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Trip Report

Greek Island Hopping Itinerary

Three weeks island hopping in the Greek Cyclades islands: Santorini, Paros, Naxos, and Andros

  • Chora Village+ 13
  • Gathering at Sunset in Fira
  • Caldera View in Fira
  • Greek Island Hopping Itinerary
savannah jane
About Me:Hi everyone! My name is Savannah Jane and I'm all about the outdoors, adventure, and travel. I grew up in a family that was always travelling and it quickly became a big part of my life. In 2017/2018 I did a 9 month solo backpacking trip a... read more

EuropeGreece20 days / August 2017

Highs & Lows

Island hopping in the Cyclades is very easy

It gets crowded during high season (late June to early September)

Itinerary Overview

Greece was my very first stop on my 9 month solo backpacking trip across Europe in 2017/2018. I began my journey in August, which is the peak of high season for both locals and tourists visiting the Greek Islands. It is the hottest month of the year, which means everyone makes their way to the sea.

When I think of Greece, I picture the iconic white and blue buildings, cobblestone streets, bluest of waters, bright pink bougainvilleas at every corner, and amazingly fresh seafood. Greece is one of the most idyllic places on Earth, and the one place that will guarantee I’ll be leaving with a million photos in my camera roll.

For this trip, I was less after the touristy “party islands”, and more in search of the quieter islands that were ideal for hiking, swimming, and exploring. Apart from escaping the crowds, the other benefit in doing this is that the less-known islands are often a lot less expensive.

  • 5 Nights: Santorini
  • Day trip: Oia
  • Day trip: Perissa
  • 5 Nights: Paros
  • Day trip: Naousa
  • Day trip: Marpissa
  • 5 Nights: Naxos
  • 5 Nights: Andros
Santorini - null


Santorini - null - Gathering at Sunset in Fira
Gathering at Sunset in Fira
Santorini - null - Caldera View in Fira
Caldera View in Fira

If you’ve never been to Santorini, it is a must when visiting the Greek Islands - the views are truly magical. Although it is against what I just mentioned, in that it’s very touristy and crowded, my feeling is that everyone needs to visit Santorini at least once in their lifetime.. I’ve actually been twice! 

Santorini is famous for its sunsets, and for a good reason! I think it’s worth making note of a few of the best spots to watch the sunset with the famous Caldera view.

Imerovigli - This is the best place to view the sunset as Imerovigli village is located at the highest point of the island. In addition, it is not as famous as Oia and Fira, so it doesn't get as busy. Head to the Skaros Venetian Fortress for the highest vantage point and best view of the Caldera cliffs.

Oia - This is hands down the most famous place to watch the sunset and it does get very crowded. Most of the crowds will flock to the Oia Castle, which is where most of the photos you have probably seen of Oia are taken. My advice would be to take a walk around during the day and find your own spot! There are tons of little nooks in the Caldera where the view is just as beautiful.

Fira - The most popular place to watch the sunset in Fira is the promenade in the Southern end. There are lots of restaurants that stick out of the cliff along this path, but you can get a really beautiful shot close to the Fira cathedral. Definitely try and get here early to get your spot as it does get busy about an hour before sunset.

Oia - null


Oia - null - Caldera View in Oia
Caldera View in Oia
Oia - null - Shops in Oia
Shops in Oia
Oia - null - View from Ammoudi Bay
View from Ammoudi Bay

There is a hike that takes you from Fira through the villages of Firostefani and Imerovigli to Oia. It is 10km in total (about 3-5 hours) and is a great way to be able to see each of the neighbouring villages whilst taking in all of the incredible views in between. 

You’ll find that in comparison to Santorini, Oia is more luxurious, expensive, and quieter at night. Once you get there, you can explore the million little shops scattered throughout the village, which are great for getting souvenirs (I love the jewelry with the evil eye). 

