Greek Islands Trips from Athens

With its ancient monuments, Athens is the historical center of Greece, but the islands of the Aegean Sea hide the best beaches and landscapes of the country.

Matías Rodríguez

Matías Rodríguez

12 min read

Greek Islands Trips from Athens

Greek Islands | ©Nico de Beer

If you are planning to travel to Greece, in addition to touring Athens, you cannot miss visiting some of the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea. In total, the island territory of the country is made up of thousands of islands, but only a little more than a hundred are inhabited and are also important tourist attractions.

From the sunsets of Santorini to the white beach of Mykonos and from the crystal clear waters of Zakynthos to the pine forests of Poros, the Greek islands have a wide range of attractions to discover and getting to know some of them is one of the best things to do during your trip to Athens.

The best option

Agistri, Aegina and Moni Boat tour from Athens

Excursion to the 3 islands with hotel pick-up and drop-off.

Discover the beauty of the Greek islands with a boat excursion from Athens, exploring Agistri, Aegina and Moni, enjoying free time for water activities and traditional Greek lunch.

Duration: 10 hours

Enjoy an exciting day trip by boat from Athens to the Greek islands of Agistri, Aegina and Moni, and discover these paradises in one trip. Aboard a ship led by a professional crew, you will experience relaxing sailing and unique visits to each of these islands, with free time to explore at your own pace.

In Agistri, you will tour the natural harbor of Skala, famous for its water sports, while in Moni you can admire the ancient sanctuary of Apollo Delfinios. Then, in Aegina, dreamy beaches and incredible views await you, as well as the rich history of the island closest to Athens. You will enjoy a traditional Greek lunch and snorkeling equipment included.

Discover the marine life of the area while relaxing on board with chill music and delicious snacks. With this tour, you have the option to enhance your experience by participating in a bike tour in Agistri, riding through the enchanting landscape between Megalochori and Chalcis. During this ride, you will have the opportunity to visit the green pine forest and the beach of Skliri.

Recommended if... you are looking for a complete tour that combines history, beach and adventure.

1. Two-day excursion to Mykonos from Athens

In Mykonos| ©Mike Hetherington
In Mykonos| ©Mike Hetherington

Mykonos is one of the most famous islands in the Aegean Sea and also one of the largest and most populated, as well as the one that receives the most tourism every year. In Mykonos you will be amazed by its white sandy beaches , its 17th century churches and its narrow streets, crowned by windmills.

Given the distance between Athens and Mykonos, which is almost 200 kilometers, the shortest tours are two days.

On these tours you depart from the port of Piraeus and arrive by ferry to Mykonos at noon. Normally you will have the afternoon free to visit Elia, Ornos, Paraga and Psarou beaches and to stroll around the center of the island.

Usually these excursions include round trip transfer with hotel pick up, accommodation on the island and breakfast.

In Mykonos you can opt to take a guided tour at extra cost with the assistance of an expert local guide or to enjoy some of the activities available on the beaches, such as water sports and snorkeling.

Details of interest

  • Price of the excursion... These excursions have an approximate cost of 410 euros per person, including round trip transfers with hotel pick up, accommodation on the island and breakfast.
  • Duration of the excursion... Approximately two days.
  • Advantages of this excursion... An organized tour to Mykonos will allow you to forget about hiring your own accommodation and transfers and you will be able to relax and get to know one of the most spectacular islands in the Aegean Sea.

Book a tour to the Greek islands from Athens

2. Two day tour to Santorini from Athens

Santorini| ©Igor Sorokin
Santorini| ©Igor Sorokin

These excursions will allow you to discover why Santorini is considered one of the most beautiful islands of Greece.

You will be able to visit its cliffs, its terraced buildings oriented as balconies facing the Aegean Sea and its beaches, among which Perivolos, Kamari, Perissa and Mesa Pigadia stand out.

You can also visit the ruins of Akrotiri and the ancient mountaintop city of Thera.

These tours usually include round-trip transfer from Athens with hotel pick-up and a choice of two-, three- or four-star hotel accommodations with breakfast included.

You usually arrive on the island after midday to enjoy one of the best sunsets in the world in Santorini. In your free time and for an extra cost you can choose to tour the local wine cellars, go on an excursion by boat or visit the Castle of Oia.

In Santorini you will be in total for a whole day during which I assure you that you will be able to discover the beauty of the island.

If you travel to Athens in December you will also find the island decorated as it prepares for the Christmas holidays.

Details of interest

  • Price of the excursion... These excursions have a starting price of 320 euros per person, including round trip transfers with hotel pick up, accommodation on the island and breakfast. You can choose with extra cost accommodation in hotels of higher category.
  • Duration of the excursion... Approximately two days.
  • Advantages of this tour... Because of the distance, visiting Santorini on your own can be a bit inconvenient, a two-day organized tour will save you time and money.

Book a cruise excursion in Athens

3. Day trip to Hydra, Poros and Aegina from Athens

Poros Island| ©Tilemahos Efthimiadis
Poros Island| ©Tilemahos Efthimiadis

Although there are several cruise options in Athens, my recommendation if you like sailing is to choose a day trip to these islands.

