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Honeymoon in Greece: About 6 nights, 7 days

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Dec 31st, 2013, 10:48 AM
  #1
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Honeymoon in Greece: About 6 nights, 7 days

Hi all!

After some deliberation, my fiancé and I decided to plan our honeymoon for a week in Greece! We orginally thought Italy- and still want to go badly (1st anniversary perhaps)- but I can't get Greece out of my mind and am dying to go. We will have about 6 nights/7 days during the first week of September (departing on or around August 28th and then flying to Israel on or around September 4th). With flying time, we expect about a week long vacation.

A coworker has family in Greece, and has given us some helpful jumping off points:

1. If we see Athens, leave it to the end, rather than beginning of the trip, since we have to go for the airport
2. Local favorites are the Sporades islands, Naxos, Paros and Milos

We are very food centric, and really just want to get to know the country and culture, in what limited time we have. Our main interests are beautiful beaches, being outdoors, eating the great local food, and relaxing. We do want to see historic sites, but don't necessarily want to spend every minute in lines- so we'd also love some insider knowledge on things to do and eat off the beaten path.

Please let me know if you have advice on how to start planning our itinerary. My thoughts (roughly) so far were to fly into Athens, transfer to Santorini for 2 nights, ferry to one of the other islands for a more relaxing, beach side stay (those clear blue waters and white sands are so amazing), and end with 1-2 nights in Athens before flying out. All of this is flexible, but having a more cohesive idea of what is realistic would be great.

Thanks and happy new year!
Y
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Dec 31st, 2013, 11:34 AM
  #2
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I also wanted to add that we were recommended Lefkada, Zakynthos, and Corfu on the Ionian. It seems we'd have to choose with either the Ionian or Aegian seas- which makes sense.

So any input also between the two region clusters- and which is best for beach and coastal views (looks like Lefkada is the bright blue and white beach, so amazing).

Second, we will not plan to rent cars, so that is something else to keep in mind.

Thanks all!
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Dec 31st, 2013, 11:57 AM
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First of all, congratulations!

It looks like you have a good plan already, though only a week for Greece is somewhat limiting. The Sporades are out, as it would take too much time to get there and back from Athens. Book a connecting flight from Athens to Santorini so you don't waste time at the beginning of the trip.

From Santorini you could take a ferry either to Milos, or to Naxos/Paros. The Naxos/Paros route has the most frequent and reliable ferry connections. Although I usually go to Paros and Antiparos myself, for you I would suggest Naxos. Naxos is a larger island, but most of the best beaches are only a few minutes from Naxos Town, and the town itself is very attractive.

From Naxos (or Paros) are several daily ferries to Piraeus (Athens), and both islands have small airports. I would recommend two nights in Athens, because only one night would give you very little time to see anything in the city. Most of the important sites in Athens are in a small, central pedestrianised district, so it is easy to walk around on your own. Should you wish a guided tour, http://www.athens-walks.com gets lots of good reviews, particularly their food tour. Kostas, the owner, is a former Evzone (palace guard), and he and his guides can show you places most tourists never see.
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Dec 31st, 2013, 12:23 PM
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You are correct that you would have to choose between the Aegean and Ionian. Corfu and Zakynthos are both served from Athens by Olympic Air. There are no ferries from Athens to the Ionian. Corfu and Zakynthos are popular budget package holiday destinations, and not what I prefer. Lefkada would be more difficult to reach, requiring more than one means of transport.
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Dec 31st, 2013, 12:43 PM
  #5
 
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Have no specific advice on Greece.

But do have apiece of general advice. I htink this comes from people reading too many tour brochures - which exaggerate everything.

So - 6 nights is five (5) days - NOT 7 days. (The other 2 days are arrival and departure - not vacation days.)
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Dec 31st, 2013, 02:15 PM
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Congratulations! Greece is one of our favorite countries. Many of the ruins, museums, and other sights will close for the day by 3pm. Do your sightseeing early and then relax at the beach in the afternoon.
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Jan 2nd, 2014, 10:51 AM
  #7
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Hi all,

Thanks very much for your replies!

