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Greek Ferry Planning (Hydra & Naxos)


If anyone can lend a hand who enjoys a timetable puzzle or point me in the right direction with booking ferries - I appreciate some advice/encouragement!

Our itinerary as it stands now is:

May 20 - Athens for 2 nights > May 22 - Delphi for 1 night > May 23 - Hydra for 2 nights > May 25 - Naxos for 4 nights > May 29 - Athens for our last night.

I'm having a hard time figuring out the best ferries to take for Hydra and Naxos. It looks like there are only a few options from Piraeus to Hydra on Wed May 23 that will work with coordinating the bus from Delphi to Piraeus. I've read that the busses don't always run on time, and I'm not sure if this website is accurate with the bus schedule: Therefore, I want plenty of cushion time to make sure we don't miss the ferry to Hydra. I'm thinking if there's an 11.10-ish bus, then we could do the 18.30 ferry, but if there really is a bus at 07.30 then the 14.00 ferry would be better. Alternatively we could rent a car so we could leave when we want but I'm a little nervous about driving and think the bus might be the best way to go. It should be about 3 hours by bus - not sure if driving a car would save much time to make it worth it.

It appears that to go to Naxos from Hydra, we'll have to head back to Piraeus, then take a ferry bound for Naxos. The only ferry I could find that seems to work with our itinerary, is leaving Hydra around noon, then Piraeus to Naxos at 5:30 PM. Am I missing other ferries or is this normal for a mid-week ferry schedule in May?

Also, we booked hotels and things with the itinerary we wanted but can always rearrange if it just logically doesn't make sense, so I'm open to any suggestions.

Thank you from a first time traveler to Greece!

Posted by
1377 posts

I am no ferry expert but your description of the ferry times sounds correct.

What stands out to me is you will be spending most of your first Hydra day on the bus then on the ferry so you are really only getting one day on Hydra. Then you have to scoot back to Piraeus for the Naxos ferry so you have lost that day too.
Why don't you skip Hydra and just take that 5:30 Blue Star ferry to Naxos. That will give you 6 nights but only 5 days on Naxos. There is so much to see on Naxos it takes a full week to come close to seeing most of it.
Dropping one island and concentrating on Naxos will provide you with a more in depth experience. Greece is a place where doing less, is more.
Naxos Town
Trip around Naxos

Posted by
23 posts

It's funny that I didn't even think of simply extending Naxos. We've become attached to our itinerary, it seems. My partner is worried it will be too much in one place (we're honestly more used to 2-3 days in big cities and then hopping on a train, so Greek travel is definitely new to us). We are considering just adding the time to Naxos to get into the island life, but considering other options as well. We may swap Delphi and Hydra for 3 nights in Nafplio. That way we get a few good days in one spot and still only have to ferry to and from Naxos. We did some additional ferry research online and there don't seem to be any good options to avoid a whole day of travel (if we decided to keep Hydra), so we are okay with letting that go. Thanks again for your thoughtful reply!

Posted by
1377 posts

Nafplio is lovely particularly its old town and waterfront area. It has two Venetian era fortresses and is close to several ancient sites.
On the way you can stop at Corinth and visit the Canal then Ancient Corinth the Roman site and then bonus Ancient Nemia which had sister Panhellenic games to Olympia. Its a tidy site with a partially restored temple a good museum and a few hundred meters away you can see the original stadium. This is what Nafplio is like

Nafplio and Peloponnese

Interesting comment about just wanting to spend a few days in a city and then moving on. I don't think you will find that a problem in Naxos. It is so diverse with its various beaches, Naxos town, antiquities and then all the mountain villages where you will discover what Greece used to be like. We have been to Naxos 12 times and are still finding new things.

A week in Naxos
The Emporium Naxos
Your time on Naxos will fly by.