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Greek island hopping in late September/early October

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Greek island hopping in late September/early October


My boyfriend and I are going to Greece Sept 27-Oct 6. We're planning to stay in Athens the first 2 days and then we'd like to spend the rest of the trip touring the Greek Islands. I've heard it's best to stay on an island or two and take day trips to the others so here's what I was thinking:

- Saturday AM: arrive in Athens, stay in Athens until Monday AM.

- Monday AM: Head to Mykonos, stay in Mykonos until Wednesday AM

- Wednesday AM: Head to Santorini, stay in Santorini until Saturday afternoon. Perhaps take a day trip to Paros or Ios.

- Flight leaves Sunday at 12:30pm so I figured we'd stay in Athens Saturday night to be safe.

So several questions on this:

- What is the weather like during this time?

- Will it be easy for us to get ferries/how far in advance is the schedule released?

- Where are the best places to stay on these islands if we want to be near beaches, restaurants/shop, but not in a noisy touristy area?

- Does this itinerary make sense? I have no idea how long the ferry rides are so not sure if it makes sense to take half day or day trips to Ios or Paros.

Any advice you could give would be great! We've never been to Greece and just want to make the most of our 8 full days there. we want a relaxing vacation and are most interested in beautiful beaches and eating amazing authentic Greek food! We've already booked flights so this is definitely the time we're going so no recommending other dates to go please. :)

Look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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1. Re: Greek island hopping in late September/early October

You will not find many daytrips from Mykonos and Santorini to other islands. On the other hand you may have day-trips from Naxos and Paros to Santorini and Mykonos. These trips ends at september 30th., which is often defined as end of season. greeka.com/cyclades/…naxos-tours.htm

The water-temp is excellent in late september, but weather starts being un-stable. It may be a shower or a short thunderstorm, you never know, but in average it is sunny.

The ferries on the route Pireus > Paros > Naxos > Santorini run by Blue Star ferries has the same schedule all year, departure Pireus 07:25 in the morning, and returning in the evening. You do never need to pre-book any ferries, just buy the ticket before you board the ferry or the day before. The tickets offices will know if any irregularities occurs. www.gtp.gr will give you an idea of ferry schedules and travel times. As said, the Blue Star ferries with a few exceptions use same schedule all year. (Departure from Santorini is in the eveninmg now in winther, but changes to summer schedule from march 17th., departure 15:30). Mykonos is on a different main-route, and is not so well connected to Santorini outside main-season. For these ferries you have to wait until schedules are released.

My advice is to go direct to an island, and leave Athens to the end of your holydays. This gives you more room for unexpected happenings. If you can get a flight to the island when you already are at the airport you save time and transport. Santorini is not famous for its beaches, only for the caldera view and the white churches with the blue domes. Naxos, Paros and Mykonos have very nice beaches, but expect the beach services to be in a closing-down mode this late. This is also the reason why I would rather stay in a hotel close to the town than at the beach. It is easier to find transport for the beach in the day-time than transport for the town in evening-time.

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2. Re: Greek island hopping in late September/early October

Hey and welcome Brittany L:-) In order to save some precious time and avoid backtracking, consider grabbing a flight straight out to Santorini upon arrival from the long haul.. if a morning arrival (sounds like DL out of JFK?), you can hook up with a quick puddle jumper over to Santorini.. flight takes barely 40 min.. give yourselves a good 2.5 min time spread.. and you're off to a great start de-lagging and geting into zone on isle;-) Keep an eye out at www.olympicair.com/ www.aegeanair.com/ and sign up for their email alerts now.. they offer some great deal throughout the year that even rival the ferry cost;-)

You can ferry between the isles.. keep an eye out at www.gtp.gr/ www.openseas.gr/ as time approaches.. Fall schedules won't be relased for a while..but you can play around with it and see the various vessels and how long each one takes;-) From Mykonos, you can either fly or ferry back to Athens for your finale as well as ensuring that trans flight back home;-) Keeping the itinerary running consecutively is a huge time saver.. and FWIW, you'll be ready to take on Athens at the tail end of the trip after relaxed and gotten your land legs back on the isles;-)

As far as weather, can certainly be a magnificent time.. the weather can go through a change.. usually mid-late Sept where it turns a bit.. cloudy/rainy.. can last for a few days or go on for a bit.. no way to predict.. but emerges into a wonderful Indian Summer that usually lasts well into the month of Oct;-)

Also note that since Santorini is a volcanic isle, it's beaches reflect same.. more volcanic ash/grit than smooth sand.. you'll find the smooth sand beaches on Mykonos;-) Most int'l travelers who have never been, usually stay in one of the clifftop villages in Santorini to take advantage of the caldera views.. for specs, would post in each isle's dedicated forum for info on places to stay with your prefs/priorities.. stating a budget spread;-)

As far as a day trip, at most, you may be able to get to Ios.. you're at the mercy of the ferry schedules so you'll have to see what's available while you're there.. for the most part, you may be able to get there for a few hours if you feel it's worth it.. oftentimes, even if you're able to head over, the ferry schedules don't allow for much time once you get there before needing to jump on another to get back;-) Again, something you'll have to wait and see;-) Happy planning.. and enJOY!

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3. Re: Greek island hopping in late September/early October

I think Athens, Mykonos and Santorini is too much for a week, bearing in mind the distnaces involved and the length of ferry journeys. Also, if you want to do day trips to other islands, it's not possible from Mykonos or Santorini. You can however do day trips from either Paros or Naxos to Mykonos and Santorini, but I'm not sure when they finish for the season.

If you still want to do Athens, Mykonos and Santorini I would fly to Santorini first as Litsa said above then ferry to Mykonos and ferry to Athens last. Visiting Athens last gives you insurance against any problems with the ferrries due to the weather, strikes or breakdowns.

4. Re: Greek island hopping in late September/early October

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