Greek Islands Trip report!

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Jun 13th, 2018, 02:10 PM
  #1
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Greek Islands Trip report!

HI all,
We are back from our 12 nights on 3 Greek Islands, Mykonos, Paros, and Santorini.
We had a fantastic time!
We landed in Athens after a long day flying from Richmond VA thru JFK and then flew to Myknonos straight away!
We were picked up at the airport by Gregorios who was our driver from the Nissaki Boutique hotel in Platis Gailos. I opted to stay by the beaches rather than Mykonos town. I was so glad we did that! Mykonos town was busy with cruise ships and lots of shopping and restaurants and nightlife that we went to bed too early to ever see. It was perfect for an afternoon visit for us.
We loved where we stayed. The Nissaki was a small hotel but had all the perks. The staff that worked there were wonderful and were always so pleasant helpful and welcoming. The hotel sits between Platis Gailos beach and Psarou Beach. Our view was of Psarou Beach. The hotel has a very nice pool area, with bar and the restaurant has just been redone. The food was excellent for breakfast with many choices and the dinner I had was also delicious.
We spent 4 nights in Mykonos. On our first full day, we hired Gregarios to drive us around a give us a tour of the island for 3 hours. This was a great way to get a feel for the island and he showed us places we would probably have never seen.
On day 2 we headed to Psarou beach to relax. The weather was very windy while we were there and on this particular day, we were sand blasted which was not the greatest so we headed to the hotel's lovely pool. We had dinner at a fantastic restaurant called Nammos. It was one of our favorite dinners and also one of the most expensive. Caveat, I am not a fish eater. I ate fish about 9 out of 12 nights we were in Greece! At Nammos, we ate grouper which was deboned at the table. Very delicious fish! Service and presentation were very nice. We also had the Greek salad, (pretty much a staple at every meal) and spinach pies which my husband loved and said that this place had the best spinach pie, pizza type appetizer.
On day 3, we rented an ATV and drove all over the place. We wound up at Kikis Tavern. This place seemed infamous and when we arrived at 12:30, we waited on line for the opening at 1pm. At 1pm, we were fortunate to make it into the restaurant on the first seating. Every one else had to wait about an hour. Food was ok. The salads were very good, but the main course was simply ok for us. Anyway, we can say we made it to Kikis. We stopped by a few beaches and Mykonos town on our way back. ATVs are a great way to get around the island and we enjoyed driving around on our own.
We carried our helmets with us and were told later from several islanders, that no one apparently steals the helmets when left on the bikes, so we left them on the other islands and were fine.
On this night, we decided to go to the Greek night at the Blue Myth Restaurant which sits right next to Platis Gailos. I am so glad we did. I had a pizza and it was fine, but the entertainment was fun! The Greek men danced and then we all conga lined around the place. We met another couple from NJ and hung out with them for a while and conga lined again and again. I highly recommend the restaurant as a fun place with decent food!
On our last day, the winds had died down so we sat on Platis Gailos beach. The sunbeds are owned by different places and you need to walk down to compare pricing charged. It varied greatly from 15 euros to 80 euros. We settled on the 20 euro beds and had a front spot. I had a massage on the beach on my back and neck. My neck had been killing me before I left and was still bothering me. I have to say I have never half striped with lots of maneuvering on the beach in order to get a massage, but it was fantastic and she moved my neck a few times and I was miraculously feeling better. It took some skill to put my top back on without flashing the already mostly topless beach. (I am in my 50s and am a prudish American ).
This night we dined at Petinos beach hotel's restaurant where we reserved a seabass ahead of time. We checked out the place while walking around and put our claim in on one of the fishes. The seabass was delicious and was the first time I had ever tried it. It was very flavorful and I would recommend a try at this restaurant if you are in the area.
*We had no dinner reservations ahead of time and I believe this is because we traveled in late May. The island of Mykonos was not very busy at all.

Next we took Hellenic's high speed ferry. Not knowing much about the ships, I chose the VIP section for a little more money and it was a very short smooth ride, so I am sure the coach area would have been fine, but VIP gave us a nice comfy seat with very few people and we had a fast lunch.

