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Greece Itinerary Suggestion: Athens, Crete, Santorini and where else ???

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Jan 19th, 2013, 07:37 PM
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Greece Itinerary Suggestion: Athens, Crete, Santorini and where else ???

DH and I are planning a trip to Greece in mid to late May/early June. Our trip will be about 12-14 days. We prefer to go when it's a little less hot and hopefully fewer crowds. We haven't booked our airfare or hotels yet.

Photography is always our biggest priority so, I'm asking my question purely from a photography standpoint. I'm looking for a suggestion for another island that we could add to our itinerary. We're thinking maybe 5 days in Crete, 3 in Santorini, 2 in Athens and we'd like to add one other island. This is our first trip to Greece and we're looking to see the highlights vs. an in depth itinerary of each island. I know people would say we could spend a month on Crete alone but, we don't need to do that.

If by chance it's possible to get to another island from Santorini for a day trip by ferry, we'd be open to doing that and adding more time there but, something tells me the nearby islands are just too far away to do so. Originally I had thought we'd visit Mykonos but, no one ever seems to recommend it and in fact it's quite the opposite. People seem to really discourage folks from going there. We're not sure what to do but, I know we'd like to add one more island. Any ideas????
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Jan 19th, 2013, 07:57 PM
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Hi

I've been to Paros and can highly recommend it. You can do a day trip to Antiparos, famous for its cave and for diving. I haven't been to Naxos but the island gets a big thumbs up in this forum. From Naxos you can do an easy day trip to Delos. Paros and Naxos are easily reached by ferry from Santorini.
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Jan 19th, 2013, 07:58 PM
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Oh, forgot to say that the above mentioned islands are of course not a day trip from Santorini
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Jan 19th, 2013, 08:20 PM
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Paros is an excellent choice as already mentioned, plus you can get to Delos from there as well on the same daytrip excursion boat the originates in Naxos, making your time at sea in this smallish boat shorter than if you were to stay on Naxos.
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Jan 20th, 2013, 02:11 AM
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From a photography standpoint you shouldn't be thinking about another island at all — there will be far more photo opportunities on the mainland. From Athens you can take a day trip to Delphi, but an overnight stay would be better. With two nights you could even include Meteora, one of the most photogenic sights in Greece. Do a search on Google Images and you will see what I mean.

Alternatively, Nafplio, a coastal town in the Peloponnese is only 2-3 hours from Athens and nearby are some of the most important archaeological sites in Greece. If you don't want to drive you can check out tours from Athens with Chat and Key, two local companies that can be found in a Google search. Also recommend the food tour offered by http://www.athens-walks.com.

It wasn't clear in your post whether you have time left only for a day trip, or if you can allocate a night or two for another location. If you have time only for a day trip, recommend either Delphi or an extra day in Athens. Many people on this board think Greece is only about Athens and the islands, but travellers 'in the know' make time for the mainland.
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Jan 20th, 2013, 02:20 AM
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Mykonos is a beautiful island, that i do recommend !!!
The island will be still quiet an the end of May, beginning of June, which will give you the opportunity to enjoy even more.

Mykonos has a big variety of very good hotels, many sandy beaches with crystal clear water and excellent restaurants, bars shops and nightlife....

The clubbing crowd gathers later than early June, and if you don't like clubbing and staying out till the dawn, you can have some very quiet days on Mykonos.

Mykoos Town is one of the most beautiful Choras of the Cyclades, and Delos is nearby, so if you wanted to go to Mykonos, i'd say don't skip it, you won't regret it
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Jan 20th, 2013, 07:03 AM
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I think too often people focus on the islands and neglect the mainland. For me, the mainland is much more interesting but I am interested in ancient Greece.

Take Heimdall's suggestion and head for the Peloponnese. Mycenae is amazing, Tiryns is so quiet we had to wake up the ticket taker in early May and Epidaurus is a wonder. And I haven't even mentioned Nemea, ancient Corinth or Nafplion. I also love Athens... in 2 days you'll just be scratching the surface especially since day 1 you'll be tired.
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Jan 20th, 2013, 08:00 AM
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Thanks for weighing in, this is quite helpful. As strange as this may sound, we're not all that interested in ancient history. The highlights will be plenty and I'm looking forward to seeing them. I should have also mentioned that we're in our 50's so clubbing isn't a priority. We will of course see the highlights in Athens and from what I've read a day or two is plenty. I hadn't even thought of Delphi but, I'll take a look at it.

I'm actually wondering if we are people who would enjoy Mykonos? Although I have nothing to base this on---I'm thinking it might be like comparing Kauai to Maui (Mykonos vs Paros or Naxos that is). I know most people LOVE Kauai for it's natural beauty. Although we like Kauai, we prefer Maui because there's more to do and mostly because it's not as quiet. I'm wondering if people don't really like Mykonos because it's more built up and touristy. That wouldn't really bother us because destinations are touristy for a reason. I may be way off base and it's hard when you have no frame of reference.

Purely from a photography standpoint, which destination would make the most sense for our trip---Delphi, Mykonos, Paros or Naxos? I'd probably pencil in 3 days and make this a 14 day trip.

Thanks again!
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Jan 20th, 2013, 08:58 AM
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For photography I also recommend Delphi,and Napflion
(although we enjoyed Mykonos.)
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Jan 20th, 2013, 10:09 AM
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There is only so much you can do even with 14 days.

