Itinerary suggestions needed

Jul 31st, 2019, 07:09 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 78
Itinerary suggestions needed

I have a 7 night trip to Greece already planned - just Athens and Paros - but just found out that my daughter can meet me at what was going to be the end of my trip and I am now able to stay another 10 days. I can't change the first week (I will be travelling with someone else) but will meet my daughter (in her 20s) in Athens in early Sept. If we spend 3-4 nights in Athens, that still leaves us 6-7 additional nights. We are interested in scenery, sightseeing, ruins, interesting villages and beaches. I kind of envision spending a few hours a day maybe on a beach and then the rest of the day exploring the island. I did a fair amount of research before picking Paros as the island to visit in my first week but was tempted by Tinos, Hydra, Crete and Santorini. (I know it would mean kind of retracing my steps since I will have already been in Paros but I don't mind). I normally would avoid Santorini but I thought by the second week of Sept it might be less crowded. I'd like to treat my daughter to a really special trip. I would appreciate any suggestions and/or thoughts.
alicefe is offline  
Jul 31st, 2019, 08:15 PM
  #2  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,365
Instead of an island, maybe the Peloponnese, perhaps basing in Nafplio?
If you haven't already seen it, you might find some useful information in my trip report:
With Gratitude for a Glorious Solo Month in Greece
kja is offline  
Jul 31st, 2019, 11:44 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,552
If you are willing to drive, the Peloponnese would be a good choice, and if your daughter is interested in history and ancient sites, there is more to see than anywhere else in Greece. Nafplio would be a good place to spend a few nights for the ancient sites in the area, but drive south to the coast of Laconia and Messinia and there are glorious beaches, better than on the islands.

If you are still convinced you have to go to an island, and Santorini a must, you could combine that with Milos in the Western Cyclades. Six or seven nights would be perfect for Crete, which has more of everything except the mainland. You could fly to Chania and return to Athens from Heraklion, for example. Since you are meeting your daughter in Athens, you could fly from there to anywhere in Greece in less than an hour. That opens up other island choices such as Rhodes in the Dodecanese.
Heimdall is offline  
Aug 1st, 2019, 03:08 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 78
Thank you both for these suggestions. I'll look into the Peloponnese and a Milos/Santorini combination as well as Crete.
alicefe is offline  
Aug 1st, 2019, 04:35 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 225
Nafplio in the Peloponnese would be a great choice. It's one of Greece's prettiest towns and perfect base to explore nearby World-Class archeological/historic sites and so much more. It's easy to get to from Athens either by bus or rent a car.

Here is the best website for Nafplio and surrounding area: http://www.visitnafplio.com/

Crete is the largest of the Greek Islands and deserves weeks to fully experience but with 6-7 days you can get a good taste of it, especially the west end of the island and the lovely town of Chania another of Greece's most loveliest towns. Lots to see in and around the town.

Many other islands that offer beautiful scenery, classic villages, beaches, archeological/historic sites without the over-the-top tourism and expense of Big Name Islands.

