My husband and I are planning a 2 week trip to Greece at the end of May. I want to spend a few days in Athens and a few in Santorini, the rest in either Naxos or Paros. We can't decide. We are looking for a relaxing stay, close to beaches. From all my reading, i hear we should skip Mykonos (as we are not into the party scene) and maybe do just a day trip. So far the itinerary starts with flying straight into Santorini via Athens, for 3 nights, then Naxos or Paros (5 or 6 nights) and then end the trip in Athens for 3 nights. Any suggestions would be appreciated!
My personal choice is Naxos; you can stay at St. George Beach directly adjacent to the port town, for all its attractions, and easily reach the farther beaches in 15-25 minutes via a very good bus system, Thus you need only rent a car when you want to explore the entire island. On Paros, to reach some pf the better beaches, you'd need to rent something. The thing is, the Naxos beaches are pretty much all in a row, on one bus line ... whereas in Paros, the busses to various beach areas all come out of the port town) in different directions, like fingers of a hand. Also, comparing the port towns of Naxos (Naxos town) and Paros (Parikia), the former I find more interesting ... going up to the Kastro (Castle) on top via winding lanes ... where Parikia is flatter and in just my opinion, not as attractive.
For either isle, you have an enjoyable option. There are 2 Excursion companies that serve both islands, and will take you for day trips, one runs the Naxos Star, the other runs HMV Alexandros, (I prefer the latter, a larger vessel & smoother ride). 2 X a week a day excursion goes to Delos arrives about 1030, then about 1230-1pm goes to Mykonos. Return is about 5 pm ... so you get a chance to see the attractive harbor town, yet get home to enjoy the sunset. Other day trips take you to little offshore islands. I think there's also a day-trip from Naxos to Paros, if you just want to check out the port town, museum etc.
Thank you Janet. That is very helpful!
I second Naxos. We spent 8 days and stayed at Studios Naxos in St. George Beach, a few meters from the beach, a short walk to the waterfront and Old Town. Naxos offers a great mix of Old & New World Greece, with beaches, spectacular mountain scenery, mountain villages, archeological sites, lots of great traditional food, markets, shops but never gives up being Greek. You can do day cruises to Delos, Mykonos, & Santorini with Delos being the one we liked the best!
Naxos is still not a "Big Name" island like Santorini or Mykonos which is great. I'd hate to see it become another one of those islands that sold out to tourism!
My vote is for Antiparos, accessible from Paros by very frequent local daily shuttle ferry. It has a quaint atmosphere and some great beaches if you're willing to rent a car or scooter to get to them. Room prices are very reasonable and there are plenty of good places to eat.
Thank you tommyk5 and Lee! I appreciate your input.
My vote would also be for Naxos. You may get some useful tips to help make a decision by having a look at the excellent www.greektravel.com website, as it has good descriptions of all the islands.
Thanks all of you. appreciate it.