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knuk Aug 27th, 2003 06:27 AM

Greek islands, where to go and how to get there?
 
We are interested in going to the greek isles for about a week or so in September, flying from England. Ideally, we would like to see 3-4 islands and stay for a couple of nights on each one. Looking for help with which islands to visit, the best way to get around, and where to stay, etc... We appreciate any help. Thanks


brotherleelove2003 Aug 27th, 2003 09:22 AM

A week is not a long time. September is a great time to go, many summer tourists have gone and things are not so crowded. I suggest the Cyclades islands for such a short trip because they're close together and can all be reached by ferry from Athens/Piraeus. You can also fly to Santorini and Mykonos from Athens if it's in your budget.

Santorini is my favorite, specifically the most beautiful and traditional village of Oia. The views of the Caldera and the sunsets are what draw people there. But Paros and Naxos are also very much worth exploring. Crete is only 65 miles south of Santorini and there's an express boat that can take you there in a couple of hours. I recommend that you choose 2 islands and concentrate on them. Moving around too much in a week will only prevent you from enjoying what there is to see and do.

In September the room rates will be down from peak season levels so you should be able to find a good deal. AS you debark the ferries you'll be approached by people with rooms to offer. Just make sure you know which part of the island you want to stay in or you might end up in the middle of nowhere. If you search the internet you will also be able to find a wide variety of choices according to your budget.

Local buses are usually very reliable and cheap for exploring the islands, but motorbikes and cars are also available to rent.

Depending on your schedule, if you plan to use the ferry system, when you arrive in Athens, you can get public transportation from the airport right to the ferry port at Piraeus and a ferry out to the islands. I recommend saving a look at Athens for when you return. This way you'll have put aside a day or two and will be covered timewise if there's a problem with the ferry which sometimes happens. This will take the stress out of having to be back in Athens to catch your plane home.

Here's a link to a great ferry schedule website to help you in your planning:

http://www.gtpnet.com/

Old_One Aug 27th, 2003 03:50 PM

one week 4 islands, no way you'll need 3 weeks. I tactfully suggest a look at a scaled map.

mrwunrfl Aug 27th, 2003 05:05 PM


I just checked fares for Heathrow to Heraklion (LHR to HER) and see $266 roundtrips. For LHR to ATHens, I was really surprised to see roundtrips for only $145 USD.

knuk Aug 27th, 2003 07:30 PM

ok, maybe we will make it 2-3 islands, max. what is the best method of attack? fly to athens and then ferry over to santorini and perhaps another isle or two...paros and naxos have been suggested. can we take luggage on these ferries? any thoughts about crete looks like you can fly directly there.

brotherleelove2003 Aug 27th, 2003 11:22 PM

Yes, it's OK to take luggage on the ferry, but you will have to keep an eye on it yourself, there's no place to "check" it.

Again, depending on your budget, you might want to consider flying to Santorini and taking short trips to Naxos and Paros or even Crete. Since you only have a week, taking the ferries everywhere really eats away at your time.

The ferry to Crete from Santorini takes you to the main city of Iraklion, a large and busy place. It has a great museum of antiquities.

By the way, for your information, the National Archaeological Museum in Athens is closed for renovations until April 2004 (in case you're interested).

knuk Aug 28th, 2003 06:45 AM

Thank-You sooo much brotherleelove2003, you have provided informative and much needed information, now I have another question if you are still out there, (or anyone else). We were wondering if a cruise might be a better option for us, considering the time crunch and all that we would like to see. is there one that goes through the greek isles and is it worth it? any thoughts? (all this scheduling between areas is stressing my little brain)

brotherleelove2003 Aug 28th, 2003 08:25 AM

Having spent a lot of time in the Greek islands, my impression of cruise ships has become cynical. It would never be a good option for me. Cruisers are seldom given enough time to really explore an island, only a few hours in each port to shop for tourist junk and maybe have something to eat. Talk to travel agents about this and check over the cruise offers to see if there's anything that you think would satisfy you. If you only want to "see" the islands and not really get to experience them, a cruise should work for you. But I still think if you use Santorini as your base and pick one other island, spending 3-4 days on each one, you'll have much happier memories of your holiday.

jimar Sep 2nd, 2003 07:38 PM

We plan to visit Athens then the Greek Islands.. toward Istanbul... Would appreciate suggestions as to how to get there per cruise or tours or several ferries ..and finally to Turkey.. SUggestions For Turkey would also be appreciated in addition to Istanbul...Please forward to [email protected] THanks,
Jimar


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