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Greek islands: Please help me fill 3 nights between Paros & Crete

Greek islands: Please help me fill 3 nights between Paros & Crete

Jan 4th, 2007, 06:00 PM
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Greek islands: Please help me fill 3 nights between Paros & Crete

Well, I am still looking for airfare, but we have a week on Paros & a week on Crete pinned down. Now we need to figure out where to spend the 3 nights in between.

Background - 4 or 5 women pals, meeting up in Athens for a couple nights (most of us have been there before & are looking forward to seeing it again) before we head to Paros for one week. We then have one week on Crete, but the way the reservations went (timeshare points) we have 3 nights to fill. We are going in late June for various reasons (a little strange for me as I seldom travel overseas after mid-June)so I know we will be encountering crowds as the summer begins.

Our interests include roaming around ruins, museums, churches, history, food & drink, hiking, water activites (and non-activities!), wandering through towns, shopping for crafts, listening to music (traditional and non) and basically hanging out and enjoying the scene!

Ideas include Santorini (yes, will be crowded I am sure, but most of us want to see this amamzing-looking place) or Rhodes. Rhodes came up because of the history, so we would most likely want to stay in town.

Another interest was Lesvos (Murphy's report a factor here!), but seems way out of our way. However, we are Greek island newbies (not counting one long ago vague memory of Ios) and so are really looking for some experienced advice.

Also plan a day trip to Delos & I think from Paros this is not too hard, correct?

I have posted previously with airfare questions, but if anyone has seen any good deals on getting to Athens, pls share. I checked the Aegeana site and found some good fares from Franfurt and Milan, but still finding pretty high fares getting to Europe from US west coast...
annabelle2 is offline  
Jan 4th, 2007, 06:17 PM
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From Paros it is too far to contemplate Lesvos or Rhodes. You should look at visiting Islands in the Cyclades which are all within a few hours of Paros by ferry.
Paros is an hour ferry to Naxos. You can spend the whole day wandering the twisty streets of Naxos town, spend an hour on St George beach, have dinner and still return all in a day.
Ther are two tours of Delos from Paros however you have to catch the ships at Nauossa not at the main town.

Santorini is about a 4 to 5 hour ferry ride on the regular ferry but by late June the high speed ferry should be running. I suspect you will want to stay overnight. It is spectacular.
stanbr is offline  
Jan 5th, 2007, 01:41 AM
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Santorini would be the most logical choice, as it is between Paros and Crete, and on the same Flying Cat 4 ferry route. Naxos or Mykonos would be other possibilities.

Rhodes and Lesbos are in completely different parts of the Aegean, requiring a detour via Athens both there and back for flights or ferries. Two of those three days would be taken up just with travel.
Heimdall is online now  
Jan 5th, 2007, 10:29 AM
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Thanks for your insights.

I agree that Lesvos looked out of our general direction, but it sounded interesting!

Going over to Naxos also sounds like a good possibility for the nights after Paros.

I am gathering that it isn't likely that we could travel from Paros-Rhodes-Crete? I have looked at some ferry sites but have not been too successful so far finding routes for the summer. We don't mind spending a day just traveling, since we will have had a full week on Paros & then will have one on Crete, but also don't want to wander around the Aegean crazily for 3 days.

Santorini does seem like the best choice. What do you think of just making our decision on our 3 free nights when we actually get to Greece? Since we have the Paros/Crete lodging already booked, I am not adverse to winging a few nights. However, I still am a little confused on when things start to get really booked in the islands. I am talking about around July 7-9. Would we be nuts to not have a reservation somewhere for those nights (especially on, say, Santorini)?

Thanks, all!
annabelle2 is offline  
Jan 5th, 2007, 10:44 AM
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Ferry schedules for next July probably won't be published until at least May or June.

If you could possibly change your route to Paros>Crete>Rhodes it can be done easily by ferry without backtracking. Take the highspeed ferry from Paros to Crete, then the car ferry from Crete to Rhodes. If you can't change your itinerary then you can take a ferry from Santorini to Rhodes, but it will be the one I mentioned above that stops at Crete on the way to Rhodes. I don't know about schedules for next July, but now that ferry leaves Santorini at 4:40 AM, not a very convenient time. You'll have to find a taxi to the port or rent a car you can drop off there.

