Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page > Cyclades w/kids & my ruins-fanatic DH (itin and accommodation advice)

Cyclades w/kids & my ruins-fanatic DH (itin and accommodation advice)

Reply

Oct 14th, 2017, 04:55 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,433
Cyclades w/kids & my ruins-fanatic DH (itin and accommodation advice)

Hello,
2018 is bringing a return to Greece for us and our first taste of the islands (our previous 3 trips were spent on the mainland). As usual, we'll have the boys with us (7 and 5). We will have spent 2 weeks in Italy prior to heading to Greece, so jet lag won't be a factor - just the one hour time diff.

We're flying from Rome to Mykonos and parking there for the first 4 days/5 nights. Plan to see Delos, the archaeology museum in Mykonos, and explore the beaches.

After that... we have 8-9 nights before we head back to Athens where the boys and I will meet up with family friends and head to their family place in Evvia while DH heads to Barcelona for work.

My tentative thought is 4-5 nights on Paros or Naxos, and the final 3-4 nights on Santorini (DH wants to see Akrotiri and Ancient Thira).

Itin/Accommodation Questions:
1. Which island (Paros or Naxos) for a ruins-loving family with kids? The kids genuinely enjoy ruins and jaunts through museums, but they are also kids... playgrounds, pools, beaches, and casual/family-friendly places to eat are important.
2. I'd like to keep our accommodations budget to 200-300E/night and I'd ideally like to have 2 bedrooms wherever we stay. If you've got a rec on whichever island you recommend, please share .
3. Santorini. Is giving me a headache. Despite hours of research, I'm still at a loss. Santorini is high on DH's list due to the archaeological sights. I'm completely at a loss on what part of the island to choose for accommodations. We appreciate beautiful views, but not enough to spend 900E/night for them to get a 2-bedroom accommodation! Yet a pool or beach access is a priority, as is proximity to a casual and family-friendly restaurant... so which part of the island would you recommend? Driving isn't on our radar as a problem, as we've driven all over mainland Greece and throughout Italy. Correct me if we need to re-think driving for any reason - I'd rather know now!

Many thanks, and any and all advice and insight is greatly, greatly appreciated.

Jill
TexasAggie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 14th, 2017, 05:14 PM
  #2
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,433
Just realized I forgot to add dates. We arrive Mykonos on 22 June, staying 5 nights.
So we have the 8 or 9 nights of June 27th through July 4th/5th to play with.
TexasAggie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 15th, 2017, 10:39 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 5,215
Neither Naxos nor Paros or Santorini are really famous for archeolocigal sites. Most things excavated there are either in the Greek National Museum or in the Cycladic Museum, both in Athens.

For ancient Minoan, Roman and Byzantine stuff, Crete swould be the better place (beside the Greek mainland with Athens, Korinthos, Mycenae, Epidauros, Delphi, Bassae, Dodoni, Meteora, Mistras, etc.).
Thre is a catamaran Mykonos - Naxos/Paros - Santorini - Crete (every afternoon).
neckervd is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 15th, 2017, 12:17 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,439
I think I remember when you planned your first Greece trip.

Mykonos is lovely with its good beaches the famous windmills and the quaint main town. It markets itself as a high end destination so your budget will be sufficient. It is also close to Delos which is a great Archeological site.

Your choices of Paros or Naxos for your next island will give you a good balance of a more authentic Greek experience with the same white and blue trim buildings as Mykonos. The good thing is both will be at least half the price of Mykonos for hotels and dining.

The choice between the two is always subject for debate. Naxos was chosen as one of the top 10 islands in the Med a few years ago. It has a lovely main town, great beaches, mountain villages and is never really crowded as it absorbs lots of tourists. I have to admit to a bias toward Naxos as it was our first Greek island and we have returned 14 times since then.

Paros in many ways is similar and if you choose to go there you will enjoy it.

In our experience Naxos will have more antiquities than Paros but frankly there really aren’t too many. Of course it has the Portera part of a 6th century BC temple, there is an ancient sanctuary at Demeters temple a partially restored temple. There are three 6th century BC Kourous statues still lying in the marble quarries where they fell down. Naxos town has a neat museum where they have excavated down to the Minoan level and each subsequent civilization up to the Roman period. It has a glass floor where you can walk over the excavations which is pretty unique.
There are still Byzantine and Venetian era buildings spread out over the island.

