Discover one pristine, sun-dappled paradise after another with island hopping in Greece
Unrivalled seascapes, sensational views and a wealth of exciting things to do: The Greek islands are jaw-droppingly beautiful, world-class destinations with something for everyone. From wild and glamorous, to off-the-beaten-track, there are islands as if tailor-designed for you – and it’s not just one, but several, since Greece has more than 200 inhabited islands and some 6.000 thousand in total.
Given this striking diversity, it might be hard to choose which one to visit. So why not go to as many as you possibly can? Island hopping in Greece is a not-to-be-missed adventure, packed with authentic experiences that turn into fascinating stories.
But before embarking on this wondrous escapade, there are some things to consider. First of all your starting point. Smack in the heart of the Aegean, the Cyclades, where you’ll find the post-card perfect sugar-cube houses and the churches with the blue domes, is the most famous island group, with fast and frequent ferry connections between them. Of course, the biggest celebrity there is none other than Mykonos – the stomping ground of the world’s glitterati; where luxury is a state of mind. This wanderlust destination is also a great base for going island hopping in Greece – in the Cyclades and beyond, to legendary places like Chios and Crete.
In the first part of the Semeli guide for island hopping in Greece, we covered the stars around Mykonos. Below are more of our handpicked suggestions to feed your travel bug and keep you inspired.
Ιsland hopping in Greece: The Cyclades and beyond
From Mykonos to Milos and Sifnos
Its popularity has been rapidly on the rise for a few years now, but Milos still feels like a refreshing change after Mykonos. The trip there takes 3-6 hours depending on the vessel, and after all the intense partying you’ll certainly welcome the romantic atmosphere and late-night dining scene at play here. The beaches of Milos are phenomenal too, with other-worldly rock formations – a result of previous volcanic activity.
Just 2 ½ hours away from Mykonos, likewise, Sifnos, is a quaint, laid back island with a typically Cycladic Medieval castle, renowned food and cool vibes – perfect for newfound love birds. Perhaps this tall dark stranger you met in Mykonos’ bars?
From Mykonos to Ios
Hop on a ferry from Mykonos and in 1:15-2 hours, you’ll be transported to the Cyclades’ other party queen. Though Ios –meaning violet in Greek – boasts a dramatically alluring, archetypically Cycladic beauty, it is mostly famous for its booze-fuelled nightlife scene – and has been so ever since the hippies made this island their Mediterannean HQ back in the 60s. This was at least the case up until recently. With an emblematic ancient town with whitewashed houses and cobblestone alleys; rows of antique windmills; quaint, little churches – 365 in total, more than the bars, one for each day of the year – alluring clifftop villages; traditional goat farms; and that’s not to mention paradisiacal beaches; Ios is nowadays increasingly attracting a sophisticated crowd of boho-chic travellers, bon vivants and artists looking for their own, authentic slice of heaven on earth.
From Mykonos to Amorgos
Amorgos feels like a world away from Mykonos, even if it’s just 2 hours away by ferry. The filming location of Luke Benson’s film “Deep Blue”, this secluded island in the southern Cyclades boasts peerless scenery and a characteristically nonchalant vibe. Climbed high on the mountains, its main medieval town comes with staggering views and is one of the most beautiful in the Cyclades. Famed for their crystalline waters, Amorgos’ blue and gold beaches, are to-die-for too – with many naturists’ spots, if that’s your inclination. If you decide to visit, also make sure to go to the awe-inspiring Monastery of Hozoviotissa, built on a high rock with phenomenal sea views.
From Mykonos to Crete
Crete, Greece’s largest island – actually 3rd largest in the Med! – is in a class of its own. With a one-of-a-kind blend of striking, highly diversified natural scenery – from snow-capped mountains to exotic beaches; world-famous ancient monuments, antique monasteries and historical sites; as well as arguably the planet’s healthiest and most delectable food; Crete is a legendary destination: An experience to be savoured at least once in a lifetime. Catch the ferry from Mykonos and arrive in Crete’s capital Heraklion in 5 hours or so. Then the possibilities are endless. From uncovering the mysteries of the Minoans to exploring Europe’s so-called grand canyon, and from swimming in crystalline waters to chatting with the locals in quaint mountaintop villages, each and every moment spent here will linger long in the memory.
From Mykonos to Chios
Depending on the route you choose, you can reach Chios from Mykonos in 3-6 hours. Located in the Northern Aegean, off the coast of Turkey, Greece’s 5th largest island is unlike any other, thanks to a combination of history, geography and climate. Legend has it that it was the birthplace of Homer and Christofer Columbus alike – the latter remaining a popular surname up to nowadays. Named “fragrant island” due to the wild oregano and rosemary bushes growing everywhere, Chios is home to the very rare Mastic trees – their most popular by-product being the original chewing gum. It also stands out for its elaborate architecture: The medieval villages of Pyrgi and Olympi sport labyrinth-like alleyways and houses whose facades are decorated with black and white geometrical patterns – whether you are an aspiring photographer or someone who’s looking to venture off the beaten track, this sun-kissed island is your go-to place.
Did you like our island hopping in Greece guide? Stay tuned to our Semeli Blog for more tips and ideas for immersive experiences in and around Mykonos!