After you’ve relaxed a bit, make your way to the steps leading down to Ammoudi Bay. These 241 steps are no joke, but if you’re up for it, it’s worth getting the view from the bottom. My only advice is to try not to go at the hottest part of the day, because it is not shielded from the sun.. oh and watch out for the donkeys! There are donkeys going up and down the stairs as well, sometimes carrying tourists who couldn't make it back up on foot. Once you’re at the bottom of the steps, there are some great seafood restaurants right on the water as well as some areas for swimming.

Perissa - null


Perissa - null - Perissa Beach
Perissa Beach

Perissa beach is one of the most popular ones in Santorini. It is a beautiful black sand beach that stretches down for miles and has plenty of seaside restaurants. You can reach Perissa beach by a 20 minute bus ride from Fira.

From Perissa beach, you can walk South for 3km and you will arrive at Perivolos beach. Alternatively, on the other side of Mesa Vouno (the mountain on the North side of Perissa beach), you will find Kamari beach. There are water taxis throughout the day that will take you to Kamari beach, which is by far the busiest.

Paros - null


Paros - null - View from Livadia Beach
View from Livadia Beach

Taking a ferry from Santorini, you will arrive in Parikia, which is the main port of Paros. I really loved the atmosphere in Paros - it had a more relaxed vibe than Santorini but still felt like there was enough going on. The old town of Parikia is so charming and I loved getting lost in the labyrinth-like streets scattered with little shops and restaurants.

What I loved most about Paros was its beaches and crystal clear water. The beaches are clean and there are almost 40 different ones to choose from on the island. Livadia beach is the closest to the main town of Parikia, and for this reason it can get pretty crowded. For a great viewpoint, walk down the beach and you will arrive at some rocks leading you out to a spit of land. From here you can get a beautiful view of Parikia.

Naousa - null


Naousa - null - Fishing Boat in Naoussa Harbour
Fishing Boat in Naoussa Harbour

Naoussa is a charming little fishing village that’s a 25 minute bus ride from Parikia. During the day, Naoussa is more of a sleepy town, but it does get quite lively in the night when the bars open along the harbour. 

The port of Naoussa is filled with colourful fishing boats and restaurants along the waterfront with the freshest seafood. The winding backstreets in the village are perfect for exploring and you’ll come across many quaint little churches in doing so.

When you’re ready for a swim, you can take a 10 minute bus ride from Naoussa to the long coastline of Santa Maria beach. This beach is great for all kinds of water activities, plus there are tons of beach bars and restaurants, making it a great place to spend the rest of your day!

Marpissa - null


Marpissa - null - Mud Mask at Kalogeros Beach
Mud Mask at Kalogeros Beach

Kalogeros beach, located near Marpissa village, is known for its healing mud mask. To get there, take a 25 minute bus ride from Parikia to Marpissa. Marpissa is a picturesque and quiet village located on the hill of Kefalos, and is worth taking a walk through. From Marpissa, it's about a 2.5 km walk on a dirt road to get to Kalogeros beach. 

There are large cliffs surrounding the beach, and all you do is scrape out some of the cliff’s surface, mix it with water, and cover your body and face with it. The beach is also overall great for swimming and has beautiful views of the neighbouring villages.

Naxos - null


Naxos - null - Temple of Apollo - Portara
Temple of Apollo - Portara
Naxos - null - View from the Temple
View from the Temple
Naxos - null - Plaka Beach
Plaka Beach

Naxos is the biggest of the Cyclade islands and yet still relatively unknown in the mainstream. Naxos island as a whole feels very “untouched”, which is why I liked it so much. There are tons of little fishing villages to visit and they are all very authentic.

As your entering Naxos harbour, you will see the island’s famous landmark, the Temple of Apollo - Portara. It's an ancient monument located on the islet of Palatia. You can access it via the connecting pathway, and it's free to walk around. The view you get of Naxos town from this point is really stunning, which makes it a great spot to visit at sunset.

