Best Island for a base of operations?

Nov 7th, 2007, 07:13 AM
  #1  
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Best Island for a base of operations?

Hi everyone! I'm planning a week long trip to Greece for 3 couples. We're hoping to pick an island to find a rental to accomodate us all. The reason we can't really island hop is that one of the couples will be bringing a young child and I think it would really be too much for him. So, we'd like to have a fun base that allows us to do some good day trips. We're all in our early thirties and we're a pretty easy going and fun loving bunch. I know one of our group is particularly intersted in seeing Santorini and/or Mykonos. Would either be a good base? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!
laustic is offline  
Nov 7th, 2007, 07:34 AM
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Naxos would be a good base. Close to Mykonos and Santorini and the Minor Cyclades.
Gaspard is offline  
Nov 7th, 2007, 10:07 AM
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Gaspard -- Thanks for the suggestion! I read on another thread that some really like Naxos as a homebase. I'm going to do a little research about Naxos. Any other suggestions welcome!
laustic is offline  
Nov 7th, 2007, 10:12 AM
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Paros is also good because of all the possibilities for ferries to other islands. There are some excellent beaches and villages there, and in the main village of Parikia there is a lot to see and do. Use www.openseas.gr to see where you can go from Paros or from any other island for that matter. Click on the British flag for English.
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Nov 7th, 2007, 11:04 AM
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Either Naxos or Paros would be a good choice. Both have inland villages that are good daytrip destinations. There are also two boats, Alexander and Naxos Star, which do day trips from both islands to Delos/Mykonos, Santorini, and Iraklia/Koufonissi.
Heimdall is online now  
Nov 7th, 2007, 11:30 AM
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Paros is nice, and I hate always to sound like a broken record about Naxos, but I really do think in this case that it makes the most sense.

Why? Because of the child, and the day trips.

If some of the party are going to be doing day-trips to Santorini or Mykonos-Delos,(Both islands offer almost daily trips to these 2), you will want to be near the port. Yet you don't want to stay right in the port town.

Also, if u have a small child, it is easier on both adults & child if you are directly on the beach...so when the child needs food or a nap, it is only steps to your apt/studio.

In Paros, to be on/near nice beaches you have to have a car -- and then u are always driving driving to the port & back.

If u stay in the St. George beach area (Ag. Giorgios beach) in Naxos, it is DIRECTLY adjacent to Naxos Town -- an easy walk to the ferry dock, yet quieter at night. The beach is shallow & safe for pre-schoolers -- it attracts a LOT of scandinavians with young children in May-June especially.

(NOTE: I do hope u are planning to go outside of the high season of Mid-July to Sept 1...at that time ALL the islands are mobbed with European charter flights and you won't have the best experience, believe me!)

St. GEorge has a number of tavernas for dinner, but with a stroller, you also can walk to the many harborside cafes, tavernas, shops etc. In my many Naxos stays, I've often seen parents lingering over coffee & wine while their toddlers snooze next to them in lie-back strollers.

I don't think you will find a villa that accommodates all those people which also has the convenience i am describing. However, you can easily find 3 adjacent "studio apartments" in Ag. Giorgios apt. hotels. This may well be better anyway--becuse it affords couples greater privacy and flexibility-- you can be together or separate, as your agendas dictate.

Here are a couple of websites that show a WIDE range of lodgings -- click on each one to show rooms, and e-mail with specific questions.
http://www.thegreektravel.com/naxos/hotels.html
http://www.naxos-island-greece.com/n...os-hotels.html

I have advised many couples to do this, asking for exactlly what they want (i.e., a ground-floor patio, because of young children), and they have reported having a great holiday as a result.

Don't be put off if the rates seem low to you, compared to Santorini or Mykonos; that doesn't mean low quality -- it just means that those 2 islands are the most over-promoted and thus overpriced, while Naxos offers values more typical of the other greek islands.

travelerjan is offline  
Nov 7th, 2007, 01:33 PM
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Day trips from Paros to Delos/Mykonos leave from Naoussa, one of the most desirable places to stay on the island. It is a picturesque old fishing port, with one of the best beaches, Kolymbithres, nearby. Should you choose Paros, that, IMO, would be the best place to stay. One bonus is: the day trip to Delos/Mykonos from Naoussa on Alexander is 1 hours shorter, as the boat starts and ends its journey at Naxos, an extra 45 min each way.

