Greece: Which Island??

Jan 19th, 2009, 10:51 PM
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Greece: Which Island??

Hi. I would like to surprise my husband for his birthday in May and take him to Greece. Neither of us has been there. We both love to hang out, take it easy, enjoy the sun, and do a little sightseeing. But the emphasis this time is on gorgeous relaxing scenery and beaches. What is the most gorgeous island in Greece to hang out for one week? And could you recommend a gorgeous, unique hotel to go with it?

thanks, Tamara
tamarat is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 12:30 AM
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Check out Santorini. It's the most spectacularly beautiful of the Greek islands. The village of Oia is the most timeless village on the island and there are hotels in every price category. State your daily room budget and I'll give you some suggestions. The beaches disappoint some people because they're either black or red rock/pebbbles/grit and not of the 'usual' white sand variety, but the sea is beautiful. It's possible that it might not be warm enough for swimming in May, however, so be forewarned. Also, most hotels don't heat their pools.
brotherleelove2004 is online now  
Jan 20th, 2009, 05:36 AM
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Totally agree with BTL. Couldn't have said it better. We were in Oia a couple of months ago and it's almost sensual it's so beautiful.
dfr4848 is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 05:38 AM
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My knowledge is 20 years old but from our many previous trips to Crete I do remember very good beaches, stunning countryside, picture postcard landscapes/fishing villages. Some of these may have changed but it does seem clear from the many reviews around (outside this forum) that Elounda Bay has some of the best hotels in Greece. (if not Europe)

markrosy is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 05:41 AM
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ps In May, we are off sailing around one of the few Greek Islands we haven't been to - Kefalonia (Tuscany by the Sea). It looks very unspoilt (if you discount the Earthquake of 53).

I have never really "got" Santorini but its definitely a tick list destination.
markrosy is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 06:11 AM
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Thank you so much for all of your quick replies. BTL, you seem to be the recognized authority on this site! How do you have the time to answer everyone?! And so thoroughly!

Do you think one week on Santorini is too much though? Would you split it up between two islands, and if so, which would you add? Is it too weird to go to Greece and spend time in only one place?

Re the beaches, I do have a vision of lying on white soft sand...but I can get over that part - Santorini seems to be the favourite. If you would split it up with another island though, is your next favourite one with the white-sand variety? (if not, that's okay. I would really want the two best, unless the consensus is that Santorini for one week is not too much of one thing).

Re hotels: I would love one that is luxury with a stunning view - the budget is in the $250-300/night range. Is that possible in that price range? thanks again, tamara
tamarat is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 10:44 AM
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I know a helpful amount about Athens, Santorini, and some things about other islands, but as for the rest of Greece, my info is limited to the basics. Others here are more knowledgeable when it comes to other parts of the country.

I go for 4 weeks at a time. I certainly believe that staying in one place for 7 days is not a bad idea. Others will disagree. One week will fly by. That's a decision you'll have to make for yourself. Take into consideration your method of travel and the time it will take you to move from one location to the other. Start with packing up your stuff, checking out of your hotel, making your way to the ferry port or airport for the hop to your next destination, waiting for your departure, the actual transit time between islands, finding your way to your new hotel and finally, unpacking and settling in. That can take most of a day, if not longer, depending on where else you go.

Close to Santorini by ferry are Naxos and Paros, two islands with better beaches and lots to see and do without the annoying influx of hordes of cruise ship tourists and the crowding they cause.

"Luxury" is a word often mis-applied to hotels by their owners, but if you are thinking of the top 10% or so of hotels on Santorini, that probably won't be enough money, even in May. Some hotels that are very good bargains for the money spent are Strogili Houses, Rimida Villas, Aspa Villas, Nostos Apartments, Kima Villas, Atrina, Delfini Hotel (Cave House Suite) Filotera Villas, Caldera Villas, Chelidonia Villas, Aris Caves, Old Oia Houses, Fotinos Houses, MyBlue, Golden Sunset Villas and Esperas.
brotherleelove2004 is online now  
Jan 20th, 2009, 10:47 AM
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Several ferries go from Santorini daily to Naxos, which is popularly acknowledged as having just about the best beaches in the Cyclades... But I must correct you on "white" -- only coral-based sands (Caribben and Pacific) can be white -- in the Med, the palest sand beaches are golden. I trust thta will be good enough.

The question is, will it be warm enough to swim? You say only "May" and do not share what week -- and believe me, it makes a difference. It also makes a difference where YOU come from ... us NOrtheasterners are sturdier stuff than Southerners. I have swum off Naxos beaches by about May 15, and it's fine, though "brisk" to start with. In Naxos, Ag.Giorgios beach is shallow & warms up first; Ag Prokopios is DEEEEp, Ag. Anna Beach may work from mid-May on. Beaches are all great for sunbathing, all of May.

Naxos has some deluxe hotels but not at the super-luxe of Santorini -- and its luxury places are generally back from the beach and have pools (but are unheated, so what's the point?).
Here's a typical nice beachfront Ag. Anna hotel where it's all about breezes, view, quiet, etc.
--here's a great one on Plaka beach:
... as with all hotels, i suggest you check guest reviews by googling and adding "trip advisor"

What to do on Naxos? Plenty. heres a slide show of beaches, towns, sunsets etc.

