You can actually do some awesome greek island hopping from Santorini! Here’s everything you need to know and which islands are the best to visit.
Whenever I visit Santorini I am always trying to visit one more greek islands if I have the days to do that. I mean…why not?? Greek islands are awesome!
I DO NOT recommend doing a day trip to any greek island but try to stay at least 1-2 nights (especially in Mykonos and Naxos as the ferry to those ones is a 3 hrs trip).
These are the best islands near Santorini:
RECOMMENDED WEBSITES FOR HOTELS, VILLAS, FERRIES, TOURS AND FLIGHTS TO SANTORINI:
Santorini is not only a magic place to spend your holidays or honeymoon but it is also a great connection hub that you can use as your base, in order to visit some other amazing Greek Islands. In other words, this is what we call…greek island hopping!
With more than 10 direct flights per day (especially between April-November) from all over Europe, Santorini gives you the ultimate opportunity to visit some less touristy but probably equally beautiful Greek islands.
Read Also: Best Islands Near Mykonos
From Santorini, you can basically visit all of the Cyclades islands like Mykonos, Naxos, Folegandros, Ios, Anafi and each one has its own amazing beauty…so even-though I personally love Santorini more than anything, I do admit for example that Mykonos’ and Ios’ beaches are a-m-a-z-i-n-g and the food of Naxos is out-of-this-world…
Unfortunately, it is very difficult logistically to try and visit the islands on the western side of Greece like Corfu, Zante (Zakynthos) or Kefalonia (these are located at the Ioanian sea between Italy and Greece).
These islands are on the completely opposite side of Greece and you would have to go to Athens first and then take another flight to those islands.
You would need at least 1 day of travelling and you will spend too much time and money.
Also, I DO NOT recommend visiting Crete or Rhodes from Santorini.
It is 100% doable, but Crete and Rhodes are very big islands and you need to dedicate at least a week to each one of those.
A daytrip or 2-3 nights are not worth it because you would spend too much money and you won’t even see 5% of these amazing big greek islands.
Timetables for ferries are not fixed every year, so times and schedules might change. Let’s Ferry website provides you with an updated time schedule.
You probably already know a lot about Mykonos.
Mykonos (along with Santorini) is probably the most famous Greek island.
Read Also: How To Get From Athens to Mykonos
Crazy nightlife, amazing bars and clubs, DJs from all over the world, some of the most luxurious hotels and restaurants on the planet, celebrities hotspot, amazing fully-organised golden sandy beaches and…hundreds of parties every day (especially in the summer).
This is what I believe about Mykonos:
If Santorini is a little romantic angel, then Mykonos is a sexy dressed little devil!
You can easily have the time of your life in (…and in Santorini) no matter if you are with your other half, with your crazy girlfriends who take Instagram selfies 24/7, with your buddies or even alone!
…and that’s absolutely fine because you are on holidays!!
However, I do admit that ‘ sandy beaches are some of the best you can find in Greece but the other thing is that everything is super expensive in Mykonos, so you may have to pay a lot to sit on those awesome sunbeds (from 5 euros to 1000 euros in some of the most exclusive celebrity-spots beaches!!).
The best way to get from Mykonos to Santorini is by a 2-2.5 hrs ferry.
You can check all the timetables and prices for ferries on Let’s Ferry Website.
You can also take a direct flight (more expensive) from Mykonos to Santorini. The flight is about 20 mins.
FOR 2019 THERE IS ONLY ONE FLIGHT BETWEEN MYKONOS AND SANTORINI BY CONDOR. CHECK IT ON EXPEDIA
i do not recommend taking the flight from Mykonos to Santorini as you will spend too much time on the airports and by that time you would already be in Mykonos.
Read Also the Detailed Guide: How To Get From Santorini to Mykonos
Mykonos has some of the best hotels in Greece (even better than Santorini in many cases).
Read Also: 30 Best Luxury Hotels of Mykonos
I dare to say Hotels in Mykonos are slightly more luxurious than the ones in Santorini and in many cases the villas you would find on the island are much bigger and more impressive.
Here is my list of the best places to stay in Mykonos (spoiler alert: w-o-w ! ):
One of the most impressive private villas of Mykonos with its own private pool overlooking the sea. It can sleep up to 6 people.
Located at one of the most famous beaches of Mykonos, Super Paradise Beach, this is a truly unique hotel with trendy interior design and architecture.
Possibly one of the most instagrammable hotels of Mykonos, with one of the most incredible swimming pools on the island.
Overlooking one of the best beaches of Mykonos, Elia beach and having one of the best services on the island.
Celebrity treatment, world class services and whitewashed walls at one of the most celebrity filled beaches in Europe (Nammos Beach).
This is a truly 5-star hotel with one of the best restaurants of the island and impeccable design.
Simply…the best spa of the island and an incredible hotel overlooking the famous Platis Gialos beach.
Mykonos is definitely for more than 1 night (avoid a daytrip…it’s not worth it). There are so many different beaches, events, parties, beach bars and restaurants to visit that 1 night will never be enough. I recommend you stay at least 3 nights in Mykonos and then 4-5 days in Santorini.
