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Best island for a quick 7 Days?

Hello!

I am going on a last-minute work trip to Albania in two weeks and I'm now trying to plan a last-minute 9 vacation to Greece. Can you sense the panic? I'm trying to determine if this is realistically doable. We're fortunate in that we're used to 18+ day trips, so only 7 days of actual vacation to me feels short. My husband and I just want to sit on a beach, have delicious food and wine, and experience the beautiful scenery. We are not interested in hopping around and trying to squeeze in as much as possible.

Here is our timeline:
May 29th: Fly from Tirana to Athens, arrive at 7pm and spend the night
May 30th: Catch a ferry to Naxos and arrive at 1PM
May 31st-June 6th: Full days in Naxos
June 7th: Ferry back to Athens
June 8th: Flight back home

I'm finding flights from Tirana to Athens are difficult and the only option arrives at 7pm. Do you think I'm biting off more than I can chew? We are looking at Naxos, but we'll lose two full days to travel which kills me. Is there an easier island to get to that isn't at the touristy level of Santorini or Mykonos? We've also looked at just flying direct to Bari, but that completely changes the vibe of our trip.

Posted by
2891 posts

Quick is never cheap -- but you DO HAve a better answer than you have found ....

• Aegean Air still has seats (if you act NOW) on May 30 AM at 9:30- arr Naxos 10:15 €92
https://en.aegeanair.com/plan/book-a-flight/
... airfield is only 10-20 minutes €10 taxi, from PLaka beach ... you can be in the sea at m FAVE beach, Plaka, by 11:30.
• Aegean Air has return seats at JUne 7 @ 17:30 (5:30 - arr 6:15 ATH.

But where will we stay on Naxos? I hear you ask ... use https://www.booking.com/landmark/gr/plaka-beach.html

NO PRoblemo --PUt in dates of May 30- check out June 7 -- and when list comes up, click RH ikon "SHow on Map"
... my 2 super-faves (Agean Land & NIki & Margarita) are booked but a swell one nearby, 350 feet back from beach, room with balcony & sea view, kitchenette etc @ $954 for 8 nights... NOT Bad. A bus goes right along the beach, goes to Port Town if you want some nightlife (runs til midnight). You are walking distance to a TRUE "Shirley Valentine" dinner venue @ NIki & Margarita ... tables right at water's edge ... and 100 yards on, PETRINO, Naxos' newest "MOdern Naxian" cuisine (I dined there 2019, to DIE For!)
-- This is the BEST on Plaka... do not Dither!!!

But what about MAy 29? when we arrive ATH 7:pm?? And what about June 7 when we arrive ATH 6:15?? I hear you ask ..

NO PROBLEM... There's a fine moderate hotel about 20 minutes from the Airport - https://www.hotelavra.gr - which runs a FREE shuttle bus 24/7 (only proviso is that you have to book the shuttle & specifiy time, at the same time you book a room) This hotel is right ON the Beach at the little port of Rafina, with a small tree-lilned town square with tavernas for dinner ... so you can start your holiday right then with a sunset meal -- sun doesn't set until about 8:30.

To make this happen -- your priority is BOOK FLIGHTS NOW! There are only a couplle seats left on that 9:30 fllight ... Remember, you can ALwys find another hotel -- but you can't magicallay produce another plane..
#2 -- with planes booked, THEN try to book the Plaka hotel ... #3 book AVA & Shuttle -- if it's full, I have 2 back-up places.

Ready, set GO ..

Posted by
19 posts

WOW, @Janet! Thank you! I wish I had posted this draft I had saved, a few days earlier!

It looks Aegean Air DID have flights to Naxos early in the morning, I don't know why this never came up in Kayak or Google Flights search results. Arg! They're now all sold out for the next few days, but looking into other options with Sky Express. All that being said, Aegean Air DOES have a bunch of flights to Crete. We had ruled Crete out because it seemed too far and honestly bigger than we felt like planning for (Naxos felt easier to get what we are looking for---beachy, and easy to completely zone out and unplug). Any thoughts on Crete vs. Naxos?

I love all of your recommendations and will start exploring them tonight, we SO appreciate you!

Posted by
2891 posts

I would recommend Crete except for your specifics --- you want to sit on a beach, delicious food/wine, not move arond much... and the most beautifful Town, Chania, is not on or near a great beach.... & the best beaches require some transport & are best seen as part of a driving trip not a plunk-down visit.

I have another and BETTER answer -- but this requires you to LEAP FAST --- it is to ANTIPAROS, the lovelly Small islaad just a 1`0 minute ferry from PAROS .... it is totallly walkable, has a divine beach a 15 minute walk from the tiny pier... This Island is Paradise for a relaxing getaway In June (not August - that's when Tom Hanks gets there) ... Bellieve me it's exactly what you wnat

AND my fave place just above a beach, that I recommend to all, STILL Has a unit for $872 for 8 nights. GO!

The best part -- there are still available AEGEAN FLIGHTS ATHENS to/from PAROS https://en.aegeanair.com/plan/book-a-flight/
MAY 30 either 8:20- arr 9:05 or 20:20 arr 11:05 - $98.59 RETURN: JUNE 7 @16:55 -- $90.95 or 18:10 - @$98.50
--- BOOK IMMEDIATELY!!!

