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OverIt Dec 24th, 2017 05:07 AM

Greece from the US- book now? Thoughts?
Family of four, went to Santorini-Naxos-Athens last year, loved it, planning to go back.

We're focused on returning to Naxos and Athens. Maybe taking a day trip to Paros. Last time we flew into Santorini and ferried over to Naxos because we saved a bunch of money that way.

This year, BOS-ATH roundtrip on our dates costs the same as BOS-JTR, ATH-BOS. Round trip from Athens to Naxos costs about $200 per person.

So we'd save a bit of money if we flew into Santorini and there would be the added bonus of not worrying about missing the Olympic Air flight from Athens to Naxos if our international flight gets delayed. We would stay one night in Santorini and ferry over to Naxos the next day.

Wondering whether it's best to skip Santorini and just focus on Athens-Naxos-Athens?We know the lay of the land now so it wouldn't be too much trouble to land in Santorini and make our way over to the ferry the next day.

I was thinking to stay at the Majestic for that one night in Thira but couldn't believe the price. Last night I tried to book one room for one night and it was $563 US. Last year, the same room for the same night was about $260. I liked the Majestic because of the pool, etc., and it seemed family friendly (we have two kids). (Side note - last year we ended up staying at the lovely Laokasti Villas in Oia which was very family friendly - wouldn't mind staying there again but it's too far from the airport and ferry for our purposes)

Any thoughts? Book now or wait? Currently, the flight prices are on par with what we paid last year (the euro is stronger/ dollar is weaker now)

HappyTrvlr Dec 24th, 2017 05:17 AM

Focus on Naxos, Paros and Athens. From Paros you can also visit Antiparos.

neckervd Dec 24th, 2017 08:24 AM

Piraeus (port of Athens) - Naxos RT by ferry costs actually 40 EUR/pax.

Heimdall Dec 24th, 2017 08:43 AM

There are two Blue Star ferries from Piraeus to Naxos every day, stopping first at Paros. In most cases the ferry is cheaper than flights, but takes a little longer. Suggest, rather than a day trip to Paros, spending a couple of nights there before going on to Naxos. That will save you the extra cost of two more ferries, and give you more time to see the sights on Paros.

If you decide to fly to Santorini, same goes. It would be better to spend a couple of nights on Paros than to take a day trip. I love Naxos, but I love Paros and Antiparos more.

OverIt Dec 24th, 2017 10:45 AM

I like the idea of going to Paros from Athens and then going to Naxos.

Would the thing to do stay over night in Athens, take the first ferry to Paros, then spend the day and one or two nights in Paros, ferry to Naxos, three nights in Naxos, fly to Athens, two nights in Athens?

Where to stay in Paros? With two small kids?

OverIt Dec 24th, 2017 11:23 AM

Would it be possible to land in Athens at 2:45 then catch a ferry to Parod that same day?? Or would that be too risky?

Heimdall Dec 24th, 2017 12:53 PM

It should be possible if your flight arrives on time, but will be cutting it close. Allow about an hour to go through passport control and collect your bags, but it will usually be less. Allow another 1hr 15min to take a taxi from the airport to Piraeus docks. Unless you are travelling in August you can wait and buy your ferry tickets at the booth next to the ferry, and the taxi will take you right up to the docks. There is no check in process for the ferries, you just wheel your luggage up the ramp and hand in your ticket as you board.

If you feel that’s too much of a risk, Paros has a larger airport than Naxos, and the planes that land there have more seats. Otherwise you could stay overnight in Piraeus and take the 7:25am Blue Star the next morning, and arrive on Paros about 11:30am.

OverIt Dec 25th, 2017 02:04 AM

What's Piraeus like? Decent for an overnight? Last time we went to Greece the first day we couldn't get up until noon! Jet lag. Flights we are looking at arrive around 3 PMish.

Are Paros beaches anything like St George's? We loved the shallow beaches for our kids. I'm intrigued by Paros & Antiparos but am also drawn to the idea of going somewhere where I know where everything is and not having to move around too much.

OverIt Dec 25th, 2017 03:03 AM

Hmmm...are there only two ferries from Piraeus to Paros/Naxos - one at 7 AM and one at 4 PM. That might not work well for us, as we were so jet lagged last time that we all had to be dragged out of bed the first day in Greece at noon!!! Maybe Rafina is a better bet?

Heimdall Dec 25th, 2017 09:32 AM

Overlt, unless I missed it, you haven’t mentioned what time of year you are travelling, so I told you only about the year-round Cyclades ferries. In the summer are also highspeed ferries, and they usually leave either early morning or late afternoon. A 7am ferry can complete its route through the islands and be back at Piraeus late that night, ready to do the same trip the next day. Middle of the day ferries are mostly on shorter routes such as the Saronic Gulf islands.

If you are looking to save money, forget about highspeeds, as they are twice the price of conventional ferries.

Heimdall Dec 25th, 2017 09:39 AM

Regarding Paros beaches, there are lots of choices ranging from long sandy ones similar to those at Naxos to small sandy coves, which I prefer because they are more sheltered from wind.

Antiparos has mostly gently sloping beaches, which is one reason the island is so popular with families. Another reason families like it is the traffic free main street lined with shops, sidewalk cafes, and tavernas.

OverIt Dec 25th, 2017 01:22 PM

Thanks for the info. We are planning to
Leave August 28, return September 5. I don’t think I cN get my family up in time to catch the 7 am ferry. It would be nice if we could catch the evening ferry but I don’t want to risk missing it!!

ToujoursVoyager Dec 25th, 2017 06:41 PM

This year my mom flew from Athens to Paros. My advice would be to just catch a short plane ride from Athens airport if you are already going to be there. Leaving the airport to go to the port, finding your ferry and waiting for it can be tough if you are jet lagged.

In terms of if your plane ticket is a good deal, I would need to know how much is the plane ticket you are considering.

Heimdall Dec 26th, 2017 12:12 AM

Tickets for Paros and Naxos on Aegean/Olympic are all Flex, and normal price for one-way is about €100, so anything less would be a good price. Paros has a longer runway, and flights are on 78 pax Dash 8-400 aircraft rather than the smaller ATR-42 that flies to Naxos. Sky Express also has ATR-42 flights to both islands, and tickets may be a little cheaper.

You should be able to find a flight with a 2-3 hour layover in Athens that will get you to the island in late afternoon. The afternoon Blue Star leaves Piraeus every day at 5:30 pm, taking 4 hours to Paros and 5 hours (the next stop) to Naxos. Were it me, as I always do, would try to get to the island the same day as arrival in Athens.

Should you decide to fly you need to book tickets well in advance, but with the ferry you can wait to buy your tickets when you get to Athens. Ferries won’t be full going out to the islands at the end of August, while the ones returning to Athens that time of year sometimes are. You will be travelling mid-week when ferries aren’t as busy as on weekends.

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