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Help with Greek Isles Itinerary

Old Jul 19th, 2008, 11:46 AM
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Help with Greek Isles Itinerary

My husband and I have been around and around trying to come up with a Greek Isle itinerary bearing in mind the ferry links. Not so easy!

We will be going in late May or early June of next year and will have 13 days.

Santorini is a priority.

Our thoughts are to fly to Athens, and depending on the time we arrive, spend the night to rest. Then in the AM, take a ferry to Milos or Sifnos for 4 nights, (We are torn on these 2 islands. At this point I think the one with the easiest ferry connections makes sense).

Then our hope was to go on to Folegandros for 2 nights, but reading the "bible" that someone recommended, it appears that may not be an option unless we travel in July or August (?)

Then on to Santorini. I proposed flying from Athens to Santorini, but my husband is set on ending our trip there. We plan to stay there 4 nights.

Then ferry or fly back to Athens for 2 nights, then fly home.

We love the sound of these islands. More our style - quiet, relaxed, less touristy (other than of course Santorini, but who could miss that??)

I believe I read that Milos has an airport. Possible to fly there from Athens?

Would just like to know if our choices are possible in late May/Early June, if Sifnos or Milos make more sense for ease of connection, and if Folegandros is even an option.

If we cannot do Folegandros, we will just increase our time on the Santorini and whatever other island we choose (Milos or Sifnos), or..... not to confuse things, but if Folegandros is not an option, are Sifnos, Milos and Santorini a possibly?
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Old Jul 19th, 2008, 12:14 PM
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One other thought as I look at this more closely. Perhaps it would be more relaxing to do only 2 islands and Athens (we want to spend minimal time here, but do want to see the Acropolis, etc.)

Would Milos or Sifnos have the better connections to Santorini during our anticipated timeframe?
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Old Jul 19th, 2008, 01:15 PM
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Ferry connections are not quite as convenient in May and June as they are in July and August, so it really depends on your island choice and your travel dates. You won't know what's available for next year until March or April, so keep your plans flexible until more information is available to you. Check with www.openseas.gr/OPENSEAS/index_en.vm to find timetables once they're 'official'.

The Blue Star Ferry "Paros" which runs between Athens/Piraeus and Santorini makes stops at Paros, Naxos and Ios along the route, and if you were to choose one of those islands as your second island (2 islands and Athens is plenty for 13 days) you will be taking the best advantage of your time since this is a daily ferry. The ferries connecting Milos and Sifnos with Santorini do not operate daily. If you were to choose Paros as your other island you could also take advantage of its close proximity to Antiparos for a fun daytrip using the frequent small local shuttle ferry. The "Paros" leaves Piraeus at 7:30 AM and takes about 4 hours to reach Paros, and another 3 hours to reach Santorini. There is also a faster highspeed ferry available along this same route from Hellenic Seaways

Also, from Paros and Naxos there's a daytrip by excursion boat to historical Delos that includes a stop on Mykonos for a quick look around.

When on Santorini I recommend you stay in the most beautiful village of Oia. It has everything you need to make your vacation memorable except rowdy nightlife.
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Old Jul 20th, 2008, 05:52 AM
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Don't Santorini and Milos both have airports?

Is flying from Athens to Santorini, then on to Milos and option?
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Old Jul 20th, 2008, 06:45 AM
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I think keeping Santorini at the end of your trip is the best bet. I wish I had done that with mine. My route was:

Athens (3 nights)
Fly to Santorini (4 nights)
Ferry to Naxos, 2 hours (3 nights)
Ferry to Athens, 6 hours (1 night)

What I would have done is switched Naxos and Santorini around. As much as I love Naxos, Santorini was far more relaxing and had the convenience of an airport. I know some people say that if you're planning to spend some time in Athens, keep it at the end of your trip to prevent any delays esp. if you have an outgoing flight to an international location. I much preferred the islands over Athens and would have been disappointed to go from such a serene atmosphere to a busy city all for the sake of convenience.

For the record, travel time was in late May. Ferries were perfect and the weather was lovely but do take heed on the advice of others. Ferries CAN be cancelled so it's always good to have a backup plan.

I would probably take Sifnos over Milos but Milos is about 2 hours away from Sifnos. If you picked Milos, you'd still have to stop in Sifnos on the way to Santorini. Then you could ferry on to Santorini and spend the rest of your trip there before flying back to Athens?

Just my suggestion
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Old Jul 20th, 2008, 09:10 AM
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Santorini, Milos, Naxos and Paros all have airports, but to get from Santorini to Milos by air requires a return to Athens Airport for a plane change.

Both Aegean and Olympic Airlines fly to Santorini.

Only Olympic flies to the others.
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Old Jul 20th, 2008, 09:15 AM
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Both Santorini and Milos have airports, but there are no flights between them. You can, of course, fly back to Athens for a connecting flight.