This feedback is very helpful- we are starting to hone in on a more cohesive plan- current thoughts are to fly into Athens, transfer to Santorini from the airport, and then spend 2 nights there, and another 2 nights on one of the Cyclades islands (Paros or Milos maybe), circling back to Athens for the last 2 nights.

Heimdall- thanks for your input on Lefkada/the Ionian- we realized in our time frame that would be too much travel. It seems that Paros is also favored over Naxos for a lot of other travelers. Can you elaborate on why you suggest Naxos? I'm sure we'll be happy anywhere- but definitely prioritizing good food and nice towns/beaches. We want to do some exploring and hopefully some hiking and diving.

Thanks! Happy New Year!
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Jan 2nd, 2014, 12:11 PM
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Hi yisler,

The reason I suggested Naxos is because the main town (chora) and several excellent beaches are located in a small area on the west of the island, making it very convenient for visitors who have only a short time to be there. Your choices are simple: either stay in the St George part of town and take the bus to the best beaches; or stay in the beach area (Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna, Plaka) and take the bus into town in the evenings. There are other areas further away from town, but IMO St George is the best place to stay, with many hotels from which to choose.

Paros would be an equally good choice, but it's a little more complex, and takes more time to do it justice. Should you stay in Parikia, which has lots to do? Or should you stay in Naoussa, a picturesque former fishing village? Perhaps you would rather stay near the best beaches on the eastern side of the island. It's more out of the way, but there is one very famous beach bar, http://www.pundabeach.gr (check it out on YouTube), and world class windsurfing at Golden Beach. You could also stay on Antiparos, a separate island but only 30 minutes from the main port of Paros.

Bottom line is, either Paros or Naxos would be a good choice. I try to be impartial, otherwise I would be recommending my favourite island, Antiparos. I seldom recommend it to first timers — it's an island people gravitate to when they have seen all the rest and just want to chill out in a friendly atmosphere. A few years ago there were some people who dominated this forum and always recommended Naxos. Now the forum seems to be more balanced.
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Jan 2nd, 2014, 03:51 PM
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While Milos is ringed by great beaches without a car you will be relying on local transportation and for the most part that is set up for the locals so you will find early morning buses noon hour with immediate turn around and late afternoon runs. There may be a more robust schedule in late August though.
Also you should be aware that the ferrys back to Athens run in the late afternoon so you won't get into Athens until close to midnight. You can of course fly back check out Olympic air which has the contract to service Milos. Here are some images taken over two trips.
Milos 2013 http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7634779985764/
Milos 2011 http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7632109429236/
I don't think you would be disappointed by either Naxos or Paros. I am one of those people who prefers Naxos, not that we don't like Paros. In fact we have stayed there 4 times over the years but our hearts just keep being called back to Naxos.
Here is an album of images of Naxos taken this June while we toured around the island. There is a bus tour that will get you to many of these places if you don't have a car.
Trip around Naxos http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7634605629689/
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Jan 2nd, 2014, 04:47 PM
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Since you are in your honeymoon, you want a romantic and relaxing place, not a big hustle and bustle island like Mykonos. Also, I highly recommend you to visit the islands before 15th of August, the day of the Dormition of Panagia (Virgin Mary) which is the most loved Saint of the Greeks (The Patron Saint of Constantinople, former Greek Capital was and is Virgin Mary) so you can join the traditional celebrations and festivals that took place all over Greece. Folegandros is gorgeous Cycladic island ideal for honeymooners with picturesque Architecture, sceneries and turquoise waters.

The main site of Greek Tourism (visitgreece) consider Folegandros one of the best island for honeymoon, read that article: http://www.visitgreece.gr/en/destina...n_destinations

CNN ranked it "the best couples getaway" here is the article: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/15/tr...nds/?c=&page=0

Travel + Leisure, considers Folegandros as one of the 7 most beautifull villages in Europe: http://www.travelandleisure.com/arti...ful-villages/1

During the Dekapentaugusto (15th of August celebration), there are folk festivals in the Chora's (capital of the island) church which is dedicated to Panagia, There is food, dances and music and ofcourse religious stuff in the square, and it is really atmospheric and unique.

