Another option would be to fly directly to Rhodes upon arriving in Athens, and then island-hop up the Dodecanese. You could do it without reservations (except for Rhodes ... I'd reserve the Attiki Hotel there) or advance tickets; just land on an island, spend a day or two or three depending on your interest, and then move on. You could call ahead to the next island the night before you leave, to secure your hotel. Or you could look around for hotels when you arrive on an island. On some islands, hotel owners meet the ferries looking for guests. We love these little islands; aside from Rhodes and Kos, most of them are very lightly traveled. We especially loved Nisyros (tiny island with an active but not erupting volcano that you can walk around inside). Fabulous food on Leros (where you can sleep in a windmill.) You could hop your way up to Samos, and then take a day trip to Ephesus in Turkey, and fly back to Athens from Samos. Be sure to be back in Athens at least 2 nights before your flight home. In addition to the T. Cook Island Hopping Book, use the Lonely Planet Greek Islands guidebook to help plan. Use http://www.gtp.gr/ to look at ferry schedules. The big Blue Star Ferries make regular runs two or three times a week to many island groups, including the Dodecanese. These routes are set further in advance than some of the small ferries, so are useful in planning a route. Its website: http://www.bluestarferries.com/site/content.asp?sel=624&loc=2 And be sure to pack light. You won't need (or want) to carry around a heavy suitcase.