Santorini or Naxos

Feb 23rd, 2018, 02:56 PM
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Santorini or Naxos

An acquaintance of mine went with her teenage daughter to Greece last year and preferred the island of Naxos to Santorini primarily because of the beaches. My granddaughter and I are visiting Santorini and are excited about that but wondered if we should take the 2 hr. ferry to Naxos for a night or two. Then return to Santorini since we have a one way flight from there to Athens. Thoughts?
kerrylou is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2018, 03:19 PM
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Those 2 islands are the only 2 I've visited and I much preferred Naxos to Santorini. But then I'm more interested in what's around me up close, rather than views which are, it seems, the primary draw of Santorini. I loved being in the town on Naxos as it seemed more a "real" place, far fewer tourists per square foot than the main town on Santorini.

It would make more sense to me to go directly to Naxos and take the ferry 1 way before your flight from Santorini to Athens, if you can arrange it. But maybe your flight is actually a RT Athens/Santorini, in which case you may feel stuck with that itinerary. If I'm wrong and you're maybe arriving at Santorini by ferry, I'd be inclined to go to Naxos first, or continue right on to Naxos, ferry schedule permitting, then have all your Santorini time at the end before the flight.
MmePerdu is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2018, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by kerrylou View Post
wondered if we should take the 2 hr. ferry to Naxos
This depends on what you are looking for. You acquaintance correctly described the beach situation. Naxos has MANY turquoise blue beaches that probably attracted you to Greek islands in the first place. Also, Naxos does not get ginormous cruise ship visits like Santorini or Mykonos. It is quieter and also cheaper.
Originally Posted by kerrylou View Post
Then return to Santorini since we have a one way flight from there to Athens.
This can be a case of Sunk Cost Fallacy. Do a math comparison between what you are proposing vs. cancel your one way flight to Athens (presuming it is not part of a larger itinerary to get home) and take a boat from Naxos to Athens.
Look at the TOTAL cost, time, and hassle doing:
1. Boat back to Santorini + transport from dock and to airport + transport from ATH to Athens
2a. Boat to Piraeus, transport from Piraeus to Athens.
2b. Fly Naxos to ATH,, transport from ATH to Athens (depending on the type of tickets you bought for JTR-ATH, you can redeploy balance of tickets on a different route.)
greg is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2018, 03:52 PM
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You're right Greg, I do have some ready made plans that I need to look at objectively. What I have is an EasyJet flight from Gatwick to Santorini. I also have a one way flight from Santorini to Athens. I could just toss out the pre arranged non refundable flight one way to Athens from Santorini and then, book a ferry from Santorini to Naxos then book a flight from Naxos to Athens. We do have a limited time in Greece but I don't think I can afford to scrap the Gatwick to Santorini and also the Santorini to Athens flights. Thank you Mme Perdu for your comments on Naxos.
kerrylou is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2018, 04:17 PM
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As you are finding out, you don’t go to Santorini for the beaches rather the view and to visot ancient Akrotiri. I recommend that you spend more time on Naxos not just for the beaches but for a more Greek experience. Unfortunately, the cruise ships have made Santorini a crowded and over touristed destination but a few days would be OK.. Only you can make a decison about canceling a flight, the cost involved.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2018, 06:14 PM
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I far preferred Naxos, largely because I found other tourists on Santorini thorougly unpleasant, and those in the tourism industry responded accordingly. I did enjoy Akrotiri, though, and particularly the museum that shows artifacts that came from it. In contrast, I was treated with great kindness and graciousness on Naxos which I loved. If you haven’t already seen it, you might look at my trip report:
With Gratitude for a Glorious Solo Month in Greece

Good luck!
kja is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2018, 06:35 PM
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How much time do you have for the two islands? I would probably do the EasyJet Gatwick to Santorini, spend a couple of days, then ferry to Naxos, spend the rest of your island time there and then ferry Naxos to Athens.

I agree with most of the others impressions of Santorini vs Naxos. However, I am still glad I saw Santorini and you can get away from the crowds by walking along the caldera just outside Fira and Oia or going to one of the inland villages. And even though the view is just like all the photos you have probably seen of it, it's still worth seeing in person.

Here are my photos of both islands - Zenfolio | Isabel's_View | Santorini, Naxos, Paros, Agenia
isabel is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2018, 08:01 PM
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We don't have a lot of time over all but I've just checked direct flights to Naxos from England and I don't think they exist. I do have a very good flight from Gatwick to Santorini which arrives early. I think we'll spend the equivalent of two days there and hopefully a full three days on Naxos and then either fly or ferry to Athens. We'll only have about two days in Athens which is why I think flying would be better.
kerrylou is offline  
Feb 24th, 2018, 01:12 AM
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There are no direct flights to Naxos from England because the runway is too short for jets to land there. The Naxos airport is served by small turboprops that fly from Athens. The three airports nearest to Naxos with flights from the UK are Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini. I prefer flying to Athens where I have a choice of flights or ferries to the islands.

