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Ferries to the Greek Islands 2015 – Cyclades

Greece’s Cyclades Islands… A Ferry Ride Away: The Secrets of Getting There

One of the best parts of getting to Greece’s many islands is undoubtedly the trip. Daily, dozens of ferries depart from the main ports of Attica – Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrio – to the most popular Greek island destinations. The Cyclades, in the Southern Aegean, are among the most visited. Favorites? Mykonos, Santorini and Paros, to mention a few. Every summer, holidaymakers flock from across the globe with one or more of these tiny Greek islands on their travel agenda. As the summer season begins, the Greek Travel Pages offers tips on getting there. First in a series, the Cyclades.

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Cyclades

Northern Cyclades

Kea (Tzia), Kythnos, Syros (the capital of the Cyclades), Andros, Tinos, Mykonos, Delos and Renia.

Central Cyclades

Serifos, Sifnos, Antiparos, Paros, Naxos, Donoussa, Irakleia (Heraklia), Schinoussa, Koufonissia and Amorgos.

Southern Cyclades 

Milos, Kimolos, Folegandros, Sikinos, Ios, Santorini and Anafi.

Traveling by Ferry to the Cyclades Islands?

The ferry trip to the Cyclades is for most travelers part of the fun and in many cases the only option. Very few of the isles have Airports and there are no flight connections to link these islands with one another. What’s more, ferries are much cheaper than flights.

Greek ferry services today are upgraded and quick. Holidaymakers can chose to travel with high speed hydrofoils or the more conventional and larger ferries, which transport vehicles as well.

Popular islands like Mykonos and Santorini, which cater to thousands of international visitors all-year-round, do have international airports and tourists can catch direct flights from a number of European capitals.

The majority of holidaymakers visiting Greece, fly to Athens and then catch a ferry to the islands. Most of the isles, at least during the summer, are very well connected to Attica by ferry.

Athens and its Ports

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Piraeus Port: The country's largest port and shipping hub is just 12km from the Greek capital, on the eastern coast of the Saronic Gulf, and easily reached by public transport (Metro, train and bus).

Rafina Port: A much smaller port on the eastern coast of Attica, closer to Athens Airport and very convenient when traveling by ferry to the Northern Cyclades:  Andros, Tinos and Mykonos. It is accessible by bus both from central Athens (Pedion tou Areos Park) and from Athens International Airport.

Lavrio Port: A busy little port in the summer on the southeastern coast of Attica, from where ferries to the islands of Kea (Tzia) and Kythnos depart, also offering a wide variety of sailing rental options. It can be reached by bus both from Athens and Athens International Airport.

Ferries to major islands depart daily from Athens early in the morning, between 7:00 and 8:00 and in the evenings, from mid-May to mid-September. Smaller islands are served with routes on most days of the week. Far-away destinations are usually run at night.

The port of Rafina is a better option for holidaymakers wishing to visit the the Northern Cyclades (Andros, Tinos and Mykonos) with much shorter travel times.


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Tips on Tickets to the Isles

E-Tickets

Greek ferry ticket sample

Greek ferry ticket sample

Can I buy an e-ticket to travel by ferry to the islands? Will a booking reference or email confirmation be enough to board? For the time being, there is no e-ticket option for ferry travel in Greece but the Merchant Marine Ministry announced that it was examining the idea. This means that travelers must purchase a ticket from an agent or shipping company (most of these are near the ports) and have it available to show upon boarding.

How to book ferry tickets:

When booking ferry tickets, travelers can:

  1. Book in person by visiting the shipping company, a shipping company port agent or any travel agency when in Greece.
  2. Book online using any online travel agency providing this service.  When you book online, during the booking process you will be asked how you wish to receive your tickets.

Should I Book in Advance or Buy Ferry Tickets at the Port Before Boarding?

Booking in advance is always the safest way to go. This, of course, depends largely on the time of year, the popularity of the destination and the frequency of ferries operating the desired route. For the months of July and August, it is always advised to book ahead and be at the port an hour in advance if you have a vehicle.

Can I Make Changes?

