The Greek islands ferry system is one of the largest and most efficient in the world. This Q & A will help you understand the schedule, plan your Greek Islands Ferry route, and answer any other burning questions you might have. So whether you’re island hopping through the entire Greek Cyclades with a ferry pass or just planning to travel from Athens to Santorini, we got you covered using the Greek Island ferries!
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12 Most Frequently Asked Questions for Using the Greek Island Ferries
1. How Do I Book Tickets?
You can buy your tickets directly on the ferries website or in-person from a ticketing office.
Online: This is how we did it and we were able to get the best prices. We started by searching FerriesinGreece and playing around with the dates and times so we could find the cheapest tickets. The nice thing is that they also sort to show you the difference in price between the companies and how long the ferries are.
In Person: You can also buy your tickets right from the ferry companies in port, but if you wait until last minute they might be sold out or more expensive during high season.
2. Which Greek Islands Ferry Company Should I Use?
Even though there are multiple options, the biggest Cyclades ferry companies are Blue Star and Hellenic Seaways. Nevertheless, the answer is simply whatever one is cheapest or fastest depending on your needs!
We prefer Blue Star Ferries as they have a massive amount of routes through the Greek Islands. Just keep in mind this is a slow ferry so if you’re tight on time you may want to choose another company.
→ Blue Star Ferries: Why We Use the Affordable Slow Ferry in Greece
3. How Do I Get My Tickets Once I Buy Them?
So here’s the tricky part! Even though you can buy your tickets online the email or printout won’t be enough to get you on the boat. You will have to go to one of the ferry offices near the port and have them print out official tickets for you.
The most confusing part is that there are multiple Greek islands ferry offices advertising the same company. Fortunately, once you book the ticket online it will tell you exactly which office to go to. Otherwise, you may be walking around in circles to all the different offices and miss your boat!
Update: Due to Covid, we’ve been informed you no longer need to go physically to an office to pick up your tickets. Please confirm when booking as this is subject to change.
4. Are the Greek Island Ferries Expensive?
Not necessarily. It can actually be very cheap depending on the time of year you go and how you schedule your route. We were shocked that we were able to buy tickets for our Greek Islands ferry route for just €6-12 euros each.
Keep in mind we traveled during the shoulder season in May, but it was still a smooth and very affordable experience with how we planned everything.
Cost of Our Tickets May 2019:
- €12 Mykonos → Syros with BlueStar
- €7.50 Syros → Paros with BlueStar
- €11 Paros → Naxos with BlueStar
- €9.50 Naxos → Ios with BlueStar
- €6 Ios → Folegandros with Zante
- €8 Folegandros → Milos with Zante
- €54 Total Ferry Cost to Visit 7 Greek Islands!
5. Can I Take My Vehicle On Board?
Yes! Almost all the Greek island ferries (except select fast ferries) allow cars, trucks, and motorbikes to ride on. This is actually a popular way of transporting goods between the islands so you’ll see many large trucks coming on and off the boats.
Ticket prices vary depending on where you’re going and the type of boat, but it will be worth it to have wheels to explore your next island destination.
6. What is the Best Greek Islands Ferry Route to Take?
That really depends on what you want to see! All the islands are so special and different in their own way. The most popular islands in the Cyclades ferry line are Mykonos and Santorini, but don’t limit yourself to those if you have time!
We planned our trip loosely around the cheapest ferries. This means we stayed on each island for 2-4 days each depending on when the next decently priced ferry was out. The prices can differ from €6 all the way up to €50 euros, so you can save a lot of money by using the Greek Islands ferry schedule to your advantage.
→ The Ultimate Greek Cyclades Island Hopping Itinerary
7. How Many Greek Island Chains Are There?
Greece has over 6,000 islands with only 227 of those being inhabited. They are split up into six groups and span the Aegean and Ionian oceans. Overwhelming isn’t it? Well, the good news is you can take ferries to almost all of them!
Most people plan their Greek Islands ferry route by picking one island grouping and sticking to that. However, the easy access to ferries means you don’t have to keep your Greek Islands travel to just one islet chain!
8. What’s the Difference Between Fast Ferry and Slow Ferry?
In simple terms, it’s cost and time. Like most forms of transportation, there is typically a fast and slow option as well as direct and indirect ways to get places. Personally, we didn’t use the fast ferries as we found the regular ships to be just fine.
All the “slow boats” still seemed to get us everywhere within 1-3 hours, and provide surprisingly comfortable indoor and outdoor seating. We actually felt like we were on a cruise ship sometimes instead of one of the Greek island ferries! Also, seeing things at a slower pace isn’t so bad when you have incredible views of the beautiful Greek islands.
9. What is the Greek Islands Ferry Pass?
The Greek Islands Ferry Pass is a great option if you plan on hitting multiple islands. Basically, you pay a flat fee and can pick up to 5 islands within the rules of the pass.
With the Greek Islands Ferry Pass, you can even go to Italy if you so choose! Even though this may sound like a dream come true, the pass may only make sense monetarily for certain routes and times of the year.
