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10 Day Itinerary---- does this work?

So my friend and I are planning a trip in September. We are in our late 30s and want beaches, baby hikes, quaint cities, maybe a wine day, boat day, and a sprinkle of nightlife. :) Is this a realistic itinerary or am I delusional?

We should arrive in Athens late Sunday evening Sept 3. Hang out in Athens and leave for an island early Tuesday September 5. Paros? Fly to Naxos? From there we don't have to be all up in the hoopla of Mykonos or spend a ton of time in Santorini, but it would be nice to see em. Day trips maybe? From what I've read (thanks janet) doing more than 2 islands would be insane. Our flights are Early morning from Athens on Tuesday Sept 12. We don't want ferries to suck up too much time and are willing to take a cheap-ish flight or two. Will likely hit up airbnbs for lodging if possible. Help us make decisions pleeeease!

Posted by
1117 posts

Great decision not to attempt more than two islands in ten days. And yes, you can certainly do day trips to the neighboring islands (provided you don't get seasick easily like me - the Aegean can be quite choppy at times!).

There is one thing I would change, and that is: I would put the Athens stay at the end of your trip. We have experienced canceled flights and canceled boats due to weather conditions, so we always like to play it safe and have an extra day before the return flight.

For nightlife, Mykonos of course would be the island of your choice, and you won't get to see much nightlife if you go there for a day trip only. However, I am sure all of the islands you mentioned will have that "sprinkle" of nightlife you are looking for. Your chances of that are certainly better in the bigger towns or the beach towns, not so much if you are staying in some remote village.

You'll find hiking opportunities on all islands. They have turned some of the old donkey paths into hiking trails which is nice. September can be quite hot still, so for hiking, start out early so you avoid the heat between 11 a.m. and 3 or 4 p.m.

Santorini has wineries, and I think Paros does too. Don't know about the others.

Quaint "cities" - all of the Cyclades islands.

A "boat day" - on a big boat to take a day trip, or on a small boat to go to one of the beaches? Or to small neighboring islands like Antiparos (from Paros), to Thirassia (from Santorini), or to Delos (from Mykonos)?

Beaches - well, yes. Santorini has black volcano beaches, Mykonos has party beaches (and probably some others), Paros has some sandy beaches, and so does Naxos, I assume. That said, I am not all that fond of the Greek beaches. I guess I am spoiled by the North Sea beaches. I have yet to see sand that is as fine and white as our North Sea sand on any Mediterranean island. (Well, o.k., there are trade-offs to everything. We don't have the Greek sun, and we don't have the warm Mediterranean Sea. :-) )

Posted by
2864 posts

Thanks for the tip of hat, and here I am, with advice as usual... glad to see that Naxos Is in the list, and yes of course that should be your one island. Here are the tweaks I'd suggest:

• SEQUENCE - NAXOS Sept 4 - back to ATH Sept 10. I do agree Athens should be last. Yes, I know you're arriving late Sunday (BTW, For best advice, don't just say "late", say 9:30pm; on short trips every HOUR matters). ALSO helpful to say if you'll arrive exhausted after 23-hour trip from Seattle or 2-hour trip from Rome. Share ALL, not just bits, you are not in the witness protection program! Anyhoo -- why not just zip to a BnB near the airport (St. Thomas B & B or Hotel Peris), and collapse. Then leap up before dawn and catch a "cheap-ish" Aegean flight to Naxos for €64 on Monday. Yes, it's at 6:25 am - arrives 7:05 ... but you can go straight to beach and sleep all AM on the sand! On Sunday Sept 10 there's a 7:25am flight back to ATH @€80 and a €99flight @9:15. that way you'll have 1 1/2 days in Athens ... If this sounds good, book now -- Naxos planes are small, fill up months ahead.

You have 6 island days this way ... Here are some options Where What etc
• LOCATION - I would NOT suggest Airbnb if you want near a beach; a twin-bed "studio" in a small family-run pension/hotel on or near the sand easier to find on Naxos. I highly recommend staying St. George (Ag. Giorgios) beach adjacent to Naxos Town ... sea view, and you can stroll in 10-15 minutes to cafes, shops and nightlife of Naxos Town. If you stay late at a club, no need for bus or taxi, just walk back by moonlight. Try " Ag. Giorgios Beach" then sort by "Distance from landmark" (i.e., distance from beach). I just did that for your 6 nights Sep4-9 -- I clicked on first name then clicked Google Map to show ALL available places WITH prices. I spotted 2 gems: Panormos w. balcony & view $374 ($62 pr nite) Studios Panos $301, several others near sands at similar prices I say book NOW!

