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Help First Trip to Greece - Greek Islands and Athens

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Sep 14th, 2018, 04:10 PM
  #1
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Help First Trip to Greece - Greek Islands and Athens

My husband and I are planning our first trip to Greece in mid June. We will be there for 12 nights, flying directly into Santorini. We are adventurous and enjoy exploring towns on foot and by car. We love finding good local restaurants, sitting on a veranda enjoying a good bottle of wine, live music, meandering through villages, snorkeling and hiking and seeing archeological sites . We would love to stay in small hotels/inns where the rooms have private balconies (and maybe even a jacuzzi/plunge pool). Our budget is around 300-400/night. We have always rented cars on our trips to really maximize what we can see. We currently think we will split our time with 4 nights in Santorini, 5 nights in Naxos, and 3 nights in Athens as we fly out of Athens. Given our interests, my questions are:
1. Did I pick the right islands?
2. Is it the right split of nights?
3. Should we shorten any stay to allow for a stay on another neighboring island?
4. What towns would you recommend staying in each of the places?
5. What hotels would you recommend? We love to be able to walk to towns for dinner/music.
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Sep 15th, 2018, 03:21 AM
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Yes I think you picked the right islands but I would probably take a day or two from Santorini and Naxos and add Paros. That's what we did on our first trip and we were very happy with it. I would stay in the main (port) towns in both Naxos and Paros, for Santorini you'd probably prefer Oia over Fira which is larger and more crowded. If you do want to stay in Fira I suggest Imerovigli which is technically a separate town but really blends in with Fira, but is a bit quieter. There's no shortage of gorgeous places to stay in any of those towns.



In Santorini to just go between Oia and Fira I think parking a car would be more trouble than it's worth, the bus goes between them every 20 minutes for 2€. You can also take buses everywhere else but those schedules are less frequent so you might want to look into renting a car just for one day to see the inland villages or the beaches on the other side of the island. Emporio and Pyrgos are two inland villages I found very interesting. I also took buses to the other villages on Naxos and Paros but for Naxos at least you might prefer a car.


Here are my photos of all those places - https://andiamo.zenfolio.com/f320347206
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Sep 15th, 2018, 06:08 AM
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I agree with isabel’s post. Santorini doesn’t need as much time and we wanted to leave before our four nights were up.
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Sep 15th, 2018, 09:05 AM
  #4
kja
 
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People differ, but 4 nights on Santorini would have been too much for me, too.
Are you sure you have enough time in Athens to suit your interests there?
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Sep 15th, 2018, 10:20 AM
  #5
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Thank you for the feedback. I was leaning toward adding Paros after doing a bit more research. Would you do Santorini, Paros and then Naxos or have Paros as the last stop. I agree, I would take a day off each so that we could stay 2 in Paros. Any recommendations for hotels in Oia, St. George, and in Paros? Are there flights from Paros to Athens? Thank you for all of the information.
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Sep 15th, 2018, 10:30 AM
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I can provide some hotel recommendations for Oia based on "around 300-400/night" being EURO. Check Rimida Villas, Strogili Houses, Old Oia Houses, Majestic View Studio, Kima Villas, Olympic Villas, Lucky Homes, Zoe Aegeas Houses, Esperas Houses, Kastro Oia Houses, Anemomilos Hotel, Laokasti Villas, Golden Sunset Villas and Aethrio Hotel.
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Sep 15th, 2018, 03:18 PM
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Look at a map and the ferry route. Logical sequence is Santorini, Naxos, Paros.
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Sep 15th, 2018, 10:47 PM
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Much as I prefer Paros over Naxos, I think you are spreading yourself too thin by adding two nights there. That would give you only one full day to explore the delights of Paros and Antiparos. Many people say the highlight of their trip was a round island trip such as Captain Ben Antiparos Lazy Day ? Daily cruises from Antiparos and Paros Greece ? Boat trip arround the island which alone would take one full day.
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Sep 16th, 2018, 04:13 AM
  #9
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I am torn. I don't want to feel like we are constantly on the move but I also don't want to miss experiencing Paros/Antiparos. They look so charming. Help??
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Sep 16th, 2018, 05:29 AM
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Maybe it would be best to drop Santorini and spend all your time on Naxos & Paros and/or Antiparos.

Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades Islands and you can spend many days there fully exploring the island filled with villages, archeological sites, mountains, beaches, goats and so much more.

I haven't been to Paros or Antiparos but from many posters and reviews would be a very good choice, especially as it would be very easy to get to from Naxos.

If you want to see Santorini there are cay cruises from Naxos or a wonderful day cruise to Delos/Mykonos.

12 days sounds like a lot but every time you move from Point A to Point B eats up time and then having to settle in to your new destination.
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Sep 16th, 2018, 06:24 AM
  #11
 
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Naxos and Paros are similar enough that you won't be missing anything by foregoing Naxos and spending your time on Paros and Antiparos.
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Sep 16th, 2018, 06:40 AM
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Oia-I do not recommend Esperas Houses at all.
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Sep 16th, 2018, 07:01 AM
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Day trips to Santorini take less time at sea from Paros, because it is closer. The same two tour companies do trips from both islands, but leave Naxos first, then pick up passengers 45 minutes later at Piso Livadi on Paros. On the return trip they drop off passengers at Paros first, saving another 45 minutes. That 1 1/2 hours may not seem much, but if seas are rough that day you will be grateful to be back on dry land.

