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Help with Choice of Greek Islands for Honeymoon

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Apr 11th, 2015, 07:26 AM
  #1
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Help with Choice of Greek Islands for Honeymoon

Hello,

We are planning our honeymoon in early September in Greece. We will have between 10 and 14 nights in Greece (depending on the itinerary) and will likely arrive and depart from Athens.

Going to Santorini (Oia) is the only request of my fiancée.

Which other island(s) should we be going to? The consensus seems to be Paxos or Paros but we would condider any island. I'm a bit confused with the different islands in Greece (and the routes).

We usually prefer a slow-paced trip and don't like to move too much between bases. We would like to enjoy good traditional food and a nice sand beach would be important for the sland other than Santorini. We also prefer small hotels (boutiques or run by families).
Do we also have to rent a car? If so, is it easy to find an automatic?

Thanks a lot.
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Apr 11th, 2015, 08:13 AM
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You probably mean Naxos rather than Paxos. Either would be a good choice, and are only 2-3 hours by ferry from Santorini. Naxos seems to be the favourite of the two on this board, and I agree it is an excellent choice for first-timers to Greece, with its long sandy beaches, nice chora (main town), and picturesque mountain villages.

I actually prefer Paros and its next door neighbour, Antiparos, which have more of the beaches I like, small sandy coves sheltered from the wind, with good snorkelling. Paros has two main towns, Parikia and Naoussa, plus several smaller beach resorts.

Antiparos is a great island for chilling out, with five different beaches within 10 minutes walk from the main town. Most visitors to Antiparos stay there. The southern part of the island is very beautiful, consisting mainly of large villas occupied by owners or rented by the week. Tre main settlement to the south of Antiparos is San Giorgio, where http://www.dolphinantiparos.gr is located. You would need a car for San Giorgio.
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Apr 12th, 2015, 08:35 AM
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A good plan is to island hop either out from Athens or towards Athens and keep to the same island group. So since Santorini is a must see for you that would put you in the Cyclades island group.

My suggestion would be to fly to Santorini as soon as you can as it is perfect for a honeymoon. It is a pretty long ferry trip so flying is really a good option.
Spend as much time as you want in Santorini. For us 4 days is sufficient primarily because this is going to be the big budget island. When you are ready to depart your options include Ios which has a reputation as a party island, Naxos and or Paros and lastly Mykonos. All of these islands are on direct ferry routes from Santoirni.
We have no experience with Ios. We love Naxos for its diversity of activities including its lovely town with its waterfront promenade and kaastro. Good beaches a smattering of antiquities and lovely mountain villages. All at a price far less than Santoirni and far less crowded.

Paros is similar to Naxos also with a nice main town, beaches, a second lovely harbour village at Naoussa and of course Antiparos.
Either would give you a perfect companion island to Santorini. A week would be about right. If you want you could do 3 or 4 days on each.

Mykonos is also an option but one that requires a large budget and is crowded and busy. Santoirni and Mykonos are the most famous and promoted islands. In my opinion only one of them deserves the hype.

You do not need to rent a car as public transportation is good and inexpensive. If you decide you want to explore an island you can easily rent a car for a day or so. There are lots of small rental agencies on all the islands. Since parking can be a problem we just do a one day rental and return the car to the rental agency in the evening. Automatic cars are very rare. If thats what you need you should ask your hotel if there is an agency with one on the island so you can book it in advance.
OK I will show my bias here are images of Naxos
Naxos Town http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7632094558042/
A week in Naxos https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr...7645113682278/
But I do like Antiparos as well
Antiparos http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7632126687570/

Lastly you have to consider getting off the island. You need at least one night in Athens probably two or three.
You can ferry back to Athens or fly back. Again its a time versus money equation. The flights are short. Both Naxos and Paros are serviced by 30 passanger Dash aircraft and they can get booked up fast. Once you decide on a island and if you want to fly you should book that return flight sooner than later.
Have a great time
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Apr 12th, 2015, 10:24 AM
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I meant "of those on this board" rather than "of the two on this board". Since only two of us have replied so far, perhaps that wasn't a typo after all. ;-)
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Apr 13th, 2015, 08:17 AM
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I love Paros and prefer it to Naxos, but you can't go wrong with either one. Travel and Leisure just ran an article on Paros in last month's issue, so you'd better get there before it becomes like Mykonos!

