Greek ferries

People embarking and bisembarking from the ferry to the Greek Islands
14 June, 2022

An easy guide for the Greek ferries and their routes to the islands and the Adriatic routes to Greece with all the leading ferry operators. Explore the website and find all the necessary details like up-to-date schedules and timetables, updated information for routes, fares and accommodation options with real-time availability!

Are you seeking a unique and exciting way to explore the beautiful Greek islands? Look no further than traveling by ferry! With numerous ferry companies and routes available, you can easily hop from island to island and experience all Greece offers.

From the bustling island of Mykonos to the serene beauty of Santorini, each Greek island has its unique charm and attractions. By traveling by ferry, you can easily visit multiple islands and create your personalized itinerary.

Greek domestic ferries are the most common transport to and from the islands. Ferry travel also allows you to take in the stunning scenery of the Aegean Sea and enjoy the fresh sea air. Many ferries have outdoor seating areas to relax and soak up the sun while enjoying the views.

Plus, traveling by ferry is often more affordable than other modes of transportation, such as flying or taking a private boat. You can save on transportation costs and use those savings to indulge in delicious Greek cuisine or unique souvenirs.

So why not add a bit of adventure to your Greek island vacation and travel by ferry? With convenient schedules and affordable prices, it's the perfect way to explore all Greece offers.

Depending on your preference for comfort and voyage duration, you can choose from high-speed to classic, traditional Greek ferries. It all depends on you and your intentions.

Several ferry companies operate routes to the islands, and the journey can be a beautiful and relaxing experience. Here's what you need to know about getting to the Greek Islands by ferry:

1. Choose your departure port
The first step in getting to the Greek Islands by ferry is choosing your departure port. Several ports on the mainland offer ferry services to the islands, including Piraeus, Rafina, and Lavrio. Piraeus is the largest port and offers the most frequent services, but Rafina and Lavrio may be more convenient depending on your location.

2. Choose your destination
Once you've chosen your departure port, decide which island you want to visit. Greece has over 200 inhabited islands, so you'll have plenty of options. Some of the most popular islands for tourists include Santorini, Mykonos, Crete, and Rhodes.

3. Check the ferry schedules
Ferry schedules can vary depending on the time of year and the destination, so checking the schedules before booking your trip is essential. You can find schedules online or at the ferry ports themselves. Remember that some routes may only run once or twice weekly, so you must plan your trip accordingly.

4. Book your tickets
Once you've chosen your departure port, destination, and ferry schedule, it's time to book your tickets. You can book tickets online or at the ferry port ticket offices. It's a good idea to book your tickets in advance, especially during peak travel season when ferries can fill up quickly.

5. Arrive at the port early
Make sure to arrive at the port early on the day of your departure. Ferries can be busy and chaotic, especially during peak travel season, so giving yourself plenty of time to navigate the crowds and find your ferry is essential.

6. Board the ferry
When it's time to board the ferry, follow the crew's instructions and make sure to board with plenty of time before departure. Once you're on board, find a comfortable spot to relax and enjoy the journey.

7. Enjoy the journey
The journey to the Greek Islands by ferry can be a beautiful and relaxing experience. Take in the stunning views of the Aegean Sea, enjoy some refreshments from the onboard cafes and restaurants, and soak up the sun on deck.

Ferry boat types in Greece

Conventional ferries

Those ferries are bigger than all the others and have more amenities. They usually have 3, 4 or even 5 deck levels and offer accommodation in budget and VIP locations and in cabins with 2, 3 or 4 beds. This is usually the most common option for ferry travel; tickets are cheaper, but the route to your destination is longer. The weather does not affect such ferries and travel even under challenging conditions. If you have a sleeping bag and it's a night ferry, there is no better place to be than under the stars with a bottle of wine and fellow travelers!

High-speed ferries

They are smaller ships, but their speed is about twice that of conventional ones! The accommodation of the passengers is in air-type seats located on the internal decks (usually 2 or 3 levels) and are divided into the economy, business, and VIP lounges.

Catamarans

Catamarans, like Speedjets and Supercats, are smaller than high-speed ferries and provide reclined seats inside the ship on 1 or 2 levels. Although generally stable enough to sail, these ferries are unsuitable for those sensitive to big waves.