Travelers can cancel or change their booking only through the provider: the shipping company, one of its port agents or the travel agency from which they booked their ferry tickets.

It is important to know that ferry operators have their own cancellation policies. Make sure to review these prior to booking.

Detailed information on ferry operators in Greece is listed in Greek Travel Pages

Searching for Ferry Schedules to the Greek Islands

The Greek Travel Pages offers a comprehensive guide to ferry services, times and options in Greece, and includes:

  • all ferry operators, whether they have an online presence or not.
  • daily, weekly and seasonal schedules.
  • You don’t need to know the port names to search for destinations
  • Each search provides detailed information on itineraries, shipping companies and destination.

 

Main Ferry Routes (and Providers) to the Cyclades Islands

From Piraeus port:

Blue Star Ferries Blue Star Ferries Logo    
  • Piraeus – Syros – Tinos – Mykonos
  • Piraeus – Paros – Naxos – Ios – Santorini
  • Piraeus – Syros – Paros – Naxos – Santorini – Amorgos – Irakleia – Schinoussa – Koufonissia – Donoussa
Hellenic Seaways Hellenic Seaways Logo    
  • Piraeus – Syros – Tinos – Mykonos
  • Piraeus – Paros – Naxos – Ios – Santorini
  • Piraeus – Serifos – Sifnos – Koufonissia

 

SeaJets

SeaJets Logo

   
  • Piraeus – (Tinos) – Mykonos – Naxos – Santorini
  • Piraeus – Sifnos – Milos – Folegandros – Santorini – Ios – Naxos – Mykonos
  • Piraeus – Milos – Folegandros – Santorini – Amorgos – Koufonissia – Naxos – Mykonos
  Aegean Speed Lines Aegean Speed Lines Logo    
  • Piraeus – Serifos – Sifnos – Milos
Zante Ferries Zante Ferries Logo    
  • Piraeus – Kythnos – Serifos – Sifnos – Milos – Kimolos – Folegandros – Sikinos – Ios – Santorini

From Rafina port:

Blue Star Ferries Blue Star Ferries Log    
  • Rafina – Mykonos – Paros – Naxos – Ios
  Hellenic Seaways Hellenic Seaways Logo    
  • Rafina – Tinos – Mykonos – Paros – Naxos – Ios – Santorini
  SeaJets SeaJets Logo    
  • Rafina – Tinos – Mykonos – Paros – Naxos – Ios – Santorini
Cyclades Fast Ferries Cyclades Fast Ferries    
  • Rafina – Andros – Tinos – Mykonos
  Golden Star Ferries Golden Star Ferries Logo    
  • Rafina – Andros – Tinos – Mykonos

 

 

From Lavrio port:

Goutos Lines Goutos Lines Logo    
  • Lavrio – Kea (Tzia) – Kythnos
Karystia Shipping
  • Lavrio – Kea (Tzia) – Kythnos

 

Ferry Routes Interconnecting the Cyclades Islands:

NEL Lines

NEL Lines Logo

 

 

  • Syros – Paros – Naxos – Donoussa – Amorgos – Koufonissia – Schinoussa – Irakleia – (Mykonos)
  • Syros – Paros – Naxos – Ios – Sikinos – Folegandros – Santorini – Anafi
  • Syros – Kythnos – Kea (Tzia) – Lavrio – Kea (Tzia) – Kythnos – Syros
  • Syros – Tinos – Andros
  • Syros – Serifos – Sifnos – Kimolos – Milos
  • Syros – Paros – Naxos – Ios – Sikinos – Folegandros – Kimolos – Milos – (Mykonos)

 

 

Ferry Routes Connecting the Cyclades Islands and Dodekanissos

Blue Star Ferries Blue Star Ferries Log    
  • Piraeus - Santorini - Kos - Rhodes
  • Piraeus - Syros - Patmos - Leros - Kos - Rhodes
  • Piraeus - (Syros) - Paros - Naxos - Donoussa - Amorgos (Egiali) - Astypalea
Aegeon Pelagos Aegeon Pelagos Sea Lines Logo    
  • Pireaus - Santorini - Anafi - Sitia (Crete) - Kasos - Karpathos - Chalki - Rhodes

