Island Hopping in Cyclades

Old Jan 23rd, 2012, 06:48 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,244
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Island Hopping in Cyclades

Must say up front that I got interested in such a trip after being asked to do a 7 day biking trip across 7 Greek islands, only I wasn't interested in the biking portion of the trip!

Now I find myself planning my 2nd trip to Greece in late June/early July this year and traveling with 2 other women; ages range 50-60.

At this early point, planning on only doing islands--Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, and Sifnos; 3 nights at each island. Sent a request into travel agency through Matt Barrett Website. Was surprised at the high cost that came back as compared to the prices I saw when checking the same individual hotels. Also, with respect to ferry schedule, the itinerary seems doable.

So far my travel companions are fine with me doing initial research, but I'm feeling like I need to get us more focused on the practical/logistical side of this trip. Also should mention that because the airfare is so high ($1400 out of Boston), we are hoping to save money on accommodations along the way.

Things I get most anxious about are ferry connections, strikes and number of nights at each island. I'm wondering if we should drop an island and add nights to others. Any opinions? Also, is it beneficial to use travel agent for ferries and hotels? I am normally an independent traveler, but the ferry schedule and desire to make hotel reservations ahead of time makes me lean toward using a travel agent. Be interested in hearing others experiences and opinions.
Jackie is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2012, 09:02 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 6,765
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You do complicate your island hopping a bit by including Sifnos with those other islands as there is no direct ferry to Sifnos from any of these. It means going to another island first which might mean an unscheduled overnight or at the very least a waste of some of your precious time. If I were you I would certainly only include islands easily reached from one another in just one "hop".

Using a travel agency isn't really necessary if you do what I've suggested. You can choose from scores of hotels using a reliable booking website such as www.booking.com. There is a filter system for dialing in your requirements and budget. There are reviews. You can also read reviews and get more advice and information on www.tripadvisor.com.

Once ferry schedules for July are available you can see them here: www.gtp.gr You can use their link to the danae.gr booking website to buy in advance for pickup at the Athens airport or at the various island ferry ports.
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2012, 12:17 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,558
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You are "planning on only doing islands", but will have to arrive and depart from Athens if flying from the US, so it would be helpful to know the total amount of time you have for the trip. The islands on your shortlist are on three different ferry routes, which indeed complicates matters. No problem getting from Mykonos to Naxos and Paros, but Sifnos, on the Western Cyclades route, is more difficult (there are only two early morning ferries/week, on Tuesdays and Sundays).

You don't say what are your particular interests, so it's hard to recommend which island(s) to drop. I'm one of the few on this forum who enjoys visiting Mykonos, but unless you are going there for the nightlife or to spend lots of time on Delos, it may not be the right island for you. High season hotel rates will kick in by the end of June, and Mykonos is expensive.

Since you are concerned about the possibility of strikes, it would be wise to allocate at least two nights at the end of the trip to Athens. Come back with some information about your interests, and we can give some suggestions.
Heimdall is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2012, 12:26 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,558
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Let me clarify by saying the two ferries/week to Sifnos are from Paros. Sifnos, of course, has daily ferries from Piraeus and from other islands in Western Cyclades, e.g. Milos.
Heimdall is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2012, 12:28 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,392
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
We've had about 5 trips to the Greek islands and booked all except the first one ourselves (the first one was before internet which has changed travel planning forever). The initial planning can be a little difficult as you have to figure out which islands are on the same ferry route.

I found this website quite user friendly but have booked ferry tickets through the individual companies (e.g. ANEK, Seajets etc.) Read the fine print about where you can collect your tickets before you book. You don't get an e-ticket, you have to exchange your printed voucher once you get to Greece.
http://www.go-ferry.com/

I would suggest no less than 3 nights per island and more if you can. 3 nights only gives you 2 full days which isn't much. Regarding using a travel agent, they have to make their money somewhere and I guess that's why their price is higher than you expected. You are paying for their service but I do think it's something you can do yourself, as long as you are reasonably organised and have some common sense.

