Returning to Lefkas after a day trip to Ithaca and Kefalonia
The Greek Islands
With over 160 Greek Islands that are inhabited, and hundreds of smaller Islands that are not, there is certainly plenty of choice, when you are thinking about visiting the Greek Islands. In fact, there are more like 6000 islands in total. That is some figure, isn't it?
Some Islands are quite close to mainland Greece or Turkey, whilst others sit in the Aegean with only other Greek Islands for neighbours.
However, never think of the Greek Islands as all simply just being Greece. This is definitely not the case. The Greek mainland has a different feel to the Islands and some Greek Islands are very special and unique.
Consider the Greek Island of Santorini
Legend would have us believe that this volcanic Island was pushed up out of the sea and has links to Atlantis and more. It is certainly a beautiful Island with terrific sunsets, sunrises and clean, crisp, blue and white houses. If you have admired one of those images of Greece that shows brilliant white and blue houses and churches, high in the sky, then it will no doubt have been snapped on Santorini.
So never mind which are the best Greek Islands to visit by boat, just deciding which one to visit, full stop, is a hard choice.
The Ionian Islands for example
This group of Islands is found of the western side of Greece These are:-
GREEK NAME ALTERNATE NAME POPULATION ISLAND AREA
Ithaki Ithaca 5,000 96
Kefallonia Cephalonia 32,314 (1991) 935
Kerkyra Corfu 105,043 (1991) 641
Kythira Cerigo 2,500 284
Lefkada Lefkas 20,900 (2001) 325
Paxi Paxos 2,000 25
Zakynthos Zante 38,957 (2001) 410
Returning to Lefkas after a day trip to Ithaca and Kefalonia Note:- Cerigo is not always classed as an Ionian Island
The Ionian Islands illustrate how diverse the Islands can be. The extremes of population and land mass show perfectly just how tiny some Islands can be, and there are only 7 islands shown here.
At one time all Greek Islands would have been accessed via the sea
Yes, Lefkas had an old link to the mainland, in its causeway, but the Island still was mainly accessed via the sea. Assessing which Islands are the best to visit by ship, yacht, ferry and boat needs careful consideration. Take into account:-
If an Island has a very busy harbour, that has daily traffic in it which consists of commercial boats, ferries, hydrofoils and the like, then perhaps it will not be the best place for a small yacht to dock.
It does also depend the vessel you use to sail to your Greek Island or Islands. Are you sailing on your own small yacht? Will you be travelling on a commercial ferry? Will your boat be a huge tourist boat made for cruising?
All of the above will have some bearing on which Greek Islands are the best for you to visit by boat.
So which are the best Greek Islands to visit by boat?
Island hopping was one of the first main ways that tourists travelled around the Greek Islands. It is not that long ago many of the Islands still did not have direct access via an airport. Landing on the Greek mainland or another island meant that a ferry trip was essential just to get to your Greek island destination. There are still a few islands where this happens such as Thassos when we visited.
Greek Islanders use boats, ferries and the sea constantly; it is very much a part of their lives.
So here is some information for those considering visiting the Greek Islands via boat, whether it is:-
It does also depend on whether your visit will be fleeting or not, and what you want to find when you get there. Are you just looking for beautiful sandy beaches? Do you prefer bustling harbours and shopping? Then again perhaps you would like to discover ancient Greece?
Finding the perfect Greek Islands to visit by boat will also need you to research the perfect destinations for you, such as choosing lively Islands or peaceful havens. Whatever floats your boat really, all puns intended; the choice is yours. However, most Greek Islands offer you spectacular views, atmosphere and harbour side tavernas. If this is all your heart desires try exploring an island group at a time or at least part of a group.
Now that so many people visit the Greek Islands ferry services are improving. Not only that but the vessels are much cleaner and often have tourists in mind, as well as local travellers. You can pick an island as a base and visit as many or as few other Islands by sea, as you want to.
Pre-planning is possible. You should be able to roughly schedule your route and even book your ferry tickets in advance. Of course delays due to adverse weather conditions are always a possibility. Alternatively book your ferry tickets once you arrive in the Greek Islands, either for individual sailings or for a period of time.
There are established Greek Island cruises which take in Crete, Patmos, Mykonos, Piraeus, Rhodes, Santorini and Kusadasi.
The best Greek Islands to visit by boat
I have shied away from naming any specific Greek Islands, which could be the best to visit by boat, and hopefully you now understand why. With so much diversity I believe that there would be many such perfect Greek Islands for any traveller's requirements, but it is up to you.
The Ionian Islands have a slightly wetter climate and are much greener Islands. Crete and the Dodecanese Islands are further south and hotter. Islands in the Eastern Aegean such as Kos and Samos can be hot, dry and lively. The time of year you visit may also affect your choice unless you are happy sailing in all weathers.
The Greek Island Groups
Apart from the IONIAN group of Islands most of the other Greek Islands are to be found in the Aegean Sea. There are seven main groups which are, and include:-
Map: Cyprus tends to be classed alone because of its location and the fact that currently half of the Island is Turkish. We won't go into that whole can of worms just now though. The map above shows the reader which Islands are ideal for Island hopping as they are relatively close to each other. It is also plain to see that The Cyclades is a great place to visit by boat with so many islands in close proximity.
Where in the world do you want to go today? One Woman uses personal experiences to show you some of the best places to visit in the United Kingdom and beyond. Enjoy!
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