ios

Read also: Best things to do in Ios, Greece & best places to eat in Ios

Naxos

Comparing to the other Cyclades islands, Naxos is a big island. It has long sandy beaches, rocky secluded coves with nudist beaches, gorgeous crystal clear water and charming mountain villages. It’s also one of the best places in Greece for kitesurfing and windsurfing. The old town of Naxos, which is one the best sightseeing on the island, is incredibly picturesque with cute little streets, shops and many great restaurants serving incredible local food.

Recommended stay

  • 4 – 5 days

Where to stay

Things to do

  • Rent an ATV and explore the whole island
  • Visit the ancient ruins of the 6th-century BC Temple of Demeter
  • Relax at Agios Prokopios Beach
  • Wander around the streets of Filoti village, which is well-known for its olive groves and little Byzantine churches
  • Visit the colorful and historic town of Chalkio
  • Go with sunset to the old town of Naxos and enjoy panoramic sunsets at Portara or “the great door”, which is the symbol of Naxos
  • Have a sangria or cocktail at the relaxed 520 bar in the old town overlooking the port
  • Walk around the narrow streets of Old Town and visit the 13th-century Venetian castle Kastro
  • Relax on an all-inclusive full-day catamaran cruise around Naxos with Naxos Yachting (check our Naxos travel movie for this amazing adventure)
  • Go to the beautiful nude beach of Alyko and don’t miss the graffiti art on the buildings next to the beach

How to get in Naxos

Zakynthos

Different than the other islands above, Zakynthos is an island in the Ionian Sea. The first thing to notice about it is its beauty. Zakynthos really has such scenic landscapes, natural treasures, and golden bays. And the best of all: there are so many things to do! Make sure to rent a car to make a mini road trip on your own. So relaxing! And since the island is quite small, it doesn’t take a lot of time to reach the different hotspots. Snorkeling and diving here are great and maybe one of the coolest things is to do some turtle-spotting.

Recommended stay

  • 4 – 5 days

Where to stay

Things to do

How to get in Zakynthos

P.S. Are you leaving soon? Be sure to check out the following helpful websites for planning your trip.

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