The Ultimate Greek Cyclades Island Hopping Itinerary

Nothing Familiar Greece

When you think of the best island chains in the world Greece should be at the top of the list! That’s why when we planned our itinerary through Europe we knew it was the perfect time to go island hopping in the Greek Cyclades. Over the course of three weeks, we visited 7 islands from world-famous Mykonos to the lesser-traveled Folegandros! In this post, you’ll find everything to plan the best Greek Cyclades itinerary. This includes the cost of ferry tickets, recommended routes, island hopping in Greece on a budget, and a complete breakdown of what to see and do in each place.

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Greece Travel Inspiration

Greek Island Hopping Itinerary

Below we provide our island hopping in Greece route with no backtracking, and visiting 7 islands in 3 weeks! With most travelers only having limited time in the islands we created multiple itineraries that we thought would be great for one week vacations. In addition, you will notice that we recommend flying in and out of the islands.

During peak season there are many flights daily between Athens and the bigger islands like Santorini, Mykonos, and Milos. If you plan and book in advance you will pay the same or close to the cost of a ferry back to Athens, and most importantly save a lot of travel time.

Our Island Hopping in Greece Route:

  • €12 Mykonos → Syros
  • €7.50 Syros → Paros
  • €11 Paros → Naxos
  • €9.50 Naxos → Ios
  • €6 Ios → Folegandros
  • €8 Folegandros → Milos
  • €54 Euros Total to Visit 7 Greek Islands

 

Ferry to Ios Greece

7 Different Greek Islands Itinerary Ideas

These loose island hopping in Greece ideas are only based on places that we have visited in the Cyclades. Three islands in Seven days might feel rushed for some, so we urge you to use our island breakdown below to choose the islands that are right for you. This way you can make the best Greek island hopping itinerary possible!

Iconic Greece: Fly into Mykonos for 2 Nights – 3 Nights Naxos – 2 Nights Santorini – Fly Out

Beaches and Sunshine: Fly into Paros for 2 Nights – 2 Nights Naxos – 2 Nights Mykonos – Fly Out

Islands Less Traveled: Fly into Santorini and Ferry to Folegandros for 2 Nights – Paros 2 Nights – Syros 3 Nights – Fly Out

Patry Time: Fly into Mykonos for 2 Nights – 3 Nights Ios – 2 Nights Santorini – Fly Out

Golden Triangle: Fly into Mykonos for 2 Nights – 2 Nights Paros – 3 Nights Naxos – Fly Out

Fun & Sun: Fly into Santorini for 2 Nights – Folegandros 2 Nights – Milos 3 Nights – Fly Out

Nothing Familiar Choice: Fly into Naxos for 2 Nights – Ios 1 Night – Milos 3 Nights – Fly out

→ Greek Island Ferries: The 12 Most Important Questions Answered!

Ferry Hopping Through the Greek Islands

Mykonos Island

When you hear the word Mykonos you probably think of glitzy bars and glamorous beach parties… Well, you’re actually right! Mykonos holds true to its international reputation, but it’s also whatever you make of it.

So if you’re looking to party all night go ahead, but if you’re also trying to relax in a small seaside hotel and explore the more secluded areas of the island that won’t be a problem either. Us going to Mykonos even proves you can go island hopping in Greece on a budget!

  • Hit one of the Mykonos beach parties at Paradise beach.
  • Find the hillside windmills including Kato Mili and Boni’s Windmill.
  • Shop and explore your way through the small whitewashed back streets of Mykonos Old Town.
  • Grab a drink or meal in Little Venice overlooking the Aegean Sea.
  • Hike to the top of the island for a view at the 180º Sunset Bar.

→ Mykonos Old Town Guide: 10 Amazing Things to do with Beaches

Where To Sleep

Ultra Luxury ($$$$) – Anax Resort and Spa – Stylish and spacious rooms with amazing sea views. You won’t need to leave with your choice of infinity pool, hot tub, or private beach area.