Flying dolphins

Flying dolphins are the smallest ships, but they are the fastest! You will probably sit in air-type reclining seats and arrive at your destination faster, but you will not see much scenery. These kinds of ships are unsuitable for claustrophobic passengers and are more likely to be canceled due to bad weather. They are usually slightly more expensive than traditional ferries, so it's up to you what you consider most valuable for your voyage: the duration or the money you want to spend.

In general, the cheapest way to travel is to book budget seats on the deck (not reserved).

Ferry rides and seasick passengers

Although the summer in Greece is beautiful, it has a lot of sunshine, and the weather is lovely, there are a few days when the sea is stormy and not very pleasant to travel. We advise seasick travelers to use as many large ferries as possible. Experts of the sea say: "The bigger the ferry, the smoother the ride!"

Available accommodation options

Deck category

If you travel by ferry to short distances during the day, you can be comfortable on the open deck. Just take your seat and follow the course of the sun; you'll enjoy the sea breeze, you will see the ports of the islands during the short stops that the ferry makes before arriving at your destination, and you will watch the gulls dancing to the rhythm of the summer!

If you do not want to sit on the open deck, there are indoor air-conditioned lounges with tables and sofas at the same price as the ferry ticket. However, the seats in this lounge or open deck are not numbered, so you must board at least 40 minutes before departure to find available space.

Airplane seats

The air-type seats offered on conventional and speedboats are numbered, reserved in your name and comfortable for up to 6-hour journeys.

Most ferries have a TV in front of each row of this type of seats, and there is a bar for soft drinks, beverages and fast food.

Do not forget that you have to leave your luggage on a special shelf next to the main entrance of the ferry.

Air-type seats are about 50% more expensive than budget seats.

Cabins

For journeys that last more than 5 hours or for night runs, for example, if you travel to Crete or Rhodes or Samos, we recommend that you book a cabin, which has a private shower and offers the possibility of accommodating 2 to 4 people. The cabin looks like a hotel room but is much smaller with bunk beds, but you will arrive at your destination refreshed. The cabins are slightly more expensive than the budget tickets, but you will be compensated!

If you need to know more about the ferry types and the accommodation options on Greek ferries, please click the link to be redirected to the appropriate page.

Buying ferry tickets

Prices are proportional to distance and speed. For buying Greek Islands ferry tickets, please follow the suggestions:

  • Check for available routes
  • Compare the trip duration
  • Choose an accommodation depending on the trip duration and your needs
  • Compare the prices of each ferry shipping company
  • Buy the tickets 3 to 4 months in advance
  • Get the confirmation and feel great
  • For long-distance or overnight journeys, it's always best to book a cabin

Tips:

  • Avoid peak times - If you can, avoid booking at times of peak demand, such as during public holidays
  • Avoid prices with extra costs by the booking process
  • When you buy tickets, fees and charges (except Amex and PayPal) must be included and appear in the total price from the beginning of the booking process
  • Avoid extra delivery costs. You don't need to have them mailed

When to book my tickets

Usually, you do not need to book ferry tickets many days before you arrive in Greece. However, there are some popular destinations and several periods that booking in advance is required.

Ferries' seasonality

  • The ferries to the Greek islands are most frequent from May to the end of September
  • From the end of September until the end of October and from April to mid-May, itineraries are limited but still are enough to serve the massive needs of travelers
  • From November to March, sailings are rare and usually serve the large islands or those popular with the locals! Minor and distant or tourist islands are not served at all or only if a significant need exists. No ferries are running between Crete and Santorini and between Mykonos and Santorini from November to March! To get to one of these islands, you must move first to Athens and from there to your destination!

Popular Greek ferries destinations:

The long-distance islands like Lesvos, Rhodes and Crete are best reached by regular ferries with the opportunity of an overnight in a nice cabin watching the deep blue Aegean Sea. They are the primary means of transport, and the journey is an experience to be savored, like a day cruise!

You may reach some of the Cyclades Islands, like Andros, Tinos and Syros, from the Athenian port of Rafina by boarding a High-speed ferry. They are more expensive, but you can reach the islands shortly.

Popular routes

We spotlight some of our favorite customer searches, combining desires with the availability of popular routes to the Greek Islands by ferry.