Day trips from Paros to Santorini and Iraklia/Koufonissi are an hour shorter than from Naxos, but leave from Piso Livadi, a little port about eight miles from Naoussa.
Heimdall is online now  
Nov 8th, 2007, 04:59 AM
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Wow! Thanks for all the info everyone! Travelerjan -- thanks so much for those links! I'm going to start researching right now!
laustic is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 05:03 AM
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travelerjan -- we're planning our visit for the second week in June 2008. Part of the reason planning has been a tad difficult is that our dates are VERY specific due to everyone's summer plans, prior engagements, etc. Unfortunately, there is little room for flexibility at all, but I think June should be an enjoyable time. I'm very excited to read more and learn more about Naxos and Paros.
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Nov 8th, 2007, 05:58 AM
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I'm relieved to hear that it will be June... the perfect time...

I acknowledge Heimdall's point that day trips are a bit longer when going from Naxos than Paros, but I think people in their 30s can handle that.

Naxos has the convenience of lodgings right at the beach vs. Naoussa on Paros, where u must drive or scooter to get to Kolylmbithres (thinking again of a cranky child who demands to leave a beach or needs a nap).

On Naxos it's also easy to enjoy other (deeper) Naxos beaches besides St. George, even without a car. You can take a bus to Ag. Prokopios, Ag. Anna & Plaka beaches--busses run every 30 mins or so, take 10-15 mins, cost 1.5Euro. The beach strip is flat, so u can rent 4-wheelers -- tho I'd not advise using same to tootle all over the isle -- rent a car for that; it's mountainous!

want s slide show of Naxos' charms?
Fodor favorite "Stanbr" has done a lovely one:
http://travel.webshots.com/slideshow/552001505EYxVYT


PS: if u are spending all this $$ to have a good vacation, spend some time at the library with good guidebooks or buy 1 or 2. "Eyewitness GUide to the Greek Isles" is very visual -- Rough Guide to Greece very detailed -- check out the whole shelf and buy or borrow whatever appeals most.
travelerjan is offline  
Nov 8th, 2007, 07:29 AM
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Naxos has been our first choice for 6 trips to Greece. We have also been to Paros twice.
One of the things that really struck me on our last stay in Paros was that because Parikia was smaller than Naxos town I quickly ran out of opportunities to explore the city and find new sights and experiences like we did in Naxos town. Even on our 5th trip to Naxos we found an area of artifacts we had never seen before. The proximity of the beach to the town allows you to walk everywhere with a small child and still get back to the room whenever necessary.
By the way Jan has provided you with good advice. By staying at a studio on St George beach you get a beach vacation within steps of shopping tavernas antiquities and museums. At night you will be away from the noise of the town and it is quiet for sleeping.
The one time we stayed at Nauossa the party music went on into the wee hours.
We toured the facilities of sevral small studio hotels at St George beach and would highly recommend Hotel Spiros. We were impressed with Hotel Spiros, because its facilities were above average and it was moderately priced ( something we value highly) It is about 100 meters from the beach some units with a view. It has a pool and because it is a studio it has kitchen facilities. www.hotel-spiros-naxos.gr

One last opinion. While I do not think Santorini is a good base to tour the islands it nevertheless is a special place and deserves more than a day trip. We generally spend the last couple of days of our vacation on the caldera in Santorini.
stanbr is offline  
Nov 9th, 2007, 12:50 AM
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Sorry, Travelerjan, but you don't need a car or scooter to reach Kolymbithres Beach from Naoussa. There is a fleet of small fishing boats operating a taxi service to that and several other beaches in Naoussa Bay - a fun way to get to the beach, especially for children.

When I was in Naxos mid-Jun this year many of the buses returning from Plaka and Agia Prokopios were so crowded that some people were left waiting for the next bus. Those lucky enough to get on were standing in the aisle cheek by jowl with other passengers.

