Sifnos worth the hassle?

Jul 22nd, 2006, 09:35 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 59
Sifnos worth the hassle?

My friend and I are planning a trip (1st trip to Greece for both of us) for next May. We are in our 40's and are interested in exploring villages, walking, cafes, culture. We definitely want to include Santorini and don't want to go to Mykonos. We can get inexpensive round trip air to Santorini and can easily get to Naxos/Paros by ferry.

Are Naxos and Paros different enough that it would be worth having 3 days on each island and then fly back to Athens from there?

Sifnos sounds wonderful but looks difficult to get to from Santorini- only 2 ferries/week.

I originally thought of doing a loop: Athens-Santorini (air)- ferry to Naxos-ferry to Sifnos-ferry back to Santorini- air back to Athens. In reasearching this though, it is seeming logistically challenging and we have about 2 weeks for the whole trip.

thanks for any input

chris
ChrisCal is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2006, 10:10 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 6,734
Paros and Naxos aren't that much different from each other. I recommend you choose one or the other. You can also get to Sifnos from Paros and Folegandros, and you can get to Athens/Piraeus from Sifnos. You can get to Paros and Folegandros from Santorini, so you do have a few other options as long as the connections work out.
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2006, 01:33 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,611
There are only two ferries/week to Sifnos from Paros as well, and none directly from Naxos as far as I can tell. The problem is, Santorini, Naxos, and Paros are on the Cyclades Central ferry route, while Sifnos, along with Folegandros, Milos, Serifos, etc are on the Cyclades West route.

Should you decide to give Sifnos a miss, then either Naxos or Paros would be a good choice - they both have all the things you are looking for. Although similar, I don't agree it has to be a choice of one or the other, though. Only 30 min apart by highspeed ferry, it would be easy to do both.

If you want to go to Sifnos it might be easier to combine it with visits to Folegandros and Milos rather than Paros and/or Naxos. You could go from Santorini to Folegandros as Brotherleelove suggests, on to Milos and Sifnos, and then back to Piraeus.
Heimdall is online now  
Jul 22nd, 2006, 02:10 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 59
Thank you both for your suggestions. You two are certainly the Greece experts. I have been reading many of the threads here and have obtained so much useful information.

Yes, I realized the two islands are on different ferry routes which makes it difficult. Its complicated by the fact that we want to fly part of the trip rather than have a ten hour ferry ride to Santorini. Its also less expensive if you are able to get the 19e tix on Aegean.

What sounded appealing about Sifnos in reading Matt's guide and other guides was the charming villages, cascading flowers, less over-developed for tourism. Given that do either of you have any other suggestions, keeping in mind that Santorini is a must?

thanks again for your time and energy
ChrisCal is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2006, 07:34 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 687
When we went on a sailing trip around the Cyclades a few years ago (TEN!! how time flies) We loved Sifnos and vowed to return. We walked halfway across the island, loved the ancient town, the small chapels dotted across the island in farmers' fields and a restaurant that one guide book called "the best restaurant in the Cyclades."

Sifnos was apparently a breeding ground for chefs who made their way to Athens and beyond in the nineteenth century. I've always wanted to know more about that, but the walking possibilities and beaches were enough to make us want to come back. Very untouristy then. I hope still.

I vote worth whatever hassle.

Vera
Vera is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2006, 10:40 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 59
Thanks Vera. It really sound appealing from the descriptions I have read. My friend and I like to hike and explore and it sounds greener than many others. I am going to keep researching the ferries.

chris
ChrisCal is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2006, 01:19 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,611
Chris, flying to Santorini is a good idea, not only because it is quicker, but also because there are several flights at different times of the day rather than only a few ferries, either early morning or late afternoon/evening.

From Santorini there are ferry connections back to Piraeus, either via Folegandros to Milos and Sifnos, or to Paros and Naxos. Both routes are served by highspeed ferries.

May is a long time away, and ferry schedules won't be available until a few weeks before then, so it is difficult to make precise plans until next spring. You can book your flight online from Athens to Santorini, but booking ferries in advance that time of year is unnecessary, and IMO unwise.

