Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Naxos - Early October Travel for Single Female?

Naxos - Early October Travel for Single Female?

Old Aug 10th, 2010, 01:17 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,007
Naxos - Early October Travel for Single Female?

I'm currently working in London until the end of September, and want to take a trip for ~1 week afterward before heading back home to the States. My Plan A is for a friend to come visit me during that time and have the two of us travel together, but I'm not confident that will happen and am thus planning Plan B.

I've been to Santorini before for one week and thought it was one of the most gorgeous places I had ever seen. I was married at the time and am not sure I would enjoy it as much as a single woman.

I'm looking at a few options and have considered Crete (Heraklion, but drive to Chania), Mykonos, Naxos and Paros. I'm starting to lean towards Naxos due to the following factors:

* Hiking available
* Able to get around without a car (though I could always rent one if needed to explore)
* Day trip to Delos (and Mykonos possible)
* Decent beaches and watersports activities

It looks like temps should be in the low to mid 70s which would suit me just fine. I realize it might be a little too cold to sunbathe at the beach, but I bet I would end up spending a good amount of time outdoors regardless. I don't really have a set itinerary of things I want to accomplish in Greece, other than unwinding/relaxing after a hectic three months in London. But I also don't want to be bored, either, so having a variety of activities to choose from is a top priority (outdoor sports, archaelogical sites, etc). I also really love a good meal!

Is Naxos a good choice? I will probably have around 4-5 nights to spend before heading back to Athens for 1-2 nights before returning back to London. Any safety concerns for a female solo traveler? I didn't feel unsafe when I was in Santorini or Athens on my previous trip, but I've heard a few single females say they would never travel to Greece alone.

If Naxos is not a good choice, are there others that I should strongly consider for a 4-5 night stay?
beanweb24 is offline  
Old Aug 10th, 2010, 01:18 PM
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,007
I forgot to mention that I'm a beginning scuba diver (about 10 dives so far) and it would be fun...but not a requirement...to be able to do a dive while in Greece.
beanweb24 is offline  
Old Aug 10th, 2010, 06:51 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3,912
I have visited Naxos 10 times in my 9 trips to Greece, so I guess you could say I find it fun ... and at least 3 of those times I've been totally on my own -- and I always find someone to do things with, to hang out with, have dinner with.

Naxos is a good place for the fall for several reasons -- it's a fertile island, so won't be as brown & sere as drier islands.... it has a larger year-round population, so won't be 'closed down" .. and mainly, it has a TON of things to do...

(1) HIKING -- there are many many hikes: here are 2 websites http://www.cycladen.be/NaxosEng.htm
http://www.foxysislandwalks.com/Naxos_walks.htm
and the Zoom bookstore on the harbor has a good paperback walks book

(2) ISLAND SITES -- there's a good bus tour of the island that covers many sights! for about 17€. The only drawback at all is that the bus stops for 90 minutes in the farthest-north town, the port of Appollon for a lunch (really, so the driver can get his nap)... But when I took it 10 yrs ago, my friend & I wore our swimsuits under our duds, walked around the corner & sunned & swam off the rocks). AND, right in Naxos town there are ancient discoveries -- in the Cathedral courtyard a 1800 BC Mycenaean graveyard under glass!

(3) WATER SPORTS --if the St. George water sports center has closed down, all you'd have to do would be to ask your Hotelier, and they'd know where to find water sports equipment etc. I don't know about Scuba -- you may have to go to a scuba center ... but there is a lot of snorkeling around. (One reason they regulate Scuba to Dive centers is because of all the underwater antiquities in Greece that could be looted). Also, scuba is not as attractie as in the Caribbean because not as colourful underwater ... no coral or bright fish etc. Just sand and rocks and the occasional small brown fish. If you snorkel off the causeway by Grotta, perhaps you can see the buried city walls of 2500 BC.

(4) stuff to look at -- Naxos Town itself is fascinating ... here are slide shows by Stanbr, who loves Naxos as much as I do ... http://travel.webshots.com/slideshow/552001505EYxVYT
http://travel.webshots.com/slideshow/570796960FtMsPF

(5) EXCURSION to DELOS -- I hope these aere still going early in October, it's a terrific deal, 3 hours in delos, 3 in Mykonos then back.

