I'd really like to spend 4-6 weeks exploring as many of the Greek Islands as possible in May/June.
Ideally I'd like to start off in Athens.
Any tips on using the ferries? and can you buy a pass which is say unlimted use for the amount of time i wish to travel, as i hate making plans and would rather just go where i like when i like, if you know what i mean!
Hope you can help.
I haven't done exactly what you are planning, but I have done a couple of trips between Athens and some of the islands, between the islands themselves, and between the islands and Turkey.
I have no real idea on "passes" as such, but a fwe general tips are:
- the early morning ferries tend to depart on time but I found that as the day progressed the timetable got a bit out of wack. However, do be on time.
- seasickness is not a big problem, but after a big night the combination of the engine noise, fumes, and the gentle rocking motion can set you off.
- if you go for a day trip to Turkey (eg. Bodum), check and re-check the visa/entry requirements as you will be told various things.
- if you make it to Rhodes, take the ferry trip to Lindos. It's worth it.
as far as i know there is no such pass for unlimited use of ferries may and june are quiter months to travel so you should have no problem just turning up at the port and buying tickets for the ferry you want. years ago we were able to buy the tickets on the ferrys but i think this has all stopped now.. so you dont need to make any plans.. when you arrive at athens airport you can take the bus to pireaus it only costs a couple of euros or the other port is rafina but i think you have more choice from pireus. when you arrive at the port there are plenty of ticket offices to buy your ticket dont bother trying to see if you can get cheaper from the next office as i think these prices are all regulated and you wont save much anyway.. be aware though that depending on which island you are travelling to first that it is possible to get a ferry to you next destination. some ferrys can run 3 or 4 times a day some have only 1 a week. http://www.ferries.gr/booking/ has a good schedule you can buy tickets online as well but i think for the months you are going you wont need to. on the longer ferry journeys you can book a cabin or just grab a couple of seats and put your feet up. they do put you in a cabin with someone else of the same sex. (unlike the train in vietnam) food on the larger ferries is quite good and i dont think all that expensive either. definatly take some bog roll with you or a supply of tissues. if you are taking an over ferry and dont have a cabin be aware that on busy ferries they try to make you sit on the deck. i was forced once with my 2 young girls on a 12 hour journey. but its actually not allowed. hope this has helped
The quality of the ferries varies. Some of them got flight seats with good space for your legs, others dont. The boats can also get quite crowded, so if the ferries only had chairs with no room for your legs i used to find a nice spot on the deck once i got aboard where i could stretch out, sleep etc on long journeys.
it all depends on the ferries. but all i'll say is don't sleep on the deck! it gets freaking cold and windy. saw some people trying to camp out there before. they were gone back inside within the first..20min, half an hour, i think. although there was this poor dog tied there. wasn't allowed inside. enough to blow your head off.