The Common And Risky Ferry Mistake To Avoid While On Vacation In Greece

Let's face it. While mainland Greece is full of historical gems, most people who travel to the stunning nation are there to see the islands. Whether it's Paros, Santorini, Mykonos, or Crete, the idyllic Greek islands are bucket list-worthy for their relaxed vibe, impeccable seafood, vibrant blue-hued water, and warm, hospitable people. This is especially true in the summertime, the islands' busiest season, but like any popular destination, this comes with a few disclaimers.

While there are airports in several of the Greek Islands, most visitors opt to travel by ferry, the more common and sustainable route. Understandably so, as Greece has some of the prettiest waters in the world. However, if you're planning on taking a ferry in or out of any of the islands, there's one crucial factor to keep in mind: you should never book a ferry for the same day as your flight. There are a plethora of reasons why this is so, from scheduling conflicts to potential delays.

You'll need at least one buffer day

When it comes to booking your Greek island ferry, you'll want to play it safe. This means giving yourself at least one buffer day between your flight, which is likely out of Athens, and the day you choose to travel by ferry. One of the main reasons is that many underestimate just how long the ferry trips in Greece can take. For example, a ferry from Athens to Santorini ranges from five to 13 hours.

Aside from how long the ferry routes are, the scheduling is often quite limited, meaning you won't be able to simply hop on a ferry at your own convenience. Sometimes, ferries only leave early in the morning or late in the afternoon, meaning you would have to pretty much perfectly time your departure in order to make a flight on the same day. That would also require there to be zero delays, which, naturally, is a risk when traveling.

Another crucial point when traveling by ferry is to book your ticket far in advance, especially if you plan to travel to Greece during the summertime. Since ferry options are limited, this means tickets tend to sell out quickly.

Ferries aren't the only travel factor that require strategic planning

As mentioned, Greece is at its peak in the summertime. For context, in 2023, 36 million people visited Greece, with an estimated 16.9 million visitors in the summertime alone. This means, not only will you want to plan your ferries ahead of time, but you'll also want to book everything, from hotels to car rentals to activities, far in advance, especially if you choose to visit top-visited hotspots like Mykonos, Santorini, and Crete.

If you're not a fan of crowds but still want to experience Greece in the summertime, plan to visit an off-the-beaten-path island instead. To forego sacrificing the quality of your quintessential Greek getaway, head to Folegandros, which is like a cheaper Santorini without the crowds. Elafonissos is another great option to escape the crowds, especially if you're looking for an idyllic escape with pristine beaches. Even so, if you're visiting in the summer, a little planning goes a long way when traveling throughout Greece.