(6) HOTELS -- In October, stay at St. George Beach directly adjacent to Naxos TOwn -- I suggest Hotel Glaros, Hotel Asteria, Hotel St. George, request high rooms with balconies facing the water ... These are VERY handy: here's a map that illustrates locations: http://www.naxos-greece.net/site/gfx...hotels_map.jpg
--- If you get any kind of normal October weather, you not only can sunbathe, you also can swim, the water will be warm.

You should not hesitate to travel on your own in Greece, it's not like Italy ... women receive welcome attention, but you will feel quite safe.
travelerjan is offline  
Old Aug 10th, 2010, 07:33 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,439
As you can see from the pictures Naxos is lovely. Naxos town is great for dining shopping and wandering around twisting back alleys. We always travel in late May but I have heard that September the days are still quite warm and the water will certainty be warm for swimming after being heated all summer.
I would recommend you stay at St George beach because it is so close to town just a 10 minute stroll yet you get a good beach. Naxos has a permanent population so life will still be active.
I made a new album this year of pictures just of Naxos town. Enjoy
http://travel.webshots.com/album/577942756YgKLfl
stanbr is offline  
Old Aug 11th, 2010, 02:20 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,007
Wow... thank you both for the wealth of information you provided above. I think I am 100% confident I will go to Naxos if my friend is unable to join me for some travel.

I've looked through all the pictures, and they are gorgeous. I'll definitely take your advice and stay at St George Beach if this trip does happen.

Thank you so much!
beanweb24 is offline  
Old Aug 11th, 2010, 07:25 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3,912
I'm pleased that Naxos appeals to you too! The only additional thing to be aware of is the transportation situation, to get to/from Naxos most efficiently. Here are options:

AIR -- Only 1 flight per day, 9:00 am on Olympic except Saturdays, when there's also a 1400 departure. Takes 45 minutes costs 87€ incl. all taxes/add-ons. If your flight from UK comes in in the evening, there's a handy (cheap) hotel nearby that will pick u up, and also shuttle you back in the AM by 8 am for a flight -- Hotel Peris. NOTE: plane is small, so if you want to fly, don't delay, book online as soon as when plans are firm.
FERRY -- In the Autumn, you want a big "regular" ferry; most comf for "wavy" conditions & seldom delayed. Blue Star, the BEST ferry line, goes at 7:25 am takes 5 hrs 15 mins also goes 17:30 pm. Ferries back go at 9:45 am and 6:30pm. Fare =30€ ... €4 extra for "reserved" seat -- but in Fall, will be half-full so you can sit in reserved section anyway. Easiest way to get to Ferry from airport = Express bus X96 at curb outside arrivals door, 3.2€, 70 minutes.
travelerjan is offline  
Old Aug 11th, 2010, 08:27 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,007
I think since I'll only have 4-5 nights in Naxos, my preference would be to get there as quickly as possible (via air).

Here's my thoughts on travel:
* Fly London to Athens on Sept 29 or Sept 30; spend night in Athens (I couldn't find the hotel you mentioned...do they have a website?)
* Fly Athens to Naxos at 9:00 a.m. on Sept 30 or Oct 1
* Fly Naxos to Athens Oct 6
* Fly Athens to London Oct 8
* Fly London to Seattle Oct 9

Do you recommend spending 2 nights instead of one night before flying from ATH to LON? My thought is that I don't want to be too risky for getting from the island to the mainland and that it would be good to have a decent buffer. Hopefully returning to LON on Oct 8 and flying back to US on Oct 9 will go smoothly.
beanweb24 is offline  
Old Aug 11th, 2010, 11:47 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,746
Hi beanweb24,

Having flown from London to Athens, then going on to Naxos or Paros/Antiparos countless times, here is my preferred method:

* Flight from Heathrow with Olympic Air departing around 10 pm and arriving in Athens around 4 am the next morning (4 hr flight + 2 hr time difference). BA and Aegean Airlines have similar flights, so look at them as well.

* Proceed directly to the island, either by ferry from Piraeus, or the Olympic flight from the airport. The Blue Star ferry leaves Piraeus at 0725 (giving you plenty of time to get there by X96 bus from the airport), and arrives on Naxos at 1240. Most days there will also be a Hellenic Seaways highspeed leaving at 0730 and arriving on Naxos at 1045. The Olympic flight leaves Athens at 0900 and arrives on Naxos at 0945. Take the flight if you simply want to get to Naxos as quickly at possible. Take the ferry if you want a bit of adventure on the way - the ferry is very easy, because the X96 bus leaves the airport directly outside Arrivals, and stops in Piraeus right next to the Blue Star and Hellenic Seaways gates.

