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Ferries in Greece

13. December 2020

The ferry schedules for ferries in Greece are updated every year, so it is difficult to determine exactly which ferry goes where and when. We have tried to record all general information about the ferries here, which will help you to better understand the prices and timetables.

The website for the latest information on the ferries that we would like to recommend to you is DirectFerries. This is the largest provider of ferry tickets in Europe. There are several other providers such as aFerry, greekferries or ferriesingreek. Some of them have slightly higher prices. At DirectFerries we have always paid the cheapest price so far. Even if the other sites often offered the same price.

However, since DirectFerries is not only active in Greece and has a huge network with 700 routes, you can often negotiate special deals with the shipping companies, which is reflected in the prices.

It is also important to know that the ferry tickets must be available in printed form. Since mid-2020 also with a completed COVID 19 questionnaire per person. The staff on the ships is mostly lenient if a few documents have not been completely filled out in the hustle, and you can then do this there, but I would not rely on that, especially in the high season.

Griechenland Bild auf den Fähren in Piräus

1. What do the ferries cost in Greece

The cost of the ferries fluctuates relatively little, so they are almost as expensive in the high season as in the low season. The only thing in which differences are really noticeable are the commissions that the individual providers add. Therefore, as mentioned above, our recommendation to book with Directferries.

Furthermore, there are 2 fundamental differences among the ferry types::

  • One is the slower car ferries from the providers Bluestar, Hellenic Seaways, Mioan Lines etc.
  • The other is the faster catamaran ferries that are about twice as fast but also cost 30% more and run less often. SeaJet, Superfast Ferries but also Bluestar have some in use.

In order to better understand the pricing of the ferry, we tryed to generalize the prices. So you can assume about 10 euros for an hour driving. Whereby the prices from the 3rd hour almost no longer rise.

So a  trip from Paros to Naxos costs 10 euros (1 hour) and from Piraeus to Naxos 34 euros (5 hours) and from Piraeus to Rhodes with 14 hours then 65 euros.

But it is also important that the return trip to the starting island is taken into account, because the price between the islands can differ greatly. For longer trips we would recommend the faster catamarans, as mentioned above, because a trip to Rhodes then takes, for example, only 7 instead of 14 hours.  

Example cost invoice (3 island tour)

Crossing: 3x 20 Euro: 60 Euro

Return trip: 60 Euro

Total cost: 120 Euro

Blick von der Fähre während der Abfahrt von Piräus

2. Overview of all ferries in Greece for island hoppers

Island hopping, as it is also called by experts, describes traveling to several islands within a short period of time. Such a travel style is particularly suitable in Greece with its almost 3000 islands. This is very common in the Dodecanese islands to the east, the archipelagos in the Ionian Sea but also in the Cyclades. As we focus our blog on the Cyclades, we would like to specifically elaborate on the connection between them.

Many archipelagos are also well connected, which means that you can also travel from the Dodecanese to cyclades islands easily. However, we would only recommend this if you have at least 2-3 weeks time.

3. Island hopping on the Cyclades

The name Cyclades is derived from the ancient Greek word Kylos, which means something like ring. This comes from the arrangement of the approximately 30 inhabited islands in the Aegean Sea.

Ideally, you start your journey directly from an island that you can fly to by plane. Mykonos or Santorini, with their international airports, are best suited for this. These destinations can be approached directly from big international airports. The airports on Naxos or Paros, however, can only be reached from Athens with small planes (max. 50 people). So you have to plan a stopover in Athens.

The nice thing about the Cyclades is that every island has its own flair and there is something for everyone. For example couples in love should visit Santorini, while Mykonos or Ios are more suitable for party enthusiasts. More hikers go to Amorgos or Andros and people who are just looking for beautiful beaches are best off on Milos or Naxos.

The arrangement of the islands allows you to customize your routes, but we have put together the 3 most common routes for the Cyclades. Have fun with it.

Blick von der Fähre rückblickend auf Athen

3.1 Central Cyclades

This is probably the most popular of the routes among the Cyclades, it is relatively manageable with its 5 islands and includes all known islands of the Cyclades. It is particularly suitable for younger vacationers, as the party islands such as Mykonos and Ios are also included here. In addition, Santorini, the “Must See Island” of Greece is approached on this route.

Map der Inselhopping Route Zentrale Kykladen

The route starts with the island of Mykonos, which has good flight connections, or could alternatively reached by ferry from Piraeus, the port of Athens. In the main season, catamaran ships also depart from here, which are around 30% more expensive, but bring you to your destination almost twice as quickly. The journey time with a normal passenger ship is approx. 4 hours from Piraeus to Mykonos.

You should definitely plan 2-3 days for Mykonos. It is a real pearl of the Cyclades by day and by night. The island has the Cycladic flair with its alleys and blue and white houses, but is also well visited in the main season. What makes this island so special is obvious. There are beautiful boutiques, classy clubs and even fancier hotels. The beaches are among the best that Greece has to offer, even if they are mostly crowded. A visit to the cute houses of Little Venice and the famous windmills cannot be missed.

The journey continues to Paros. Relaxation is the order of the day here, because things are much quieter on the island. You have time to watch the picturesque sunsets and stroll leisurely in the alleys. There are nice boutiques, hotels and restaurants too, but much cheaper and less crowded. Paros also offers tours to historical sights for which you want to take something from the Greek culture with you. Here we would plan a 2-3 day stay.