Just a note, we both liked the Greek beers, Alpha and Mythos. My husband and I liked the Alpha the best and every day had a few Alphas included in it. Ahh vacation life

Next stop Paros. We arrived at the port where we were picked up by bus that did several drop offs on the way to our hotel Kanale Suites hotel. I chose this hotel based on Santorini Dave's recommendation. It is a very nice hotel and was pretty reasonably priced. We had the top floor room (72 steps up so don't forget anything in the room!) It is a simple room with a very small bed. We are not the smallest people and joked how we barely fit. Must have been a full size. We also had another room with a fridge and a twin bed/couch. We used this to hold our luggage. We also had a very large deck with a clothes line and clips. So we washed some things and hung them out. We had a very nice breakfast both days here included with our room rate. We were in Paros for two nights.
It was an easy walk into Naoussa from the hotel. We ventured into town for dinner and had a really lousy meal which I wish I could remember the name of the place. On our really only full day in Paros, we rented an ATV from Gus across the street from the hotel. He was great and we had long conversations with him about Greece's economy and such. He recommend Katarina's restaurant next door and we went there for dinner that night (One of the best meals we had in Greece and was not very expensive at all!) If you are in Paros, find Katarinas. Excellent meal, fresh seabass, mussels and delicious bread. We left stuffed and also had long conversations with Katarina about her life on the island (She is originally from Belgium.)
Back to the day time, we drove the entire island! We had lunch in Piso Lavidi. Small town and small restaurant next to some boats. Very lovely lunch. We stopped at several beaches and also went to the old town of Lefkes. It was very hot so we spent some time relaxing on Santa Maria beach.
Paros was my least favorite island. It was a little too quiet for me.
We took the slow boat to Santorini and it was a beautiful day for a boat ride. The image of Santorini's landscape was just breathtaking. Pictures do not do it justice. We were picked up at the port by a driver arranged by the hotel. We proceeded to wind up this very steep hill in lots of traffic. I must say, I don't like heights that much but it wasn't bad at all for me.
We drove to Oia, where we spent an arm and a leg to stay. This was our most expensive hotel where we stayed in a cave like Fred Flinstone. I must say it was a very nice hotel, Filotera Suites. Here everyone was very helpful and the hotel itself (only 8 rooms) has a to die for location and view from every room and level.
We were taken to our room which was down by the pool and bar. At first, I thought oh no, everyone will keep us awake, but the pool closed at 7 and the bar was always empty. So we had a private pool and bartender. Our spot turned out to be the most private. We had a hot tub above our room which we sat in every night.
The breakfast was unbelievable and it was called the Honeymoon breakfast. There was so much food! I highly recommend this hotel!
On arrival night we had dinner at Petrosia. We sat on the upperdeck with a sunset view. It was nice and food was good.
We spent the first day lounging by the pool and walked around at night.
We had dinner at Lauda which I believe has a Michelin star? Anyway, the ambience of hanging off a cliff and service was impeccable. Food was very tasty but very little and also very expensive. If you go, have Santorinitini. It was 17 dollars and quite delicious which it should be at that price. It was a nice experience.
The second day, we signed up for a sunset boat cruise through the hotel. It was very nice. They come pick you up and take you to the boat and then drive you home. Food was great. Boat has about 15 people on the boat and was a very nice ride. Crew was very pleasant!
Next, we rented ATVs and drove to Fira for the day of walking around. We had a delicious lunch at Volkan on the Rocks in Firestofani. The garden salad with chicken and homemade pita with tzaki dip was fantastic. Highly recommend and has a great view!
We stopped for a quick swim in our hotel pool. It got very hot out. Changed clothes and went back out to Amoundi Fish Tavern for dinner. The food was pretty good. We then drove to the big pool on the sunset side of Oia where sat listening to music as the sunset. The ATV people came and picked up the ATV that night from the hotel reception area.
Santorini was the most crowded island (early June), lots of cruise ships and sunset seekers. The topography of the island is so unique. I really think it is a must see.
We spent our 13th night in Athens at the Sofitel airport hotel. This hotel is literally in the airport so that made it nice and easy.
This was our 30th anniversary trip. Married in August but went now for better timing for us. We spent most of the trip talking about coming back with our adult kids. So maybe next year? We thought maybe Santorini and Crete.
Anyway, it was a great time! Thanks for everyone's help pre trip!
girlonthego is offline  
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Jun 13th, 2018, 02:18 PM
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Sorry the best restaurant on Paros was Restaurant Karina, not Katarina!
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Jun 16th, 2018, 05:55 PM
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I enjoyed your trip report. Did you visit any sites in Athens?
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Jun 17th, 2018, 06:42 AM
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Thanks for your report on your anniversary trip to Greece. Sorry about the poor restaurant experience in Paros as we had the best food of our month in Greece on Paros.
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Jun 17th, 2018, 08:06 AM
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HappyTraveler, we had a our worst but also our best restaurant experience in Paros! Karinas was our best and most reasonably priced!

