Island hopping around the Greek Cyclades Islands is one of the most popular ways of soaking up the best of the European summer. The Greek islands are some of the most visited islands in the world, there are so many to choose from but the Cyclades in particular are so easy to combine.
Located in a circular formation around the island of Delos, the Cyclades combine 220 individual islands (many of the smaller ones are uninhabited), with the most well known being Santorini, Milos, Mykonos, Paros and Ios. Whilst similar in their architecture, food and culture, each island offers its own unique charm and experience.
Days 1-3 – Mykonos
Mykonos is one of the best islands to fly into when starting an island tour of Greece. There are direct flights from a number of cities around Europe including London, Paris, Naples, Milan, Munich, Budapest, Venice and even Dubai!
The most iconic and elegant island in the Aegean, Mykonos has been welcoming tourists from around the world for decades. The island welcomes everyone with open arms, so travellers, families, couples, party animals, there is something to suit everyone.
Holidays to Mykonos are all about the good life, watching super yachts dock at Psarou Beach, spending afternoons drinking martinis in trendy beach clubs, or exploring the maze of white washed alleyways.
I would recommend using Mykonos Town as your base, this will give you the biggest choice of hotels on Mykonos island and is a great hub for getting anywhere.
Where to stay in Mykonos
Boheme Mykonos for a laidback, luxury vibe in Mykonos Town.
Vencia Boutique Hotel features an infinity pool, beautiful sunset views overlooking the Aegean Sea.
Super Paradise Suites, a stylish retreat home to one of the most popular beach bars in Mykonos.
Days 3-5 – Paros
If anyone asks me what I think is the best Greek Island I will always say Paros. In fact, I think Paros is my favourite place in the world. Located on the main ferry route between Mykonos and Santorini, Paros is a mid-sized island with beautiful towns. beaches and amazing food and drink.
Paros is all about sleeping all morning and then slowly wandering into town for an afternoon of boutique shopping, amazing Greek food, or a cocktail on the beach. The towns come alive in the evenings with al fresco dining, the best seafood you will ever eat, and watching the sunset over the Aegean Sea.
If you find time, a day trip to Antiparos is a beautiful experience. This quiet island is becoming more popular each year and has even seen some beach clubs pop up and luxury hotels.
Getting to Paros
Travel from Mykonos to Paros is a simple 30 minute ferry journey on a high speed ferry, or 1.5 hours on the slower service. The ferries depart from the new port of Mykonos located in Tourlos which is just 2 km away from Mykonos town. I use the website ferryhopper to check and book ferries in Greece.
Where to stay in Paros
Bohemian Luxury Boutique hotel, a mid-range adults only hotel in Naousa 20 yards from Venetian Harbour and Castle.
Irini Rooms, a guesthouse just a few minutes walk from Naoussa’s beautiful harbour.
Day 5-7 – Naxos
Naxos might be the largest Cyclade island, but it certainly isn’t the most visited. Until recently, Naxos went under the radar a little but it’s slowly putting itself firmly on the map and finding its feet as a popular summer destination in Greece.
Naxos offers fascinating historic sites alongside sandy beaches, lively towns and a fast-growing food scene. The island is one of the most unspoilt islands in the Cyclades despite having so much and being a handy base for island hopping.
I would highly recommend renting a car in Naxos and exploring as much of its gorgeous scenery that you can fit in. Small mountainous villages boast beautiful countryside views, often all the way out to sea, and you can find authentic guesthouses that remain hidden from the main tourist route.
Getting to Naxos
There are multiple ferries from Paros to Naxos a day, the fastest being just 25 minutes with Seajets, costing around €32. The ferry terminal brings you into Naxos town where you can find an abundance of shops, restaurants and tourist services such as car rental offices and the main tourist office.
Where to stay in Naxos
Just a stone’s throw from Agios Prokopios is 18 Grapes Hotel, one of the only 5* hotels in Naxos.
A brand new luxury complex built at the edge of the traditional settlement of Glinado village, Seven Suites offers an incredible view just 3 miles from Naxos Town.
Peaceful and quiet for a relaxing holiday in Naxos, the Valena Mare Hotel is located a short walk from crystal clear waters and golden sand at Plaka Beach.
Days 7-10 – Santorini
I thought I would save the most iconic till last, although you can switch the itinerary around thanks to regular international flights into Santorini.
Santorini is probably the most famous Greek Island thanks to the view of Oia cascading down the cliffside. People flock from all around the world to experience the famous sunsets, visit the cave hotels, and experience possible the most romantic island in Europe.
Black beaches give a nod to the island’s volcanic make up whilst small, white-washed towns straddle the ancient volcano ridge. Santorini is just as beautiful as the photos but there is so much more to offer that you don’t always see online.
Getting to Santorini
The fastest ferry from Naxos to Santorini takes 1 hr 15 minutes from Naxos, bringing you into the island’s largest town, Fira. There is an international airport on Santorini offering flights to many European destinations such as London, Athens, Paris, Marseille, Amsterdam and Munich.
Where to stay in Santorini
Beautiful, discreet and private, Andronis Luxury Suites is located in a beautiful position on Oia’s famous caldera.
The brand new Aval All Suite Hotel offers intimate serenity and authentic simplicity, all packaged up into one beautiful hotel.
Located in the heart of Fira, Golden Star offers an excellent place to stay when travelling to Santorini on a budget.