5 Days for Greek Islands in March

Feb 17th, 2013, 08:22 PM
  #1  
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5 Days for Greek Islands in March

My adult daughter and I are beginning to plan a trip to Greek islands for Spring Break of 2014. We have been to mainland Greece and the islands of Crete, Mykonos, and Delos. I visited Kos, Patmos, and Rhodes years ago on a small cruise ship that sailed at night and was in port during the days. Rhodes was incredibly beautiful, and Patmos was impressive.

We will be flying to and from Athens and will have 5 full days (possibly could stretch it to 6) to spend on the islands. We are tentatively thinking of Santorini, Mykonos, and Rhodes. We like visiting local landmarks, cafes, shops - enjoying the beauty. We would appreciate suggestions on our itinerary and the best way to get to the islands to give us the most time at each place.

Thanks!
2Travlrs is offline  
Feb 17th, 2013, 11:43 PM
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Hello 2Travlrs!

It is not very clear to me if you mean going to all those 3 islands or just pick one of them. I guess been somehow familiar with the islands, you know it is not possible to visit those three in 5-6 days and definatly not possible on March. There is no ferry connecting directly Santorini to Mykonos off season, and I think there is none or might be only once per week overnight ferry Santorini to Rhodes. So I get it you mean just the one island.
You do not mention what your aim is to get on the islands off-season as you can find activities you describe on mainland location which are more easy to reach and lively all year around. But given your interests, I would go for Rhodes, simply because a lot of cafes, shops and even some local attractions will be closed on Mykonos and Santorini. Rhodes is an island with large year around population (~110 000 pernament citizents vs about 10 000 on Santorini,ditto Mykonos) and its main town is a real small city by Greek standards(~ 50 000 population), so lots of facilities there, while the Old Town is a mideval one listed on UNESCO world heritage list. So you get lots of facilities plus a very scenic place with many landmarks and local markets! There are many smaller towns and villages to visit all around Rhodes to get more rural, there is a decent bus system radiating from Rhodes Town to connect with many of those.
I believe that sometimes size speaks for itsself so note that:

Santorini: 90.7 km2 (35 sq mi)
Rhodes: 1,407.9 km2 (544 sq mi)
Mykonos: 105.2 km2 (40.6 sq mi)

In case you plan to travel around 25th March, note this is a bank holiday in Greece, commemorating rising of Greeks against Ottoman Rule back in 1812 and this might affect your plans somehow.You may be lucky enough to attend local parades and festivities though )
mariha2912 is offline  
Feb 18th, 2013, 12:02 AM
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1821 that sound be of course lol
mariha2912 is offline  
Feb 18th, 2013, 12:31 AM
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I'm guessing that your previous visits to the islands have been in season. You will find them completely different in March when most tourist infrastructure is closed. Mariha is correct about the ferries. Mykonos to Santorini is a summer route only, and catamarans won't begin until the middle of April at earliest. You can, of course, get from Mykonos to Santorini by going back through Athens.

The ferry between Santorini and Rhodes runs twice per week, and can take up to 20 hours, as it stops in Crete and several other islands en route. If you want to go to Rhodes it would be best to fly. If you want to go from Santorini to Rhodes it is actually quicker back through Athens (by air).

You say you have been to mainland Greece, but not where. Greece is a large country, and no matter where you have been there is still more to see. Frankly, if I had only 5 days to spend (in March) I wouldn't waste it on the islands. Have you been to the southern Peloponnese? It is likely to be warmer there than on the islands, and easier to reach from Athens.
Heimdall is offline  
Feb 18th, 2013, 12:00 PM
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We've traveled to the mainland and have seen many of the beautiful historical places we enjoy. My own long-ago visit to the islands was in March, but since it was on a very small cruise ship, we didn't use ferries or planes. My daughter was on a big ship during in-season and saw Mykonos, Delos, and Crete then.

The goal is to see islands that my daughter hasn't visited. I hadn't thought about transportation not being available during March (the time would be the second week of March). You make good points about going just to Rhodes, and we appreciate your suggestions!
2Travlrs is offline  
Feb 18th, 2013, 12:06 PM
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I would recommend Mykonos, though I have not been to the others. We went with my young daughter, and we had a great time. Good food, good shopping, and we didn't need the night life aspect.
bethany1 is offline  
Feb 18th, 2013, 12:48 PM
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Santorini and Mykonos in March are absolutely boring,
there will only be a very few places open...
I am not sure you that you will like it

Bethany1 is recommending Mykonos, though i doubt if she has ever been to the island in March....

Try Syros, Ermoupolis, it's capital is a very interesting town, and it has a permanent population ( it is the capital of the Cyclades) or Rhodes as Mariha recommended
clausar is offline  
Feb 18th, 2013, 01:49 PM
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I know people who go to the Greek islands in winter (and March is winter), but they go to visit friends who are too busy to socialise during the tourist season. My friends who run hotels and restaurants on the islands in summer are either back in Athens for the winter, or busy tending their farms, fishing, building, or just taking time off until May when tourists start arriving again. The only shops and restaurants open will be those that cater for the permanent population.

Ferry schedules in winter are reduced to what is necessary to sustain the island population. With the exception of a few local ferries, routes are to/from the mainland. If the islands you wish to visit aren't on the same main ferry route, it is usually necessary to go back through Athens. Sometimes it is possible to use a local ferry to get between main ferry routes, e.g. those based on Syros.
Heimdall is offline  

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