Mother Daughter Greece Trip

Jul 3rd, 2019, 08:50 PM
  #1  
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Mother Daughter Greece Trip

Hi Fodors Community! My daughter and I have always talked about going to Greece, and we're finally thinking about going this year in September! My daughter is 27, so definitely two adults going together. We are thinking about going for 10 days or so, but we can't decide on which islands in September.

Not necessarily in this order, but we are thinking of:
  • 2 full days in Athens
  • 3 days in Santorini (I've always wanted to see the blue/white architecture in the cliffs)
  • 3-5 days one or two other islands (possibly Paros, Naxos or Crete based on what we've read)
What we are looking for in a vacation:
  • great restaurants (my daughter is a big foodie)
  • beaches
  • exploring (walking around little towns, exploring culture)
  • a couple of museums/archeological sites over the 10 days, but we don't need this every day
  • shopping in town
  • we like wineries, would do olive oil tours (don't know if those exist), cooking classes, arts & craft classes, etc.
We'd love the community's thoughts on which islands we should be visiting and if 10 days is doable for the above or if we need 14.

We don't like hiking. We will go on strolls and walk around exploring for a couple hours or so, but we wouldn't hike up mountains or anything there given we both have knee issues. We are thinking of skipping Mykonos based on what we've heard about the huge party scene. We definitely won't be partying, but we do like having a nice drink at night and are night owls, so will look for something to do in the evenings.

Thank you so much! Any thoughts and suggestions would be much appreciated!

Last edited by fancyface; Jul 3rd, 2019 at 09:05 PM.
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Jul 3rd, 2019, 09:12 PM
  #2  
kja
 
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Greece is a wonderful destination!

If you can go for 14 days, there's certainly more than enough to keep you busy! If you go for 14 days (meaning 14 days on the ground), it might be worth including magnificent Crete; if you keep it to 10 days, I think it might make sense to defer Crete. I loved Naxos, but haven't been to Paros and so can't compare them.

Are you sure 2 days would be sufficient for your interests in Athens? I wanted more time than that.

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
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Jul 3rd, 2019, 11:48 PM
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You have the outlines of a great trip. I agree with kja to add a few more days if at all possible, especially if the 10 days include travel days to/from Greece. Save the two days in Athens for the end of the trip to insure you are back for your flight home. Occasionally weather or ferry strikes (like the one that occurred yesterday) stop ferry travel, and you don’t want to be caught on an island and miss the flight.

Santorini is is a good choice to start the trip, because there are lots of flights from Athens to the island. You can make best use of your time by taking a connecting flight straight away, leaving about 2-3 hours layover at Athens Airport. Flights to Santorini are only about 45 minutes, coincidentally about the same time it takes to get from the airport to central Athens. Go straight to the island and get over your jet lag there. Apart from view of the caldera, there is the Minoan site at Akrotiri, often compared with the buried Italian city of Pompeii.

I’ve been to Naxos several times, and Paros at least 20, so am able to make a comparison between the two. Naxos is geographically larger, and has many mountain villages, but most tourist infrastructure is in the southwestern corner of the island. Paros is more developed, and there are seaside towns around the entire perimeter. Another advantage of Paros is the island of Antiparos, so close that many people who live on the islands commute between the two with a ferry that runs every 30 minutes from morning to late night.

One of the best archeological sites in Greece is at Delos, an uninhabited island just off Mykonos. You can visit Delos from either Naxos or Paros with excursion boats that go there 3 or 4 times per week. The same two boats pick up passengers at both islands, with less time at sea from Paros.
if you want to see an archeological site just being excavated, the uninhabited island of Despotiko is reached by boat from the southern end of Antiparos. Entrance to the site is free. Captain Sargos has trips that combine visits to the site and also to the Antiparos sea caves:
Captain Sargos Antiparos | Boat trips to Despotiko | Call us 6973794876

Last edited by Heimdall; Jul 3rd, 2019 at 11:53 PM.
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Jul 4th, 2019, 09:50 PM
  #4  
 
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Do not miss to watch an Ancient theater performance. It is a unique Greek cultural experience.

