Northern Aegean or Sporades?

Old Dec 17th, 2019, 04:28 PM
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Northern Aegean or Sporades?

I'm hoping the Greek Island experts can help me with this decision. I've done a ton of research and have narrowed down my choice to either the Sporades islands or the Northern Aegean (Lesvos/Chios/Samos). Five years ago I sailed through the Cyclades in late May/early June and loved those islands. Now I'd like something different, however I really liked the vibe of the Cylcades, where you could have a beach to yourself but also be in a pretty, stylish and super clean little town and have great food. I love exploring and would hope to find some combination of low-key, off the beaten path places (beaches, sites, nature, villages, towns) without a lot of tourists but also with the charm that I loved in the Cyclades. I will be renting a car and will be able to spend a total of about three weeks or more in the islands. Any advice or recommendations on people who have been to both areas and your honest feedback would much appreciated. I'm trying to figure out the "overall" or general vibe of these islands and so first hand knowledge is super valuable that way and hard to find in a guidebook. Sorry about the duplicate post; I somehow posted before finishing it and can't figure out how to delete the incomplete one).
Thanks in advance!

Last edited by chipTravel; Dec 17th, 2019 at 04:32 PM.
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Old Dec 18th, 2019, 06:28 AM
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I've been to Alonissos, Skopelas, Skiathos, Samos, Chios, Lesbos, Agios Efstrathios, Lemnos, Imros, Tenedos. (and others) and love them all.
All of these islands are very different and somewhat similar at the same time.
Skiathos is the most touristy one.
In Samos,Island most tourists stay at the Eastern end of the Island (Kokkari - Vathy - Psili Ammos - Pythagorio). The South West (Ormos Marathokambos) has some beatiful seldom crowded beaches.
Best hiking trails in the West and around Kokkari.
Chios is never overrun. The mastix villages in the South West are spectacular.. A hike to Nea Mony is fine. Good sandy beaches in the East and romantic pebble beaches in the South.
Lesbos is rather big, with very different areas. Most tourists stay around Mythimna.
Many (rather few visited) nice small sandy coves (like Agios Ermogenis) just a bit South West of Mitilini.

If you want to see how Greek Islands were some 60 years ago, you may stay a few nights at Agios Efstrathios:
No cars. Just 1 village (around the ferry pier) with 2 restaurants and some rooms to rent (often with kitchen). Just 1 sandy beach with a few umbrellas, no chairs. Long hiking trails over the mountains to some isolated (rather rocky than pebbly) beaches.

I suppose you know that the archtecture in the Eastern Aegean Islands is completely different from the Cycladic area:neither cubic white houses with blue window shutters nor whit windmills.

Food is more or less the same all over the Greek Islands, with the difference that Eastern Aegean Island restaurants serve more local fish than places like Mykonos or Santorini where most calamares and other seafood. are imported.
In summer, there are some (not daily) direct flights from Western European airports to Skiathos, Samos and Lesbos.
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Old Dec 25th, 2019, 07:20 AM
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Chios and Lesvos are both beautiful islands and can easily be combined. Not as over-the-top touristy as many other islands and a different vibe and look than the Cyclades. Chios would be my first choice then Lesvos for the northern Aegean Islands.

Both have airports making it quick and easy to get to and offer more tradition, laid back atmosphere and a "Greek" feel some other islands have lost to tourism.
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Old Dec 25th, 2019, 10:28 AM
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Great

An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a coworker who had been conducting a little homework on this. And he in fact bought me dinner due to the fact that I found it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to discuss this topic here on your website.
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Old Dec 25th, 2019, 01:37 PM
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Thanks to neckervd and crazyh! Sounds like Chios is very well liked here! I do understand that the other islands don't have the same look as the Cyclades and that's fine with me; I'd love to see something different and new and both Lesvos and Chios (and Samos) seem to fit the bill for that. I do still want to see another island in the Cyclades so after Lesvos/Chios I'll need to figure out which one. Right now I'm seriously considering Tinos and Naxos.
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Old Dec 26th, 2019, 02:42 AM
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Some Lesbos - Chios - Samos - Piraeus (port of Athens) ferries stop over at the Cycladic Islands of Ikaria, Syros and Mykonos. At Mykonos you can change to direct ferries to many other Cycladic Islands.
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Old Dec 26th, 2019, 05:37 AM
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I've heard Naxos has started to become much more touristy since I was there in 2010. I think people are looking for alternatives to Santorini/Mykonos. Whether that's good for Naxos will be seen.

One idea to consider if you want to go to Tinos is to fly back from Chios/Lesvos and then fly to the Syros which is close to Tinos. You can split your time between the two islands.

Either way you still have to get back to Athens for a ferry to Tinos since there are no ferry connections from Chois/Lesvos to Tinos.

I haven't been to Syros but saw it's main town and waterfront from a ferry. It appears to be very nice and a quicker to get to by plane than ferry.
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Old Dec 26th, 2019, 06:03 AM
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" One idea to consider if you want to go to Tinos is to fly back from Chios/Lesvos and then fly to the Syros which is close to Tinos"

Good idea for people who like to do everything in the most complicated manner.
Others would either do all by ferry (with a ferry change at Mykonos) or fly to Athens and go on by ferry from Rafina, close to Athens airport.
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Old Dec 26th, 2019, 11:07 AM
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Either way the OP will have to back track. Ferry runs from Lesvos to Mykonos can take 11 hours and Chios to Mykonos over 8 with both having numerous stops. Then you have to hope there will be a ferry running to Tinos when you get there. Depending on time of year, there may not be a ferry running on the day you need it.

Nothing complicated about flying back from Chios/Lesvos to Athen then a quick flight to Syros for a few days, then a short ferry ride to Tinos. There are usually more flights from Athens to Syros than ferrys from Mykonos to Tinos.

You will need to ferry back to the main land from Tinos and arrive either at Rafina or Piraeus depending on what works best for the OP.
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Old Dec 27th, 2019, 02:22 AM
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The last ferry from Mykonos to Tinos leaves daily at 16.00, often later in high season season.
The last daily Tinos bound ferry leaves Syros actually at 11.30.
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Old Dec 27th, 2019, 05:41 AM
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Hopefully the OP can figure out what works best for him. Trying to get from one island to another that is not on the same ferry line offers challenges. It could be a time issue, cost issue, convenience issue, etc.

What works best for one may not work best for another.
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