Go for it!

Kay
KayF is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2012, 01:20 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,355
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Regarding the use of a travel agent:
They are not necessary more expensive... some of the big ones in Greece have very low rates and allotment of rooms in many hotels.
The online booking engines on the other side, work on a very high commission. Booking.com for instance takes a commission between 15 and 20% from the hotels they are working with !!!!
OP could ask one or two Greek travel agents for a quotation and compare prices.
For some islands that have a very short high season, such as Sifnos, it makes no sense to book through a travel agent, as they don't get competitive rates from the hoteliers and sometimes they sell at prices that are higher than the official price of the hotel. ( which in Greece is strictly not allowed !!!)
If you wish to keep the cost of accommodation as low as possible, you could find private rooms upon your arrival on each island. There are always people waiting at the port. offering private accommodation( but there are also small hotels too).
Regarding the ferry tickets, i wouldn't book them through Danae for a simple reason..
1. all online systems for ferries are in reality just one...
ForthCRS is behind all online systems, so no matter where
you book, you are using the same engine.
2. Amphitrion Holidays has an airport office ( at the arrivals
hall, open 24/7).
Go to their website : www.greekjourney.com, make your
bookings and you can pick up the tickets at the airport
upon your arrival. Danae is using Amphitrion as well for
the delivery of the tickets, they are charging though a
much higher handling/delivery fee than Amphition.
clausar is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2012, 01:34 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,558
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi clausar! I wan't aware of Amphitrion's new website, so thanks for that. One problem, though...when I went to the 'Ferries' page, it switched to Greek, and I couldn't find a button for English. Maybe I didn't look hard enough. Any ideas?
Heimdall is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2012, 01:47 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,355
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Heimdall !
You are right !!
There is no english version !!!
Reading it in Greek, i didn't realized that...
clausar is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2012, 02:18 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,244
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the quick responses.

At this point, I was planning on one night in Athens at beginning and end of trip. Sifnos was on the list because it was highly recommended in the Matt Barrett Greek web site and from a quick view of ferry map, it appeared the other 3 islands were somewhat connected by ferry. Not interested in night life, looking for nice beaches, good food, beautiful scenery, opportunity to do some biking, friendly people, basically just relaxing and exploring the area. Also want to minimize time ferrying from one island to another.

I will share this thread with my travel buddies and be back after getting their input and studying the ferry links.
Jackie is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2012, 02:46 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,558
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
A good guide for ferry links is Thomas Cook's Greek Island Hopping, which also has much information on things to see/do on the islands. Sticking to the Central Cyclades route (Paros, Naxos, Santorini) will give you daily connections on large car ferries. Mykonos, on the North Cyclades route, is connected by smaller catamarans to the Central Cyclades.

From what you have written about your interests, Naxos and Paros sound perfect. They are only 1 hour apart by ferry, with Paros 4 hours from Piraeus. Both islands have small airports connected to Athens by Dash 8 turboprops.

You could also consider Antiparos, a small laid-back island across the narrow straits from Paros. It's possible to base yourself there and do day trips to Paros itself, so a combination of Naxos and Antiparos, for example, would be a good mix. Antiparos Town has a pedestrian-only main street, lots of good restaurants and tavernas, and about 5 or 6 beaches within walking distance of town. Many people enjoy the round-island boat trips, which also pick up people on Paros. If you want more activity, stay in Parikia or Naoussa on Paros.
Heimdall is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2012, 06:11 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,244
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
After considering your advice and consulting guidebooks, we have settled on Sifnos, Paros or Antiparos and Syros. We will work the itinerary around the Sifnos ferry. The resort we chose there offered to help us out with ferry schedule/arrangements. We plan to do day trips to Mykenos, Delos, and Naxos.

We are looking at a combination of lodging along the way including a high end resort, rooms, and renting a house that gets us to about $65/night each. Waiting to hear back from hotels about availability. With a little bit of information, trip planning seemed less daunting.

