Greek Island Hopping: Ultimate 12-Day Greece Itinerary (Travel Guide) Greek Island Hopping: Ultimate 12-Day Greece Itinerary (Travel Guide)

Greek Island Hopping: Ultimate 12-Day Greece Itinerary (Travel Guide)

White and blue clifftop towns, pink flowers, gorgeous olive groves, secluded coves, and dazzling sea: this is Greece! This magical country tops many traveler’s bucket lists and is a popular favorite for European summer trips. Greek island hopping, in particular, is one of the best ways to see the unique landscapes that make Greece so special. By day explore an island by ATV and stop off at secret beaches. At night, watch unforgettable sunsets and enjoy delicious local food. Get ready to enjoy sunshine and island vibes with our 12-day Greece itinerary.

Greece Travel Guide

Ready to begin your incredible Greek island-hopping adventure? Depending on your trip, you can change the order of the islands that you visit or even add more islands! This is easy to do, as most islands have great ferry connections and airports. However, note that some airports are domestic and can only be flown to from Athens.

Day 1-4: Santorini

Begin at one of the most famous Greek Islands: Santorini! Santorini is known for its white and blue villages built on top of cliffs overlooking the sea. It’s also famous worldwide for incredible sunsets, which can be seen from many panoramic viewpoints all over the island. Nothing beats watching the sky burst into color over the sea; an unforgettable moment on your Greek island hopping trip.

Aside from soaking up the beauty of this island, there are lots of other activities you can do while you’re there. For example, wine tours, visiting all the beaches, cable car trips, nature hikes, ATV rides, or discover the island’s history at one of the archeological sites!

Where to Stay in Santorini

Santorini is a fairly small island in Greece. This means you can drive across the island in 45-minutes, making it the perfect place to spend 4 days in. We recommend basing yourself in Fira, the capital of Santorini, as it’s central and great to move from to other parts of the island. 

Getting to Santorini

By Ferry: Several ferries run a day from Athens. The normal ferry takes around 7 hours, and the high-speed boat (which is a bit more expensive) takes just under 5 hours.

By Plane: The island has a domestic airport which has regular flights coming to and from Athens. Additionally, in the summer, flights are running daily to other major European cities. 

Day 5-9: Milos

Milos has a heart-stopping beauty and is exceptionally diverse in its landscapes. The island offers underwater caves, mountains, and hilltop vineyards all in one trip! It’s not as well known as Santorini, meaning it’s much quieter and has a much more remote feel. It’s absolutely incredible to drive across the island by scooter, off-road, and visit secret coves and some of the best snorkeling spots in Greece.

The most striking thing of all in Milos is its white flat top cliffs and unique rock formations. These unusual features have led travelers to compare it to the moon!

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Greek Island Hopping: Ultimate 12-Day Greece Itinerary (Travel Guide)

Another special sight is the colorful fishing villages of Milos. Instead of the typical blue and white houses, the locals have decorated their doors with rainbow colors. 

Where to Stay in Milos 

Getting to Milos

By Ferry: From Santorini, you can take a high-speed ferry to Milos in just two hours. During peak season (May-September), ferries leave twice a day. During the winter, this goes down to about 7 times a week. The average price is around 45 EUR for the high-speed ferry, but it’s cheaper if you choose the slow boat. 

By Plane: It’s also possible to fly to Milos from Santorini; however, be aware that you’ll have to go via Athens, making the trip longer. For this reason, the ferry is the popular choice.

Day 10-12: Mykonos

Mykonos is the most lively island on your Greek island-hopping itinerary. It offers a good balance between relaxing on beautiful beaches and enjoying the buzzing nightlife. However, you don’t have to be a party animal to enjoy Mykonos. There are still many quiet corners of the island that are perfect for a romantic getaway or unwind after a Greek island-hopping adventure! Particularly in the north of the island, you’ll find remote beaches like Panormos. These beaches have crystal clear water and a cooling breeze.