Perhaps you would enjoy Mykonos, given what you wrote in your last post. As clausar wrote, it will still be quiet in early June, and I agree that it has probably the prettiest chora (main town) of all the Cyclades islands. You may not be all that interested in history, but Delos, only 30 minutes by boat from Mykonos harbor, offers some great photo ops. You may be interested in my photos of Delos (leading with a few from Mykonos) which reflect my interest in mosaics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/heimdal...7627791957268/

If you want some variety, though, I suggest you consider including a few days on the mainland outside of Athens. Here is an example of the sort of tour offered by Chat and Key: http://www.chatours.gr/tours.php?exc=10&exccat=1. I'm not endorsing that particular tour or company, just showing what is available. Browse through the websites and see if something appeals. If you are willing to rent a car you could make your own itinerary.
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Jan 20th, 2013, 10:13 AM
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There would be plenty to photograph in Paros. It has two ports, Parikia and Naoussa. Parikia is a busy harbor town where most of the island boats arrive, but it's got an interesting marketplace, a windmill, and the 6th century church of 100 doors.

Naoussa, on the other end of the island, used to be a quiet(er) fishing center, but now it's becoming more popular. It's beautiful, with typical whitewashed houses, winding streets, lots of stores and seafood restaurants, cafes, and a gorgeous harbor.

You could visit Golden Beach, which is one of the prettiest on the island and known for its windsurfing. Or visit the medieval hilltop village of Lefkes.

Also take a daytrip to Antiparos, as mentioned above.

We stayed just outside Naoussa two years ago, and loved the area so much we hope to go back again this summer. Anyway, I think it would a really lovely spot for a few idyllic late spring/early summer days before the crowds arrive!
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Jan 20th, 2013, 10:16 AM
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BTW, we also visited Naxos two years ago. Liked it very much, but thought there was more to see and do in Paros.
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Jan 20th, 2013, 10:32 AM
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And here are a few of the southern Peloponnese: http://www.flickr.com/photos/heimdal...7627739427148/. That's further than you would probably want to travel, but it shows a contrast with the arid, rocky Cyclades. Nafplio, also in the Peloponnese, is much nearer Athens.
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Jan 20th, 2013, 06:13 PM
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I think Mykonos would be a good addition from a photography standpoint as well as an easy ferry from Santorini. We took the Fast Cat ferry and I believe it was around 2 1/2 hours (?). As it has been mentioned it has a very charming and picturesque town.

I think you can find a "kodak" moment around every corner on any island. I'm working on trip #3 to the Greek Islands and find the most difficult part is narrowing down new places to explore and also include a favorite or two from previous trips.
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Jan 20th, 2013, 09:54 PM
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Another vote here for the mainland- peloponnese. So many beautiful sites, that are very photogenic, even if you don't mind the historical importance.

Top of my list photography-wise there would be Nafplio, monemvasia (esp. a little before sunset - when the island is engulfed in a crown of light and looks amazing from land), and Mystras. You can look all you potential destinations up on google images and decide which pictures are more appealing for you
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Jan 21st, 2013, 06:26 PM
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Oh my, thank you all so much for sharing your ideas and especially your photos! This is now becoming so much more complicated because it makes me wish we had 3 weeks instead of 2! I'm very busy Googling images of all the destinations mentioned. I came across a Stock Photo of Naoussa Harbor and it's absolutely STUNNING. I'll post back when I have a final itinerary but in the mean time I just wanted to say thanks for all your helpful suggestions! Now I'm thinking we may drop Crete and focus more on the mainland and islands.
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Jan 22nd, 2013, 06:46 PM
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I don't think there is any island that would be a day trip from Santorini. One of the closer ones worth a visit would be Folegandros but you still need to make your way back to Athens. Naxos is one of my favourite islands and the nearby island of Amorgos. Both Amorgos and Folegandros would require knowing how often ferries are coming and going because in May they may not be daily. Naxos on the other hand will have daily ferries coming and going.
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Jan 22nd, 2013, 07:08 PM
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We much preferred Naoussa on Paros to Santorini with all it's tourists.
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Jan 22nd, 2013, 07:14 PM
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Oia never seemed crazy with tourists to us. Now, Fira was busy! Oia, very quiet except when the tour bus was in town. We would find a nice cafe or go back to our terrace overlooking the caldera. It was very relaxing the end of May/first of June.

This was our apartment both trips:

http://www.liveinsantorini.gr
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Jan 24th, 2013, 12:48 AM
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if photos are so important for you I think that Santorini is an island that you have to put it on your plan,
then you have to make decision for the next island according to the ferry connections and not compering one island with the other. All of them have something that you can not find to the other, like Paros with Naousa or the village Lefkes witch is not so famous to the tourists but it is graphical and traditional, even Myconos to the most of the people is well know for the night life, but there are places like the small "venice" or the windmills, which you can not find in the other islands, ir Naxos island the town is much more nice from the others, Crete as you mention a lot of people they can say that you need 1 month there are so many places in Crete to visit and having wonderful photos.
In case you will add the mainland you can have the option even to go North from Athens and visit Delphi and the unique Meteora with the monasteries or to go South in Peloponnese with Nafplio, Monemvasia, Sparta, Olympia etc
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