Epic Odyssey: Long-Haul Ferry Travel in the Greek Archipelago

While the Odyssey focuses on gods and monsters, it also covers important topics like loyalty, courage, honor, and friendship. These are issues that still affect us today.

LC: Various scholars through the years have had different theories about which islands across the Mediterranean could’ve corresponded to Odysseus’s various lands, for example Sicily was thought by some to be the island of Calypso.


The capital and hub of island-hopping by ferry, Athens boasts three ports—Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrion—connecting mainland Greece with the Cyclades, Crete, Dodecanese and Saronic islands. With numerous ferry companies and routes, the options are nearly endless. Explore the different ferries and their schedules with Ferryhopper’s Greece ferry travel guide to ensure that your itinerary will work.

Board a morning ferry from Athens to Mykonos and be charmed by the Greek island’s hedonistic party scene, gorgeous beaches and quaint Old Town dotted with high-end boutiques and tucked-away alleyways. After checking into your hotel, spend the afternoon exploring the kaleidoscope of colors and flavors at the town’s many cafes and restaurants, then climb to the top of the island to admire its seven iconic windmills, particularly at sunset.

Continue your epic journey by hopping on a ferry to Ithaca, the Peloponnese’s northernmost island, where Odysseus lived and was counseled by his wife’s spirit, Circe, on the remaining parts of his odyssey. Take in the awe-inspiring vistas of the island’s rugged landscape, then wander its quaint streets to see its kaleidoscope of Parisian-style arcades and Venetian-inspired alleyways.

Ferry tickets can be purchased online (recommended), from a travel agency, or directly at the port. It’s recommended to book at least 2 to 3 months in advance, especially during peak summer season, when popular routes can sell out quickly.


The party island of Ios is a popular destination for young travelers looking for a Greek island that offers an epic summertime scene. However, it is starting to attract a more mature crowd that wants to visit Ios for its beautiful beaches and wild landscapes. Located in the heart of the Cyclades, Ios is accessible by a variety of ferries that depart from Athens (Piraeus and Rafina), and direct flights to Santorini, Mykonos, Naxos, or Paros can be booked if you’re planning an island-hopping trip.

The main port of Ios is located less than five minutes from the village of Chora. Ferries dock here, providing easy access to the town’s tavernas, bars, hotels, and vacation rentals. You can also find banks, supermarkets, car rental agencies, and a health center in the port area. There are also public parking lots on Vaoi street near the ferry terminal.

There is no airport on Ios. Overseas travelers must either fly to Athens International Airport and then take a ferry, or fly to Santorini International Airport and then take a ferry to Ios. Ferry schedules can change depending on the season, but booking in advance is recommended to ensure availability and a good price. Ferry tickets are individually priced, and multi-destination passes are not available. Book your Athens to Ios ferry tickets online with Ferryhopper for fast, safe, and reliable service.


Paros is the second largest island in the Cyclades and is a popular holiday destination thanks to its golden beaches, stunning views and friendly locals. The best time to visit Paros is during the shoulder months of May, June or September when temperatures are warm but still pleasant and accommodation prices are cheaper.

Ferry travel between Paros and the neighboring islands is quick, with several high-speed ferries operating between Mykonos and Paros daily. This means you can easily do a day trip to Paros from Mykonos or take a longer ferry ride to spend the week on this beautiful island.

Once you arrive on Paros, make your way to the capital of the island, Parikia. Wander around the whitewashed streets, admiring the iconic Panagia Ekatontapiliani church and soaking up the scenery of this charming Greek island.

From Paros, you can also visit the sister island of Naxos, and island-hop to Santorini or Mykonos. Alternatively, you can drive to the other coastal town of Naoussa where you will find a more vibrant nightlife and more luxurious hotels.

If you want to experience the traditional side of Paros, head to the sleepy villages of Lefkes and Prodromos where you will find narrow alleys that are adorned with vibrant pink bougainvilleas. Lose yourself in these charming island streets, and don’t forget to visit the Holy Trinity Church.


The ethereal cliffs and iconic sunsets of Santorini make it a must-visit destination for travelers to Greece. Whether you want to explore the vineyards, soak up the views or discover its ancient history, it’s worth a long ferry ride from one of the other Greek islands in the Cyclades chain.

The best way to do island-hopping in the Cyclades is by taking a high-speed ferry with a company such as Seajets (updated times & prices). These ferries run frequently, so you can easily get from one island to another and spend more time on each. They also tend to have cabin options so you can sleep on the trip, which is especially helpful for longer journeys or night runs.

Ferry schedules vary throughout the year, so it’s a good idea to book your tickets well in advance. You can check the latest schedules and booking options on our website.

If you have a limited amount of time or are unable to handle seasickness, consider flying between the islands. It’s often cheaper than a slow ferry and can save you up to five hours of travel time. Just keep in mind that flights to some of the smaller islands can only be booked outside of peak season. Also be sure to factor in travel time from the airport to the ferry terminal.