A Guide to Ferry Travel in Greece

Sailing the Gods Playground A Guide to Ferry Travel in Greece

Ferry travel is the easiest way to visit Greek islands. However, ferry schedules can change from year to year and are impacted by weather.

Most routes use large conventional ferries that offer plenty of deck and cabin space and a range of seating options. It’s worth paying a little extra for reserved “airplane” seats or a cabin on longer trips.

Bigger Boats Are Better

Generally speaking the bigger the boat, the better it is for ferry travel in Greece. This is mainly due to speed. Ferry speed is measured in knots (1.852 kms/ 1.15 miles per hour) and most conventional ferries average about 20-25 knots.

The faster a ferry goes, the more destinations it can reach in one go. This is particularly important when island hopping in the high season, when a full day of traveling between islands can quickly become stressful.

There are a few large ferry companies in the Greek Islands that operate a variety of ferries including Blue Star Lines, ANEK lines, Hellenic Seaways and Superfast Ferries. Each company has their own ferries and each has its own luggage policies.

If you are considering travelling by ferry, it’s worth researching the specific ferries that operate your intended routes as each has its own baggage requirements and sometimes even its own boarding times. Hit control F on your keyboard and type the name of a ferry into the search box to find out more about it.

Don’t Arrive at the Port Too Early

If you plan to take a ferry to the Greek islands from Athens, it is best that you arrive at the port well in advance of the departure time. This way you will have plenty of time to grab a coffee and admire the scenery before the ferry departs. The port can get extremely crowded and it is easy to miss your ferry if you arrive too late.

When you arrive at the port, make sure to head to the ticket collection point that Ferryhopper notes in your confirmation email. You can usually collect your tickets directly from the teller, or if you purchased them online, you can present your mobile phone with a barcode to the teller for quick and easy access on board.

Ferry travel in Greece is an incredible option for anyone planning to island hop, especially if you can catch the fast ferries during the high season of April to May and September through mid-October. However, you should avoid visiting the islands during the low winter season when ferries are not operating and most hotels close up shop.

Check the Weather

Most of the Greek islands are only accessible by ferry, so if you decide to travel by ferry, it is important to factor in the weather. This is especially true in high season, which runs from June through September.

If you are not a fan of hot, humid weather and/or sunburns, it may be better to fly instead of taking the ferry. This will save you time and energy, as well as a few potential headaches.

It is also important to know that the ferries are not all created equal. The type of boat and the speed will make a difference. Some of the larger, higher-speed ferries have very smooth rides. Others are more bumpy, so if you are prone to seasickness, it is worth looking up the specific vessel on each route.

You can usually purchase tickets for your ferry trip online or at the ticket office when you arrive at the port. It is a good idea to book in advance, especially during the high season or on popular/religious holidays. However, some routes may not be available for booking that far in advance.

Don’t Get Seasick

Ferries are an essential part of island hopping in Greece, and with a little bit of planning, it is one of the most fun ways to get around! However, it is best to avoid getting seasick when traveling by ferry. Sea sickness is caused by the inner ear sending signals to the brain that the boat is moving, and it can lead to dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.

There are a few things you can do to prevent sea sickness, such as sitting near the bow or stern of the ship, and eating a light meal before boarding. It is also important to stay hydrated, and sipping water will help reduce symptoms.

Finally, it is a good idea to bring a few snacks, such as crackers or pretzels. Many travelers report that bringing these snacks helps prevent feelings of nausea during the trip. It is also a good idea to avoid foods that are rich in fat, such as chocolate. In addition, avoiding food that has strong odors is helpful, as these can trigger sea sickness.

Don’t Bring Your Dog

With its inviting turquoise waters and stunning beaches, Greece has long been one of the most alluring destinations in Europe. However, navigating its notoriously complex island hopping ferry system may be intimidating for first-time visitors.

With a little practice, island-hopping by ferry can be fast, seamless and affordable. The best way to figure out your routes and plan accordingly is by using a ferry booking platform like Ferryhopper. They’ll provide you with instant information and quotes for ferries, airlines, ferry companies and route options, whether you’re planning to travel to the Cyclades, Sporades, Argosaronic islands or Northeastern Aegean.

Regardless of your itinerary, it’s always important to arrive at the ferry port with plenty of time to navigate the chaos and secure your ticket before departure. It’s also a good idea to bring motion sickness medication, wristbands or ginger products in case you experience seasickness during your journey. And be sure to bring a camera and a book to pass the time, as the ferry ride can be lengthy. Many ferries have onboard cafes and restaurants, where you can buy snacks and meals.