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Island choices and help needed please

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Oct 3rd, 2013, 02:17 PM
  #1
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Island choices and help needed please

We are a family of 5 travelling from Rome to Greece next August 2014.
I was thinking we would fly into Santorini for 4 or so nights then either Naxos, Paros or Antiparos.
Totally confused about which of these 3 islands to stay on. ( kids ages are 14,11,9 ) We love to swim and relax and after travelling for the previous 7 weeks we are finishing off with a relaxing part of our holiday. Would love to hear your thoughts and recommendations for accommodation on either of these islands.
We thought a day trip to Mykonos one day as well.
Thanks so much.
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Oct 3rd, 2013, 02:43 PM
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You certainly have the relaxing islands nailed down. All three make good choices.
I think Naxos probably has more to do for the kids and has great beaches. It has an active main town with St George beach directly adjacent so it is very convenient to get a beach/town holiday. St George is lined with hotels in various price ranges.
On the other had it will be high season in August and St George will likely be fairly crowded so if you want a get away from it all beach holiday you could consider one of the west coast beaches Procopios or Aggia Anna or our favourite Plaka. Procopious and Aggia Anna have villages while Plaka is serviced by several hotels and about 5 tavernas along a 3km section of road.
Naxos also has lovely mountain villages to explore along with a smattering of antiquities.
Here are some images of Naxos
St George Beach Naxos http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7632113170279/
Plaka Beach Naxos http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7632112899515/
Trip around Naxos http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7634605629689/
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Oct 3rd, 2013, 02:46 PM
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There is an excursion boat from Naxos and Paros that goes to Delos and then on to Mykonos for about three hours each.
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Oct 4th, 2013, 12:09 AM
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Antiparos is ideal for families, but I wouldn't recommend going in August, except maybe the last week of that month. While Antiparos is quiet and relaxing in June and September, it is jam-packed in August. Paros and Naxos will also be busy, but being larger islands, there is more room to spread out.
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Oct 4th, 2013, 01:02 AM
  #5
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Thanks so much everyone. this is really very helpful. We are not sure still. Will have a good look tonight. The photos sent through stanbr are lovely. Looks like you enjoyed your holiday.
We know it will be quite busy ( we are there from 18August) but don't have a choice due to vacation time here in Australia. We are taking our kids out of school for the term.
Any other Greek island suggestions are most welcome. Thanks so much
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Oct 4th, 2013, 01:36 AM
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Naxos would be as good a choice as any, especially since you also plan to be on Santorini. I actually enjoy the buzz of the islands when they are busy, but mid-August is the peak of the peak season, with every Greek who is able to travel taking their vacation around the Aug 15th Assumption Day holiday. It's also the time that most other European countries have their school breaks, so demand is high. Don't make the mistake of thinking a small island will be quieter when the opposite is true (of August).
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Oct 4th, 2013, 04:38 AM
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Hi fellow Aussies!
We went to santorini back in 2005
Booked an apartment from home before we left...Villa Manos not too far from Fira..just a short walk up the road to a bus.
It was a good apartment..two bedrooms...dont know if it slept five though...but it was clean and spacious and was reasonably priced.
We had five nights there.
We did the gobsmackingly beautiful and easy/safe cliffside walk to Oia..amazing photos..except for some marine haze.
Dont know how long it took but it was worth it...we passed little villages and we could see Oia poking out there on the tip of the caldera for most of the way
We watched the sun set and then caught the bus back
Buses are great...they were modern clean comfortable and just about everywhere you went cost a euro

We visited the different pebble beaches..perissa and the red pebble beach..name escapes me...Akrotiri? no i think it is just called red beach lol...someone will be sure to correct me...it is very well known

we looked into tours to Ios but decided against it- just beaches and nightlife we were told

we did a half day tour to kamari ( cheaper rates at the tourist office in fira than what they were offering at our villa so always best to shop around)..saw the volcano crater..it was ok...very barren
stopped at the hotsprings for a swim but ended up not going in..the water was cold until you reached the springs and i didnt want to risk staining my bathing suit from the springs ( dont wear white!)..you had to swim quite a distance cos the boat doesnt take you right up to the hotsprings by the way!