• DAY TRIP -- you do not have time to STAY on Santorini or Mykonos, but if you choose Naxos it is one of the few isles that offer a "sample" of each. Theres a co -- w. dedicated excursion vessels (MV Alexander & Naxos Star) doing day-trips; I recommend the Former, because it's much larger & smoother ride (important; Sept seas can kick up). MV Alex goes to Santorini every Tuesday 7:45am -returns 7:45pm. A bus will take u to Fira Town & Oia - not a tour-group, all free-time. MV Alex goes to Mykonos/Delos on Wed, but don't recommend that particularly ... not as worthwhile as daytrip.
• BOAT TRIP(s) - The same company does great sails on 3-mast schooner to small surrounding islands and Antiparos
• EXPLORING and WINE! -- Rent a car for a day & swoop all over the island, wonderful beaches, hillside villages, hilltop ruins, marble mountains(!), lots of places to hike Best hiking website -- #15 is great 1-hr "baby hike" w stunning view. Oh, did I forget? In early Sept., villages have wine harvest festivals: ask at harborfront store that specializes in all- Naxos products, they'll steer u to these events.
• SHOPPING - Naxos has hidden lanes w. chic shops; clothes on Sale in SEpt; earrings etc at 1/2 Santorini's $$$.
• NIGHTLIFE - In Sept, most of it is near Naxos Town harbor area, 3-4 mellow clubs.
• ATHENS -- with only 1 1/2 days to sightsee, imperative to stay near Acropolis. If you do Airbnb, look at map like this (click & it gets huuge). Most convenient areas shown on map: Plaka - Makrigiani (my fave) - Koukaki - Monastiraki. To avoid Acropolis Crowds, either go after 4pm 1st day or at 8 AM 2nd day.

• GETTING to FLIGHT - Day flat rate for Taxi is €38, but if u must be at airport before 6 AM, almost double. X95 Express bus leaves Syntagma Square every 20 mins 24/7. €6.

Posted by
6 posts

my friend really wants to do Delos and Mykonos, take a look at this revision and tell me what you think.

Sunday Sept 3- We will be leaving Capri Italy and making our way to Athens- arrival 4pm-ish.
Monday- Athens to Naxos flight 6a-7a, spend day exploring Naxos beach area
Tuesday- Naxos rent a car? or get a car for the first day there?
Wednesday- Naxos
Thursday- Pack up early and head to Mykonos via ferry 9:45a-11:30a
Friday- Mykonos
Saturday- Delos day trip from Mykonos
Sunday- Mykonos to Athens via 2:30p-3:10p flight
Monday- Athens
Tuesday- 5a flight home

Posted by
1117 posts

Well... let's translate that:

  • 1 1/2 travel days
  • 2 1/2 days for Naxos
  • 1 travel day
  • 1 day for Mykonos
  • 1 day for Delos
  • 1 travel day
  • 1 day for Athens
  • 1 travel day

4 1/2 travel days as compared to 5 1/2 days of actually staying in a place and having time do do things... that's a lot of traveling you are going to be doing. Add packing and unpacking for every time you change hotels, plus getting there from the ferry... It's possible, sure, but it's not what I'd consider a relaxing vacation. But then, it's your vacation. If that's what you enjoy...

Posted by
2864 posts

The true key lies in something you have not discussed - the reasons for your friend's preference(s). I'm assuming it's a she... what does she want to get from Delos/Mykonos? Is she a classics buff? If so, and has studied up on Delos, she'll get a lot, otherwise it will be just a bunch of tumbledown stones... compared to other Greek landmark ruins, as Gertrude Stein would say, "there's no there, there." And as for Mykonos, does she want to see the white & blue harbor town? (NOTE: Naxos v. similar, minus the high-end Luxe shops like Cartier, Hermes etc) .. the beaches? (same kinda sand as Naxos, sunbrellas & sunbeds cost €18 vs €7) ... or is it primarily the fabled nightlife (mainly in July-August -- in Sept., usually after midnight). I note that you're coming from Party Central, Capri, so maybe nightlife is the attraction.

If it's mainly the harbor-town look, you can easily get it in the Wednesday day-trip on MV Alexander (and BTW, if on that day-trip you'd wish to skip Delos, u could stay on vessel while Delos-lovers get off, then go straight to Mykonos about 11 am). However, if your friend's interest is mainly in Mykonos partying, a day trip would not do. (In that case I would warn against booking a room anyplace but in town -- Busses stop about 11, mykonos taxis disappear at midnight or so & people wanting to reach beach hotels are stranded)

I can see that you did delete Santorini to save more time for Naxos, so you would still be able to explore the island (NOTE: in your new plan, on first Naxos day, just concentrate on exploring Naxos town - Causewy, ruins, castle, fascinating winding lanes, museum, shops, harborfront sunset. U can rent a car for day #2 then decide about day #3).