Make sure you come back though…because Mykonos is highly addictive!
Naxos is one of the largest greek islands and definitely the largest in Cyclades island complex.
It’s one of my personal favourites…
Naxos’s Chora (the capital town) is full of life with many tavernas, shops, an archaeological museum and of course the famous “Portara” which is the ancient entrance into the island’s port.
However, to be totally honest with you, Naxos town is not an extremely picturesque greek island town and you’d better head off to the amazing beaches and the awesome mainland villages (like Apeiranthos village…one of the most picturesque and different greek cycladic villages).
I’m literally in love with Apeiranthos village… (here it is on Google Maps)
Naxos has amazing long sandy beaches (like Agia Anna beach) and it’s an amazing destination for foodies.
I had the best greek food in my life in Naxos (after my mother’s food obviously…)!
Local produce consists of really good quality lamb, beef and of course the world wide famous Naxos Graviera cheese.
Seriously….don’t leave the island if you don’t try this amazing gruyere-like yellow cheese. It literally melts in your mouth!
Naxos offers fantastic opportunities for watersports as well: waterskiing, kitesurfing, windsurfing as its beaches are are ideal with the strong winds of greek islands:
Naxos is very well organised with B&B’s and hotels and I definitely suggest a 2-3 days stay on the island because there are so much to see and explore.
Naxos is about 2 hours by the slow ferry from Santorini and about 1 hour by the fast ferry.
I do recommend taking the Blue Star Ferry (there is one that takes you from Santorini to Naxos and the other way around, every day).
If you want to check all the timetables or even book your ferry ticket to Naxos (which you have to pick up at the port anyways – that’s the greek law…) you can visit the Let’s Ferry website (or you can just check the timetables).
There is no flight between Naxos and Santorini.
Naxos is a pretty big island with hundreds of available options for accommodation. As with every location outside of Santorini and Mykonos DO NOT expect the luxury and the services that you will find in those other 2 islands. However, the following hotels are very good and very high rated.
These are the Best Hotels in Naxos:
One of the highest rated hotels of Naxos at a quiet area close to Vivlos beach but also close to the Naxos main town.
Being inside a massive olive trees grove this hotel offers private swimming pools but it’s also in walking distance to the famous Plakas beach.
Stunning villas with cycladic architecture and private swimming pools and amazing views to the Aegean sea. Very close to the famous Agios Prokopios beach too!
Beautifully decorated rooms, very close the famous Plaka beach. This is where you will find the friendliest guest of the island!
Celebrity-like treatment and 5 star luxury in (possibly) the best hotel of Naxos. Amazing greek breakfast too!
in case you are island-hopping then you need to stay more than 1 night in Naxos because the island is pretty big (one of the biggest islands in Greece actually) and you definitely need to rent a car or a scooter to move around as the distances are not short.
Folegandros is also a hidden greek gem mainly visited by greeks who want to avoid the tourist masses in other greek islands. Eventhough, in recent years it got remarkable tourist arrivals.
Folegandros has kept her remarkable beauty.
The Chora of Folegandros (the capital town in greek islands is always called “chora”) built on a sheer cliff, is considered one of the most beautiful and picturesque among all the greek islands and it’s really cute to be honest (not like Oia though…).
The beaches of Folegandros won’t disappoint you as well but they are difficult to reach in general (mainly by a small boat or through rocky roads).
The great thing about Folegandros is that it’s awesome for hiking as the views are breathtaking:
There are no “surprises” in Folegandros: amazing turquoise waters, sandy beaches, tavernas with fresh fish and little cute bars with amazing cocktails to chill-out in the night. So it’s the perfect relaxing destination but becasue it is a smaller and less known island you shouldn’t expect the luxury or the services that you would find in Mykonos or Santorini.
Folegandros is not that close (as Anafi island is for example…) to Santorini, so I’d suggest to spend a night there (or 2…) instead of visiting as a daytrip from Santorini.
And to be honest there are more things to do and see in Folegandros than there are in Anafi (but definitely less than the tings you can do and see in Mykonos and Naxos for example).
Folegandros is about 3 hours away from Santorini by ferry and 1.5 hours away with a speedboat (though that’s a remarkably more expensive option).
Travel agencies at Fira in Santorini or at Santorini’s main Port (Athinios) will be able to book your tickets and tell you the timetables of the available ferries at the time you are there.
It’s actually super simple: you pop in at a travel agent in Fira (there are hundreds of them so you won’t miss them), you ask the timetables for the ferries to Folegandros and that’s it.
Alternatively, you can always book everything online at the Let’s Ferry website which will also give you all the available ferries for the route Santorini-Folegandros-Santorini.
Folegandros has added some really good hotels recently and that makes it an even more attractive destination to spend a couple or more days there.
These are the Best Hotels in Folegandros:
Built on a cliff literally next to the crystal clear waters of the famous Agali beach this is a trully romantic hotel, ideal for couples relaxation.
Located close to Chora , this is one of the most well serviced hotels of Folegandros. The massive breaksfasts will make your stay even better!
