Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Help me build a Greek Odyssey Itinerary, not a Tragedy !

Help me build a Greek Odyssey Itinerary, not a Tragedy !

Old Jun 8th, 2014, 12:31 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,868
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Help me build a Greek Odyssey Itinerary, not a Tragedy !

We are flying from NYC to Athens and are arriving at 1 pm. We are planning the following; some of which is already in place -

- Thursday Oct 9th - arrive at ATH

- Stay overnight at Sofitel at ATH for early morning flight to Santorini [BOOKED].
( We figure we will be dead tired and go to sleep very early and be awake very early, so we will take a flight to Santorini at 5:15 am giving us the full day)

- Fly to Santorini. Stay 2 nights in either: Fira, Thera, Oia or Imerovigli.

- take ferry or fast boat to Naxos on October 12. Stay 2 nights. Stay in Naxos City or ??

- take ferry or fast boat to Mykonos on October 14. Stay 2 nights. Stay in Mykonos Town or ??
- take ferry of fast boat to Athens on October 16. Stay for 3 nights. Stay in Syntagma Square; The Plaka or ?? "A" Category

- fly out of ATH on October 19 to our next stop, Provence, France. [BOOKED]

Seeking input on:
- overall plan
- cities on each island for overnight stop
- hotels in each stop --> "A" Category 4 stars or "B" Category 3 stars.

2 hotels that have caught my eye are:
O&B Athens Boutique Hotel in Athens
http://www.oandbhotel.com/
On The Rocks in Imerovigli.
http://www.onrocks.net/

This is a start. I will have more questions, but I would like to get the footprint set.

Thanks~
DebitNM is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2014, 01:31 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,580
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I would drop an island, either Naxos or Mykonos. Two nights really gives you very little time, especially when you factor in getting to and from the ferry dock and making the transfer.

Greece, to me, is all about relaxing and enjoying the views, the food, the wine, etc. Moving every two days would be too much for me.

On Santorini, we stayed in Oia at Esperas Traditional Houses. It was great but it has been a few years. I can't recall our Naxos hotel so it must not have been too memorable.

In Athens, we've stayed at Electra Palace Hotel and at Athen's Gate Hotel and liked both. Electra Palace is more upscale and Athen's Gate has a great location.
Judy is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2014, 01:55 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,868
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We originally were just going to do Santorini and MAykonos, 3 days each. Then I thought maybe it was worth adding Naxos to the mix. We will take it out if the majority thinks that 2 islands are enough.
DebitNM is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2014, 01:59 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,580
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
DebitNM, it could just be my bias. We liked Paros and Folegandros much more than Naxos. Naxos is fine, and I'm certain there are many Fodorites who love it, but it just wasn't a favorite of ours.

I'll be interested to see what others have to say.
Judy is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2014, 02:02 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,319
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We loved Naxos (but have not been to any other islands). It seemed like there were less tourists and there were no cruise ships so the crowds weren't big at all. Gorgeous beaches, lovely old town, interesting villages...

You can see our pics here. https://www.flickr.com/photos/pug_gi...7627668851905/
jamikins is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2014, 02:02 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,051
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If my math is correct, there are only five days on your itinerary where you won't be moving from one location to another. Had you not already booked your flight to Santorini for the 10th, I would have recommended going straight there on the same day you arrive in Athens.

I agree you should limit yourself to two islands rather than three. Each time you change islands you will lose most of the day checking in and out of hotels, sitting on the ferry, etc. If you have an interest in seeing the archaeological site on Delos, choose Mykonos for your second island.
Heimdall is online now  
Old Jun 9th, 2014, 04:23 AM
  #7  
WWK
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 1,582
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We just returned from a repeat trip to Greece last night, and I'm already missing it! Anyway, I agree with a lot of the advice above. Since you're not leaving until October, check your tickets and see if you can change them so that you fly straight through from Athens to Santorini on arrival.

You can crash in front of a caldera view on Oia, rather than at Athens airport. If you can't change them, The Sofitel is a very nice hotel for a night, but nothing like being on Santorini!

About the ferries: Maybe I'm in a minority, but I'm not a fan unless price is a huge issue. The flights are so short from Athens to the islands, and they don't eat up a lot of your day. The only thing you have to watch for-other than price- is baggage weight. There are strict limitations, and you have to pay extra for anything over the weight limits.

In Santorini, I prefer Oia to Fira. It's less commercial, less crowded (other than at sunset)more beautiful and has more of a town vs city feel.