Here are some photos of Folegandros: http://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=Folegandros
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Jan 2nd, 2014, 05:22 PM
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Congratulations!!

If you don't have a car you could spend a day or two in Athens, then take the ferry across to Hydra which is a delightful island about an hour or so by foot ferry - NO cars are allowed on the island. A few days would be restful and fun.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydra_(island)

You might also be interested in the Peloponnese because they have the wonderful archeological sites like where the first Olympics were held, the Myceana culture, etc.

I have not been to Santorini, but that would be my first choice if we made a second trip to Greece.
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Jan 3rd, 2014, 12:55 AM
  #12
 
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The couple are travelling in September, and have only 6 nights, which is really 5 full days, not 7. I think they have a good plan already.
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Jan 21st, 2014, 05:12 PM
  #13
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Hi all,

Is anyone still reading this thread?

We are still trying to figure out our travel plans- and could definitely use input!

We have less time than we estimated- right now we think we will arrive in Athens evening of Aug 29th, and are departing late day/evening from Athens Sept 4th. Since it is only then 5 days, we are thinking of seeing Athens and Santorini, and saving the other islands for a longer trip. We'd estimate that we would transfer to a charter flight after arriving in Athens to spend the first 3 days in Santorini, and the last 2 in Athens.

Can anyone recommend:
- if this is a good plan
-places to stay
-things to see
-places to eat (important one! We love food)

Our budget, after airfare, is about $2000 USD, per person for 5 days. This includes hotel and day to day cost.

Thanks!
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Jan 21st, 2014, 05:43 PM
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There is plenty to keep you busy sightseeing in Athens over a couple days .
Favorite museums - New Acropolis Museum (an absolute must) and the Benaki Museum. The National Archaeology Museum holds some world class treasures but isn't all that well organized. The small Goulandris museum (Cycladic art) is also fantastic. Choose a couple and save the others for your next trip. There are 6 ancient sights included on your Acropolis ticket. That will keep you busy for the other day. A popular evening excursion is to head out to the Temple at Sounio for sunset. We've always done it on our own with a rental car, but there are plenty of organized bus trips. It's relatively close to Athens (an hour-ish), and is really a special experience.
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Jan 21st, 2014, 05:46 PM
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Re: Athens lodging, we've stayed at a couple places in the Plaka over the years before we found Herodion Hotel. It's very close to the New Acropolis Museum and just around the corner from the Plaka. Family owned. Lovely hotel, great service.
http://www.herodion.gr/main.php
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Jan 22nd, 2014, 11:12 AM
  #16
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Thank you!

We are thinking of booking through True Greece- for either Athens and Santorini or Santorini and Naxos.

Does anyone here have personal experience booking with this company? I was able to find one post asking about them- but wanted to hear from someone who booked with them- just checking that they are legit.
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Jan 22nd, 2014, 08:13 PM
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We have used Dolphin Hellas for all of our Greece travel needs (used the, for almost a decade). They have an excellent reputation on these boards. Uli Perschau is the agent we usually use (she has been there since at least 2005). Surprisingly, in Greece, it's often cheaper to use a travel agent than to do your own bookings. Another agency with excellent reviews is Fantasy Travel. I have no personal experience with them, but they seem reputable.

Here is the website for Dolphin Hellas. http://www.dolphin-hellas.gr/about-contact-staff/
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Jan 22nd, 2014, 08:32 PM
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5 days? Where are flying from?
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Jan 23rd, 2014, 08:25 AM
  #19
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Thanks TexasAggie, we'll consider them

HappyTrvler- we are flying from NYC, so we will arrive a day after departure, evening of Aug 29, and depart Sept 4. So we'll have 5 full days, with 2 travel days.
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Jan 25th, 2014, 11:46 AM
  #20
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I don't think you need a travel agent for a relatively simple trip. If you post a budget here,you'll get tons of good recommendations, then all you have to do is make the air arrangements and e-mail the hotels.

BTW, for a first-timer with only five days to spare, I'd strongly suggest Santorini ( and Athens) over Naxos ( and Athens).
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