Navigating the Greek Archipelago With Disabilities

The Greek islands can pose challenges for wheelchair users. Many of the walkways are cobbled and have steps. It is best to use an accessible travel agency who can arrange tours of the island with wheelchair accessible guides.

Most large ferry companies have standard accessibility features on their vessels. These include moving escalators, ramps and boarding assistance.

How to Get There

Travelers planning a vacation to the Greek Islands should familiarize themselves with ferries, routes and schedules before their trip. Ferry services are very frequent in summer, but winter service is limited and can be interrupted by weather or worker strikes.

It is advisable to book a ferry ticket online or at a travel agency, especially during the peak summer season. A reputable booking website will allow you to compare ferry routes and companies to find the best option for your itinerary. Ferry prices can vary widely depending on the season and the number of days you are traveling, so make sure to check the price range before making a booking.

If you are able to drive, a car rental can be useful for getting around the mainland and the islands. Keep in mind that traffic and parking issues can be a problem in busy cities and on popular islands, particularly during the peak summer travel season. Additionally, many rural sights and beaches are only accessible via dirt tracks, which may not be covered by a standard car rental policy.

Private transfers by minivan or car are a convenient option for short-distance travel to/from hotels, ports and the airport. They are also a popular choice for private tours of the mainland, which can reach destinations such as Delphi, Meteora and Nafplion.


With a little research and the help of an experienced travel agent, finding accommodations on a Greek island is easy. Rustic dhomatia (villages) share the landscape with designer hotels boasting spectacular views. Many islands also have pensions, bed-and-breakfasts, and hostels. Some have even opened high-end resorts for those willing to pay top dollar. The Cyclades, the Saronic Gulf islands, and the Ionian Islands are closest to Athens and offer a variety of lodging options.

All Greek islands are ringed by beautiful beaches, and there is plenty of water to explore. Some islands, like Santorini, attract more visitors than others, but a visit to lesser-known isles like Hydra or Spetses may give you the beaches and charm of your dreams without the crowds.

Cruise ships often clog ports, so it is smart to be aware of their schedules and visit outlying sights or beaches when they are not in town. In general, the best time to visit is early spring or late fall. The meltemi, the evil wind that roughens the sea and impairs visibility, is usually absent during those times. Besides ferry routes, there are flights between Athens and some of the island groups. Ask one of the numerous travel agencies in Athens for information, or check with a flight-booking service that offers charters to Greek islands.


The Greek Islands are a Mediterranean dreamscape. White sand beaches, sheltered bays and coastal caves lure sun worshipers, snorkelers and divers. A little further inland, ancient villages and world-class museums offer an insight into the islanders’ past. It’s a region that’s so rich in culture and beauty that two weeks here will seem like two months.

With hundreds of islands in the Greek Archipelago, navigating their different routes and coordinating ferry schedules can be tricky. The best time to visit is during peak summer when temperatures are high and ferries run most regularly. However, spring and autumn can also be fantastic times to experience the island life when it’s a little quieter.

The Cyclades, a group of 216 inhabited islands in the Aegean Sea, are known for their pristine beaches and cosmopolitan atmosphere. The most famous are Santorini, Mykonos and Paros, but don’t miss lesser-known gems such as Milos or Folegandros. The lush, green Ionian Islands are dotted with castles and vineyards. Their rocky terrain makes for incredible hiking and mountain biking, while a strong Venetian influence has created a distinct cultural identity for the islands. The remote Dodecanese Islands — which translates to “Twelve” — are closer to the coasts of Turkey than mainland Greece and are a symbolic link between East and West. The crystalline waters of the azure Aegean are perfect for diving, and many islands have underwater walking trails.