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Santorini, Greece. White washed houses on side of hill, blue roofs. Sunny skies with white clouds.

Greek Island Hopping Guide

Over 6,000 Greek Islands are lying on our shores, however, only 277 are inhabited. These Islands can also be categorised into 6 groups: The Ionian Islands, The Cyclades, The Sporades, The Dodecanese, The Saronic Islands and The North Aegean Islands. With over 300 sunny days a year, 10+ UNESCO World Heritage sites, and the sheer number of islands and uniqueness of each one, they’re the perfect destination to enjoy an island hopping experience. Read this blog and be sure to feel more than ready to begin your adventure!

What is Island Hopping?

Island Hopping has quickly become one of the most popular forms of travel, and it’s easy to see why! In short, island hopping is the act of travelling from one island to another often in a shorter space of time than a regular trip. Island hopping allows individuals to experience the different cultures, food and history that each island has to offer whilst not having to worry about long travel days. The island hopping phenomenon can also be compared to backpacking and can be carried out on any group of islands, not just the Greek! The islands of Indonesia and the Canary Islands are other great examples of destinations perfect for island hopping.

What is the best time of year for Greek island hopping?

When planning a Greek island-hopping adventure, the time of year will likely affect when you go and what you decide to do, so it’s important to know the best time of year to go island-hopping. As with most island hopping experiences, excursions and activities are a must, therefore a cooler temperature may be ideal. The best time to visit the Greek Islands is late spring or early autumn. This is when the temperatures are around 15℃ to 22℃ - perfect for taking a stroll or visiting a local attraction. There is also the benefit of having fewer crowds during this time. Most people decide to go on holiday to Greece during the summer months when children are off school and the weather is typically warmer, therefore, to avoid the masses, why not begin your island hopping journey in April/May?

How to island hop? / How to get around?

Stereotypically when you think of island hopping, most will assume that the best form of transport will be via ferries or trains, however, flying is slowly becoming the best way for travellers to hop between the Greek islands. Compared to travelling by boat, flying is a much faster and more efficient form of transportation when considering how to get around. Many hours may ordinarily be spent travelling 10+ hours across the sea, taking up valuable exploring time, so avoiding this might be a good idea. Catching a flight to the next island also significantly reduces the risk of being delayed or having a journey cancelled and there are often additional options for different connections, not to mention it can also be more scenic and economical in the long run.

Plane flying over land

Best island-to-island airlines?

Many of the popular Greek islands come complete with a local airport to transport travellers either regionally or internationally which is good news for those who want to fly whilst island hopping. The main airlines that fly inter-island routes are Aegean Airlines and Sky Express. Between these three airlines, the majority of the popular Greek Islands are covered by air travel, with Sky Express alone covering 34 destinations! 

Additionally, the Cycladic Project by ifly operates scheduled flights to 9 of the Greek Islands on smaller, regional aircraft. Not as much information is known about this airline, however, they operate routes between islands such as Santorini, Rhodes, Crete, and Mykonos etc, so it’s worth checking. 

Click here for more information on domestic flights within Greece.

What are the best islands to visit?


Kefalonia beach

Kefalonia, known as Ionia’s wine country, is part of the Ionian Islands situated just west of the mainland of Greece. The biggest island in the group and a popular holiday hotspot for many, Kefalonia is packed full of history, stunning landscapes, rich culture and most famously, picture-perfect beaches. With direct flights to both Athens and Zakynthos, this island is most definitely one to add to your island-hopping itinerary. 

Things to see and do in Kefalonia

The island of Kefalonia is a vast green expanse that boasts beautiful beaches and glistening clear waters, perfect for those looking to take a dip in the sea or engage in some adrenaline-fuelled water sports. The island is also very mountainous which makes it an ideal location for hiking - great for anyone who enjoys a slightly more active adventure. 

What airport do you fly to for Kefalonia?

Kefalonia International Airport Anna Pollatou (EFL) is the only airport on the island located in the southwest, 8 km away from the capital Argostoli. You can book direct flights to Kefalonia and fly from UK airports like London Gatwick and Stansted, East Midlands and Manchester. Taxis are available, however, Kefalonia is a small airport that can get very busy during the summer months. Avoid the queues by pre-booking an airport transfer from Kefalonia Airport.



Santorini, famous for its white-washed buildings and cliff-side location, is situated on the south side of the Aegean Sea and is part of the Cyclades island group. The unusual site on which Santorini sits was formed during an enormous volcanic eruption around 1620BC, which paved the way for a unique island of black and red beaches, rocky terrain and breathtaking views. Daily domestic flights will get you from Athens to Santorini, and helicopter rides or ferries will transport you to/from the other islands. There are no direct routes to Santorini from the islands, therefore a connection at Athens is a must.

Things to see and do in Santorini

The most popular island in all of Greece, Santorini is picture-perfect in every way, making it a clear tourist hotspot. The beautiful village of Oia is the most photographed in Greece and also the go-to place to witness one of the best sunsets the Greek islands have to offer, so why not pay a visit and enjoy a candlelit dinner overlooking the famous view? 

