What Greek islands should I visit

Old Aug 23rd, 2016, 05:27 PM
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What Greek islands should I visit

Hi! I am traveling in June 2017 to Greece and I have looked at all of the Greek island photos and I want to see them all! However, my husband doesn't. We plan to fly from Athens to Santorini and then use the ferry system to get to one or two other islands but I can't choose. We really want to see the blue waters that you see at shipwreck beach but it is a long way from Santorini. Is there another beach that we might like as well closer to Santorini?
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Old Aug 23rd, 2016, 06:01 PM
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I recommend that you put this under the Greece heading so you will get more responses. Also, look up the website I have provided, Matt Barrett describes all the islands and provides pictures and hotel recommendations.

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Old Aug 23rd, 2016, 06:04 PM
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I took the ferry from Santorini to Naxos and loved it. Others here have far more experience than I on the subject but I don't think I'm the only Naxos lover.
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Old Aug 24th, 2016, 12:43 AM
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Santorini is a popular destination for its caldera views, and there are several islands with good ferry connections from it. Naxos is one of the easiest, and has excellent beaches, a beautiful chora (main town) and picturesque traditional mountain villages.

Also from Santorini, it is easy to reach Crete, the largest of all the Greek Islands. A few others easy to reach from Santorini are Folegandros, Paros & Antiparos (the two can be visited together), and Mykonos (touristy, but not too bad in June).

The shipwreck beach (Navagio Beach on Zakaythos) looks spectacular in aerial photographs, but is composed of pebbles rather than sand, and can be reached only by excursion boat. At any rate, Zakynthos is at the other side of Greece in the Ionian Sea.

Before making up your mind where to go, do some research in the guidebooks and other sources. With Santorini as a given, pick a second island with good ferry connections, e.g. those mentioned above. If it were me making my first trip to Greece I would spend some time on the mainland too, in Athens, with short side trips to Delphi and/or Nafplio.
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Old Aug 24th, 2016, 06:45 AM
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You have not told us how long you have for your vacation. Our responses will be different if you have a week versus two or three. How long will you be there.
Athens needs at least three days. Many of us here would recommend you get out to your first island as soon as you arrive and leave Athens to the end of the trip so you will be there before your flight home.
The islands depend on how much time you have. Santorini is a must see island for a first time visitor. Be sure to get a hotel with a Caldera View. For us 4 days is the max our budget can stand. Santorini with a caldera view will be expensive but worth it.

Then hop a ferry and head either to Crete (you need a week there) or back toward Athens. The most popular islands within easy ferry commute are Naxos and Paros. Heimdalls favorite Antiparos is lovely. If you have several days then consider both of them. The bonus to these islands is they are more authentic than Santorini and they are half the price.

Here is what you will see.

Santorini http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7632154800782/
Naxos Town http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7632094558042/
Trip around Naxos http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7634605629689/
Antiparos http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7632126687570/
Athens http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7632121475515/
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Old Aug 24th, 2016, 07:05 AM
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We have reserved 8 nights in Greece:
fly to Athens, spend 2 nights, with one full day to visit ancient sites;
ferry to Santorini, spend 5 nights @ Gold Suites with caldera view;
ferry to Athens, spend 1 night at beach hotel;
fly home from Athens.

I didn't have much time to plan this trip, and was finding many hotels were already full. Also, I know nothing about where to stay, so I went to Costcotravel.com and found a great package, with high-end hotels + perks, and all ferries and ground transfers to/from airport.
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Old Aug 24th, 2016, 07:59 AM
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You have plenty of time to figure this all out. Get yourselves the latest edition (2014) of "Greek Island Hopping" by Frewin Poffley. Even though it's 2 years old now it is still the overall best tool to use for researching which islands to visit.
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Old Aug 24th, 2016, 09:01 AM
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I don't know what you mean by 'shipwreck beach' but there is a beach on Crete with incredibly blue waters and a shipwreck (google "Gramvosa") and Crete is easy to get to from Santorini. There is another beach on Crete, Elafonissi, which is supposedly also spectacular (can't say for sure as I didn't get to that one, but Gramvosa/Balos really does look just like those photos).

However, while those beaches were amazing, I think Naxos and Paros were more interesting overall. Those two make good stopovers if going from Santorini to Athens by ferry. We spent about 3 days on each of those islands and loved them. We ha 8 days on Crete (different trip), only visited the western half, and while it was great, I don't think it was as great as Santorini/Naxos/Paros.
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Old Aug 24th, 2016, 01:31 PM
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Wow! Thanks to everyone who replied! This is my first time to post and it's so awesome to have such great honest opinions! I looked into Milos as a result of one reply and I loved the photos! I found some Airbnb places that looked nice there. Does anyone have an opinion as to what area on Milos to stay? Has anyone ever rented a boat on Milos just to explore the beaches?

Yes, we plan to spend about two weeks altogether in Greece. Most likely 3 nights in Athens. I also want to go to Corinth and Nafplio. The pictures of meteora looked awesome too. Would that be too far of a journey from Athens for a day trip? Is it worth going?

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Old Aug 24th, 2016, 03:20 PM
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TIMING & PLANNING - June is PERFECT Time to Go; everything'd open, nothing is crowded; water is swimmable, rains are gone but greenery abounds. Re your "MUST" list -- listen to Brotherlee; Get a GUIDE (used ones are cheap on Amazon). Do NOT try to figure it all out via Internet sites. What Costs Nothing may be Worth Nothing... i.e. Internet sites don't tell downsides as well as highlights. "Greek Island Hopping" is great, also Rough Guide to Greece -- Fodor's is nice, skews older, more upscale and standard. If you look at a Guide you wont have to ask whether Meteora is a day trip (NO), or is it worth it (Depends). It will also help you deal with efficient ways to see Corinth & Nafplio (U can rent car in ATH or bus to Nafplio & rent car there for a day or 2).