One note: the more you move around from island to island or mainland to island the more time you lose to travel.
crazyh is offline  
Aug 8th, 2019, 08:43 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 78
After doing some more research, I have come up with the following options and would like and advice or input as to whether either of these makes sense. As I said in the original post, I am trying to plan 6-7 nights with my daughter (after 3 nights in Athens with her and having spent time in Athens and Paros with a friend.) Option one: Fly from Athens to Rhodes. There are cheap early flights on Olympic Air that would get us to Rhodes by 9-10 am. Spend 3 nights on Rhodes visiting the Old and New town and maybe Lindos. If we arrive early on day one we would have the rest of that day and 2 more full days on Rhodes and possible most of a fourth day if we leave late in the day. From Rhodes, I thought maybe a ferry to Kos. Kos seems like the most interesting island within reasonable ferry distance. There are both morning and afternoon ferries. We could then spend 3 nights on Kos and fly back to Athens late the night before our flights home. (we would stay at an airport hotel and just go straight to the airport in the morning). I know this is a lot of traveling and many of you might say to spend the whole 6 nights on Rhodes (or Crete). This is my daughter's first time to Greece and I wanted to give her the experience of a smaller Greek island as well as the experience of ferry travel in the Aegean. Anyway - option 2: Heimdall's suggestion of ferry to Milos for 3 nights and ferry to Santorini for 3 nights - fly back to Athens late the night before our flight. I hesitate about this option because I fear the islands (especially Santorini) will be too crowded and touristy- we would be there the second week in Sept. I would love some thoughts on how crowded it will be then. I guess the third option is Crete. I've been there and loved it (though it was many years ago) but again, I feel like my daughter would miss the quintessential Greek island experience. Is there a smaller island we could combine with Crete, maybe? Naxos?
Anyway, all thoughts and opinions welcomed and thanks in advance.
Btw- opted against the Peloponnese because I don't want to have to drive. Would love it for another trip when I have another driver with me.
alicefe is offline  
Aug 8th, 2019, 10:42 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,552
Sure, Naxos is a good choice, and is one of the largest islands in the Cyclades. You could fly from Athens to Santorini, and after 2 or 3 nights take a ferry to Naxos. All those tourists go to Santorini because it is unique, but will be a little less crowded by the second week of September. I've been to Santorini twice, and found it is fairly easy to avoid the crowds ó don't go to Oia for sunset, and avoid Fira when the cruise ships are in. You could go to Santo Winery for a tasting at sunset, for example. Oia is very peaceful in the mornings until busloads of cruisers arrive, and again after sunset. You can visit the Minoan excavations at Akrotiri, go up to Ancient Thera which is perched atop a mountain with views of the black sand beaches, and visit the beaches themselves.

Then take a ferry to Naxos for a few nights or more. I happen to prefer Paros and Antiparos, but Naxos has much to offer. Most tourist infrastructure is crowded into the western side of the island, with the rest of the island sparsely populated. Probably the best place to stay in September is Naxos Town and its beach section, Agios Georgios aka St George. South of Naxos Town is a strip of beach resorts, Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna, and Plaka Beach. There are picturesque mountain villages with some antiquities to see, and if you don't want to rent a car there are both public and tour buses.

I also like your idea of flying to Rhodes, but wouldn't bother going on to Kos. A couple of interesting islands nearer to Rhodes are Simi and Tilos. I know you can do day trips from Rhodes to Simi, not sure about Tilos. Either would be a good place to stay overnight. Another nearby island, which is easier to reach from Kos, is Nisiros, which has an impressive volcanic caldera that was used for one of the early James Bond films. It is large enough for tour buses to drive down, and when you get out and walk watch out for hot spots that could melt your sneakers! I enjoyed my visit to the caldera, and also to Mandraki, the Nisiros chora.
Heimdall is offline  
Aug 8th, 2019, 11:50 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 78
Thanks so much for for this Heimdall. I gather you wouldn't recommend combining Naxos with Crete. If we do Santorini, would you recommend Naxos over Milos as the second island? I will look into the islands you mentioned near Rhodes and try to decide between them and the Santorini option.
alicefe is offline  
Aug 8th, 2019, 12:40 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,552
You have to go through Santorini to get from Naxos to Crete, but I guess you could just stay on the ferry if you don’t want to get off. That would be a longish trip, though, even on a highspeed ferry. If you want to go to Crete, IMO it would be better to do that on its own. Six to seven nights would be enough for Crete, but not enough for Crete plus another island.

You can get to any island in Greece by air in an hour or less, so it would be just as easy to go to Rhodes as anywhere else. Rhodes, Kos, and parts of Crete (along with Corfu, Zakinthos, Skiathos, etc) are overrun with package holidaymakers in summer, but by mid September most have gone home.

It is sad that most posts on Fodor’s seem to be about the Cyclades when there are so many other parts of Greece, including the mainland. I applaud kja for her trip report on parts of Greece most visitors never see.