BrotherLee can advise on Santorini hotels... the Naxos hotels will still have ample occupancy; Santorini is filling up VERY fast because of its rank as HOneymoon Heaven.

Enjoy your stay at BOTH islands.
travelerjan is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 11:00 AM
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Romance, views and sunsets are sure to be found in Santorini, Oia specifically. You canít go wrong with this location, even for a full week. Naxos is a great inexpensive beach type stay but itís not the Caribbean sand and seas, but still very charming. (I live in Southern California and we do have some great sandy beaches here but Iím not crazy about the big waves.) If I had a full week (meaning more than 5 days) I would split my trip into two locations but then I like to experience different places. I have been to both Oia and Naxos, as well as the Caribbean, but I LOVED Greece when we went this past May/June. It is now on the top of my list for places to visit (along with Italy, which Iím going back to this year.) I even loved Athens! All the food, the spices, the ruinsÖ. I am often tossing around the idea of going to the Caribbean (because it IS so relaxing) or Europe for vacation and I always choose anywhere in the Mediterranean. Something about that area just draws me to it, even though the Caribbean is so much closer, and therefore cheaper.
loves2sing is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 06:43 PM
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loves2sing, I always advise Americans that if what they mainly care about is sun & beaches, save on airfare and just go to the Caribbean, Greece is wasted on you.

If you care about history, culture, architecture, art, landscapes -- Greece is the place. If not, the VIrgin Islands have great beaches.
travelerjan is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 10:53 PM
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Oh I don't know, I'm not much into history, architecture or art, and I didn't think Greece was wasted on me at all and I would still choose Greece over the Caribbean any day.
loves2sing is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 11:44 PM
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Hi Tamara
I am planning a trip to Greece at the moment and have found Matt Barrets website of great help -

Frances_Josephine is offline  
Jan 21st, 2009, 06:36 AM
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I would like to add a wonderful NEW all-purpose Greece-info website to the frequently-recommmended Barrett site:

Barrett's site has many fans over many years -- partly because it's easy to read & understand, easy to navigate to interests, and photos are interwoven with the texts so well.

Alas, the Barrett site's fame has outlasted its merits -- too much of it has not been updated in quite a while. Also, regrettably, I think it promotes certain places & services that the site-creator may be involved with financially.

This new link is the FIRST I've found that does it just as well, and is super easy to find info & print it out; no surprise, since its creator is a teacher(!!). He is Also Greek, living in Greece.

Check it out & compare, perhaps for a destination and also for topics like Greek cuisine & products. SUPER.

travelerjan is offline  
Jan 21st, 2009, 06:39 AM
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To love2sing -- I didn't mean DON'T go to Greece just for the beaches, as long as you have the money and time for the longer air trip.

I guess my advice was to people who are on a lower budget and mainly want good beaches at lower cost.
travelerjan is offline  
Jan 21st, 2009, 07:01 AM
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Santorini is one of the most beautiful islands I've ever visited, and a week will fly by there. We visited again during the last week of May, and while it was quite warm during the days, the water was still too cold for me, and I'm from Boston!
Weadles is offline  
Jan 21st, 2009, 11:42 AM
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>Alas, the Barrett site's fame has outlasted its merits -- too much of it has not been updated in quite a while. Also, regrettably, I think it promotes certain places & services that the site-creator may be involved with financially.<

Thank you, travelerjan. Perfectly put. His site most certainly does promote certain places, services AND businesses. Whether he gains financially I do not know but I get uneasy at the number of times he gets recommended here.


joe4212 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2009, 04:41 AM
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I Completly agreee with Santorini- I was there last year for My Honeymoon. It was relaxing, beautiful, with some sights to see. We stayed at the Anastasis Apts. You can look it up on trip Advisor it is teh #1 rated hotel in Santorinin on trip advisor. It is between the 2 main town, and there is a bus stop right out fornt. Service is excellent..only 10 rooms. It has a beautiful infinity pool and is the perfect spot to have a bottle of wine and watch the sunset ever night!
jetset37 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2009, 04:53 AM
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I am totally biased, my parents live on Skiathos, absolutely beautiful island, and also where parts of the Mamma Mia movie was filmed, along with the next door island of Skopelos. Skiathos has about 60 different beaches, some of which are my favorite places in the the world. Its a 45 minute flight from Athens to Skiathos. Or you might try getting a package deal from a UK company, flying into the UK and then you get a direct flight from the UK to the island of your choice. Good Luck and I hope you have a wonderful time.
britgirl8409 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2009, 05:20 AM
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In November we stayed at Villa San Giorgio..a local small hotel very close to the square and shopping areas..and Caldera. Very clean and view of sea at the room. "George" owns and runs the place...picks up at the airport and pier, and is a fine host. It was 40 Euro pernight, with juice, cake and coffee in the morning delivered by George. Very highly recommend! He recommended a Great local cafe. jack and kay
65775 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2009, 05:21 AM
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Santorini is by far the best, but there is a great company that specializes in Greek "tours" - they make all the arrangements for you...all you have to do is show up. Check out - I HIGHLY recommend them. I did Athens / Santorini / Mykonos a few years ago, and each island had it's own personality, but for relaxing, sight-seeing and the sheer beauty and romanticism, Santorini is definitely the way to go.
LoveAdventure is offline  

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