On these day trips you will be able to visit three of the most representative islands of the Saronic Gulf. After leaving the port of Piraeus, the first stop is Poros, an island noted for its lush vegetation, its lush pine forest and the rich gastronomy of its tavernas.

In Poros you can also visit Trinzia, a 19th century Russian shipyard, but I assure you that the island will amaze you with its jungle landscape in the middle of crystal clear waters.

The second stop is at Hydra, an island of narrow alleys, themed cafes and local grocery stores surrounded by colorful houses.

Finally you visit Aegina, a port town noted for the Temple of Aphaia and its cafes. All excursions generally include round-trip transfers with hotel pick-up in Athens and lunch.

These tours are ideal if you are planning a few days stay in the Greek capital and cannot opt for a two-day tour or if you prefer a quick tour and then return to the capital for further excursions in Athens.

Details of interest

  • Tour price... These tours start at €131 including round trip transfers with hotel pick up and lunch.
  • Duration of the tour... Approximately 11 hours.
  • Advantages of this tour... This is an ideal tour if you are planning a short stay in the city.

Book a tour to Poros, Hydra and Aegina

4. Day tour to Zakynthos from Athens

Zakynthos| ©ᗰᗩᖇᓰᗩ ☼ Xᕮ∩〇Ụ
Zakynthos| ©ᗰᗩᖇᓰᗩ ☼ Xᕮ∩〇Ụ

Zakynthos is a natural paradise and the best kept secret of the Ionian Sea.

On this island you will find the Smugglers Bay and its exclusive beaches that can only be accessed by boat, as the island is surrounded by a stone cliff that protects access by other means.

In Smugglers Bay you are going to find the most iconic image of Zakynthos: the rusting skeleton of the Panagiotis, the ruins of a former royal smuggler ship that ran aground on the sand in the middle of a chase by the Greek police.

You can also visit the Church of St. Dionysus and Bohali Hill, which will give you a sweeping view of the island and the Ionian.

These tours usually include round-trip transfer from Athens with hotel pick-up, a lunch with a typical Greek menu and the assistance of an expert local guide throughout the tour.

Undoubtedly, visiting Zakynthos is, along with the tours to Meteora and Delphi, one of the most interesting off-the-beaten-track excursions chosen by visitors.

Details of interest

  • Excursion price... These excursions start at €232 including round trip transfers with hotel pick up and lunch.
  • Duration of the excursion... Approximately 14 hours.
  • Advantages of this tour... You will get to see one of the most undiscovered islands in the Ionian Sea and take some of the best pictures of the Greek islands.

Book an excursion to Meteora and Delphi

5. Two day tour to Paros from Athens

Paros| ©jenni baker
Paros| ©jenni baker

Due to its location in the heart of the Aegean Sea, the island of Paros is an obligatory stop for Greek ships.

Paros is famous for its golden sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, but also for the architecture of its whitewashed houses and blue-domed churches.

On these excursions you will have time to visit the beaches of Santa Maria, Pounda and Chrissi Akti and take a free tour of the colorful village of Naoussa and the ruins of a Venetian fortress to learn more about the cultural feedback that had for centuries the Aegean Sea.

The island is also known for its horse stables, so if you dare to tour Paros on horseback you can get to know the island on an extra-cost excursion that includes the assistance of a local guide.

Paros, besides having a preponderant place in Greek mythology, has an interesting culinary offer, perfect to complement the gastronomic tours in Athens.

These tours usually include round-trip transfer with hotel pick-up in Athens, breakfast and accommodation in a three-star hotel on the island.

Details of interest

  • Excursion price... These excursions start at €365 including round trip transfers with hotel pick up, accommodation on the island and breakfast.
  • Duration of the excursion... Approximately two days.
  • Advantages of this excursion... You will get to know an eclectic, multicultural island with a varied and very interesting gastronomy.

Summary of the best excursions to the Greek Islands from Athens

  • Hydra, Poros and Egina Day Cruise from Athens
  • From $161
  • 11h
  • Not to be missed optional: Guided visit to the Temple of Aphaea
  • Pick up at your accommodation optional
  • Greek lunch
  • Book now
  • Agistri, Aegina and Moni Boat tour from Athens
  • From $172
  • 10h
  • Not to be missed optional: Bicycle tour of Agistri
  • Hotel pick up service
  • Greek lunch
  • Book now
  • Mykonos Day Trip from Athens
  • From $206
  • 18h
  • Optional not to be missed: Visit to Super Paradise beach bar
  • Pick up service at the hotel
  • No lunch
  • Book now
  • Mykonos 2-Day Trip from Athens
  • From $379.
  • 2 days
  • Optional not to be missed: 4 star accommodation in Mykonos
  • Hotel pick up service
  • With breakfast
  • Book now

How to book an excursion to the Greek islands from Athens?

Greek Islands by night| ©Spyros Chatzistavrakis
Greek Islands by night| ©Spyros Chatzistavrakis

You can book an excursion to the Greek islands from Athens online in advance or book the tour at a tourist services office once you are in the Greek capital.

