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Greek Islands - Difficult decision on which ones to choose

Greek Islands - Difficult decision on which ones to choose

Old Mar 21st, 2013, 06:17 PM
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Greek Islands - Difficult decision on which ones to choose

My husband and I are planning to go to Greece in September, for around 30 days. We have already been to Santorini, Paros, Mikonos, Milos and Folegandros, so we would like to visit different islands this time. We have already decided to go to Crete and Rhodes, but I am really in doubt regarding which other islands we should include in our itinerary. We are a couple around 50's, we prefer small villages instead of crowds, nice and cozy hotels rather the large resorts and we enjoy having good food in unpretensious restaurants.

My first selection included Sifnos, Sikinos, Anafi, Koufonissia, Symi, Lipsi, Patmos, Ikaria and the Fourni Islands, Skopelos and Alonysos. Obviously there are more islands in this list than we can visit in one trip, specially considering that we will spend some time in Crete and Rhodes.

I would appreciate any thoughts that could help us to choose 5 or 6 islands of the list above, or maybe include some other ones I haven´t consider.
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Old Mar 21st, 2013, 11:54 PM
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Since you have already been to the Cyclades, and will be going to Crete and Rhodes, this time why not concentrate on islands in the Dodecanese and NE Aegean? Apart from Rhodes, islands that come to mind are Kos, Nissiros, Patmos, and Samos. Nissiros is a popular day trip from Kos, primarily to see the volcanic caldera, but it might be worth a few days stay, and from Samos you could take a day trip to Ephesus.

Like your list, that would be too many to visit in 30 days. Have you thought about spending some time on the mainland? Since your last trip was to the islands, another island hopping trip would be somewhat of a duplication. Instead you could visit Delphi, Meteora, and parts of northern Greece, where you can get away from the crowds and spend time in small villages. That would also enable you to visit Skopelos and Alonissos, which are reached by ferry from Volos and Agios Konstantinos.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2013, 12:41 AM
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The Dodecanese has so many great islands.
A few more would be Astypalaia, Kalymnos, Patmos and Chalki...
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Old Mar 22nd, 2013, 02:29 AM
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We did a two week sailing trip of the Dodecanese last summer and loved it. Our favourite islands were Lipsi, Kalymnos and Patmos...

Kos was our least favourite - just seemed like a lot of tourists with lots of bars with people getting drunk. Not really our scene.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2013, 02:49 AM
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I agree about Kos, but enjoyed staying at Kefalos, which is lots quieter than some other parts of the island.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2013, 06:52 AM
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Do not agree about Kos. I've been to Kos in October twice on day trips from Rhodes - interesting and not full of drunken tourists. Most of the islands are overcrowded during July-Augsust. Patmos and Leros are on my list and Symi is a common day trip from Rhodes. You can check the ferry or Dodenkanisos Seaways chedules and either do a 2-3 day trip or some day trips from Rhodes. Also, the day trips to Marmaris, Turkey are interesting.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2013, 06:58 AM
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If your sequence is Crete - Rhodes - ?? You might consider a follow-on we tried ... Ferry from Rhodes to Patmos ... about 5 hour ferry. This is useful because (like Santorini in the Cyclades) Patmos is the "link" to other island chains. Thus you can go on to Samos, there's normally a ferry every day, 2 on some days.

Samos is very enjoyable on its own -- western Samos is hiker paradise; at dinner in Vathy one night we met a pack of British walkers (aged 70-90!!) who'd just hiked 15 miles thru tiny villages there). As Heimdall notes, you can do a nice day-trip VERY handily to Ephesus, easiest way to visit this memorable site. To see something of western Samos If u do not rent a car, in the past the Vathy bus system offered a nice day trip, don't know if it runs in Sept.

Next, with a little ferry-juggling, you can hop over to Chalki and back ... unforgettable. Rent a car for a day, and visit the Mastic villages ... like nothing you'll see anywhere else, and NOT "touristic." Due to ferry schedules, we could only do it for 1.5 days (arriving one night at lmost midnight, and leaving early on the 2nd day), but wish we'd had more time to explore th stunning beaches too... in Sept, the water should be divine.

To get back to Mainland or nearer islands, only 2 ferry routes -- to Piraeus or Syros. Latter might be an interesting stop, since most of us don't try it, just to see the spectacle of the Hermopolis main "plaza" ... evidence of a splendid prosperous past. Very different ambience from other Cycladic islands ... this one's 99% for Greeks, and u feel it. (stores don't even sell postcards).
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Old Mar 22nd, 2013, 07:10 AM
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There are no Mastic villages on Chalki, which is a Dodecanese island, the Mastic villages are on the island of Chios.

Last year a major fire burned thousands of mastic trees on Chios, the island is trying to recover from this loss, since these trees are unique in the world.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2013, 08:44 AM
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Hi mes2525,

You're not likely to find drunken tourists on any Greek island in October, but I was on Kos in August. You can find quiet places just about anywhere, and Kefalos was one of them, but not far down the road at Kardamena was what jamikins described.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2013, 09:09 AM
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Yup - we were there in August too - maybe we should have organised a meet-up
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Old Mar 22nd, 2013, 09:49 AM
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Sorry, I meant Chios, I mistyped. Im devastated to learn of Mastic tree fire ... I've been to Peloponnese to areas that had forest fires and they recovered in a few years, but Mastic trees are much more vulnerable... I hope the fire was not due to human carelessness..
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Old Mar 24th, 2013, 12:27 PM
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Thank you all for your insights.

I decided to jump the Cyclads this time, so we will concentrate in Crete and the Dodecanese and NE Aegean islands. Makes a lof of sense!

Patmos is included in several of your lists, and will be in mine too. I am not thinking in going to Kos - I noticed that some people loves it, others don´t, and I wouldn´t like to take the risk. And I will do some more researh regarding the other islands you suggested.

Just a few questions more:

- Symi is a commom day-trip from Rhodes, but does it worth it to stay overnight?

- And how about Ikaria and the Fourni Islads, anybody has alreadt been there? Any thoughts about them?
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Old Mar 24th, 2013, 01:12 PM
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I doubt you will be able to island hop through the Dodecanese without stopping at Kos, but of course you don't have to get off the ferry. Unfavourable comments about the island refer to its package holiday/party reputation, but that applies to July and August, not September and October. Kos was the home of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, and you can even see the plane tree where he was said to have taught. Kos Town itself is beautiful, and well worth a visit, especially in September when the package tourists have returned home.

Before deciding on which islands to visit, do some research and decide which ones are right for you, not what others have recommended. You itinerary will be governed by the ferry routes, and not all timetables for September have been published. Include some flexibility in your plans. You won't need to prebook ferries or rooms that time of year, so can adjust your itinerary as you go along. That is the best way to island hop — if you like where you are, stay a little longer — if not, get on the next ferry.
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Old Mar 25th, 2013, 08:38 AM
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Hello carment
Yes yoy can stay overnight in symi but is very difficult to find a hotel there.This small island have only few hotels.If you book an hotel there try to find one in hora near the port because is very steep and is difficult to go to Hotel .The view from the top I'll be unforgettable .when you buy tickets from rhodes tell them you stay overnight .
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