Trip around Naxos http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7634605629689/

Naxos has great beaches including St George beach which is part of Naxos town only a 10 minute stroll away. We normally stay at St George because you get a beach holiday a shallow beach full of kids and all the activities of town.
St George Beach Naxos http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7632113170279/
Naxos Town http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7632094558042/

However two bed room accommodation is a bit hard to find at St George I understand there are a few units available and if you can find one then its the place to be. If you can’t find what you are looking for, Ag Prokopios, including Stelada, Agia Anna and Plaka beaches are newer areas and you will have more choice of larger accommodation. These beaches by the way are lovely, just 7 km from Naxos town.

Plaka beach tavernas hotels https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr...57655106193251
Aggia Anna and Ag Prokipos beach areas https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr...57656297072028

Santorini is another matter completely. Its all about the caldera views and is Mykonos pricey. I am more willing to pay high price in Santorini than Mykonos simply because it is unique. Naxos and Paros look quite similar to Mykonos.

Akroteri, the volcano buried city and Ancient Thira are the two archeological site of note on Santorini with Akroteri the prominent site.

I have a thought for your budget in Santoirni. Since Akroteri is one of the reasons you want to go there focus your accommodation search on the caldera near Akroteri. Its not near any of the main tourist centres, Fira and Oia but it has essentially the same Caldera views at a much lower price. Since you plan to drive, your location doesn’t matter so you don’t need to be in the popular locations.

The second money saving option is to go to Perissia or Kamri beach. Both are black pumice grit beaches. Good for tanning but not so good for swimming. There is lots of accommodation at both locations which is reasonably priced. Again with a car it really doesn’t matter where your hotel is.

If it were my vacation I would drop a day or two from Mykonos and add them to Naxos.
stanbr is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 15th, 2017, 01:17 PM
  #5
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 18,146
If you haven’t been to Crete, I agree with neckervd that you might want to consider it.

With an interest in Akrotiri, I strongly recommend a visit to the small, but exquisite, Museum of Prehistoric Thira in Fira.

You might find some useful information about both (and about Santorini, Naxos, Delos, and Mykonos) in my recent trip report:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-in-greece.cfm

Hope that helps1
kja is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 15th, 2017, 05:00 PM
  #6
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,433
Thank you all so very much for your insight. I appreciate it all so very much.

neckervd, your notes on the mainland were some of the highlights of our previous trips and the reason it took us until Trip #4 to make it to an island .

kja, your report was wonderful, thank you! Crete is high, high, high on our future wishlist. At our travel pace, we are thinking we would want at least 3 weeks there which we just don't have this year with my husband's work schedule. I am hoping for the next year... 2019. The kids get out of school in late May that year which would allow us plenty of time for Crete before the July heat!

stanbr, thank you so much for the wealth of info on Naxos. I'd come across many of the same notes on the island's archaeology but not the Kouroi. Our 6 (will be 7 by summer) yr old son was fascinated by the photos I found online. It appears that the Porto Naxos Hotel has 2 interconnecting rooms. We are used to apartments, not hotels, but aren't opposed to a hotel if well located. I'll keep looking...

Santorini... appreciate the thoughts on staying closer to Akrotiri and will look into it. I just seem to have a feeling that this island would be better saved for when the boys are a bit older. There is archaeology that we (the adults) really want to see, and beautiful views, but it just doesn't seem to offer much for young kids (5 and 7) that other islands wouldn't offer and for less.

If we pass on Santorini for this trip, what would you say to 8-9 nights on Naxos after Mykonos/Delos? For context, our travel pace tends to be slow. We try to see one sight for the adults and do one thing for the kids (beach or playground or pool) every day. We consistently do at least 1 "something" every day, but we don't like to sprint from activity to activity all day long if that makes sense .

Any tips on transport from Naxos back to Athens? Late night departures or arrivals aren't really an option with our crew yet.

Thank you all so very much again.
TexasAggie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 15th, 2017, 05:05 PM
  #7
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,433
stanbr, yes, you helped us immensely when we were planning our first trip back in 2006! Thank you again. It sparked quite the love affair with Greece for us. In 2011, it was the first country we took our oldest son to. He was 7 months old. Everyone should have an opportunity to travel through Greece with a baby - talk about royal treatment!
We have been vacationing in Italy since then as we have needed to combine vacations with work trips for my husband, and we have enjoyed every moment in Italy. But Greece calls... we are more than ready to return.
TexasAggie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 15th, 2017, 05:27 PM
  #8
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 18,146
I realized after I posted that you had seen my trip report and even commented on it – thanks again! And I now see your logic for delaying Crete – makes perfect sense!