If you do decide on Paros, I really like STELIA MARE, a small family-run boutique hotel within a very short walk of Naoussa.

To access the island and its beaches easily, you do need a car, and I would book this soon if you need an automatic. There are lots of agencies on the island. Many of them will deliver and pick up the car from your hotel.

Lastly, as the other posters have said, you need to book flights to and from any island ASAP. These book up very fast.
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Apr 13th, 2015, 12:53 PM
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I like stanbr's and WWK's description of their favorite islands, and WWK put his finger on a key difference ... in order to get to the best Paros beaches, and explore some other areas of the island, you would need to rent a car. In Naxos, because of the road network and the bus system, you can access just about all the best beaches by frequent bus, and many of the other sights .. if you wanted to see widely separated inland sights you could do it all in 1-day car rental. This is a factor to consider if you have not budgeted for car rental. As pointed out Paros DOES have the attraction of Antiparos, just a 10-minute ferry ride away ... and you could split your stay; Antiparos beaches are walkable without a car, very few visitors use cars there.
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Apr 13th, 2015, 01:45 PM
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Funny enough, my impression is that a car is more necessary on Naxos than on Paros. True, the Naxos Town-St George-Agios Prokopios-Agia Anna-Plaka bus is a frequent one and it is only 20-30 minutes from Town to Plaka and there are a couple of buses per day to other locatios such as Apollonas or Chalki and Filoti, but I think in order to fully appreciate what Naxos is about a car is a necessity to explore beaches and coves, sights and villages where bus does not go.
On Paros maybe it is a bit more time consuming, but buses run circular routes starting from Parikia and/or Naoussa covering most major coastal villages and beach resorts plus Lefkes which is the more interesting inland village to visit. Of course there are more spots to check on a car rental, but one could see a very good part of Paros using the bus system. Boat taxis from Parikia and Naoussa are a good way to explore a few more beaches too.
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Apr 14th, 2015, 12:21 AM
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I agree that a car would be more convenient on Naxos than on Paros for the reasons mentioned by mariah2912.

You don't need a car on Antiparos if all you want to do is walk around the town and nearby beaches...BUT, that is only a tiny part of Antiparos on the northern tip of the island! It's a shame that travelerjan missed the most beautiful part of the island to the south, where the "A-list" celebs have their villas. It is also possible to reach the archaeological site at Despotiko (a miniature Delos) from San Giorgio at the southern end of the island. Car rental agencies allow you to take a car on the 7-minute ferry between Paros and Antiparos.
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Apr 14th, 2015, 10:09 AM
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Yep, Heimdall, I also wish I had a driver's license. But Antiparos delightfully filled my need to totally relax, walk the lanes, swim & sun and recuperate, for 3 days -- a blessing.
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Apr 14th, 2015, 10:35 AM
  #10
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mariah2912,

I'd love to know the names of some beaches accessed by water taxi from Paros. Something new to try this year. Thanks!
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Apr 14th, 2015, 11:48 AM
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WWK, there is a water taxi to Krios Beach from the corner of the ferry dock in Parikia. There are also taxi boats to Kolimbythres, Monasteri, and Lageri Beaches from the dock at Naoussa. I have used them all, except the one to Lageri Beach, and as I recall the fare pays for both ways.
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Apr 14th, 2015, 11:57 AM
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Travelerjan, if you ever come back to Antiparos, take the bus to San Giorgio. You can't see quite as much as with a car, but the scenery is lovely on the way, the beach is sandy and sheltered from the wind, and you can have lunch at Captain Pipinos. While there check to see if there is a boat to the archaeological site on Despotiko Island. Don't miss the last bus to Antiparos Town, though — it's a long walk back. ;-)
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Apr 14th, 2015, 12:23 PM
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I'm learning from this thread as I'm ripe for a return visit to Greece.

I went in late September/early October to Athens 3 nights(with a day trip to the Peloponnese--Mycenae, Epidauros, which I highly recommend if you can swing it), flew to Crete and stayed there for 6 nights (nowhere near enough--this island's a trip unto itself), and Santorini 5 nights (could have made do with 3 or 4 nights really).