This hotel offers the biggest swimming pool of Folegandros along with an excellent restaurant in walking distance from the capital of Folegandros Chora.
Incredible views to the Aegean sea and beautifully designed rooms in small private villas with freshly prepared breaksfasts on your doorstep daily!
One of the best things about Folegandros (and other small greek islands) is the fact that you don’t really need a car as the distances are quite small. You can either take the local bus (which always starts and ends in Chora) or – if you are brave enough- you can even explore the island by hiking everywhere which is definitely do-able as Folegandros and Anafi are pretty small. Just make sure you have the right shoes to do that and try to avoid the hot summer sun as much as possible. Hiking is an amazing way to explore greek islands and it can easily be one of the best things you can do.
Another tip is to try to find the local small boats that will take you to small secret beaches around the island. You can ask your hotel to find out where these boats departs (there is definitely one that can take you to Agali beach) but also the local bus drivers would know as well. Sometimes you just have to follow the crowds that will hop on to those boats. There is a tickets though that might be quite expensive for what these boats offer: the ticket may be up to 15 euros for a 10mins trip…but bear in mind that these boat owners rely on that small summer income to make the whole winter when these islands are pretty much deserted…
Anafi is a very small, quite, calm and definitely less touristic greek island.
If you are seeking unspoilt and genuine Greek Island life…then Anafi will give you the best one you can find!
No tourists (at least till now…), lonely sandy beaches with crystal blue waters and a truly unspoilt Chora town (main island town) with tavernas and cafes is what Anafi has to offer.
Don’t expect luxurious hotels with pools and fancy restaurants.
Anafi is the wild side of greek islands and that’s why you should visit it.
The myth actually says that Anafi is the home island of the famous Argonauts.
It is a true gem…so go there before things change!
There are frequent ferry connections to Anafi from Santorini.
Any travel agency at Fira (the capital) in Santorini will be able to tell you the ferry schedules and book you a ticket (or you can just check them and book them by yourself at Let’s Ferry) .
It only takes about 1.5-2 hrs for the ferry in Santorini to get you to Anafi’s little and picturesque port of Agios Nikolaos.
There is usually 1 ferry everyday that is departing from Santorini early morning (super early…like 4am) which is actually good because you’ll get the whole day in Anafi.
Book your ferry tickets to Anafi (or just check timetables) on: Let’s Ferry
You will definitely not find the luxury of Santorini, but these are the Best Hotels in Anafi:
Apollon Village Hotel (possibly the best hotel in Anafi)
Villa Kalamiotissa (the best villa to rent in Anafi)
Ostria (spartan but clean and with awesome sea views)
Sunset Rooms (basic but cute)
Panorama Rooms (closest to the capital / chora with all the buzz – if there is any at Anafi..:))
Anafi is probably the only island where you can have a decent day trip from Santorini as there are not that many things to see and do to be honest but it’s perfect for a daytrip to a nice beach.
So, if you are island hopping you don’t really need to spend 2-3 days in Anafi.
If you want you can definitely spend 1 night but even so, I wouldn’t spend one of my precious nights in Anfi to be honest.
If you are considering staying in Anafi more days then you would be missing the things you can do in Santorini because Anafi is a really quiet and small place to be honest.
Ios is a really unique and underrated island in my opinion.
Back in the 90’s and 00’s it used to be a crazy party island and for some inexplicable reason it got bad reputation but I really never understood why.
It’s an island with amazing beauty and its golden sandy beaches are some of the best in Greece. Seriously…
Though I have to say that the island is mainly more appealing to younger ages (up to 30 years old probably), this shouldn’t stop you to visit Ios and explore it’s amazing beauty.
Ios is very well organised, with B&B’s and Hotels and I’d definitely suggest a 2-3 days stay on the island in case you decide to visit it.
Ios is about 40-45 mins away by ferry from Santorini (check ferry timetables and prices on Let’s Ferry website)
The journey is really quick and it costs about 30-35 euros (one way). I know…expensive…
Ios has some really good hotels. While not to the level of luxury and services that you would find in Santorini or Mykonos, the hotels of Ios are definitely very impressive.
These are the Top Hotels in Ios:
Beautiful setup with a massive swimming pool next to the famous Mylopotas beach in Ios. Great services and a Margarita Bar that serves the longest list of margaritas in Europe!
Designed to overlook the town of Ios, Liostasi offers world class services and amenities with the biggest swimming pool of the island.
A trully unique boutique hotel, 10 mins walking distance from the famous sandy Mylopotas beach. Some of the rooms offer their own private swimming pool overlooking the beach!
This is a value for money option for Mylopotas beach as you get a lot for what you pay for! A massive swimming pool and cleand and decent rooms.
Though definitely not the party island of the 90’s and 00’s, Ios still has some of the best beach bars/clubs of Greece (along with Mykonos obviously…). The best one is by far the famous Far Out Beach Club at Mylopotas in Ios that also has the great Far Out Camping Ios. Also, bear in mind that Ios would feel like Italy in August as it is one of the most popoular destination for Italians!
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