Greece’s popular Dodecanese Islands are filled with attractions, and the more remote Northern Aegean Islands offer peace and quiet away from the crowds.
The quickest way to get to the Dodecanese and Northern Aegean Islands is via a one-hour flight from Athens or Thessaloniki. You also have the option of taking a ferry from Piraeus port, near Athens. In addition, some islands can be reached from the northern Greek port city of Kavala.
If you’d like to experience the highlights of the Dodecanese, you can do so with this four-day sailing itinerary.
Duration: one hour by plane, or one day by ferry
Direct flights leave regularly from Athens Airport, heading to islands like Rhodes, Kos, Chios, and Lesbos, among many others. Flying is a budget-friendly and fast option, with most flights taking no more than an hour.
If you’d like to enjoy a more scenic trip, you can take a ferry from Piraeus. To get to Piraeus port from downtown Athens, you have the option of taking a private transfer, taxi, rental car, or the green line (M1) of the Athens Metro.
Ferry times to the Dodecanese and Northern Aegean islands can be as short as 9 hours (to reach Astypalea) or as long as 31 hours (to reach Rhodes). On many routes, both regular and high-speed ferries are available. Choosing a high-speed option may cost slightly more, but it can significantly reduce your travel time.
On the ferry, you will usually have the option of booking a comfortable reserved seat, shared cabin, or private cabin. Often, there is also a standing-room deck, where you can watch the sunset and enjoy nice views of the Aegean Sea.
Duration: from one hour to one day, depending on your destination
Regular ferries leave from Kavala to many of the Dodecanese and Northern Aegean islands. Destinations include Patmos, Ikaria, Chios, and Fournoi, among others.
Kavala is an especially good base to get to some of the northernmost Aegean islands, like Thassos and Agios Efstratios, which can be difficult to reach from Athens.
While Kavala does have an international airport, it does not serve these island groups.
Duration: one hour
Ferries from the port of Thessaloniki to the Greek islands are few and far between. However, Thessaloniki Airport offers direct flights to many Dodecanese and Northern Aegean islands.
Islands served by Thessaloniki Airport include Limnos (Lemnos), Lesbos, Rhodes, Chios, Samos, Ikaria, and Kos. All flights take about an hour. On some of the less popular routes, there may only be a few flights per week, so be sure to take this into account when planning your trip.