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Island hopping in Greece

Toronto, Canada
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Island hopping in Greece

Hey guys, me and my cousin are planning on visiting Greece and Turkey from May 25-June 7. We are landing in Istanbul and leaving from there as well so we'll be there from the 25-27th and hopefully be back in Istanbul on the 6th.

Our plan is to fly out to Bodrum and be there on the 27th and most likely catch a Ferry on the 28th over to Kos where we can then take the connecting Ferries along the Greek Islands. What we wanted to know is what would be our best options as far as Islands to visit in Greece, basically if you had one chance to see the Greek Islands where should we go!

We've narrowed our choices down to Santorini, Ios, Naxos and Mykonos...If we got to see three of these Islands we would be satisfied (we always travel like crazy people and go at a fast pace so it shouldnt be a problem). The other thing is we also plan on making our way over to Athens and spending a day or two there before flying back out to Istanbul. BUT we were wondering if it's worth it to skip one island perhaps so we have time to rent a car and take a two day trip to Delphi and Meteora? We would only spend a short period of time there (leave Athens in the morning, hit Delphi for a few hours and drive up to Meteora for the night, spend the morning there and head back to Athens and perhaps fly back to Istanbul same day/night).

If you could help us out and give some suggestions as to what Islands are best to see and if it's worth it to drive to Meteora we would really appreciate it! Thanks!

Athens, Greece
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1. Re: Island hopping in Greece

hi and welcome..you say you trvel like crazy but do you realize exactly how crazy fitiing all these places will be?if you do go for it,but with less than ten days for greece i would suggest 2 islands plus athens max (whether athens' time should be substituded by meteora is another topic).

now for these islands,santorini has to be one,it fits just the description of 'the one island you have to see in greece''..you don't mention how tight your budget is but stretch it a bit to get a room in the caldera side with these great views..

http://tinyurl.com/mw6xlah

oia,fira,firostefani and imerovigli are the 4 villages offering it..here is a description of them..

1 - Fira. This is the islands main town and the hub of pretty much everything.it will be extremely busy pretty much all of the time, not only with everyone else staying there, but also day visitors from other parts of the island and the hordes of cruise ship visitors who are tendered ashore here

2 - Firostefani. This is a small village a shortish walk away from Fira, but a hell of a lot quieter. Many people who'd like to be close enough to "enjoy" Fira but who don't want to be in the centre of the madness choose to stay here.

3 - Imerovigli - This is the quietest of the caldera side villages with limited shops, restaurants etc. However, due to its higher eleveation, you get some of the best views that Santorini has to offer, including the sunsets.

4 - Oia. This is the most beautiful of the villages and where many of the photos of Santorini that you see on postcards and in books and brochues are taken. There are any hotels, bars and restaurants to suit all pockets, from the affordable by everyone to the likes of places you'd need to be a millionaire to stay at. Nightlife is fairly quiet, small bars etc, no clubs or discos.

here is a good site for ferry schedules..go to the ''search for a trip'' section at the right,choose from kos to santorini and the date..

http://www.openseas.gr/openseas/index.html

you will see that there is a ferry that leaves kos on the afternoon of the 28th and arrives in santorini at 1 am..maybe you can arrrange a shuttle from the airport to get you to the hotel (santorini experts can be more specific) ..don't book the hotel before you arrange the transit from the airport to the hotel at this time of hour..if you want nightlife fira is the best place to be at this time of year.

after a few days in santorini(3 full days are enough,it is not budget-friendly), a good pick for you would be ios..cheaper than santorini,some great sand beaches that santorini lacks and great nightlife..mylopotas and the beach (with far out beach club) is where the action is at day and at night at the main ''town'' of the island,chora with lots of bars..most people stay in mylopotas and transit to chora at night .again use http://www.openseas.gr/openseas/index.html to find a ferry schedule from santorini to ios..

once you find the ferry schedules you are interested in ,google the ferry company's site and book directly with them..first book the ferries,then the accommodation,not vice versa..

for accommodation go to http://www.booking.com/ ,use the budget filter and find a hotel room within your budget..

from ios take the ferry back to athens..once there you can either spend the last days to athens or go for meteora..can you drive?if you party at night at the islands i think adding a long trip to meteora may be a bit too much...if not,maybe think about it,it is indeed spectacular

Toronto, Canada
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2. Re: Island hopping in Greece

Thank you so much, you were incredibly helpful! We got carried away once in Costa Rica travelled to 5 different cities from the south west coast all the way to the north east coast in about 10 days and we definitely learned our lesson although it was a ton of fun. But this time I think we'll take your advice and stick to Santorini and Ios.

If Athens doesn't really really interest us when we get there, which I doubt, then I guess we'll consider driving up to Meteora, I think the road trip itself would be great but I would feel guilty going to Greece and not seeing those famous sites.

One last thing, so if we do stay in Santorini and Ios, is that basically all we're going to get from Naxos or Mykonos, basically just the same beaches, food and night life? Or is there something unique and special that we might not want to miss even if that means a single days trip to either Mykonos or Naxos?

Athens, Greece
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3. Re: Island hopping in Greece

all of the 4 islands you mentioned have the typical whitewashed houses that the cyclades islands have...it's just that santorini has them in villages ''hanging'' from the cliffs ,which give the famous views that i posted..

mykonos along with santorini are by far the two most commercialized -touristy and expensive greek islands..santorini because of the views and mykonos because of the nightlife..the reason i didn't add mykonos to santorini is clearly because of the budget..since they are the two most expensive greek islands..ios is a cheaper option of mykonos,it also has a good nightlife,very popular with 20-something.. , (of course in may it will be more low-key) but it is way cheaper..naxos is a bit more low-key,i would suggest naxos to a family,not two young lads..

santorini due to its volcanic soil ''lacks'' in beaches..ie doesn't have the typical white sand beaches of greek islands..they are still unique though,you can get everything from grey sand to rocks,pebbles etc..

take a look..

http://tinyurl.com/qcwtqc3

ios has many white sand beaches ,so it will ''compensate'' for santorini..

now that i gave you a rough description of these 4 islands i guess you know why i suggested santorini and ios..santorini is a must see that will give you the wow factor for 2-3 days and ios is cheaper,with great beaches and good night life.

once you decide whether it will be athens or meteora come back here for more specific questions..hope this helps

Edited: 19 February 2014, 17:31
Toronto, Canada
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4. Re: Island hopping in Greece

Amazing help again, thanks....that definitely makes the most sense now!

Fuerteventura
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for Fuerteventura, Paros, Sifnos
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5. Re: Island hopping in Greece

Why not consider flying with Aegean from Istanbul to Santorini via Athens. On there website today you can depart Istanbul at 10.35, arrive in Athens at 1155, leave at 1305 and arrive in Santorini at 1350. I presume you will have a check in bag, so this will cost you 142.57 Euros or 158.57 Euros

That would enable you to also fit in Naxos as well as Santorini and Ios

6. Re: Island hopping in Greece

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