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First trip to Greece. Young couple want to experience Athens and 2 Islands.

First trip to Greece. Young couple want to experience Athens and 2 Islands.

Old Feb 6th, 2010, 01:53 PM
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First trip to Greece. Young couple want to experience Athens and 2 Islands.

Yassas!

We have booked our tickets into Athens, June 21st through June 30th. Short trip, I know : ( We are trying to get some rest and relaxation on this trip. Beach and Sun would be so nice (we live in Alaska). Therefore I have Santorini in mind as one of the Islands for our escape!

We both would like to stay somewhere peaceful near Athens for the first day or two. That way we could relax or take a day trip into the city for some adventure.

So far I have looked into HI Hostels (Hostelling International) and some Bed & Breakfast accomodations. All on the internet. I trust HI association but am a little leary to book a B&B on-line.

We plan on using public transportation in Athens and walking or biking while on the Islands. Rental cars are stressful!

I've read some great forums here already with awesome recommendations to other travellers and was hoping to get some good tips as well. Thanks everyone!

Adio!
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Old Feb 6th, 2010, 02:03 PM
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Try staying in the Plaka-you can walk anywhere. There is a web site for Greece-maybe someothers can help. I think it is Max something or other. YOu can find out the ferry info to go to Santorini-it is one of a kind. Once you go to Greece you'll want to go back. Chris
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Old Feb 6th, 2010, 02:23 PM
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Short trip, indeed! You have doubtless read our recommendations to fly straight to Santorini upon arrival in Athens. I know! Another flight after your long trip to Greece. Look at it this way, though: the flight to Santorini takes about 50 minutes - the bus or metro to central Athens takes about...50 minutes. You might as well get over your jetlag on Santorini instead of busy Athens. Save Athens for the end of your trip.

Most of the accommodation on the islands are hotels or rooms (called domatia). You can also book studios, which are rooms with small kitchenettes. These are not rooms in someone's house - they are like small hotels without lobbies and other amenities. Some have a breakfast room at a small extra charge. The vast majority of domatia are clean, comfortable, and run by reputable families.

Definitely book your accommodation for Santorini and Athens. For a second island, consider Naxos or Paros. Both have great beaches, and are on the main ferry route between Santorini and Piraeus. If you wish, you can find your accommodation when you get to the port. If you'd rather book in advance, do a Fodor's search. There are many threads with recommendations for hotels on Naxos and Paros. My favorite hotel (reasonable prices) on Naxos is http://www.argo-hotel.gr/
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Old Feb 6th, 2010, 02:30 PM
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Perfect! Thanks, I'll book us straight to Santorini. Should I book one night in three different towns, or all three nights in Thira?
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Old Feb 6th, 2010, 02:46 PM
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No point in moving from village to village - Santorini is a small island, and you can get anywhere by bus in a matter of minutes. Oia for the views, Fira for the nightlife, Kamari or Perissa for the black sand beaches. Brotherleelove is the Santorini expert, so he can guide you there.
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Old Feb 6th, 2010, 02:52 PM
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Check out the Youth Hostel in the most beautiful village of Oia: http://www.santorinihostel.gr

If you want to be more centrally located there's Santorini Camping in Fira, and at the beach check Perissa Camping in Perissa.

If you want recommendations for something other than hostels please state your maximum daily room budget and which village you prefer.
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Old Feb 6th, 2010, 03:12 PM
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I think our max daily room budget is 60 euro, but we could splurge on a great place
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Old Feb 6th, 2010, 05:53 PM
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Which village, and if you were to splurge, for how much?
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Old Feb 6th, 2010, 06:38 PM
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Oia sounds so nice, are there beaches close? If we splurged it would be 100euro tops while we stayed on the island.
Do you live there?
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Old Feb 6th, 2010, 06:43 PM
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PS: we are a couple and would rather have a room to ourselves!!
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Old Feb 6th, 2010, 07:15 PM
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The beaches are about a 20 min bus ride and only a couple of euros per ticket. I agree with the others that on arrival in Athens you should go straight to the first island and then finish up in Athens. It also means a much less stressful airport commute on the last day.
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Old Feb 6th, 2010, 07:21 PM
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In Oia for €100 or less check Thea Studios, Old Oia Houses, Musses Studios/Casa Francesca, Villa Kallisti, Anemomilos Hotel, Fotinos Houses, Casa Sofia and Aspa Villas.

The beaches are about an hour from Oia by bus, changing in Fira, unless you go to Baxedes/Koulumbos/Paradise Beaches which are nearby but not very nice. Sometimes they're covered with flotsam from the sea which attracts sand flies. The best swimming on the island is actually below Oia at the end of the seawall that begins on the wharf at Amoudi Bay. No beach there, but a man-made platform and large rocks for sunbathing. The water is clean, calm, beautiful blue and inside the caldera.

I live in Oregon but have been going to Santorini since 1985.
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Old Feb 6th, 2010, 07:52 PM
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Okay, Thank you so much! I really appreciate all your help!

