Start your island hopping adventure in Santorini, with its jaw-dropping cliff views and sunsets. From here, sail or fly to Milos, a paradise of hidden coves and lunar landscapes.
Or, visit the Ionian Islands to hike through verdant mountains and enjoy quaint villages. Visit the enchanting Melissani Cave or simply relax on a beach, as the Ionian Sea is painted in warm hues.
Known for its pristine beaches and Instagrammable islands, Greece is also a hiking paradise. From soaring mountains to historic monasteries, Greece’s rocky landscape is a hiker’s dream.
Hike a mystical gorge that’s home to a waterfall and ancient watermills. The trail is less than seven hours and suitable for most healthy travellers. It starts in Apollonia on Sifnos Island and features a series of steps cut into the steep hillsides, surrounded by flora that’s unique to this area and views of the Aegean Sea.
Hiking in Greece is best in spring (April to May), when the daffodils and wildflowers are in bloom and temperatures are mild. Summer is hot and humid, while the Greek winter is chilly and snowy at higher altitudes. However, if you have flexibility, travelling in the off-season allows you to avoid high prices and crowds at many of the country’s most popular hiking spots. Visiting in the off season means that ferries are fewer and many resorts and attractions close down. However, it’s possible to find great deals on hotels and accommodation during this time.
The Greek Islands are incredibly beautiful and offer many different activities for travelers. While hiking and other outdoor activities are popular in Greece, there are also several opportunities for relaxing on the beach, learning about local culture, or exploring charming towns.
Whether you’re looking for an opportunity to stretch your muscles or simply relax, a yoga session is the perfect way to end your day while island-hopping in Greece. There are plenty of opportunities to find a yoga studio or class on your trip and many of them will be free or very affordable.
The best time to go island hopping in Greece is during spring when the temperatures are mild and the summer crowds have yet to appear. This is a great time to visit some of the most popular islands, like Santorini and Hydra, without a large number of tourists getting in your way. Just be sure to check the island calendars for panigyria (festivals) as these may impact ferry schedules and affect opening hours at certain attractions. This is a great reason to book your accommodations and transportation in advance.
3. Beach Body
If you’re a beach lover and aren’t afraid of a little sunburn, the Greek islands have some amazing beaches. Plus, the country’s renowned cuisine and picturesque islandscapes are a treat for all senses.
If possible, try to avoid visiting the Greek Islands during high season (June-August). This is when most of Europe’s tourists descend on the country and prices are skyrocketing. And the summer heat can be oppressive.
The best times of year to island hop in Greece on a budget are during Orthodox Easter (usually April) through the end of May, and from September to mid-October. While the weather won’t be nearly as balmy, it will still be nice and warm.
When it comes to island hopping, the most important thing is planning ahead and allowing yourself time for flexibility. Ferry schedules can change at the drop of a hat, so it’s wise to build a little wiggle room into your itinerary. This will allow you to make the most of each island and avoid having to rush between destinations. If you’re on a tight timeframe, consider booking with an expert tour operator who will take care of the logistics for you.
If you aren’t quite ready to take up yoga on a ferry, cycling is an excellent way to stay active while island-hopping in Greece. This is particularly true of the Saronic Islands, which are a short ferry ride away from Athens and have been visited by more foreign invaders than any other part of the country (from Venice, England, France, Russia, and others).
On these islands, you can cycle past crumbling Venetian castles, wander through historic villages, and explore the rugged landscapes. You can even hike to summits for sweeping views of the azure sea and verdant mountainscape.
Just be sure to bring plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen—it’s easy to burn up a lot of energy when climbing to high panorama points. And be prepared to run out of gas—gas stations on the islands are often few and far between and it’s not uncommon for travellers to arrive at their destination with an empty tank. This is especially true during the peak of summertime.
5. Strength Training
With their picture-perfect villages and endless vistas of the deep blue Aegean, Greece’s islands are a heavenly vacation destination. But the best way to really get a feel for these island gems is to hop between them.
The best way to do this is with domestic flights. A few of the larger islands have airports, including the poster boy for island hopping, Santorini, with its crater-like cliffs and whitewashed towns.
However, most of the islands are reached by ferry — and this is the quintessential Greek travel experience. It’s fun, economical, and provides a great opportunity to meet locals along the way.
Just be sure to build some flexibility into your schedule — ferry routes are always subject to change, from windy weather to worker strikes, so plan for a few extra stops in your itinerary. And if you’re prone to seasickness, be sure to pack some acupressure wrist bands to help ease the symptoms.