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Help with Greece itinerary - Going to the cyclades 16 days in June

Help with Greece itinerary - Going to the cyclades 16 days in June

Mar 20th, 2007, 05:48 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2
Help with Greece itinerary - Going to the cyclades 16 days in June

My girlfriend and I (25y and 28y) are going to Greece from the 13. - 29. June 2007.

We are planning a budget trip (around 35 Euro a person/day). We won't spend to much money on accomodation as we only use it for sleep. The most of the day we will be out anyway. We would rather like to spend our money on sightseeing, renting car/scooter and eating out on nice tavernas. So we plan to spend nights at camping sites where it is possible.

We would like to experience a mix of must-see spots, laid-back greek atmosphere (without too many tourist, if possible) and relaxing/snorkling at the beach.

I have been searching several forums, reading guidebooks and put together following itinerary:

June 13: Arriving in Athens 11.25AM. Maybe spend the afternoon in Athens. Flying out to Santorini 21PM. Check-in at the camping site near Fira.

14: Santorini - Rent a car or a scooter to explore the island, incl. a visit to Oia (maybe to watch the sunset or is that a bad idea?).

15: Santorini - Go on a daytrip to the caldera.

16: Santorini to Naxos - Spend time in Fira till the boat leaves for Naxos. Spend the night in Naxos town.

17: Naxos to Koufonissi (or one of the other small cyclades, ex. Schinoussa). Get the boat for one of the small cyclades.

18-21: Koufonissi - Spend the next days visiting different beaches and do a lot of relaxing/reading/snorkling.

22: Koufonissi to Naxos - Check-in at Plaka Camping

23-25: Naxos - The next days spend some time at the beach and rent a car and explore the island.

26: Naxos to Athens - Spend the next days with sightseeing and shopping

27-28: Athens

29: Flying out of Athens 00:10 am

The itinerary may seem pretty fixed. But we still want to be flexible meaning, if we don't like it somewhere we just move on to the next island. And the other way around if we like it very much, we stay a couple of days longer.

I have some questions to complete the itinerary:

Any suggestions in what to do the first day. We were thinking about spending the afternoon in Athens. Any other possible daytrips from Athens airport?

How to get from airport in Santorini to Fira camping at 22PM. By Taxi?

Which of the small cyclades is best for relaxing? I've read that Koufonissi has some great beaches, but is it getting too touristic, also in June?

Any suggestions to some "off the beaten track" attractions/places on Naxos?

Any advice on the itinerary is much appreciated.

I know it's a lot of questions. Thank you in advance
jas78 is offline  
Mar 20th, 2007, 08:13 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,439
There are others here that may have experience on Koufonissi who may highly recommend it. I have never been there however we have been to Naxos 6 times and I might suggest that you slow down, and relax on Naxos. I believe you will find all you are searching for on Naxos.
I say this because Island hopping on the ferry can take up far more time than you anticipate. After a few transfers you will discover that time relaxing where you are is more valuable than visiting too many locations and experiencing very little of what is there. I have not checked the Small Cyclades Lines schedule which may be more frequent but the excursions to Koufonissi from Naxos only went on Wednesdays last year. Check schedules very carefully.

If Koufonissi is a must for you then ignore the rest of this note.

Consider staying in Naxos and really experience all it has to offer. Naxos in June is still the shoulder season so the hoards of tourists will still be waiting for July and August. There will be enough people around to make your visit interesting but not too crowded.

Naxos offers great beaches. Consider the west coast beach of Plaka. It is a very good sand beach that goes on for several kilometers and offers just the right amount of privacy and services.

Naxos has incredible mountain villages where you will find memories and encounters with the local people that will stay with you for a lifetime. The interior of Naxos has antiquities and Venetian ruins including a Jesuite monistery and Cathedral abandoned for 200 years, tower houses and the restored Demeters temple.

Naxos town has shopping, dining, museums and antiquities that will occupy you for three days all by itself.

There are at least two campgrounds in Naxos the best being Margolas across from Plaka beach. The local bus stops at the gate. For exploring the island the local buses are comfortable and inexpensive.

Your budget may be a bit skinny but camping should be cheaper than the studio apartment we stayed in.

To see more of Naxos here is a link to our pictures.

stanbr is offline  
Mar 21st, 2007, 01:21 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,490
I've been to Koufonissia, and it is a lovely island. In June it will be crawling with blond-haired Swedes. There is a daily ferry (Express Skopelitis) that runs from Naxos through the Small Cyclades to Amorgos and back. Stanbr must be thinking of the Blue Star which stops in the middle of the night at Koufonissia once a week on its Piraeus-Amorgos run.
Heimdall is online now  
Mar 21st, 2007, 03:06 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2007
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Thank you both for your replies.

Stanbr, your pictures from Naxos are wonderful.

Koufonissi is not a must for us. We just want to experience a quieter place to relax compared to the touristic Santorini and the other "more visited" islands. Maybe Naxos also is a good alternative for this.

It just seemed like a good option to visit one of the small Cyclades from Naxos for a couple of days. And I guess that it should be a little quieter than Naxos? (or am I wrong)?
jas78 is offline  
Mar 21st, 2007, 03:21 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Koufonissia will be quieter than Naxos, but as a small island, everything is concentrated in the one village. I was there a bit earlier than you plan to visit (late May) and frankly it was too quiet for me. June should be more lively, though, as the island is popular with Scandinavians, and many of them take their holidays in June.

You might want to consider Antiparos in addition to Naxos as an alternative to Koufonissia. There is good snorkling from the beaches around the island, and a dive company that can take you to good snorkling sites by boat. Check out the photo galleries in http://www.antiparos-isl.gr/ (click on EN)and http://www.blueisland-divers.gr/.
Heimdall is online now  
Mar 21st, 2007, 08:36 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,439
Thank you for your comments on our pictures. It is a pleasure to share.
I re read my posting and realized I probably wasn't really expressing my thoughts clearly on your proposed trip. We have been to Paros twice and then have gone on to Naxos which is only an hour away by fery. We were shocked at how much time it takes to get from one Island to another. For that one hour ferry ride we had to check out of our hotel in Paros and wait around for the ferry for about an hour and a half. After Naxos it took us at least an hour to get settled in to our new hotel and by then it was 2:30 in the afternoon. After realizing just how much of a day can be spent on Island Hopping we decided to minimize the number of Islands and spend more time in one place. When you factor in travel time you will likely short change both Naxos ( which deserves at least 4 days) and Koufonissi.
stanbr is offline  
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