23 day honeymoon to Greece

Old Feb 28th, 2017, 10:23 AM
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23 day honeymoon to Greece

Hello Friends,

My Wife and i will be heading to Greece for our Honeymoon at the end of May. We are flying out of Vancouver on May 31st and arrive in Athens just after 6:00pm on June 1. We have just over three weeks (23 days) to explore a few Greek islands and then fly home from Athens on June 24th. We plan on spending no more than two days in Athens as we wold like to spend the majority of our vacation on the beach. I have done a little research and have identified a few islands we would like to visit. Crete, Naxos, Mykonos, and Santorini. My question to all of you is logistically which island should we start with first, for how long on each island, the best way to get from island to island (fly or ferry), and any other tips for getting around each island as well as any must see places that you would recommend.

Cheers,

Brad
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Old Feb 28th, 2017, 11:06 AM
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Correct order in terms of ferry connections: Crete>Santorini>Naxos>Mykonos

Or the reverse.

When you arrive on the 1st fly straight out to your first island (give yourselves 2 hours to make that flight), and ferry to the rest of the islands, then either fly or ferry back to Athens for your last few days in Greece so you aren't backtracking and will be safely back on the mainland in plenty of time to catch your flight home. If you save Mykonos for the last island you have the option of a ferry to one of two ports, Athens/Piraeus or Rafina. Rafina is a lot closer which means less time at sea. There will be a bus waiting there to return you to Athens
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Old Feb 28th, 2017, 11:07 AM
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What a lovely honeymoon.. I love love love the Greek islands and cant imagine a better choice.

I am no expert on Greece only having been twice,, but I would think it makes sense to start farther out and work your way back in, ie , fly to Crete ( too long for ferry,, you think 1.5 hours on our ferries suck,imagine 8 hours..lol) then take ferry from Crete to Santorini ( only a 1.5 -2.5 hours depending on which ferry you take , fast ones catamarans etc ) then ferry to Mykonos.. then to Naxos.. then fly back to Athens.. ( however this past May we visited Naxos but had to backtrack to Mykonos to get our flight from there to Barcelona , via Athens, it could have been an off season thing , you may have better schedules then we did )

We LOVED Naxos.. and while I have been to Mykonos twice now.. I wouldn't go back , its so commercial and super pricey,, its a relief to get to Naxos after Mykonos) . We haven't been to Santorini, but my daughter went there last year too.. and she loved it, took some amazing photos, and did some amazing side trips( chartered a small boat with a few other kids they met etc).. they ended up staying on the lower part, its way cheaper, but for a honeymoon I imagine a nice view would be worth the investment for you guys!

Have a wonderful time.. and there are a few ace forum members here that should come along soon to help better with logisitics.. otherwise get over to tripadivsor.com forums as they are quite busy usually, so lots of help.
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Old Feb 28th, 2017, 11:19 AM
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You can only "get from island to island" by ferry. If you fly, you will have to go back to Athens and take connecting flights, which will take longer than a direct ferry connection between islands. You can fly to/from the first and last islands from/to Athens, though.

Following the ferry routes, the most logical order would be Crete > Santorini > Naxos > Mykonos or that in reverse order. It would make sense to go to the island first that is furthest away from Athens, and that would be Crete, which has two main airports, Heraklion and Chania. Heraklion is where the ferry to Santorini departs, so it would be best to go to Chania first.
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Old Feb 28th, 2017, 11:36 AM
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Justinparis wrote "then ferry to Mykonos.. then to Naxos.."

If you take the ferry from Santorini to Mykonos it will be stopping at Naxos on the way, so it would make no sense to go to Mykonos first, then back to Naxos. Also, Mykonos has more flights with larger aircraft than Naxos, so it will be easier to get back to Athens from there.

I suppose one advantage of starting your island hopping with Mykonos instead of Crete is that late May/beginning of June is less busy on the island. Mykonos is touristy, but when I've been there in early June it was very pleasant. On the other hand, if you are looking for a party scene on Mykonos, the later in June the better.
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Old Feb 28th, 2017, 11:48 AM
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Congratulations on your wedding & best wishes for a wonderful honeymoon at the BEST time of year to experience Greece's beauty -- ideal weather, temperature, greenery, liveliness (everything's open, nothing's crowded) the sea's swimmable, AND calm for boat voyages. Only one danger -- you'll catch the "Greece addiction" and need to come back again, again, again.