Perhaps you could tell, from my report, that I adored Naxos. That said, I’m not sure you have 8 or 9 days worth of “adult” activities there. But of course, it depends on your interests, and I think it is well worth considering for a serious chunk of time.

As for Santorini, I’m glad I saw Akrotiri, the museum mentioned upthread, and the sunset (even though the one I saw wasn’t particularly spectacular) – and am glad I left ASAP. JMO, of course, but it seemed SOOoooo very over-run by drunk tourists, even in early May, that I found parts of my time there seriously unpleasant. It might be one of those places to fit in now, however briefly, before it gets any worse. Just something to consider….

BTW, I adored Delos and wish I had had more time there. I think the tours are limited to 3 hours on site? I would have been happy to return for a second visit, had the timing worked for me – not so sure you young ones would feel the same.

For Naxos to Athens – a flight for sure!
kja is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 15th, 2017, 09:01 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,976
From Paros you can see the archeological site on Despotiko, which is currently under excavation each summer. This uninhabited island can be reached by boat from Antiparos, the small island only seven minutes by car ferry from Pounta port on Paros.

Much is yet to be uncovered, but Despotiko will eventually become an open museum similar to Delos. The Greek archaeologists are assisted by university students, including some from the U.S. If they are on site during your visit it would be a wonderful opportunity to watch them at work and have a chat. I have been in touch with the head of excavations, and he welcomes visitors.

Unfortunately it would be difficult to visit from a base at Naxos, but Paros has much to offer too, including a Venetian castle, the most beautiful Byzantine church in the Cyclades, and a small museum displaying artefacts dug from islets around Paros. The marble quarries of Paros produced the finest marble, pure white with a translucent quality, used in some of the most famous statues. You can visit the quarries at Marathi, or do a google search on “Parian marble” to learn more.
Heimdall is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 16th, 2017, 05:32 PM
  #10
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,433
Heimdall, I copied and pasted your comments on Despotiko to my husband and he came home and started digging through our stash of old Current World Archaeology magazines. There was a feature on Despotiko in the spring of 2016. Thank you so much for mentioning it and jogging our memory. Now looking at 5 nights Naxos, 3-4 nights Paros after the island kickoff in Mykonos.

Thank you!!

Here's the article if interested - https://www.world-archaeology.com/is...wa-76-out-now/
TexasAggie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 16th, 2017, 05:36 PM
  #11
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,433
kja, thank you for the insight on Santorini. The more I research, the more I think of our stage of travel right now as a family... the more I am convinced that this is not the time.
We are already kind of thinking we may need two day trips to Delos We have spent 4 full days (8 hour days) in Pompeii over the years, have spent 3 full days in Ancient Olympia over the years... we are slowwwwww when it comes to exploring our ancient sights, I guess!
TexasAggie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 16th, 2017, 05:44 PM
  #12
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 18,146
I'm glad to think I've been of help! I envy your leisurely exploration of ruins and will try to forgive Heimdall for not mentioning Despotiko when I was planning my trip. (OK, I'll forgive H -- it was hard enough to pare my plans to fit my time! But oooh, sounds like a place to keep in mind for next time!) And I'll think of you next time I raise a glass of Nemean red, TexasAggie -- and yes, I'm fortunate that I can get it where I live. Life can be good!
kja is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 16th, 2017, 05:59 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,976
Watch this: https://vimeo.com/134105970
Heimdall is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 16th, 2017, 06:14 PM
  #14
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 18,146
@ Heimdall: Awesome -- thanks so much!
kja is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 17th, 2017, 04:36 PM
  #15
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,433
Great video, Heimdall! Thank you!! This sealed the deal for us. We'll split our 9-10 days after Mykonos/Delos between Naxos and Paros. Saving Santorini with Akrotiri and Ancient Thira for a future trip
TexasAggie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 20th, 2017, 02:58 AM
  #16
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 697
TexasAggie

On the hill just above Ano Mera, the island’s second ‘town’, you will find the ruins of the 13th century, Gizi castle. There are great views of the island from here and it’s one of my favourite places. I have a tiny little island guidebook published in Athens just over 50 years ago and which I’ve used almost for that entire time. It says that in the same area as Gizi is where the ruins of the first city of Mykonos, an ancient market and cemetery can be found. It’s been 10 years since I was on that hillside and couldn’t find those but the locals in Ano Mera, I feel sure, would be happy to advise where to look.

