Best Islands to visit in Greece

Old Dec 15th, 2000, 01:05 PM
  #1  
Ang
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Best Islands to visit in Greece

My husband and I are going to Italy and Greece for 2 weeks in the middle of August for our 2 year anniversary. My husband lived in Italy for 1 1/2 months so he knows places and sites to see there...but my question is....what do we need to see in Greece? We've never been there before and we're uncertain of what we NEED to see and what is unnecessary. We were thinking we would stay about 2 days in Athens(that's where we fly into from Rome) and see the Acropolis...but after that, it's up in the air. We would like to do some island hopping. We've only heard of Mykonos and Santroini. What other islands do you recommend? Also, we'll only have 5 days for island hopping, so should we just limit it to only two islands? Lastly, is it better (or cheaper) to fly or boat to the islands?

Sorry for all the questions! We're just really excited and VERY clueless at the same time. My travel agent wants us to put together an email telling him what, where, etc we want to go and see and he'll customize a package. Its a little hard to do that without knowing about where we're going. So thanks for your help!

Ang
 
Old Dec 15th, 2000, 04:20 PM
  #2  
Martha
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Ang -

Having been to the Greek islands for the first time this summer, I would say that's only enough time for one, maybe two islands. It is not easy or fast to get between islands. The ferries have the most trips scheduled, but take a long time and are subject to weather delays. If you fly between islands, you have to go through Athens. I went to Santorini (which I loved for the incredible scenery) and Lesvos (Mytilini)for the authentic Greek island culture. You'll find during your research that the islands vary a lot in character, so choosing islands to visit depends on what you like.
Martha
 
Old Dec 15th, 2000, 05:17 PM
  #3  
Susan
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I would definitely recommend flying if you've only got 5 days. You could probably see 2 islands, definitely no more. We flew into Rhodes from Athens, then after a trip to Turkey, we flew from Rhodes to Santorini, took a hydrofoil to Naxos and then flew back to Athens. Flights were quite inexpensive and saved us a lot of time. (We had 3 weeks and didn't feel that was enough time!) Martha is right that Santorini has incredible scenery - a lot of people love it, but it wasn't the highpoint of our trip by any means. It doesn't feel very Greek to me. I love Naxos (I was there many years ago) and Rhodes was very interesting and quite beautiful. I would love to go to Lesvos - I've heard many positive reports about it. With only a few days, you might want to stick to a particular group of islands, like the Cyclades. (Even years ago, Mykonos sounded too touristy to me, but some people like it.) There was a hosted forum on the Greek islands last year - you should probably check it out for other opinions.

I hope your travel agent isn't expecting you to put together an itinerary at this point. It's only December!! At this point, you should be doing your research - read, read and read all about it and then you can make some decisions. I know August is high season, but you are right about needing to know more before you make any decisions. Have fun!
 
Old Dec 18th, 2000, 05:56 AM
  #4  
ang
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Thank you both very much for your help! I was starting to feel the pressure from my travel agent. So I think I'm going to try to do more research before finalizing anything.
 
Old Dec 18th, 2000, 06:08 AM
  #5  
Liz
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The Greek islands are great. I've been to at least 20, and they all have their different strengths. However, one thing they all share is the incredibly friendly local people and great weather.

Try Matt Barrett's site for a summary of each island, before making your mind up where to go - www.greektravel.com
 
Old Dec 29th, 2000, 11:23 AM
  #6  
barb
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august is jammed in greece, but still very nice. we started at end of july in athens, then went to santorini, paros and mykonos. paros was the best. mykonos was our least favorite -- too glitzy, too many very rich, very young kids with too much money to spend. Hydrofoil bet. islands was just fine. If only five days for islands definitely keep it limited to two -- 2 in Santorini, 3 in Paros would be great
 
Old Dec 30th, 2000, 10:36 PM
  #7  
jane
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Ang- I can only reiterate what Barb said. We were there; 6 of us on a boat (+ a captain) and went from island to island in the Cyclades with no set itinery. Paros was our favorite; Mykanos the least favorite. Try lesser known islands/ports; rent jeeps and drive around the islands to get the local flavor. Stay out of the big/touristy areas. Take a day trip to Delos if you can. It's breathwaking!
 
Old Jan 3rd, 2001, 12:13 PM
  #8  
Martina
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Hi!
I have lots of info on Greece and travelling the Greek islands on my site. You're welcome to have a look at
www.paros-online.com !
But beware, the middle of August is absolute high season and very busy then. Also the most expensive time.