A great island list; here's my suggestion for a scenario AFTER first night: Since you don't arrive until 6 pm and will be Exhausted, I suggest if possible that you book one of the 4 lovely rooms at St. Thomas B & B, 10 minutes from the airport http://www.stay-in-athens.com -- in an olive grove, with a pool. Have snacks, a swim, a sleep, and next AM back to airport to begin your next 22 days of island adventure & Athens Finale.

Suggested Sequence:
• CRETE -6 nites - Fly to CHANIA AM 6/2: after 2 days rent car, go S. to beaches etc, then back to N. Coast at HERAKLION for A.M. 6/9Ferry to
• SANTORINI - 4 nites - If possible, hotel on/near the Famous Caldera View (this will be co$$tly stay of trip, + big crowd & not a beach island). on 5th day, take Blue Star ferry 2 hrs to
• NAXOS - 6 nites - BEST beaches, things to do. Ferry am 7/19 to
• MYKONOS - 3 nites, for beaches & nightlife. Aft of 7/21 or AM 7/22 Fly back to mainland. (Ferry takes much longer so sail aft 7/21).
• ATHENS - stay in Plaka area 22-23 for 2 days busy sightseeing

IMPORTANT: - if u want to fly to ANY island June 2 -- Book flight NOW! And I mean TODAY. June 3-4-5 is a HUGE 3-day weekend (Holy Spirit/ Pentecost) for Greeks so Friday flights wlll be PACKED.RIght now there's a 8:05 RyanAIr and a 7:50 Aegean still available... I'd recommend the latter, much better service more reliable. All other transport during your stay is OK to book when u get there (unless u want to fly back to Athens).

NOTE: you can't really fly island to island so as I suggested fly to farthest point, then you can ferry-hop back. If u look at map, this is the most tme-efficent sequence.

FINALLY - figure your transport BEFORE you get hotels -- and when booking hotels don't go for the lowest rate -- which usually requires advance deposit and is NONrefundable. The slightly higher rate means u dont pay ahead, and can cancel or change without penalty up to 2 weeks beforehand. A wise choice.
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Old Feb 28th, 2017, 12:04 PM
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Good post from travelerjan!

Another hotel option in Athens, if you don't mind the expense, is Sofitel right at the airport. I've stayed there before early morning flights, and love the fact that it is right across the street from the terminal. Sofitel is a luxury hotel, with restaurants and rooftop pool. The rooms are soundproofed, so you don't hear any aircraft noise. You can also walk back across the street to the terminal for shopping and more eating choices.
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Old Feb 28th, 2017, 04:04 PM
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Hi from Nanaimo. The regulars here have given you great advice. Just a couple of additional thoughts.

We have done that long transatlantic flight from YVR to Athens it is quite a long day. However there is a flight a couple of hours after you arrive that gets you into Chania in the early evening. We have done this several times. You can get into your hotel and go to the harbour for your first experience of dining in Greece.
It is worth it to drink coffee and wait those couple of hours to get to Chania.
Chania http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7632117917828/
Chania May 2016 https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr...57671465596275
Crete needs a minimum of a week two would be better and that will only give you a brief look at the west.
Western Crete http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7632115757899/

Sequence do Crete first then Santoirni then Naxos and Mykonos last. The reason, the ferries depart Heraklion in the morn9ing and do their run then turn around and repeat the route in reverse. This means you will get to Santorini by noon rather than 5 o'clock taking the return route.

Santorini is quite expensive and on a honeymoon you should consider a caldera view hotel. At these prices 3 to 4 days in Santorini may well be all your budget can stand.

Santorini http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7632154800782/

On to Naxos by ferry. Its just over a two hour trip. Naxos is our favourite island. I would suggest you plan a week on Naxos. This gives you sufficient time to really explore the whole island.
Naxos Town http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7632094558042/
Trip around Naxos http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7634605629689/

Now I am going to make a suggestion that you can tell me to buzz off but I would hop to Paros particularly AntiParos for three nights. Naxos and Paros gives you a great Greek experience at less than half the price of Mykonos which has high prices and cruise boats which Naxos and Paros do not.
Antiparos http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7632126687570/

That is just my opinion. This should leave you about three days for Athens. It really does deserve three days.
Athens http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7632121475515/
Have a wonderful trip
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Old Feb 28th, 2017, 10:22 PM
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Stanbr is correct..I hailed from the Pacific NW before moving to Antiparos 10 years ago and definitely would stay on either Antiparos or Paros for a number of days of your trip. From here, you can take a 7 hour day excursion (for around 40 eu) to see Delos, the island archeological site next to Mykonos, and Mykonos Town. I would not try to stay on Mykonos myself..it is very expensive and caters to noisy partiers.

