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

Need Help - Greek Islands - Paros, Naxos, or Syros?

Need Help - Greek Islands - Paros, Naxos, or Syros?

Old Aug 14th, 2021, 07:32 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 13
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Need Help - Greek Islands - Paros, Naxos, or Syros?

Hello!

My boyfriend and I will be traveling to Greece in September. We plan to stay in Athens for a couple nights to see the highlights and then head to the islands.

Were having a hard time deciding on which island(s) to visit. Ive been to Santorini so were skipping it this time. We enjoy beaches, hiking/nature, and good food. Were not into partying or shopping. Weve been debating between Paros, Naxos, and Syros. We have six days in total for the islands and therefore only want to visit 2 max.

Were considering the following options:

Paxos 4 days/ Naxos 2 days
Paxos 4 days/ Syros 2 days
Naxos 4 days/ Syros 2 days

What do you recommend?

Thanks in advance!
JessinAround
jessinaround is offline  
Old Aug 14th, 2021, 09:50 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,319
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Whichever you choose, suggest heading straight to the island and saving Athens for the end of the trip. You mean Paros, not Paxos as you wrote in the body of your post. Paros and Naxos are both on the Central Cyclades ferry route, with Naxos an hour further away from Piraeus. Syros is is less touristy than Naxos, and is the administrative capital of the Cyclades.

I like Paros best because it has Antiparos next door, so you get two islands for the price of one. Over the last several years there has been a dig at the archaeological site on Despotiko, an uninhabited islet next to Antiparos. You can visit the site from Antiparos, or take an island cruise that stops at the sea caves and remote beaches for swims, with a bbq lunch on Despotiko.
https://captainbenantiparos.com/

Last edited by Heimdall; Aug 14th, 2021 at 10:03 AM.
Heimdall is online now  
Old Aug 14th, 2021, 12:23 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 275
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I've been to Naxos and can highly recommend it. It's the largest of the Cyclades Islands so there's plenty to keep you occupied.

I stayed 9 days and never ran out of things to do.

I haven't been to to either Paros/Syros but they would be good options.

With just 6 days it may be best to spend them on just one island or at the most most combine Naxos/Paros as they are in the same island group.

Also agree that it's best to save Athens till the end of your trip if possible.
crazyh is offline  
Old Aug 14th, 2021, 12:58 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,319
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Ive been to Naxos four times, and Paros/Antiparos over 20 (I lost count), staying up to three weeks at a time. I do like Naxos too, but three or four nights there is enough for me. Unfortunately Naxos has become the third most touristy island in the Cyclades after Mykonos and Santorini, thanks partly to the hype it gets on travel forums. Ive only seen Syros from the ferry, but Ermoupoli, the island capital, is very beautiful.

I have a friend who has fallen in love with Syros, and he and his wife are staying at a beach resort there again next month. Syros is off the radar for most foreign tourists, so is probably more authentic Greek than the others.

Last edited by Heimdall; Aug 14th, 2021 at 01:00 PM.
Heimdall is online now  
Old Aug 14th, 2021, 06:33 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3,976
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My instincts would be 4+ days in Naxos, just because of the gorgeous beaches & the dramatic inland landscapes -- I think of the 4, it has the BEST hiking trails... check this website Walking, hiking and trekking on Naxos Rent a car for a day, to really enjoy the highlights (ruins, marble mountains, hillside villages etc). Also of all those, only Naxos has vineyards, often has Sept wine festivals in villages. In addition, lots of interesting tavernas, local meats, cheeses, veg & fruit & wine & olive oil etc (of these isles, Naxos is most fertile, farms, orchards, etc. Also it has the most fascinating port town of the list (Syros has a Gorgeous Town Square -- but the rest of the port town I found to be very business-oriented, banks, insurance co's, law firms -- it was the business center of the Cyclades).

For 3-4 Days, I'd move to Paros-Antiparos... and the Latter is wonderful for a stay, adorable smll port, walkable to all beaches, lovely lit-up mainstreet at night.. And you can do day trips to Paros.. Busses from port area go to many localities on the island. Not as interesting hikes. Just my experience, that of others may differ.
travelerjan is offline  
Old Aug 15th, 2021, 12:37 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 7,169
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As above, Syros is more authentic and not as overcrowded as Naxos or Parikia resp Naousssa in high season.
neckervd is offline  
Old Aug 16th, 2021, 11:48 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3,976
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think Syros can be great if you are staying with a Greek there. Otherwise, does not seem as welcoming as the other isles on the list. Just my experience.
travelerjan is offline  
Old Aug 16th, 2021, 01:41 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,319
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The friend I mentioned in reply #4 finds Syros very welcoming. Jan, I remember your post from several years ago, but don’t recall what you didn’t like about Syros.
Heimdall is online now  
Old Aug 17th, 2021, 01:19 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 7,169
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you like to be among tons of foreign (not Greek) tourists without being disturbed by indigenous (Greek) people, go to Mykonos.
If you prefer a much less touristy Island with mostly Greek tourists, many organized and not organized beaches which may never be crowded, nice hiking trails, small tavernas, hotels and b&bs spread all over the Island, go to Syros, but rather not into the capital Ermoupolis as some parts of it can get very noisy.
neckervd is offline  
Old Aug 17th, 2021, 09:33 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3,976
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
neckervd, you seem to imply that my reservations about Syros means that I prefer some of the other tourist "hives" of High season,such as Mykonos OR Santorini, or Skiathos, Corfu, Kos -- which can be jampacked with package-tour crowds. I avoid all such islands. I always travel off-season, such as September or Late May-1st week of June. I'm also a dedicated "budgeteer" by necessity, so do not frequent upscale lodgings, instead pensions with 6 -12 rooms. Some of the islands where I encounter mainly independent travelers, and not crowds of them either, include Western Crete, Serifos, Sifnos (up in the hills), Folegandros, Amorgos, Antiparos, Milos, Aegina, and in the N.E., Chios, Samos, & Patmos... all of the latter outisde of main port area. Sometimes I have a couple of "newcomer" travel pals along, but also travel solo, without a car, getting around by bus, socializing only with locals.

