My boyfriend and I would like to go to Greece in June or July for about a week, but I have no idea where to start planning. We both live in Western Europe, so we will be flying into Athens, I'm assuming. I just don't know which islands to go to. We are 25, but are mostly seeking a relaxed atmosphere, sandy beach, and traditional Greek scenery. We would also like to see some ruins, as well. Perhaps stay in a villa for a few days, then island hop? I'm not sure of how to plan this vacation, so any insight would be helpful!
If you only have a week in total you only have time for one island since you have to start and return from Athens. Island hopping requires more time than you've got if you want to relax and not get caught up in the hassle of moving around. I suggest you choose an island with an airport so you don't waste time on the ferries. High winds in July can keep a ferry from leaving a port.
Both Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines serve some of the islands. Check their websites for discounted airfare.
For the summer months, I think that Air Mediterranée and Aegean both offer some direct flights between points in France and some of the islands. You may want to check these out and this might help guide your choice somewhat.
Unless something has changed since last year all Aegean Airlines flights to the islands require a plane change in Athens.
Thank you all for the flight recommendations! I hadn't thought of that for island hopping. Are there any islands you would recommend for a first time traveler to Greece? Not looking for a huge tourist area, but just a nice beach and perhaps some Greek ruins nearby.
WHen you say "traditional Greek scenery"-- by that do you mean the "calendar look" of whitewashed "cube" houses with blue shutters, decked with Red Flowers? If so, you mean the Most popular Island chain -- the Cyclades. If you want to avoid throngs of tourists, I would suggest going in June rather than July. June is still off-season a bit in Greece but in July, the Jumbo Jets from europe will arrive and most "nice beaches" will see crowds…. especially beach islands that are easily accessible. You have something of a dilemma -- with only a week (which probably includes the days of travel to/from), it would save time to choose an island with an airport and direct flights from France. On the other hand, these are the islands that are likeliest to have the huge July crowds. Here's one thought for the Cyclades without a direct flight, but WITH a domestic flight -- Milos. Only 1 flight per day 6:45-7:25 about €60. You could Fly into Athens the night before stay at inexpensive Peris Hotel near ATH airport, take the Olympic dawn flight & have breakfast in Milos. Here's a good website VERY well illustrated, of its MANY beaches & sights - http://www.milos-island.gr … a special fun outing is a sail around the rim of the island, with stops for swims, BBQ, boating into caves etc. One alert: best to hire car or ATV or motorbike to explore the island … plenty to do & see for a week. At the end, there are several daily fast-ferrries (3+ hours) back to Mainland & Flight from Athens.