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Why I island hop Greece.

Why do I spend so much time exploring the Greek islands?


Why do I island hop? Spend my summers island hopping around Greece. Why so many islands? If you think about it, 15 islands takes 15 to 18 ferry rides, depending how many times you return to the mainland during the trip. On average each ferry takes about 5-6 hours. A few long ones 8-11 hours, and a few short ones at about 1-3 hours. Lets say 5 hour average. Thats 90 hours sailing the seas! Thats 4 days!! On an entire summer that may not seem like a lot, which it probably may not be, but for a typical holiday of 10-14 days, thats sounds crazy!!

Ok enough with statistics, why do we do this? When the travel bug hits, it hits. There are a few islands in Greece that if I told you to go spend 4 days on, you might get hit with the travel bug too. In 2016 I was on a 3 week trip to Greece and one of our stops was Milos. I don’t know what exactly it was, but I knew I had to find a way to keep doing this. As much as possible.


Fast track to 2022, and I am on my 4th full summer island hopping tour of Greece. I arrive to Greece, settle in for a few days, then off we go! Hit an island for a few days, then choose one near by via ferry, and so on. Notice I always say ferry. I don’t fly to the Greek islands. It completely ruins the experience in my opinion. Getting on a ferry in Greece isn’t JUST about getting to the island, its about the experience. You are on this massive ship with hundreds of others. You look around while sipping your drink or eating a meal, and each person has a story. You are excited. They are all off to a Greek island, not necessarily the one you are going to, but they’re heading somewhere. Some are heading on vacation, some are heading back to their home island, some are island hopping, just like you. Then there are some that are traveling somewhere for personal reasons, not necessarily a vacation or even for something fun. Along the way the ferry will stop at other islands on the way to yours. You step out to the back deck as the ferry docks on an island you never heard before. A birds eye view of the islands port town, a town bustling with tourists, locals and people trying to get on this ferry to either head back home or continue their adventures. There is nothing like this experience.


Every island has its own specialty, something that they do best, and thats what I love most! Imagine for a minute, you are island hopping, you want to taste everything Greece has, right!?


So, go taste the cheese in Naxos, go dance in Mykonos, go see the history in Rhodes, go walk through the gorges in Crete, go sleep on a hammock in Schinoussa, go rock climbing in Kalymnos, go taste the mastic in Chios, go base jump in Zakynthos, go taste the wine in Santorini, go on an ATV adventure on Milos, go learn about the pilgrimage on Patmos, go live forever in Ikaria!



I want to take it back for a moment to about 15 years ago, there used to be a video game on Nintendo called ‘Zelda: The Wind Waker.’ In this game, the world is a massive sea with islands spread around everywhere and you begin on the home island. You start off by finding a boat to make yours, and some tools to help you on your adventure. — Well the designers of this game made it that in order to travel from island to island in the game, you had to hop in your small boat and flow with the wind and the waves to the island you need to get to, and they are there when you need to get back. There were no shortcuts, if you needed to get to an island for a quest that was a lot further, guess what, you stare at the screen as your boat rides with the wind, in the correct direction. There were tons of islands in this world, and even when the game was said and done, there were more islands to be discovered that didn’t necessarily need to be discovered in order to complete the game. — Well, thats how I sort of see Greece and the islands. We have 227 inhabited islands to explore and then when and if you can see them all, there are thousands of more tiny islands if you want to see more. It’s sort of like that game, and guess what if its a 15 hour ferry ride to an island I want to go to, there is no shortcut, we’re getting on the boat, just like in the video game, you’d stare at the screen for a while, except in real life, i’m booking a cabin and sleeping!

One of my favorite travel hacks that I always share with friends, family and followers is that if you plan to visit an island thats over an 8 hour ferry ride, do not be afraid, and don’t rush to the airport to fly there. Flying ruins your afternoon and basically eliminates a day of your travels. Try and find a midnight boat to that island, book a cabin, sleep and wake up at 8am fresh and ready to drive or walk off the boat! Oh and guess what, you saved on a hotel for that night by booking the cabin, so you technically spent less overall and didn’t waste a minute of your day! It’s a win-win situation. If you are curious if the cabins are comfortable, the answer is yes, they are awesome, they include a bathroom and shower, and you can book the entire room if you please.


Why do I want to explore multiple islands rather than just picking 2 or 3 and always going to those? Well, plenty of reasons. I have yet to find 2 islands that are alike. Also, remember, Greece as we know it, the map you see when you look up Greece is only about 200 years old! These islands were there before that and before “Greece” as we know it, Greek lands were just regions and islands. Islands were independent of each other and of the mainland. Ikaria for instance even in the last century had a year in 1912 where it was NOT a part of Greece, it Was its own free state! It had its own currency, its own everything. That didn’t last for a while, but it goes to show, every island is unique and has its own history!



For instance, Milos and Rhodes have nothing in common except the language and the common parts of the Greek cuisine. Zakynthos and Paros, nothing! Mykonos and Ikaria, two different worlds! There are no white washed Mykonian style buildings in the Ionian and there aren’t any in the Dodecanse except for a few small parts. Crete definitely does not have any, and there isn’t a caldera anywhere but Santorini. There are other volcanic islands such as Nysiros and Milos.


I island hop to experience different cultures, different lifestyles, different people, different landscapes, different beliefs, different cuisines, with a goal to create a different life.


I’ve seen 40 of the Greek islands, I have a lifetime to go if I want to complete that game and see all 227 islands, and an eternity if I want to see the extra islands.


Until then, my bags will always be packed, my phone will always have Ferryscanner’s website bookmarked to prepare for that next adventure. See you on the Greek islands!

Lastly, if you want to see photos and videos from my years of island hopping, you can always follow me on social media at @iamgreece and now you can bring my photography home, with my new book, which you can find out my website at www.greece-media.com



How can you follow along our journey? Easy, here are the social channels that our travels are documented on:

Instagram: @iamgreece Twitter: @iamgreece TikTok: @iamgreece_ Facebook: @iamgreece.tony YouTube: @iamgreece

I also offer subscription based content on Instagram for more in-depth information of traveling Greece.


Bonus:

A few travel hacks for people that choose to travel via ferry!

  1. Signup for loyalty cards with all the ferry lines. They often offer heavy discounts to members, especially in August.

  2. Use Ferryscanner which is preloaded on my website, greece-media.com - You can search all the routes, and book the tickets instantly for any desired trip you find.

  3. If you don’t have a cabin, try and get on the boat quickly as sofa seats get taken up quickly!

  4. Take overnight ferries to the ferries that are far out.

  5. Stand outside on the back deck when leaving and arriving to ports.


For all your Ferry booking needs, visit ferryscanner.com

This blog entry is in collaboration with Ferryscanner


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