I'll ask more questions after I book in Santorini! And if you're ever in Alaska, I love showing the place off!
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Old Feb 7th, 2010, 05:26 AM
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Excellent advice above. I just wanted to add that we stayed in Oia and loved it. We went to Fira by bus one day to do a sunset sail. FIra was a very busy area and I couldn't wait to leave. Unless looking for nightlife, I'd not recommend it. I recall driving by beaches on the way to Fira and they didn't look inviting.

There is plenty of sun! I so enjoyed sitting on the balcony and just enjoying the beauty; I really didn't need to leave my seat the whole time except to jump in the pool. We would walk down to Amoudi Bay which was just below us. As said above, no sandy beach, but the water was very nice. Be aware that it is a very steep climb down and back.
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Old Feb 7th, 2010, 09:13 PM
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Not knowing what we were doing, we stayed in Fira and honestly, were very sorry that we didn't know about Oia before we went. During the day Fira was swamped with tourists who poured off the cruise ships, fortunately they all vanished at about 5pm each day. I found the plethora of jewellery shops quite off too.
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Old Feb 11th, 2010, 05:52 PM
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You might also consider staying in Firostefani while in Santorini. It's only a 10-15 minute walk to the center of Fira and a 20 minute bus ride to Oia. This way you can avoid the hustle and bustle of Fira at night and sleep quietly.

Also, depending on your fitness level be sure to find out how far down the cliff your hotel is. There are some hotels that are way down there. I'm talking 100+ steps to the main walkway. This can get very cumbersome when you've been walking all day.

Oia is also a remarkable area to stay with plenty to offer in terms of dining and of course the sunset.

For your second island you may consider Naxos. My wife and I personally loved Naxos even more than Santorini. The beaches there are much better than Santorini and because it's the largest of the Cyclades you can spend a day driving around the island to visit the villages.

Whatever you decide on you will fall in love with Greece no matter what.
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Old Feb 13th, 2010, 10:07 PM
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Thank you everyone,

We have booked our flight, Athens to Santorini, and are waiting on replies from three places of accommodation in Oia. Depending on availability and locations I think soon we'll be booked!

We are looking into accommodations in Naxos for the second part of our adventure!

I was thinking after Naxos taking the ferry to Rafina and staying the rest of our trip there, rather than in Athens.. I read that it was only 40 minutes away from the center of Athens. Is it a pretty port town at all?

I really appreciate everyone taking time to help me out.

Stevie
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Old Feb 14th, 2010, 08:57 AM
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No, not really. It's a place to get a ferry. Neither is Piraeus a place to stay.

Why not get a hotel in the heart of Athens (no more expensive if you hunt), that is just steps away from the Metro... Here are 3 budget Specials...
http://www.hotelphaedra.com/
http://www.hotelmetropolis.gr/
http://www.greekhotel.com/athens/myrto-hotel/home.htm
latter has biggest bargains right now, was just renovated.. try them thru venere.com

First 2 have rooftop terraces open to all, view of acropolis. Also rooms have balconies some with acropolis views. Phaedra has a couple of bargain rooms with bath across hall (but not shared). Latter 2 are very close to Syntagma Square Metro stop. Phaedra a 10 minute walk down Amelias, or 5 mins from Acropolis metro stop. ALL are right smack in heart of Plaka. What do you exactly have against staying in Athens?? Weather is divine in June... and this city has been waiting 4,000 years for you, don't pass it by!!

As for Naxos ferry to Athens, I think you will find there are not convenient ferries to Rafina. The 2 best ferries year-round are on Blue Star Line: one is 10 am, arrive 3 pm. Then 2nd is abou 6:30 pm arrives 11:30. LARGE ships (1500 pass.), lovely decks to sit & sunbathe. Since it's a 5-hr trip, get the "reserved economy" ticket, €4 more than economy. That means when you tire of the deck and want to read or nap, you're guaranteed a reserved, comfy lean-back seat indoors.

If you dont' want to chop up a day with ferry #1, take the 6:30 "dinner ferry". Cut a deal with your hotelier for late check-out (or else just a bathroom after afternoon swim, so you can shower & change for the trip). Get to dock by 6 pm & board, watch sunset, have a bite to eat in cafe, then snooze til arrival. METRO runs until midnight so hustle right across the street to make the last train to Central Athens @ €1. If delayed past 12, then make friends on ferry & split cost of a taxi with them: while waiting in Taxi line, decide on ONE place to all get out, then u are charged 1 fare. INsist that driver use meter.
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Old Feb 18th, 2010, 07:55 PM
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Hi Everyone,

We ended up getting our reservation at CASA FRANCESCA, and I'm pretty happy about it. But... in our confimation e-mail they said that they recommended a pick-up from the airport since Oia doesn't have street addresses. They would charge 30euro for this service. Is it typical for the hotels/studios in Oia to charge 30 euros for a pick-up from the airport? Could we take a bus and find our accommodation on our own? Just wondering!
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Old Feb 18th, 2010, 08:30 PM
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Hoteliers in FIrostephani & Fira Town often pick you up from airport & ferry port no charge. Hotels from Oia (except perhaps for the quite luxe ones) seem to charge ... to be fair, it is quite a bit farther. Taxis to Oia from airport or seaport are around 25€ or used to be.
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