deladeb, no we flew in and out of Athens, but spent only a night at the airport hotel. I really wanted to spend our time on the islands. If we go back next year, I think we will spend a day or two in Athens.
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Jun 17th, 2018, 01:03 PM
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Paros was favorite Greek island. Not crowded when we were there like Santorini was.
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Jun 17th, 2018, 04:30 PM
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How many nights did you stay on each island?
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Jun 17th, 2018, 07:34 PM
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We stayed 4 nights Mykonos; 2 nights Paros; and 4 nights Santorini. We spent one night in Athens before flying back to the US
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Jun 18th, 2018, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by girlonthego View Post
We stayed 4 nights Mykonos; 2 nights Paros; and 4 nights Santorini. We spent one night in Athens before flying back to the US
Were you happy with the number of nights you spent on each island? We are planning a trip to the Greek Islands and Athens for either spring 2019 or 2020.
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Jun 19th, 2018, 07:25 AM
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4 nights on Mykonos and Santorini made it relaxing. We actually sat on the beach or by the pool for an entire day and just looked at the scenery on each island. Also, you spend a day traveling and checking in and out of each place which eats into your time to see and do things. So I liked having the 4 nights. Paros, was on the ferry line and so that is why I picked it. For me, two nights was enough there. It was not my kind of place, but others love it, but two nights was long enough to see the island. Paros is a lot quieter and we enjoyed our time there but it wasn't a place for me. I would say to have a relaxing trip, 3 nights minimum in each place, 4 nights max. You don't really need more than 4 unless it is a really big island like Crete. On the ones we went to, we were ready for the next place after the 4th night.
We are thinking of going again next year with our adult kids if it all works out. They only have a week. My husband would love for them to see Santorini. Santorini has the most unique topography and is quite stunning, but is crowded and is also a more romantic place. I would like to go to Crete and just rent a house for a week near the beach, rent a car and go to different towns and beaches and I think the kids might really enjoy that because Crete is pretty big and it would be new for us. I think we could almost do a day trip to Santorini and see it but not spend the time there. I think it is a perfect couples place, but not really a family trip place. Santorini is also very expensive if you want to stay in a cave on the cliffs which was really a great place to stay, but quite pricey.
To me, late May was a great time to go to the islands. Everything is open but is less crowded than the next three months. Santorini was the most crowded and that was early June. I can't imagine that place in August! The weather was warm everywhere we went and the hottest in Santorini. We had a couple of cooler windier days in Mykonos, but it wasn't crowded and we really went everywhere on the island, so that was great!
Rent the ATVs for a day, the larger ones and you can drive everywhere! Get an international driving permit from AAA if you are American. If you are European, then you don't need one. It is easy to park everywhere and we had a great time.
And also we found the people very welcoming and friendly! and the food was great! I don't even like fish and I ate it almost every day. I wish we could get fish that tasty and fresh at home. Anyway, if you have any questions about where we went, please feel free to ask!
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Jun 25th, 2018, 06:40 PM
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Girlonthego, thank you for your detailed response. I apologize for not getting back to you sooner.
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Jun 25th, 2018, 11:59 PM
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What exactly did you see during your two days on Paros? I have been going there for over 20 years, 2-3 weeks at a time, and still haven't seen all the island. Did you go to Antiparos?
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Jun 26th, 2018, 05:34 AM
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Unfortunately Heimdall, there was not enough time to see Antiparos. I would have liked to go there. We spent the afternoon we arrived in the village of Naoussa. The village was cute and rather deserted. But later on there were more people walking about and I liked that there was a playground in the middle of the village. There were lots of local people and their children running about. On Paros, I found more people actually live there year round vs Mykonos and Santorini. It was less touristy overall.
We had a lousy meal in the village which was unfortunate. It was our only lousy meal of the entire trip. We had our best meal on day 2 at Karinas which was recommended to us by the ATV rental person Gus. He said the best food was next door to his shop and it was. Food was simple and delicious and very reasonably priced. On day 2 we had rented an ATV and drove the loop of the island stopping off at different towns and beaches. We had lunch in a very nice town called Pisao Lavadi, we walked through the old town of Lefkes which was brutally hot, and then wound up on a beach in Santa Maria for the late afternoon to relax.
Paros was nice, but my husband is go go go and I couldn't see us being there too long. It is a quiet island. We enjoyed our time, but would not go back.
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