The sheer number of visitors to Santorini each year has meant that the island has now become one of the top destinations in the culinary scene (exciting news for the foodies out there!). There’s a great mix of local tavernas and fine-dining restaurants, both offering traditional Greek food as well as other European cuisines, some of the best recommendations are Selene and To Psaraki. If off-the-beaten-track is more the vibe of the trip, a small fishing village called Ammoudi sits just at the bottom of Oia and is home to a harbour and traditional tavernas, perfect for boat trips and taste-testing the local food. 

What airport do you fly to for Santorini?

Santorini has one international airport called Santorini National Airport (JTR), also known as Thira Airport. It is located in the central-eastern part of the island near Kamari. It's 6 kilometres (4m) away from the capital of Fira and 17 kilometres (10m) from Oia. Taxis are easily accessible, with a designated taxi stand just outside the arrivals area at the airport. There's also an ATM nearby if you need to get local currency.


Mykonos town

Perhaps Mykonos is next on the agenda? This stunning island is located in the centre of the Cyclades island group and has an international airport that caters for direct flights to/from Athens and other major cities in Europe. If Mykonos is a stop on your island hopping journey, a ferry or helicopter transfer is available to/from the other Greek islands. The charm of Mykonos is no surprise - with a luxurious, cosmopolitan feel, the island is great for those who want to experience award-winning restaurants, luxurious boutiques and overall expensive culture. This beautiful but lively island has often been compared to the popular Balearic island of Ibiza, so if that’s anything to go by, it’s set to be amazing. 

Things to see and do in Mykonos

Although Mykonos may be a quick stop on your island-hopping journey, there’s still plenty to see and do. The hub and heart of Mykonos is Chora, a lively town that provides all the entertainment you could want and more during your stay on this island, jam-packed with beach parties, clubs and bars. Top recommendations include ‘Cavo Paradiso’ and ‘Jackie O Seaside’, known by island hoppers, backpackers and residents alike to be one of the best clubs and beach clubs in the whole of the Greek islands. 

Island hopping with your loved one? Little Venice in Mykonos is one of the most romantic destinations in all the Greek Islands. Constructed between the 13th and 18th centuries, this gorgeous, quaint neighbourhood is the perfect spot to watch the world go by with a drink or two and reminisce on your travels so far.

What airport do you fly to for Mykonos?

When booking your flight to Mykonos, Mykonos Airport (JMK) is located on the west of the island and is the island's only airport. It is located 18 minutes from Agios Stefanos, where you can find boats and ferries to nearby islands. There is a taxi rank outside the airport however, it's a lot cheaper to order an Uber or catch the bus.


Corfu beach

The island of Corfu is situated in the Ionian Island group, North of the Aegean Sea. This charming island has risen in popularity and is now a top destination for island hoppers and tourists alike. Throughout the island, there are influences from the French, Venetian and English cultures which create a real unique feel. Corfu’s international airport connects the island with Athens, Thessaloniki, Preveza and other European destinations making it very accessible.

Things to see and do in Corfu

If you’re looking for that buzzy atmosphere and a great hub for exploration, Corfu Town has it all! This historical hot spot has bags of character and plenty to see and do to keep an adventurer busy on an island-hopping excursion. Top recommendations include the Liston promenade, the Old Fortress and the Holy Church of Saint Spyridon, all within walking distance of each other and a great way to spend a day.

Venturing further away from the city centre, Corfu is abundant with locations that appear to be perfect for filming movies and TV shows. Classic films such as Bond’s ‘For Your Eyes Only’ and TV shows like the British series ‘The Durrells’ are among many that have been shot on the picturesque island of Corfu. Film fanatic at heart? Why not spend some time on an organised tour that explores these ideal locations? Corfu Walking & Food Tours may be a great option!

What airport do you fly to for Corfu?

Corfu has one airport, Corfu International Airport (CFU) which is also known as Ioannis Kapodistrias Airport. It is located in the east of the island, close to the capital, Corfu Town. Taxis are available from Corfu Airport seven days a week, 24 hours each day, so you should be able to get one even if you suffer a flight delay that results in you landing very early in the morning.

women in greece

Buy Now, Pay Later Options

At Alternative Airlines, we want to give you as much flexibility when buying flights to Greece as possible. Our Buy Now, Pay Later options allow you to spread the cost of your booking over time in affordable instalments. With our Buy Now, Pay Later options, you can book unplanned travel without worrying about paying the full price upfront. Instead, you can split the cost into easy-to-pay instalments and enjoy a stress-free trip to the Greek Islands!

The Greek Islands listed in this blog are just a few of our top picks for island hopping, however, there are so many more that are worth exploring! Check out our other blog, ‘A Local’s Guide to the Greek Islands’ for more information on these beautiful island groups.

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