Last edited by Heimdall; Aug 8th, 2019 at 12:43 PM.
Heimdall is offline  
Aug 8th, 2019, 05:52 PM
  #10  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,365
Originally Posted by alicefe View Post
  • Option one: Fly from Athens to Rhodes. ... get ... to Rhodes by 9-10 am. Spend 3 nights on Rhodes visiting the Old and New town and maybe Lindos. .... From Rhodes, I thought maybe a ferry to Kos. ,,, spend 3 nights on Kos and fly back to Athens late the night before our flights home. (we would stay at an airport hotel and just go straight to the airport in the morning). I
  • option 2: Heimdall's suggestion of ferry to Milos for 3 nights and ferry to Santorini for 3 nights - fly back to Athens late the night before our flight. I hesitate about this option because I fear the islands (especially Santorini) will be too crowded and touristy- we would be there the second week in Sept.
  • the third option is Crete. ... Is there a smaller island we could combine with Crete, maybe? Naxos?
Btw- opted against the Peloponnese because I don't want to have to drive. Would love it for another trip when I have another driver with me.
Perfectly reasonably to want to avoid driving, but that's another reason, IMO, to skip Crete on this trip.

I haven't been to Rhodes yes, but think you've been given some nice suggestions about how to make that option work.

As for Santorini, I readily admit that I'm an outlier: I was not all that impressed. Yes, the view of the caldera was nice, but honestly, I've enjoyed better views elsewhere. In contrast, I found the crowds -- even in early May -- truly and unpleasantly, even offensively, awful. Heimdall has noted ways that you can avoid the crowds, like avoiding Fira during the day, but one of the few things I really enjoyed about my time on Santorini was visiting the Museum of Prehistoric Thira -- which is in Fira and is not open after day trippers leave. But take my comments on Santorini with a grain of salt -- many people find that it lives up to, and maybe even exceeds, their hopes.

Originally Posted by Heimdall View Post
I applaud kja for her trip report on parts of Greece most visitors never see.
Thanks, Heimdall! I remain grateful for having been able to visit the parts of Greece I managed to see, and thank you for helping me come up with my itinerary.
kja is offline  
Aug 8th, 2019, 11:56 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,552
Kja and I agree on so many things! Santorini isnít my favourite island either, in fact it was my 9th trip to the Cyclades before I visited the island. Nevertheless, Santorini, like Uluru in Australia (where Iíve also been) is one of those iconic sights that sticks in your mind forever. Imagine flying hundreds of miles from Sydney or Melbourne and staying in a very expensive hotel just to see a large rock in the middle of the desert! By comparison, seeing Santorini in Greece when you are already in the Cyclades is a doddle.

Many repeat visitors to Santorini stay in one of the black sand beach resorts (the favourite seems to be Perissa) which is very much like any other beach resort on other islands. They can then take the bus to Fira and other parts of Santorini for sightseeing, afterwards retreating to the calm and lower prices of that side of the island.
Heimdall is offline  
Aug 9th, 2019, 05:43 AM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 78
Thank you both for your input. I have a pretty low tolerance for crowds and overly touristy areas so I am leaning against Santorini but still not sure. I'm trying to get into the nitty gritty of both trips - ferries//flights/hotels/daily activities in each place - and then will try to make a decision. Again, thanks for the input.
alicefe is offline  
Aug 9th, 2019, 09:17 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,676
Well I usually agree with both Heimdall and Kja, and I don't love crowds either, but in this case I'm going to say Santorini is someplace that is extraordinarily beautiful and not like any of the other islands. I wouldn't spend a week there but I think you should give it a few days. You can minimize the crowd issue - visit Fira and Oia early in the day, also visit some of the inland villages. I first visited it ten years ago, and on a trip last year I needed to stop there for logistical purposes so I planned a day before and after the other islands I was visiting. I actually wished I'd planned more time, cause even for a second visit I would have liked to spend more time. Here's the trip report I put on my photo site: https://andiamo.zenfolio.com/blog/20...s-milos-sifnos
isabel is offline  
Aug 11th, 2019, 10:01 AM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 78
I appreciate your input (and blog post) Isabel and I think you have just about convinced me to give Santorini a try. If I do, I'm now trying to decide whether to combine it with Milos or Tinos and so would appreciate any thoughts on that. I did read Isabel's blog about Milos and it sounds wonderful but the NY Times just had an article about Tinos which sounds great too. ( I also can't help but think maybe I should skip Santorini and go to Naxos instead from either Tinos or Milos and fly back to Athens from there at the end of our trip.) Anyway, assuming we do Santorini, would it be crazy to do just 2 nights there and 4 in Milos or Tinos? The ferry would arrive in Santorini around 2pm so we would have the rest of that day, all of the next day and have most of the following day before our flight back to Athens at @ 9pm. Thank you again to all who have responded.
alicefe is offline  
Aug 11th, 2019, 10:16 AM
  #15  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,365
Originally Posted by alicefe View Post
would it be crazy to do just 2 nights there and 4 in Milos or Tinos?
That depends entirely on what you want to see and experience while in these places! If it works for you, it's not crazy IMO. If it doesn't work, well then, it may be worth coming up with a different plan.