Then follows our personal pearl Naxos – our current home – and the largest island in the Cyclades. (430 km²). Here you will find some of the most beautiful beaches in the Cyclades, picturesque mountain landscapes and historical sights. So there is something for everyone, so we would plan to stay 3 days here.

And only a stone’s throw away from Naxos are the so-called “Little Cyclades“, which we would visit right away. The four inhabited islands are called Iraklia, Schinousa, Koufonisia and Donousa. Most visitors often visit them together within a day trip from Naxos. Each of the islands is delightful in its own way. They are becoming more and more popular in recent years. Because they are not that overcrowded and have very magical beaches that you often have to yourself.

Then we go full throttle again. Mykono’s little sister, Ios, is on the program. There are a variety of bars and parties in the narrow hallways. So you can move from bar to bar and don’t have to commit to a location. Another interesting spot is on the back of the small island. There is a campsite here that also offers hotel rooms. But a lounge area that is converted into an open air party in the evening. All of this right by the sea. We would stay here for 2 days.

The last destination of our island route is on Santorini. This sunken volcanic crater is probably the most famous island in Greece together with Mykonos. It is said that one can also walk from the capital Fira to the city of Oia, 10 km away. We would definitely recommend a small car. Unfortunately, the island does not have such beautiful beaches, but it convinces with its unique atmosphere. The cities built on the slopes and the breathtaking sunset make Santorini a must-see. We would definitely stay here for at least 2 days.

If you stick to the plan, you will be through this tour in 12-14 days. But that’s also the full portion of Greece. And it’s not a real relaxation, more an adventure-action vacation. But you can see a lot. We personally would recommend 14 to 16 days for this tour in order to plan some relaxation between the islands.

3.2 Northern Cyclades

The second route in our program is much more relaxed and more suitable for real Greece lovers. From athens airport we drive to the nearby port of Rafina. Which is the second largest port in Athens after Piraeus. This is only a about 30 minutes drive to the northeast, whereas Piraeus in the southwest is located across Athens. From Rafina the ferry then goes south to the first island of Andros.

Map der Inselhopping Route Nördliche Kykladen

Andros, like the entire route, is much quieter and more traditional than the famous Cycladic islands of Mykonos or Santorini. A lot of nature, old monasteries and interesting mountain formations await you on the island. Which you can almost always discover for yourself. A dream for backpackers and nature lovers.

After a few days, we continue from Andros to Tinos. This island impresses above all with its beatiful monasteries on the mountains and the small villages, with it’s typically white houses. Both islands (Tinos 194 km² and Andros 345 km²) are quite large and you should plan 3-5 days per island for a relaxing holiday.

After Tinos follows the island of Mykonos, which is probably best known with Santorini, at least among the Cyclades. Here you can celebrate day and night with a great variety of music. Mykonos has really nice beaches too. The bars and restaurants here are really stylish and the party scene is of a high standard. Enjoy the fun here for 2-3 days.

From Mykonos we continue to Naxos – our current home – and the largest island in the Cyclades. (430 km²). In addition to the most beautiful beaches and unique hiking routes, for example to Mount Zeus, there are also some historical sights to discover on Naxos. The fascinating thing about the historical sights in Greece is that we are talking about a time between up to 700 years before Christ.

As the last island on the route we drive to Syros. The administrative center of the Cyclades. This island is also still considered a real insider among Greece experts. The port city of Ermoupoli scores with its serenity, which has probably been here since ancient times. The marble-adorned streets and the culinary delicacies that you can enjoy in the many restaurants are some of the highlights of Syros. Here you will hear few people speaking English on the streets, which is still a good sign for us. We also recommend the Ano Syros castle fortress on the island, which rewards the ascent with a unique view. The island is also a real hiking paradise.

3.3 Western Cyclades

The route of the western Cyclades, like the northern route, is geared towards the more traditional islands of the Cyclades. We start from the ferry port of Piraeus which is about 45 minutes from Athens airport (or 1.5 hours by bus). The first island is Serifos with its wonderful beaches you should definitely plan and enjoy 2-3 days.

Map der Inselhopping Route westliche Kykladen

We continue to Sifnos, the island is known for its culinary delicacies and delights experienced hikers with its unusual routes through the mountains. After 3-4 days it goes on to the most famous island on this route: Milos.

Above all, Milos is known for the white rock formations in Sarakiniko and has a lot to offer for its relatively small 160 km². Since the island resembles a sickle shape, it has very beautiful and sheltered beaches and beautiful white bays. The port city also has many small boutiques and restaurants where you can enjoy the sunset in the evening.

The end of our route is Folegandros. This island in the southwest is again one of those almost untouched beauties, some of which the Cyclades has to offer. Use this island to get to know more about traditional Greece and to take the relaxation home with you. Because from here it goes back to Piraeus via Milos.

The western route is known for its relaxed islands, even if Milos has also enjoyed a great popularity among the islands in recent years with its beautiful white rock formations, you can still experience Greece for the most part as it was 50 years ago: calm, relaxed and beautiful. Have fun with it!

Good to have you here…  

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