Hoping to visit a variety of islands? Well, you’re in luck.
Gone are the porous rust-buckets, welcome the huge car ferries with escalators and superb stabilisers, small fast noisy hydrofoils (for short distances), and – pick of them all – high speed catamarans. These ferries travel as fast as a train – well a lot faster than a British train obviously – with less noise, better seats, bigger windows and at a fraction of the cost. These comfortable, well-stabilised boats make Greek island hopping a dream, provided that the wind doesn’t
Book a couple of days before, but be flexible. If the ferry is cancelled at the last minute you may have to change to a slower vessel. At best, circulating in an island group, island to island will take half an hour to 2 hours of flat calm, no puke comfort.
For novice independent travellers the easiest option is to combine islands on the same ferry run, such as Paros/Naxos/Santorini, Syros/Tinos/Mykonos, or Serifos/Sifnos/Milos. Greek Travel Pages and Open Seas are good for ferry information.
Be aware, however, that not all ferry companies release their summer schedules at the same time, and some can be quite late to do so. If this makes planning difficult, the Open Seas site lets you backdate so you can find out last year’s schedules for the dates you need, although of course you cannot guarantee that this year will be the same.
If you are on a budget remember that the high speed services are considerably more expensive. Generally speaking, the slower the cheaper. Be prepared to be flexible.