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Help please!

Dublin, Ireland
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Help please!

HI all.

Am exploring the possibility of visiting 2 of the NE Islands in June 2013, but am having a hard time chosing which 2, so am seeking other travellers' opinions please! I will have 5 days to spend on each island. At present, am leaning towards Chios and Lesvos/Samos. I'm in my mid-40s, will be travelling solo and will be flying Dublin-Athens-Dublin. I enjoy gentle rambles (mild mobility problems - uphill/stairs), swimming, history, archaeology, meeting the locals and generally pottering about getting to know a place. Although I'm not a party animal, I do like to be able to go out at night for a meal, glass of beer/wine, music (but not clubbing or discos). I would prefer to stay on non-touristy islands. Last but not least, as I'll be travelling via public transport, whichever islands I visit will need to have decent public transport, or I'd consider going on an organised excursion to difficult to reach places. I plan on staying in Athens for 3/4 nights on the way home, but beause the flight from Dublin doesn't arrive in Athens until after 9 pm, I'll have to spend the night in Athens/Piraeus and catch a ferry the next day to whichever is my first island destination.

Any and all suggestions/tips are welcome! Thank you in advance for your help and advice.

United Kingdom
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for Lesbos, Zagorohoria
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1. Re: Help please!

5 days relying on public transport would probably mean you would not get the best out of Lesvos as it is a large & diverse island. You could in fact spend all 10 days on Lesvos & effectively feel you have visited several islands if you travel around as the scenery & atmosphere is so varied.

A ferry to/from any of the three islands you are considering is a long journey & will eat up a lot of your time - better to get a flight from Athens to your first island & return by air from your second if you do decide to stick with two. Look at Aegean & register with them for alerts for bargain flights.

Dublin, Ireland
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2. Re: Help please!

Hi. Thanks for your reply. Have registered with Aegean Airlines as you suggested. Will also consider visiting Lesvos only.

Birmingham, United...
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3. Re: Help please!

It's a relatively simple choice as you have limited time, which makes some combinations not so easy to do.

1) Those NE Aegean islands like Lesbos, Chios, Samos are larger than most islands so I would just do 10 days on one island.

2) Main basic ferry routes are:

a) Piraeus > Chios > Lesbos(Mytilini).

b) Piraeus > Syros > Ikaria > Samos (Karlovasi, Vathy).

c) Lesbos/Chios <> Samos ferry is not so frequent, currently seems to be down to 1 per week, was 3 at one time.

3) Practical Combinations:

Obviously Lesbos + Chios is possible but + Samos, probably not.

Samos is more easily combined with Ikaria and Syros see 2b) above. In addition are ferries from Samos(Pythagorion) down to islands like Patmos, Lipsi, Leros, Kalimnos/Telendos, Kos and on towards Rhodes.

Lesbos - Minimal bus services enable you to travel around the island OK but not enough for daytripping. You need to stay overnight in each place. This takes time of course hence the suggestion to do all 10 days on one island.

The main UK tourist area is the Anaxos - Petra - Molyvos(Mithimna) axis.

Chios - I know nothing, never been there, merely passing by ferry at like 03:00 in the morning. All I know is it's a very large harbour.

Samos - Relatively comprehensive and reliable bus services certainly if you base yourself in Pythagorion, Samos or Kokkari.

Obviously Samos is the most touristy island as it has the most charter flights from Europe, however it is not Ios/Santorini/Mykonos sort of thing at all.

So, ignoring my vast knowledge of Chios. I would suggest either - all 10 days on Lesbos, or Samos combined with say Patmos or Lipsi. For practical reasons more than anything else.

United Kingdom
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for Lesbos, Zagorohoria
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4. Re: Help please!

You are very welcome. Visitors to Lesvos tend to either stay in one resort (ie on a package deal) & not venture very far from base or if they want to move around a lot (like we do) hire a car. This might be your main problem - public transport is geared more towards the needs of islanders. However there are efficient taxi services on the island & in your position you might consider spending a few days based in Molyvos (plenty to see & do around there), plus a few days in Mytilini itself (fascinating castle, churches, museums etc).