Many people prefer to fly to Mykonos or Santorini and take a ferry from there, and that usually means spending at least one night at the end of the trip at the island they fly home from. For that reason it would be best, if combining Naxos with Santorini, to go straight to Naxos by ferry upon arrival in Santorini, and return to Santorini for a few nights before flying back home.

It is also possible to fly into one airport and return from another. That avoids backtracking to the same island for your return home. For instance, if you want to see Athens as part of the trip you could fly to Santorini on the outbound leg and return home from Athens.
Heimdall is online now  
Feb 24th, 2018, 04:34 AM
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I'd also go for Naxos as it is not that crowded and people are really friendly. You can find great hidden spots and explore the island. Once we did rent a scooter and did find so many beaches where maybe one other couple has been.
hallesy is offline  
Feb 24th, 2018, 09:19 AM
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Okay, I'm all hyped up for Naxos. Now I have to get down to serious business about dividing up my time. I thought we were arriving early in Santorini, July 3rd at 8:00 a.m. Turns out we're arriving at 8:00 p.m.! (too much on my mind). The early arrival would have meant we could stay in Santorini until Wednesday, July 4th and take the later afternoon ferry to Naxos, then stay in Naxos until early Saturday 7th at which time we would fly out on the Aegean airlines at 8:00 a.m. to Athens. Then we would have the rest of the day Saturday to do a quick tour of Athens and leave on our international flight to Canada midday on April 9th. Now that I've re-read my confirmed itinerary and we are arriving 8:00 p.m. in Santorini, do we stay in Santorini (I do actually want to see it - at least briefly) until Thursday morning, then the ferry to Naxos and leave for Athens on a later flight Saturday, July 7th? That only gives us one day in Athens. Please remember I'm travelling with a 14 year old girl. Thank you
kerrylou is offline  
Feb 24th, 2018, 08:08 PM
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A vote for Santorini...

while Naxos has some beautiful beaches& fascinating inland towns, we found Santorini to be absolutely magical when we were there 5 years ago. As others noted you donít go to Santorini for their beaches but for the views, the caldera, etc. You can get a taste of this magic in just a couple of days- and then have a very different, complementary experience in Naxos. Itís easy to combine these 2 very different islands in a week.
el13207 is offline  
Feb 25th, 2018, 12:43 AM
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Strictly my opinion: Stick with Santorini. I prefer Naxos myself, but I don't see the point to island hop here and there to spend only a couple of days on an island. Too much time spent on logistics for limited time on the spot. Furthermore, islands like Naxos need time to appreciate and again on my opinion you need much time to explore around on public transport or you need to be willing to hire a car to get a decent glimpse of the island. It is the largest island of Cyclades with tons of beaches and with many many different villages and spots to explore, both inland and seaside. I don't think a couple of days will do it any justice.

Santorini is a tiny island and much much smaller than Naxos, still there is plenty to see and do for several days. While I'm not very fond of it, staying there 3, 5 or 7 days you could plan your itinerary cleverly to avoid the busier spots on the busier parts of the day, you could explore the less known corners and you could opt for less obvious activities around the island, getting a better feel for it. Personally if I had say a week for a trip, I wouldn't want 2-3 days lost on transit. Of course that's just me : )
mariha2912 is offline  
Feb 25th, 2018, 01:37 AM
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I like your plan to spend a little time on Santorini and then go on to Naxos. Given the constraints under which you are operating, I think that maximizes the opportunities that you and your granddaughter will have on this trip.
kja is offline  
Feb 25th, 2018, 03:38 AM
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As always, mariha2912 haas a sensible and thoughtful post, not trying to force her personal preferences on the OP. Santorini isn't my favourite island either, but I would recommend it without a moment's hesitation for a first time visitor to Greece.

Santorini has the best scenery, a very important archeological site (Akrotiri), and much more. When will you ever have a chance to see a black 'sand' beach again? Maybe if you go to Hawaii. It also has among the best connections to Athens, with regional jets operated by several different airlines, and conventional & highspeed ferries.
Heimdall is online now  
Feb 25th, 2018, 08:46 AM
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Thank you for all your thoughtful comments. I'm going to give it some extra thought and then decide. How lucky we are to have problems in our lives such as deciding whether to visit one island or two. I am forever grateful and know our trip is going to be unforgettable.
kerrylou is offline  
Feb 25th, 2018, 10:26 AM
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I have been to Greece many times but never Santorini for various reasons. I have gone to Naxos and found it to be one of the best of the Greek Islands, something for everyone, more laid back, far less expensive and not the hordes of tourists like Santorini draws.

When people (mostly Americans) think of a Greek Island they only think Santorini . . . but there's more to Greece than Santorini, just like there's more to America than Disneyland.
crazyh is offline  
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