Island Hopping in the Cyclades
Island hopping in the Cyclades is something we have always wanted to do.
The islands offer everything you would dream of when you think of Greece – pristine beaches, tiny cobbled streets lined with pink bougainvillea flowers and enough feta and olives to last you a lifetime!
You’ll have guaranteed sunshine (almost!), excellent food and it was fairly easy for us to stick to our budget.
We flew into Mykonos in August and spent 5 weeks ferrying around the islands until we left from Athens for Japan and our next adventure.
Initially we had to come up with a plan of which islands we wanted to visit and in what order, depending on ferry schedules. In the end we were really happy with our choice of route and loved everywhere we went. Each island has a different character and added a nice bit of variety to our trip.
As we were on a budget we wanted to plan ahead and book our accommodation. This was a bit of a pain in the arse as the ferry companies release their schedules at different times and quite late on in the year.
The website www.openseas.gr is really helpful – it allows you to search ferry itineraries from the year before so gives a rough guide of what routes you will be able to take and how many times a week that route is operated.
In the end we pre-booked our ferries but it really isnt necessary. The ferries are huge and never fully booked for on-foot passengers – they also charge €2 a time to print out pre-booked tickets. Next time we go, we will buy ferry tickets as we arrive at each island for the next journey. We travelled with Blue Star, Hellenic Seaways and Express Skopelitis – they were always comfortable and on time.
This even applied to travelling between the Small Cyclades islands (they are amazing – you have to go!), where the route is operated using smaller boats with ‘Express Skopelitis’. We managed to get tickets for these the day before travel (we went late August and September).
When To Go
We left on 11th August until late September. The weather was perfect for us and we didn’t see a drop of rain. Come September, the islands were noticeably quieter and more peaceful so I would recommend visiting then if possible.
Our budget was £50 per person per day all in and we managed to stick to this easily. We usually managed to get lunch for €7 pp including a beer. You could often get a 0.5L carafe of wine for €4.
We mostly got around on foot or by bicycle. On a few of the islands we hired quadbikes for €20/day.
We think the Cyclades are the best island hopping destination. You might think you need to go long-haul to get the perfect weather and beaches but Greece is so easily accessible from Europe.
So what are you waiting for?