Probably the best way to research the ferries right now is to buy a copy of Greek Island Hopping (Thomas Cook Publishing) and familiarize yourself with the ferry routes. The guidebook also has a lot of good information on the islands and on Athens/Piraeus.
Heimdall is online now  
Jul 24th, 2006, 08:49 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 203

On our first trip to the Cyclades, the route we followed was Naxos-Santorini-Crete (12 days) and on the second we went Sifnos-Folegandros-Paros (10 days). In planning – it was shoulder season, too – we were certainly influenced by the difficulties in jumping from the Eastern routes to the Western routes.

That being said, I do think Sifnos is worth the hassle. Early one morning in September, I took my scooter (something I wouldn’t risk on the roads of Paros) from Apollonia to the base of the hill on which the Prophitus Ilias monastery is located and walked to the top. I had the whole place to myself. In fact, in the few hours it took to go up and down I passed only one walker on the path. That would be a rare occurrence on many other islands. At the same time, Sifnos has lovely beaches as well as hill towns.

If you can’t time your ferry trips to include Santorini and Sifnos on the same trip and are considering a choice between Naxos and Paros, as much as I love Paros – it was the first Greek island I visited in the early 80’s – I would steer you towards Naxos simply because the pace is slower and the development of resorts in a less advanced state.
littlemountain is offline  
Jul 24th, 2006, 08:54 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 356
good thread - bookmarking

Thank you!
bailey6325 is offline  
Jul 24th, 2006, 09:54 AM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 59
Thank you Heimdall and littlemountain. All your thoughts are received with gratitude. I have lots of time to prepare for this trip so doing all this advanced research is really helping. The guidebooks really don't help in terms of making these kinds of decisions. I did take a look at the Greek Island Hopping book but had trouble digesting the incredible volume of information since we are having a heat wave and my brain isn't functioning well. I had a little trouble with all their tables.

littlemountain- Sifnos does indeed sound wonderful. Originally I was going to fly in and out of Santorini and try to take ferries in a loop between Santorini-Sifnos-Naxos-Santorini since they have the great airfares into Santorini and it would save hours on the ferry. Now I am thinking to fly into Santorini and then ferry one way back to Athens, stopping at whatever islands I decide upon (or viceversa) Do you guys think this sounds reasonable compared with the loop from Santorini? We want to experience the ferries but don't want a 10 hour trip and the highspeed Cats sound like you lose the whole ferry experience being confined to seats.

Any other thoughts would be appreciated. From reading this forum it sounds like many would benefit from help with routes around the Cyclades.

thanks, Chris
ChrisCal is offline  
Jul 24th, 2006, 11:09 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,611
There are many different ways to do the Cyclades, but IMO it would work best to fly into Santorini and work your way back (or vice-versa) since Piraeus-Santorini is the longest leg.

Chris, I agree that guidebooks don't give you all the info you need. Recommend you visit the private website of a Norwegian named Jan Bergtun, http://www.islandstrolling.com, which has wonderful photography (and even Greek music on some of the pages) to get a flavor of the islands. I go on the website whenever I get homesick for the Cyclades, and hope you will enjoy it too.
Heimdall is online now  
Jul 24th, 2006, 01:11 PM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 59
Thanks Heimdall, I have indeed visited that site, on your recommendation on another thread, I believe. Lots of fun and I like their philosophy.

Glad you concur that going Santorini back up is a good route.

chris
ChrisCal is offline  
Jul 25th, 2006, 08:56 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 203
Indeed, why backtrack when you can hop around a circle? Take a one-way flight to Santorini and wind your way back to Piraeus.

The key is finding a day on which you can get over to Sifnos. As you’ve noted, there are usually at least one or two boats per week from Santorini or Paros. But if, based on your departure date, you find yourself with extra days to fill in, say, before you can leave Santorini to get to Sifnos, why rush to Santorini? Use Paros and/or Naxos to split the long haul from Piraeus to Santorini. Or go to Naxos and/or Paros on the way back from Santorini to connect to a Paros-Sifnos boat.

