There are 6,000 Greek islands that you can reach by ferry. With our budget and length of stay, my husband and I were able to visit 3 Greek islands by ferry. We immediately fell in love with them! Take a look at our experiences in Mykonos, Santorini and Crete.
Landing in Mykonos by plane from Athens, we realized we weren't in a city anymore. To save money we wanted to take the 10 min bus to town, for $1 each and then take a $5 taxi up the hill to our hotel. But since we landed earlier than the buses started running, we had the choice of waiting until 10 am or taking a taxi to our room for $20.
Side note: I love dancing. Once I realized that Mykonos was the gayest island in Greece, I instantly fell in love.
Everybody was pretty and ready to have a good time. From day beach parties to the nightlife scene, Mykonos was it. My husband isn't the dancing type so I've already put in motion that my next trip to this island will be a girls trip!
The city was beautiful and we loved how easy it was to ride the public transportation to access Mykonos' hottest beaches. We did Paradise Beach Cove one day, followed by a Nudist Beach the next day! This is what my husband and I call adventure on a vacation.
Mykonos is where I left my heart. I can't wait to get back there. But next time, with my girls!
We booked our ferry ride 24 hours before our departure date. We went to what they call a travel agency and booked it through one of the girls at the office. She offered up the various options from different vessel companies, with different times, and prices. We opted for the 3-hour ferry from Mykonos to Santorini, making a few stops in neighboring islands. Economy class was comfortable and full of beautiful views. The only downfall was that the boat was 45 mins late on my birthday of all days. I was a bit impatient but I got over it.
We took the local bus from the port to the town of Oia. It was an inexpensive ride and let us off in the center of town just blocks from our hotel, although we didn't know that at the time because we were getting rushed on the bus and not much English was being spoken.
We loved our hotel. Great wi-fi by the pool which was great since I had a few mornings where I had to work a bit. I was able to send some emails and take a dip in the pool when I got too hot from basking my black ass in the sun. I drank local beers and listened to "Despacito" one too many times. Totally worth it.
We also used the local bus to get around the island. We went to the black sand beach one day, followed by a trip to the red sand beach the next day. We had to do a mini-hike to reach the red sand beach from the bus stop. We just followed the signs and all the people walking in that same direction. There is another option of paying to take the shuttle boat to red sand beach, instead of hiking. But all of my research clearly stated to hike to the red sand beach and on the way pick up some fruit from the stands along the way. Once you're done experiencing the red sand beach, you should pay to get to the white or black sand beach, where the return to the bus was free. The shuttle boat is the only option to get to either the white sand or the black sand beach, which has an awesome cave that you can swim through. Shuttle bus is cash only. There is also a restaurant at the black sand beach if you are looking to rent chairs, get a drink or have some food. We loved this day. Super memorable.
Oai is a shit show at sunset during peak season. We pushed through people to get a decent shot of the iconic scenery, then we opted to dip into a restaurant for a beautiful view of the sunset.
How romantic is Santorini? I mean, come on! The various sunsets from all over the island. There are so many great tours you can also take. The Red Sand, white, and black sand beaches. The blue dome topped roofs to white washed cave buildings down the cliff of the mountain. Let's face it, before you die you have to come to Santorini.
Ferry: So this is where vacation brain got to us. My husband kept saying that we left on monday and I was thinking it was Tuesday but didn't speak up. The second time and third time I dismissed it, because to be honest at this point in the trip I had no idea what day it currently was. #Vacationbrain
So we proceed to buy the ticket for the Monday ferry. The Monday ferry has two different companies ferrying people to Crete. But on Tuesday, only one vessel was shuttling. My husband goes to extend our checkout on Monday when the receptionist tells us that we are supposed to check out on Tuesday. RED FLAG. We purchased the wrong date!. No we did not get our money back, no we could not refund them or get credit if it's less than 24 hours for departure. We were screwed and had to purchase another pair of tickets. Lets just say we weren't happy after that.
Point of the story, you can always buy a ticket just moments before getting on the ferry, but 24 hours in advance is always a safe bet. But check calendars mid-vacation, because vacation brain is real.
We made it to Crete and it wasn't as self explanatory as the other ports. Since we wasted money on the pain of non-refundable ferry tickets, we were looking for the city bus, but opted to just cut our losses and hop in a cab that was reasonable, because we knew our Airbnb was close.
Our Airbnb was in Heraklion, which is in the center of the island and has a great city center. We opted to enjoy what is known as Cretan cuisine which apparently is different than greek food, although it was apart of the Greek islands. We ate at Peskesi and it was delicious. The restaurant and vibe was so cute. A bit pricey, but that was our only expensive meal we had on the island. We were big on getting cheap eats on the go from excursion to excursion.
My husband is a history buff and it was a must to visit the Palace of Knossos which houses the first ever labyrinth. The palace grounds were grand and lent to a great walking tour under the hot greek sun. My husband geeked out as this part of history went over my head, but I loved learning about it and seeing the grounds.
The island is larger than we thought and we didn't do as much research on this island as I would have liked. All the awesome beaches were hours and hours away from the center of the island. At this point my husband was so sunburnt that we decided to just explore our area and decided to fly back another time instead of trying to squeeze 5-hour one way trips to this side and that side of the island, exhausting the last 2 days of our vacation. We are stoked that there are one way flights to Crete that are reasonable in price. We'll definitely be making a return trip! Bummed we didn't get to see places like these pictured below.... but we'll be back!
Greece has many beautiful islands and we barely put a dent into seeing 3 of them. Taking the ferries are a great way to get around, and took out the hassle of the airport dance that we all hate. You know what i'm talking about, taking off half your clothes, unpacking half your stuff and then getting dressed again and packing your bag again. Just buy a ticket and hop on A ferry.
What are your favorite islands in Greece? Or do you prefer the mainland?