With over 6,000 islands in Greece, how are you supposed to choose which to visit, what to do, and where to stay – especially with a family? Hopefully, this guide will help make your choices for your trip to Greece a little bit easier.
In this guide, we’ll cover how to go Greek island hopping with your family, including places to see, places to stay, family-friendly destinations, transportation options, and tips for vacationing island-to-island.
Planning an island-hopping trip can be incredibly hard, especially if you don’t even know where to start. But we have got you covered.
Places to Stop and See
Greece has literally thousands of destinations to choose from, and it’s hard to narrow down which ones to make a pit stop in. Some islands are better for couples, while others are more family-oriented.
If you are bringing kids along your Greek Island-hopping adventure, here are a few islands that you should definitely add to your list:
When you’re researching potential islands to stop in, there are a few things that you want to consider when making your decisions:
You don’t want to spend an entire day traveling on a boat to another island, so pick islands that are relatively close to each other.
Traveling can be exhausting for both the adults and the kids, so you don’t want to tire yourself out before you even get to the next island.
If you are traveling with younger kids, you have to make sure that the island is kid-friendly enough for them.
A lot of the islands are known to be more romantic destinations for couples or have a large night-scene, so there may not be a lot of options for kids.
However, most islands will always have things like beaches or hiking trails that your kids can always explore with you.
You don’t want to do the same few things on every island because that will get boring. Each island should be a different experience altogether.
Most islands will have a few things that really attract tourists to visit them.
For instance, some islands have incredible mountains to climb and cliff to cliff dive off of, and others have an interesting art and food scene that are must-dos.
Places to Stay
When you’re staying on an island, you have a few different options of where to sleep.
Each island has different options, but for the most part, you’ll have tons of hotels, hostels, or Airbnb’s to choose from.
Each has its own amenities, so check out what they have to offer and make sure it’s what you and your family need.
If you wanted to stick something a little more traditional, there are plenty of hotels throughout every island. Because of the locations, most of the hotels come with a standard ocean view.
Hotels are an easy option to choose when you’re vacationing because a lot of things are taken care of for you.
For instance, most hotels will come stocked with things like soap and towels, so that’s less for you to pack, and also offer room service.
They also often have restaurants in the hotel, so you don’t have to travel far for food.
Some hotels are also built for families, as well. Some of the hotels have things for kids, such as a playroom, kiddie pools, and even babysitters on staff for when the parents want to go and have fun on their own.
Airbnb’s are probably the most popular places to stay in now. With the Airbnb site or app, you can rent out a person’s house or apartment for your stay.
Some places will only let you rent a single room or will even let you rent out an entire house.
Airbnb’s are typically cheaper than hotels, depending on where you choose to stay. They are also homier than a hotel because you’re literally staying in someone’s home. Like hotels, some of them will have some amenities, like towels or even coffee and snacks that you can have.
Hostels are a cheap option for lodging, but they’re not ideal for younger kids. Hostels are typically several bunk beds in a single room together.
If you’re traveling with a large enough group, you may be able to rent out an entire room for you and your family, depending on the limits that the hostel allows.
If you have younger kids or like your privacy with your family, hostels are not the place for you.
With hostels, you also miss the scenery that comes with hotels and Airbnb’s. You don’t get the views or the five-star room service, but they are great if you need a cheap place to crash for a night or two in between islands.
Hostels aren’t really made to be a luxurious getaway, but some of them are nicer than others.
If you don’t know where to start looking to getting to and from each island, you have a couple of modes of transportation to choose from:
Because you will be hopping from island to island, ferries are your best modes for transportation for your trip.
Ferries are relatively easy and cheap to book, and for the most part, are typically on time.
Every island has a ferry port where the boats depart and arrive at.
TIP: If you are looking for a quick trip to an island, a ferry is a way to go.
If you have never sailed a boat, don’t worry- there are some places on some of the islands that will give you a sailboat lesson. Doing this as a family can be a really awesome activity, and it’s something that you can take with you on future trips!
However, if you don’t feel confident enough with your sailing skills yet, you can also hire someone to get you across the waters in style.
Unlike ferries, sailboats can be private and often are home to some tour guides who can teach you a little history and show you some of the best spots on the water.
Tips for Island Hopping
Vacationing can be hard enough, but island hopping with kids is its own challenge. Here are a few tips to make your trip go a little smoother:
Packing lightly with kids can be difficult but try to travel as light as possible. The less that you pack, the easier that it will be to travel from island to island. The last thing you want is to have lug several bags on and off of a sailboat every couple of days.
If you’re only going to be traveling for a week, try to pick out only a few outfits per person. Everyone should also only pack the essentials such as toothbrushes, toiletries, and clothes. Try to leave the “what if” outfits at home and pack only what you know you will actually wear.
Traveling light will also allow you to have more room to bring home some memorabilia and souvenirs. All throughout the islands, you can buy handmade Greek jewelry, clothing, food, and wines. So, you will have plenty of opportunities to bring stuff home with you!
Have a Plan (or Don’t)
Having a plan can keep everyone on track. Before your trip, make a list of all of the places that you and your family want to stop at during your stay. With how many different and exciting things for you to do on each island, not to mention how many islands you can visit, making an itinerary will help you keep your trip on track.
However, you could always take a more spontaneous route. If you and your family like to just playthings by ear, ditch the detailed plans, and just explore.
TIP: The locals are your best sources of where to visit. From telling you about hidden gems to explore to local restaurants to try, you’re sure to get some great insight.
With about 6,000 different islands that you can travel through, you will never run out of anything to do. The kids will have endless hours of entertainment from hiking, swimming with the fish in the Aegean Sea, or eating all of the best local foods.
And the adults will have their own fun relaxing on the beaches, drinking locally made wines, or spending a day in one of the hotels’ spas. No matter the age, everyone will have something to do that they’ll love.
Keep a Budget
One of the hardest parts about vacationing can be how much you end up spending while you’re on it, especially when traveling with kids.
From buying food to buying souvenirs to renting out a boat, you’re always going to have to pay for something on your trip.
Planning a budget before you leave for your trip will give you an idea of how much to spend on each island. Do some research about how much you think you will have to spend on the essential things. like food and transportation, on each island.
Once you get those numbers, try to figure out how much disposable cash you have leftover that you can spend on things like boat rentals or museum entry fees.
TIP: Having an estimated budget in mind will help you ease some of the stress of vacationing by making sure you aren’t spending too much money during the trip.
Keep the Electronics at Home
This rule goes for both parents and kids. Keep the iPads at home and log out of social media during your trip. It’s hard not to want to show everyone all of the incredible food that you’re eating and beautiful sights that you’re seeing.
But, it’s well worth it to be present throughout the whole trip. You will want to remember the sights and sounds firsthand.