Cyclades - Milos and Naxos?

Old Jan 6th, 2007, 08:18 PM
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Cyclades - Milos and Naxos?

Greetings!

My husband and I are traveling to Greece for the first time in late May through mid June. Our current plan is to spend 3 nights in Athens, then 9 on the islands, with the last back in Athens, before departing for elsewhere in Europe.

We are hoping to avoid crowds/very touristy places, and really spend some time absorbing the culture. We enjoy hiking, beaches, dining, spending time in cafes. We also want to see some of the classical sites, and we look forward to time relaxing and enjoying views and beautiful scenery. We want to avoid too much traveling from place to place.

At this point, we are considering visiting only two islands, Naxos and Milos. We are tentatively planning to fly from Athens to Naxos, spend 4-5 nights, then head to Milos, then ferry back to Athens. From Milos, we thought we could also visit Sifnos and/or possibly take a day trip from Naxos to? (not sure where, and open to input).

My questions are 1) are we making a mistake by NOT seeing Santorini or Mykonos? 2) Is it possible to get from Naxos to Milos (relatively easily) in early June? 3) Would you recommend a ferry from Athens to Naxos, instead of flying? 3) Does this generally sound like a good itinerary? Note that we are in our 30s, and have no children.

Also, if anyone has advice about special places to stay in Naxos or Milos, or things to see (e.g., beaches, hikes, etc.), your input would be most welcome!

Thank you!
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Old Jan 6th, 2007, 08:44 PM
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Daytrips from Naxos are possible to Paros, Antiparos and Delos, the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. I believe these excursions also include a stop on Mykonos.

I personally think missing Santorini is a mistake. There's no other island like it in the world. It won't be overcrowded in May-June.

Right now there's a 7.5 hour ferry ride from Naxos to Milos departing at 4:30 PM, but only on Thursdays. I don't know what will be available in May-June but something will.

You'll save a lot of money if you take the ferry to Naxos. The trip takes about 4 hours and you'll have a chance to get a quick look at Paros along the way.
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Old Jan 7th, 2007, 09:17 AM
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Naxos and Milos, unfortunately, are on two different ferry routes, so getting from one to the other can be complicated. There will probably be at least two ferries per week in June, but it is impossible to say for sure until the schedules come out next spring.

Unless you can arrange your itinerary to take advantage of one of those weekly ferries, it may be necessary to go back through Piraeus. Last summer the Hellenic Seaways highspeed left Naxos at 1115 and arrived in Piraeus at 1515. The Speedrunner 1 left Piraeus for Milos at 1600. That would only give you 45 min to change ferries, assuming the highspeed arrived on time, too close for comfort, IMO.

Probably a safer bet would be to fly from Naxos to Athens (dpt 1320 - arr 1405) and take a connecting flight to Milos (dpt 1605 - arr 1645). Both these flights are with Olympic, the only airline that serves the two islands. You could probably make similar arrangements should you choose to visit Milos first, but note that there is only one flight per day to Naxos. Check out flight schedules at http://www.olympicairlines.com/. Olympic sometimes makes minor changes to their summer schedule in Mar, so keep checking.
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Old Jan 7th, 2007, 09:41 AM
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A couple of other points:

Mon May 28th is Holy Spirit Day, and transport that weekend will be heavily booked, particularly those leaving the mainland on the 25th & 26th, and returning from the islands on the 28th.

The highspeed ferry leaving Piraeus at around 0730 arrives Naxos about the same time as the flight leaving Athens at 1210, so if you can make that early morning ferry, there is no advantage in taking the flight.

Do a search for the many posts on this forum regarding beaches and accommodation on Naxos.
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Old Jan 7th, 2007, 10:21 AM
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Heimdall is correct, given you only have around two weeks, several 5 hour ferry rides probably do not make sense. Flying does.
You asked about accomodation on Naxos. Depending on your budget and tastes I recommend three hotels all in the St George Beach area. The beach is right in Naxos Town so you get the fun of staying on a beach along with the view and all the activities of the town. Lastly you also get a very quite night sleep, away from the noise of the town.
Hotel Glaros is a small family run hotel right on the beach. It is modest and basic and includes breakfast. It has a great beach view and is a budget travellers haven. You can probably get Glaros for under 40 euros. Further down the beach and about 30 meters away from the beach is Naxos Royal. It is probably the most upscale of the hotels in Naxos. Last May it was 80 Euros per night and jumped to 120 after the first few days in June.
Right beside Naxos Royal is Hotel Spiros. It is a studio hotel with kitchen facilites and pool. It is about 50 meters from the beach. Last May it was running about 40 to 45 Euros and is a great value.

Things to do In Naxos. Explore Naxos Town. It has a Kastro built by the Venetians in the 1500s and has many museaums and Venetian houses built into the walls complete with gun ports facing the narrow streets. While in the Kastro area look for the Venetian Museaum a private home that was occupied by the same family for 400 years. They run tours and every evening have a Greek folk music and dance show or classical music or Jazz out on their balcony. There is an antique shop which is another Venetian private residence which has columns from the ancient temple supporting the second floor.
For sure find the bakery in the Old Market area. It will take you several tries to find it but look for the map painted on the wall at the market entrance. The oven is wood fired and they make the best bread ever, hot from the oven.

