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Staying on four islands in Greece

Petaluma, California
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Staying on four islands in Greece

My sister and I (seniors in our 60s) are interested in visiting the Greek Isles. We'd like to stay on at least four islands; at each island, minimum stay 2 nights; not interested in Athens other than first night after flying in from San Francisco, CA. Please give us your top 5-6 islands to see as well as recommended places to stay - we like small hotels either near beach or old town. Any other items you can think of to recommend is appreciated.

I can be reached at suejusaitis@juno.com.

Devizes, United...
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1. Re: Staying on four islands in Greece

Hi there

Our "top 4 or 5 islands" are what appeal to us as individuals, based on our personal preferences, and might not appeal to you. There are more than 200 inhabited islands in Greece, spread across several distinct and geographically distant island groups. Your first move is to buy or borrow a good guide book to Greece and sit down and make a list of the islands/places that appeal to you based upon your preferences. The Rough Guide to Greece is hard to beat, and is written by authors who have actually been there, rather than half the guide books you can buy that are simply compilations of other authors' work.

Where to stay? - again, impossible to reply to this, until you have nailed down the islands, then a resort, and then a hotel or whatever accommodation you require. We're more than happy to help but we can't plan out the entire trip for you. Two nights anywhere is simply never worth the time, effort and expense of getting there, two nights is just one full day and all you'd see would be the area around the port town you arrive in and get no opportunity to enjoy and absorb the local history, scenery, culture, food and people.

Bear in mind that each time you move location you will use up the better part of a full day by the time you've packed, checked out, travelled to the port or airport, been in transit, then everything in reverse at the other end. So, minimising ports-of-call gives you more useable time.

The easiest island chain to negotiate via ferries is the Cyclades, followed by the Dodecanese, maybe this would be somewhere to start. Do get back to Athens at least 24 hours prior to your homebound flight, better to be running late when just a 45 minute bus ride from Athens airport than to be 200 miles away on an island. Every Greek island with an airport is a maximum 60 minutes flight from Athens and many are much closer.

This links to the domestic schedules..

aia.gr/traveler/… although next years' timetables probably aren't available yet

Link for domestic ferries, again, 2014 scehdules probably not on line yet..


But, the choices need to be yours, and not where we recommend. It's no doubt the trip of a lifetime, so sit down with that book, have a good read, make that list, then come back for some specific information.

Warsaw, Poland
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2. Re: Staying on four islands in Greece

Since you're posting on the Santorini forum, I'm assuming Santorini is a must. If this is the case, I would suggest replacing 'top islands' with 'islands close to Santorini' as you also do not seem to have enough time to hop around different islands groups. Travelling between islands takes time. How about Ios, Naxos, Paros, Anafi, Sikinos, Folegandros and Milos? (ferries permitting, depending on when you're planning to go). Santorini is also well connected with Crete but going there for just 2 or 3 nights is rather pointless.

Santorini, Greece
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3. Re: Staying on four islands in Greece

If you want to stay 2 nights in every island, choose islands close by so you won't spend too much time travelling between them. A suggestion is to fly to Santorini (if possible the same day you arrive) stay 2 nights and the move towards Athens by ferry or highspeed. Example : Santorini- Ios- Naxos-Paros-Anti Paros. Other routes:

Ferry: nel.gr/routes/dromologia/en/syros-paros-seri… ( check updated schedule for next summer later)

Highspeed: ferries.gr/aegean-speed-lines/cyclades-islan…

Some good links with info about the islands:





Edited: 12 November 2013, 08:46
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England, United...
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4. Re: Staying on four islands in Greece

I've got to ask why? What's wrong with one island with time to relax, explore and get settled in?

