This blog post was updated on October 11, 2018.
The Greek islands often make their way on to traveler’s bucket lists and stay there due to the costs of going. While I found the islands were hard to reach, especially with the number of flights involved from the middle of the United States, the Greek islands can be budget drainers once you finally wash up on shore. Rather than forking over my wallet, I found simple ways to save while island hopping in Greece. From taking slower boats to hop between islands to coming prepared for those beautiful beaches, there are ways to save your euros so that your trip to the Greek islands doesn’t remain on your bucket list indefinitely due to cost.
Take the slow boat: For the budget traveler looking to island hop in Greece, they will quickly be met with some sticker shock when they see the price of those high-speed ferry rides. If you want to save some cash while traveling around the Greek islands, you will need to also have time. The slower vessels to and from islands are always significantly cheaper. They will take hours longer than the high speed ferries, but if you have the time, you will save a great deal of cash.
Limit your days in the tourist hubs: I spent four nights on the island of Santorini and it cost me the equivalent of arguably two weeks on some of lesser-known islands in Greece. The tourist hub cities such as Oia and Thira on Santorini are not going to be cheap from the food prices to the hotel costs. If you can limit your time in these overpopulated islands and towns, you can spend more time on other islands with smaller price tags.
Bring your own shade to the beach: Most travelers want to spend some time on the beach while hopping around the Greek isles. Many of those beaches come loaded with umbrellas and chairs that you can rent for a fee. In some spots on my Greek travels, those umbrella and chair rentals would cost the equivalent of $15 a person. If you plan on beaching it a while around Greece, it might be worth packing your own umbrella and beach towel or mat to soak up the Greek sun and save those precious Euros.
Seek out the little archaeological sites: The most famous archaeological sites on the Greek islands such as Delos and Knossos charge entrance fees to match their fame. However, travelers on a budget can still see a great deal of remarkable archaeology on the islands. Most islands feature brown road signs, usually with a ruins graphic pointing you in the direction of something truly ancient. From ancient temples to 3,000-year-old statues, these ancient sites often come without even forking over a euro. While the big players on the tourist market might draw your attention, there is much to see and save if you seek out the little archaeological sites on each island.