Thoughts on Greece Itinerary

Old May 6th, 2014, 06:21 PM
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Thoughts on Greece Itinerary

I am just in the beginning stages of planning a kind of last minute trip to Greece for my husband and I at the beginning of August for our 10 year wedding anniversary. I will be 6 months pregnant at the time and would like to have a relaxing trip. A couple of questions. I will be flying from the United States and was wondering if it makes sense to spend the first night in Athens, or head directly to the first island, which would be Santorini. I was thinking the following;

Day 1: Santorini
Day 2: Santorini
Day 3: Santorini
Day 4: Santorini
Day 5: Mykonos
Day 6: Mykonos
Day 7: Mykonos
Day 8: Mykonos
Day 9: Athens
Day 10: Depart

Thoughts?

Thank you!
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Old May 6th, 2014, 06:27 PM
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There's not going to be anything "relaxing" about August on Santorini and ESPECIALLY on Mykonos. At least on Santorini you can escape the madness with a little creative hotel searching. Instead I suggest Paros or Naxos as a second island, and even then it's going to be very busy.
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Old May 6th, 2014, 06:35 PM
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Hmm. Good point. For some reason I just picture myself sunbathing by the pool or at a beach with a non-alcoholic drink in my hand. So I'm totally off base given the time of year and number of tourists?
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Old May 6th, 2014, 07:12 PM
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Whether spending the first night in Athens or not depends on your arrival from the U.S. Unless you are taking one of those seasonal direct flights to Germany, Austria, etc. to Greek islands, you will be passing through Athens on your return trip to the U.S. In this case, adding Athens at the beginning of the trip adds one full hotel check-in/out cycle you can totally eliminate by flying to your first island on the same day you arrive in Athens provided you arrive in Athens early enough.

Last year, I was in Mykonos and Santorini in September. Both islands got crushed by big cruise boat passengers by day. August would be worse. Imagine five big cruise boats in port at the same time each carrying 2000 passengers of more pouring into tiny towns even if only about a half of them bother to come ashore. At times, walking in Mykonos town or Fira or Oia on Santorini felt like navigating big city subway connection tunnels during the rush hour.

Of course, if you castle yourself in exclusive hotels, you will be isolated from the hustle and bustles. Also, in Santorini, an accommodation with a caldera view which you have probably seen many times in travel brochures and the beaches are at different locations. Santorini does not have the beaches you see in promotional photos. You find them in Paros and Naxos. If you see photos about Santorini, you see them perched at the top of a cliff. Just from that, you know that beaches are no where near where the pictures were taken.
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Old May 7th, 2014, 09:48 AM
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So the flight I am looking at arrives in Athens at around 9 am. I understand that Santorini will be crowded, but I just have to go there. It has always been on my list of places to see, and with the impending arrival of my third child, I'm not sure when I will have a chance to go again. That being said, I am not committed to Mykonos. My husband and I are in our mid-thirties. We are over the club scene, obviously since I am pregnant, but my husband would enjoy some drinks. We are kind of foodies as well and the beach is pretty much our number one priority. Based on that info, I would love to hear what other islands people would recommend based on their experience. Thank you!
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Old May 7th, 2014, 10:12 AM
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I always ask my self why people keep repeating that Mykonos is a party island.....
While this is partially true, the club scene is not necessarilly in the town of Mykonos.
You can have a quite and relaxing time on Mykonos, this is entirely up to you.

Mykonos has amazing restaurants, bars and cafes for any taste and one of the most beautiful Choras of the Cyclades.

Not only Mykonos and Santorini, but the entire country will be busy during August ( with the exception of Athens), not to say Sooth Europe, where locals take holidays traditionally during August.
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Old May 7th, 2014, 10:15 AM
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Naxos is hearby and from what I read has a very nice beach - I am going there for the first time in about 2 weeks. No cruise ships stop there so it might be a less hectic alternative to Mykonos after visiting Santorini.
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Old May 7th, 2014, 10:32 AM
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Hi M--

I also urge you to look at choices beyond the “Cliché twins” that seem to be the only Greek Isles that most Americans know about (probably because of constant promotion by cruise llines & travel agencies). As others have said, besides hundreds (thousands?) of hotels, 3-4 cruise ships docking at Mykonos/Santorini can mean another 7-10,000 tourists pouring onto already jam-packe isles… Times Square at Rush hour! And blocking yourself off inside super-luxe hotels means you’ll only meet other Americans. There’s GOT to be a better way!

