Santorini, Naxos and Paros questions

Old May 15th, 2009, 01:52 PM
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Santorini, Naxos and Paros questions

HI. I hope all the Greek island experts can answer a few questions. I'm in the middle of planning out the details of the island portion of my Greek trip this July. So here are several questions:

1.Other than Fira and Oia, which are the most photogenic towns on Santorini? Looks like maybe Pyrgos and Vothonas? Are buses to those towns from Fira frequent?

2. The hike from Fira to Oia - I think I read it takes about 2-3 hours. Is that correct? Does it matter which direction you do it in? Or what time of day you do it? Does the hike go through Finika and if not is that an easy detour.

3. What about the town of Karterados - is it worth visiting? It looks to only be 2 km from Fira so is it walkable?

4. On Naxos we are thinking of renting a car for a day. But I think the only town I really want to see is Appiranthos, and maybe Apollonas. So how easy is that to do by bus if we don't rent a car? Would it be possible to do both towns on the same day or are the buses not frequent enough for that?

5. On Paros I really want to see Naoussa, and possibly Lefkes. It looks like they are only about 10-12 km from Parika and I read at least one person's report of taking a taxi. Are taxi's or buses a reasonable way to get to those towns? Seems like it might be easier and cheaper (than renting a car) if we just want to see one (or two) towns.

Thanks for any info you can share
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Old May 15th, 2009, 02:26 PM
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1. Bus schedules will increase as the demand dictates. This is what's offered now but by July there will be more. http://www.ktel-santorini.gr

2. About 3 hours. It doesn't matter which direction you take but in July you will bake unless you do it in the early morning. On the Oia end of the trail it actually begins in Finikia just past the desalination plant. Be sure to take a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, water, a snack and your camera.

3. Karterados doesn't have much at all going for it interest-wise. Yes, it's walkable, but again not in the heat of a July afternoon.

4. Sorry, don't know the buses on Naxos.

5. There are buses to all the villages on Paros as there are on Naxos and Santorini. Check at the bus 'station' in Parikia for current timetables.
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Old May 15th, 2009, 03:54 PM
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NAXOS -- Hard to do 2 widely separated places in 1 day because of bus schedules. They may be more frequent in JUly to the beach area, but the inland town schedules stay much the same because they are mainly used by the locals. So you'll have a bus going up to a village at say 9 and one at 11, then return ones will be only 2:30 and 5pm. If you are alone of course, a car is more costly. We've rented cars in early june for as little as 30E per day.

APPOLLONAS --What do you want to see there?? The town itself is nothing to see, just a port and a small beach ... unless you want to go see that huge unfinished Dionysus statue in a quarry just outside t own. You can see that in 5 minutes, then it's another maybe 2 hour wait for a bus. If you don't care about the statue... you can get a trip clear around the Island by taking the round trip on the Appollonas bus and not getting off.

APIRANTHOS -- charming town, marble streets, residents mainly refugees from Smyrna who came there in the 1919 forced change of populations ... Tiny arch. museum has some RARE pieces... a Neolithic rock carving of stick figures dancing (yes! Greeks dancing 5000 years ago). But you can see everything u want in under an hour, then you wait for abus.

ALTERNATIVE-- There are several tour buses-- cost about 17€ -- that are typically NOT full, that go around 8am and come back at 4:30. They'll take you to a potteryplace (ignore, it's to buy), then to the Temple of Demeter (newly restored, worth seeing), town of Halki and the victorian Kitron distillery -- VERY interesting, outside Moni, the smallest church in the cyclades Panyria Drossiana, ** then Apiranthos .. then the statue of a Kouros in an orchard... then the really corkscrew roads way up to Appollonas. The only bad thing about this tour is the stop for at least 90 mintes at a beach taverna for a so-so lunch YOU pay for... BUT, you can take a picnic, wear your swmsuit under your shorts & T-shirt --- and [hit the beach instead!! That's what I did, on my first trip to Naxos. Then u go see the Dionysus & head back. The Cool part about the trip back is the bus goes down the seldom used road on NW part of island... looks like Big Sur! I found the people who took such an excursion quite varied, mostly European, educated , not blah tour types. I swam with an Irish ad agency exec.

