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Itinerary for Greece Islands - too much time on one in particular?

Itinerary for Greece Islands - too much time on one in particular?

Old Mar 15th, 2009, 02:48 PM
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Itinerary for Greece Islands - too much time on one in particular?

I'm hoping you might be able to provide an opinion for this...
I had previously posted our Sept/09 itinerary for Greece, and now have a small concern based on some comments from a hotel owner on Paros that we are spending too much time on some other islands...We originally had 4 nights on Mykonos, 3 nights on Paros, 3 nights on Naxos, and 4 nights on Santorini. I'm thinking of adjusting this based on comments from a potential Paros accomodation provider that no more than 2 nights on Santorini is neccesary, and Mykonos same thing. Due to flights and potential ferry connections (based on last year's schedule ), we will need to spend 1 night in Athens before Mykonos, and 2 nights in Athens after Santorini.
I realize that personal preferences could change this itinerary, but for us, we're just looking for some down time, some night life (but not every night), culture, historical exploring, a couple museums and churches, a couple of beach days, a tiny bit of shopping. We looked to Paros and Naxos as they seem to be both beautiful islands, and seem to balance our budget after Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini.
I'm not looking to add or subtract other islands, it was hard enough to limit our visit to only four, but as a first time visitor, just wanted a little reassurance.
Thanks so much.
Jenn
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Old Mar 15th, 2009, 02:52 PM
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I am not a big fan of Mykonos, especially in the summer months when it becomes tourist central for lots of young partygoers, but I do love Santorini. I could spend a month in Santorini blissfully, so I would certainly not cut it down to two days. I think the proprietor in Paros had some personal interest in how she/he advised you!
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Old Mar 22nd, 2009, 10:04 AM
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You have chosen a good group of Islands to visit. Based on 7 trips to Greece I would have the following thoughts.

Santorini is a magical place and I would recommend it for any first time visitor. 4 nights will give you time to get over the Caldera view and actually explore some of the island. A highlight for us was the Medieval town of Pyrgos where we spent a whole afternoon and the red beach near Acrotiri.
Some would argue that two or three days are all you need for Santorini because it is touristy and can be expensive. Others will spend a week to a month and never get bored.

My message to you is be flexible. If Santorini captures your imagination then you may decide not to move on for a week.

In September you should not have any difficulty in finding accommodation in Naxos or Paros on a walk up basis. If you are flexible you can move on when the spirit moves you. You will be happy that you did not have a tight schedule.

The other thing I wanted to point out to you is just how much time it takes to get from one Island to another.
Even the one hour ferry trip from Paros to Naxos took us the better part of a day. We had to have breakfast and then sort of hang around the hotel until time to head down to the ferry dock for the 12:30 departure. It felt like we were just putting in time. We arrived at Naxos by 1:30 and found our hotel by 2:30 and were on St George Beach by 3:30.
Multiply this lost time by 4 island transfers and you will realize that you have essentially eaten away at 2 to 3 days of your vacation. I would think hard about doing 4 islands.

I share Weadles opinion of Mykinos. I think both Naxos and Paros deserve more time and since they are less expensive islands it will help you balance out your budget after Santorini.

Naxos in particular fits your outline of what you are looking for in an island. It has a wonderful old town complete with a Venetian era Kastro, the portera, great choices for dining and shopping, some nightlife, a good beach beside the town and superior beaches out on the west coast that go on for over 20 km. It also has mountain villages that you really should take the time to walk through. There you will get a glimpse of what life was like in Greece a hundred years ago.


If you want a taste of Mykinos for your next trip then take the excursion from Naxo or Paros to Delos. It stops in Mykinos for 3 hours. Google MV Alaxender or Naxos Star excursions.

Here are out Naxos pictures
http://travel.webshots.com/album/552001505EYxVYT
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Old Mar 22nd, 2009, 01:31 PM
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Well, I have stopped counting the number of times I've been to Greece. ;-)

Check the Aegean and Olympic flight schedules from Athens to Mykonos/Santorini, and you may find you don't need to spend that first night in Athens after all. Both airlines have daily flights to those islands as late as 6:30-7:30pm, and even later on weekends. Flying straight on to the islands makes more efficient use of your time - you don't even need to leave the airport.

Now as far as the number of days on each island, that's a personal choice, based upon your interests. It seems to me, though, that four islands in two weeks is a little too much. Doable, but nearly a day wasted each time you transfer from one island to another.

Santorini is an island everyone should visit at least once. I also enjoy Mykonos and Naxos, but return to Paros/Antiparos again and again, usually twice a year. My recommendation would be to skip either Mykonos, Naxos, or Paros, and add the days to the other two. From either Naxos or Paros you can take the day excursion to Delos/Mykonos. From Paros you can vist Antiparos, a wonderful little island that attracts many repeat visitors. It has a stalactite cave, good beaches, and a pedestrian-only main street lined with shops, cafes, and tavernas. There are round-island boat trips that stop on adjacent uninhabited islands and deserted beaches.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2009, 06:56 PM
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Funny, we were told the same thing by the hotel owner in Naxos last October, that we were spending too much time on Santorini ... we spent 5 nights in Naxos followed by 5 nights in Santorini. He told us that was way too long and that after 2 nights we'd be bored on Santorini. He was wrong ... for us, 5 nights was not enough and we really did not want to leave Santorini. It was the most beautiful place I've ever been. However, to be honest, we ended up not really even doing anything there - our hotel in Oia was not fancy but it had a fantastic caldera view and a pool, and we wound up basically just vegging out on our patio or by the pool and drinking in that glorious view, drinking wine, reading, punctuated by quick trips to pick up food supplies (I keep thinking about the lovely fresh bread / spanakopita / tiropita from the bakery across from our hotel, and the fantastic gyros from a little hole in the wall gyro joint ... yum). I just couldn't get enough of that view. One day we rented a car and drove all over the island, and I'm ashamed to admit that most of the day I was wishing we were back in Oia instead of out sightseeing. Next time, I would stay there an absolute minimum of a full week, and I think I could quite happily spend a month there. However, I think what is too much or not enough in a particular place is really personal preference - for instance, we are "slow" travellers, and Santorini captured me in a way Naxos did not ... but I know that there are people who have the opposite view.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2009, 07:21 PM
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I'm with you, Travelgirl!
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Old Mar 22nd, 2009, 07:29 PM
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Brotherleelove, when I was researching our trip I remember reading a lot of your posts about Santorini. I remember you talking about how much you love Santorini and I think I found the hotel (Filotera Villas) from one of your postings about possible budget options in Oia with caldera views - AND I think it was you who suggested the bakery in question. So I wanted to say thank you very much!!
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Old Mar 22nd, 2009, 08:04 PM
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I'll be enjoying the breads and pastries from that little bakery in just about 10 weeks!
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Old Mar 23rd, 2009, 08:51 AM
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Oh Brotherlee, we had planned to be in Santorini June 15 and 16 and I wondered when your next trip was going to be. We had hoped to buy you a drink.
Unfortunately we have had to cancel our trip this year but we will be back in 2010!
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Old Mar 23rd, 2009, 10:48 AM
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Sorry to hear it Stanbr. I would have enjoyed meeting you! I just booked yesterday, having made it through tax season this year without a scratch!
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Old Mar 23rd, 2009, 11:38 AM
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There is a definate pleasure in using tax refund dollars to finance a trip to Greece.
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Old Mar 25th, 2009, 01:19 PM
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brotherleelove2004- when do you plan to be there?
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Old Mar 25th, 2009, 01:46 PM
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Arriving June 8, departing July 4.
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