Although a large percentage of Greece is mainland, its 3,000 islands scattered across the Mediterranean attract tourists year round. Relaxation on a sandy beach near crystal blue waters is an irresistible pull. The whitewashed and blue painted homes of the cyclades add to the picture perfect views. From fresh seafood to quaint coffee shops, the locals welcome travelers near and far with their unique boutiques. Of the 3,000 islands, only 227 are inhabited– but that still makes it extremely difficult to pick just one for vacation. The perfect solution? Island hopping. Getting around Greece can require a bit of planning but with plenty of resources it can be done easily.
The most popular islands to visit on a Greek vacation are Santorini, Crete, and Mykonos. While all 3 islands have plenty to offer, the smaller known islands must not be forgotten here. The Greek islands are separated into clusters: Ionian, Saronic Gulf, Sporades, Cycladic, Dodecanese, and North Aegean islands.
Crete, on the other hand, is Greece’s biggest island and doesn’t fall into any cluster. The cyclades are also more popular tourist locations and tend to have higher amounts of travelers.
The Cycladic islands are those known for whitewashed homes, such as Santorini and Mykonos. These islands are more developed than other islands and are perfect for relaxation and tourist attractions.
If you’re interested in skipping the crowds without having to travel far from mainland, the Saronic Gulf islands are a great fit. Hydra will give you an authentic Greek experience with its donkey and horseback rides, car-free ambiance, warm sandy beaches, and historical museums.
For those seeking adventure from hiking to exploring ancient ruins, you’ll meet your match in Peloponnese. Advanced hikers even travel back to the mainland for an adventure on Mount Olympus, Greece’s highest mountain. However, if you’re wanting to do nothing but relax by the beach on vacation, it won’t be hard to find the right island for you.
Getting Around Islands
Flying from island to island is doable for the larger islands that have their own airports such as Santorini and Mykonos. Booking flights is fast and easy, but is more expensive than taking a ferry.
While it’s faster and sometimes easier to fly, smaller islands that don’t have airports are only accessible via ferries. While riding on the ferry could take longer than a flight, you’ll get to view the Mediterranean at first hand rather than from the sky.
The main thing to keep in mind when traveling via ferry is that schedules can easily change. Bad weather on the Mediterranean can delay or cancel your trip. If you do travel via ferry for its affordability, make sure you confirm the schedule a few days prior to your trip.
Greece is a stunning country to visit for a true Mediterranean experience. You’ll easily fall in love with the culture, the generous people, and the charming towns. Adventure and relaxation conveniently await your visit!