Lesvos is not big on excursions - being a very low key place when it comes to tourism - but there have been boat trips & jeep excursions. I am assuming you are meaning cultural/nature excursions not just "Greek Nights" trips. As an independent single traveller you should get helpful info from Nirvana Travel, based in Petra, who I have heard good reports of

http://www.lesvosisland.gr/en/

As I don't know either Chios or Samos I am of course biased towards info on Lesvos, but am sure others will soon kick in with plenty of suggestions.

Excellent ferry info & general guidance there from RH!

Edited: 28 October 2012, 17:47
Yorkshire Dales
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5. Re: Help please!

Hmmmm interesting thread.

To be considered is the public transport system. They are not particularly good on either Lesvos or Samos.

On Lesvos, the buses run between the northern resorts but are very limited to elsewhere

I think Samos perhaps had the edge, particularly from Pythagorian where you can get buses to Samos town and all the stops in between.

Both islands are a bit tricky without private transport/ :O) :O)

United Kingdom
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for Lesbos, Zagorohoria
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6. Re: Help please!

If someone bases in Mytilini for 3 or 4 days there are ample local bus services to many places of interest, as well as plenty to keep someone occupied in & around the city. It really depends on the level of "adventurousness" of an individual! You can take a bus to Koundouroudia & from there the foot ferry (you can get a joint ticket for the trip) across the Gulf of Gera over to Perama for a very enjoyable day out away from the populous resorts. There is a lovely walk from Koundouroudia with glorious views over the gulf.

Otherwise yes - buses are a bit limited between Anaxos-Petra-Molyvos-Eftalou. But as RH points out perhaps the way to go is to overnight in other places - ie think outside the box.

Dublin, Ireland
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7. Re: Help please!

Thank you all so much for your replies and very helpful and practical advice;it's much appreciated. I'm more than happy to toddle outside the box, and in fact the likes of Santorini and Mykonos are precisely NOT what I'm looking for! I'd like to visit an island or two which are still all/mostly Greek and not overrun with tourists. Given that I'll only have a maximum of 14/15 days (inclusive of 1 day each for flights), the suggestion to visit Lesvos only and stay in 2/3 different bases is a sound idea and one I'll seriously consider. That way I'd gain a better insight of the island. So, if I ultimately decide to visit Lesvos, I think I'll spend 8/9 days there and 3/4 in Athens on my way home. Athens is the most convenient entry/departure point to/from Greece for me because Aer Lingus flies there direct from May to September. I'm also considering a couple of the Cyclades Islands and I've a feeling that come April, I'll be tossing a coin to decide Lesvos or Sifnos & Paros! In the meantime, I think I'll go ahead and book my Athens flights. So much to see and not enough time! Thanks again for taking the time to help me out.

Maryland
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8. Re: Help please!

I've been to Chios several times and it has everything on your list (beautiful beaches, swimming, fascinating villages, history, archeology, and some nightlife in the main port town) EXCEPT convenient public transport. You will need a car to explore the island. Chios is not at all touristy as it is fairly isolated. I wrote a trip report of our 2010 Chios visit.

Dublin, Ireland
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9. Re: Help please!

Hi Lam. Thanks for your reply. Unfortunately, public transprot is a must. So, that's Chios out!

United Kingdom
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for Lesbos, Zagorohoria
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10. Re: Help please!

Before settling for Lesvos you should investigate public transport options for the time of year you will be there & base yourself where you can make best use of the services. It is a case of you having to fit around buses, not the other way round, but you sound pretty open to being flexible!

Check out the links on here, provided by RobandCarol, who live in Molyvos & have up to date information

http://www.lesvoscalendars.eu/buses.html

In your position I would think about actually using Mytilini as my main base then heading out for a night or two in various destinations at the other end of bus routes. Accomodation is generally easily found all over the island.

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