Following on from my recent post on booking ferries in advance, I thought it was worth exploring how to plan trips that involve ferry crossings. It’s not complicated but seems to throw up regular questions on the TripAdvisor Greece forums, so it may be useful to some visitors.
If it wasn’t obvious, the first thing to know is that ferries operate on fixed routes, typically starting and finishing at either Piraeus or Rafina on the mainland. Their routes are long loops, with one or more stops on several islands along the way – much like a bus has several stops as it travels through a town or city. To get from one island to another, you need to make sure they are connected by a ferry route, otherwise you have to make indirect journeys via other islands which adds time and cost to the trip.
For this reason, it pays to plan your holiday with the ferry routes in mind. One of the reasons the Cyclades are so popular is the amount of ferries that operate routes between the islands, making it easy to get from place to place on the days you want to travel.
There are a few websites I use to check itineraries and ticket prices. I’m not affiliated with any of them, so feel free to find alternatives if you prefer:
The above link has a great interactive map feature, where you can click on an island and see all of the direct links available. It does seem to focus on the Cyclades, but includes Crete and links to neighbouring island groups.
This is a Greek-operated site and always seems to have accurate ferry schedules. You have to enter the islands you want to go between and the date you want to travel. It will tell you if no ferries operate that route, or if they do, it lists the times available but doesn’t include prices.
This is a UK-based site, and has a similar search process as GTP, but the results do include prices (in GBP or EUR) which is useful for comparing the cheaper vehicle ferries with the fast catamarans. However, I have found that on occasion they do list schedules that are no longer active, so I tend to cross-reference their results with GTP to be confident they’re accurate.
Remember that I still don’t advocate booking the tickets up-front (see my post linked at the top of this article for why), but it’s always useful to know how much the ticket will cost so you can budget for your trip.