When you’re done relaxing, head to Mykonos town, where you can find the charming Matogianni Street. The street has the traditional cobbled stones, which lead between boutique shops and walls full of bougainvillea flowers. While you’re in town, don’t forget to check out the windmills that are iconic to the island, as well as Little Venice.

Source: Unsplash

Where to Stay in Mykonos 

In Mykonos town, you can find reasonably priced accommodation that keeps you close to all the amenities. If you want to stay next to the sea, you’ll need to budget for a bit more, as this is a popular vacation option.

Getting to Mykonos

By Ferry: From Milos, you can take a high-speed ferry in just under 3 hours to Mykonos. The high-speed option price averages between 40-60 EUR per person. In the winter months, the ferry services between the two islands are normally suspended. During this time, you’ll need to change boats at Santorini.

By Plane: In peak season, you can also fly between Santorini and Mykonos. Consider changing your Greece itinerary if you’d prefer to fly; however, the ferries are a perfect option!

Leaving Greece? If you’re heading home from Mykonos, there are plenty of domestic leaving daily to the main hub of Athens and a few international flights to cities like Paris and Amsterdam. Additionally, in the summer months, there are many options for flights to other big cities in Europe

Extending Your Greece Itinerary

For those that have more time, there are many(!) other stunning islands to explore on your trip to Greece! For example, Naxos or Paros. Both islands have some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece, and they’re well connected to the other islands by ferry.


Naxos has a wonderfully laid-back vibe which makes it very popular for couples and families. It has a slow pace of life, with traditional villages, tavernas, and great beaches and hiking trails for those who want to explore nature. Its landscapes are wide and open, with long sandy beaches and huge valleys full of olive groves. Because of this, you can sometimes feel like you’re the only person on the island! 


Paros is a livelier alternative to Naxos. By day, visitors can relax in its beautiful secluded coves, and by night there are lots of luxurious cocktail bars and restaurants to choose from. There are also beautiful towns to explore, with boutiques that make it a haven for shopping. If you head inland, you’ll discover some ancient villages that have been beautifully preserved. 

Costs of Traveling in Greece

Although Greece is known for its affordable way of life (products such as olive oil are cheap, and you can find authentic food for very reasonable prices), the popularity of the Greek islands means that prices can be high.

However, there are always ways to budget during your trip. For example, choosing to stay in guesthouses in the towns, rather than expensive beachside resorts or use the local busses instead of taxis. What’s more, once you’re on the islands, exploring the beaches and nature is totally free! 

  • Hotel: 80 – 350 USD / night
  • Hostel: 30 – 90 USD / night
  • Price per meal: 15 – 50 USD / night
  • Transport: 25 – 50 USD / day (ferry + ATV)

How to hop around the Greek Islands

Greek island hopping is very popular among travelers, and there’s no better way to explore the beauty of this incredible country. Especially in the summer months, exploring the island’s beaches is the perfect way to relax and cool off! During this time, it’s super easy to go between the islands via ferry, and most trips take just over 2 hours. 

Ferryhopper is a great search tool to use to check out ferry itineraries, compare prices, and book your tickets.

Island Transportation

Once you’re on the islands, their small size makes them easy to explore. A popular way to do this, is to hire a scooter or an ATV. The ATV, in particular, is a great option to take you off-road to those more unexplored beaches, but it mainly gives you a lot of freedom. It’s good to know that all the islands offer public bus services, as well as taxis.

Best Time to Travel in Greece

Greece in the summer is absolutely perfect – hot days, cool sea waters, and warm evenings with incredible sunsets. There’s a great atmosphere at this time too, with lots of people traveling to the islands from all over the world.

However, the popularity of summer means it can be jam-packed and expensive. A great alternative is to visit in the spring months of April/May or the fall months of September/October. These shoulder seasons offer mild temperatures, empty beaches, and low prices! It’s the perfect time to explore and get the remote Greek island experience.

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