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Fine tuning Naxos and Athens trip

Greetings gang!

I am in one of my favorite parts of travel — the planning and research, a pleasure which I know many of you share. We will be traveling in late May through early June. There is a vacancy for an apartment at Villa Naxia (the deluxe studio is not available). I'm tempted to accept based on the stellar reviews the hotel has received. I'm also rather tempted by Kalergis Studios. We'll be on Naxos for 4 nights. I really want to be on or near the beach with sea views. I think both hotels have that. Anyone have strong opinions of one over the other?

In Athens I have just begun reading guidebooks but Plaka location seems most desirable. We'll be there for 2 or 3 nights at the end of the trip. The Electra Palace seems enticing. Does anyone have experience there?

Thanks as always!

Todd
Los Angeles

Posted by
5450 posts

We stayed on Plaka Beach for our week in Naxos. It is rated the best beach on the island and often in all of Greece. Have you looked in that area?

Posted by
3334 posts

Villa Naxia is excellent ... just back from the sands about 50 yards. Breakfast provided if u wish. Kalergis also V. nice -- right ON the sands, with its own sunbeds, and all units face the sea, w. balconies. Units have kitchenette corner, hotel does not do breakfasts (but there are cafes 50 feet from hotel). In late May, this location (St. George beach) is a good idea; at that time, this beach is just pleasantly populated,not crowded. Personally I've always enjoyed sunbathing there and watching all the blond toddlers waddling around with sunpails... That time of year, Scandinavians come there with their pre-schoolers. There are plenty of tavernas right on the beach for sunset dining, but I particularly like that it's an easy 15 minute walk along the waterside to all the attractions of the port town. You can spend an evening & stroll home by moonlight after a glass of wine or 3, without need for car, taxi or bus.

For a more extensive "beach day," I/we take a bus 25 mins out to Plaka beach which is the best beach of all ... in May/June its a glorious daytime experience (and there are a couple of outstanding restaurants there -- Petrino's and Nicholas & Marias. However, I'm still a fan of staying on St. George beach at the time of year you are going.

In Athens Electra Palace of course is very good if within your budget. Other places I like, south of the Acropolis, on no-cars lane, include Herodion Hotel w rooftop restaurant; others recommend Hotel Hera nearby. On all of course request high floor w balcony.

Posted by
11350 posts

We had a terrible experience at Electra Palace. We went to front desk in the middle of the night to ask to change rooms due to loud noises behind the wall of our room. Basically we were told we were crazy and that there was no noise! In the morning we contacted the manager who said our room was next to the pool equipment! We checked out and found a much better hotel.
It was the fact that the nighttime manager blatantly lied to us and that they would have a room in such a terrible location that I would suggest you go elsewhere!

Posted by
1378 posts

I should just copy Janets response and repost it. Its exactly what I would have said. I too think Kalergis is well situated as it goes right up to the beach. It is a studio so you can make snacks or Greek salad lunches which gives you some extra euros for dinner in Naxos town. St George beach is really an extension of Naxos town so you are just far enough away for quiet at night but just a stroll when you want to explore town.
Another very nice hotel is Hotel Kymata. It is about 50 meters up from the beach. Our second floor room gave us a 180 degree view over the rooftops to the sea. If you want to splurge there are two rooms on the top floor with amazing views.

Lastly if you want luxury consider Boutique hotel Glaros. All the rooms have a view of the sea and it was named one of the top 10 boutique hotels in Greece. We stayed there on our last trip. They pamper you.
Here are images of hotels at St George.
St George beach hotels. https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157632162394787
And Naxos
Naxos town https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157632094558042
Trip around Naxos https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157634605629689
Naxos sunsets https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157700728046481

Posted by
1379 posts

The Monastiraki is another good area in Athens. We stayed at the Attalos Hotel Athens - centrally located with a great rooftop view of the Acropolis.

Posted by
259 posts

Thanks everyone! This is just the kind of great feedback and guidance I have come to treasure from this forum over the years.

Posted by
3334 posts

Glad you like our ideas, Todd. as for Athens, I'm sorry to hear someone report iffy treatment at Electra Palace ... alas, it is just one more place that has suffered from "Rick-Worship" ... all too often the places he has recommended over the years become SO popular with "Rickheads" (people who never bother to research on their own, just blindly follow their Beloved leader)... then, such Hotels or Restaurants jack up prices, scenic destinations he once called "off the beaten path" become jampacked (Italy's Cinque Terre) so that the experience not only becomes costly but corrupted. Rick means well, it wasn't his intention, it just happened.

Those of us with leaner budgets than RIck have had to become true treasure-hunters, for shoestring finds. And I have seen my secret gems gain some fame just because I've been on these forums for 16 years or so, and always want my dear places to do well. As a result, in fact, now it's hard to get a booking at my favorite family-run spots in Athens, Santorini, Naxos and Sifnos -- luckily I've had no reports that any of them have changed in their welcomes ... and I still get hugs from my hoteliers when I show up.

Posted by
11350 posts

We didn’t know the Electra Palace was recommended by RS. We found it in another guide book , decided to book even though we always have avoided staying near the Plaka. Our replacement hotel in Athens was a joy after the Electra Palace.

Posted by
867 posts

Our stay at Inn Athens was terrific. Modern, immaculately clean, friendly and professional staff and a great breakfast. Easy walking distance to all attractions. Highly recommend!

Posted by
3334 posts

Suki, since you liked your "replacement" choice so much better, would you mind giving the name of that hotel? It would be helpful to others!

Posted by
11350 posts

High season,booking at last minute, we caved and spent the money for the Grand Bretagne. It was worth every penny, beautiful and historic well located hotel. Lovely service. They totally saved that part of our trip.
It was our second time in Athens and we had four great nights there. The treatment we received at Electra Palace was despicable and our dinner on their rooftop was terrible too.

Posted by
1 posts

Personally, I would avoid staying in the Monastiraki and Plaka areas of Athens. Yes, these areas are very close to the Acropolis, but they're also the most touristy, with elevated prices, people trying to sell you things, and restaurant touts on every corner.

Instead, consider staying in the Koukaki area, just south of Filopappou Hill. This district is full of independent galleries, cafes, restaurants and bars. It's where Athenians live, eat and have fun, and is full of character. You'll only be a 30 minute walk from the Acropolis, but will have an experience that's a thousand times more authentic and enjoyable than by staying in the centre of the tourist traps.

On Naxos, don't miss the hike to the summit of Mount Zas - the highest peak in the Cyclades and birthplace of the Greek God Zeus. The hike takes about 3-4 hours total, is moderate in difficulty, and rewards you with unbelievable views out over Naxos and several other islands.

Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
3334 posts

About Athens hotel choices, since Todd's budget seems adequate, I usually recommend hotels that are convenient to the Acropolis but less hectic than the area around Syntagma or Monastiraki or the Plaka area East of Acropolis, toward the National Gardens, all of which have tried in past. Too much traffic, day & night. I've come to prefer just South of Acropolis/Agora boundaries... there's a wide pedestrianized promenade (once a wide car-avenue) all along the southern perimeter, great for strolling, tree-lined, lovely pvt homes. Late in day, Athenians take their "volta" (walk)... baby carriages, kids on trikes, treat wagons, a balloon man... in May it can look like a postcard. Acropolis Museum fronts on this promenade & other side is S. Entrance to the ancient site. Nearby hotels include Hotel Herodion, Hotel Hera, Hotel Phillipos, Airotel Parthenon as well as pricier ones. High floors have views of Parthenon, some have rooftop restaurants -- none have 8 lanes of traffic roaring by.