Rooms in July are harder to come by without a reservation, but not impossible if you're willing to do the legwork once you arrive. There will be at least one room-finder business near the ferry port that will be able to find you something, as well as locals who meet the boats with rooms to rent, so yes, you can just wait until you're there to make your final decision.
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Jan 5th, 2007, 11:00 AM
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Thanks for your additional ideas, brotherleelove. I have bookmarked some of your other posts, and I know you are a Santorini fan and a wealth of information about the Greek islands.

My only concern about spending the 3 nights on Santorini is that a couple of my travel companions (none of whom have actually been there) have made some "isn't it too popular and crowded" comments. This attitude never makes that much sense to me -- amazing places are often filled with other people! -- but I wonder if 3 nights would be too long for this group.

Personally, I could just sit and look at that view for 3 days, but we are all different!

Would it logistically makes sense to take our day trip to Delos from Santorini instead of Paros? That would give us some options of how to spend our time if Santorini seemed a little crowded to the gang.

Thanks, all, for your ideas. With snow outside the window, Greece is sounding magical.
annabelle2 is offline  
Jan 5th, 2007, 11:30 AM
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Annabelle, brotherleelove gave you an additional option for getting to Rhodes by ferry from Santorini or Crete, but it would still take up too much of the three days you have available to be worth it, IMO.

Santorini may be crowded in July, but that's nothing compared to the package holiday crowds on Rhodes during high season. If you want to know what I mean, read this article on Faliraki, one of the major Rhodes resorts: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/3162759.stm. Maybe Rhodes has improved since that article was written, but I think you would enjoy Naxos or Santorini more.
Heimdall is online now  
Jan 5th, 2007, 11:36 AM
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I'm sorry to tell you that there is no possible way to take a day trip to Delos from Santorini. Regular ferries don't go there and the excursion boats only go there from Naxos, Paros and Mykonos, and as a daytrip you just don't have the time or connections to get there and back in one day from Santorini.

Tell your friends that regardless of how crowded it might be on Santorini, going to some of the other nearby islands but not seeing Santorini would be like going to the Louvre but not seeing the Mona Lisa.

If you stay in the village of Oia it won't seem so crowded as it would if you were staying in Fira.
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Jan 5th, 2007, 11:48 AM
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Brotherleelove is correct. I have been resisting going to Santorini for the last ten years, but after reading his posts am now a believer. This year I'm planning to stop in Serifos, Folegandros, and Santorini on my way to Antiparos.

If you will still be there at the beginning of June, Lee, I may look you up.
Heimdall is online now  
Jan 5th, 2007, 12:02 PM
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Tinos might suit you. It is easier to visit Delos from there, and it is quieter with lots of churches. From there, there are good ferry connections to several islands.

Carolina is offline  
Jan 5th, 2007, 12:42 PM
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One more greek-geek might as well chime in, and as usual, I agree with stanbr. You guys sound energetic and flexible, so here's my thought, building on suggestions so far:

- During your Paros week, take the bus or cab to Naoussa and do the Delos day-trip ... it will give you 3-4 hours on the isle which is ALL you'll want in hot weather (also, take water & lunch because there are few resources). ALSO xerox & take a good map.

- For the 3-day "gap" a Naxos day trip would also be great fun, I'd say stay there except you DO need to get to crete and I think that's more feasible from Santorini (look at the map)

- YES, go to Santorini, your group can enjoy a 2-day stay, and then if you choose not to recommend it to others, it will be from personal knowledge, not hearsay. It can be fun, even affordable if you don't listen to all the babble from honeymooners about balconies on the caldera and the Oia sunsets. Reserve at a bargain pension in Fira Town (check out Pension Petros on the web--and others on that street about 200 yards away from the rim and light-years diff. in $$ -- like 50E per double vs. 150E). Walk down the cliff steps (go UP via cable-car), check the FAB Museum...if you beach, check out the special 5E bus/drink combo special for the "Salty Beach Club" (with poool & Jacuzzi) -- and the sunsets are just as grand seen from a THira high cafe, as from Oia, and there aren't 200 people in front of you waving cameras.

-- You can get that ferry to Heraklion, Crete about 2 or 3 x per week, it goes in earlyl morning. You can get the sked by May for July. There's probably a hi-speed daily also if you want to pay double.

Have a great time!

travelerjan is offline  
Jan 5th, 2007, 01:36 PM
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As usual, this forum is the best! I will probably be bombarding you all with questions for the next week, as I am off work, and have the time.

