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-   -   Just starting planning, itinerary advice for Greece Islands, Athens (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/just-starting-planning-itinerary-advice-for-greece-islands-athens-1703097/)

metcarl Nov 17th, 2021 06:08 PM

Just starting planning, itinerary advice for Greece Islands, Athens
 
It is our 20th anniversary this summer and my husband and I along with our 2 daughters (12 and 15) are planning a trip to Greece in June. After much deliberation, I think we have decided on going to Naxos and Sifnos and a few days in Athens. We chose Sifnos because it comes highly recommended by Matt Barrett and we love good food. I'm sure we can get good and authentic cuisine almost anywhere, but Sifnos seems particularly renowned for its food options. We chose Naxos because Mykonos does not appeal to us (too touristy, not the "jet-setting" crowd) and my 12-year old is a Percy Jackson and Greek mythology in general fan and definitely wants to take a day trip to Delos.

The initial itinerary I planned on was:
3 nights Athens, 4 nights Naxos, 4 night Sifnos, 1 night Athens

After more research, I am thinking it's better to do Athens at the end and fly directly to Naxos on arrival.

After more research, I am thinking it might be a good idea to stay 2-3 nights in Nafplion as well.

So:
Arrive in Athens, fly to Naxos
Naxos: 3 nights (day trip to Delos)
Sifnos: 4 nights
Nafplion: 2-3 nights
Athens: 3 nights (day trip to Delphi)

Sound doable? Any other suggestions?

Now I'm getting a little bogged down with lodging. Is there an advantage to working with a Greek travel agent (specifically thinking Aegean Thesaurus)? I'm thinking a travel agent would be helpful with transfers and travel snafus in general.

Is a hotel (with an apartment or suite that accommodates 4 people and preferably a kitchenette) better than an airbnb or similar rental?

About us: we like to splurge at times ($250-350/night), but balance with reasonable choices the rest of the time ($100-200/night). The best is a lower cost option that comes highly recommended because of its value and is a "hidden gem".
Activities: reasonably active but balanced with downtime and relaxation, love horseback riding, hiking but not too strenuous or long, prefer driving and short walks to high-value sights, boat-rides/excursions, love walking around villages, finding hole-in-the wall restaurants, cafes, etc, cultural immersion, not huge beach people - love being on a beach for the views/short walks, but don't like to just sit there for hours or swim, might enjoy snorkeling once, less strenuous bike rides, historical sites/architecture, cooking classes and farm tours sound amazing.

Again, would love any and all input related to the above itinerary. Thanks!



jessbgauvin Nov 18th, 2021 02:42 AM

Hi a few points in no particular order:

1. Aegean Thesaurus- yes! Thrilled with their service. Just booked With them for the fourth time. Outstanding! I like having the support of someone “on the ground” in Greece

2. Sifnos - we fell in love with it last Angst/September. Going again in June. Check out the 2BR/2BA units at Sifnos House and rooms. Delfini also has a suite with a separate bedroom and highly sleep able day beds in the LR.

3. Naxos - I also loved Naxos. Nice combo of ruins, beaches, mountain villages. However, I am not sure of how accessible Sifnos is from Naxos. Aegean Thesaurus would be able to tell you. An easy daily connection with Sifnos is Milos and it has an airport. It has some interesting ruins from various periods but nothing like Delos.

good luck!

Heimdall Nov 18th, 2021 03:00 AM

Naxos and Sifnos are not the easiest two islands to get between. Even though they are both in the Cyclades they are on different main ferry routes, connected by a 2 times per week conventional ferry or a more frequent small catamaran on a longish route. Six hours on a small catamaran with passengers getting seasick is not my idea of fun, but maybe you will be lucky and have a day with light winds and calm seas. Do a search for comments on Sea Jet 2 and Superjet before you make up your mind.

You could plan your trip around larger ferries if you stuck to the central Cyclades, (eg Naxos, Paros, Antiparos, Small Cyclades, Amorgos) or the Western Cyclades, (eg Sifnos, Milos, Folegandros).

With a Percy Jackson fan in the family I think you should spend more time in Nafplio, which is near several major archaeological sites, possibly expanding your trip in the Peloponnese to take in Ancient Messene and Olympia, or go to Delphi from Athens.

HappyTrvlr Nov 18th, 2021 05:08 AM

We never use travel agents but did for Greece. They asked if we would like traditional Greek hotels which we did. We were given a huge welcome when we arrived at each hotel. Everything was perfect. The agency we used no longer exists but we would do the same type of agency again. We got the agency name from friends who live in Greece. The agents booked flight and ferries, arranged for airport he y pick ups or rental cars. Definitely include Napflion for at least three nights. It is near so many major antiquities and it is a charming town/ small city.

Southam Nov 18th, 2021 07:18 AM

I assume you are flying trans-Atlantic to reach Greece. You don't necessarily have to go through Athens. The bigger islands, at least, have direct flights to other European gateways (London, Amsterdam, German cities, etc.) It may be possible to construct an itinerary that flies through one of them to start your Greek stay on an island, then return home through Athens if you want to visit that city. It's best to use a multi-city search function to assemble the flights on a single itinerary. I suggest trying Skyscanner as it seems to cover smaller European airlines that don't show up on other trans-Atlantic agencies. And let whichever search you use do all the research so the itinerary is as comprehensive as possible, rather than trying to patch it together yourself with separate bookings. The usual warning applies: Book through the airlines rather than an agency to be more secure.

metcarl Nov 18th, 2021 10:21 AM

jessbgauvin: Glad you had a great experience with Aegean Thesaurus. So far, they have been very responsive. Those are the exact two places I have been looking at - Sifnos House and Delfini. Sifnos house gets better reviews and has a kitchenette, but is also a little pricier.

Heimdall: Yes, I have heard that these two islands aren't the easiest to get between, but we really want to go to Sifnos AND Delos. Looks like the SeaJet is a fairly quick trip, but yes, has mixed reviews. There's a slight chance I could talk my 12-year old out of Delos especially if we are now adding Nafplion. Something to consider. This also isn't a "next time we come trip". We love to travel but rarely come back to the same place twice at least within the same decade. If we do eliminate Delos/Naxos, I'm wondering if we should choose another island like Milos or should we just extend our stays in Sifnos and Nafplio (and Athens, we are already planning to go to Delphi)?

HappyTrvlr: Looks like another vote for a travel agent. I usually act as our travel agent and do lots of research beforehand. However, with all the ferries, excursions, and transfers, Greece seems a little more daunting than most places to visit.

Southam: I'll check the flights directly to the islands. However, we are likely using some combo of frequent flyermiles through Delta.

Heimdall Nov 18th, 2021 11:45 AM

Delos is well worth a visit, and both times I’ve been there is while staying on Mykonos, where it’s only a 30 minute trip on a Delos excursion boat. The boats run several times each day, so you can decide how long you want to stay at the site.

Naxos normally has two excursion boats, Naxos Star and Alexander, that each make the trip 3 times/week, but they haven’t been running the last two summers during the pandemic. Hopefully they will be running again next summer. if not, it may be possible to get to Mykonos and back by scheduled ferry, then take the Delos excursion boat from Mykonos old harbour. Reportedly there is another excursion boat that has been running from Naxos to Mykonos/Delos.

The scheduled ferry alone, assuming you go by one of the Sea Jets highspeeds, will cost you at 2022 prices €42.70 per person each way. Add to that the cost of the Seabus from the ferry harbour to the old harbour where the Delos excursion boat departs, ticket cost for the excursion boat, and admission to the Delos archaeology site and it will be a very expensive family day trip.


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