Either at Athinais theater or Festival Athinon
elpida is offline  
Jul 5th, 2019, 08:40 AM
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Follow Heimdall's advice. When you first arrive take a flight out that same day to Santorini, followed by a ferry ride to one of the neighboring islands such as Naxos or Paros. You can fly or ferry back to Athens from either one of these islands in just a few hours. Save all your time in Athens for the end of the trip so you aren't backtracking and so you aren't stressing out at the last minute trying to make your way back to the mainland for your flight home.
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Jul 6th, 2019, 09:41 AM
  #6  
 
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This is a great thread!
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Jul 6th, 2019, 12:46 PM
  #7  
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Thank you all so much for the advice!!

On Santorini, we can't decide where to stay (and are also shocked by the prices honestly!!) Looking at what there is to do on the island, we thought we'd want to explore Fira and Oia, look at the site of Akrotiri (thanks for the suggestion!), do a cooking class, winery, and/or take a boat around the caldera. (Writing all of this makes me think we need at least 4 days or so there?) Given the location of everything, where is the best place to stay? Oia? Fira? Firostefani? Imerovigli? The beach side? We don't want to spend more than $300 a night or so on a hotel or rental. Also, would you suggest we rent a car?

Heimdall Based on what you said and additional research too, it sounds like there's more life around the towns at night in Paros too, which is what we're leaning towards. For Paros, would you suggest staying in Noussa or Paros?

For Athens, it definitely makes sense to stay there at the end, even though ending our trip in a beach area vs city sounds enticing. We'll probably do one day of sight seeing the main sights on the first day in Athens at the end of trip. Then spend the second day or so meandering the Plaka and shopping.
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Jul 6th, 2019, 12:51 PM
  #8  
kja
 
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I'm not sure you would need 4 days to see the things you mention on Santorini, although of course it depends on your preferred pace. If you are interested in Akrotiri, be sure to visit the Museum of Prehistoric Thira, with it's magnificent artifacts and murals from that site.

For Athens, I don't think it is possible to see "the main sights" in a single day. You can see some wonderful things in that time, but you would need to be selective.
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Jul 6th, 2019, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by fancyface View Post
Thank you all so much for the advice!!

On Santorini, we can't decide where to stay (and are also shocked by the prices honestly!!) ...Given the location of everything, where is the best place to stay? Oia? Fira? Firostefani? Imerovigli? The beach side? We don't want to spend more than $300 a night or so on a hotel or rental. ?
.
May I make a suggestion? This works for me. May not work for you.
When I take a "big" trip, I have a goal for nightly lodging costs. My goal is to keep the average at $x a night. That means some nights, I may be paying a really low rate and some nights a really high "splurge" rate, but when everything evens out along my "average nightly costs" I'm happy. If your budget is $300 a night for 10 nights, you could "trade" some nights at around $100 a night, leaving room for $500 (or more) a night lodging on your trip. If there is ONE place to "splurge", IMO it would be a spectacular room with a caldera view on Santorini.
That may or not work for you.
Happy planning!
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Jul 6th, 2019, 01:45 PM
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Regarding starrs' suggestion to average out your hotel expenses, I think that's a good idea. When I've been to Santorini I've stayed in Oia, but that's not necessarily what I would recommend. It's amazingly peaceful first thing in the morning before the cruise ship people arrive, and quiet in the evening after the sunset peepers get back on the buses to Fira, which is the hub for the island's bus system. Firostefani is also on the caldera and within walking distance of Fira, so that may be a good choice. You can splurge while on Santorini, and spend much less for a hotel on Paros.

For Paros, Naoussa is the more picturesque, while Parikia (Paros Town) is where the ferries arrive and is the hub for the bus system on that island. There are also boats from Parikia to Antiparos where I always stay. One thing going for Naoussa is there are taxi boats that take you to beaches in Naoussa Bay, including Kolymbithres, a sandy beach with unusual rock formations carved by the wind and waves. Parikia has one of the most beautiful churches in Greece, Ekatontapiliani, or Church of 100 Doors, which dates back to the 4th Century AD. Behind it is a small museum with artefacts dug up on the surrounding islands.

