Island hopping in Greece
Mountainous landscapes, sandy beaches, tasty food, rich history and countless stunning islands. You've probably been dreaming of this over the last few months. So make the Greek Islands the first place you travel to as Europe re-opens and turn those dreams into reality. Get ready for Greece now with this island hopping guide, complete with destination tips, an itinerary following the trails of a Eurail colleague, and everything you need to know about the Interrail Greek Islands Pass.
Ferry with an Interrail Pass?
With an Interrail Pass, you don’t only get free access to the rail networks of 33 countries, but also discounted or free passage on many ferry routes, bringing even more of Europe within your reach. You can use Pass discounts to travel to distant shores and include islands like Mallorca, Malta or Sicily in your itinerary. Or you can take a longer excursion around Crete, Rhodes, Santorini, and everywhere in between, with the Interrail Greek Islands Pass in partnership with Attica Group.
Hop around whichever islands you prefer in Greece, choosing from lively party hubs to secluded vistas.
Choose Syros, Paros and Naxos. Explore their rich history and hiking trails by day, and party by night.
A trip to Santorini, Kos and Rhodes will exceed all your expectations for a romantic experience and a memorable adventure.
Are you interested in discovering peaceful and unique destinations in Greece? Then we recommend travelling to Patmos, Lipsi and Leros.
Zsófia's Island hopping itinerary
Get some Greek Islands inspiration from Zsófia, one of our Eurail colleagues, by following her 16-night island-hopping itinerary to hot destinations like Athens and Santorini, as well as some more secretive spots...
Athens (4 nights): for the culture
Athens is the most logical place to start off your journey; it's a must-see for its culture and because most ferries depart from here to the islands. If you're not so much a museum lover (where you could literally spend weeks if you wanted to), you will still find delight in the variety of colossal buildings, romantic little streets and spectacular sunsets. Personal tip: to see the sunset, skip the touristy bars in the city centre and head for the Areopagus Hill. It's less busy and more romantic.
Naxos (5 nights): for hiking and windsurfing
Naxos offers hikes with spectacular views, sandy beaches, a lovely old town and good wind for kitesurfers. If you're up for some more activity, climb up to the top of Mount Zeus. Be prepared for a 1000m hike, which can be pretty challenging in hot weather. Check out the Zeus' cave on the way to the top and meet the local wildlife on the slopes (mountain goats!).
If you're someone who prefers some action at sea level, head to one of the many beautiful beaches. Get onto the water with a kite or windsurf, and let those wind gusts carry you far away. Or enjoy a nice book on the beach, whatever floats your boat!
You can't miss Portara, the iconic marble door near the old town, which is actually an unfinished temple. It is only linked to the island by a pathway. Walk back to the old town to get lost on the narrow streets and grab a bite in one of the many restaurants in the evening.
Santorini (2 nights): to see what the fuss is about
We're not going to lie: Santorini is very touristic and the prices are sky-high. One of the best ways to enjoy the famous sunset is if you rent a place that has a view to (the picturesque side of) the sea. You have to dig deeper into your pockets but there will be no fellow traveller blocking your view. The rest is all true: those white walls with the blue rooftops are really special!
Milos (5 nights): for beaches
End your itinerary on a proper beach island, with a laid back vibe that's perfect for the beach bums among us. If you have the budget for it, rent a boat or go on one of the organised trips that take you to Kleftiko, a white rock formation with numerous caves. Those bright turquoise waters are unreal!
Next day, visit the old port of Klima, whose doors will make you feel like you're in a cartoon and Popeye might pop up from behind one of the doors in any minute. The eroded volcanic plates around Sarakiniko will bring you, on the other hand, into a moonlike environment. The contrast of the blue-green waters will make you want to stay there forever...
The climb to the Venetian castle of Plaka, which dates from the 13th century, will treat you with romantic little paths and lovely churches. Enjoy the panorama of the whole island from the top. If you're up for some more romance, stay until sunset. You won't regret it.
Choose your Greek Islands Pass
There are 2 different Interrail Greek Islands Passes on offer. Choosing between them depends on the number of ferry trips you would like to take and if you want to combine your trip with Italy and the rest of Europe, or only visit Greece...
What is the difference between the 2 Passes?
The main difference between the two Passes is the number of ferry trips that you can take. The 6-trip Greek Islands Pass includes 2 international trips between Italy and Greece, and 4 ferry trips between the Greek islands. Alternatively, the 5-trip Greek Islands Pass allows you to make up to 5 domestic ferry trips between the Greek Islands.
What is included in the 6 trips Pass?
- 6 ferry trips within a 1 month period that includes:
- 2 international trips* between Italy and Greece
- 4 domestic trips to Greek islands
- TRAINOSE rail/bus transfer from the international port of Patras to the domestic port of Piraeus (and vice versa)
- Fuel surcharge and port fees
- Accommodation in either 1st or 2nd class
- 30% discount on all additional Greek island trips (after the 4 included in the Pass)
What is included in the 5 trips Pass?
- 5 domestic trips within a 1 month period
- Fuel surcharge and port fees
- 30% reduction on all additional Greek island trips (after the 5 included in the Pass)
* The Greece-Italy routes are jointly operated by Superfast Ferries & Anek Lines.
Attica’s 31 modern vessels serve 60 unique destinations in 4 countries, connecting 71 ports. Destinations vary: Morocco (Tanger Med), Spain (Algeciras), Italy (Venice-Ancona-Bari), Greece (the famous Greek islands such as Mykonos, Santorini, Paros). On board you can enjoy high quality transportation services such as bars, restaurants and modern accommodation.
Interrail Global Pass holders can receive discounted travel on Superfast Ferries, Blue Star Ferries, Hellenic Seaways and Africa Morocco Link ferries, operated by Attica Group.
Interrail Greek Islands Pass holders can travel for free on Superfast Ferries, Blue Star Ferries and Hellenic Seaways.
Timetables and reservations
When travelling with your Greek Islands Pass, you must reserve a seat for each ferry you’ll be travelling on. This can be done free of charge. Make sure to do so as early as possible to ensure there are still seats available. For Domestic trips you can contact the Attica Group Call Centre, while for International routes you can also book your trip online.
- There are many islands to discover...
You can board the ferries to the islands from 3 ports on the mainland: Piraeus, Lavrio & Kavala.
The following islands can be reached with the Greek Islands Pass:
- Cyclades: Amorgos, Anafi, Andros, Donoussa, Folegandros, Ios, Iraklia, Kea, Kimolos, Koufonissi, Kythnos, Milos, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Santorini, Schinoussa, Serifos, Sikinos, Syros, Tinos, Sifnos
- Dodecanese: Astypalea, Karpathos, Kastellorizo, Kalymnos, Kasos, Kos, Leros, Lipsi, Nisyros, Patmos, Rhodes, Symi, Tilos
- Sporades: Alonissos, Skiathos, Skopelos
- Saronic Islands: Aegina, Agistri, Hermioni, Hydra, Poros, Porto Heli, Spetses,
- North & N.E. Aegean Islands: Chios, Fourni, Ikaria, Lemnos, Mytilene, Oinousses, Psara, Samos
- Crete*: Chania & Heraklion
*The Crete routes are jointly operated by Blue Star Ferries & Anek Lines.
Curious where else you can go once you've stepped off the ferry? Make the planning process even more exciting and check out the rest of our ideas!