Greetings
Martina
 
Old Jan 3rd, 2001, 03:13 PM
  #9  
monica
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Well what can I say...I love Greece. I went there for my honeymoon 2 years ago at the end of july. We went to Athens for 1 night and flew to Santorini for 5 days then flew to Mykonos for 4 and back to Athens for 2days. Now I know you don't have that much time and so there fore I would definitly suggest flying instead of ferries. I believe the cost and time savings is workth while. As to which Island you chose is up to what you like to see and do. All have great food and friendly people. Santorini is dry and very cliffy. Amazing scenery. White washed homes on cliffs. most hotels are built into the hill side and therefore are kind of cave like. We loved it. Stay in OIA, less touristy and quiet. The maid town of Fira is a short drive away. Mykonos is a more exciting and alive town. Don't rent mopeds there. People will run you down. More people more traffic and more wind. Great beaches. Santorini isn't the best for beaches. All I can tell you is its worth going. If you need more info let me know. I got plenty more info.
 
Old Jan 28th, 2001, 08:32 PM
  #10  
E. Sehn
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My wife and I spent 1 week on Santorini Island a couple of years ago and one week on Rhodes and 4 days in Athens. All of it was absolutely wonderful, however, the week on Santorini was the best. It was romantic, it was interesting (the island is thought to be the lost island of Atlantis), and it is probably one of the most beautiful places we have ever been.

When you see Santorini from the sea, especially from the Volcano in the center, the villages hanging from the cliffs look like snow on the mountains.

This place is truly spectacular. The island is a crescent moon shape and you can walk along the ridge and have a panoramic view of where you want to go as well as where you have been.

My recommendation is (even if you don't go to Santorini), don't try to see too many islands. You'll spend too much time travelling.
 
Old Jan 30th, 2001, 01:14 PM
  #11  
michelle
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You need to be a bit more careful travelling in Europe in August because that is when the Europeans all take their vacations. It is not like in the US where people vacation throughout the year based upon personal convenience. My husband and I travel a lot. We just got back from 2 1/2 weeks in Greece during early December.We spent5 full days on Crete, 3 days on Santorini, 6 days on the Pelopenese and 2 days in Athens, We loved Crete and Santorini but there were
NO tourists! These islands, especially Santorini are wall to wall hotels and I think your experience will be utterly different than ours if you go in high season. On Crete, we stayed in Hania 2 nights and visited Retheymnon(both are lovely) and Knossos. The Samaria Gorge was closed during winter but we did drive to the southe side of the island on a couple of treacherous roads - totally worth it..We then spent 2 nights in Elounda, a gorgous resort area we loved. We stayed at Porto Elounda - $85 off season with 6 swimming pools, golf course, fantastic ocean views from all rooms, including delicious 5 course dinner and breakfast. Only 5 couples there out of about 200 rooms! We stayed in Oia, Santorini -We saw only one other tourist couple in the entire town in 3 days! By the way, the weather was cool (60s) but blue skies almost the entire time and only 10 minutes of rain. I recommend flying to the islands if you have limited time. Longest flight was 50 minutes and lastest flight was 10 minutes off. If you only have 5 days you really can't do more that 2 islands and even that might be a push.You really can't see Crete inless than 4 days. You may want to use the time seeing classical sights on the Pelopennese and Nauplion - a beautiful small city (Palace Hotel has a spectacular view)If you do the Pelopenese I would definitely drive.
 
Old Feb 1st, 2001, 07:08 PM
  #12  
hydra
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Ang, I can understand your travel agent's rush to get you an itinerary, everything you read on this post about greece being packed with tourists in August is correct. I've travelled for the past six years to greece and by far august is my least favorite time to go. That said, the greek islands are wonderful and magical and I would recommend them to anyone -- however, each is different and depending on the experience you are looking for you may be dissapointed. With only five days you need to ask yourself what you want to get out of the five days.

If this is your first trip to greece you might consider a short cruise that stops at many of the popular greek islands. I've cruised on Royal Olympic Cruises which is a greek line and they stop at many of the islands mentioned in the previous posts. It is a great way to see lots of islands without having to hassle with your own travel arrangements.

If you do decide to go on your own I would recommend flying. Do not risk the greek ferry system. If your time is short then the last thing you want to happen is a delayed or cancelled ferry. Believe me, it happens allot. Especially with the hyrdafoils which can't run in rough seas. I've had my share of being stuck in a hot port awaiting a ferry that "may or may not" arrive. As for flights, book as soon as you know. Olympic Airways runs the only reliable (and I use that word losely) service to the islands. Their flights during August fill fast.

If you're thinking of a specific island email me and I'll give you my opinion. I've spent many weeks on Santorini, Crete, Naxos, Corfu, Mykonos, the Peleponesse (which is highly underrated), Patmos, Kos, etc.

 
Old Feb 2nd, 2001, 02:09 PM
  #13  
Rosemary
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I think Hydra is on the money when she suggests a cruise. Nothing to woryy about at all, just enjoy.
I am right now researching for my 2 daughters who plan to island hop in May.
Can't wait to go myself when my husband can take a time out.
Enjoy.
Rosemary
 
Old Feb 11th, 2001, 04:20 PM
  #14  
michelle
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A cruise would be lovely for the beautiful view of the islands but you would only see Heraklion on Crete or Fira on Santorini, for example, which are not the nicest towns on these islands. I assume this would also be the same for other port cities on other islands.
 

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