Fun Vacation ($$$) – Chill Out Studio – Traditional Greek rooms set above the city center, but also just a quick 10 minute walk to town. The star of the show is the large outdoor pool where you can enjoy a glass of wine with a view!

Travel Couple ($$) – Angela’s Rooms – Our home while in Mykonos. The kindest owner who is happy to answer all your Mykonos questions. Quick walk to the town center and cute traditional rooms.

Hostel Life ($) – MyCocoon Hostel – This hostel will be unlike any you have stayed in before! The small “dorm beds” are set in little cave-like grottos right in the heart of town. Even if you’re island hopping in Greece on a budget this will be a great place to stay.

For more places to stay in Mykonos you can check out the latest prices here!

Next Stop: Syros

Visiting Greece Travel Guide

Syros Island

Before leaving Mykonos the hotel owner told us “Syros is a very local and traditional island” and we couldn’t have agreed more! As one of the less-visited places on our Greek island hopping itinerary, Syros completely surprised us.

From the colorful streets of Ermoupoli to the charming seaside villages like Galissas, it really has everything for a great vacation. If you’re looking to slow down your travels and really take in some culture, Syros should be on your Greek islands itinerary!

  • Explore Ermoupoli and hike to the blue domed church of Saint Nicolas.
  • Rent a car and circle the island to see the many small beaches and coves.
  • Hike through the rolling hills of Syros.
  • Stay at Galissas Beach and enjoy the laid back lifestyle and beautiful beaches.

→ Galissas Beach and Why You’ll LOVE the Local Charm of Syros Island

Where To Sleep

Luxury ($$$) – Hotel Benois – Located right on the beach with a beautiful pool behind the property. Bar on site and just steps away from all the great restaurants.

Fun Vacation ($$) – Ventoura Studios & Apartments – Our home during our stay! Just a few steps back from the beach you’ll find these wonderful studio apartments. Each room has a balcony with a view, and the property has a jacuzzi and steam room as well.

Budget Life ($) – Manousos’ Rooms – Most central location you’ll find and right across from the bus stop. The rooms are above a restaurant and happening bar during the summer, and it’s perfect for those island hopping in Greece on a budget.

For more places to stay on Syros Island you can check the latest prices here!

Next Stop: Paros

Ermoupoli Syros

Paros Island

Paros is seen as just a stopover by some for other islands like Naxos, but to us that couldn’t be further from the truth. Once you leave the port area you’ll be surrounded by nature and travel through diverse landscapes as you venture around the surprisingly large island.

The small town of Naousa on Paros’s south shore is stunningly beautiful. It’s the type of seaside, white and blue town that you dream about visiting when island hopping in Greece!

  • Stay in the small ocean town of Naousa.
  • Get an ATV or scooter and beach hop around the island.
  • Indulge at Ragoussis Bakery which has some of the best desserts and cheapest local meals around.
  • Visit the mountain village of Lefkes.
  • Get active at Golden beach and rent a kayak or stand up paddleboard.
  • Day Trip to the neighboring island of Antiparos.
  • Enjoy a cocktail at one of the oceanside restaurants and watch the sunset.

→ 10 Things We Loved About Naousa Greece

Where To Sleep

Luxury ($$$$) – Saint Andrea Resort Hotel – Located just outside the main town of Naousa, Saint Andrea Hotel has a pool and private beach area for you to enjoy on your Greek island hopping itinerary. Amazing luxury style resort with all the amenities you’d expect on a Greek island.

Fun Vacation ($$$) – Yades Suites – Apartments & Spa – Set right on the hill right above Naousa, the rooms at Yades Suites are equipped with balconies and incredible views of the ocean. If you’re looking to spice up your visit you can even book a room with a jacuzzi inside!

Longterm Travel ($$) – Villa Galini – Our home in Naousa. Just a short walk from town and on the hill overlooking the village. This is one of the cheapest options near the port, but still a great quality stay.