* Since you have gone directly to the island, that makes it easier to decide on two nights in Athens at the end. I highly recommend it, because there is so much to see in Athens, and one night won't be enough.
Heimdall is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2010, 01:49 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,007
Hi Heimdall,

I have been considering doing just as you say - take the late night flight from London and then continue on to Naxos later that morning. I'm just not sure I want to start my relaxing vacation that way...I rarely sleep on planes and think I might be pretty miserable/exhausted by not having a proper night's sleep. I'm still considering it though, as I would honestly not prefer to have to change hotels 3 times (1 night Athens, then Naxos, then Athens again). I have to seriously consider that option.

I've spent 2 nights in Athens before on a previous trip to Greece. That's why I'm trying to figure out if I can get away with only 1 night there this time. I'd prefer to spend the time on the island than in the huge city, even though I know there's so much to see and do there. I'm not really a "big city" kind of girl, so after spending 3 months in London I'm really looking forward to a more relaxed pace on a Greek island!
beanweb24 is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2010, 02:57 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,746
Hi beanweb24,

I know just what you mean, because I can't sleep on airplanes either. I've tried different ways of getting to the islands, and the overnight flight works best for me. If you decide to take the ferry to Naxos, think about business class instead of economy. Don't be frighted by the term 'business class' - it is only about €10-12 more than an air seat in economy. The early morning ferries allow you to board up to an hour before sailing, so you can go on board and get some rest while waiting for the ferry to depart.

Business class on Blue Star has some very comfortable sofas, and no one minds if you stretch out for a nap. There are no assigned seats, but usually plenty of room outside high season. A crewmember stands by the door to insure no one without a business class ticket gets in. I've seen people sleep practically all the way to Paros in business class.

Hellenic Seaways highspeeds have assigned seats in business class, but once underway you can move to an empty seat if you wish. There is another category called VIP which is more expensive than business class, but I haven't tried it yet.

When I take a morning flight to the islands I check into the hotel on arrival, and nap for a couple of hours. That's usually enough to revive me for the rest of the day, and I have no trouble getting to sleep that night.

If you've already been to Athens, then one night at the end will be enough. That's what I did in June. I've even gone back to the mainland the same day as my flight home. Blue Star arrives in Piraeus at 3 pm, and it takes about an hour to get to the airport by bus. If you have a flight leaving 7 pm or later, that's enough time provided nothing goes wrong. I never advise anyone else to try it, though - I wouldn't want to have it on my conscience if you missed your flight home.
Heimdall is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2010, 04:53 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,007
Hmmm... now the ferry is sounding more enjoyable if I do end up taking the overnight flight. That sounds much more appealing than waiting 5 hours for the next flight, and the fact that they have a biz class helps tremendously.

If I do this plan, then I could conceivably do the following:

* Sept 29 - London to Athens / late night flight
* Sept 30 - Athens to Naxos via ferry
* Oct 7 - Naxos to Athens
* Oct 8 - Athens to London
* Oct 9 - London to Seattle

If that would work (heading straight to Naxos from London and shaving one night off Athens at the end), then I would actually have 7 nights available on Naxos. With that being the case, I wonder if it's best to spend all 7 on Naxos, or if splitting time up (4 Naxos / 3 on Mykonos? Or Paros?) would be better.

Another option would be to spend 4/5 nights on Naxos, then fly back to Athens and drive to Napflio and spend 3 nights there. I could drive straight from Napflio to ATH airport, drop off the car, and fly to London. Hmmm...

Doing the night flight and leaving first thing in the morning does seem to give some extra options.

I'm kind of hoping my Plan A doesn't work out at this point.
beanweb24 is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2010, 08:19 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3,912
Take Heimdall's advice seriously. He only does stuff that works.
travelerjan is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2010, 11:55 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,746
* Sept 29 - London to Athens / late night flight
* Sept 30 - Athens to Naxos via ferry
* Oct 7 - Naxos to Athens
* Oct 8 - Athens to London
* Oct 9 - London to Seattle


That sounds good to me. You can, of course split the time between Naxos and Paros or Mykonos - that's up to you. If you do decide on Mykonos you will have to first take a ferry to Paros and connect with a catamaran there. Your other option of going to Nafplio for a few nights would also work, and has the advantage of putting you back on the mainland three nights before the flight back to London. That would be a good cushion in case strikes or storms delay the ferries (not very likely, but it could happen).