I love Naxos, but some people are beginning to complain of it being too touristy. Most visitors spend only a day exploring the inland villages, the rest of the time in the extremely busy southwest corner of the island. I have been to Naxos several times in June.
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Sep 16th, 2018, 09:05 AM
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Naxos and Paros may be 'similar' but I'm still glad I did both. I had the same dilemma as you and almost skipped Paros for more time on Santorini and Naxos but decided to split the time and was very happy with the decision. Taking the ferries between them is delightful (unless you take a fast ferry, in which case at least it's 'fast') and if you stay in the port towns most of the hotels are a ten minute walk at most so switching is no big deal. Will you see every little tiny village and beach on each island - no, but you'll see the highlights. And I definitely would not skip Santorini, although most people would shorten it by a night in order to include another island.



Here's my trip report from that trip which was in 2009. I'm currently working on my report from this summer but it's not done yet. From Santorini to the Peloponnese - Isabel's photos and trip report
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Sep 18th, 2018, 08:54 AM
  #15
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I think it might be hard to skip Paros. Any hotel recommendations for Paros? How about Naxos too? In Naxos I was leaning toward Glaros. Any feedback on that one?
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Sep 18th, 2018, 10:11 AM
  #16
 
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Spent our honeymoon in Athens, Paros, and Santorini this past June. Here is a link to my trip report: Greek Islands & Athens Trip Report: 11 Days in June

I would highly recommend staying in quiet Imerovigli over Oia.

Check out Santorini Dave's blog for excellent and thorough advice: https://santorinidave.com/
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Sep 18th, 2018, 10:12 AM
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I wouldn't skip Paros, either. In fact, with most of my trips I have skipped Santorini and Naxos and spent the whole time at Paros, staying on Antiparos. I'm not suggesting you do that either, just that if you want to go to Paros two nights is not enough.

For where to stay on Paros, I would suggest a hotel in the pretty fishing village of Naoussa, which gets very busy in high season but less so in June. Following is a list of hotels, studios and apartments in Naoussa. I haven't stayed in either, but have heard lots of favourable comments about Scorpio Studios and Stelia Mare:
Naoussa Paros Holiday Rentals Directory - Rooms, Hotels, Villas

Although separate islands, Antiparos and Paros are so close together they can be treated as one. Should you wish to stay there and day trip to Paros I can recommend Kastro Antiparos: https://www.antiparosgreece.com
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Sep 18th, 2018, 05:24 PM
  #18
kja
 
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In Naxos, you might consider the Hotel Grotta.

And if you haven't already seen it, you might find some useful information in my trip report:
With Gratitude for a Glorious Solo Month in Greece
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Sep 21st, 2018, 04:14 PM
  #19
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In reading these very helpful comments and doing more research, I am rethinking my itinerary to 3 nights Santorini, 3 nights Naxos, 3 nights Paros and 3 night Athens. Since we are flying directly into Santorini, I don't think I should shorten our stay to anything less than 3 especially with jet lag, etc. Hoping I don't feel like I am constantly on the move but welcome feedback on the new itinerary. Also, still looking at hotels. We would like to stay within walking distance to a town that has restaurants, shops, some nightlife as we like to venture out at night but don't necessarily want to drive distances. Also, would love feedback on whether to stay in Paros or Antiparo.

Finally, any recommendations on hotels where you could stay in a room with its own plunge pool.
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Sep 21st, 2018, 07:46 PM
  #20
 
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QUOTE: "I am torn. I don't want to feel like we are constantly on the move but I also don't want to miss experiencing Paros/Antiparos. They look so charming. Help??"

The only thing that could help would be to add 2 days to your trip. It is hard to accept that the move from Santorini to Naxos will take AT LEAST 1/2 day, From Naxos to Paros/Antiparos Ditto, From Paros to Athens ditto. You are not like Star Trek with teletransport "Beam me up Scotty". Here's an action demonstration:

SANTORINI - NAXOS: Suppose you want to take the faster ferrry -- 10:45 AM - arrive about noon. If you stay in Firostephani (the only community outside of Fira Town that meets your requirement of being easy walk to restaurants, shops, nightlife without driving), it STILL will require a Taxi or shuttle to the dock. 9 AM, packing & checking out. Leave Hotel approx 9:45, arive Dock 10:15. Boarding & finding seat. Sailing -- arrival 12:10. Disembarking - til 12:20. Finding hotel bus, or a taxi, 12: 30 -- Getting to hotel ? 12:45 - 1 pm. Checking in, Getting room -- 1:30. 4.5 hours -- and that's the shortest transfer.

PAROS - ATHENS: Up early packing, breakfast (7 - 8:30 am) checking out, taxi to Airport 8:30 - 9; 15; security & waiting to board 9:15 - 10:30: Flight 10:45 - 12 noon. Disembarking, getting luggage, out to taxi line 12 - 12:30. Taxi to Central athens 12:45 - 1: 45. Checking in to hotel, stowing stuff in room, changing/washing up 1:45 -2: 30 at least 6 hours, if no delays.

To use another of my overworked metaphors, you can't pour a quart into a pint bottle.
**********************************
About a hotel room that has its OWN plunge pool ... I think maybe only in Oia on Santorini ... but that wouldn't meet your other requirements. You are not an easy person to find solutions for! I'm turning this task over to others ...
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