Choosing the best way to explore Greece can feel daunting. I would say there are 3 main ways to do it. Fly and flop. Choose an island resort, and explore with excursions, and roam on your own. Maybe take a day trip to a nearby island. Sail. Wake up somewhere new everyday, let someone else take the navigation and travel in style. Island Hopping. Multi centre holidays, arranging your own travel and staying anything from 1 night to 1 month on each island.
So which is best? How do you choose? Well as with any holiday it’s completely personal but it’s the purpose of this post to help you discover which way would suit you. Let me know in the comments if you’ve any tips or experiences to share.
What’s to love about Greek Island Hopping?
You’re in control – You get to choose your own itinerary and go where the wind takes you. Even the duration is your own. You can go for a few days or take the whole summer. Do as you please. With a cruise there is a set timetable – you’ll get the highlights.
New cultures and experiences – When island hopping completely immerse yourself in the culture, island life, the nightlife. Although some cruise lines have destination immersion programmes like Princess Cruises and Azamara, you’ll only get the highlight reel.
Support local businesses – You feel smug that you’re supporting the local economy, staying in independent hotels, eating in family-run restaurants. Travelling is the greatest form of wealth distribution. Put your money into the local government and people instead of the international hotel chains and cruise lines.
Go low key – You can have a more low key, instagrammable, relaxed holiday. Because you can avoid the more popular islands. You can avoid the crowds of thousands that take a day trip on an island from the cruise ship.
Re-arrange your trip as you go along – Doing the islands at your own pace and in your own time. If you like an island you can stay, rearranging your trip as you go. Book hotels on your phone as and when you need to. This would be completely freeing for some. And a planning nightmare for others. Of course, a completely planned, pre-booked itinerary could be created for you by your travel agent.
Spend time on authentic experiences – Island hopping means you can swim in the crystal clear seas of Zakynthos, take your time watching the sunset in Santorini, bar-hop in Mykonos. Really spend time in these beautiful places. If you don’t want to be overly rushed, don’t take a cruise.
What’s to love about a Greek Island cruise?
Travel in style – With a cruise, sail while you sleep (or dance the night away if you prefer) and wake up somewhere new every day. Depending on the size of vessel will depend on what style you’re travelling in. A chartered yacht will provide an intimate, make your own entertainment journey. Larger ships have a plethora of facilities to choose from. It all depends on what’s your comfort level!
No travel arrangements – The Greek islands are grouped into different families, including the Sporades, Dodecanese and Cyclades. Visitors can island hop using the country’s extensive ferry system. But who wants to check timetables, book a number of hotels and schlep luggage on holiday? Let the ship’s team worry about the timetable, the destination intricacies etc. Sit back and enjoy the journey from one port of call to the next.
The boredom battle – Travelling with kids? A cruise ship helps you battle the boredom because you can let the kids club entertain them while you tour another archaeological site. If the kids aren’t fans of hot weather they can stay in air conditioned comfort on board. And everyone knows happy kids, happy parents!
Wide choice – Facilities on-board a cruise ship for the whole family, far outweigh any resort in Greece – especially the entertainment! The Greek Islands are extremely popular cruising destinations so you have an array of choice. Sail the big American ships, with NCL, Royal Caribbean or go for more intimate vessels like Celestyal Cruises.
The bonuses – You may only get the highlights but it’s the perfect excuse to make a list of places you’d like to see more of and have to come back! In many instances with cruising you get to sail out of Venice. (A bucket list item for me that I checked off in 2015!)
Both ways of travelling the Greek Islands, you’ll meet new people, see extraordinary things, enjoy great weather, amazing food and some of the most mesmerising sunsets.
There’s no right or wrong way to visit Greece, this decision relies completely on your preferences and personal values. I hope you’ve found some of the information here useful and if you’d like to chat more about the points covered, or to plan your exploration trip of Greece call, email or DM me.