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Tommmo Jul 11th, 2013 02:54 PM

Samos,Lesbos and .....?
In May we plan to continue our Greek Island explorations for another month. Enjoyed Crete and Naxos so much last time. We love Turkey too so Samos and Lesbos seem natural destinations , with jumps across at maybe Cesme , Kusadasi etc.
Can anyone suggest a good route through the area for a month ? We are middle age seasoned travellers,rent cars and scooters often , some times fly between islands if it's cheap enough ... Possibly arrive Istanbul and depart Athens or vice versa or maybe fly in on EasyJet from Milan as we did last time to Crete...

clausar Jul 12th, 2013 01:35 AM

Islands to visit in that are would be :

Ikaria - Samos - Chios and Levos.

The connections to Turkey are : Samos ( Pythagorio) - Kusadasi,
Chios - Cesme, Mytilini - Ayvalik.

All these islands are beautiful and very green, compared to the Cyclades.
Ikaria is the lesser known island, but very beautiful and with a very particular lifestyle .....

A car on all these islands is necessary :)

Tommmo Jul 12th, 2013 03:17 AM

Thanks Clausar. Would you include Amorgos and some other islands in that trip too?

clausar Jul 12th, 2013 03:51 AM

Amorgos in in total different group of islands, and i think it is not connected at all to the islands that i mentioned.

I am not very familiar with these connections, as being Greek i never had to do island hopping.. ( living in Greece and having plenty of time to explore everything whenever i wanted :) )

Heimdall with his excellent knowledge of ferry connections will surely tell you more about what is doable and what is not.

Heimdall Jul 12th, 2013 04:28 AM

Amorgos is on an entirely different ferry route from the others, which are all in the NE Aegean. Probably the best way for you to get there is a ferry from Samos to Syros, then on to Amorgos via Naxos. It would have been a lot easier to visit Amorgos when you were on Naxos last time.

If the islands mentioned by clausar (plus trips to nearby Turkish ports) aren't enough to fill your time, you could carry on south to the Dodecanese. I've never been to Patmos, but that's one island that appeals to me.

It's interesting that all the so-called ferry experts seem to be foreigners. Greeks don't need to island hop — if they want to visit a different island they can go there next time. I'm a bit like that these days myself, as I've found an island I like and tend to stay there rather than move around. For real variety I would rather travel around the mainland. :-)

Tommmo Jul 12th, 2013 02:31 PM

Do I remember correctly that's Antiparos? We were there in May last year but strong wind and a "closed for the season" feel made it seem less than ideal (no one around at departure from hotel and had to leave payment under the door)
I'm not sure we care too much that Greeks don't island hop - they haven't flown 34 hrs on planes and we want to see as much as possible when finally there.That said, we are spending as much as 2 weeks in places we love like Sifnos and Naxos..
Will check out Patmos if it's a better connection. We have done the entire Turkish Aegean-Med. coast mainly driving as far as Side.
We're wondering if the expensive $40 Turkish visa for Aussies is a multiple entry one that makes it easy to jump across to Greek islands often??

Heimdall Jul 12th, 2013 10:29 PM

Yes, Antiparos has a short season. In recent years May on Antiparos has been very quiet, but June just about perfect. In contrast August is extremely busy, with the main street so crowded in the evenings that people are walking shoulder to shoulder. Then, after the first week in September it gets quiet again, with most places closed by the 1st of October. This is typical of the smaller islands, e.g. Folegandros, Koufounisi, and Amorgos.

Tommmo Jul 13th, 2013 05:34 PM

Given the description in the original question , what would be a good route for the month? Ikaria seems to be a good choice to add to Samos Chios etc....We always have to factor in transport possibilities where islands close to each other are in fact hard to hop between, so a combination that naturally and workably fits together would be ideal.

travelerjan Jul 14th, 2013 07:26 AM

Ikaria is a gem, they tell me, if you can rent a car (or at least an ATV). Friends tell me, and guidebboks emphasize that its bus system is almost nil, so if u want to venture beyond one village, u need to consider transport.

In contrast, Samos has quite a good public transport system ... the bus system has a round-the-island bus several times a week ... I do no know if that's only for summer and whether it starts in May, here's a link on the topic:

Car rental in Chios would be superb way to get to Mastic villages, see lovely black-pebble beaches like Omboriio, and the famous deserted Monastery mid-island; In May, Karvas beach just north of Chios town would be uncrowded, nicer place to stay than the port IMHO ..

In a N.E.Aegean visit about 10 years ago in May, we stayed in Vathy just up from port at Hotel Pythagoras (no A/C but pleasant in may, on the bay, w. tiny beach below balcony), and from there island-hopped to Chios for 2 days (wish we'd had longer) and day-tripped to Ephesus and Patmos ... there are daily excursions to the latter 2. Patmos, hmm, wonderful view of monastery from sea, underwhelmed by actual visit there -- I hear there are lovely beaches in island and a US artist we know has house there/loves it. The high-town surrounding the monastery is very closed-up (high walls around villas); Greek friends tell me that celebrities and richy-rich people have places there ... I got that feeling.

Chios/Samos much more accessible to real locals living/working, sitting in tavernas. I've always longed to explore Ikaria after reading about it in Rough Guide and Cadogan/Greek Islands, but don't drive & no trip companions interested. Go for it!

Tommmo Jul 15th, 2013 02:10 PM

Thanks Jan I think we could spend a very pleasant month in Lesbos,Chios and Samos with side trips to Ikaria ,the Turkish coast etc. We are happy with renting cars and scooters fortunately and have done so in both countries...
I'm now looking for those "hidden gems" of pensions and villages and transport- you know, the little details and people you meet that make such a difference!

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