10 Best Travel Hacks for the Greek Islands (Cyclades)
1) During summer Athens has a second port
Pireaus, the seaport south of Athens is known worldwide, but it is not always the best choice. During the summer there is another port north of Athens, Rafina. It is located in close proximity to the airport and connected by an official shuttle bus. This bus takes only a fraction of the time (approx. 20 minutes) compared to a taxi, as it is allowed to drive on the airport grounds.
2) Bus timetables actually do exist!
The bus is a solid mean of transport in Greece, on the mainland as well as on the islands. But unfortunately the timetables are very well hidden. The official bus companies are called KTEL and if you know the name of the region, you will quickly find the right timetable. The timetable for the shuttle bus from the airport to Rafina can be found here: airport timetable. Attention! In addition to official plans, there are also a lot of unofficial websites with mostly obsolete dates. If you know the official plan, you will be amazed by how punctual the buses are.
It is only since autumn 2015 that private rentals to tourists are allowed in Greece at the insistence of the EU. Since then, offers on platforms such as Airbnb are steadily
increasing. Thus there are not only cheaper, but often also qualitatively better options.
4) Greek ships are faster on paper than on water
Especially in summer, when the small Greek ports on the islands are overloaded, the actual the journey time of the ferries differs drastically from the timetables. If you want to make sure that you will be on time for your plane, it is best to ask at the ferry office or to
check yourself with the Vesselfinder app. It tells you at which times the ferries have actually reached their destination on previous days.
5) Book your flights separately to the ferry ticket
If you want to save money travelling to a Greek island, you should combine a cheap flight to Athens with a ferry trip. Unfortunately, it can happen that you won’t find be able to find a ferry connection suitable for your flight times upon booking. This is where you can rely on blind trust. The Greek ferry schedules are published very late, but since the Greeks are also living on the islands, you can be sure that ferries will run regularly and that they usually do so similarly to the previous timetables.
6) Plane instead of a ferry
It is worth keeping an eye on air fares, there are flights from Athens to the islands starting at 40 Euros, which is definitely cheaper than the ship. However, please note that the hand luggage regulations must be obeyed, as no larger items of hand luggage will fit into the small aircrafts.
7) Greece is also worth a visit between October and April
Especially in the cold season it is worth taking a look at the weather app. While Mallorca seems to be an attractive destination in winter, hardly anyone is considering Greece. But they should! Temperatures are just as mild in Greece during the winter months as they are in Spain. Further, there is an abundance of outdoor activities that can be done. Since some islands can get pretty windy, they make great kite or windsurfing spots.
8) When EU roaming is not enough
EU roaming has been a reality since mid-2017, so you can continue to surf the Internet while on holiday in Greece. If you need more data volume than your contract provides, you should rely on prepaid cards from Wind.gr. Wind is not only cheap, but also offers an app in English in which you can check your data usage and easily re-charge via Paypal.
9) Blue Star Super Economy tickets or cabin bargains
What sounds like more legroom and suggests that it is more expensive than the standard ticket, is just the cheapest price if you book way in advance. If you want to use a cabin for two or more people, you should also take a look at ferries.gr , because this provider often has more options for configuring cabins. In winter, even the trip in the Business Class cabin with breakfast and sea view will be a bargain.
10) Rental cars and ferries
Low car rental prices and the many ferry connections suggest that you can also travel by rental car. In general, however, the use of ferries with rental cars is prohibited. As far as we know only AVIS allows you to take the car with you and reduce the insurance cover. It is worth taking a look at the car rental agreement.