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Beautiful Folegandros, Milos and Santorini in hot and humid August

Beautiful Folegandros, Milos and Santorini in hot and humid August

Sep 4th, 2010, 02:22 AM
  #1  
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Beautiful Folegandros, Milos and Santorini in hot and humid August

My husband and I spent two weeks in the Greek islands from 5-19 August and had a good time relaxing, mainly swimming, reading and sleeping. We didn’t do very much due to the hot and humid weather but that suited us as before we left the UK, we had to pack up our London flat, finish up jobs and try and sort out our lives. Relocating is a lot of work! We are Australians and had been living in the UK for close to 5 years but have now moved back to Australia. The daily temperature was always about 35 and at night it got down to about 27 (Celsius) so we were very grateful for the airconditioning in the hotels. Normally we would not bother much with aircon and grew up in fairly hot climates but with no let up at all during the time we were there, we did find it extremely hot. This was our fourth trip to the Greek islands, it’s a place that gets under your skin, a place of simplicity and beauty.

Itinerary

I love planning all our trips, and we travel a lot, but this holiday in the Greek islands seemed harder to plan than most. Finding ferry timetables and checking which islands link up easily with each other was harder than you’d think. In the end we –

Flew from London Gatwick to Santorini with Easyjet
Seajet a few hours later to Folegandros – 4 nights
Seajet to Milos – 5 nights
Ferry to Santorini – 5 nights at Oia
Flew back to Gatwick with Easyjet

Accommodation

Hotel Polikandia, Folegandros
This was a beautiful oasis with a gorgeous pool, bright tropical plants and friendly, quiet staff. Nice rooms though nothing fancy, the shower was typically Greek, handheld and no screen or curtain. I accidentally soaked a towel and toilet roll once. We really liked the small shady balcony where we could read or sit and admire the inviting pool area. The hotel provides a free mini bus pick up and drop off at port, takes about 15 mins.

Hotel Eleni, Milos
Our room was fine though fairly basic. We had a tiny balcony in full sun most of the time so it was too hot during the day. It was about 10 mins flat walk into town following the seawall to where the shops and restaurants are and yachts and cruisers moored. Eleni, the owner, was extremely helpful and went out of her way to assist us with car hire and what to see on the island.

Filotera Villas, Oia
We had a small cave room with queen bed, bathroom with Jacuzzi and handheld shower and small kitchenette. The balcony was in bright sun most of the day although it did have an umbrella. Nikolas, the owner was very helpful and friendly but a little hard to understand at times. It’s quite a steep walk up stairs from the top where the tiny reception is, to the bottom where the pool is. There are about 8 levels, with a room or two on each level. Reception was closed from 2-5pm when we arrived but there was a number to call in the window. The villas are surrounded by shops and restaurants but quiet, apart from some very noisy neighbours. The pool was quite small and the water fairly warm but it was heaven to cool off on a hot afternoon.

I’ve written this a bit randomly so sorry about that but hopefully there will be info here that will help someone else planning their trip.

The whole time away was incredibly, extremely hot and particularly humid on Milos. We found aircon a must in August –typically we don’t use aircon much but we really needed it to cool the room enough to sleep.

Generally people eat late, lunch around 2pm and dinner around 9pm. Restaurants were open for people like us who often chose to eat earlier. Shops often shut for about 4 hours for siesta.

Ferries are very busy this time of year and not organised at all well getting on and off. On Seajets luggage is put in a big messy pile, then other luggage piled on top so when your stop comes, you have to heave 10 big heavy cases out of the way to get your bag out. You must be able to lift and carry your bag yourself, no one will help you unless you are lucky. Our bag was stored outside on one Seajet trip and was soaked when we went to get it off.

All the Seajets/ferries we caught departed and arrived late and the ferry from Milos to Santorini changed it’s departure time by about 5 hours, so be aware of that if you have connections to make.

Chora, the main village on FOLEGANDROS was quite beguiling with a slow pace, open air cafes under shady bougainvillea with people lounging about reading books and talking. There are a sprinkling of shops and travel agencies with one ATM but no bank. If you think you might want something bring it with you. Even on Santorini, shops sell mostly tourist tat. You will have no trouble though if you want sunscreen, a beach towel or calendar with Greek island scenes.

On MILOS I wished I’d booked a hotel with a pool. We hired a car for 2 days on Milos to visit a few beaches and cool off in the water. Hire cost was 50 euro per day and we used 7 euro of petrol so you can see the distances were very small.

SANTORINI is easily one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever visited. It’s also the most expensive island out of the 3 we visited, costs were about half as much again for meals and you pay more for a caldera view. We stayed in Thira years ago and were glad this time we stayed in Oia. We thought Thira was a little more grubby and slightly downmarket compared to Oia, which is a bit prettier.

There was more of a mix of people on Santorini – Americans, Canadians, Australians and Japanese. On Milos people seemed nearly all Greek and on Folegandros mostly Greek with Italians and French. Standard dress for women seemed to be a miniscule bikini and flimsy cover up with thongs on feet, I often felt quite over-dressed in a skirt and top.

One thing that was very apparent was the incredibly poor organization, particularly at the bus station in THIRA, on the buses, at the ferry port and the airport. Talk about chaotic. It was as if someone had thought up the worst possible scenario for moving travellers and thought, yes, let’s do that! Some buses had aircon and some didn't. Buses in August are extremely crowded and it can be a bunfight to get on and off as the first people on will get a seat but some will have to stand. Taxis did not seem to have aircon, they may try to get a full carload of people before they go.

One tip is leave plenty of time to get to the port on THIRA if you have a ferry to catch as when we arrived the port area and steep winding road down to the port were both choked with traffic, a lot of it stopped as there was nowhere to go as it was all banked up.

My husband had an ear problem and we visited the hospital in Thira. Cost of treatment was very cheap at 10 euro, the doctor was excellent and spoke good English but the hospital itself looked almost third world and any proper systems or nursing or reception staff seemed very thin on the ground. So after initially sitting waiting, thinking what are we doing here, this is dreadful, the outcome was fine. We also bought paracetamol in a pharmacy in Thira and my jaw dropped when she told me the price – 65 euro cents for 24 tablets. Is that one reason why the Greek economy is in tatters? Heavily subsidized medicine?

Back in London again we stayed for 4 nights in a studio room with bathroom and kitchen at Castletown House in West Kensington and thought it very good value, well equipped and well located for public transport. You can check out my review on Trip Advisor or I’m happy to answer any questions. Cost was £79 per night. After that it was a very long flight back to our home in Melbourne, via Singapore.

Kay
KayF is offline  
Sep 4th, 2010, 04:56 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
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In the UK where you lived for almost 5 years, you might not have noticed that Boots sell own brand paracetamol for 35p for 16 tablets.
Odin is offline  
Sep 4th, 2010, 04:14 PM
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You are quite right Odin, I didn't know that. In Boots there is a wide range of headache tablets and we usually bought a name brand with codeine in it. Codeine is illegal in Greece so we knew not to take our usual tablets with us. In Greece we were offered paracetamol or ibuprofin, that was the choice. They were made by Bristol Myers Squibb.

Kay
KayF is offline  
Sep 6th, 2010, 05:59 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2006
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Thanks Kay for the report - always interesting to hear about the less visited islands in particular. Some day I will make it to Folegandros, it's been on the list for a while!

Jane
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