When on Paros try to devote a day to Antiparos, either by taking the boat or ferry to the island, or going on the https://captainbenantiparos.com cruise, which picks people up at Pounta, the little port just south of Parikia. The bus from Parikia to Pounta takes about 15 minutes. Captain Ben stops at the sea caves and Despotiko for a BBQ lunch, but doesn't go to the archeological site.
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Jul 6th, 2019, 08:25 PM
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I would just add that if you're going to Santorini first, make your flight route from the US to Santorini all on one ticket, not US to Athens and then Athens to Santorini. That way, you don't have to worry about the flight from the US being delayed and missing the flight to Santorini and having to buy a new, expensive ticket to Santorini.
The bus system on Santorini is very good. I stayed in Fira and took the bus both to Oia and Akrotiri. Very easy.
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Jul 6th, 2019, 08:28 PM
  #12  
kja
 
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I agree with SusanP -- and just to be clear, you'll have to take two flights, one to Athens and another to Santorini; the point is to have them both on the same ticket. In that case, if there is a problem, it's up to the airline from which you got your ticket to get you to your destination.
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Jul 6th, 2019, 08:52 PM
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Starrs point about the average cost of accommodation is very valid - but I would never, ever spend that much ($300-$500/night). A willingness to pay high prices can just push up the prices for others too.
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Jul 6th, 2019, 09:38 PM
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Nah. It's Santorini. It's a bucket list item. It's a private terrace with a view of the caldera.
Save money elsewhere. Blow it out someimes.
And in reality, $300-500 a night is not an expensive room in many places.
But if it doesn't work for you, it doesn't work for you.
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Jul 6th, 2019, 10:03 PM
  #15  
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SusanP that is really great advice! thank you so much. we weren't going to do that in regards to the flight and were going to book separate tickets to Santorini. Now just have to look how to maximize a multi-city trip, since strangely enough a flight from the my city in the US to Santorini doesn't take me through Athens now. It takes me through London.

Since you said the bus system is pretty good and we can take that around the island, that should save us some money on not renting a car. Other transportation question I have here is that I've had two knee replacements (and I do pretty well!), but beyond the stairs up and down the cliffs, most of the islands and walking in Santorini I should be okay, correct?

On the price of hotels, I really like the idea of looking at it as an average for the trip as well, as opposed to per night. However, dreamon I'm like you and even spending $300/night is unthinkable for me as well. I would say $200-250/max or so is really where I'd like to be. On one hand, how often am I Santorini, but on the other hand, how much time am I spending in the room when I'm paying $500 for a bed!?
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Jul 6th, 2019, 10:04 PM
  #16  
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Heimdall - Also, Ben's boat tour seems like a great excursion for the day in Antiparos! Thanks for sharing that!
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Jul 6th, 2019, 10:14 PM
  #17  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by fancyface View Post
strangely enough a flight from the my city in the US to Santorini doesn't take me through Athens now. It takes me through London.
Booking through to a final destination without specifying a particular intermediate stop often opens up more, and more cost effective, options. I'm glad you found one!
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Jul 6th, 2019, 10:16 PM
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I also have had a knee replacement and did OK. However, be aware that most of the streets in Santorini are up and down steep inclines. There are a couple that are more flat.
You can spend a lot less on a hotel if you don't have to have a caldera view. I would have to check my records, but I think I spent 55-60 Euro for a single room a couple years ago.
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Jul 7th, 2019, 12:14 AM
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I can see the point of booking the two flights on the same ticket, but that may bump up the overall price, and you will still have to collect your luggage and go through customs in Athens. Do dummy bookings to determine which will be cheaper. There are lots of daily flights from Athens to Santorini, so if you choose one with around 3 hours layover you will have plenty of time even if your flight arrives a little late.

When booking with Aegean Airlines/Olympic Air you can check in online up to 48 hours in advance, print out the boarding passes at home, and bring your luggage to the airline drop-off point. Then just walk to the boarding gate for the flight. Book FLEX tickets which include 23 kg checked baggage.
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Jul 7th, 2019, 12:31 AM
  #20  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by Heimdall View Post
I can see the point of booking the two flights on the same ticket, but that may bump up the overall price, and you will still have to collect your luggage and go through customs in Athens. Do dummy bookings to determine which will be cheaper. .
Good advice! But as already noted, it might also reduce one's overall price. My initial destination was Crete, not Santorini, but I found a much better fare booking through to Chania, with a stop in Frankfurt, than anything that routed through Athens or anything that involved separate tickets. And the more generous international luggage allowances applied to both legs of my flight. I'm sure it depends on all sorts of things....
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