Granted, St George Beach is very handy - I stay nearby, but would never dream of swimming there. By mid-June it is very busy, the sand has a dirty appearance, and the boardwalk behind the beach is falling apart.
Heimdall is online now  
Nov 9th, 2007, 06:05 AM
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Heimdall, when you're right, you're right -- I have only enjoyed Naxos and Paros both in late May... a month earlier, much quieter, much cleaner. I respect your savvy about June.

Perhaps you could suggest a Naoussa lodging for these folks, that would be on the fringe, not close to noisy late-night clubs or bars?
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Nov 9th, 2007, 10:34 AM
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Yes, I agree May is quieter and cleaner. Unfortunately May weather hasn't been very reliable over the last several years, so I have been taking my spring holiday a little later. June is when Swedish schools start their summer vacation, closely followed by the Norwegians, so by mid-June Naxos is crawling with blonde haired children and their families. I dread to think what it is like in July and August.

I base myself on Antiparos, where I have a choice of several beaches within walking distance of the town, some of them completely devoid of hotels, tavernas, and beach chairs. Occasionally I go to Paros and take the bus to Naoussa. Although I've been to Naoussa many times, I've never stayed in a hotel there, so won't advise on where to stay. There have been many threads on Fodor's discussing Naoussa accommodation.
Heimdall is online now  
Nov 9th, 2007, 04:58 PM
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My, my, it's awful when those blondes swarm in! Those Scandinavians can really wreck a neighborhood.

(I have always got along with those tots just fine since I look like their Grandmother, which I sorta am).

Anyway, Heimdall, your mention of AntiParos had me thinking -- that might suit these 3 couples also. The ones wanting day trips would have to leave 30 minutes earlier to get over to Paros dock, but otherwise, it would work. But (ah now I see), you want to keep Antiparos to yourself.

Watch out! I'll tell the Swedes!
travelerjan is offline  
Nov 9th, 2007, 10:08 PM
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We all have our favorite islands and each of us have different needs so we tend to recommend our favorite Island based on our own bias.
Some want solitude, and minimal tourists to disturb our special place. Others like more action and some want a place to be their jumping off point to explore as much of the Islands as possible. In this case this poster has asked for "a fun base that allows us to do some good day trips"
I have visited Antiparos and it is as lovely as Hemidall describes however its isolation does not qualify it to meet the criteria outlined by the original poster, Naxos does.

We have been in Naxos as late as June 14 and St George beach is not crowded nor in my opinion does the sand appear dirty. I have not been there later in the season and perhaps things change in July and August but our experience there has been good enough to bring us back 6 times.
stanbr is offline  
Nov 10th, 2007, 07:31 AM
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True, travelerjan, I don't want my favorite island overrun with tourists - that's why I usually agree with you that Naxos is the place to go. ;-) Still, there are other islands in Greece besides Mykonos, Santorini, and Naxos.

We get a lot of Norwegians on Antiparos, thanks in part to Jan Bergtun's excellent website, Island Strolling, which I occasionally reference in these Fodor's threads. I am of Norwegian descent myself, so enjoy hearing them speak the language my grandparents used around home so many years ago.

Stanbr is correct that Antiparos is not the best place to base oneself for day trips, especially those leaving from Naoussa. Antiparos is an island for those who have had their fill of island hopping, and want to relax on good beaches during the day, and in excellent restaurants and tavernas at night.

Most of the Antiparos visitors come year after year, some in the spring, some in September, and some both. The first task on every visit is to make the rounds saying hello to old friends, finding out who is already there and when others will arrive. I was fortunate enough to spend five weeks in the Greek Islands on two separate trips this year, mostly on Antiparos.
Heimdall is online now  
Nov 12th, 2007, 05:39 PM
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Heimdall, my grandparents on my mother's side came from Sweden, and my mother didn't speak english until kindergarten -- and after retiring from teaching took up Swedish again -- so I too "have the words in my ears" even tho can't speak it save for some poems, songs and prayers.
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