Greece is known for its beautiful weather, blue seas and ancient ruins. One of the best ways to see all of what the country has to offer is jumping upon a ferry for a spot of Greek island hopping. With regular ferries running from the islands with short journey times, the Cyclades is a great option. A lot of the islands within the Cyclades are already a popular holiday destination, but hopping from each one is the perfect way to explore those less travelled. Think rugged landscapes, white beaches and the iconic blue and white sea facing towns for an adventure packed holiday that you’ll never forget.
A Starting Point
Although not in the Cyclades, Athens is a great place to start your adventure due to the connections to the various Greek islands. The city’s Rafina port is a 20 minute drive away from Athens Intentional Airport, and has ferries that go to and from the majority of islands in the Cyclades. Athens is Greece’s capital – and the country’s largest city, so whilst you’re stopping there make sure you check out one of the cities countless ancient ruins, such as the Parthenon temple or the theatre at Epidavros. Another great draw to Athens is being able to sample the vast array of delicious Greek food, from fresh seafood, to traditional salads to see you through the day, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
To give you time to absorb all that the Cyclades has to offer, you’ll want to make sure you have at least two weeks to explore, relax and party. With ferry travel times ranging between 30 minutes to 3 hours, a good idea is to follow a route that’ll allow you to make the most out of your island hopping experience.
Andros is the second largest island on the Cyclades, and with its great walking routes through the mountains consisting of valleys, streams and ancient mills it’s the perfect place to start your island hopping journey due to its relaxing, sightseeing nature. The island’s main resort Batsi is busiest from July due to August, and boasting a long sandy beach that’s no surprise. Check out the island’s Museum of Contemporary Art to inject some culture into your visit.
Mykonos’ reputation tends to be that of a party island, with a high number of stylish and hedonistic tourists going in the summer months, visiting chic cafes and the island’s hip and happening bars. Known for its relentless party scene the island certainty isn’t for the weak hearted. Don’t think you’ll go to the beach to relax either, as there’s a plethora sea side clubs and packed out lounge areas. If you are fancying a bit of culture, visit the glorious white washed Panagia Paraportiani church in Hora, or check out the island’s Folklore Museum.
Paros is maybe Mykonos’ more humble, less flashy little sibling. This island still boasts a trendy capital and modern resort towns, but without all the hustle and bustle of your previous island. It’s a great place to wind down after a busy few days, due to its beautiful white buildings and fishing harbour. You’ll be spoilt for choice of activities on Paros, from boozy sessions to a cultural day out, you can have any kind of experience you wish. Visit the Archaeological Museum to dive into the history of the islands’ past, or head to the Moraitis Winery to indulge your palette.
As the largest island in the Cyclades, you’ll be spoilt for choice with things to do and see. In the main square, you can stop for a spot of shopping and lunch, but as it’s known for being the cultural centre of classical Greece, you can expect a plethora of ancient sites and villages with scenic beach views. With loads of activities such as hiking and kiteboarding you won’t be bored for a minute on this island. For an idea of Naxos’ best landmarks check out the unfinished temple of Apollo, or the island’s Museum of Natural History.
Santorini is known for its white houses lining the clifftops and stunning sunset views, and you can make the picture perfect place a reality with a by stopping off on the historical island. Appealing to tourists all year round, it has no lack of hot spots. Whether it’s a day at one of the islands’ many beautiful beaches or a boozy trip to the Santorini Brewery Company, you’ll be kept entertained from day to night.
Milos is a volcanic island filled with coastal landscapes of abstract rock formations, with the most beaches out of all the islands in the Cyclades. As the EU’s biggest bentonite and perlite source, the island is has an interesting history of mineral extraction, which you can find out more about at the Mining Museum.
Serifos boasts a raw beauty that is common of many of the Greek islands within the Cyclades. The quaint and hilly island is a great place to relax before you’re due finish off your island hopping adventure. Here you can get back on the ferry towards Athens to continue your adventure, or catch your flight back home.
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