When I spent a few days on Kea, it was so untouristed there was only ONE internet connection in the port town, and when I took the only taxi around, we had to stop at the school for the driver to pick up his daughter. Coming down from Kea's high town, I shared the trail with a mustachio'd older guy on a donkey, who showed me his walnut grove. On antiparos I spent half an hour helping someone repaint around the flagstones on her walk. In Folegarndros, celebrating the local gymasium's last day of school, i sat with the entire faculty (14 teachers) and helped to consume an entire roast lamb & fixings. My first time in Samos, I helped a fellow put up a sign announcing his new coffee shop, & in the process learned about his departure from an Athens computer job to start a new job. So I like hanging around with Greeks, and being on the edge of their lives.

Therefore, it was with anticipation I headed for a few days in May in Syros -- I'd always admired the spectacular view of Ermopolis square backed by hilltop churches, and wanted to see them up close. I found a place to stay in a fascinating rundown old Mansion - my room was once the formal dining room, the only light was a chandelier (!), the neighboring buildings were deluxe Captain's houses from the Syros heyday as the Cyclades hub. I enjoyed finding the museum & the mini-opera house & the Square was indeed spectacular. At dinner things started going sideways... the waiter ignored me for a table of Greeks who came after me, gave me a Greek only menu (fortunately I could manage) but recommended something that was one of only inedible meals I've ever hd in greece; I fed it to the cat under the table. The next day I took a bus around the island, trying several beaches, about 99% greek. Couldn't get served at snack bar til I went behind the counter. Asked where to stand for the next bus & was directed to the wrong corner where it roared by me & I waited for an hour. Back in town I looked for 2 items only... some kind of locally-made pottery or glass art (I like to keep a small fish for each isle I visit), walked all over central Hermopoulis, found many banks, insurance firms, law offices, no galleries or bookstores. Since I couldn't get an adequate view of the town square with my camera, I inquired about a postcard. I was told at every store; we dont have postcards here. Several more meals where my efforts at social interaction were ignored. The next day, just before my ferry, at the port, beside a ticket booth for excursion boats, I found the only postcard rack in town. Then departed. Since my visit, an old friend of mine I met thru Forums, (American, screen name Xaroula), now runs a coffee house on the Square; her Greek husband is Music director of Syros Gymnasium. Probably if I went back now, she'd help me find a welcome that I failed to manage on my own, although never had a problem off-season on other islands. My feeling, perhaps mistaken, is that Syrites consider this a Greek island, and see non-Greeks as somehow out of place. With a Greek friend, or with a traveling companion so you don't need company, probably you'd be just fine. My bad luck to be a middle-aged ordinary person, on her own..

Last edited by travelerjan; Aug 17th, 2021 at 09:35 AM.
travelerjan is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2021, 12:26 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 7,169
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"neckervd, you seem to imply that my reservations about Syros means that I prefer some of the other tourist "hives" of High season,such as Mykonos OR Santorini, or Skiathos, Corfu, Kos"
Not at all!!
We never got al the negative reactions you mention during our stays at Syros. But you are completely right: Syros doesn't live from tourism (except Athenians) and locals are rather proud and aloof, like in Chalki, Inousses, Ay Strathi and similar places. The fact to be directed to a wrong bus stop, or to get told completely wrong departure times (by people who never take a bus), however, can happen all over Greece. I made this experience more than once.
Same experience with "traditional" waiters: In fact a century ago or so it was normal that people could enter a cafenion without ordering anything. A waiter didn't disturbe these people (that was considered as inpolite), but asked until they called him.
As to bad food and catastrophic service in tavernas, I made similar experieces at Samothraki, Naxos, Rhodos, Elafonissos, Volterra, Ponte di Legno, Rissani, and and.....I thik these are exceptions that may occur everywhere
neckervd is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2021, 07:08 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3,976
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Neckervd, I know that people can make mistakes, that happens everywhere. But I encountered outright unfriendliness when I'd just make a casual sociable greeting. Got the brush-off. Never had that happen before on any other isle or mainland place.
I wasn't trying to become friends, just trying to be friendly. It happened enough to make an impression.
travelerjan is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
LICgirl411
Europe
4
Jul 23rd, 2014 07:54 AM
charps7
Europe
3
Jun 22nd, 2008 10:37 AM
skittles_2203
Europe
18
Aug 17th, 2006 09:24 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

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


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:57 AM.