Have you been dreaming of the perfect Greek Isles adventure but wondering how to go Island-hopping in Greece on a budget? Then, look no further.
If there one thing that Greece is most well-known for, it’s undoubtedly the idyllic Greek isles with their white-washed villages, the dreamy turquoise waters and not to mention the delicious Greek cuisine.
But, whilst planning a once in a lifetime Greek getaway can be very exciting, it can also be daunting and work out to be quite pricey. That’s why I’ve decided to put together this post outlining how to go Greek island hopping on a budget!
Is Greek Island Hopping Expensive?
Greece can either be a costly travel destination, or it can be an affordable dream. It all depends on how you travel. Big-ticket tourist attractions will cost a chunk of change, of course. And if you’re staying in luxury hotels and eating out at fancy restaurants, you’re going to burn through money quickly.
However, there are cheaper ways of visiting the many Greek islands as well. Budget hotels and backpackers’ hostels provide comfortable accommodation at low prices. Local tavernas serve affordable Greek dishes that will keep your wallet and your stomach happy. And there are plenty of fun things to do on the islands that won’t cost too much.
Tips For Greek Island Hopping On A Budget
Here are some helpful tips and tricks for enjoying a fantastic Greek island vacation without it costing an excessive amount of money.
Start Your Journey Close By
Many will fly into the mainland and then make their way to their island of choice. But this means extra travel costs. Especially if you’re tempted to stop off for some Athens’ sightseeing and perhaps a meal. This can increase your travel expenses quite dramatically.
Many of the islands have international airports, so you can fly directly to your first stop, without the detour. That way, your ferry costs will be cut by at least one trip, and you’ll have more time to enjoy the islands.
Some of the best islands to fly into are:
Use Greek Island Ferries
Ferries between the Greek islands are usually quite affordable, but it depends on your route. Trips that are longer and further apart will cost you more than those that are closer. So, picking islands that are within short distances to each other, and planning your routes wisely, will keep transportation costs at a minimum.
You’ll find options for faster ferries, which will save you time but won’t spare you much cash. These are more expensive options, so if you’re on a tight budget, rather plan for slower travel times and enjoy the journey.
Top tip: Food and drinks on the ferries come at relatively high prices, so try not to order anything until you’ve reached your destination.
Travel During Shoulder Season
With Greece being such a popular destination, the warm summer months are understandably the most expensive months to visit. But the shoulder seasons (autumn and spring) offer fewer crowds, pleasant weather, and, best of all, discounted prices on accommodation and activities.
It’s a good idea to try to visit Greece in October, or between April and June. It’ll still be warm enough to enjoy an island escape, but you’ll find bargains on all of your expenses. You’ll also be more likely to find attractive prices on flights during the shoulder season.
Pick Quality Over Quantity
You may be tempted to see all of the best islands Greece has to offer, but unless you have time and money, this isn’t going to be easy. Instead, I’d suggest you select your desired group of islands and see just a few of them.
If you decide on a group of islands to explore, you’ll be able to enjoy your time on each island without rushing. You’ll also spend less on ferry trips, and you won’t miss out on any of the island highlights.
Island Hopping Greece on a Budget – Eat Local
You don’t need to dish out your entire budget on a few nights’ meals. While tourist-centred restaurants have high prices, the local tavernas are where you’ll find great, affordable meals.
Rent Your Car Online
To properly explore many of the islands in Greece, you’ll often need a car. The bus routes don’t service all the secret hideaways and beach escapes. But car rentals can add quite a bit to your travel expenses.
It’s often cheaper to book a car online before you leave and pick it up at the airport. Greece car rentals in person have a reputation for being more expensive.
Find Other Ways To Get Around
If a rental car isn’t in your budget, then consider renting a bicycle or even a scooter. These are generally cheaper than cars, and they’re tons of fun to use when exploring the Greek landscapes.
If you’re mostly sightseeing around bigger towns and villages, you’ll find you can often walk from your accommodation to the beaches and town centres. If you are walking, remember it gets hot so take water with you.
Alternatively, you can use the bus services on the islands. These won’t always take you to the more off-the-beaten-track places, and they can be slow, but they’ll be affordable.
Choose A Self-Catering Stay
Accommodation with kitchen facilities can save you money. You’re definitely going to want to get out and try some authentic Greek cuisine. But it’s also handy to be able to cook a lot of your own food.
Hostels will often have shared kitchens, and some guesthouses will offer a private kitchenette in your room.
Avoid The Tourist Hubs
Islands like Santorini and Mykonos are undoubtedly beautiful, and they’re extremely popular for that reason. But this also makes them expensive places to visit, with pricey accommodation, food, and activities.
The truth is that there are plenty of smaller, less popular islands that offer the same beauty – at a lower cost. If you’re on a budget, these quieter islands can provide you with a splendid time in Greece, without financial worries.
The Cheapest Greek Islands To Visit
So which islands should you be setting your sights on when looking for a budget-friendly Greece vacation? Here are just a handful of the cheapest Greek isles.
Milos is essentially an undiscovered gem, offering numerous quiet beaches, plenty of scenic views, and a real island vibe. The island has many picturesque villages to explore and provides a tranquil place to relax and soak up the Greek sun.
Where To Stay on a Budget in Milos
- Avras Studios in Zefiria Village is close to the airport and beaches. It offers rooms with a kitchenette, barbeque facilities and a terrace overlooking the Milos mountains.
- Traditionally-styled Korina’s Rooms in Pollonia has a stunning studio with sea views, a kitchenette and free WiFi.
- You can rent a fully-equipped apartment at Giannis Hotel Apartments, at impressive rates. The hotel is within walking distance to the centre of Adamas. You’ll also be offered a free hotel shuttle to and from the port.
Cheapest Greek Island to visit – Paros
Paros is one of the cheaper islands in the Cyclades region, making it a great place to stop on your island-hopping Greece excursion. The island is packed with fascinating landmarks, shopping streets, and vineyards.
Where To Stay on a Budget in Paros
- Located in the main town, Parikia, Bella Vista Studios is near to the bus stops, the port, and a few gorgeous beaches. Book the studio with a sea view and enjoy cooking meals in your kitchenette.
- Deep Blue Studios in Logaras offers either a studio flat or a family apartment. It’s located within walking distance to mini markets and taverns and offers free parking for guests.
- All of the units at Nefeli include kitchen facilities, and guests can enjoy freshly picked vegetables picked from the garden, too.
This is Greece’s northernmost island and is a stunning place to experience magnificent hiking opportunities.
Where To Stay on a Budget in Thassos
- Spend some time in Limenaria Village and book into a homely De Sol A small kitchen, free WiFi and shared pool are all on offer here.
- There’s a supermarket right next to Villa Anna apartments in Limenas, so you can save a penny or two by cooking dinner, or having a barbeque in the garden.
- Dolphins House in Kinira boasts comfy, affordable studios with either sea or mountain views. All units have a cooking hob and fridge.
Andros is a great place to check out if you’re an eager diver or snorkeller. There are also gorgeous hiking trails to enjoy while on the island.
Where To Stay on a Budget in Andros
- Only select rooms at Aiolos Hotel in Menites Village have cooking amenities, but they all come with free breakfast that can be enjoyed at the hotel pool.
- A great place to stay for snorkelling and hiking is Nora Norita in Batsi. Each unit is comfortably furnished with a fully equipped kitchenette, and boasting a balcony with breathtaking sea views.
- Another great Batsi accommodation, Amorani Studios are fully equipped and stylishly furnished. Enjoy free parking, central location, and stunning views of the village and sea.