We are 1 hour from Naxos, and 3 hours from Santorini, both of which can be easily reached by ferry. We always stay in Kamari Beach on Santorini, at Matina's Hotel.

Antiparos is a lovely little island, 6x2 miles with about 30 miles of beaches. The village is traditional, and built around a venetian era castle. There is wind surfing and scuba for the inexperienced to the certified diver. There is a 9 story deep cave famous in antiquities, and the newest archeological site, Despotico, is on the uninhabited island behind us and for 10 euros, you can be taken across to it and picked up an hour later. The same boat can leave you for however long you ask at a secluded beach for a romantic swim and picnic. (Bookings.com lists the available hotels on the island)

The island also has a famous nude beach with a terrific campgrounds (rental of camping equipment is pretty inexpensive as are the tents) (check Antiparos Campgrounds).

Every night for centuries, people have strolled to the West side to watch the sun set into the ocean and there are now several romantic tavernas with this view.

If you have not reserved your flights yet, consider either WOW airlines or Iceland Air. Both are surprisingly inexpensive from Vancouver, BC..and allow, if you are interested, up to a week stop over in Iceland. It is a great break in a long flight to stop there and go to the Blue Lagoon hot spring spa..jet lag is thwarted SOMEWHAT!
From Iceland, there are flights directly to Athens. If you time it correctly, you can catch a flight out to the islands without spending a night at the very expensive Sofitel Hotel (although it IS very nice!) Have a great trip and congratulations on your marriage. Xara
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Old Feb 28th, 2017, 10:29 PM
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Oh..you asked the sequence of travel..You can either go to Paros (Antiparos) and catch a morning ferry to Naxos, and Santorini (arriving there about 3:30 PM)..spend several days there..and do a "fast boat" to Crete. I have not done the Fast boat there. The "old way" took about 8 hours, these get there in about 3). In crete, only spend as short a time as you can in Heraklion..it's a big grey commercial port city..but has the "2nd best" museum in Greece..and also has the day trip to Knossos archeological site..BUT..as soon as you can, catch a bus to Hania/Chania/Xania. (in Greek the X is a ch sound). This is a most romantic city built around a horse shoe shaped port..we stay at the Palazzo there which is on a "no cars" walking street one block from the port and very quiet. Bus service on Crete is excellent. Xara
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Old Feb 28th, 2017, 10:35 PM
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Or you can do the reverse..fly to Crete, fast boat to Santorini, to Naxos, to Paros and Antiparos. the first poster suggested Athens at the end of your trip and I agree..for a different reason (however, NOT missing a flight home is a good one!)..You will have jet lag when you arrive here..it is inevitable and can ruing a trip if not respected. As I said above I am from the PNW and the many trips we have made between there and here before we left for good have taught us to respect jet lag. The best way to deal with it is to find a safe and quiet place for the first days..lie on a beach, wake up at 3 in the morning and eat something..it does get better. But, if you are also trying to see Athens at the same time, you will be miserable..save it to the end and it will mean something to you to see the museums and the Acropolis..xara
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Old Feb 28th, 2017, 11:33 PM
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Two recommendation for Antiparos — what more can I say! As the Destination Expert for Antiparos on TripAdvisor, I totally agree. Xara, are you a full time resident of Antiparos? I have been going there for over 20 years now, usually staying for about two weeks at a time, sometimes in June, sometimes in September, and sometimes both.

I usually try to stick with the original poster's itinerary rather than making alternative suggestions. Antiparos is certainly worth consideration for the reasons mentioned by stanbr and Xara, though. I'm surprised neither mentioned the wonderful evening atmosphere on the main street of Antiparos. The street is pedestrian-only in the evenings, so a great place to promenade, looking in the many boutique shops, stopping at a cafe for a drink, and choosing somewhere to have dinner.

Antiparos has a nice mix of nationalities with English the lingua franca. By the end of June most of the visitors will be Swedish and Norwegian. When you get ready to leave, the Paros Airport is only about 15-20 minutes away by ferry to Pounta and taxi the rest of the way. I understand there is now bus service as well.
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Old Mar 1st, 2017, 07:44 AM
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I love love love this suggestion by Stanbr and Xara, buttressed by Mr. Antiparos himself, Heimdall! As for Mykonos, that daytrip option allows you to see Delos, but not have to experience a co$tly stay of 2-3 days on Mykonos. The port town is lovely for a stroll and a drink, IF IF there are no more than 2 mega-cruise ships docked, thus only 4 -5,000 cruisers roaming around, clogging the narrow lanes.