Keep in mind that if you are traveling to Athens in the summer, booking at the last minute may mean that you will have problems with space or price increases.

Since some two-day tours include a one-night hotel stay, if you try to book the tour at the last minute, rooms may no longer be available.

In any case, if you have already decided on one of the excursions, it is best to book it in advance.

How long does an excursion to the Greek islands from Athens last?

Getting to know Syros| ©Ioannis D. Giannakopoulos
Getting to know Syros| ©Ioannis D. Giannakopoulos

The answer depends on the tour chosen. Generally speaking the islands are not too close to Athens, so to visit most of them you will need at least two days. This will be the case if you want to visit Mykonos or Santorini, which are between six and eight hours by boat from Piraeus.

If you are planning a short stay in Athens or you are looking for a shorter excursion because you have other activities in the city such as a bike tour or a gastronomic tour, you can opt for day trips to Zakynthos or the islands of the Saronic Gulf.

Book a bike tour in Athens

What will I see on a tour to the Greek islands from Athens?

In Hydra| ©ᗰᗩᖇᓰᗩ ☼ Xᕮ∩〇Ụ
In Hydra| ©ᗰᗩᖇᓰᗩ ☼ Xᕮ∩〇Ụ

The answer will depend on the tour you choose, but there are several islands you can visit on tours from Athens. Below I will help you with a list of the places you can discover and tell you what are their main attractions:

  • Mykonos: It is one of the best known and most populated islands in the Aegean Sea. There you will be amazed by its white sandy beaches, its narrow streets and its characteristic windmills.
  • Santorini: It is one of the most beautiful islands for its cliffs, archaeological sites and its beaches bathed by crystal clear waters. In Santorini you can witness one of the best sunsets in the world.
  • Hydra: It is an island of narrow streets, themed cafes and grocery stores. It is one of the main destinations in the Saronic Gulf.
  • Poros: It will amaze you from the moment it begins to be drawn on the horizon, as its lush vegetation forms a magical pine forest amidst the turquoise waters of its shores.
  • Aegina: It is an island noted for its port services and the Temple of Aphaia in the highest part of the archipelago.
  • Zakynthos: The best kept secret of the Ionian Sea, with its white sandy beaches and the rocky cliff that surrounds the Smugglers Bay and makes it inaccessible by land. There you can take some of the best pictures in Greece.
  • Paros: Located in the heart of the Aegean Sea, it will surprise you with the architecture of its houses and temples and with its multicultural gastronomy, which is one of the most exquisite of the Greek islands.

Tips for an excursion to the Greek islands from Athens

Mykonos| ©Alex Korolkoff
Mykonos| ©Alex Korolkoff

Visiting the Greek islands is one of the best things to do in Athens, but it also requires some organization because in general they are somewhat distant from the capital.

Once you decide which alternative best suits your trip, I advise you to book the excursion in advance and organize an itinerary, since the main destinations can be visited in two days or more.

If you are traveling to Athens in summer also keep in mind that temperatures are very high, so do not forget to bring drinks so you can hydrate yourself and comfortable clothes, as most of the islands have quite steep slopes. Also note that some excursions only accept tourists of legal age.

How much does an excursion to the Greek islands from Athens cost?

Money in Dollars| ©Karolina Grabowska
Money in Dollars| ©Karolina Grabowska

The price of the excursions to the Greek islands depends on the chosen destination, although they are not usually cheap tours because they require transfer and in some options also accommodation, as in the cases of Mykonos, Santorini and Paros. Two-day tours, which are the main ones, start at €320.

The most economical options are those that include a one-day visit to the islands of the Saronic Gulf and Zakynthos, which is located in the Ionian Sea. In those cases you can opt for excursions from 131 euros, with round-trip transfers from Athens with hotel pick-up and lunch included.

Why is it advisable to take an excursion to the Greek islands from Athens?

Visit Santorini| ©Pedro Szekely
Visit Santorini| ©Pedro Szekely

Although a tour of the Acropolis or a visit to all the attractions of the Plaka district is a must, if you travel to Athens it is worth not missing a visit to one of the Greek islands.

Each one has different characteristics and some are closer than others, so it is not necessary to make the most expensive or the longest excursions to visit the archipelagos of the Saronic Gulf or the Ionian Sea.

On the other hand, the beaches of the Greek islands are in many cases difficult to find in other summer tourist destinations, and also the climate throughout the year, but especially in summer, is very hot, so you can also enjoy a swim in the crystal clear waters that, believe me, will make your experience unforgettable.

What are the advantages of taking a guided tour vs. visiting the Greek islands from Athens on my own?

Cruising in Aegina's waters| ©Herbert Frank
Cruising in Aegina's waters| ©Herbert Frank

The only way to get to the Greek islands, especially those farther away like Mykonos and Santorini, is with a guided tour, so you won't have too many alternatives to tour these destinations on your own.

In some cases there are private boats that are authorized to dock in the ports of the islands, but it will not be easy to access them.

On the other hand, the Greek islands hide much of the history of Greek mythology, so doing the tour with an expert local guide will allow you not to miss these details and get the most out of your experience in the sea of Greece, which, I assure you, will surprise you a lot.