I'm glad you came back and gave the needed key facts -- remember that for the future... people can't help or are less willing to, when they have to advise from Guesswork. For instance, with 2 weeks we often advise this sequence: Arrival - Fly immediately to farthest island - ferry to island #2 (or 3) back to Mainland - do Athens Last. If you want the Nafplio area thing, another scenario could be: Arrival - rent car drive to Nafplio & the Argolid area - return car to Airport - fly to Island(s?) - back to Athens via plane or ferry for last 3 days. These approaches avoid backtracking.


MILOS SAILING - you do NOT have to rent a boat; this island has a veritable "Fleet" of boats doing day excursions - they all line up in the Port of Adamas at 6 or 6:30 nightly, you walk along, talk to captains, decide which to sign onto, for next day (It's good to check weather report first!).

3 main boat types (all go about 10am-6pm, cost €40-45 in 2012).
• smaller sailboats, go all the way around the island; the drawback is, so much to cover, not as much time to stop in coves for swims & BBQs; also, if the wind is up they may end by going whole way via motor, no fun.
• Large "Party boats" -- bigger, 30-40 people, mainly in high seasonl can be great fun, can be a Frat Party, hard to know ahead of time
• The "goldilocks" choice -- a big catamaran, Chrysovalandrou, cap. 14 (only 8 the day we went), went "half-round" to Kleftiko, amazing rock formations, paddle rubber raft thru arches. BBQ, swims, wine, whee. Best thing, in big vessel we could go mostly under sail even when windy.

MILOS TOURING - Bus service is sparse; you'll need a rental car or an ATV to get around. Plan it so you dont have rental sitting in dock a full day if you sail). IF you have wheels, Pollonia is nice beach village to stay in, has some tavernas, bakery grocery etc. Adamas, the port town, has most of any nightlife, more tavernas. Do NOT miss the Museum, it has an amazing video, illuminated my whole view of island & people. Also neat: the Catacombs & ancient ruins. Plaka - the high town - Beautiful!! You can stay up there. Pretty quiet in June. One June 2d, on my own I took early bus up there to explore & have breakfast. Only 1 cafe open, 1 other customer. He ordered first & got the only egg (too early for grocery truck).
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Old Aug 25th, 2016, 10:21 PM
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Thanks travelerjan! What great info! You should write your own travel blog! I will definitely take your advice!
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Old Aug 26th, 2016, 04:45 AM
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Old Aug 26th, 2016, 05:43 AM
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Naxos Naxos Naxos
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Old Aug 26th, 2016, 06:21 AM
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pgautama01's response is appropos -- despite the fact that I gave you a long promo on Milos, it was because you specifically asked. If you said, If i could only pick one island, what would it be, I would also say ... Naxos Naxos Naxos. I've been to Greece 12x since '99 for 3-4 weeks each time (yes I know, but I had to wait 40 years since I first dreamed of it... and its my only o'seas trip now) ... I've visited more than 25 islands, many of them multiple times -- and Naxos is THE winner. In 2013 Trip Advisor published a list Ten Best Islands in the WORLD to visit. In all of Mediterranean-Aegean only ONE island was named. Naxos.

If you have 2 weeks (I'm actually thinking of 3 weekends = 16 nights) you could manage to "have it all" if you plan strategically. The right sequence is key. First of all, its most time-efficient to do Athens LAST (u hve to be there anyway why do it 2x). Instead, pick an o'seas flight that gets u into ATH airport in AM, Then you have 2 choices:

#1 = catch domestic flight (50 minutes) to MILOS (3 nights) then ferry to SANTORINI (2 nights) then ferry 2hrs to NAXOS (4 nights) then ferry to ATHENS (1 night), then bus/drive to NAFPLIO area (3 nights) back to ATHENS (3 nights). or...

#2 - Rental car by noon, drive to NAFPLIO (3nights), Back to airport, fly to MILOS (3 nights) then SANTORINI (2 nights), then NAXOS (5 nights), then ferry/fly to ATHENS (3 nights).

These are proven itineraries, I've done them with 3-4 "newbies" long and they loved the whole experience.
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Old Aug 26th, 2016, 07:22 AM
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NAXOS.. loved it and would go back tomorrow.. So beautiful.. we went in late May this year.. and loved the food, people, lack of crowds.. and the water IS that amazing clear blue.. and the sands are that beautiful white..
We rented a car and drove around the island one day.. we found many small beaches and coves.. just like out of a movie.. breathtaking..

We flew into Mykonos from London.. and stayed a few days there ( I had been there in 1985 and was trying to revisit old memories.. HA.. was not so impressed this time) .. then took ferry to Naxos( thanks to posters here and on other boards alerting me to Naxos) , and wished we had allowed more time.. ( had 5 days)..

My daughter just visited Corfu off season too ( she went early May) and her pictures were amazing too..

She and her friend also visit Santorini.. and loved it.. but they did not stay on the caldera top towns but in Kamari.. beaches and much much cheaper.. however I am sure your budget is better than theirs..

I had been to Paros back in 1985.. I am afraid to go back after
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