One good option: look for islands where cruise ships cannot dock, airports too small for big jets, and lodging stock is limited: thus, when all rooms are booked,no more can flood in to overcrowd beaches. My suggestion – Sifnos & Milos, in Western Cyclades. Both have MANY stunning sandy beaches, dramatic landscapes, interesting ruins/history, good food… and NO package tourism. Let's look at what's involved...

For a Sifnos beach stay, I’d recommend Platy Gialos or Vathy beach area… there are many small hotels/pensions right on or just off the sands (and one deluxe place on Vathy). In Milos, the port of Adamas is fine for dining, museums, etc but mediocre beach; Pollonia has many more accoms on/near the sands. In Sifnos u can use busses plus maybe 1-day of car rental; in Milos, car rental more handy. Here are 2 websites that give excellent overviews of their attractions: http://sifnos.e-sifnos.com/index.htm http://www.milos-island.gr


And since you are “coming late to the Party,” I advise u to e-mail the agency that works best w. these Islands, Aegean Thesaurus. http://www.thesaurus.gr/index.htm BTW I have no connection, and usually book D-I-Y, but have had good experience w them, and people I’ve sent there have been very happy. This agency started on West Cyclades & has best listings there, handles ALL price levels not just luxe lodgings… and importantly, handles many small family-run places that don’t have their own websites. They can also efficiently deal with ferry and domestic plane bookings.

If u act PROMPTLY, you can get to/from islands efficiently. I advise u to choose overseas flights that arrive before noon, so u can have the most options… for these isles or any others. Sifnos has no airport but Milos has a small airport w. 1 Olympic/Aegean flight daily about 3 pm takes 1 hour, so I’d suggest Milos first IF you can book this flight (it sells out MONTHS ahead for hi season). Ferries Milos – Sifnos run 1-2 daily, both ways, 1 hr. To get back to mainland (Piraeus) there are daily fast-ferries. If doing the reverse (ferry to Sifnos, ferry to Milos, Flight back to ATH airport) there are daily ferries at 7/7:30am (eek!) and M-W-F ferries. Again, an agency can handle your bookings efficiently; u can get air-ticket confirmation via e-mail and ferry tickets delivered to your first hotel.

I’ve gone into such great detail because I wish for you a super Greece vacation, hassle-free … becaue I remember being v. pregger in August, Twice! And could have used a helping hand. Blessings and good wishes – TJ
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Old May 7th, 2014, 10:35 AM
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Regarding ferries, I meant to say there are M-W-F ferries at THREE pm.
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Old May 7th, 2014, 11:03 AM
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I would not book through any travel agency accommodation during August on Sifnos or Milos..
You might end up paying more than the rack rate of the hotel.

This is THE peak season for the hotels, and they don't like selling any rooms to travel agents, hence paying commissions...

This applies especially to islands such as Milos Sifnos and Folegandros.....

Try to locate the hotel that you like and contact it directly.
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Old May 7th, 2014, 11:49 AM
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Thank you everyone! This is the kind of information I was looking for. I looked at Milos earlier today based on the beaches. Is getting from Santorini to Milos difficult if we want to do it that way?
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Old May 7th, 2014, 12:08 PM
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Travelerjan, have you ever been to Greece in August?
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Old May 7th, 2014, 12:43 PM
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I get what clausar says, and to maximize your chances of booking, her are some direct links to accommodations: I recommend you e-mail ALL of them simultaneously and deal with the ones who respond (busy hotels that are fully booked will procrastinate e-mailing back just to say FULL)

SIFNOS:== PLATY GIALOS
http://www.lodge-narlis.gr/
http://www.margarita-sifnos.gr/indexgb.htm
http://www.villabenaki.gr/Villa_Benaki_En.html
MILOS _ POLLONIA
http://www.maryelen.gr/
http://www.nikisavvas.com/
http://www.milos-nefelistudios.gr/
Also … the mills-island connection I gave you has a pulldown menu on accoms at various places … the mills INFO site will show u locations & pix of beaches. Note that some of the best beaches are drive-to-use, do not have accommodations there.

I assume from your questions that u now are thinking of flying directly to Santorini & then ferrying to Milos. Yes it's not hard; there's a daily ferry around 6 pm arrive 8 pm Milos.

If u want to fly either to Santorini or Milos) I use this website because it gives all flights -- by Olympic AND aegean (tho they now are co-owned) http://www.airtickets.gr/flights.asp?lang=en. U get e-mail conf to get tick at check-in. If u want to be sure of ferry space (in August they can sell out), you can buy at Airport, at Amphitrion or Pacific Travel.
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Old May 8th, 2014, 11:28 AM
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Thank you!! Very helpful information.
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Old May 8th, 2014, 11:14 PM
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