Edited: 12 November 2013, 13:52
New York City, New...
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for Skopelos
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5. Re: Staying on four islands in Greece

Hey and welcome Susan J:-) I agree that if possible, see if you can just transfer to a flight straight out to an isle ..Santorini.. upon arrival in Athens! You'll be at the airport anyway.. no backtracking.. and regardless, trekking the Akropolis and hitting a major, vibrant metropolis such as this after a long haul may not be the way to?! An isle is a great place to de-lag and get into zone.. considering you'll have a 10 hour time difference to deal with.. along with what looks like at least 20 hours on the 'road' door to door just to get to Greece;-) As suggested, Save Athens for your finale.. not only is it convenient for your return trans home, you'll be ready to appreciate it at this point having gotten into zone and relaxed on a few isles;-) Take a look at www.aegeanair.com/ www.olympic.com/ and sign up for their email alerts now.. oftentimes, air fares rival those of ferries cost;-)

You don't mention when you're going or for how long.. although you do state you'd like to visit at least 4 isles with a minimum stay of 2 nights at each! Look at the isles mentioned by Ozzlem above.. FWIW, Naxos and Paros are on a convenient ferry route from Santorini heading back to Athens.. of course, it's all up to your pref/priorities.. would certainly read up on the Cyclades isles.. as well as other groups.. see what you think since only you know what would best fit the bill for you;-) Of course, there is nothing wrong with picking just an isle or 2.. everyone's got their travel style ..and understand you're coming the distance.. am hoping you're allotting at least a couple of weeks for this adventure;-) Happy planning.. and Enjoy!

Nanaimo, Canada
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for Chania Town, Naxos
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6. Re: Staying on four islands in Greece

I am kind of late on this thread but I will say you have received good advice. I do want to emphasize that every hop eats up a minimum of half a day so your two day stay is in fact a day and a half. Less hops means a more satisfying holiday. I also wanted to say that Athens at the end of the vacation is good advice however you may want to consider giving Athens for at least two days. The area around the Acropolis is amazing with so much history. Here are images of this area so you can see what I mean

Athens flickr.com/photos/…

Washingon DC area
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7. Re: Staying on four islands in Greece

Hi Susan - you don't say how long you plan on spending in Greece, but I agree with most of the previous posters - if you get in to Athens early enough, head out to your first island. Also, are you planning to hire a car (highly recommended, especially if you don't have more than 4 or 5 days on an island)?

If you have a decent amount of time - about 3 weeks - then you can put together an interesting trip that takes in 4 islands either in the Cyclades or the Dodecanese. For the Cyclades, a Milos/Santorini/Naxos/Paros itinerary would work, as would a Naxos/Paros/Syros/Tinos grouping. In the Dodecanese, Samos/Patmos/Kalymnos/Kos would be a great trip.

I also agree that 2 nights is really not enough to get much of a sense of the character of the island. They're all different, even if only a few miles separate them. Lesbos/Chios/Samos is a dramatic study in contrasts and you'd need 3 weeks to appreciate much of what they have to offer.

But if your time is more limited, then look at the oft-overlooked Argo-Saronic Islands. Aegina, Poros, Hydra and Spetses are all distinct and require less of an ordeal in getting from one to another. You could also tie in a couple days in Napflio, on the mainland, from Poros and take in some of the more spectacular antiquities - Mycenae, Epidaurus, and Corinth.

Edited: 12 November 2013, 17:05
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8. Re: Staying on four islands in Greece

I wasn't all that interested in staying in Athens either. My dream was visiting some of the Greek Islands. Well, since our Med. Cruise ended in Athens, I decided to stay a few days before flying to Santorini, and I'm so glad we did! We stayed at the AVA Hotel http://www.avahotel.gr/ where we could walk to many of the sights. We also had a driver take us to the Temple of Poseidon to watch the sunset--magical! Agree with other to stay longer on each island.

Happy planning!

Devizes, United...
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9. Re: Staying on four islands in Greece

Well, it's nearly a week and the OP hasn't returned.Maybe she expects us to email her directly seeing as she left her home email address here?

10. Re: Staying on four islands in Greece

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