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First time to Greece - Milos or Paros or Naxos or....?

Hello Forum - I've posted similar type questions on other sites and someone reminded me about Rick Steves! So, here we go:

My wife and I will be taking our first tip to Greece this September. As of now, our itinerary is:
Athens 2 nights
Santorini 3 nights
Another island 4 nights.
Athens 1 night

It's the "another" island I need help with. We are each 60 years old but fit and active. We love the beach, we love the water. We are looking for a more relaxed vibe after Athens and Santorini. We are hoping to find a luxury hotel near the water and within walking distance to a town. I have/had it narrowed down to either Milos, Naxos or Paros. I think now Milos is off the list just because I think we prefer more of a sandy type beach. We aren't shoppers. We prefer to just be outside soaking in the sun and being on the water. Thank you!

Posted by
1780 posts

Looking for a "luxury hotel near the water and within walking distance to a town" will considerably narrow the possibilities.

There are not really towns on the islands. There is a main town, often the one where the ferries arrive, but all the other places are villages of a few thousand inhabitants at most where you will always find bars, restaurants and a few shops and services.

Also, try not to focus on the term "hotel", luxury or not. On the islands there are many accommodation options of all categories that are not called "hotel".

Knowing that in this forum you will not escape being recommended to go to Naxos, I will list some other possibilities among those that I know:

  • Milos:

The only option in Milos is Pollonia in the north of the island where there is a small beach, otherwise you will not find a beach within walking distance of the town in Milos. The southern half of Milos is a Natura 2000 protected area where there are no villages and very few homes.

Pollonia in Milos:

  • Paros

In Parikia, the capital, there is a beach (not great compared to the others Paros beaches) or Aliki in the south of the island which is a nice little village / fishing port with an acceptable beach.
I do not recommend Naoussa in the north of the island which is very well known among Instagrammers, internet influencers and other sellers of honeymoon packages, it is a fishing village transformed into a collection of luxury boutiques. You will have already seen this in Santorini. Additionally there are only two tiny beaches facing north.

The best beaches of Paros being in the East, see the village of Piso Livadi.
From Paros you can go on a day trip to Antiparos



Piso Livadi:

- Amorgos

Close to Santorini there is also the island of Amorgos, an exceptionally beautiful island which will make you regret having stayed so long in Santorini, where there are two possibilities: the villages of Katapola or Aegiali (I prefer Aegiali). There is a nice beach in Aegiali. The downside is that there is then a 5 hour ferry ride back to Athens

- Sifnos

Sifnos can also be an option with Kamares, the port of arrival and especially in several others villages in the south of the island with beautiful beaches like Vathi or Platis Gialos. Sifnos is a 3-hour ferry ride from Santorini and brings you closer to Piraeus.

Posted by
1362 posts

I am not sure where you are coming from or what time you will arrive in Athens however we always try to get out to our first island the day we arrive in Athens. We always leave our Athens stay to the end of the trip. You have to be in Athens at least the day before your return flight so logistically spend all three Athens days at the end of the trip.
We get to Santorini on day of arrival. It is popular so there are lots of flight options to get there.
In my opinion Naxos makes a great companion island with Santorini. It is just a 2 hour ferry trip. You can be in Naxos around noon and will be on the beach in no time.
You might want to look at a hotel at St George beach. Its part of Naxos town so you get all the activities of the town and a really good sand beach. Naxos town is interesting to explore with its lovely waterfront promenade and harbour, It has many back alleys and is topped off in the Venetian era Kastro.

If the town is not want you then consider Plaka beach which is 7 km from Naxos town. The beach is good sand and is about 7km long. The main road is lined with tavernas and hotels.
Here is what Naxos is like.
Naxos 2022.
Naxos town 2022
Saint George Beach
Plaka Beach Naxos

Posted by
1 posts

We sound very similar- age and interests and heading to Greek Isles in sept for 14D honeymoon! This has been helpful.

We are considering Santorini(1), Ios (3), Naxos(4), Milos(4), and Athens(1). Curious about everyone’s feedback on Ios. Have you considered it?

Posted by
4 posts

After much research and a lot of feedback on TripAdvisor and Reddit, we have decided on Paros. So, here's our itinerary:
2 nights Athens - Athens Capital Hotel MGallery - will be doing a private tour with Alternative Athens one day
3 nights Santorini - Andronis Boutique - doing a sailing trip one day
4 nights Paros - Andronis Minois - within walking distance to Parasporos Beach
1 night Athens - Sofitel Athens Airport

Posted by
1593 posts

If you haven't already made your airline reservations, I recommend that you fly directly to Santorini. After Santorini, take the Blue Star Ferry to Paros. After Paros, fly to Athens airport, take a taxi or public transportation to your Athens Hotel, and spend your last 3 nights in Athens. With your current itinerary, your last night at the Athens Airport Sofitel is kind of a wasted night. If you save all your Athens time for the end of your trip, your last night will be a more enjoyable night in Athens.

Posted by
4 posts

I've already made all my travel reservations. I know a lot of people say to fly to your first island as soon as you land in Athens but I prefer to get the Athens sightseeing done first then hit the islands. I'd rather have jetlag in Athens than Santorini. We are flying to Santorini from Athens. Taking the ferry from Santorini to Paros. Then, flying from Paros to Athens. We are coming from the US.

We did something similar when we went to Italy. We spent our first few nights in Rome after we landed then went on to other parts of Italy then spent our last night in Rome before flying out. 6 of one...

Posted by
1780 posts

Just to warn you that from the Andronis Minois hotel in Paros you will be almost 2 miles from the town of Parikia, its restaurants, bars and shops.

If you don't have a car it will be difficult to get around.

Posted by
4 posts

After being in Athens in Santorini we are just going to want to chill. But thank you for the advice.

However, “Andronis Minois provides its valued guests daily shuttle service between the hotel or Olvo restaurant and the town of Naoussa. | 1.00pm-11.00pm”

And, I’m sure if we and when we go into Parikia we can find transportation through the hotel.