Question now is regarding the need to rent a car. I was reading reviews for a hotel in Antiparos and one said you definitely needed a car as this particular hotel was 15 minutes from town. Is it wise to get a car on each island? Or, do most people get one car and put it on the car ferries? Or, would biking, walking, and public transportation work? What do most people do?
Jackie is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2012, 07:27 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 896
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If it has to be a car,then different car on each island, most car hire companies do not allow to take car on other island/use ferries (exception is Paros-Antiparos). Getting a car or not, really depends on specifics on each island such as where you plan to be located, what you want to do during the day and so on. Paros has a handy bus system for tourists, end of June/start of July shedules will be fine to explore around a bit, but bus hub is mainly the capital town of the island,Parikia, followed maybe by Naoussa which is sort of a second capital for this island. Located on other places might be less handy to use bus system- for example you may need to go on Parikia and connect on a second bus to reach some destinations...
Antiparos I think on high season has a few buses going to Agios Georgios on the south and the cave in the middle of the island, I am not sure how frequent those are, Heimdall might be able to help on this. -Note that Antiparos features mainly only one town,Antiparos town, there are some scarce county houses, hotels etc here and there, and Agios Georgios sort of a country house's settlement with a few shops/taverns.-
Syros bus hub is Hermoupolis but I don't know how handy bus system is there. I am not familiar with Sifnos.
Most people hire a car for a day or two to get in the highlights of each island, then rely on public transport for sort routes and explore/relax on the location they are based on.
mariha2912 is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2012, 07:31 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 6,765
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you're going to rent a car you would rent a different one on each island, not take one with you from island to island.

Most accomodations on Antiparos are within walking distance to everything the main village has to offer. There are some great beaches as well as the caverns for which you would need transportation of some sort. I've rented a scooter there. There's very little traffic on the roads and they're very easy to drive.
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2012, 07:40 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 6,765
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I stand corrected. As Heimdall has stated, there IS a ferry from Paros to Sifnos. My mistake.
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2012, 07:58 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,558
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Last summer there were more buses to Agios Georgios on Antiparos than years before, but a car would give you more freedom to move around. There are no taxis on Antiparos at all. I always stay in Antiparos Town because I enjoy walking wherever I need to go, but Agios Georgios is a beautiful area, and the hotels there are highly regarded. As mariha wrote, you can take the car across to Paros on the 7 minute car ferry.
Heimdall is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2012, 10:16 AM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,244
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Um..hadn't thought about scooters. A car for a couple of days on each island sounds like the way to go.

Looking at the Oliaris in Antiparos. That's the place 15 minutes out of town. It sounds great, but maybe need to look closer in town. In town lodging doesn't look very interesting.

Thanks again. You've been most helpful.
Jackie is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2012, 11:20 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,558
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you don't want to stay in Antiparos Town, think about http://www.dolphinantiparos.gr/. For the town itself, you could do worse than http://www.kastro.net/details/index.html, which is on a hill at the edge of town, overlooking the sea.

As you rightly say, most accommodation in Antiparos Town is fairly standard rooms, studios, and apartments. The island has many upmarket villas for rent, mostly at the southern end of the island near Soros and Agios Georgios.

Heimdall is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2012, 11:31 AM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,244
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks Heimdall. Both those places look great and I like the rates. Will check them out.
Jackie is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2012, 11:53 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,355
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
One more advantage of Antiparos is that you may see in flesh
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson......
clausar is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2012, 12:24 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,558
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You could be lucky! They have a villa near Soros, but I've never bumped into them. ;-)
Heimdall is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
nylilly
Europe
17
Mar 25th, 2019 02:07 PM
anniesweetiepie82
Europe
4
Nov 7th, 2017 06:29 AM
weekend_celebrations
Europe
32
Oct 11th, 2017 09:41 AM
wildblueyonder
Europe
55
Oct 26th, 2010 07:25 AM
dixieland
Europe
8
Aug 15th, 2007 07:44 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information