How to Ride the Greek Island Ferries
Here are some tips on riding the Greek Island ferries.
I typically don't plan my trips in advance – I just fly into Athens, check the ferry schedules, and then decide where to go.
NOTE: in high season or during Greek holidays, plan ahead because ferries can get booked.
If you're planning on going to the Cyclades, especially the popular islands like Paros, Naxos, Ios, and Santorini, there are ferries from Piraeus (Athens) every day during the tourist season.
Arriving in Athens
There are no ferries in Athens itself – you have to take a train to Piraeus which costs one euro and takes about 30 minutes depending on where you start in Athens.
Since flights to Greece from the US typically land in Athens in the morning, I sometimes go to Piraeus directly from the airport, though sometimes spend one night in Athens. If you stay in Athens, you can check ferry schedules at the front desk of your hostel or hotel, or at any of the many travel agents around the city.
Types of Greek Ferries
There are two main types of ferries: regular, and high speed. If you're on a budget try to catch the regular slower ferries because they are cheaper.
"Slow" ferries range from the excellent Blue Star Ferries:
to classic older boats with names like Rodanthi and Daedalus:
High-speed ferries cut down on the travel time, but are more expensive and you can't sit on the deck:
Getting a Ferry Ticket
Everywhere in the islands, you'll see travel agents selling ferry tickets. You can't miss them:
Many agents post ferry schedules out front:
Sample prices for 2010 on the regular (not high-speed) ferries:
- Piraeus to Paros: 29 euros
- Paros to Naxos: 7.5 euros
(Have more examples of 2010 Greek Island ferry prices? Please post a comment below.)
Riding the Ferry
If you want to save a little money, bring a sandwich and a bottle of water with you before you get on the ferry because food and water is more expensive on the boats.
If you bought the cheapest ticket available, it's for a place on the deck, not inside the boat. The ferry staff will direct you to the top of the boat. Try to board early so that you can get a seat in a good spot.
Enjoy the ride!