SANTORINI -- If lyou're staying in a place with a decent caldera view, maybe your hiking instead of on the rim could be on the other side of Island. We took a taxi half-way up Ancient Thera & hiked a goat path 30 minutes more to the top ... GREAT views, fun ruins, if you llike ruins. U can then WALk down all the way goat path then the paved road (16 switchbacks) and grab a bus from Perissa at the foot.
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Old May 15th, 2009, 05:06 PM
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The road with switchbacks is on the Kamari beach side of the mountain. There is nothing but a footpath on the Perissa Beach side. A good way to see both beaches would be to go up the Kamari side and descend down the Perissa side, then take a bus from Perissa back to wherever you're staying. If you're staying at Kamari you can take a water taxi back from the Perissa side and not have to bother with a bus.
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Old May 15th, 2009, 05:39 PM
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Nothing much I can add to Jan"s response to your questions on Naxos except she has been there 7 times and knows her stuff.
Here are our pictures. You can get much of this on the bus tour.
http://travel.webshots.com/album/570796960FtMsPF
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Old May 16th, 2009, 03:39 AM
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Thanks for the replys.

brotherleelove - the bus link was helpful, it looks like we can do everything we want easily by bus on Santorini. And will definitely do the Fira Oia hike in the morning.

Jan - I think you are confirming what I suspected - that buses to the interior towns on Naxos aren't frequent enough to be able to "town hop". You also confirmed that we probably don't need to do Appolonos. Apiranthos is what I really want to see. I'll look into the tour. Normally I hate tours but in some cases they are the best way to see what you want. Does the tour stop in other towns, and for photo ops of views, or only the 90 min lunch break? We will still look into car rental once we get there (prices I've found on line are all over 50€).

Stan - I've seen your photos many times, they are an inspiration. I've been accused of traveling for the sole purpose of taking photos (which isn't exactly true). But I do go out of my way to go to places I want to photograph and looking at other people's pics often help me decide.

Now I just have to figure out what I want to do on Paros - seems like such a small island to bother renting a car (and prices are even higher online for car rentals than Naxos). I know we can just wait till we get there to decide but by mapping out what we want to do ahead of time helps to decide how late we want to stay the day we are leaving, and we'll want to get the ferry tickets for departure when we arrive.
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Old May 16th, 2009, 04:44 AM
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Isabel, how long will you be on Paros? The island has an excellent bus system, and in July they will be running frequently throughout the day. Lefkes and Naoussa are on different bus routes, though, so if you plan to see both on the same day it might be difficult.

Really, the best answer for both Naxos and Paros would be to rent a car for the day. Not only can you plan your own itinerary, but you can stop whenever you want to take photos.

If you are still interested in the Naxos tour, this is where it goes: http://www.naxostours.net/tour_info....id=4&flag=read

For more info on Naxos villages: http://www.allgreecetravel.com/naxos/naxos_villages.asp
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Old May 16th, 2009, 04:58 AM
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BTW, I think Jan was a little pessimistic about the Apiranthos buses. Here is the timetable(taken from Paros Life) as of 29 April:
Mon-Fri: to APEIRANTHOS: 9.30, 11.00, 12.00, 13.30, 15.00 return: 8.00, 8.45, 13.45, 16.15
Sat-Sun: to APEIRANTHOS: 9.30, 11.00*,13.30, 15.00*
return: 8.00, 8.45*, 13.45*,16.15
*not Sunday