we also visited Thirassia another island that same tour...quite quaint ..good food...nice beach

we had great food at zafora...but the iced coffee alone was the equivalent of 12 aud!
most of the dishes came in huge portions so we shared most of the time
Zafora has great views...its in Fira as far as I know ( this was back in 2005 remember) and the donkeys passed..poor things laden with tourists..
nice restaurant in Oia..Estiatopio...views again amazing!
Oia is a lot dearer than the other villages...so dont be tempted to buy souvenirs here...tis the Doublebay of santorini here!
It is beautiful and youll have a ball on any of the islands im sure!
( mind you, i was so impressed with the blue loo water...yet when i came home i noticed the same hue at dolphins point down the south coast of nsw...goes to show...sometimes the same beauty goes unnoticed when it's right under your nose at home!)
happy travels!
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Oct 4th, 2013, 04:28 PM
  #8
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Hi Lanejohann, sounds like you guys had a lovely time. I looked into Villa Manos but they are fullly booked at our time in Santorini. They looked good though. Not sure whether to stay in Fira or not. Would love some guidance on this one.
we are looking for accommodation still in Santorini - what areas would you think were best to stay in?
Will do some more research on Naxos, or Paros or Antiparos tonight. My husband just said all these places are already doing his head in. Really appreciate some advise from you experts. thanks so much
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Oct 4th, 2013, 08:42 PM
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Hi familyfive
First of all I wouldn't call myself an expert on the Greek Islands but I have been to all the ones that are "doing his head in" three times in the last couple of years. No matter which island you choice no one will be wrong.
In Santorini I like staying in Firostefani as it is a 10-15 minute walk to centre Fira along the cliff side (very safe) ,parking is available or a bus stop is close by.It has a wonderful selection of restaurants as well. Buses are very good and easy to use and go to the all the beaches or you could hire a car .We did so when we had a party of five travelling. I always have looked on booking.com for accommodation.
Naxos,Paros and Antiparos are all very beautiful and have different things to offer but if I were in your position I'd go for Naxos. Why? It's bigger with a larger selection of beaches and activities and you can still do a daytrip to Mykonos.Don't get me wrong I love Paros but for first timers with family I'd go Naxos. Antiparos is much smaller.
Next time you may come back and just do Greece and the Islands!
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Oct 4th, 2013, 11:40 PM
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I looked into Villa Manos but they are fullly booked at our time in Santorini.

How do you know? Did you contact the hotel directly and that's what they told you? At this early date, when a booking website says "not available" or words to that effect, it usually means they haven't started taking bookings for next summer. The hotel's own website isn't even listing prices for 2014 yet: http://www.villamanos.gr

You don't want to wait too long, because mid-August is a very busy period, but you may be trying to book too early. Why not send them an email? You can find the email address in the "Contact" block on their website.
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Oct 5th, 2013, 05:33 AM
  #11
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Thanks travelnut, very helpful.. We don't mind the quiet and just lying on the beach somewhere. we love the scenery of the islands and if we could find one that is scenic like Mykonos and Santorini we are happy too. After travelling for 7 weeks I think we will be all content to just have enjoy the views, swim, and have a nice meal. So we don't mind if the island is small at all.
Thanks Heimdall, I didn't email direct, but the booking site said fully booked for my dates. We did find one called Caldera Butterfly Villas. Looks really nice, they have breakfast incl too.
Just doing our research now on the other greek islands to book something in.
thanks guys for being so helpful.
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Oct 5th, 2013, 07:13 AM
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Hi familyfive,

I'm glad you found a room on Santorini that you are happy with. Your statement that Villa Monos is already fully booked for next August didn't sound right, so I just rang the hotel on the telephone. They are taking bookings for next summer, and confirmed that they still have plenty of availability for next August. The lady I spoke with seemed surprised that I was asking the question.

It's always best to deal directly with the hotel whenever possible. Booking websites are allocated only a small percentage of the rooms, since hotels naturally prefer to do the bookings themselves and not have to pay a fee to the booking agency. If the booking agency website says "sold out", that just means they have sold the rooms they were allocated. In your case you have already found a room, but keep that in mind for the future. You can usually find the hotel's own website with a Google search.
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Oct 6th, 2013, 04:40 AM
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Hi Heimdall, Thank you again for your comments. I will definitely email directly to the hotels.
Thanks for going to so much trouble. This makes sense as to why they were showing sold out. I really liked the look of Villa Monos, but some of the reviews mentioned the loud music they play constantly. I don't think I'd like this all the time anyway, I think we will really like Caldera Butterfly Villas. This is booked now. I am looking at accommodation now on Naxos. Any one have any favourites.
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Oct 6th, 2013, 07:03 AM
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Hi familyfive,

I wasn't plugging Villa Manos, but followed up with a telephone call to ensure the information I gave about availability was accurate.

Prices for hotels on Naxos are very reasonable, so you should find something there for less than you pay on Santorini. On Naxos I always stay at http://www.argo-hotel.gr, which is a small well run hotel with a few apartments that may suit your family. It's located in St George (Agios Georgios), only a short walk from the beach. The pool is new since I last stayed there.

There are other more luxurious hotels, some located on the beach, which is a rarity for Greece. Another contributor to this thread, stanbr, will be able to make more suggestions if you state what price range and amenities you prefer. You have a choice of staying in town (St George) or in one of the beach resorts, e.g. Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna, Plaka, and others further out, e.g. Mikri Vigla, Kastraki, Pirgaki. The resorts "further out" will be quieter in August, but have fewer places to eat, and may require a car to get into town.
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Oct 6th, 2013, 07:05 AM
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The first thing you must consider is that August (especially the first 3 weeks) are the busiest, especially in the most touristic places such as Santorini and Mykonos.

Taking into consideration this fact, and also that we are talking about 3 children family vacation, I would suggest that 2 or maximum 3 nights are enough for Santorini.

From the islands you have mentioned Naxos and Antiparos are suitable for your needs. Bear in mind however that Antiparos is quite small and you will have seen it all in just a couple of days. Naxos is bigger. From Antiparos you can travel to Paros very easily if you wish. Paros will be as packed as Santorini and Mykonos during August.

If you require any information on these islands or you wish to discuss your trip more do not hesitate to send me an e-mail.

Finally please allow me to suggest the following.
You have said that you will have been traveling for 7 weeks prior to your arrival to Greece, and that you desire a relaxing holiday. And that you want to enjoy the sea and the beaches.
Depending on your means of transport while in Greece, you have plenty of choices.

An example is Sithonia in Chalkidiki. It is a peninsula in Northern Greece, very touristic but never packed, with amazing beaches (some of the best in Greece), great hotels, and wonderful scenery. There you will truly relax. It is also a great family destination. Moreover, if you plan early you can book extremely low cost flights from Rome to Thessaloniki.
There are plenty more places like that.

If on the other hand, you are determined to include Santorini in your plan, you can include it in a plan with other islands more suitable for family holidays than Paros or Mykonos.

Drop me a mail if you require more information.
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Oct 6th, 2013, 02:58 PM
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Hi Heimdall, Not at all, really appreciate your help and for going to so much trouble. We got a very good deal on the accommodation on Santorini. And the apartment is self contained too.
We definitely want to go to Santorini Discouver_Greece. We will fly in from Rome. Then after this ferry to another island for 5 nights then ferry ( or fly if we can get cheap fares ) back to Athens for 2 nights before we fly home.
Ideally we would like a pool where we stay and if it has basic cooking facilities then that would be good too. I've seen alot of places include Breakfast so that might be good too. Especially with the kids. [ Heimdall ] yet to check out your suggestion.
Thank you for posting though. Looks like we will say on Naxos for 5 nights. And do a day trip to Mykonos.
We know it will be busy. Yesterday we went to our local beach on the Sunshine Coast and for the first time in so long it was so so busy. Kind of used to business living in a seaside village as we also get lots of tourists here.
look forward to more recommendations
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Oct 6th, 2013, 04:44 PM
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Hi family five.
As Heimdall says Naxos has two good choices. If you want to be close to town for all its activities then St George beach is the place to go. One end of the beach is very quiet while the central part of the beach will be pretty busy in August. There are a bunch of hotels right beside the beach. I think Spiros or Kalergos studios would be other good choices for you as they both have kitchens. Spirosa has a pool and in fact is within a few meters of Heimdalls Argo.
Just around the corner is the Studio hotel we stay at. Glaros Studios. They have at least one unit that sleeps 5 with two bedrooms and a bed in the studio part. It is a bit quirky but has loyal clientele and is very moderately priced.

If it is a beach holiday you are loking for then head out to Ag Procopious or Aggia anna or Plaka beach. Plaka will be the quietest of the three and is serviced by several tavernas and hotels along a 3 km stretch of beach. The other two have villages so more options.
Here are images of hotels at St George.
St George Beach Hotels Naxos http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7632162394787/
We have not stayed at Plaka beach this June when we drove ut for a beach day I asked my wife what hotel she would like ot stay at out there and so she chose one that appealed to her and we visited Cyclades studios. It was constructed with lots of marble was very simple and in June was about 30 euros a day. It had lots of parking kitchenettes and was right across the road from the beach. We didn't stay there but if we were to go to Naxos in high season this is where we would likely stay.
Plaka Beach Naxos http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7632112899515/
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Oct 6th, 2013, 04:45 PM
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Oops pressed submit too soon. I have updated the Plaka beach album with some images of Cyclades studios.
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Oct 7th, 2013, 12:08 AM
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Familyfive, you have some beautiful beaches on the Sunshine Coast, where I've been on two different trips to Australia. One of my favourites in the world is at Noosa Heads, and I love the many fine restaurants on Hastings Street where you can walk along and choose from the menus. You will find that same sort of atmosphere on Naxos, although the beaches won't be quite as good. For that reason I would suggest staying in St George. It's about a 10-15 minute walk from there to the kastro (castle) and harbour area of Naxos Town, where you can stroll around, look in the shops, and choose where to eat.
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Oct 7th, 2013, 04:02 AM
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Thanks Heimdall, we are very lucky to live here. It really is paradise too. Yes Noosa is lovely we are just south of Noosa.
Thanks for the suggestion too. still looking in to it so will check out accom places there
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