Another option to consider, if you simply can’t get over from the Eastern Cyclades to Sifnos at a convenient time, does involve a little backtracking. Use Piraeus to get to Sifnos. It sounds like a long backtrack, but it needn’t be. Starting in Santorini, you go next to Naxos, then to Paros, then back to Piraeus and immediately turn around to Sifnos. The trick is to be able to use fast cats rather than slow boats because it cuts the total sailing time from a most unpalatable 11 hours (not including the transfer) to a much more tolerable 5:50 hours (3:10 from Paros to Piraeus, 2:40 from Piraeus to Sifnos). That depends on two things -- the schedule (how quickly can you turn around at Piraeus?) and the weather (rough seas can result in cancellations of cat sailings). The veterans on this board can advise you better than me what the weather is like in May.
littlemountain is offline  
Jul 28th, 2006, 05:15 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 855
Last summer, we wanted to do exactly what you are talking about--Sifnos and Santorini. After some research and discussions with a Greek travel agent, we determined we would have to go back to Piraeus to get to either. We decided to not waste our limited time and viisited Santorini and Paros instead of Sifnos. We took the ferry to Paros and Santorini and then flew back to Athens from Santorini.

We loved Paros and found it to be very quiet in mid-June, but I would love to get back and see Sifnos. It sounds wonderful!
Digbydog is offline  
Jul 30th, 2006, 11:51 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 59
Digbydog, I think we are going to do exactly that. Since this is our first trip to Greece I am sure we will be enthralled by everything and I want to keep it simple and not have the ferry schedule dictate our itinerary.

Will definitely seek out Sifnos another time.

Thanks everyone for your help. Now on to hotels.
ChrisCal is offline  
Dec 16th, 2006, 10:50 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 3
My husband and i are going to the Greek Islands in May o7. We have a similar itinerary going fron Piraeus to Santorini with the fast ferry , then Santorini to Milos ,and Milos to Sifnos. We are using a travel agent from Sifnos ,and he was able to make the arrangement for the ferries with 3 nights on each island , a car in Milos, to be able to visit all the beaches,and tranportation from hotels to ports. We are starting the itinerary on a wednesday. Althougj the plane ticket is 19 euros , , with taxes and fees it reaches 46.50.
cybaw is offline  
Dec 16th, 2006, 12:16 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 6,734
Cybaw, I'm pretty sure there's no fast ferry from Piraeus to Santorini in May. I believe you'll be limited to the car ferry. Of these the Blue Star ferries seem to be the fastest, but it partially depends on which one you take and the stops it makes along the way. Also, I'm a little confused as to how you can book now for next May since the schedules for '07 have yet to be decided upon. I suggest that you double check your tickets. I sincerely hope I'm wrong, especially if you've already paid for them. If so, do you have an itinerary you can share? As far as that fast ferry, they should only take about 4 hours to reach Santorini from Piraeus. Is this what your itinerary shows? It will either be the Hellenic Seaways Flying Cat or another catamaran from the IJ Consortium, but I can't remember the name of the ship's designation (comparable to the "Flying Cat", something like "Sea Jet").
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Dec 16th, 2006, 01:07 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,611
Brotherleelove, I think one of the big car-carrying Hellenic Seaways Highspeeds, 4? 5? makes a run from Piraeus to Santorini, and 4 hrs sounds about right. Like you, I don't whether it runs in May, or how one can get a booking when the schedule hasn't even been published. Perhaps the travel agent is speculating and will purchase ferry tickets when they become available.
Heimdall is online now  
Dec 16th, 2006, 01:25 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 6,734
Yes, Hellenic does have a highspeed car ferry, I had forgotten about it. It's designation is "Highspeed" as opposed to the passenger-only "Flying Cat." According to the Hellenic Seaways website last year it didn't begin operating until June 6.
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Dec 16th, 2006, 02:03 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,611
Okay, that still leaves the mystery of which "fast ferry" runs in May. As I recall, neither the Flying Cat nor the IJ Consortium Sea Jet go all the way from Piraeus or Rafina to Santorini, so it would require transfer to another ferry at some point. That leaves the Blue Star Naxos or Paros, which are sometimes called "fast ferries", as they are speedier than the old rust buckets, but not, of course, as fast as the catamarans.
Heimdall is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:46 AM.