Last edited by kja; Aug 11th, 2019 at 10:35 AM.
kja is offline  
Aug 11th, 2019, 12:00 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 225
I haven't been to Santorini because it's reputation, cost, crowds don't appeal to me. I understand the beauty of it but there are numerous other Greek Islands that can offer beautiful scenery.

One of my favorite islands is Tinos which turned out even better than my research showed. In fact, it's a gem of a Greek Island. I travel to Greece in October, off-season, so Tinos may be different during tourism season, especially middle of August when there is a huge religious festival for Greeks.

Anyway, the island had more beautiful Greek villages than any other island I've been to, spectacular mountain scenery, beaches, archeological sites, great food and friendly locals.

I've also been to Milos and Naxos and both are lovely Greek Islands with Naxos the better of the two.

It's up to you to decide if Santorini is an island you want to go to.

Check out my photos of Tinos:
https://tinyurl.com/y6w5ncb8

Here's a video I made of the most beautiful Greek Village I've been to on Tinos. Kinda long but stick with it (2 parts)

Part I:

Part II:
crazyh is offline  
Aug 12th, 2019, 08:31 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3,858
In making choices, you have 2 key factors to consider (1) TIMING & CONNECTIONS and (2 GETTING AROUND. Here are my thoughts based on experience of 13 trips:

TIMING & CONNECTIONS - when u only have 10 days, don't duplicate. Since u must be in Athens the night before departure anyway, do Athens LAST. Meet your daughter's arrival at airport and ASAP fly (if possible) or ferry to Island #1, then ferry to Island #2, then return to Mainland for last 2-3 days (since u will have "done" Athens with yur friend you can help daughter with most efficient sightseeing itinerary. As for Connections, best to choose 2 isles on same ferry route starting w. island that has flights. SANTO has many (not cheap) flights per day, 50 mins vs 8-9 hrs by ferry. I've found that in 36 hours (2 nights) you can see the Famouse Caldera View, Visit the "postcard village" of OIA, see a museum & enjoy sunset dinner. Crowds? If u book a room in Firostephani (north fringe of Fira town) you avoid cruise crowds, yet can walk easily to Fira attactions. On day #3, NAXOS is only2 hrs away by ferry; the ChampionJet or Blue STar have open decks during departure for The View. From NAXOS, there are 40-min flights to ATH (If available) otherwise take 6pm Blue Star ferry, enjoy sunset, read or nap in (reserved) economy seats, arrive Piraeus by midnight, taxi to ATH hotel. SANTORINI-TINOS ferry not as good, usually involves change at Mykonos, and not always daily. SANTORINi-MILOS has a daily ferry In Sept I think but there are other considerations.

GETTING AROUND - Without Driving. In SANTORINI, busses will work. NAXOS has excellent bus srevice. In Sept I advise staying on St. George beach, directly adjacent to port town. You can easily stroll to all its attractions, cafes, museums, shops etc, and catch a bus that goes along 4 fab golden-sand beaches, take your pick (Plaka is my fave). U can also bus to lovely hillside villages... or do a daytour that covers ruins, mountains of marble, dramatic landscapes, beautiful towns. In my 1st MILOS trip I found as a nondriver I could only bus up the high town & to the catacombs; local bus service lame even in high season. One special Milos treat is the round-island or half-round (my choice) sail, but it depends on weather & wind, you find out when u are there. Transport is one reason I haven't visited TINOS tho have been offered a house there; I now don't drive. I'm sure it's lovely & Crazy Horse photos are fab -- but eithr he had a car, or enough time that he could bus to one destination per day, and I don't think you have that time.