There is a museum hidden away in Church square near the ferry terminal. It is actually a dig site and shows Naxos civilizations through the various levels that have been excavated. You walk over a glass floor and you can witness Naxos from Minoen through to Roman times.

A visit to the Porteria for sunset is a must.

Naxos has great beaches on the West coast starting at Prokopios through Annia to Plaka. Probably about 10 km of white sand. Our favorite is Plaka which can be reached by local bus for about 1.4 euros. Car rental is inexpensive and there really isn't much traffic. It is very curvy and has mountain driving conditions but it is doable.

While in the countryside visit the villages and meet the people. See Demeters Temple a partially reconstructed ancient temple. See the 6th century Kurous statue still laying in the marble quarry where it fell. See an active marble quarry being carved out of the mountain. Naxos marble was considered to be the best
Greek marble in ancient times and continues to be today. There is also an abandoned Jesuit Monistary at Melanies an unbelievable little valley at Keromoti with a small stream where incandescent red and blue dragonflies fill the air with the sound of their wings. Walk the marble paved streets of Aparanthos and have a cool drink in the tree shaded village square of Filati. Sample Kitron at the distillary in Chalki and if you are brave, scale the mountain top near Chalki to find Pano Castro a ruined Venetian fortress.

There is lots to do on Naxos. We have visited 6 times and every time we discover something new.

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Old Jan 7th, 2007, 10:39 AM
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Thanks to everyone for their extremely helpful advice and suggestions. I will look into the high-speed ferry, as that sounds like it would be fun in terms of allowing us to see some of the islands along the way. We will not be arriving into Athens until the 28th, after about 2 days of travel, so we will stay a couple of days before departing.

Sounds like it may be best for us to plan around a single ferry route. If so, does anyone have an opinion regarding whether Naxos or Milos would be more enjoyable - given our interests? We will try to fit in a couple of days in Santorini if possible, and/or will add on one more island near to Naxos or Milos (or Sifnos, which may also be a potential "base" as I hear that is beautiful as well). Naxos sounds wonderful, from Stanbr's description (thanks for the hotel recs too!) and from what I have read, but...so do Milos and Sifnos.

As the ferry schedules will not be finalized for some time, we may defer final arrangements on the islands. Will it be difficult to secure hotel reservations if we wait for the ferry schedules to be published, or are we OK considering the time of year (i.e., first two weeks in June?)

Again, many thanks, I am grateful to have input from experienced travelers to the islands!
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Old Jan 7th, 2007, 10:41 AM
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Don't miss Santorini! We did a similar trip by ferry to Paros (3 days), Santorini (3 Days), and Naxos (2 Days). Santorini was most memorable for the views. You could also do a day trip from Athens to Hydra, which is unique, no cars, and a quiet contrast to Athens.
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Old Jan 7th, 2007, 11:10 AM
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Sounds like you will be arriving just the right time, at the end of Holy Spirit weekend. You will have no problem finding accommodation on the islands that time of year, even if you wait until arriving in Greece. Best to reserve a room in Athens for your arrival, though.

I will know more about Sifnos and Milos later this year, as I'm planning to take that route on the way to Santorini and Antiparos in May-Jun. I won't be making any hotel or ferry bookings in advance. I am content to find a room when arriving on an island, but that may not work for you.

Getting from Naxos to Santorini is very easy - there are several ferries each day during the summer. If you wish to fit in one more island near to Naxos, then Paros or Antiparos would be a logical choice.

Going to Sifnos and Milos, then on to Santorini is also possible. There is a ferry linking Milos with Santorini, stopping at Folegandros. I understand Folegandros is a beautiful, unspoilt island, and I hope to check it out this year. One thing, though - the Milos-Santorini ferry doesn't run every day, as far as I know.

For a first-timer, anywhere you go in the Greek Islands will be wonderful. Naxos is the favorite island of many, and getting from there to Santorini would be a lot less complicated than going through Milos.
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Old Jan 7th, 2007, 11:35 AM
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I got called away before finishing my thoughts. Brotherlee and Heimdall are correctt aht a visit to Santorini really is a must see. The arrival by ferry is spectacular. It is an easy 3 hours from Naxos to Santorini by teh regualr ferry and if the hight spped is running it is only an hour and a half.

To help you decide if you would like to visit Naxos you can see our pictures by clicking on the link below.

http://travel.webshots.com/album/552001505EYxVYT


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Old Aug 24th, 2007, 12:48 AM
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The Milos-Santorini connection is pretty much standard year-round via the LANE ferries (Ierapetra or Vitsentzos Kornaros, twice a week, direct, 4 hours) so you can always count on it.

There is also another conventional ferry, Romilda, that stops at Folegandros along the way.

Andreas

www.milosisforlovers.com
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