Island stay in Greece- early April

Old Dec 27th, 2016, 08:49 PM
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Island stay in Greece- early April

Hi, we are a family of 4 and a toddler. We are planning to spend a week in greece in the first week of April (2nd April - 8th April 2017). We plan to spend about 3 days in Greece and 2 in Thessaloniki and about 2-3 days on one of the islands. I have heard that Santorini and Mykonos are very touristy and expensive, so am not very inclined to go there. So, we had originally planned to stay at Skopelos (sporades islands) or one of the Ionian islands, but I understand that this is the off-season and most islands - accommodation, ferries, restaurants and all - are shut during this season. Any help on planning a stay for 2-3 days on one of greece's lovely islands would be very helpful We are planning to fly in and out of Athens.
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Old Dec 27th, 2016, 11:16 PM
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In early April crowds will not be an issue on the islands, in fact you will have to check places are open.. it wont be quite beach weather yet either.. so perhaps make sure there are other things to do
Ferries will be running on a reduced schedule.Its most definitely still off season.. or just starting season.

We went this past year starting May 15th , Mykonos and Naxos. We didn't like Mykonos much( shops in town like Yves St Laurent and Gucci, lol , not our style) , but LOVED Naxos. Its an island with a year round population and some industry other than tourism ( algriculture) so even in off season it has some local life .

We were able to enjoy some beach time, but the busiest beach on Naxos was still very uncrowded .. as it was just start of season, I imagine a month earlier its quite dead.

Maybe look at somewhere like Crete or Corfu , sorry that's not much help.. its just your timing is not ideal for island hopping.
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Old Dec 28th, 2016, 02:23 AM
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Early April is definitely offseason, and only the islands with a sizeable permanent population will have much life in them. All the clubs and "Gucci" type shops on Mykonos will be closed, but you will still be able to buy groceries and household goods. A week or so after your trip to Greece, people will start going to the islands for Easter.

Since you will be in Thessaloniki you should be able to get a ferry from Volos to Skiathos, where I would stay that time of year rather than Skopelos. Depending upon local ferry timetables you should still be able to take a day trip to Skopelos.

Descriptions in the guidebooks of what islands are like in summer can be very misleading for offseason travellers. If you are going to be in the Athens area, think about going to Nafplio in the Peloponnese instead of an island:
http://www.visitnafplio.com
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Old Dec 28th, 2016, 09:32 AM
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As you want to go from Athens to Thessaloniki and back, Skiathos (or less touristy Skopelos close by) would be more or less along the itinerary: Athens - bus - Ayos Konstantinos - ferry - Skiathos - ferry Volos - train or bus - Thessaloniki. Skiathos has an airport too.
You could also go from Thessaloniki by bus to Kavala and board there FB Nissos Mykonos which leaves Kavala actually Wednesday and Sunday evening for Chios, Samos, Ikaria, Mykonos and Syros.
https://hellenicseaways.gr/en/routes/view/21/504
http://www.greeka.com/greek-islands-guides.htm
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Old Dec 28th, 2016, 09:48 AM
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Four people and a toddler: you might do better to limit your stay in Greece to two locations. Especially when ferry schedules are iffy.

"We plan to spend about 3 days in Greece and 2 in Thessaloniki and about 2-3 days on one of the islands." Do you mean 3 days in Athens? Or where in Greece?

We visited this September, and one full day in Athens was plenty. We were there two nights, as we flew into Athens.

If you can fly into or out of an island, that is a good way to do it.

We loved Santorini. It was the tail end of tourist season, and not overcrowded. The views from our hotel on the Caldera were heavenly. We liked the Gold Suites.

Check out CostcoTravel.com packages for Greece. It was a huge help to have a driver meeting us at the airport and ferry terminal. And to have a local 'concierge' available for any help we needed. There was a ferry strike the day we needed to get back to Athens, and our concierge had already moved us to a flight, before all seats were gone. It wasn't much more expensive, and saved our vacation.

In Athens, the Grand Bretagne is perfect for being in the middle of Athens. On our last night, we returned to Athens and stayed at the Westin Resort, which was a great way to end the trip.

Have fun! We adored Greece.
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Old Dec 28th, 2016, 12:42 PM
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Have you considered Skiathos? You get to it from Volos which is down the coast from Thessaloniki. It has an airport so you could also fly in. There are a couple of other lovely islands in this group which are great for day trips - Alonnisos and Skopelos. They all have great beaches and are more child friendly than some of those you have mentioned. If you want to go to Athens for a couple of days then why not consider the islands close by. There is Idra or Hydra and Aegina or Egina. I think Hydra is a car free island with only donkeys for transport. They are also only a short ferry ride from Pireas. Enjoy!
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Old Dec 29th, 2016, 02:36 AM
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Buzzcolin, I'm happy you agree with me about Skiathos, and it certainly has some beautiful beaches. It might be a bit too cold in early April to enjoy them, though.

Re my suggestion to visit Nafplio, there are ferries from ports near Nafplio, e.g. Ermioni, that are much closer to Hydra than Piraeus/Athens. The ferries from Ermioni take only 20 minutes, so it would be easy to do a day trip to Hydra from there, or stay a few nights if you wish. That would give you the combination of an area rich in historic sights and an easy to reach island.
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