Ferry travel is the cheapest way to island-hop in Greece. However, it requires more time than a flight.
Avoiding the peak summer months of July and August is the best way to save money on flights, accommodation, and ferries. Traveling in the shoulder months of April to June and September will save you even more money.
Book in Advance
Travelers should set a rough budget of around EUR800-900 for a week in Greece, though this will vary by individual spending habits. It is also recommended to add a buffer in case of any unexpected costs that may arise during the trip.
As mentioned above, the best way to save money while travelling in Greece is by booking ahead. There are several websites that can be used to search for flight, train and bus tickets. One of the most popular is rome2rio which provides prices and schedules for travel across Europe.
Another key factor is to pack light. This is important for a number of reasons, including saving on baggage fees, having the freedom to move between islands as you wish and not having to worry about dragging heavy luggage up and down narrow cobblestones and into/out of ferry boats.
Another way to save is by purchasing a ferry ticket online in advance. Most ferries offer the option to check-in through an app, which means that you won’t have to go to a ticket office and purchase paper tickets on the day of departure. While this varies by ferry company and country, it’s worth checking with each company’s website to see whether they offer this service. If they don’t, consider using a ferry booking platform like FerryHopper as this will allow you to instantly get quotes, schedules and routes for your trip.
A Greek island hopping adventure can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. The key is to travel off-peak when you can. This is when hotels are cheaper, ferries are less crowded, and it’s easy to find a beach that’s all your own.
The peak season for most Greek islands is from July to August, when it’s hot, crowded, and pricey. However, there are still plenty of things to do during the months of April, May, September, and October.
You can also save by eating at local tavernas, where portions are huge and meals cost less. For even more savings, try drinking wine from a local producer instead of buying retsina from the supermarket, as it will be cheaper and taste better too!
There are hundreds of inhabited islands in Greece, and many of them are beautiful with crystal-blue water and historic points of interest. Choose a less-visited island like Sifnos or Serifos instead of Santorini and you’ll soak up stunning views without paying the same prices as everyone else. You’ll also get the chance to discover beaches that have remained unspoiled by tourism. And, if you’re planning to go island hopping, select islands that are close together so you can minimize ferry ticket costs. You can book your island hopping trip with SafetyWing, a service that’s cheap, easy to use, and admin-free.
Rent a Car
Taking a rental car is an excellent way to get around the Greek Islands. Most islands have car rentals from internationally recognized companies. If you prefer a more intimate experience, many smaller islands have scooter and moped rentals. The main advantage of having a vehicle is that it allows you to reach remote beaches and explore the countryside more easily, especially when travelling off-peak.
A vehicle is also a great way to save on island hopping costs. During peak season, there are only one or two ferries per day between most popular islands. However, during off-season, you can find ferries much more frequently. The best thing to do is book your ferry tickets in advance, so you can be sure that you will have a ticket when you need it.
Several ferry companies offer discounts on tickets for ISIC student cards, seniors, and children. If you fall into any of these categories, be sure to ask about discounts when booking your tickets. Another option is to take a catamaran, which will cost less than a car but won’t give you as much freedom to visit other islands. However, it is still possible to see multiple islands if you stick with the bigger ones, like Crete, Santorini, and Corfu. Most rental car companies will allow you to bring your own vehicle on the ferries, but it’s always best to contact them in advance and check their policy.
Avoid the Crowds
There is no denying that Greece is a popular destination for tourists of all kinds, from families seeking a relaxing beach getaway to couples and honeymooners looking to get away from it all. However, if you’re looking to avoid the crowds on your trip it is essential to plan in advance and travel during the off-season.
This is particularly true for the island of Santorini, where the beaches are beautiful and the cliff-top villages brimming with character, but the number of visitors is out of control. Instead, consider visiting the neighboring islands of Paros, Naxos, and Rhodes for a quieter alternative. You can also take a ferry from Corfu to Paxos, where the capital of Gaios is a charming Greek village by the sea featuring small cobblestone alleys, old windmills, and churches with blue domes.
Or head further south to the Peloponnese, birthplace of Aphrodite and home to waterfalls, gorges, and medieval fortress towns. Getting to the Peloponnese from Athens takes a little longer by car or ferry but it adds to the sense of adventure and is one of the most memorable parts of your trip.