By far my favourite beach in Naxos was Plaka beach, which is the longest one on the island. The sand is white and powdery, and the water is so incredibly clear. Alternatively, the most easily accessible beach on Naxos island is the long stretch of golden sand at Saint George beach. 

Andros - null


Andros - null - Batsi
Andros - null - Hiking
Andros - null - Chora Village1+
Chora Village

Andros was my favourite island because of its unique landscape. It's very lush and mountainous, in addition to the beautiful beaches and picturesque villages. It really offers a bit of everything.

Batsi is the main port and village on the island. From Batsi, there are four beaches within walking distance. Batsi beach is the longest, and it runs right through the village centre with a boardwalk alongside it. Additionally, if you walk up the Southern coast from Batsi for about 20 minutes, you will come across the smaller beaches of Stivari, Agia Marina, and Delavoyia. 

Andros was incredible for hiking. There is a single 100km trail called the Andros Route that allows you to hike the entire island. The trail is very well marked and goes all through the mountains, providing amazing views of the island. 

One of my favourites was a 6km hike from Batsi to Chora village. Once you get to Chora, you can explore the town centre and then walk out to the Southern most point for a great view. There's a fun spot to swim and sunbathe at the end of the rocks, or you can head to Paraporti beach.

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    Spend more time in Paros, Naxos, and Andros. Each of these islands has a ton of smaller villages apart from the main village, and I would've loved to have more time to visit them all.
  • Restaurant recommendations?

    The food in Greece is incredible, whether you’re getting a €1 gyros at a stand, or you’re sitting down for a seafood dinner at a beautiful restaurant. Even if you aren't the biggest fan of seafood - Greece is the place to try it because it's the freshest you'll ever have.
  • Tips you would give a friend?

    Most beaches in Greece have umbrellas that you need to pay to rent. My advice would be to go in the morning and pick a nice beach bar or restaurant that you know you’ll want to eat lunch at. Most of the time, if you order food or a drink, you'll get to use the umbrella for free. Just order a drink in the morning and have lunch later on, that way you can keep the umbrella all day.
  • Transportation Tips?

    If you've already been to Athens, try to find a flight directly into Santorini. Athens gets extremely hot and busy in the Summer, so it's worth bypassing the craziness if you can. I had been to Athens before, and didn’t mind skipping it to have more time in the islands, so I found a flight from London directly into Santorini.
  • Booking details?

    For this trip, I booked my hostels and transportation (ferries) as I went. The only accommodation that I had booked prior to leaving home was my first hostel in Santorini. Although it was high season, I didn't have too hard of a time booking just a couple of days in advance.


  • I stayed in Fira, the capital of Santorini, at a hostel called Hostel Kykladonisia. Fira is the most lively village on the island, with a lot going on in terms of nightlife and shopping. The first time that I visited Santorini was with my family back in 2007, and we stayed in a cave hotel. These are quite a bit pricier, but if you have the budget for it - I’d say go for it! It is the most unique experience you will have.

  • I stayed at the Summer Inn Parikia which is about a 15 minute walk from the Paros ferry port and central bus station. The hostel itself was in a great location as it was a two minute walk to Livadia beach and walking distance to the old town of Parikia. It’s also convenient to be near the ferry port and bus station as there are so many little villages nearby worth visiting.

  • I stayed at Soula Hotel, which is a really cute family-run hotel located in Naxos Town (Chora), the largest town and capital of this island. The hotel is located just steps from the main port, the centre of town, and Saint George beach.

  • I stayed at the Lemon Tree Hostel located in Batsi. I can say without a doubt that this was one of the most unique hostels I have ever stayed in. The Lemon Tree hostel is, you guessed it, built into a lemon tree! When you arrive to check-in, the owners, a lovely couple named Miltos & Elena, give you freshly squeezed lemonade. The hostel itself is very airy and open concept, and there is a rooftop terrace where everyone hangs out to watch the sunset each night.