For more places to stay on Paros island you can check the latest prices here!

Next Stop: Naxos

Naousa Greece Paros Island

Naxos Island

If we could be transported right now anywhere in Greece it would be to the beaches in Naxos. This charming island that’s known for its clear blue water and soft sandy beaches did not disappoint!

The entire west coast is lined with one gorgeous beach after the next and is the perfect place to soak in the sun. If you can pull yourself off the beach there are also many great outdoor activities on Naxos as well. Naxos is definitely not a place you want to miss when making the best Greek islands itinerary!

  • Beach hop down the west coast of the island.
  • Wind surf at Mikri Vigla beach.
  • See the amazing traditional villages of  Melanes and Halki.
  • Enjoy a meal in the port town before walking up to see the temple of Apollo.
  • Climb to the cave and highest peak of the Cyclades at Mount Zeus.
  • Explore the juniper forest of Aliko.
  • Grab a good book, beach chair, and watch the sunset over the island at Agios Prokopios Beach.

→ Agios Prokopios and More of Our Favorite Beaches in Naxos Greece

Where To Sleep

Ultra Luxury ($$$$) – Naxos Island Hotel – Ready for the celebrity treatment on Naxos island? This resort has a rooftop taverna, spa treatment, and hot tub to make your vacation the best and most luxurious possible!

Fun Vacation ($$$) – Ariadne Hotel – Complete with a gorgeous swimming pool and located just 50 meters from the Agios Prokopios beach, Ariadne will be a fun and elegant beachside stay.

Travel Couple ($$) – Studios Kahlua – Our home on Naxos Island! These studios are just a short walk from the beach, and surrounded by all the best Naxos restaurants and markets. The small kitchen is perfect for travelers island hopping in Greece on a budget.

For more places to stay on Naxos Island you can find the latest prices here!

Next Stop: Ios

Island Hopping Itinerary Greek Cyclades

Ios Island

We loved Ios! Everything from the small maze of streets that ran through Chora, to the soft sandy beaches, and nightly sunset overlooking the island. The funny thing is that we had a completely different experience than most do.

Ios is renowned as the Greek party island, but in May they were just getting ready for the summer rush and many of the bars and restaurants were empty.

For this reason, we left feeling like it was one of the most underrated and beautiful places on our Greek island hopping itinerary. However, be warned that if you visit in July or August it does get wild!

  • Grab lunch and take a dip at the popular Mylopotas Beach.
  • Take an ATV ride to Homer’s Tomb (La Tomba di Omero) and Manganari Beach.
  • Watch the sunset from the small church at the top of Chora.
  • Party the night away at one of the many funky bars and dance clubs.

→ Ios Greece: Is This Greek Cyclades Party Island Worth a Visit?

Where To Sleep

Ultra Luxury ($$$$) – Liostasi Hotel & Suites – Upscale, modern hotel that still holds a lot of Greek charm. The highlight will be the view from the pool and spa center that overlook the Aegean Sea! Traditional breakfast served daily.

Fun Vacation ($$$) – Avanti – This family run hotel offers amazing views of the island, and is just steps from the main town. Large swimming pool, chic rooms, and lovely balconies. The perfect place to kick off your Greek island hopping itinerary!

Travel Couple ($$) – La Luna – Our home on Ios island! Located just across from chora with a bar and jacuzzi opened in the summer. Good vibes and the balconies also have a fantastic view of the hillside.

Hostel Life ($) – Far Out Village – Hotel linked to the famous Far Out party bar on Mylopotas beach. Great place to meet people, and enjoy beach life just outside of town.

For more places to stay in Ios you can explore the latest prices here!

Next Stop: Folegandros

Ios Greece

Folegandros Island

Many people skip over this tiny paradise on their Greek island hopping itinerary, but that would be a mistake! Much like Syros, you’ll have a quieter and local experience in Folegandros. From the moment you pull into the port, it’s easy to see the beauty of this seemingly untouched island.

