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Favourite Greek Islands

We are in Santorini in mid May and then plan to island hop for about ten day, then head to Athens for two nights.
My husband are around 60, like villages, food and wine, great settings, walks and swimming and a bit of history. We are from Melbourne.

Do you have any suggestions for a island hopping itinerary? Maybe there are some small islands or locations you can recommend ?
Thanks in anticipation
Ps not planning to hire a car

Posted by
8122 posts

A lot of the Greek islands are really too small for rental cars. We rented an ATV on Santorini.
We came off a cruise ship and hit Mykonos, Santorini and Crete--all really good islands. We also stopped at Malta on the way over.

Posted by
50 posts

Folegandros is an excellent small island with terrific beaches and a compact (pedestrian-only) main village area with lots of restaurants. I don't recall there being too much to see in regards to historical sights, but it was really delightful. Might get pretty crowded in May though, because it is so small. So that would be my only concern in recommending it.

Naxos is much larger, but I recommend it as well. Lots more to see and there are some great beaches. Buses run often from Naxos town to various beaches. We took the bus to Agios Georgios beach and just grabbed chairs under an umbrella in front of a tavern. You can spend the day in comfort with food and wine brought right to your chai for a very reasonable price. Much more history to see here, so there are lots of tours available that go to the other parts of the island and lots to explore/see in the old Kastro area.

Posted by
3317 posts

Mid- to late-May is still off-season for islands like Folegandros, I've been there May 30 or thereabouts and NOT crowded in Chora ... 3 days is fine there, since it's mainly about Chora -- Agree that Naxos has so much to do & see, and wonderful in May , could easily spend a week there and still have much left to see. Naxos as said, has good local transportation.

Posted by
847 posts

From Santorini I've ferried to Naxos and then Paros before Athens. Two to three days minimum for each but five would not be too much. Another trip I did Folegandros - Milos - Sifnos (didn't get to Serifos but that's between Sifnos and Athens). I had two nights Folegandros, 4 Milos, 3 Sifnos and was happy with those times.

Here are my trip reports from those trips -

Photos -

Posted by
2455 posts

Bet Lou, another vote for Naxos. I also went by ferry from Santorini, easy and relatively quick trip. Fewer tourists in Naxos than various other islands, since Naxos has a ferry port and a small airport, but NO cruise port. Naxos Town itself is a real Greek town, lots of history, lots of diverse and delicious restaurants, lots of locals, interesting shopping geared toward locals and toward visitors, a number of good beaches. You can also arrange a tour, or just take buses, to other parts of the island, interesting towns, ancient churches, marble quarries, and more.

Posted by
856 posts

Avoid SeaJet if possible for ferry transport. While faster, you cannot go outside. I recommend Aegean Speed Lines. Book seats with a table.

Have fun!

Posted by
6 posts

Hi! Paros is a such beautiful island, Antiparos just near (10mn for a very cheap price around 2€ by ferry) is so cute! My fav is also Milos because this island, as Santorini, is volcanic and has so much pretty beach and bays as amazing Poliaigos and Kleftiko, and without the crowd of Santorini. From Milos you can also reach the pretty Kimolos, very cute island and amazing food. Also, if you don't want to rent a car, for Kimolos and Antiparos you really don't need, walking is enough!

I hope you will make a beautiful trip!!

Posted by
3317 posts

Bet Lou, I think some research on your part is necessary, I've been to all the islands you mention, my feedback:

MILOS - Public transport is lame even in high season and in Mid-may, zip. Bus skeds are for benefit of workers; they come IN to port n AM, and out at end of day.. very little in between. Pre-season, all the restaurant choice & nightlife is in Adamas so you have to stay there, where the beach is No Good Then how do you get places? Suggest limiting stay to 3 days: DAY 1, explore port town (do NOT miss the fascinating Mining Museum, unforgettable video about miners!) Then bus UP to the high town (Plaka), check before u go about a return bus time! . If forecast is good for next day, then before dinner walk the row of BOATS lined up in port & pick one for a round-island or half-round (my choice) daytrip -- the large catamaran is better than a small boat because wind may force latter to go on motor only, not sail. Day #2 - Boat trip! Swims included & BBQ.. Great adventure! Day #3 - Bus to the MInoan RUins, & cataracts? Walk to a beach. In pocket have cards from TAXI drivers & call one to return to port town.

FOLEGANDROS - 2 days plenty here; it's all about the high Chora -- most perfect "postcard village" i've ever seen in my 12 Greece trips, and that's saying a lot. I HIGHLY recommend hotel Anemousa -- stunning cliff-edge view, infinity pool, all at budget rates while you feel as if you're in a "travel & leisure" video! Bus goes to OK not thrilling beaches; hike to high church is fun.

SIFNOS - A paradise for hikers, hillside villages are stunning, good food ... good bus system to beaches ... I'd recommend staying in Artemonas-Appollonia-Ano Petali (linked towns) bus to Vathy or Platy GIalos beaches... nightlife mainly in Appollonia. Many people recommend staying in port town, Kamares, but to me, it seems closed-in (between 2 high hills, best sunset tho. The walk from Appollonia to CHORA is easy (1 hr + if you don't get lost), and very worth it; you can get a bus back.

NAXOS and ANTIPAROS - both have been praised extensively on this forum, by me and many many others. They are THE best choices for nondrivers; Naxos because its bus system is so excellent, so many good restaurants there is SO much to see & do (I have been there 12 x for 4-6 days per time, and STILL have discoveries to make) , and Antiparos because it's SO charming and small, and you can stay right in its tiny port/pier area and walk Everywhere, to beaches & sunsets etc, and it's lit-up Agora maze at night is Magic.

I honestly cannot say which to drop from the list ... in my trips (with airtrips just as costly and lengthy as from Oz), I usually have coupled Naxos with 2 of the 4 others on your list for a 10-day stay. Actually your only solution is to return again!