My wife and I are thinking about doing a couple of weeks island hopping from Athens this summer (2015) and are looking for some advice on ferry/boats from Athens and onwards.
We'd Like to do Santorini, but that's about the only destination that's set in stone.
The plan is to fly to Athens, stay for 3 days, and then move onto the islands from the port and arrive back in Athens for 1 last night before flying home.
What we'd like to know:
Any of you done this before? Any recommendation?
Is 2/3 nights enough in each location?
How easy/cheap is the accommodation to get, once we land on an island?
How reliable are to boat services?
Any suggestions on budget accommodation in Athens/
Ferry traveling is time consuming. This is of course due to travel times their selves but about the ferry schedules too. Trying to explain the ferry system very draftly:
Most ferries have their hub ports on mainland and this is where routes depart and return too. So for example a Blue Star departs Piraeus 07.30, reach Paros around 12.00, Naxos around 13.00, Santorini around 15.30 . If you want to use said ferry to get from Naxos to Santorini, this means you have to pack, check out your hotel, commute to port, wait there, get a ferry on the middle of the day, ferry ride, arrive on new port, connect to your hotel, check in, unpack, get oriented.... So, mainly most of this day is lost.
Slower ferries are only a bit slower than the fast ferries and offer open deck areas. So I guess you may enjoy the ride as a mini-cruise. But after a while, ferry travel gets old news on my experience. This is why I would try not to move every other day.
Furthermore, I guess it comes down to personal travel styles and what your aim is on each island, but 2/3 nights translate only on 1/2 full days. I find this far too limited time even for tiny Santorini. Spending only one or two days you will manage to get a small glimpse of the port towns and maybe have time for one or two additional activity, site or area... On my opinion, making the effort to go somewhere, you may as well allow some time to see what this is all about...
You do not mention WHEN exactly you plan this trip for... On July and August the meltemi winds pick up on Cyclades islands... It takes very strong 9 or 10 Baufort degrees winds for slow ferries to stop running, but this is not the case for smaller fast ferries which may cancel their trips on everything stronger than 6-7 B. degrees. Weather conditions might occasionaly cause delays as do embarking or disembarking of many people on intermediate ports. If you catch a ferry on high season from island D and due to it been busy season there is 10 minutes delay on islands A,B,C, then 30 minutes delay is a given...
It is easy to get accommodation on the go on most islands outside high season. On high season this i approach is not reccommended. While possibly you will find something, the best spots would be gone and you may end up on inconvenient locations or/and on expensive rates.
What kind of budget you have in mind in euros per night and what type of accommodation you are after?
We plan on going sometime towards the end of June, before the really high season.
I was hoping on about 30 euros per night, if possible
It is very difficult to land a private room in a decent area in Athens on this budget but you may want to check Athens Backpackers and Athens Style hostels... You could possibly find a room in a small hotel on areas such as Metaxourgeio or Omonoia, but while they are not really dangerous as people tend to think, they are unpleasant and not very convenient. Better to stick with Syndagma, Plaka, Thesio, Monastiraki, Acropolis, Koukaki or even Evaggelismos areas...
On the islands it would be possible to find rooms to let on the go on 30 euros/night on late June on most islands, but make sure you do some homework and know where you want to be located, there is no point to end up on inconvenient locations. The longer a stay, the better rates you may bargain. Rooms to let are ensuite nowadays, usually coming with a shower,twin beds, spartan but clean rooms and quite often with some basic cooking facilities. Santorini might be the tricky part on this budget, it looks more possible to find a room on Perissa and Kamari or inland villages or the far inland parts of Fira rather than on the caldera side of the island.
Was jsut reading your post as I am off to Greece and the islands at the the start of June 2015.
I am going to Athens, Naxos and Santorini over 11 days.
I will be booking flights between the islands as I have heard nothing but bad reviews about the ferries.
With reagrds to accommodation however, I have found fantastic accommodation on Air B&B, you should really check that out if you haven't already.
As you book with locals the accommodation is reasonable and the information has been so helpful.
Good luck, and if you have any tips please share
This is a weird post! Flights among islands are rare and I am sure there is no direct flight between Santorini and Naxos. Please don't tell me you will fly all the way back to Athens to connect between those!!! The destinations you mention are very easily connected on a ferry and actually ferry travel on those destinations is not bad at all. What exactly troubles you? You may want to accustomise your self with the different ferry types too.
Ferries between islands are very convenient and easy.
I tested them twelve years ago between Piraeus, Paros, Mykonos, Naxos, Ios and Santorini.
And last year between Rodos, Nisyros, Tilos and Symi.
Never had any problem.
[ Edit: Edited on 16-Jan-2015, at 04:34 by Alain13 ]