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Your input on this very tailor-made Greek Odyssey would be appreciated!

Your input on this very tailor-made Greek Odyssey would be appreciated!

Old Feb 19th, 2020, 12:06 PM
  #1  
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Your input on this very tailor-made Greek Odyssey would be appreciated!

My wife and I are going to Greece this summer. We are both 30 and have busy job and this is a rarity to have so much time off together. So, we have decided to visit from 7/7 to 7/23. Our main goal for greece is beaches and villages for the islands and food and culture and history for athens. I have also put in parenthesis why we chose certain islands in case you think another island serves that purpose more efficiently and/or cheaper. Additionally, we are NOT partyers (for this trip at least) and generally do not enjoy doing things were 300 other people are doing the same thing with you at the same time. We have the following itinerary in place already and anything that is bolded is already booked and anything italicized is my proposed mechanism of transport.

My overall question to the forums is, is this itinerary too hectic? Is Sifnos worth taking away from staying longer at paros or naxos? And are any of my transport plans not feasible? Any specific accomodation recs?

Arrive 7/7 to Athens at 3pm

Taxi from airport to Piraeus

7/7-7/8 sleep at a budget hotel near Piraeus port

7/8 Ferry from Piraeus, Athens to Sifnos

7/8-7/10 Sifnos (we chose this island based on the fact that there are few tourists, it is rated as a food destination, seems to be cheap, and has beautiful scenery for hiking and a nice village. The only other island that was in contention with this was Arystaplae but it is too hard to get to with this itinerary.)

7/10 ferry from Sifnos to Paros

7/10-7/13 Paros (We did not originally have paros on our list, in fact most of the time for paros was spent on naxos but we saw so many nice articles, videos, and recommendations about the nice seaside villages and atmosphere that we felt it is worth a few nights)

7/13 Ferry from Paros to Santorini

7/13 to 7/15 Santorini (Our one guilty pleasure. We didn't want to spend too much time here because of the over tourism, we just wanted to stay on Firostefani, see the sunset etc etc and get out. You may be wondering why it is already booked and the reason is we actually found an incredible deal on a hotel with a balcony overlooking the Caldera and Fira in Firostefani for a very very reasonable price and so we booked it for those dates, we realize that this now means we have to plan around Santorini but it is still worth it for how much the price came down)

7/15 Ferry from Santorini to Naxos

7/15-7/18 Naxos (We could not pass up spending 3 nights/3 days in Naxos after all of the recommendations we have been getting about the beaches and laid back island. To be perfectly frank I'm not really getting the hype from the videos I see or pictures but when so many seasoned and well informed people recommend the same thing, it is hard not to ignore.

7/18 Fly from Naxos to Athens

7/18-7/23 Athens (Delphi, Acropolis and eating are on the itinerary here and I feel 4 full days probably at a nice airbnb walkable to the major attractions is really reasonable. With only 4 full days, I'm no sure if renting a car and going to delphi and staying overnight there is worth it but we'll see)

7/25 Fly back to the US



So....Thoughts??
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Old Feb 19th, 2020, 03:15 PM
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Only comment re Sifnos --- in July there are NO places with few tourists. The saving grace for Sifnos is the limit on accommodations; when all the rooms are booked, that's IT, so this automatically puts a lid on the total, since there are no cruise ships or excursions to add the day-trippers that inundate Santorini. In my 4 stays on Sifnos, I've enjoyed staying up in the hillside villages & taking the good bus network down to beaches like Vathy (favorite) and Platy Gialos... Staying in Ano Petali, Artemonas or Appollonia (thes are all in a row, like pearls on a string), you are well situated for some of the great Sifnos hikes (many villages are linked by flagstone paths). I'm sure that great places ar already well-booked for july but for best results I suggest using Aegean-Thesaurus agency. This agency covers all of greece but actually STARTED in Sifnos, and it handles many small mom & pop places that ONLY book thru them ... when you go on their website you can filter by desired location.... you may well find a lovely place that has only 4 rooms ... but a stunning view down the valley to the sea. Do not dither! and happy hunting!
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Old Feb 19th, 2020, 03:18 PM
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PS -- re PAROS, my preference would be to stayon ANTIPAROS, where all the beaches are walkable, and the winding agora (main street) maze is lit up & magical at night but not a crowd scene -- and you can go by day to explore Paros... it's so close that the children on Antiparos go to school on Paros... the small ferry takes 10 minutes & is met by a bus that takes you to center of hte port town in another 10 minutes.
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Old Feb 19th, 2020, 03:51 PM
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Excellent.

I m going to have to look at Anti-Paros for SURE then.

I think with only two days at Sifnos we will do hiking things one day and all the beach things the next day.And also, a large part of Sifnos is going to be EATING!
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Old Feb 20th, 2020, 02:58 AM
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Well, after years of coaxing on the forums, finally got travelerjan to try Antiparos, and now she’s suggesting it herself. Sifnos is a favourite island for Athenians, so it certainly won’t be quiet in July. Sifnos used to be a poor combination with Paros and Naxos, as it only had two ferries per week between them. Ironic, because you can easily see Sifnos from Antiparos. Now Sea Jets has daily catamarans between Sifnos and Paros as part of a longer route.

Incidentally, one of the best sunset views in the Cyclades is from Sifneiko, also known as Sunset Beach, on Antiparos. July is Norway month on Antiparos. Many families have been coming from that country in the summer, and there are lots of activities on the island that month, including a cross-channel swimming race between Paros and Antiparos. It’s not as difficult as it may sound, as the channel is only 1 mile wide, and even children participate.

a good taster for Antiparos is the 2014 YouTube documentary which was shot in July:
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Old Feb 20th, 2020, 04:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Heimdall View Post
Well, after years of coaxing on the forums, finally got travelerjan to try Antiparos, and now sheís suggesting it herself. Sifnos is a favourite island for Athenians, so it certainly wonít be quiet in July. Sifnos used to be a poor combination with Paros and Naxos, as it only had two ferries per week between them. Ironic, because you can easily see Sifnos from Antiparos. Now Sea Jets has daily catamarans between Sifnos and Paros as part of a longer route.

Incidentally, one of the best sunset views in the Cyclades is from Sifneiko, also known as Sunset Beach, on Antiparos. July is Norway month on Antiparos. Many families have been coming from that country in the summer, and there are lots of activities on the island that month, including a cross-channel swimming race between Paros and Antiparos. Itís not as difficult as it may sound, as the channel is only 1 mile wide, and even children participate.

a good taster for Antiparos is the 2014 YouTube documentary which was shot in July
Thank you for the great recommendations and your input. I am excited to try out antiparos now. The only thing about my itinerary that worries me is the seaJets2 ferry that goes from sifnos to paros as that is the one I read causes the most seasickness and is the one to avoid. Despite my best attempts I could not rearrange the itinerary in any way to make the dates work and have a regular ferry take us to Paros. There is a regular ferry that goes from sifnos to paros twice a week but the dates just do not match up to my itinerary. I guess I'll just have to take some dramamine,l it's only a 50-minute ride.
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Old Feb 20th, 2020, 07:31 AM
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Before Sea Jets started operating that route in summer, the only ferry between Sifnos and Paros was that twice-per-week subsidised ferry that stops at many small islands in the central and western Cyclades. Itís known as a lifeline ferry because without the subsidy these small islands wouldnít have a year-round ferry service, and the Greek government wants these islands to remain populated.

For what itís worth, SeaJet 2 and Superjet (its sister ship) arenít my favourite ferries, but they arenít as bad as some people make out. SeaJet 2 let me down a couple of times due to mechanical problems, but the one time I used it the sea was as smooth as a mill pond, and the ride was fine. Even if the sea is rough that day it takes the Sea Jet only 50 minutes from Sifnos to Paros, so you wonít have a long ride to endure.

The only other answer, if you canít time your trip for the conventional ferry, would be to choose another island that doesnít depend upon those two small ferries. The larger Sea Jets ferries, e.g. the Champion Jets, are much more stable than Superjet and SeaJet 2, and the large Blue Star ferries run up and down the central Cyclades.

By the way, save room in your stomach for restaurants on Antiparos. Sifnos is rightfully known for its cuisine, but Antiparos also has many fine restaurants serving traditional Greek and international food.
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Old Feb 20th, 2020, 08:07 AM
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When Heimdall's right, he's right... but in my defense I wasn't resisting Antiparos, it was simply that in earlier years I was burdened with newbies who had other priorities. Now I'd go there every year if I could. I had such a relaxing time! The port is tiny, so it's very peaceful... I recall sitting entranced, on my canopied balcony there, watching 2 birds bulding a nest in the cypress by my hotel... I remember walking the long winding way to "sunset beach" on a late-May day, when all the homeowners were out painting the groutlines on their stretch of the flagstone path. I reached Sifneiko beach just before sunset, and it was STUNNING, and I shared the view with only 4 or 5 others. I couldn't understand why such a glorious setting had so few houses nearby -- until I was told that when the meltemi winds begin, one can barely stand upright there ....Ok. The Psaralliki Beaches ... at least outside the high season -- are just what you hope for in a Greek beach... golden sand, gentle deepening, no noisy tavernas, a sprinkling of children, shady trees on the fringe. Perfecto. And the "agora" market lane at night, with twinkling lights is magical. Yes -- go there! but don't tell anyone else.
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Old Feb 20th, 2020, 08:36 AM
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Yes, the Psaraliki beaches are great, and I just saw some photos taken a few days ago by Yannis Triantafyllos, who owns ThalaSea Studios, of more sand being washed up by the winter storms onto Psaraliki 2. If it stays there the beach should be better than for many years. My favourite beach is another 15 minutes walk from Psaraliki 2 along a rough footpath. It’s called Panagia, has beautiful sand and tamarisk trees for shade. There is a stone wall at the back sheltering the beach from the Meltemi. Bring along some towels or beach mats to lie on because, at least until a few years ago, there were no sunbeds (that’s my kind of beach!).

Another great beach, if you aren’t offended by some people’s lack of swimwear, is the camping beach at the north of the island. Bring along your flip-flops and you can wade/swim about 200 yards across to Diplo, and walk around a completely uninhabited island. Also check out Captain Ben’s Lazy Day Island Tours. They are great fun, including a stop to swim in the sea caves, a bbq lunch, and drinks & music onboard.
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Old Feb 20th, 2020, 08:43 AM
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I was in Sifnos in July two years ago and didn't think it was very crowded at all. I guess it depends on your definition of crowded. I loved it. Lovely walks between the towns, lovely towns.

I think your itinerary is unusual in that you go from Paros to Santorini and then back towards Naxos. But especially if you get slow ferries (vs. the enclosed fast ferries) the trips between the islands is very pleasant.

Here's my trip report that includes Sifnos and Santorini. There are photos (but no report) on Naxos and Paros - https://andiamo.zenfolio.com/blog/20...s-milos-sifnos
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Old Feb 20th, 2020, 09:40 AM
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I think your itinerary is unusual in that you go from Paros to Santorini and then back towards Naxos.
Good point Isabel, but if you look at the ferry timetables it begins to make sense. Right now the only daily ferries from Sifnos to Santorini on the timetables are the same two Superjet and SeaJet 2, taking about 3 hrs instead of the 50 minutes from Sifnos to Paros. There is another ferry listed, Sifnos Jet, but it's about the same size as the other two. Weren't it for that I would recommend the sequence Sifnos - Santorini - Naxos - Paros with a flight back to Athens from Paros.
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Old Feb 20th, 2020, 12:01 PM
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Isabel, your blog's word and photo descriptions are fantastic!!!!! I'll be on Santorini and Milos in June, and the information and images are very inspiring!

Thank you!!!!
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Old Feb 20th, 2020, 01:40 PM
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I have never found Sifnos crowded, but I've always gone in late May, early June, and at that time, it's wonderfully sparsely populated... I remember being on Platy Gialos beach June 5, and there were only a dozen people on the sands. Certainly Sifnos is never as busy in High Season as more easily-reachable isles.
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Old Feb 20th, 2020, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by isabel View Post
I was in Sifnos in July two years ago and didn't think it was very crowded at all. I guess it depends on your definition of crowded. I loved it. Lovely walks between the towns, lovely towns.

I think your itinerary is unusual in that you go from Paros to Santorini and then back towards Naxos. But especially if you get slow ferries (vs. the enclosed fast ferries) the trips between the islands is very pleasant.

Here's my trip report that includes Sifnos and Santorini. There are photos (but no report) on Naxos and Paros -
​​​​​​

Originally Posted by Heimdall View Post
Good point Isabel, but if you look at the ferry timetables it begins to make sense. Right now the only daily ferries from Sifnos to Santorini on the timetables are the same two Superjet and SeaJet 2, taking about 3 hrs instead of the 50 minutes from Sifnos to Paros. There is another ferry listed, Sifnos Jet, but it's about the same size as the other two. Weren't it for that I would recommend the sequence Sifnos - Santorini - Naxos - Paros with a flight back to Athens from Paros.

I'm glad someone noticed my hard planning work.

Yes it's a bit unusual but because of the way the ferries run the only way to get to Santorini from sifnos was either 2.5 hours on seajet2 stopping at multiple islands first or go parosto on a 50minute seajet2 and then eventually going to Santorini. This is the point in the planning that that I decided that Paros would be a nice place to hang out for 3 days.

I even tried to do this trip in reverse.. But getting to Sifnos from santorini can only be done by 3+ hour superjets and will frankly I didn't want to risk cancellations so close to the end of the trip.

Things like this are why I love traveling and planning for travel. Even though you're the one doing the planning, you never know where circumstances and logistics are going to take you!


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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Heimdall View Post
Good point Isabel, but if you look at the ferry timetables it begins to make sense. Right now the only daily ferries from Sifnos to Santorini on the timetables are the same two Superjet and SeaJet 2, taking about 3 hrs instead of the 50 minutes from Sifnos to Paros. There is another ferry listed, Sifnos Jet, but it's about the same size as the other two. Weren't it for that I would recommend the sequence Sifnos - Santorini - Naxos - Paros with a flight back to Athens from Paros.

Exactly, the ferry schedules dictated this route! Glad someone noticed what I did there!
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Old Feb 21st, 2020, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by ApolloTraveler View Post
Exactly, the ferry schedules dictated this route! Glad someone noticed what I did there!

You have a great itinerary! On Paros, stay in Naoussa.Wise to only give Santorini limited time.We only returned there a second time to visit Akrotiri which had been closed for years following itís roof collapse which killed some tourists.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2020, 02:24 AM
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What about:
July 7th: ATH ar 15.00, dp 18.15 - Paros ar 18.55 (plane)
July 8th - 11th: Paros
July 12th: Paros dp 8.45 - Sifnos ar 11.55 (slow ferry)
July 12th - 16th: Sifnos
July 17th: Sifnos dp 9.20 - Santorini ar 11.55 (catamaran)
July 18th: Santorini dp 15.30 - Piraeus ar 23.30 (slow ferry)?

If you want to avoid the catamaran (it's a rather big one, however), you may wait until Zante Ferries publish their summer timetable. Have a look at http://www.openseas.gr/ in order to see what Zante did last year.

Last edited by neckervd; Feb 22nd, 2020 at 02:38 AM.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2020, 06:25 AM
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Neckervd, the 09:20 ferry on Jul 17th from Sifnos to Santorini, according to both gtp.gr and openseas.gr, is SeaJet 2, the 42 metre passenger only ferry the OP is trying to avoid. In fact, that and Superjet are the two smallest ferries in Sea Jet’s fleet.

I’ve been on SeaJet 2 on a 40 minute trip between Mykonos and Paros, and it’s fine when the sea is smooth, but wouldn’t want to risk a 3 hour trip not knowing in advance what the weather will be.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2020, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by neckervd View Post
What about:
July 7th: ATH ar 15.00, dp 18.15 - Paros ar 18.55 (plane)
July 8th - 11th: Paros
July 12th: Paros dp 8.45 - Sifnos ar 11.55 (slow ferry)
July 12th - 16th: Sifnos
July 17th: Sifnos dp 9.20 - Santorini ar 11.55 (catamaran)
July 18th: Santorini dp 15.30 - Piraeus ar 23.30 (slow ferry)?

If you want to avoid the catamaran (it's a rather big one, however), you may wait until Zante Ferries publish their summer timetable. Have a look at http://www.openseas.gr/ in order to see what Zante did last year.

The things that are bolded in my itinerary I can be longer move because they are booked. I just booked an apartment in sifnos as well.

Now trying to figure out where to stay on naxos and it occurred to me that I'll probably be staying in towns the majority of the time in Greece so I'll try on naxos to create a property beach holiday and stay on plaka and rent an ATV to get to and from naxos town.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2020, 09:07 AM
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Plaka would be a good choice on Naxos if you want to stay out of the tourist ghetto St George has become. You can take a bus from Plaka into Naxos Town, though, so don't need your own transport unless you want to take trips to the mountain villages. For that I would recommend a car rather than an ATV.

A couple advantages of St George for a family with small children are: the beach stays shallow a long way out, while parts of Plaka and Agios Prokopios beaches drop off quicker; and, it's easy to walk into town from St George, even if you have a child in a stroller (without scrolling back through your posts I don't remember if you mentioned the age of your children).
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