Heimdall, I did read brotherlee's ferry info, but since we can't change the dates we have, and I don't think going to Crete, then Rhodes, then back to Crete makes sense, I am dropping the Rhodes idea, at least for this trip.

brotherleelove, Santorini is my 'image' of a Greek island anyway (I've had a photo of it over my desk for several years) so I think I am just going to plan to go there and let the others make their own choices. I need to go there and satisfy this need! We will go to Delos during our Paros week.

Thanks, Carolena, for the Tinos tip. Ironically, I was just reading about this island a little while ago.

travelerjan, great useful comments, thank you so much. I've been reading tons (here) on the Oia/Fira comparison, and it is good to get as much info as possible.

I just hung my Greek Islands 2007 calendar in my bathroom so I can feel motivated as I brush my teeth.
annabelle2 is offline  
Jan 5th, 2007, 04:33 PM
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Heimdall, the first one's on me!
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Jan 5th, 2007, 05:50 PM
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We have been to Naxos, and you can do much of it in a day, possibly a day trip from Paros. While in Paros, watch the sun set from Pebbles Bar. Also, Ragousis Bakery is full of good stuff, both in Paroikia.

If you are to be in one place for three days, I would also recommend Santorini. We stayed in Imerovigli at Artemis Villas, had a spectacular view and a reasonable price in late May 2005.
TakeTimeToTravel is offline  
Jan 8th, 2007, 07:27 PM
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Okay, I am really leaning towards those nights on Santorini. So, my experts, in early July, would you recommend trying to stay in one of the above mentioned areas (Oia, Fira,Imerovigli) over another?

Obviously we are not honeymooners, but would still probably want to capitalize on the view & ambiance w/out paying luxury rates.
annabelle2 is offline  
Jan 8th, 2007, 07:40 PM
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Santorini is beyond words.... don't miss it!
baemel is offline  
Jan 11th, 2007, 10:55 AM
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I won't miss it, it is on the definite list! I am still on an airfare hunt, but two friends have bought their tickets, US air out of Philly to Athens. I am coming from the west coast and on a much tighter budget, so will continue the search...
annabelle2 is offline  
Jan 11th, 2007, 12:41 PM
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annabelle2- I'm flying from the west coast as well, PDX in Oregon. Prices are not getting any cheaper, so you'd better hurry! Have you checked this one out?


brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2007, 10:41 AM
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I have checked them, thank you. I seem to be finding the best fares on kayak. I have not bought a ticket yet, no, but since my search for the 'not too expensive' flight is not working, I may just bite the bullet and shell out the $$$ soon.

I have found some nice rates on the Aegean site you all turned me on to, from places like Frankfurt to Athens, and have seen some other good fares from other European cities to Athens. Have not checked Easy jet lately (last I checked no fares posted for my dates yet). But all the fares from the US west coast to anywhere in Europe in late June are still high.

Sigh, I am just not used to going so late in the season and I think this is my airfare dilemma.
annabelle2 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 08:25 PM
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I would also vote for Santorini - it is lovely and beautiful and is on my list of places that one must see in their lifetime (I have somewhat limited travelling experience compared to many who post here but I also include Venice and (oddly enough) in some respects Oktoberfest on this particular list). To me these three places (if the 'fest counts as a place) were places that I just kept walking around and thinking/saying that "noone at home is ever going to believe how unbelievable this is". Where everywhere you look makes you want to grab your camera and photograph it because it is just so unbelievable.

We spent 3 nights on Santorini and I will confess that by the 3rd day had sort of run out of things "to do". I am not saying this in a negative way because I spent the last day having an awesome day in the sun on a beach chair with a great book at the Red Beach and my husband went scuba diving. However, if keeping "busy" and seeing/doing things is a priority for the group then you may find 3 nights a bit long. I agree with you - I could still be there sitting on a chair staring at the incredible view but that doesn't always do it for everone.

My other suggestion though, is that if you are concerned that your compatriots may not enjoy 3 nights on Santorini, perhaps you would consider one further night in a different area of Crete prior to your one week reservation. Ie - if you are staying in a resort area, consider spending the night in a place like Chania or Iraklion (our Travel agent did everything in her power to convince us not to stay in Iraklion - but we thought it was a lovely city (point being that it is a city, not a beach and to adjust expectations accordingly). Or vice versa if you are staying in a populated area try one night off the beaten path.

Just a thought.

As you seem to have already decided, Rhodes is too far away and difficult to get to (unless you can fly).

PurpleNeon is offline  

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