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Greece -- Koufonisia or Naxos

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Mar 10th, 2016, 01:40 PM
  #1
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Greece -- Koufonisia or Naxos

Hello! Everyone has been so helpful with my last question I'm back with more.

We are going to Greece the end of June with my brother's family. We have a two year old and they have a 4 and 6 year old. We will be going to Oia in Santorini for 3 nights (already booked a place) and then moving on to what we hoped was one of the smaller more low-key islands. I was originally excited about Zakynthos but the other family doesn't feel it looks as kid friendly (more rocky beaches and party scene). I would love to explore Shipwreck Beach and the caves and I felt sure there would be other stuff for us to do on the island. But Naxos, Paros, Antiparos, Koufonisia also looked appealing to all of us so we decided on that route instead.

We are super excited about the caves, Milk beach and general beauty of the coast on Koufonisia and also excited about the town in Naxos and the child friendly beaches. Besides the fact that this late in the game, a lot of the best places are booked, which location is better for us? After exploring Koufonisia coast, are we going to run out of things to see? Besides the town and beaches in Naxos is there anything magical like on Koufonisia or is it more commercial and touristy feeling? In my head I picture Koufonisia as quiet, tiny (almost boring) but with some great natural sights. In Naxos I picture a cute town with moderately busy streets and a much more commercial feel but less naturally beautiful. We didn't exactly decide against Paros or Antiparos, the other two mentioned above just seemed more our speed. You are welcome to weigh in on those as well or other islands similar that we have not considered.

Please tell me which island you prefer and feel free to prove the picture in my head wrong (without being cruel, this is just my first time being introduced to them and only know what I know from little internet blurbs). Remember, we will have small children with us but are also quite adept at traveling with them as we do it quite frequently.



Thanks in advance!!
charlottemarlowe is offline  
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Mar 10th, 2016, 02:06 PM
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Antiparos is very kid/family friendly and there's an amazing cavern to explore up in the hills.
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
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Mar 10th, 2016, 09:55 PM
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Zakynthos is a very exciting island and definitely a not boring one!
I am not sure where you got the information about Zakynthos being an island with rocky beaches, because this is absolutely not the case.

On the contrary the island has many great child friendly sandy beaches. Zakynthos is not a party island either.. the only place i would personally avoid is the village of Laganas, which attracts mainly young Brits.

The only downside would be getting there from Santorini, as you would have to go via Athens, something that is time consuming ...

It would be better to stay in the Aegean and visit some of the other islands that are geographically in the same group. ( Cyclades).
clausar is offline  
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Mar 11th, 2016, 01:58 AM
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>>I was originally excited about Zakynthos but the other family doesn't feel it looks as kid friendly<<

On the contrary, Zakynthos is very kid friendly (much more so than Santorini) and there are tens of thousands of children arriving each summer on package holidays from virtually every country in Europe. The problem is that to get there from Santorini in reasonable amount of time means flying via Athens which may be expensive and depending on flight times, may still take a whole day.

>>In my head I picture Koufonisia as quiet, tiny (almost boring) but with some great natural sights.<<

We went to Koufonissia in late June 3-4 years ago and found it overrun by tourists. The beaches do look very nice on pictures but in fact they are small and narrow. If you come after 11am you may not be able to find a place to put your towel, especially as a large family. And there is a constant stream of people walking along the cost from port to Pori Beach and back disturbing sunbathers. Other than the incredible blue colour of the sea and some nice rock formations (better seen from a boat than from the coast), there are no great natural sights.I failed to feel anything magical about it. In fact I think it's rather overhyped.

>>After exploring Koufonisia coast, are we going to run out of things to see?<<

Koufonissia is flat and tiny. You can walk around it in a couple of hours. In a day, you could do it several times. So yes, you are going to run out of things to see unless you like seeing the same things more than once. But to Koufonissia's credit, it's a great springboard for day trips to Iraklia or/and Schinoussa (out in the morning and back in late afternoon) so it may help to address some of the boredom that may arise if you are planning to stay there longer than 2-3 days.

>>In Naxos I picture a cute town with moderately busy streets and a much more commercial feel but less naturally beautiful<<

Yes, Naxos is going to be moderately busy in end June but it is also much bigger so people can spread out. If they do not want other tourists crawling all over them they can escape to Plaka or souther beaches. Naxos is IMO much more naturally beautiful than Koufonissia but to see the full beauty of Naxos you will need to rent a car and go to the mountains. The bus service is reasonably frequent to Ag. Prokopios, Ag Anna, Plaka and some of the villages but not to all the beauty spots inland (like the spectacular northern road from Naxos town to Apollonas).

I do not know Paros and Antiparos well enough to comment. We only stayed in Paros once for 3 days with a day trip to Antiparos to see the caves. In many ways it is similar to Naxos but less mountainous.
mrsbolshie is offline  
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Mar 11th, 2016, 02:39 AM
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I concur with everything mrsbolshie wrote about Koufonisi (Koufonisia means the two islands of Ano and Kato Koufonisi, only one of which is inhabited). Koufonisi is popular with Swedish tourists whose schools break up in the middle of June, so by the time you get there it will be busy. Small islands are not quieter in high season because they have less space to spread out, and have fewer choices for lodging and eating.

As I recall it takes about 45 minutes to walk from the village to Pori Beach, the best on Koufonisi. I went to Koufonisi in mid-May when it was much quieter. There is not much to do during the day except sit at the beach, so I got bored and left after a few days, moving on to Antiparos.

Antiparos is famous for its sea caves. They are at the southern end of the island near San Georgio, which is sheltered from the north winds. Several excursion boats stop at the sea caves as part of their island trips, and it may be possible to hire kayaks at San Georgio. Have a look at photos in the gallery of this website:
http://captainbenantiparos.com
Heimdall is offline  
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Mar 11th, 2016, 07:14 AM
  #6
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Thank you all for your helpful advice!!
charlottemarlowe is offline  
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Mar 11th, 2016, 08:06 AM
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Just anther thought on Naxos. While Naxos town can absorb lots of tourists there is only one main street which parallels the waterfront promenade. There is traffic during the day but that street is closed on the evening so there is no traffic at all.

Of course there is traffic from the Port but that is funneled around Naxos town.

As previously mentioned Naxos is pretty large so the tourists can disburse so its not crowded. (Wait till the tour buses arrive in Oia then you will see crowded)

The mountain villages are part of Naxos charm. You can see what Greece used to be like.

St George Beach is where you should concentrate you hotel search. It is lined with hotels in every price range. It is a good beach and there will be lots of kids around for your children to play with.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr...7656336387898/

St George is also directly adjacent to Naxos town so it is no more than a 10 minute stroll into all the activities of town.
Here is what Naxos is like
Naxos Town http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7632094558042/
Trip around Naxos http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7634605629689/
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