An old medieval town sits high in the mountains and features a small square with just a few traditional Greek restaurants. Stroll through the colorful buildings, and be sure to find a way to circle the island to see the beaches, too. Some of them require a hike down, but it’s worth it to have an amazing slice of nature all to yourself!

  • Have a snack or drink in the port at Dal Capo.
  • Hike or take a private boat to the beaches of Katergo and Ambeli.
  • Walk around the main town perched high on the cliffs.
  • Climb up to the old church of Panagia which overlooks Folegandros.
  • Go snorkeling at Livadaki Beach.

Where To Sleep:

Ultra Luxury ($$$$) – Anemi Hotel – Luxury Resort near Karavostassis port. Many amazing amenities and world class restaurant on site.

Fun Vacation ($$$) – Aspalathras White Hotel – Just minutes from Chora village, this beautiful hotel is the perfect set up in the mountains of Folegandros. Enjoy the view from your sun terrace and take in the island life.

Travel Couple ($$) – Vardia Bay Studios – Located on the far side of Karavostassis port, enjoy a quiet stay in a beautiful setting. Walking distance to restaurants and beaches, and only a 10 minute drive from the main town.

For more places to stay in Folegandros you can explore the latest prices here!

Next Stop: Milos

Greek Salad

Milos Island

Milos was one of the islands we were most excited about so we’re happy to report that it is amazing! It has a laid back feel mixed with all the adventure and ocean activities that a traveler could hope for.

A large portion of the island is undeveloped, and to explore it you have to visit by boat. Even though it’s a little further from the other places, you won’t want to leave Milos off your island hopping in Greece list!

  • Cliff jump and relax on the rocks at Moon Beach.
  • Visit the Ancient Roman Theatre and Venus of Milos statue.
  • Eat the best gyro on the island at Adamas at O Gyros Tis Milou.
  • Go on a morning sailing trip to see the far reaches of the island.
  • Swim at the three Sea Caves of Papafragkas.
  • Walk the streets of Plaka and enjoy a sunset from the mountain town.

Related Posts:

Where To Sleep:

Ultra Luxury ($$$$) – The Windmill – Ever stayed inside an actual windmill?? We didn’t think so! This luxury apartment will be a unique and fun experience for your stay in Adamas. It’s a 10 minute walk from town and not far from all the best Milos beaches. The Windmill may not be where you want to stay if you’re island hopping in Greece on a budget, but it’s worth the extra money!

Fun Vacation ($$$) – Villa Zampeta – Right outside of the main town, these small villas mix a cozy vibe with an upscale holiday feel. Beautiful views of the island from the outdoor patios, and many modern amenities.

Travel Couple ($$) – Asterias Studios – Our home for 4 days in Milos! Perfectly situated in between the beach and port of Adamas. Also equipped with stylish furniture, comfy beds, and large TV’s.

For more places to stay in Milos you can explore the latest prices here!

Next Stop: Santorini

Best Beach in Milos Greece

Santorini Island

Don’t let the touristy vibes deter you, Santorini is one of the most beautiful places on earth! It’s honestly such a unique display of architecture and colors that there’s really no place like it.

Santorini is also a good place to start your trip since there are many flights and ferries running here. Although we’d recommend going in the off-season to avoid the crowds, no Greek island hopping itinerary would be complete without Santorini!

  • Take the scenic hike from Oia to Fira.
  • Do a local wine tasting at Santo Winery.
  • Have a fresh seafood meal in Ammoudi Bay.
  • Swim in the Volcanic thermal springs.
  • Spend the day at the incredible Red Beach.
  • Watch a movie at the Open Air Cinema of Kamari.
  • Take a walking tour of Fira town.
  • Go on sunset cruise to end your day.

Related Posts: 9 Reasons Everyone Should Visit Santorini Greece

Where To Sleep

Ultra Luxury ($$$$) – Grace Hotel Santorini – This luxury boutique hotel offers panoramic views and private infinity pools overlooking the ocean. What more would you want for a stay in Santorini??