Here's the deal -- the PAROS airport is a 15-minute €15 taxi ride to the POUNTA ferry... which literally takes 10 minutes to the tiny ANTIPAROS Pier. From there you will walk toward a wonderful place called THALASEA VIllage (its' really just 2 bldgs, on a hill looking down at a beautiful beach... NOT "organized" (no tavernas) They have a split-level aapt for $873 with a terrace & garden view. https://www.booking.com/hotel/gr/thalasea.en-us.html?aid=322897;sid=2877d1842dfbc1d75d66ae979834d7fe;atlas_src=sr_iw_btn;checkin=2022-05-30;checkout=2022-06-07;dest_id=900040967;dest_type=city;dist=0;group_adults=2;group_children=0;highlighted_blocks=72536410_187741177_4_0_0;no_rooms=1;room1=A%2CA;sb_price_type=total;type=total;ucfs=1&#hp_facilities_box

HEre's the Thalasea website -- http://www.thalasea.gr/ -- but booking.com may be faster....
You don't need a place that big, but it's what's left, and a good price for late-plaanners like you!! BOOK IMMEDIATELY

For the night of the 29th, and the night of JUne 7 -- refer to AVA hotel. If you don't want Ava I can give you another for one night near the airport. But ACT NOW!!!!!

HEre's a picture of the beach - https://antiparos.com/explore/psaraliki-beach/
A photo Album of ANtiparos in JUne -- http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632126687570/
.... done by "stanbr" one of the most gifted photogs on this forum (+ a dear friend)
• ON one of your 7 days, you can do a day-trip to see the highlilghts of PAROS itself... just follow the descriptions & pictures in this photo diary of a woman who did just that, one june -- https://agreekoddity.com/monday-24th-june-2013-a-day-trip-to-paros/
• Another great idea! Capt Ben's Lazy Day... boat trip +++ =http://captainbenantiparos.com/

Don't waste moment! Ready set GO

Posted by
8 posts

In your position I would take the hydrofoil from Albania to Corfu and I will save so much time relaxing in Corfu or even visiting Paxos(it is an hour away with the hydrofoil).Then you can fly from Corfu to Athens or to a lot of other airports all over the world.

Posted by
19 posts

Thank you all! I'm taking a crazy left turn and seeing there's a 9PM ferry on Sunday night to Tinos. Tinos looks like a very laid back and lovely place to spend the week! Question though...if our flight lands at 7:35pm...is that cutting it too close to make a 9PM ferry ride from Rafina? I'm not sure how big the airport is and at that time of night on a Sunday, if there is typically traffic.

Posted by
353 posts

With a flight arriving at 7:35 p.m. it seems risky to plan the 9:00 p.m. ferry to Rafina. this may work if your flight is on time or early and you have no checked baggage. A taxi could take you to Rafina in about 25 minutes.

The ideal if you go to Tinos is to book a room at the Avra ​​hotel which is located at the port of Rafina. they have a free shuttle that picks you up at the airport and take the ferry in the morning the day after.

I'm currently in Tinos, from the terrace of my house I am horrified watching the cruise ships passing by as they pour their hordes of tourists into Mykonos...

Anyway, back to Tinos. Tinos is a fairly large and mountainous island with lots of charming little villages, a fairly lively port, there are organized beaches or not (not many people on the beaches at the moment, mostly locals, but people are swimming. . the sea is not cold). These beaches are fewer and smaller than those of Naxos or Paros.

Staying a whole week in Tinos still seems a bit too much, 3 or 4 days would be good. Then you could spend the remaining days in Paros.

Why Paros? In my opinion Paros would be a better choice than Naxos if you have seen Tinos (there are too many similarities between Tinos and Naxos, apart from the beaches) If you come to Tinos I can give you information and advice.

I'm going back to Paros in a few days, I can also give you some information about this superb island.

Anyway, whatever your choice... Kalo Taxidi!

Posted by
2891 posts

Marissa I am puzzled that you did not want to at least follow up on the Antiparos possibility... I offered that alternative specifically because of your expressed priorities.. beach time, scenery etc. Tinos does not have as easy access to outstanding beaches, and a limited bus network, some friends say a car rental is desirable. But hey what do I know only been to greece 13 times.

Posted by
19 posts

Hi there- I didn't mean to offend! And I'm sorry, I didn't mention this, but we looked into Antiparos, I quite liked that idea and appreciated the suggestion! But I think when I looked to book two nights ago, the flight and ferry times didn't match up and we would lose more time than if we went with Naxos. You are right in that things are selling out quickly :)

I paused on booking last night to check back with this community, I'll take another look at Antiparos!

Thank you @JoLui for your feedback!

Posted by
2891 posts

I Didn't suggest taking ferries ... I suggested flying to/from Paros. you would arrive 10 am or so 5/30. If you wanted to ferry back to mainland, the 7pm Blue Star June 7 would get u to Pireaus @ just before Midnight (reserve economy ticket is about €45, about half the price of airticket, but takes 5 hrs vs. 45 mins) At arrival in Piraeus u could grab a reliable nearby hotel, and use x96 expres bus or taxi to airport morning of June 8, depending upon how early your flight to US departs... you did not share that time.

Posted by
353 posts

According on your preferences of not moving and staying on a beach for a week, follow Janet's suggestion. That said, any place with a nice beach, great accommodation, bar, pool, would do.