Also, your original thread seemed to have at least a modicum of concern about budget (AirBnb, "cheap-ish" flight). How does that square w. €18 to lie on a beach, or €20 Mykonos club drinks? Why the change of tune? I do see you have some remaining budget concern snce you cite that 2:30 pm flight -- I'm guessing mainly because the "GoLight" fare is €96 vs €117. You need to read the fine print; "go Light" does not allow a checked bag, only a small carry-on personal bag. Checking your Rollaboard will cost you at least €25 wiping out any savings. If u decided you could party in Athens instead, you could take the NISSOS MYKONOS ferry Saturday at 19:35 (7:35) -- a big ferry, (about €38 for reserved seat), open decks to sit out, lots of cafes & bars aboard for socializing -- it would arrive Piraeus at 11:35 pm, you could get the Green line Ferry (30 minutes, €1.8) to a Central Athens hotel by 12:30 and then go hit an Athens clubs -- on weekends, they're jumping until at least 3 am.

Of course it's your trip, not ours, do whatever you like, I did my best to try to help achieve your original wish list; done now.

Posted by
6 posts

All valid points! If a day in Delos from Naxos is doable then maybe we should keep home base in Naxos. I didn't realize how expensive Mykonos is- shame on me for not doing enough research!!! Lol.

Posted by
1117 posts

While I don't quite agree with that assessment of Delos, I would add that Delos is an easy day trip destination from Naxos; no need to stay on Mykonos only for that.

Other than that, yes, I totally agree. And this actually is one thing that does make me wonder... Have you and your friend made it quite clear to each other what you expect from this trip?

Let's make up extremes: you want to hike, she wants to party. You are up early in the morning to avoid the Greek noontime sun on your hikes, she has only just gone to bed.

I'm sure you understand what I'm getting at even if these extremes (hopefully) are exaggerated: Make sure which compromises will be o.k. for both of you. And make sure that your compromises don't end in spending all of your valuable vacation time getting from point A to point B, trying to make everything happen for both of you, and in the end both of you being disappointed.

Posted by
6 posts

Other random questions since I've got a captive audience-

Do I have to have an international driver's license to rent the car? I've read conflicting information.

Do you recommend any particular guided tours in Athens? I was thinking maybe a foodie tour at night?

Posted by
6 posts

I think she'll be fine without extreme partying. We were mainly just curious since Mykonos is so "famous" for all that. We certainly do need to iron out the details... I live in Nashville and she lives in Atlanta so it has been challenging to figure out details via text and quick phone chats. We are both pretty laid back except I get anxious about "maximizing" my time while on vacay, so this website and forums and your info has helped me scale back my grandiose plans 😂

Posted by
2864 posts

Reply to IDL query -- yes you DO need one... if an agency lets u rent a car without one, and then u get into a fender, no Insurance pays!! Not worth the risk. Stop at any AAA office, costs about $15-20, takes 20 minutes, if u have a passport-size photo, save $5.

About tours, let's wait until you get your itinerary solved, and we actually know WHEN you arrive in Athens & how much sightseeing time you will have.

Posted by
989 posts

You are receiving good advice. Greece is a place where doing less gives you more. Slow pace less hops is the way to go. As mentioned there are 2 boats that do the Delos Mykonos excursion. Book it when you get to Naxos with an eye on eh weather forecast. These are not small boats as they have a capacity around 200 but they are not cruise ships either and Naxos Star in particular is pretty bouncy in the wind.
Here is what that day trip looks like from Naxos.
Day trip Delos and Mykonos

By the way 2 drinks and a tiny bowl of chips on Mykonos waterfront cost us as much as dinner for two with a liter of wine the night before on Naxos. Mykonos markets itself as high end and prices reflect that.

Posted by
989 posts

I just took a peek at Aegeans Sept 3 schedule to Naxos. There is a 5:35 flight direct to Naxos. If you are flying Aegean from Italy then they will transfer your checked bags to the Naxos flight. An hour and a half is a bit short but you don't have to leave the secure area just walk to your next gate.
Getting to Naxos sooner gets your Greek experience off to a great start and saves you that round trip into Athens for just one night. Save Athens for a couple of nights at the end.