Travelerjan and her sidekick Stanbr are the Nafplio experts on this forum, so they can give you the best advice. Nafplio sounds intriguing to me, especially for early October when it is end of season on the islands.
Heimdall is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2010, 07:18 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,439
Thanks Heimdall Nauplion is a great option. It gets you back on the mainland in lots of time for your flight and is only a 2 hour drive back to Athens airport. It is the one place that I would say drop a couple of days in Naxos and go enjoy this place. ( Al I really have to get to Antiparos sometime.)
Here are Nauplion Pictures. Jan is the real Nauplion expert, I mostly just take pictures and drink Ouzo on the waterfront watching the sunset.
http://travel.webshots.com/album/551991579dJbWvh
stanbr is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2010, 07:46 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,443
stan, that doesn't sound like a bad way to spend your time there!

I'm just starting to research a possible trip to Greece next July (the only time I can take more than a week off work, as I work at a school) and was considering Athens and a couple of islands. Maybe I should also consider Nafplio?
SusanP is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2010, 09:30 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,439
We have only been to Nauplion in May and June. July is getting to be high season so I really cannot say anything that may be relevant because the full tourist season will have begun and we have not experienced that phenomenon. The ouzo and the sunset will still be there though.
stanbr is offline  
Old Aug 13th, 2010, 01:37 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 4,892
As a beginner scuba diver doing some dives even if not the best locations increases experience, of course there might be some good spots with interesting rock formations or shallow wreck dives. It's not always about the colourful fish.
Odin is offline  
Old Aug 27th, 2010, 02:20 AM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,007
Plan B has just become my Plan A! I purchased my tickets on Olympic (depart ~10:00 p.m. on Sept 30, arrive 4:00 a.m. Oct 1), will soon by my ferry tix, and now just have to make a few decisions:

Nissaki Beach Resort or Hotel Glaros? Hotel Glaros is offering a top floor sea view room for 48E. Nissaki Beach resort is offering a single for 120E. I *can* afford the room at Nissaki Beach Resort...but I'm not sure I really want to. Do any of you have personal experiences with Hotel Glaros? The reviews seem good (except for a few complaints about lumpy beds which bothers me a bit) and the location seems excellent. I'm leaning towards Glaros since it would leave me with more money for restaurants, shopping, and sight seeing.

Any recommendations for a hotel for one night in Athens? It needs to be conveniently located to the airport, though my flight to London isn't until 1:30 (which means I won't be rushing for an early a.m. flight).

And most importantly...October 1 is my birthday, and it will be my first birthday that I'm spending alone with no friends or family. Do you have any recommendations for a special restaurant in Naxos where I can celebrate myself for a few hours?

Thanks!
beanweb24 is offline  
Old Aug 27th, 2010, 03:19 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,746
Don't bother buying your ferry tickets before arriving in Athens. You can pick them up in minutes from Amphitrion Holidays at the airport, and there will be plenty of spare seats. The office is conveniently located near several ATMs, next to the exit doors for the buses to Piraeus. After picking up your bags, just walk through the doors from the carousels, and there you are!

You won't want to get on the X96 bus for Piraeus before 5 am, or you will end up sitting on the wharf waiting to board. Instead, go up one level at the airport terminal to the departures level, and have some coffee or an early breakfast. Then, around 5 am, go back downstairs and buy your bus tickets from the kiosk next to the bus stop. Don't forget to validate your ticket in the little machine on the bus. The X96 bus stops near the Cyclades docks, and it's easy to see the huge Blue Star and Hellenic Seaways ships towering over the streets. The bus trip takes about an hour that time of day (the streets are almost deserted), so if you leave the airport by 5:30 am, you will get to the docks about 6:30 am. You should be able to board by around 6:45 am, then settle down for a nap while waiting for the ship to depart.

Have a good trip!
Heimdall is offline  
Old Aug 27th, 2010, 03:24 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,746
This June I stayed at Hotel Cypria just off Syntagma Sq. It's only a few minutes walk from the X95 bus stop and metro station, so very convenient to the airport. The metro takes about 45 minutes, the bus about the same unless held up in traffic.
Heimdall is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO