In our previous blog post, we provided a shortlist of the Greek island ferry schedules for the summer of 2018. Now it's time to put those schedules into action! Through a series of articles, we will provide you with a curated list of trip suggestions for island hoppers. In this first one, we've decided to focus on the most popular islands of Greece.
The Quintessential Greek Island Hopping Tour
Ask someone to name a Greek island, and what will they say? We reckon Mykonos, Santorini or Crete will always be part of the answer.
Ferry operators are, of course, well aware of this fact. And they have doubled their itineraries to those specific destinations for this promising summer of 2018. So, let’s begin our series of itinerary suggestions with an island hopping journey that will allow you to visit these three destinations consecutively.
Selecting your ferries
Using the island-hopping functionality of Ferryhopper, you can include 4 different trips in one go. All you have to do is select the “Island Hopping” option in our search form, add your destinations & dates, and “Search”. (see the image above)
In a couple of seconds, all the available ferry connections between your selected locations will appear. These are sorted by departure time, including departure/arrival times, intermediate stops, seat availability and prices. Quick and easy, right? Let’s go through the options for each part of the journey then.
Ferry from Athens to Mykonos
Athens is connected to Mykonos through two main ports, Piraeus and Rafina. Piraeus is the main port, closer to the city center, and easily accessible. If you are traveling to Mykonos however, you should better catch a ferry that departs from Rafina. Not only more connection options are available for the Rafina to Mykonos crossing, but also the trip itself is shorter. Moreover, if you plan to take a taxi from Athens International Airport to the port, Rafina is a better option: closer and cheaper.
On any given day during the summer period, there are at least 4 different ferries that will take you from Rafina to Mykonos. At the time of writing, SeaJets and Golden Star Ferries are operating these connections. We also expect Fast Ferries to announce some schedules for this route in the very near future. Watch this space!
Most departures are for early birds, between 7:00 and 8:00 am. If that doesn't quite suit you, there are a couple of options for latecomers; an afternoon ferry departing at around 15:00 as well as an evening ferry departing at around 19:00, depending on the days of the week.
The lowest price per passenger on this leg of your trip will be approximately 48€ (not much market competition here, so prices are still a bit high). Hence, your selection will be based on departure time and availability.
Our tip: the port of Rafina is rather busy during the summer season, especially in the morning. We suggest you arrive at the port with a comfortable 1 hour to spare. It is better to spend some time wandering around Rafina for some last-minute shopping, than missing your ferry and asking us to arrange with the ferry company for a modification of your tickets (although we've got very good at handling such requests!).
Useful link: Make sure you have read this amazing guide of Mykonos by Matt Barrett
Ferry from Mykonos to Santorini
Wow... 7 (seven!) ferries on a daily basis for this trip, evenly spread from morning to afternoon. This is no surprise as we are talking about two of the most popular islands in Greece.
The first ferry departs at 09:40 in the morning, while the last one is at 16:30 in the afternoon. Given the fact that the trip lasts about two and a half hours, it's pretty much like a frequent long-distance bus route. Once again, there isn't much variation in prices (from 59€ to 67€ per person), so your selection will depend on time and availability.
Our tip: don't forget you're in Mykonos, so the chances are you won't have had an early night. No worries, you don’t need to rush on your way to the port. Choose an option that leaves later, say the13:30 SeaJets for example. This will bring you into Santorini at 16:20, with plenty of time to check in to your hotel, and enjoy the world famous sunset of Santorini.
Another tip: Most passengers are too anxious to disembark, and head to the exit doors 10-15 minutes before arrival. You have no reason to do so...The view of Santorini from a ferry entering Caldera is truly amazing and you should really not miss it. Grab your luggage and wait at the outer deck for the ferry to dock before heading towards the exit. You will still have plenty of time to disembark.
Useful link: Once again, add guide of Santorini by Matt Barrett to your "must read" list.
Ferry from Santorini to Heraklion
Ferry selection does not require much of an effort for this leg of your island hopping journey. Santorini is connected to Heraklion via two large high-speed ferries, operated by SeaJets and Hellenic Seaways. The trip duration for both is approximately one hour and a half, while the price is pretty much the same (to be fair, the first one is cheaper by 0.2€ per passenger).
Moreover, both ferries depart almost at the same time, 17:00 and 17:25 respectively. Hence, besides availability, there is no clear distinction here (except a personal “fetish” that one might have with a specific ferry company).
You will be arriving at the port of Heraklion at around 19:00, with plenty of time ahead for you to leave your luggage at the hotel and enjoy a nice walk around the city.
Our tip: If you are hungry after your trip you should really taste the amazing food of Crete. Don’t forget to try out the legendary Souvlaki of Heraklion.
Useful link: To learn more about Heraklion & Crete, you should not miss Matt Barrett's guide to Crete
And now the hard part... Getting back to Athens
Apart from some lucky few, everybody has to get back to Athens eventually. Although we have started this trip with Rafina, your return will definitely be in Piraeus, since this is the only connection port between Athens and Crete.
Two ferries operate on this route on a daily basis, departing with 30 minutes difference, 21:00 and 21.30, and arriving at the same time, at 06:00 in the morning. The ferry companies performing this route are Minoan Lines, and ANEK Lines or Blue Star Ferries depending on the day.
Here is a good thing; ferries from Heraklion to Piraeus are huge conventional vessels, with a lot of cabins. Nice, clean, and comfortable cabins of up to 4 beds.Yes, we suggest that you book a cabin for your trip back to Athens!
First of all, you will probably be exhausted after having crossed almost half of the Aegean and having visited three super-exciting islands. Second, the trip is performed during the night hours, and you won’t want to spend your night wandering around the ferry, trying to find a nice place to rest. Book yourself a cabin and enjoy your sleep.
Our tip: Avoid last minute bookings. These ferries might be huge, but things can get pretty crowded as well, especially during late August.
Booking your ferries
And here is what your Ferryhopper selection cart will look like: 4 different ferries and companies, 4 different trips including 5 ports, combined into a single booking! Trips like this one, are the reason why we created Ferryhopper in the first place.
Schedules have already been announced. You can book your tickets online since the beginning of 2018. Use our booking engine and get your ferry tickets without extra fees!