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Exploring the Greek Islands; Top Destinations for Non-Drivers

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

Greece is a country of over 6,000 islands, with some being car-free, making them perfect for a relaxing vacation without the hassle of driving.

As a popular tourist destination, Greece offers a rich history, vibrant culture, breathtaking landscapes, and mouthwatering cuisine. However, if you don't drive, Greece can be a bit daunting. Many of the islands are only accessible by ferry, and once you arrive, you may find yourself struggling to get around.


But don't worry! There are plenty of Greek islands that are perfect for non-drivers. These islands are small and easy to get around on foot, by bike, or by public transportation. You can unwind on the beach, explore charming villages, and soak up the Greek sun without ever having to worry about getting behind the wheel.


In this blog, we will dive into the top Greek islands that cater to non-drivers, offering a combination of natural beauty, charming villages, and accessible transportation systems.


But before we dive in to the My Greek Island top picks, it is worth noting a great addition to the transportation network in Athens. That is, the extension of the metro line from the airport directly to the port of Piraeus. The journey lasts 58 minutes, are every 30 minutes, with the first route starting at approximately 6am and the last journey at 11.30pm. For more information on the routes and timetables click here.


A dedicated My Greek Island podcast episode is also available on the podcast platform of your choice called "Top Greek islands without a car". Click here to listen.


But now, lets check those best Greek islands for non-drivers, offering a brief outline of each. Click on the link below to take you directly to the relevant section related to the island.

Photo from Pexels by Anastasia Shuraeva



Agkistri

A Tranquil Oasis of Nature

Located just a short ferry ride from Athens, Agkistri is a tiny island in the Saronic Gulf and a great option for a day trip or a longer vacation. This peaceful island is ideal for non-drivers due to its compact size and the absence of private vehicles. Explore lush pine forests and chill out on secluded beaches accessible by foot or bicycle. You can rent a bicycle upon arrival or take advantage of the local bus service to visit the island's charming villages, such as Megalochori and Skala, where you can savour delicious Greek cuisine and experience the island's warm hospitality.


How to get there: By ferry from Athens, where you can find frequent daily routes.


To find out more about the island of Agkistri, listen to the My Greek Island dedicated podcast episode here.



Hydra

A Captivating Blend of History and Culture


Photo from Pexels by Dimitri Dim

Famous for its traditional architecture and rich maritime heritage, Hydra is a car-free paradise that captures the essence of old-world Greece. Wander through Hydra Town's narrow streets, adorned with stone houses and charming boutiques. Explore the island's historical landmarks, including the Hydra Museum of Historical Archives and the Monastery of Agia Efpraxia. For beach enthusiasts, Hydra offers several idyllic spots like Bisti and Agios Nikolaos, accessible either on foot or by water taxi. The island is a popular destination for artists and writers, and it's a great place to kick back and enjoy the peace and quiet.




How to get there: Hydra is well connected to Athens with frequent daily ferry routes, but also to neighbouring islands in the Saronic Gulf, like Poros and Spetses.


Spetses

Known for its wealthy residents and its horse-drawn carriages

Spetses is another car-free island located in the Saronic Gulf. It’s a destination popular for yachting and sailing, and is known for its beautiful beaches, pine forests, and historic architecture. Spetses exudes an air of sophistication with its neoclassical mansions, horse-drawn carriages, and idyllic beaches. Non-drivers can explore the island by foot, rent bicycles, or even hop on horse-drawn carriages. Discover the island's rich history at the Bouboulina Museum, and don't miss the stunning beaches of Agia Marina and Vrellos, where you can unwind and enjoy the turquoise waters.


How to get there: Spetses can be reached from Athens with frequent daily routes, and is too well connected to neighbouring islands.


Antiparos

An Off-the-Beaten-Path Island Paradise

This island is located just off the coast of Paros and offers a casual retreat for non-drivers seeking a peaceful getaway. Here you can explore the charming streets of Antiparos Town, decorated with white houses and bougainvillea-covered courtyards, and admire the stalactite-filled Antiparos Cave. The island's beautiful beaches, such as Soros and Agios Georgios, are easily accessible by foot or local buses. Experience the laid-back island life and immerse yourself in the warm hospitality of the locals.


How to get there: To get to Antiparos you need to go through Paros, either from the main port of Parikia or from the port of Pounta. From the port of Pounta, the routes last maximum 10 minutes and are very frequent throughout the day. Note that Paros offers a domestic airport with daily flights from Athens.


Gavdos

A Remote Escape to Nature's Embrace

As the southernmost inhabited island of Greece and the southernmost point of Europe, Gavdos is a remote paradise that promises an off-the-grid experience. There are no rental vehicles available, making it an ideal destination for non-drivers seeking seclusion and untouched natural beauty. Explore the island's pristine beaches, including Sarakiniko and Agios Ioannis, where you can soak up the sun and swim in the crystal-clear waters. Immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere of Gavdos and revel in its unspoiled wilderness. It's a remote and rugged island with a wild beauty and a great island to escape the crowds.


How to get there: Gavdos can be reached via ferry from multiple ports in the region of Chania in Crete, like Sfakia, Palaiochora, Agia Roumeli, Sougia, Loutro. Note that Chania offers an international airport and good transportation links (buses, taxis).


Halki

A gem in the Dodecanese

Halki is a small island and a great place to rest and enjoy the beauty of the Greek islands. Located in the Dodecanese, it’s a popular destination for its beaches, traditional villages, and lazy atmosphere. Halki is a car-free island, so you'll get around by foot, bike, or donkey. The island has a few beaches, including Agios Georgios Beach, which is a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing. There are also a few tavernas and restaurants on Halki, where you can enjoy fresh seafood and local wine.


How to get there: By ferry from Rhodes, Athens or neighbouring islands, with the easiest to reach Rhodes, which offers an international airport and take a ferry from there.


Photo from Pexels by Gianna P1

Small Cyclades

Hidden Treasures of the Aegean

The small Cyclades are a group of islands consisting of Koufonisia (Ano and Kato Koufonisi), Schinoussa, Donoussa, Irakleia, and Keros, two of which (Kato Koufonisi and Keros) are unihabited. The Small Cyclades are a great place to loosen up and enjoy the beauty of the Greek islands since they are very small in size, you can explore by foot, bus, or boat.

The most popular of these islands are Koufonisia (i.e. Ano Koufonisi) and Donousa. These are serene islands that offer an escape from the bustling tourist hotspots. They are easily accessible by regular ferry services, allowing non-drivers to explore their hidden coves, picturesque villages, and pristine beaches. Wander through the narrow lanes of Chora in Koufonisia and enjoy the relaxed ambiance of Stavros village in Donousa. Discover the unspoiled beaches of Pori and Fikio in Koufonisia and Kedros and Livadi in Donousa, where you can bask in the beauty of these remote island paradises.


How to get there: Other than the frequent ferry routes from Athens and neighbouring islands in the Cyclades,, the small Cyclades, Naxos and Amorgos are also connected by a small local boat route called Skopelitis. For more information on the routes and times, click here.



The Greek Islands are a haven for non-drivers seeking a unique and immersive experience. From the tranquil nature of Agkistri to the historical charm of Hydra, the elegance of Spetses, the hidden gems of Antiparos and Gavdos, and the unspoiled beauty of the Small Cyclades, there are plenty of options for non-drivers to explore the best of Greece. So, grab your walking shoes, hop on a ferry, and embark on an unforgettable journey through these enchanting Greek islands.


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