The ferries of Greece are like a wonder of the world. During the summer, they connect dozens of Greek islands, bringing millions of travelers to their destination. The boats are well-maintained and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Each island group has their own ferry companies, and some ferries also let you take your car.
Booking your Ferry Tickets in Greece
Most ferry tickets in Greece can be booked online, or alternatively at the harbor at one of the ticket booths. Be aware that when getting tickets directly from the booths, there may not be tickets available, since most people buy online in advance. If it is a big holiday in Greece, like Easter or August 15th, you will want to book your ticket in advance.
Note that if you don’t have a barcode on your ticket, you’ll need to print out your ticket when you arrive at the port.
The only time you won’t have the option to book online is when you’re visiting a very small island like Kimolos, Antiparos, Elafonissos, Gavdos, or Chrysi. These tickets are paid for onboard the boat or at a small ticket office.
Seating on Ferries in Greece
Bigger ferries will give you a seat number on your ticket, but they are usually ignored. As long as you aren’t sneaking into the 1st class cabin, you can generally feel free to sit where you want. The outside decks do not have allocated seating.
Seasickness and Ferries in Greece
If you deal with seasickness, it’s best to book the biggest boat possible. Small ferries like the Seajets boats move a lot with harsh weather, so they can be uncomfortable in rough waters. Also, you can’t always open the windows in the smaller boats. The biggest ferries in Greece are slower, but they are more reliable during storms and don’t move as much. They are less likely to be cancelled too. If you want to know which ferries are largest when booking, just look for ferries with a car symbol next to the name.
Ferry Routes from Athens
When leaving from the Piraeus port in Athens, you can travel to the following islands:
- The Argosaronic islands (Salamina, Aegina, Agistri, Poros, and Hydra)
- Santorini, Mykonos, Milos, Naxos and the rest of the Cycladic islands
- Rhodes, Patmos and the Dodecanese islands
- Chios, Lesvos and the islands in the northeastern Aegean
- Evia, which also has a land bridge
Note that some islands in the Dodecanese can be reached from Athens, but that doesn’t mean boat is the best mode of travel. Some faraway islands have ferry times of more than 6 hours, so it can make more sense to fly to a nearby island and take a local ferry instead.
Other Ports in Greece (Besides Athens)
Volos and Evia
The Sporades Islands (Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonisos, and more) are reached from the port in Volos or from Evia.
The Ionian Islands (Corfu, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, and more), found west of the greek mainland, can be reached from the port of Patras and Igoumenitsa.
Some northern islands like Thasos, Lemnos, Lesvos, and Chios are also reached from the northern port in Kavala. Alexandroupoli also has a port which services Samothraki island.
In the summer, during the high season, there are sometimes connections from smaller ports than those listed above. Keep an eye out for these as they could make your journey more convenient. The islands in each island group (Sporades, Cyclades, Dodecanese, etc) are also connected. Santorini will have ferries to Mykonos, Paros will have ferries to Santorini, and Naxos will have ferries to Mykonos, for example.
How Fast are Greek Ferry Boats?
Greek ferries travel at a variety of speeds. The big, conventional ferries run about 20-25 knots per hour, and the highspeed boats travel at about 40 knots per hour. SeaJets operates some of the fastest boats in Greece.
Bringing a Car on Greek Ferries
The bigger ferries in Greece, and also some of the highspeed boats, can carry vehicles. You will need to reserve a spot beforehand. The boarding and unboarding can be chaotic and involve many traffic controllers, but once you get used to the pace, you will become a ferry expert in Greece.
The best way to find the right ferry ticket in Greece is with Ferryhopper. This booking site is the most popular and most extensive tool in Greece and it lets you book through a variety of ferry companies in Greece.