For Athens, I really love AVA Hotel,(4-star) which is in the heart of the Plaka. Rooms facing the front have tiny terraces with views of The Acropolis on one end, Hadrian's Arch on the other. The hotel is a tiny boutique hotel with big rooms, excellent service, and an almost unbeatable location for exploring Athens. For instance, The Acropolis Museum and entrance to The Acropolis are only about a 10 minute walk away.

If you're interested in it, I'd e-mail soon. The hotel has become increasingly popular for Athens. If it's more than you want to spend, also check out ATHENS GATE. The rooms are small, but it has a very good location especially for The Acropolis, and a beautiful rooftop restaurant with fantastic views.


Now about other islands: We just spent almost a week in Paros again. I think it's one of my favorite islands. It's not as touristy or crowded as Santorini, but has many lovely beaches (ParosPoros is unbelievable!!), a medieval city to explore (Lefkes), gorgeous countryside, and a lovely port city ( Nauosa) with excellent seafood restaurants, plus a quick ferry connection to Antiparos.

We stayed at STELIA MARE, a small boutique hotel which is about a five minute walk from Nauosa. The rooms were beautiful with soothing seaside colors and excellent AC. The staff was fantastic, and they gave us several excellent recommendations for exploring and restaurants.

Naxos is a lovely island, too. We didn't get there this time due to time constraints, but on our last visit stayed at The NISSAKI BEACH HOTEL in St. George. The beach is a town beach ( nothing special), but the hotel was great, and again within walking distance of the port/town in Naxos. We didn't get out on the island much that time, but really enjoyed the few days we spent there.

As others have already said, I'd limit your itinerary to two islands so that you have more time to relax and explore. Two day stays are exhausting and time wasters, unless there's no way around them!
WWK is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2014, 04:34 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,760
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I don't know if you are doing beaches or Greek history/ruins, but I believe we went to Delos from Mykonos (which I would not miss/mark off).
If you are doing the historic ruins, I really recommend a visit to the National Museum to begin the trip, and then a return if you have time to fully appreciate it.
I loved Nauplia and the Delphic ruins.
Gretchen is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2014, 04:55 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,051
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree with WWK about changing your tickets. I know it's possible with Aegean Airlines, but you may pay a small administration fee.

With a 1 pm arrival in Athens, what will you do all day at Sofitel? You will be tempted to take a nap that afternoon, which will only prolong your adjustment to jet lag. You could lounge around the hotel swimming pool, but still, to me that will be nearly a whole day wasted. If you go ahead with the 5:15 am flight the next morning you will arrive on Santorini at 6 am, much too early to check into your hotel.

When I checked yesterday, there was a 4:15 pm flight on the 9th, arriving on Santorini at 5 pm. That's an almost perfect layover time of 3 hours at Athens Airport.
Heimdall is online now  
Old Jun 9th, 2014, 05:07 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,580
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I definitely agree with going straight to Santorini. The Sofitel is a very nice hotel but, there is nothing there but the airport.

We stayed at Stelia Mare (mentioned by WK) as well and highly recommend it.
Judy is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2014, 06:53 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,868
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
SOfitel is booked and paid; so that isn't an option. We won't nap, but we will go to sleep really early and then get up 4 am [if we are lucky and not earlier] for the flight. I figured we would leave our bags at whatever hotel we are staying at in Santorini and start our exploration after a nice Greek breakfast.
DebitNM is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2014, 07:17 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,051
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
In that case I suggest you find something to do after checking into Sofitel. If you aren't up to a trip on the metro into Athens, think about taking the bus or a taxi to Rafina, the small ferry port near the airport. Find a taverna overlooking the harbour, have a leisurely lunch, and enjoy soaking in the sea air. You will sleep like a baby that evening in Sofitel's comfortable beds.

There is also Attica Zoo near the airport if you are into that sort of thing.
Heimdall is online now  
Old Jun 9th, 2014, 08:20 AM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,868
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Great suggestions, Heimdall. I am in fact a zoo docent here at home, so that might work. But the sea air, taverna and lunch sound delightful too.
DebitNM is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2014, 08:48 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 976
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I kind of like your decision to overnight at the airport and fly to Santorini early in the morning. You will have the advantage of being rested AND being able to enjoy Fira or Oia without the crowds, before everyone else on the island has woken up--a very special treat. And in October you may even be able to get into your hotel very early.