  • Ferry Athens to Mykonos, Athens to Tinos, Athens to Paros, Athens to Naxos: daily departures with regular ferries throughout the year. High-speed ferries from May to September
  • Ferry Athens to Santorini: 3-4 weekly departures in the wintertime and daily regular and high-speed ferries from April to October
  • Ferry Santorini to Mykonos: Multi-daily departures with fast ferries from April to October. No ferries for the rest of the months!
  • Ferry Crete to Santorini, Crete to Ios, Crete to Paros, Crete to Mykonos, Crete to Naxos: 3 daily high-speed and one regular ferry sailing from the port of Heraklion from April to October
  • Athens to Zante, Kefalonia: There isn't any ferry connection from Athens. Take the daily ferry from Kyllini northwest of Peloponnese throughout the year. There is a daily ferry from Patras to Kefalonia and Patras-Ithaca from June to September.
  • Rhodes to Cyclades Islands: There are ferries (year-round) only to Amorgos and Syros. From there, you can catch the catamaran-speed ferries to Mykonos, Santorini, Paros and Naxos (from June to September)
  • Ferry from Athens to Crete: There are daily year-round multi-departures to Heraklion and Chania

Athens Departure Ports

If you are starting your trip from Athens to the Greek islands, do not hesitate to find out how to get to the departure port!

There are three departure ports in Athens for the Greek islands ferry

  • The Port of Piraeus is the biggest and busiest one and serves ferries to the Saronic Islands, Crete, the Cyclades, the Dodecanese and North Aegean Islands
    There are ten gates in the port of Piraeus, and each gate serves a different destination.
  • The Port of Rafina is located on the northeastern Attica peninsula. It's the closest port to Athens International Airport and serves ferries to Andros, Tinos and Mykonos, while from May to September, there are ferries to Paros, Naxos, Ios, Santorini, Syros and Crete
  • The Port of Lavrion is located on the southern side of Attica, close to Cape Sounion. All year round, there are frequent departures from Lavrion to Kea and Kythnos and infrequent ferry dep. to Chios, Limnos and Kavala, while in summer, there are occasional ferries to Syros, Tinos, Andros, Paros, Naxos, Ios, Sikinos, Folegandros, Milos, Serifos and Sifnos

In which cases do I have to book in advance?

  • All Friday weekends from April to October
  • The 2 to 3 weeks of Orthodox Easter
  • The 4 to 6 days of the Holy Spirit
  • The last 2 to 3 weeks of July, all days of August and the first two weeks of September
  • The days before and after the Greek national holidays (March 25 and October 28)
  • Most days, if you are going to travel to popular destinations, as mentioned

What about the rest of the seasons?

  • It is unnecessary to reserve your ferries in advance. Still, we advise you to book the tickets at least 40-45 days before leaving home to avoid time-consuming procedures and last-minute surprises!

Greek Island Pass

In Greece, there is no possibility of a multi-stop Greek island pass!

Ferry tickets are individual ferry tickets purchased for a specific route and personal use. If you travel to more than one island, you will need to buy a ticket for each route. For every destination, one ticket!

However, you can board one of the many regular ferries and pay a small ticket fee compared to the services offered. Because sea transport is so vital to the cohesion of the Greek state, ferry prices are somewhat regulated by the government to keep them affordable for the islanders.

Occasionally, there are advertising campaigns for the so-called "Greek Island Pass" or "Ferry Pass", but these ferry tickets are individual tickets purchased by tour operators' holiday packages. You will usually get better prices if you book the flight, hotel, and boat tickets yourself!

Italy to Greece by ferry

Are you looking for the Adriatic routes that serve the route Italy-Greece by ferry?

Several ferry routes are available from Italy to Greece that you can choose for your holidays in Greece. Most itineraries last all night, so we suggest you choose accommodation in a cabin to reach your destination refreshed.

  • The most common route is the ferry from Ancona to Patras, which departs up to 18 times a week
  • The shortest route is from Brindisi to Igoumenitsa, with a duration of about 8-10 hours
  • The most extended trip is from Venice to Patras, which takes about 35 hours
  • All ferries serving these routes are passenger ships and provide extra space for your vehicles. They have a large selection of accommodation cabins, lounges, restaurants, and shops, as well as access to outdoor decks

Find below the available information about ports, itineraries, and destinations, as well as special prices and offers for your desired route from Italy to Greece by ferry:

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