Traveling by ferry in Greece for people with disabilities

Ferry accessibility guide for the Greek islands

Here's all you need to know about ferry travel in Greece for people with disabilities. Learn how to plan your trip in Greece, what to expect on board, how to book cheap ferry tickets, and how to make sure you have a safe journey.

Accessible beach in Crete

Wheelchair-accessible beach in the town of Elounda in Crete

Disabilities and preparing for the ferry trip in Greece

The Greek islands are a very popular travel destination due to their exquisite beauty and amazing local lifestyle. Although not all ferries in Greece have provisions for people with reduced mobility, ferries from mainland Greece to the islands offer some standard accessibility amenities. Learn how to prepare for your trip in Greece.

Can people with disabilities travel by ferry in Greece?

People with disabilities can travel by ferry in Greece, provided they have made arrangements with the ferry company. Most large vessels are equipped with some accessibility amenities for passengers with reduced mobility, blind or visually impaired travelers, as well as deaf and hard of hearing visitors. However, smaller vessels serving short routes between the islands may not be accessible to some passengers.

Good to know: Accessible ferry travel has only recently become widespread in Greece, so make sure you check with the ferry company about accessibility features.

Are ferries in Greece accessible?

The majority of large vessels in Greece are accessible to most passengers with disabilities. Bear in mind that not all ferries are fully accessible and you may need some help boarding and getting around. For example, some ferries are not completely step-free, which means you will probably need assistance getting up some steps.

Trained staff will help you to the car deck if you’re getting there with a vehicle and accompany you to your seat or cabin.

Good to know: If you’re using motorized mobility equipment that needs to be carried on board, make sure you inform the ferry company before booking, as restricted space may not allow for boarding.

Young travelers having fun in Greece

Carefree vacation in the Greek islands

Are there any ferry ticket discounts for people with disabilities?

Ferry companies in Greece normally offer a 50% discount for passengers with disabilities, as well as accompanying persons. The discount is valid for all fare types, including vehicles, cabins and seats. You can make use of the discount if you have an 80% disability percentage, certified by an appropriate medical body.

Tip: Don't forget to check the latest 2021 ferry ticket discounts for the Greek islands too!

Do I need to declare my disability when booking a trip in Greece?

In most cases, it is important that you inform the ferry company about your upcoming trip, so that they take all necessary steps to accommodate you and assist you on board. You need to contact the ferry company at least 48 hours before departure to possibly arrange pick-up, arrival time and other travel details.

Tip: Bring all necessary official medical records outlining the specifics of your disability, to make sure you can receive proper medical help and use the ferry travel discount.

How to arrange for ferry crew assistance?

To make sure you receive proper assistance from the time you arrive at the terminal until you arrive at your destination, we recommend that you contact the ferry company before booking your ticket, as well as 48 hours before the scheduled departure. 

You can make your request through phone or email, and the company representatives will give you more details about access to the port, meeting points and proposed arrival time.

Staircase handrail on a ferry in Greece

Handrails used to facilitate going up and down the stairs on board the ferry

Official regulations for people with disabilities and ferry travel in Greece

According to European Union legislation, ferry companies in Greece are required to provide passengers with reduced mobility or other disabilities with all necessary help and accessible options for their trip. 

Ferry companies need to have provisions for the boarding and accommodation of passengers with disabilities and they are called to make any necessary arrangements, provided that they are informed about the passenger’s needs in advance. Find out more details on the EU law website.

Tip: Read all up-to-date 2021 coronavirus measures for Greece to plan your ferry trip.

Disabled parking spot in the ferry car deck

Designated parking spot for people with disabilities on a ferry

Ferry amenities for people with disabilities in Greece

Ferry travel in Greece can be a convenient way to get around for people with disabilities, as there are frequent routes to many Greek islands. If you don’t wish to spend too much time on board, you can travel with a highspeed vessel. Make sure you check with your ferry company before the day of travel to confirm availability of equipment and accommodation.

Ferries traveling to popular destinations tend to be more accessible than vessels operating on regional crossings. Check some of the top islands in Greece for people with disabilities and find more details about boarding, accessibility features and accommodation options below.

Accessible ferry toilet with grab rails

Accessible toilet on a ferry

Port terminals and check-in

Upon contacting the ferry company, they will give you more information about access to the terminal and meeting points. You can arrange to arrive at the port at a specific time, in order to board the ferry at ease and get help with your luggage.

Tip: We recommend you get your e-tickets and check in online via the Ferryhopper App to avoid long lines at the port.

Boarding and disembarkation

Passengers with disabilities may board and disembark the ferry either prior or after other passengers depending on traffic. Accessible ramps and handrails are available on most ferries operating in Greece.

Ferry at the port of Piraeus

Boarding the ferry is possible either through the car deck door or the passenger ramp

Safety and accessibility

Safety and accessibility features depend on the ferry company and type of vessel. Generally, you can expect to find lifts, ramps, handrails, wheelchair anchor points with safety belts, accessible toilets, and designated parking spots.

Lift buttons are usually available in braille on most ferries, to facilitate passengers who are blind or visually impaired. On-board announcements and safety reminders are made via speakers and you can also ask the ferry crew to inform you of any updates.

Tip: If you’re unsure about the accessibility features of a vessel, you can contact the ferry company or visit their website for a breakdown of features on board the ferry of your choice.

Accommodation

For your trip in Greece you can book a cabin, choose to stay at the communal lounge, book a standard or premium seat, or spend your time wandering around the deck to enjoy the Mediterranean Sea. There are wheelchair-accessible toilets with grab rails at the communal areas on most large vessels.

Particularly for longer trips to Crete or the Dodecanese, consider booking a cabin with enhanced features such as extra space and a private wheelchair-accessible toilet.

Tip: Ferries in Greece have a limited number of wheelchair-friendly cabins. Make sure you book in advance, indicating the type of cabin.

Accompanying persons and animals

If you require help with boarding and getting around the ferry in Greece, we recommend that you travel with a friend, relative or carer. Some vessels are less accessible, and you may need assistance by an accompanying person. The crew will also be able to assist you during most of the journey.

Passengers with disabilities can also travel with service animals on board ferries in Greece. Service animals travel free of charge, but it is advisable to let the company know before the day of traveling. Animals such as guide dogs need to stay on a leash and have adequate documentation to freely accompany you on board instead of staying in a carrier or the ferry kennels.

Service dog guiding a visually impaired passenger on board the ferry

Service dogs are allowed in all spaces on board ferries in Greece

Where to book ferry tickets in Greece?

You can easily book ferry tickets in Greece on Ferryhopper. On our Map of ferries, you can see all available routes, to plan your trip. Visit our Ferry Operators page for more info on all major ferry companies and accessible vessels and book your trip in just a few clicks!

Tip: On the Ferryhopper App, you can now check your ferry location live on the day of your trip. See how to track your ferry in Greece live to avoid waiting at the port.

Book your ferry tickets