I'm on the bandwagon for 3 nights on two islands instead of 2 nights on 3 islands. As for the islands you are considering, you won't make a bad choice--Mykonos and Naxos are different, but I loved both.

Mykonos has far more tourists (and as a result more shops geared to tourists), but the town is beautiful and the easy access to Delos for a day trip is a real plus. (Don't miss Delos if you are at all interested in ancient Greece.) I would stay in Mykonos town in October--if you want to have a beach day you can hire a car or easily take the bus or a taxi to anywhere you want to go. We took buses, which worked out fine.

Naxos is fantastic in its own way. Much bigger, with fewer tourists (no cruise ships!!!). But the town is lively and has good restaurants and bars, shops, and places to explore. If you decide on Naxos, do rent a car for at least a day to explore the gorgeous interior, with its great villages and archaeological sites.

On Santorini I'd say it's a toss-up between Fira and Oia in terms of places to stay. Both are full of tourists during the day (and Oia is very crowded at sunset), but both are stunning. Oia is more picturesque, but Fira is more lively. Imerovigli, between the two, is far quieter but has easy (walking) access to Fira for dinner, etc. Personally, I like the close-up views of the villas and other buildings spilling down the cliffside in both Fira and Oia, so if I were going in October I would choose one of those.

By the way, if you like a bracing walk, I highly recommend the hike between Imerovigli and Oia. It's unforgettable, with nonstop amazing views of the caldera and the cliff-hanging towns on either end of the walk. It does involve some up and down but is not too strenuous--I'm a slow hiker and it took us about 3 1/2 hours.

I took the Seajet fast boat from Mykonos to Naxos, and the slower ferry from Naxos to Paros and from Paros to Santorini. Loved the ferry rides but found the fast boat utilitarian--it gets you there quickly, that's all (you're stuck inside; no views to speak of). On a nice, calm day, sitting in the sunshine on the ferry to Santorini was a pleasure, and the views as we cruised into the caldera were magical. I flew between Athens and Mykonos and between Santorini and Athens--each trip was a matter of going up and then going down, a max of 30-45 minutes in the air. The metro from the airport to downtown Athens was fast, convenient, and easy to manage--only 8 euros each.

I'm sure you will have a wonderful trip.
aprillilacs is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2014, 10:41 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,051
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
DebitNM, the KTEL Attica buses that go to Rafina leave from right in front of Sofitel, and depart more or less hourly throughout the day. They are different from the express buses parked outside the passenger terminal that go to Athens and Piraeus. You pay when you get on the bus, and it drops you off in the harbour area at Rafina. Rafina is a pleasant little ferry port, much quieter than Piraeus, and noted for its fish tavernas. There is a small beach, but I've never used it.
Heimdall is online now  
Old Jun 9th, 2014, 10:48 AM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,868
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Perfect info, Heimdall! Thanks so much~
DebitNM is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2014, 10:57 AM
  #17  
WWK
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 1,582
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Just a thought: Any chance you could take a credit for The Sofitel and use it at any number of Sofitels here in the U.S. during the year? If not, Heimdall's excellent suggestions sound very good.
WWK is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2014, 11:21 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,541
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Skip Mykonos. Rent a car and spend the 3 days in the Peloponnese/Delphi.
ParisAmsterdam is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2014, 11:27 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 4,588
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'll throw in my 2 cents - NO WAY would I do 3 islands in your time frame but the two you would want to pick probably depends on your interests. If you want to see Delos, then Santorini and Mykonos but if you want to enjoy the relaxing vibe of a Greek island, then probably NOT Mykonos. Both Santorini and Mykonos are very popular plus cruise ship stops.

We just got back from 6 nights on Naxos and liked it so much I cried when I was leaving knowing I'll probably never get back there. We stayed at the Galaxy Hotel - it was lovely and the staff was super helpful. We loved how close it was to the beach and seaside tavernas and also about 10 minutes walk to the town. We spent one day exploring the interior of the island, probaly not WOW sights but a very pleasant day none-the-less.

OK that's my opinion - it was pleasant on the ferries but I got a bit antzy (it was 5 hours from Athens to Naxos) but really, I'd pick 2 islands and spend more time there than packing up, moving around, and sitting on the ferry.
suec1 is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2014, 12:07 PM
  #20  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,868
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It's all done. 3 days on Santorini and 3 days on Mykonos and then a final 3 days in Athens.

Thanks for all you input; it helped a lot.
DebitNM is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -