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Which of the little Cyclades to visit?

Leeds
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Which of the little Cyclades to visit?

After months of reading my Greek Island Hopping ‘bible’ I’m still undecided about which of the Little Cyclades to visit. The main purpose of this trip is to visit the Little Cyclades as I’ve never stayed there before but we also want to return to Amorgos for a few days. We’re flying in and out of Mykonos on a Friday. At the moment the provisional itinerary is as follows:

Friday 11 June, sail from Mykonos to Naxos on the Naxos Star, if possible, and stay on Naxos for 3 nights.

Monday 14 June travel to the Little Cyclades on the Aeolos Kenteris at 0915 for 5 nights in the Little Cyclades – which islands is still undecided.

Saturday 19 June Little Cyclades to Amorgos, probably on the Skopelitis as we’re planning on staying in Egiali, for 4 nights.

Wednesday 23 June Egiali to Paros on the Blue Star and then on to Mykonos on the Sea Jet for the last 2 nights of the holiday.

Now my dilemma is which of the Little Cyclades to stay on? It makes sense to only stay on 2 but I’m still undecided about which 2 and wonder if we should try and fit in 3? Because we leave Naxos in a morning this would be possible if we stayed just one night in Heraklia and moved on to Schinoussa the following afternoon on the Skopelitis, though I appreciate it will be a bit rushed. We could then have 2 nights in Schinoussa and 2 nights in Koufonissi. I’ve been put off Koufonissi a bit because one of my friends stayed there and said it was too touristy – but that’s only her opinion so I’d appreciate other views. If we don’t stay overnight on Heraklia we could spend 3 nights on Schinoussa or Koufonissi and visit Heraklia for a day trip? However Koufonissi is very small so would we be better just having one night there or missing it out altogether and going to Donoussa after Amorgos? As you can see I’m very undecided!! We’re not going for the beaches, we enjoy walking and want somewhere relatively unspoilt but don’t want it to be dead. I’ve already had some very useful info from GreecemadUK but would appreciate any tips/advice from others that have visited the Little Cyclades.

Many thanks.

Oslo, Norway
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1. Re: Which of the little Cyclades to visit?

Hi Gemma,

Remember that any move steals time available for the destination you are heading for. I agree in Koufonissi being too touristy now - I suggest 2 nights in Iraklia, 2 nights in Schinoussa and rather do Danoussa after Amorgos.

I have by the way got confirmed that also Alexander is back in business, which means you will probably have two choices on the Friday you arrive Mykonos. Head for a travel agency in port and you will get updated information.

Edited: 22 May 2010, 17:48
Birmingham, United...
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2. Re: Which of the little Cyclades to visit?

Hi,

It would be easiest to start with Amorgos(Egiali) and then go to whatever Small Cyclades you want. The 'Skopelitis Express' runs early in the day thus maximising your time in them, this applies to other ferries as well.

Ending on your Naxos nights that essentially doubles as a buffer on the way back to Mykonos.

I find 2 of the Small Cyclades is sufficient in any one trip. Usually it is Koufonisi with one of the others. Koufonissi is way more touristy than the other small Cycades, however these things are relative - compare Koufonisi with Mykonos and you have a different answer.

Though they are small islands, you can't see them properly in a day, thus 2 night stays are verging on the pointless clocking up of islands.

As you're from the UK you don't have to make any decision about which ones, it's so easy to come back another time.

UK
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3. Re: Which of the little Cyclades to visit?

Of the 4 islands, I prefer Donoussa and Koufonissi, but a lot depends what you want to do whilst you are there. I also agree that it would be better to go to Amorgos first and work back to Naxos - the timings of the ferries are better as you are then travelling in a morning rather than the afternoon which breaks up the day. There are more tourists on Koufonissi than the others but the people who say it is too touristy are those that remember it as it was several years ago not people who are visiting for the first time.

Edited: 22 May 2010, 22:57
Molaoi, Greece
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4. Re: Which of the little Cyclades to visit?

I agree with the others about starting in Amorgos and working back from there.

If I had to choose between two of the Small Cyclades, they would be Koufonissia and Iraklia. Iraklia is a gorgeous little island which, to me, has a completely different feel from any other island. It's an incredibly peaceful place, very pretty and it's a great place to unwind and do absolutely nothing except go to the beach with a good book and find a bar when it gets too hot. As a 'get away from it all' island, it's hard to beat.

Oslo, Norway
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5. Re: Which of the little Cyclades to visit?

I agree with Philhellene on Iraklia. Even though these photos are quite old, you may get an impression of the island here:

http://tinyurl.com/2wrzvl5

Leeds
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6. Re: Which of the little Cyclades to visit?

Thanks everyone for your comments and especially to Erik for the update on the Alexander and the link to the photos of Iraklia which is most definitely on the itinerary now!

I appreciate what you say about working back from Amorgos and it does make sense but because we're planning on staying 4 nights in Amorgos there is a bit of flexibility there - we can cut this down if we want to stay on one of the other islands a bit longer or increase it if we find the Little Cyclades are too quiet. We definitely don't want more than 2 nights on Mykonos. Also I thought it would break it up a bit more if we start with somewhere fairly busy like Naxos, then a few quiet nights, a bit livelier on Amorgos, before returning to Mykonos.

Good point about coming back again Retired Hippy, trouble is there are so many islands and not enough time! Probably won't be able to go island hopping again until 2012 and though I've visited many islands there are still quite a few I've never been to and many more that I'd love to return to - 2 weeks just isn't long enough!

Oslo, Norway
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7. Re: Which of the little Cyclades to visit?

Have a nice holiday !

Kamloops, BC...
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8. Re: Which of the little Cyclades to visit?

There are a couple of things to keep in mind as you firm up your itinerary.

As greek-traveller posted, you lose about a day every time you move what with packing, checking out, getting to the ferry dock, ferrying, getting from the dock, checking in, etc.

The other is that you have to decide whether or not you actually want (and I hate this phrase but it's apt) "to experience" these destinations or if your intent is merely to tick the boxes on a check list. If it's the latter, go ahead with the short stops. If it's the former, cut your list in half for this year and do the other half in 2012. Each of the islands has its own history and personality and I think the short stops simply don't allow you the time to appreciate them.

Also, I think you must be very young because those of us who are older (and in my case much older), don't consider two years to be such a long time. Many of us consider it a perfect amount of time to plan, and save for, another complicated itinerary.

Leeds
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9. Re: Which of the little Cyclades to visit?

Lol IBCTraveler, my first trip to Greece was to Spetse when I was 19 and that's 20 odd years ago so I wouldn't consider myself 'very young'.

I think the smallest island I've stayed on previously is Lipsi which I managed to walk right round in 2 days. Koufonissia in comparison looks very small, I imagine I could walk right round it in a day, though I could be wrong. I appreciate what you're saying though and nothing is set in stone (apart from the need to spend the last 2 days on Mykonos) so if we like somewhere we'll stay an extra night rather than rushing round trying to fit everything in.

Leeds
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10. Re: Which of the little Cyclades to visit?

I've taken on board your suggestions about starting from Amorgos and working our way back and am now considering missing Amorgos out and concentrating on the Little Cyclades as this is what this trip is about -we can always go back to Amorgos another time.

We could go from Naxos to Donoussa on the Monday and work our way back from there. Downside of this is it's a 5 hour ferry crossing on the Monday morning but the rest of the crossings are short. This way we can have 3 nights in Donoussa, 1 night on Koufonissi, 2 on Schinoussa and 3 on Iraklia. I know a night on Koufonissi isn't long and we might miss this out and go straight to Schinoussa but it would give us a full day to look round.

My main concerns about spending 9 nights on the Little Cyclades are 1) what if they're too quiet for us - which I know you can't really help us with as you don't know us! 2) How do we go about changing money? My partner will be taking cash but I was going to use my debit card though I do already have a couple of hundred euros and £200 in travellers cheques as back up. Will we need to change enough money on Naxos to last us or am I better getting some more travellers cheques? I would hate to run out of money when we're there so any advice you can give on this or any other comments would be much appreciated.