If anything, there will be even more buses in July.
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Old May 16th, 2009, 11:40 AM
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With respect to the bus to Apeiranthos we actually did that trip a few years ago.
You can certainly do the local bus trip and back in a day.
There is sufficient time to wander around and have a nice lunch.
A second town that is worth taking the local bus to is Filoti. You can explore up into the upper levels of the town where few tourists go. We had a wonderful experience there when we walked up a narrow alley and passed a very old woman standing on her balcony. As we walked by we heard here call Lady and when we turned around she tossed a flower from her garden to my wife. We picked it up and she gave us a huge smile and showed off her last remaining tooth. These experiences are why I always tell people you will have a real Greek experience when you go to Naxos. Greek people do appreciate it when you make an effort to go out of your way to discover them.
There is also a central square in Filoti where you can wait for the bus to return to Chora and there are huge trees providing shade. There are three or four taverns serving drinks and a light lunch and old men sit and talk all day long. Again you will find a special part of Greece in a place like that.

One last thought on renting a car. Although we have never been there in July there is competition between car rental agencies. You could certainly wait until you get there to decide to rent a car. Often on a walk up basis you can get a better price.
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Old May 16th, 2009, 12:53 PM
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We only have two days on each island. I know, not enough time. But I really wanted to see all three so that's how it worked out. We will have late afternoon/evening of the first day to explore the town, then a full day, then a full morning on the day we leave. So the full day on each island was when I planned to visit other towns. And I'd be happy with just seeing Apeiranthos on Naxos and Naoussa on Paros. Other towns would be an added bonus. So Naxos does maybe make sense to rent a car, although with the bus schedule above it could be done that way. But it looks like on Paros the other towns are only 10-12 km from Parika. It does seem a bit excessive to rent a car to drive that short distance. I will definitely wait till we get there to rent the car, I was just checking on line to get an idea of cost and that's when I found prices of 55-75€ a day.
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Old May 16th, 2009, 01:06 PM
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If you are interested, here are the current timetables from Parikia to Lefkes and Naoussa, again taken from Paros Life:

K.T.E.L.Tel 22840-21395
Valid as at 29 Apr

Buses will be added in May

1. PAROIKIA-LEFKES -MARPISSA-DRIOS
7.30* (8.00* Sat/Sun), 10.30, 12.10*, 14.15* (14.00* Sat/Sun), 16.00*, 18.00 Return: 7.25 (from Marpissa Mon-Fri), 7.30 (from Lefkes Sat), 9.00, 13.10, 15.10 (15.00 Sat/Sun), 17.00, 19.00
*Aspro Chorio (return leaves 5 mins earlier)

2. PAROIKIA-NAOUSSA
7.40* (8.00* Sat/Sun), 10.10, 11.00*, 12.10, 13.00*&13.30 (Mon-Fri), 14.20 (14.10 Sat/Sun), 16.10,18.10, 20.10
Return: 7.40, 8.30*, 9.30, 10.30, 11.30 (11.30*Sat/Sun), 12.30 (via Kamares Sat/Sun), 14.15* (14.30 Sat/Sun), 14.40 (Mon-Fri), 16.30, 18.30, 20.30
* via Kamares

As with Naxos, there will be more buses in July.
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Old May 16th, 2009, 02:41 PM
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In June Naxos cars can be rented for 30€ per day, and that's with no 'bargaining.' They say that tourism is down 25$ overall. I bet u a car would be 40 or less... check the car places around the Town square (between harbor & ST. G) the first evening, they'll al be open. Go from 1 to the other... I bet u a greek salad u can find a small car under 40 -- compare it to 2 bus tour fares @ 17 each. I never heard of a cr at 55-75 ... can you not drive stick shift?? The automatics are all the larger cars but u don't need them on either isle.

As for the tour of COURSE they stop .... considerable time each place ... time for refreshment too in Apiranthos .
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Old May 17th, 2009, 03:31 AM
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Thanks for the bus schedule. It's helpful to have an idea of what it will be. But I will definitely check out all the car rental places. We drive standards - the prices I saw of 55-65€ were for the smallest standard. But I bet you are right that it will be less once we get there. Thanks again.
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