As an ex-Manhattanite, I remember my first stay in Mykonos, wandering about, thinking oh nice and Greek, and then seeing all the shops -- Cartier, Hugo Boss, Hermes, DKNY, Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton, LaCoste, Rolex -- and thinking Hey! I didn't come to Greek to see 5th Avenue! If that's what one wants, fine -- but give me Antiparos!

THen I remember an early-june walk along the winding "agora lane" of Antiparos as it wended West toward the "sunset beach" from the shops area, thru a quiet residential area, and all the locals were out, refreshing the white paint of the grout between the walk flagstones, friendly greetings and chat in 2 languages. What a contrast...
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Old Mar 1st, 2017, 09:25 AM
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Yes, you can do a day trip to Delos/Mykonos from Naxos, and from Naoussa on Paros as well. The same two ships, Alexander and Naxos Star, go from both islands.

There is much rivalry between Naxos and Paros, the two islands being very similar. Were it not for Antiparos I would probably favour Naxos, but Paros + Antiparos is a winning combination in my mind. Antiparos is an independent island, but only 30 minutes by ferry/bus from Parikia, the Paros capital.
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Old Mar 1st, 2017, 09:28 AM
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By the way, both stanbr and travelerjan are Naxos fans who after many years of encouragement from me, finally visited Antiparos. I'm happy to see they now share my love of the island.
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Old Mar 1st, 2017, 10:22 AM
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Yes, in reply to Heimdall's query. I am a full time resident of Antiparos, having moved here (after years of visits) in 2003..We have visited many other islands and parts of Greece and always came back to this small island paradise with its community feeling. I, too, am a Naxos fan as it is a large unique island that offers a diverse culture and climate (including real mountains!)but Antiparos has my heart! Santorini is also a favorite, but too expensive for long term residency.

And, also, yes, there is now a dedicated bus service from Pounda Port on Paros to the airport and the ferry schedule has been adjusted to meet this bus.

Also, check out Sky Express, which I have just been informed is now flying to Paros and has started interisland flights in competition with Olympic/Aegean Air. I have yet to investigate their routes, but if this is true, it has just become easier to hop from island to island rather than having to return to Athens.
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Old Mar 1st, 2017, 10:55 AM
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Xara (doesn't that mean joy or happiness in Greek?), you may have seen me sitting at Yannis Place at breakfast time before he left to open the hotel.

That is good news about the dedicated bus service from Pounta to the airport! Also, if Sky Express is starting more inter-island flights, that is good news too.
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Old Mar 7th, 2017, 09:51 PM
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Hello everyone thank you for all of you great advice we really appreciate it.
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Old Aug 19th, 2017, 02:46 PM
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I realize its been a few months since the last post. I hope its ok if I add to it. We're planning a trip wiith our family (3 children ages 10-15) for next summer (July and August). Our plan at present is 6 nights Naxos, 3 nights Santorini, 6 nights Milos. I've been intrigued by Antiparos since I've started research. I'd love your insight as to whether we should plan for 2 nights on Antiparos, taking away 2 nights from Naxos. I just extended our visit to Naxos from 5 to 6 nights to we can visit Antiparos on a daytrip... just wondering if we should stay overnight.
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Old Aug 19th, 2017, 05:51 PM
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Don't ask us to choose! It's like saying shall I cut off part of one leg, to make the other one longer! With 3 children, if you want antiparos, I'd be inclined to chop 1 day off from Santorini, and 1 day from Milos rather than short-change Naxos, which is the MOST child-friendly island of the list. My pref. woul be 6 nights Naxos, 2 nights Antiparos, 2 nights Santorini, 5 on Milos.


If you are going July-August remember hot-hot-hot and beaches in Santorini are black grit, in hot weather think diner grill! And hotels on the Caldera-view side are $$$$ if they hve a pool and most are small. come in to Santorini in afternoon, stay at NONpool hotel on Caldera view, (Firostephani is quieter than Fira, much less $$ than Oia), get up early day #2 to catch 8:30 bus to OIA before the cruise mobs descend to cram the lanes to overflowing... then leave by 10:30 -- if not too hot go to Ancient Thira on a hilltop. MOrning of day 3 scram to Milos.
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