The Greek islands are renowned worldwide for their unparalleled beauty and incredible diversity, making Greece a popular destination for island hopping. But with over two hundred islands to choose from, it can be difficult to plan your island-hopping adventure, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. If you need help, here’s a guide to luxury Greek islands.

Best islands to fly to start island hopping

The first thing you need to think about when planning your luxury Greek island hopping adventure is where you will be flying to. The main Greek airports are located in Athens, Chania, Santorini and Mykonos. Most international visitors begin their adventure in Athens, the capital. From here, you can take a ferry to start your island-hopping trip and head to the islands you want to visit.

There are various route options to choose from for your island hopping adventure. You can choose from any group of Greek islands and create your own itinerary. If you are flying to Athens, you can start your journey from the port of Piraeus and explore the Cyclades Islands or the Saronic Gulf Islands. You can also explore the islands furthest from Piraeus, such as the Dodecanese. Athens is also close to the port of Rafina, which is the starting point for boat trips to the Eastern Cyclades. If you prefer to visit the islands of the North Aegean, fly into the airport of Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece.

If you want to spend most of your time exploring a specific group of Greek islands, take a domestic flight from Athens to reach the city where you plan to start your trip. Most of the main islands of Greece are served by domestic flights, and some have direct international flights from nearby European cities.

The Ionian Islands

The Ionian Islands are among the most popular islands to visit on an island hopping adventure in Greece. This group has fourteen different islands, with Corfu and Zakynthos being the most popular. These islands lie in the Ionian Sea and are known for their rich culture, fascinating architecture and vibrant culinary scene.

Corfu is the best place to start your adventure in the Ionian Islands. Spend time discovering its charming old town, home to some UNESCO World Heritage sites. Paxos is a small island close to Corfu, surrounded by olive trees and with secluded bays where you can swim and snorkel. It has a satellite island called Antipaxos, famous for its beautiful beaches with crystal clear waters.

Kefalonia is the largest of all the Ionian Islands, home to beautiful beaches and plenty of scenic hiking trails. The island has a mountainous landscape with vast green spaces that you can explore without the tourist crowds. From Kefalonia, sail to Zakynthos and visit Shipwreck Beach, accessible only by sea. Discover its iconic Blue Caves and experience its vibrant nightlife.

The Cyclades

Santorini evening

The Cyclades are among the most popular islands for those wishing to travel to Greece, especially Santorini and Mykonos. There are over two hundred islands in the Cyclades, but most are uninhabited. If you plan to explore the Cyclades on your luxury Greek island hopping adventure, start with Mykonos. Before heading out sailing, spend a day or two on the island to enjoy its vibrant nightlife and explore its whitewashed villages and famous windmills.

Santorini is also an ideal base for your island-hopping adventure in the Cyclades and is best suited for couples on a romantic vacation. Famous for its postcard-perfect views and breathtaking sunsets, Santorini offers plenty of fun things to experience that are worth spending a few days here. But for those who want to escape the tourist crowds, Milos would be a good alternative. This small island in the Cyclades is home to beautiful beaches, charming boutique hotels and excellent seafood restaurants.

Tinos Island is another fascinating island to visit in the Cyclades, where you will find the site of the famous Church of the Virgin Mary. Naxos is also worth a visit, as is Syros, the capital of the Cyclades.

The Dodecanese

Rhodes

The Dodecanese Islands consist of twelve different islands, with several smaller ones. It has some of the most popular islands in Greece and some are close to mainland Turkey. In fact, some tourists from Turkey would take a day trip. If you want to explore this group on your island hopping adventure, start in Rhodes or Kos, both have international airports.

Rhodes is renowned for its well-preserved fortified town, ancient villages and beautiful beaches. If you are visiting Rhodes, you can take a day trip to the famous Turkish resort of Marmaris. Symi, a small island in the Dodecanese, is also becoming a popular place to visit for an island hopping trip. It has a pretty harbor surrounded by colorful houses, a fun place to explore and people watch.

Kos is a captivating island to visit for a beach vacation in Greece. It has some of the most beautiful beaches in the country and where you can practice water sports, such as windsurfing. Kos is also famous for its vibrant nightlife, archaeological sites and ancient castles and ruins.

The Saronic Islands

Island of Spetses

The Saronic Islands are among the closest islands to Athens. If you’re flying to the capital, take some time to explore these clustered islands before venturing to the other Greek islands. Some of the most popular Saronic Islands are Hydra, Poros and Aegina.

Hydra is a charming island that you can visit in a short ferry ride from Athens. Unlike the bustling capital, it has a more laid-back atmosphere and a few secluded beaches where you can relax. Meanwhile, Poros is a shopping center island famous for its clock tower and palm-fringed beaches. Its old town is lined with colorful houses, while the bustling waterfront is a fun place to enjoy a relaxing stroll.

Aegina is another island worth visiting on your island hopping adventure in the Saronic Islands. It has a rich culture and history and is home to excellent restaurants serving delicious seafood dishes.

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