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Santorini and Naxos - highlights or "must sees"

Santorini and Naxos - highlights or "must sees"

Old Apr 30th, 2011, 11:17 AM
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Santorini and Naxos - highlights or "must sees"

Hi Everyone:

My husband and I are traveling to Santorini (May 24-May 28) and then Naxos (May 28-June 3rd) for an anniversary celebration/vacation. Thanks to some helpful advice from this forum earlier in the planning stages, I think we have most of the details of our trip worked out. We arrive by air in Santorini the night of May 24 (by way of San Diego, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, Paris, and Athens!), where we are staying in Oia at Ifestio Villas. We plan to ferry from Santorini to Naxos (looks like 3:30 pm will be the best option), renting a car for the week, and staying at a townhouse we rented overlooking the sea in Agia Anna.

I would be very grateful for input regarding highlights or sights that are not to be missed. We are in our 40s and enjoy an active lifestyle. We love walking and hiking, the sea, the beach, kayaking, and are looking forward to seeing some of the archeological sites, dining out, and enjoying the culture. I am a vegetarian but other than not eating meat or seafood, I enjoy most any foods. In general we prefer independent travel, rather than tours or organized activities. However, I think a boat cruise would be a lot of fun from either or both of these islands. We prefer to get “off the beaten track” when possible and do not mind a bit of adventure (a long hike, challenging road, etc.) if there's a reward at the end of it.

With this in mind, I would appreciate any recommendations regarding hikes, beaches, archeological sites, restaurants, tavernas, and any other activities that those who have been or lived in the area feel would be highlights for first time visitors. Would you recommend any day trips from these two islands, or given our itinerary is it best to stay put? Any other advice, as well, would be most welcome.

Thank you in advance!
vanessa21 is offline  
Old Apr 30th, 2011, 11:41 AM
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Walk down the steps to the wharf below Oia in Amoudi Bay, then walk to the left as far as you can go, about 1/4 mile, to the end of the seawall for the best swimming on the island. This is what you'll see:

http://photos.worldisround.com/photos/14/70/553_o.jpg

http://www.flickr.com/photos/3258003...in/photostream

While you're down there stop and have a meal at one of the waterfront restaurants. I'm a vegetarian too. If you eat dairy try the Saganaki at Katina's.

There's a caldera/volcano cruise that departs around 9:30am from Amoudi.

Visit the Sigalas Winery behind Santorini Mou Taverna in Oia.
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Old Apr 30th, 2011, 06:00 PM
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Because of Santorini's location it is difficult to do a day trip to other islands because the regular ferries are not set up for this... you need dedicated excursion boats to make it work.

If you are on Naxos or Paros, there is a day-excursion that goes to Delos-Mykonos. on Tues, THurs and Sundays http://visit-cyclades.com/EN/cruises_1days.php. YOu would be able to take this cruise on the 31st or June 2nd. Costs about 55€. YOu have nearly 3 hours on Delos (the Sacred Isle), then another 3+ hours in Mykonos Town.... and you're back in Naxos before sunset. This company uses HM Alexander a larger boat with a smoother ride; the expert prefer it to the other company whose vessel Naxos Star is smaller, can have a bumpier sailing.

There is SO much to say about Naxos, and it has been said at length many times on this forum. If you use the "search" function and just put in "Naxos," you will get tons of our personal recommendations so we don't have to retype them yet again.

Also, I would suggest that you run over to the library & get a good guidebook such as "Rough Guide to Greece" or "Greek Island Hopping" or others, and just read thru, and photocopy stuff you like. It helps you organize your thinking; internet info is great, but using both is Best.

For some visuals, you can't do better than the wonderful albums by Fodorite Stanbr. I bet I put these links in 6 times a week!!
http://travel.webshots.com/slideshow/552001505EYxVYT
http://travel.webshots.com/slideshow/570796960FtMsPF

and here, also by Stanbr, is a photo album of their daytrp to Delos-Mykonos
http://travel.webshots.com/slideshow/552009563QJRIYa
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Old Apr 30th, 2011, 11:59 PM
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The same companies that do the Delos/Mykonos excursion also have a day trip to Iraklia/Koufonissi, two tiny, but inhabited, islands just off Naxos in the Little Cyclades. You also get a brief stop at Piso Livadi on Paros where they pick up/drop off additional passengers. Naxos Star leaves on Mondays, and MV Alexander on Wednesdays and Sundays. It's MV (motor vessel) Alexander, by the way, not HM, the abbreviation for 'his majesty'.
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Old May 10th, 2011, 04:56 PM
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Heimdall, Travelerjan, and Brotherleelove -

I apologize for the delayed response, just when I thought I had some time to dream about the upcoming trip, I was buried in work for a full week+ without pause. Now that I am coming out from under, I would like to thank you for the excellent suggestions and photos, which have me more excited than ever. Stanbr certainly has some great shots of Naxos!

The Delos-Mykons day trip (or the tiny island day trip) sounds like a lot of fun, we will look into it. I did pick up the Greek Island Hopping book, and hope to have some time to read it soon, as well as scanning prior posts. At the rate things are going, "soon" may mean during the long flights, or airport layovers, but that's OK, vacation is around the corner!

Brotherleelove, it seems like it's easy to eat Vegetarian in Greece, as long as one is not otherwise choosy. That is comforting. I love cheese and will definitely sample the Saganaki!

Thanks again for the tips and for taking the time to reply.
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Old May 11th, 2011, 05:31 AM
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Vegans have a bit more of a challenge, but vegetarians have a feast in Greece.. One should remember that until recent years, these people had to live very very frugally, and meat was a special-occasion menu item. Thus so many imaginative veggie main dishes ... "gemiste" (stuffed) tomatoes, zucchini, onions, peppers ... one dish that's famous is called either "The Priest Fainted" or (acknowledging its Turkish origins), "The Imam fainted" ... meaning it was so delicious it made the clergyman pass out! Stuffed eggplant w. tomatoes, onion, garlic, herbs, olive oil, heaven knows what else... I'm salivating now at at 8 am (and I'm a meat-eater). Do not overlook "gigantes". These are large tan lima-type beans in tomato sauce, but believe me, NOT the bland "butterbeans" of my youth ... a staple on the Greek table.

The nice thing about dining in Greek tavernas (that's the name for simple restaurants, with the red-check tablecloths), is that you don't just get to look at the menus. Most of them, right inside the door, near the cooking area, have a "warming table" where today's fare is laid out. You are welcome (even expected) to go in and take a look... and see what appeals most, before you go back to your table & order. I always do this!

Another tip for veg-folks; the "village salad" (US = GReek salad) is wonderful, but sometimes you long for LETTUCE. THeir lettuce (marouli) salad is great ... they shred it fine (sorta like the lettuce at Subway?), thin-slice red onion & green pepper, add Feta if u specify. So refreshing! NOTE; servings of this and other salads are HUGE, more than enough for 2.
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