Also, in Ano Mera village, right in its centre, is the 16th century monastery of Panagia Tourliani which is open to the public. I’ve always recommended a visit because some of the icons held there are superb and the guide extremely friendly and helpful.

There is a local bus service to Ano Mera from Mykonos town.

One other ancient site not often visited is on the hillside high above Platis Yialos beach. Locals call it Portes and it is quite fascinating. Here you will find three ancient towers, which were supposedly used to defend the island. Not sure how though! My island friend always says that they are Mykonos’s little Stonehenge. If you guys want to see it I suggest a taxi might be the best way to reach it from town. Also, about 5 minutes’ walk from the stones is an island dairy which specialises in local cheeses and folks can see them being made and buy if interested. It only opened last year and I hope they do well because there will hardly be any passing trade in that area.

bill
billbarr is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 20th, 2017, 05:06 AM
  #17
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3,685
MYKONOS - Harken to Bill Barr -- he's been going there since Before it got Famous, and knows all the hidden gems.

NAXOS - I agree w Stanbr that with boys the ages of yours, St. George Beach works wonderfully ... shallow & safe for playing/castle-building at water's edge, and good swims when u wade out. Starting now, you have a chance at some good lodgings that have a few 2 BR units right on the beach or less than 50 yards off.
• I just checked booking.com for June 27-Thru AM July 3 (sort by "distance from Landmark" to see how close to beach) Amazingly, a 2 BR apt at Infinity Apts is still available and a downright bargain... Not fancy unit, but all furniture is new and location is unbeatable; check reviews. Since u can reserve w.o. risk (free cancellation) I advise u to book this one NOW.
• Nearby is Villa Naxia, right off beach, super decor, would be my absolute first choice, but only has a couple of family-size units, it's hard to book; you'd have to contact direct (they don't use booking agencies any more, don't need to) http://www.villa-naxia.gr Good Luck with this!

Next choice of beach would be Ag. Prokopios, IF you can snag a BR unit that is very close to beach. (When u check googlemaps, u see most lodgings are back from beach, along busy main road). My first choice here would be Liana Hotels, one of the few right ON beach (you cross a small lane) - has apt units: http://lianahotel.com - it shows sold out on online booking sites but contact direct & see what units still available. Booking. com show a very nice apt choice for above dates, Aphrodite Luxury Apts is back a bit from beach but not on that main road. Ag. Pro is great for swims; chief drawback IMO is fact that u have to take bus/drive to main town & its fascinating sites so you'd end up not doing it, while from St. G, it's such an easy 15-minute stroll any time of day.

PAROS/ANTIPAROS - I agree w Heimdall, Antiparos is great for your family ... and u get the benefit of Paros too (really quickie little ferry). Point is, Antiparos has great apts right on or walkable to nice family beaches; On Paros, the only walkable beach from port town, Livadaki, is mediocre (to be kind), lots of lodgings that attract young loud crowd too. On ANTIPAROS right now for 1st 4 days of July, booking.com has a couple of good 2 br apts, Casa Flora and Margo Antiparos .. walkable to por AND to a good beach straight S. from the (small quaint) ferry/port area. Since it's no-risk booking (free cancellation) I say book 1 of these NOW. At night, Antiparos is SO much fun, to stroll the Agora -- a winding flagstone path, goes from port all the way to other side of isle. its lined w. shops & cafes, a delight! When u want ancient sites, jump on the little ferry for Parikia.
travelerjan is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 22nd, 2017, 03:20 PM
  #18
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,433
Thank you so very, very much bill and jan!
Researching your input and suggestions right now!
TexasAggie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 22nd, 2017, 06:18 PM
  #19
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,433
travelerjan and others, could you please assist a bit further with ordering of our trip?

From Mykonos, should we go to Naxos next and then Antiparos? Or vice versa? Stop after will be Athens.

It appears it is possible to fly from Naxos to Athens which would be great. If that is the case, Naxos makes sense as our final stop. Just hoping to get a better idea of recommended logistics as "islanding" is so new to us and I do not want to mess it up with two young kiddos!

Thank you all again for your generosity with information and input and guidance.
TexasAggie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 22nd, 2017, 06:31 PM
  #20
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3,685
Mykonos - Naxos - Antiparos ... there are MORE flights from PAROS to ATHENs than there are from Naxos... they have enlarged their airport. Antiparos is just a "hop" (10-15 minute) on the small ferry to the landing on Paros then u can taxi directly to airport.
travelerjan is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:23 PM.