Santorini's stunning natural beauty is worth the trip and the crowds were manageable after the hordes left in late August, but it's very touristy. I do wish I'd seen an additional Cycladic island though and it doesn't have to take a lot of time, as other posters have mentioned. I have a beach suggestion and that is Red Beach. It's gorgeous but requires a bit of a workout to get to although you can also arrive by boat, AND you can go topless if you so choose!

http://www.simply-santorini.com/santorini-beaches.html

I'm just curious as to your plans in Athens. Since you're going to the Cyclades, I highly recommend the Goulandris Museum of Cycladic Art. I don't know if you're into this sort of thing but the simplicity of these works along with the laid-back atmosphere is a welcome respite from hectic Athens, plus you'll learn a lot about where you're going. It's just a bright and airy space. I preferred it to the larger more crowded museums even though you should see those too.

http://www.cycladic.gr/frontoffice/p...ode=41&clang=1
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Apr 14th, 2015, 12:29 PM
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Nix Red Beach as I just learned on another thread that it's closed due to rockslides. From what I understand you can see it from above but you can't go down to the actual beach. It's worth a look, the sea view is breathtaking.
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Apr 14th, 2015, 02:07 PM
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Heimdall, it is my DREAM to go back to Antiparos .... it may even happen this June. I'm doing a trip solo this time (travel-pal gig is getting too exhausting!!), just meeting up w old friends -- (thalia, stanbr, nick, etc etc) in Sifnos Nafplio, Athens, Naxos last... but at the end may manage a nite or 2 in Antiparos. Place I really liked, Hotel DImitra, Next to Mike's Place doesn't seem to have a website any more... may be closed. Do you know anything?
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Apr 15th, 2015, 03:31 AM
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Hi Travelerjan,

I just received replies to my emails from two friends, one the owner of Mike's Place, and the other a couple who loved staying at Hotel Dimitra.

Hotel Dimitra certainly had a good location, but was rundown, and for that reason had lower prices than other hotels along the harbour. It was closed down, but has reopened as the Sunday Hotel, and has a restaurant in front. It is now run by the owners of Pantelis Fish Tavern. I understand in has been renovated and the rooms converted to family rooms. Here is what it looks like now: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/greece/c...s/sunday-hotel
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Apr 15th, 2015, 08:32 AM
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Oh Wow! Thanks Heimdall! I had seen the Sunday Hotel site pop up, but no explanation. Good news.... not so much for me, because I'm solo (probably would try for Mikes), but good news for helping people who ask about apartment-type accommodation. It's a good sign also that it's in the hands of the Pantelis folks ... because that's the restaurant we discovered & liked so much, we brought "Stanbr" the next night and ate staggering amounts of good sfuff.
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Apr 15th, 2015, 08:40 AM
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Heimdall,

Where do you stay on Antiparos?
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Apr 15th, 2015, 10:30 AM
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Hi WWK,

I have been staying at Mike's Place, a very small hotel that was renovated to a high standard several years ago. Now it has only five rooms/apartments, so it's not always easy to find a vacancy. Other hotels I can recommend from personal experience are: Maria's Place, Theologos Place/Theologos Beach, Kastro Apartments, and Thalasea Studios & Apartments. The latter was opened a few years ago by Yannis Triantafyllos and his wife Marianna, a wonderful family who have been running Yannis Cafe for many years.

If you want a peaceful location where a car is almost a necessity, Dolphin Villas and Suites in San Giorgio would be a real treat: http://www.dolphinantiparos.gr

A few years ago I met a Dutchman named Hans Huisman who has a very good website of the Greek Islands. His page on Antiparos features some of the hotels I have just described: http://www.angelfire.com/super2/greece/antiparos.html

P.S. to travelerjan: The couple whom I said loved staying at Hotel Dimitra have now switched their affections to Hotel Paris, also on the harbour but nearer the main dock.
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Apr 15th, 2015, 12:03 PM
  #20
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Heimdall,

Thank you very much for the information. I think I'll check out some of the places you mentioned this year for future trips. Mike's Place sounds wonderful. I really like small family-run hotels!
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