For example, we hit 7 different islands during May in the Cyclades and still spent under the amount that the ferry pass cost. So after you make a rough schedule sit down and do the math and see if it’s smart for you to get the Greek Islands Ferry Pass.
It’s also important to note they have to mail the pass to you. It can’t be picked up or printed anywhere, so plan accordingly.
→ More Information on the Eurail Greek Islands Ferry Pass
10. How Timely Are the Greek Island Ferries?
This is a funny question with a sort of complicated answer… Some of the boats we boarded were incredibly timely, and would be sailing off to the next island before you could even sit down!
While others would be up to an hour late getting you to your destination. Usually, if they’re late it’s because of the number of large trucks or cars going on and off the ship.
It seemed strange, but sometimes they would sit in the port an extra long time almost seeming like they were waiting for one last truck to board with supplies.
Whatever the case, you have to roll with it. Most of our Greek island travel experience was great with the ferries, but there were times when we arrived later than scheduled.
11. Can’t I Fly Between the Greek Islands Instead?
Almost all the larger islands have airports. However, prices and times can range so widely that you probably won’t be flying much! If you’re planning on hopping around to multiple islands the boat is the best way to go. For instance, it’s quite easy to get a flight from Athens to Santorini.
We even flew from Venice Italy to Mykonos for just €40! Yet once you arrive you’re better off utilizing the ferry system in between islands. Well… Unless you have the money for private flights or helicopters!
12. How Do I Get To My Accommodation from the Ferry Ports?
The ports on many of the Greek islands can be far from the main towns and beaches. The bus is typically an option, but many of the hotels also offer a free pickup service.
Make sure you reach out to your hosts prior to arrival because there’s a good chance they’ll pick you up and drop off after your stay.
Have any more questions on the Greek Islands ferry schedule or planning your Greek Island ferries route? Comment below and let us know!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
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.
Rhodes: Planning a Trip – Renting a Car – 1 Week Itinerary – Old Town – Elli Beach – Kallithea Springs – Lindos Guide – Lindos Acropolis – Monolithos – Melenos Art Boutique Hotel – 11 Best Beaches – Anthony Quinn Bay
Karpathos: Fun Things to Do – 1 Week Itinerary – Must Try Food – 6 Best Beaches – Olympos – Saria Island Boat Tour – Sky Express Review
Crete: 19 Food & Drinks – Matala Hippie Caves – Elafonisi (Pink Sand) – Renting a Car – Bus Tips – 20 Facts – Vai Beach Palm Trees – Best Things to Do
More Dodecanese: Halki Island – Symi Island Guide – Symi Things to Do
Cyclades: Adamas Milos – Ios – Naxos Beaches – Naousa Paros – Galissas Syros – Mykonos Old Town – Santorini
Corfu: Old Town Food – Greece to Albania Ferry
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Hello What is the difference between silver , club and Platinum accommodations. Which would you recommend?
Thanks in advance
It looks like the higher classes are separated from the economy seating and have larger, more comfortable seating. I would check the official websites to see what’s included with that though.
We have always found the normal seating to be good enough but we usually don’t take super long ferries. Also, it’s fun to be outside when possible! (-:
We are planning to arrive in Athens on September 5, leaving for Milos on September 7. We are going to purchase our ferry tickets to Milos ahead of time, but from there are going to other islands before returning to Athens. Do you think it would be okay if we wait to book our tickets once we arrive at each island? We have set times on each island and don’t want to miss our dates. Thank you!
You should be ok since September is not high season, but try and do it at least a couple of days in advance just in case the boat fills up. Have a great time in Greece! Milos is beautiful (-:
We are coming from Toronto to Greece SEpt.4/5/ of 2020. what is the best way to travel. We are landing in Athens, and our first Island is on Sept.6th and booked for 3 night… then we want to leave and head to Santori for the 9th-12th then back to Athens and want to fly from there to Palermo Italy… Any suggestions on how to book all of this? it’s so much to do ..Does the Ferry hopper allow athen to Naxos to Santorini back to Athens and are there set times and days or do you just go and hop on when you want….
Please help.. we are trying to do this as cheaply as possibly when travelling back and forth so we can get decent accomodations.. thanks in advance for your help
Hello Val. You can book all your ferries on the website we mentioned in the article – https://www.ferriesingreece.com/
They definitely run between Athens, Naxos, and Santorini as those are 2 of the most popular islands to visit. However, you’re going to want to check the times and book these in advance to get the best price. Tourism dies down a bit after August so it shouldn’t be a problem. Typically we booked ours the night before and it was fine.
Hope this helps and have fun!
-Brigitte and Jake
I am looking for ferries on the Ionian islands. I am planning to go from Zakynthos to Corfu and Kefalonia. I can not find a ferry from Zakynthos to Corfu for the life of me. Do you know of any?
Hello Harry! We weren’t able to find those ferries online, but we were literally just at the ticket office in Corfu and they advertise the Zakynthos/Corfu ferry so we know it exists. The name of the company which is quite big was “Joy Lines” I would try reaching out to them by email or phone. Hope that helps!