Milos has a short (2,600 ft) runway, and is served only by small Olympic Airlines turboprops.
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Old Jul 20th, 2008, 09:20 AM
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We fly into Athens and about 2 hours later flew to Santorini. We stayed in Oia for 3 days..and then went to several islands from there. So we were relaxing in Oia the first day..and it set a nice tone from there. Your plan kind of "wastes" the first day..and then the second day your ferry trip cuts into that as well. Not sure why your husband thinks Santorini should be at the end..we preferred it...because of the flight (only 19 Euro on Aegean Air by booking way in advance) at the beginning. We stayed at Aspaki in the Romeo and Juliet Suite..and loved it!! While Oia is touristy..after 5pm it's remarkabley quite..after the cruise ships leave.
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Old Jul 20th, 2008, 11:14 AM
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We did Greece in 2002. We spent 3 nights in Athens, then rented a car and did the Pelopponese area for a week(loved it) and made our way up to Galaxidi and then Meteora and back to Athens. We decided to end our trip with 4 nights in Santorini so we flew from Athens. We loved it.

Stay in Oia. Even though it is touristy during the day, it is very quiet after 5 as said in previous replies. Stay on the Caldera if you can. We saw the beautiful sunset from our balcony at Atlantis Villa. I would go back in a flash!

You are going to have a great time.
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Old Jul 20th, 2008, 01:20 PM
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Thanks all, just rough planning at this point.

We wanted to spend the night in Athens when we arrive because we sense we will be exhausted. I also don't want too much flying, as I had a bad scare with a swollen leg when we got back from Positano this year, and I need to be careful. So a night on the ground is important rather than more time in a plane for health reasons.

It appears - and I am a novice here - that the islands we really want to see in concert with Santorini (not all, but these are our picks) - Folegandros, Sifnos, Milos - are not possible since they are on different ferry "lines".

I'm saying this out of pure ignorance, and only from the multitude of books and web sites I have poured over, but those islands seem much less touristy, and maybe more importantly, perhaps prettier than Naxos, Paros, or Mykonos, which seem to be the only "fits" with Santorini for a trip in June.

It is difficult, as everyone says NOT to travel July and August because it is crazy busy and hot, but that seems to be the only time to make decent ferry connections to other than the most "touristed" islands.

Why Santorini last? Because my husband and I see it as a beautiful, romantic, relaxing place, and want to end our vacation on that note, not the other way around. Of course we will spend the requisite night in Athens on the return so that we will be there for an early flight home.

It appears our choice is either to bypass the islands we want to see and do the Mykonos or Paros or Naxos lot, plus Santorini, and battle the crowds in August.

If we do choose to keep to our June dates and switch our preferred 2nd island to one of the above, which is the most serene? From what I have read appears to be Naxos? I looked at Antiparos, but doesn't seem to be much going on there, and again, doesn't seem to be all that scenic.

BTW, we are staying in Oia. Narrowed down to Delfini or Alexander Traditional Houses.

We had thought of doing Nafplio, but really don't want to go there, then have to backtrack to Athens to go on to Santorini. Also thought of flying to Chania on Crete, then on to Santorini, but does not give us the island feel that we want - too large a place for this trip.
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Old Jul 21st, 2008, 12:33 AM
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Wanderer1,

There is no reason you can't do some combination of Folegandros, Sifnos, and Milos with Santorini. Planning a trip through the Western Cyclades to Santorini requires some flexibility, as there aren't always daily sailings, and many ferry departures are at inconvenient times. You will have to wait until a few weeks before the trip to finalize your plans, when ferry timetables become available.

From the middle of June highspeed ferries operate their full summer schedules. Before mid-June there are conventional ferries which stop at these islands, but not every day. Waiting until August would be a mistake.

The easy option would be Mykonos-Naxos/Paros-Santorini. You can get between these islands daily any time during the season. In fact, ferries run between Paros, Naxos, and Santorini daily 12 mo/yr.

Don't give up on your Western Cyclades plans. If that's what you want to do, go for it.
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Old Jul 21st, 2008, 12:59 AM
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BTW, you are correct that Santorini is on a different main ferry route from Milos, etc, but there are some small companies, notably GA and LANE Lines, that specialize in year-round sailings to islands on different routes. They publish their timetables only a few weeks in advance, but are never full in June, so you don't have to pre-book tickets.

For an example, go to http://www.gtp.gr/ and enter Milos and Santorini. Click on the "Go" button, and when the next page appears, leave the dates alone and click on "Search". Don't change the year to 2009. Click on "more information & reservations" on each sailing to see the route the ship takes. Next year there will be a similar pattern, although you will have to wait until May 2009 for exact dates and times.
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