Fun Vacation ($$$) – Delfini Villas – Located in the scenic town of Oia, these cave apartments are wedged beautifully into the walls of Santorini. From your balcony, you’ll have the perfect view of the sunset over Oia and the surrounding village.

Hostel Life ($$) – Villa Kasteli –  There’s a surprisingly good amount of hostels on the island, and Villa Kasteli is consistently one of the most fun and highly rated. Perissa Village will be a great place to do some island hopping in Greece on a budget.

Looking for a place to stay in Santorini? Check the latest prices here!

Santorini Seafood

Have any recommendations for other great places to visit in the Cyclades? How about any questions on island hopping in Greece on a budget? Let us know what you think the best Greek islands itinerary is in the comments below!

Safe Travels,
Brigitte and Jake

Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar

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Greece Travel Planning 

 Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!

When island hopping use FerriesinGreece to compare different routes, prices, and companies. 

 Flights: We always check Skyscanner and Kayak to search for cheap flights. That’s how we got from Crete to Athens for under $50 USD!

 Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also,  Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget. 

 Rental Car: You can book a rental car for around $20 a day in Greece! We use Discover Cars to explore the larger islands with a vehicle.

 Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for thousands of activities in Greece. You can find everything from visiting the Acropolis in Athens to wine tasting in Santorini, and a boat tour in Milos.

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.

Greece Travel

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Explore Greece

Rhodes: Planning a Trip1 Week Itinerary23 Things to DoOld TownElli BeachKallithea SpringsLindos GuideLindos AcropolisMonolithos –  Melenos Art Boutique Hotel11 Best BeachesAnthony Quinn Bay

Karpathos: 1 Week ItineraryMust Try Food6 Best BeachesOlymposSaria Island Boat TourSky Express Review

Crete: 19 Food & DrinksMatala Hippie CavesElafonisi (Pink Sand)Renting a CarBus Tips20 FactsVai Beach Palm TreesBest Things to Do

More Dodecanese: Halki IslandSymi Island GuideSymi Things to Do 

Corfu: Old Town FoodGreece to Albania Ferry

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6 Comments

  1. Liz
    January 31, 2023 / 11:27 pm

    I have a question about the ferries. I’m going to Greece in May, and I’m looking into booking accommodations right now. I booked a hotel on the island of Ios and according to the ferry times posted right now( there’s only one) it says I’ll miss the ferry from Athens. I asked my hotel if more ferry times will be added, and they said usually they confirm ferry times right around Greek Easter (end of April). That’s only a few weeks before I’ll get there, and too late for me to book hotels. Any advice on what I should do when I don’t know when the ferries are?

    • Brigitte & Jake
      Author
      January 31, 2023 / 11:58 pm

      Hi Liz! The ferries can be tricky when you are traveling to Greece early in the season and want to have everything booked. I agree that more ferries will be added but how many and if the times work for you won’t be certain. Another option you could consider would be taking a flight from Athens to Santorini, Naxos, or Mykonos on the day you arrive. You can start your trip on one of those islands and from there look into the different ferry times. I know Santorini – Ios is only a 30 to 60-minute ride depending on what ferry company you use. Let us know if you have any more questions!

  2. José
    August 29, 2021 / 3:31 am

    No se menciona para nada una visita a la isla de Delos, museo al aire libre único en el mundo, estando en Mykonos o desde Paros, para mí opinión una visita obligada.
    Una recomendación que doy es llegar a Santorini en barco (no trasatlántico), sensación que quedará grabada de por vida en vuestro cerebro.

    • Brigitte & Jake
      Author
      August 29, 2021 / 3:33 am

      Great recommendations! Gracias Jose!

  3. September 14, 2020 / 8:31 am

    I love the sea and Greek seems so beautiful!! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us!

    • Brigitte & Jake
      Author
      September 15, 2020 / 8:45 pm

      Anytime! Greece is one of our favorite countries to visit by far (:

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