Booking ferry tickets from Athens to Mykonos, Santorini or the Cycladic islands might seem straightforward, until the moment you realize the grand opportunity that lies ahead.
A trip to Mykonos or Santorini would definitely be an excellent choice for your summer vacation. However, why shouldn’t you visit both destinations and make a short stop to Ios before reaching Athens to catch a flight back home, just as a customer decided to do 15′ ago?!
The point of this guide is to inform you about the distances between the islands and give you inspiration and ideas on how you could visit as many Cycladic islands as possible while managing your time effectively and not sacrificing the quality of your vacation.
We would predict that you’re planning your trip around a visit to either Mykonos, Santorini, maybe Paros, Naxos or Ios. These are the most famous Cyclades and probably the places where those breathtaking photos of sunsets and golden sandy beaches were taken, driving your urge to visit our gorgeous islands.
We’ll be honest.. there’s much more than that to discover! The numerous pristine little beaches in Milos, the local festivals in Folegandros, the classy Hora (main town) in Andros and the relaxing life of the Small Cyclades. You may read much more on our destinations page.
Check the map on our homepage and you’ll see Andros and Tinos on the northern area of the complex. Mykonos and Syros are right “below” while Paros, Naxos, Folegandros and the Small Cyclades sit in the middle. Ios is between the center and Santorini and little Anafi sit in the southern part of the complex. Amorgos lies on the east and Sifnos, Milos, Kimolos, Kythnos and Serifos on the west side of the complex.
It might seem like we’re namedropping in an effort to impress, but this is a mere suggestion for some serious island hopping. Island hopping was probably invented in such a complex, where all destinations offer the unique possibility to create memories that will last a lifetime.
The “all year round option”, Blue Star Ferries, depart from Piraeus every morning around 07.30. One itinerary travels to Paros, then Naxos, Ios and reaches Santorini by early afternoon. At the peak of the “high” season (June to September) the same itineraries are also carried out in the afternoon, starting at 17.30 thrice a week, usually Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
Another itinerary stops at Syros in about 4 hours, Tinos in 5 and reaches Mykonos a little after 13.00. Both execute the reverse route to Piraeus.
There also is an itinerary that starts at Piraeus, reaches Syros, Paros then Naxos and then either Schinoussa, Koufonissi and Amorgos or Donoussa and Amorgos. Both routes are carried out 2 to 3 times a week, depending on the season.
Starting April, Aegean Speed Lines’ and Seajets’ high speed vessels link Piraeus to the western Cyclades, Serifos, Sifnos and Milos at least 4 times a week up until mid June, increasing to daily itineraries from mid June to late September. Itineraries start either early in the morning or at noon.
Hellenic Seaways high speed vessels, like Seajets’ link these islands to Folegandros, Kimolos and Santorini daily from late April to late September. In case you are looking for a cost effective company that serves the western Cyclades throughout the year, that would be Zante Ferries.
During the summer, certain Seajets itineraries also connect the western Cyclades islands to Amorgos and Koufonisi. There is also a special, daily, circle itinerary that starts at Santorini and reaches Ios, Paros and Mykonos travelling for no more than an hour between each destination.
The small Cyclades, Donoussa, Schinoussa, Koufonisia and Iraklia, could be considered a very special sub cluster and we will be discussing them on a separate post. In this one however, we’ll state how Express Skopelitis, Small Cyclades Lines’ ferry, connects these destination almost daily with Naxos, Amorgos and of course one another!
On the eastern side of Attica, the port of Rafina acts as the main connection to the Northern Cyclades throughout the year while in the summer, several itineraries are added to serve the ever expanding number of visitors headed to the islands.
Golden Star Ferries and Fast Ferries carry one itinerary in the morning and one in the afternoon daily, throughout the year that begin at Rafina, reach Andros in two hours, Tinos in almost four and Mykonos in roughly five. There usually is an extra itinerary on Friday and Sunday afternoon.
Many more are added during high season. Blue Star ferries carries a daily morning route that leaves Rafina and reaches Mykonos, Paros, Naxos and Ios. Hellenic Seaways and Seajets operate high speed vessels that go through the same ports but ultimately reach Santorini.
You could say that the Cyclades are like a small set of metro lines where every “station” is connected with each other and many of which by direct routes. So don’t limit your visit to one or two Greek islands, mix and match and create the perfect vacation.
Bear in mind that the port of Rafina is a twenty minute drive from the Athens’ Airport, however the duration could be severely affected by heavy traffic near the times of ferry departures or arrivals. Plan with caution.
Discover all itineraries in greater detail and book ferry tickets for the Greek islands at Let’s Ferry.
*Disclaimer: The itineraries are presented as described in the companies’ schedules released in the beginning of 2016! Changes may occur. Let’s Ferry bears no responsibility for any changes.*