CONCLUSION -- My advice has been given before to many people with 10 days -- Fly to Santorini (36-48 hrs), Ferry to NAXOS (4-5 days), Fly/ferry to ATH (2-4 days depending).
travelerjan is offline  
Aug 12th, 2019, 12:57 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,318
Listen to travelerjan. I did. I had a few more days and did 4 nights Santorini via flight, took the ferry to Naxos for 5 nights, then flew to Athens for 4 nights. A great trip!
SusanP is online now  
Aug 13th, 2019, 06:59 AM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 78
Thanks travelerjan for this advice. Because I stress out (probably more than necessary but I can't help it) about missing connections, I am very leery about trying to make a flight to Santorini, the same day as my daughter arrives. To be safe, we would have to reserve a flight several hours later than her expected arrival which 1) could be fine, 2) could mean several hours waiting in the airport or 3) scrambling to make other arrangements if her flight is significantly delayed. Although I know your advice makes the most sense, I just don't have the intestinal fortitude to do it. Also, at best, it would mean getting in to Santorini on the late side, whereas if we took an early ferry from Milos (or Naxos), we would get in early to mid afternoon, giving us some additional time for our 2 night stay. Believe it or not, the real problem I am facing now is getting hotels. I have 4 nights on Milos (which I think I would prefer to Naxos, partially because of the island sail) but am having trouble finding 2 nights in Santorini. It's kind of looking like I might have to do the least attractive of travelling options - spend 2 nights in Athens at the beginning of the trip (one full day, ferry to Milos for 4 nights, ferry to Santorini for 2 nights, fly back to Athens in the evening and stay two more nights in Athens giving us another full day before we leave. I was hoping to fly back from Santorini late the night before our morning flights home and stay at an airport hotel but I am have not found hotel availability on the islands that would accommodate that.
Anyway - thank you all for your advice and suggestions. I may try to sub Naxos for Santorini if I can't get the 2 nights I need there. I have emailed about 8 hotels with "limited availability" on their websites and have only heard back from 2. Some of the 3rd party booking sites show availability but I would much prefer booking directly with the hotel. What are your thoughts on booking through booking.com or expedia if the hotel hasn't responded to emails?
alicefe is offline  
Aug 13th, 2019, 03:03 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3,858
Since your trip is so soon, y ou need to work with booking.com or similar. Hotels in high season are too busy to answer your emails if they are full. The time to deal directly was before the high season -- maybe May.

As for airport connection I think you are being much too Nervous. Of COURSE one doesn't try too close a connection... 2 hours is the usual we recommend between daughter's flight arrival time, and a domestic departure... even 3 if you are the Jitter Queen. And there are MANY flights to Santorini, unlike Milos or Naxos (2 or 3). Take a chill pill and do it... the alternative you suggest wastes time -- OK if you have 2 weeks but you do not. You do not have the time for Athens at both ends, unless you want to spend a huge percentage of y our time simply in transit.

You want good & specific advice but to enable that, we'd need the exact date AND time of day of your daughters flight - plus date of your return flight to US, and you have not shared this so far. With that info, we could quickly tell you what domestic flight options you'd have -- and also some Santorini lodging options you may not be aware of (it would hellp to know your budget range per night) Unless you provide these, not much point in continued guesswork & effort by me.

I am puzzled by choice of Milos to Naxos, yes, I know it's the sail feature, but in your first post you clearly said you did NOT want to drive ... and as I noted from personal experience, Milos is very hard to get around in without a car, and you'd need to stay in the port town, where the beach is N.G. And in sept the already-lame bus network won't get u to the good beachs (unlike Naxos).

As for morning ferries back from Naxos or Milos to Piraeus -- earliest is regular Blue Star conventional ferry rom Naxos eats up an entire day -- leaves 9:30 arrives 3pm, the day is shot. From Milos, earliest Safe ferry (I x out the tiny rocky jet at 10am) is the car-carrying catamaran 11:45 - arrives 2:45 - costs TWICE fare of conventional ferry. Again, eats up much of a day. It is not good to plan basis of wishes. If you'll clarify dates & times and flexibility about car rental I might find some answers that would suit you better. otherwise....

Last edited by travelerjan; Aug 13th, 2019 at 03:08 PM.
travelerjan is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:01 PM.