 

Ferry Routes Connecting the Cyclades Islands and the Northern Aegean Islands

Hellenic Seaways

Hellenic Seaways Logo

 

 

  • Piraeus – Paros – Naxos – Ikaria – Fourni – Samos
  • Piraeus – Syros – Mykonos – Patmos – Ikaria (Evdilos) –  Samos (Karlovassi) – Chios – Mytilini (Lesvos) – Lemnos – Kavala

 

 

Ferry Routes Connecting the Cyclades Islands and the Crete

Hellenic Seaways Hellenic Seaways Logo    
  • Mykonos - Paros - Ios - Santorini - Heraklio (Crete)

SeaJets

SeaJets Logo

   
  • Mykonos - Paros - Naxos - Ios - Santorini - Heraklio (Crete)

Traveling to the Cyclades – Time and Cost

Though prices may range, below you will find indicative fees for a single adult ticket in economy class both for high speed and conventional ferries. You will also find information concerning average travel times to popular Greek islands in the Cyclades. Travel time by conventional ferry is usually longer.

Ferries to Mykonos:

Average cost adult, economy class:
  • High Speed ferry: 57 euros / person
  • Conventional ferry: 35 euros / person
Average travel time:
  • High Speed ferry: 3hours, 30min
  • Conventional ferry: 5hours, 30min

Ferries to Santorini:

Average cost adult, economy class:
  • High Speed ferry: 59 euros / person
  • Conventional ferry: 39 euros / person
Average travel time:
  • High Speed ferry: 5hours
  • Conventional ferry: 7hours

Ferries to Paros:

Average cost adult, economy class:
  • High Speed ferry: 51 euros / person
  • Conventional ferry: 33 euros / person
Average travel time:
  • High Speed ferry: 3hours
  • Conventional ferry: 4hours, 30min

Ferries to Syros:

Average cost adult, economy class:
  • High Speed ferry: 47 euros / person
  • Conventional ferry: 30 euros / person
Average travel time:
  • High Speed ferry: 2hours, 30min
  • Conventional ferry: 3hours, 30min

Ferries to Naxos:

Average cost adult, economy class:
  • High Speed ferry: 57 euros / person
  • Conventional ferry: 35 euros / person
Average travel time:
  • High Speed ferry: 3hours, 30min
  • Conventional ferry: 5hours, 15min

Ferries to Ios:

Average cost adult, economy class:
  • High Speed ferry: 59 euros / person
  • Conventional ferry: 36 euros / person
Average travel time:
  • High Speed ferry: 4hours
  • Conventional ferry: 7hours

Ferries to Sifnos:

Average cost adult, economy class:
  • High Speed ferry: 48 euros / person
  • Conventional ferry: 33 euros / person
Average travel time:
  • High Speed ferry: 3hours
  • Conventional ferry: 5hours, 30min

Ferries to Milos:

Average cost adult, economy class:
  • High Speed ferry: 54 euros / person
  • Conventional ferry: 36 euros / person
Average travel time:
  • High Speed ferry: 4hours
  • Conventional ferry: 6hours, 15min

Ferries to Koufonissia:

Average cost adult, economy class:
  • High Speed ferry: 59 euros / person
  • Conventional ferry: 35 euros / person
Average travel time:
  • High Speed ferry: 4hours, 30min
  • Conventional ferry: 7hours

Ferries to Folegandros:

Average cost adult, economy class:
  • High Speed ferry: 59 euros / person
  • Conventional ferry: 36 euros / person
Average travel time:
  • High Speed ferry: 4hours
  • Conventional ferry: 7hours, 30min

What about the weather?

Wind can sometimes be a problem when traveling by ferry to the Cyclades Islands. One should start worrying with wind force over 7 bf (Beaufort Wind Force Scale info) especially when traveling with the smaller hydrofoils. It is always prudent to contact port authorities or the ferry operator before your departure when weather conditions are difficult.

Windyty offers a great wind forecast service.

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