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Greece in September 2017?

I've always wanting to visit Greece specifically Santorini and thought since my birthday is coming up in September and it's kind of a big birthday Greece would be perfect. My max stay will be about 7 days. Does anyone know of any great vacation packages? I've researched the air fairs( I live in Charlotte NC) which aren't bad but I'm finding the hotels a little tricky. Ideally I would want to spend 3 days in Athens. Any ideas on hotels, homes and where to eat would be greatly appreciated. Also how is it for traveling as a single female there?
Any suggestions are welcome and for any other Islands too

Thank you!

Posted by
1157 posts

Santorini is going to be one of the most popular, heavily touristed and most expensive of the Greek Islands. How much of a "Greek" experience do you want? Tradition, culture, laid back or over-the-top tourism, partying, nightlife and higher prices?

There are numerous Greek Islands that can offer a Greek Experience be it Disneyland Greece or Traditionalist Greece.

September will be off-season so Santorini will not be as crowded as July/August but expect multi-cruise ships offshore spewing out hundreds of tourists. If that's something you can deal with you'll love Santorini and it's fantastic vistas. If you want Greece then maybe another island would be more in line.

Three days in Athens will give you enough time to see everything one goes to Athens for. Just depends on what your schedule is for Athens . . . at the start of your trip or at the end. Many recommend leaving Athens for the end of your trip to ensure getting back in time for your flight in case of strikes, weather or other cancellations.

Athens is one of Europe best bargains with a wide assortment of areas and options to look into.

Check out Matt's Greek Guide for more info:
https://www.greecetravel.com/

Posted by
3120 posts

Although nowhere near as busy as July and August, September is no longer "off season" on Santorini. It will still be very lively. Everything will be open. Cruise ship passengers will still be moving around the island in tour groups or on their own, so be prepared. That said, Santorini is still and excellent choice for its amazing beauty and for the variety of things to see and do there. You won't be disappointed. For your hotel choices, you haven't mentioned what your maximum daily room budget will be so you're on your own. Use the filter system at www.booking.com to find what you want, where you want it, and at the price you prefer to pay. You'll need to do more research to decide where on Santorini you want to stay. I prefer Oia, the most beautiful village on the island.

You will be perfectly safe. Just use the same common sense you use now.

Start thinking in EURO so as to avoid any confusion. Save Athens for the end of your trip so you don't have to scramble back to the mainland at the last minute for your flight home.

Posted by
1157 posts

Santorini will be "lively". Nice way to say over-crowded with huge cruise ships spewing out hundreds if not thousands of tourists at a time, even "off-season"

While visually spectacular with stunning views you will have to push and shove your way to get the best views if you can at all.

Views are plentiful all over the Greek Islands and mainland . . . some almost unknown to tourists and a fraction of the costs of Santorini and you'll have the views to yourself, especially September.

Posted by
10 posts

Thank you for the response,
Tommyk5,
I'm looking for tradidtion, culture and more laid back experience while trying to stick to a strict budget, when I travel I tend to avoid the typical touristy places and go for more authentic experience with the locals, that said Greece will be the first place I visit where I don't already know someone(from there) to tell me where to go.
So from both your's and Lee's response it looks like Santorini won't be what I'm expecting anyway since I'd really like to avoid the influx of cruise ship passengers.
Lee, my max hotel budget is around $110 per night but I have seen some cheaper ones, has anyone tried airbnb there? I will look into Oia as you mentioned it's beauty.
Tommyk5 what other Islands do you suggest? the touristy cruise ship is already slightly turning me off of Santorini at least for stay more than a day.

Thank you!

Posted by
1157 posts

BeccaD:

I would never tell someone not to go anywhere in Greece be it Santorini or elsewhere. Everyone has their own opinion of what they want for a Greek Island and/or Mainland Experience. First timers usually get influenced by travel magazines, travel agents, web sites, etc. about an island like Santorini. It does have spectacular scenery and "looks" Greek.

My favorite Greek Islands are Sifnos, Milos, Naxos, Amorgos, Astypalea, Tinos with Tinos turning out to be a gem of an island. Astypalea has in my opinion the most beautiful Chora, Sifnos is starting to gain popularity but still is Greek, Milos is nice, Naxos is a wonderful combination of Old & New World Greece.

Numerous other lesser- known islands: Ikaria, Fourni, the Small Cyclades, Skyros, Kythira, etc. Don't overlook the mainland, especially the Peloponesse Peninsula, especially Nafplio, one of Greece's loveliest towns and close to World Class Archeological Sites.

I would recommend the Blue Guide to the Aegean Islands, Greek Island Hopping for guide books and check out Matt's Greek Guide for everything on Greece:

http://www.greecetravel.com/

In the end you are the one to make a decision. Do your research and ask questions. Greece is a wonderful country filled with history, kind, courteous and passionate people and some of the best food in the world and the prices are more than reasonable.

You'll find September an ideal time to be in Greece . . . off season, less tourists, low prices and still nice weather.

Posted by
1 posts

my partner and I are also planning to go to from Atlanta to Greece first week of Sept (for her big birthday) so maybe we will cross paths. We are just starting our planning. Thank you for posting and sharing these insights

Posted by
15580 posts

I was recently on an RS Greece tour and we spent 2 nights on Hydra. There are ferries from Athens/Piraeus - takes about 2 hours. No motor vehicles allowed on the island, lovely beaches, good restaurants, lots of atmosphere . . . perfect getaway.

Posted by
10 posts

Thank you again tommyk5 the info you gave is very helpful!
beth4166 hope you have fun on your trip also. I'm planning on just booking the air tickets in the next few days and continue my research on which Islands to go. Wish I could take an entire month to go and see everything, it all sounds so beautiful and I can't wait to sample the food and meet the people!

Posted by
3592 posts

Just back from Greece. I wasn't traveling single, but I can't imagine it would be a problem. We've been to seventeen countries, and never experienced nicer people. I also don't think your hotel budget will be a problem, especially if you cut Santorini. A couple of times we splurged and went up to $175/night, but no need for that. Several of our very nice stays were + or - $100/night, including big breakfasts. Look on booking.com to get a lot of possibilities all listed in one place. Also, be sure to check on interisland connections before making any set in concrete plans. Some entail very long ferry journeys; some require a return to Athens; and some are very expensive. With your limited time, I'd be inclined to say stick to the Peloponnesus.

Posted by
1157 posts

Your budget for accommodations is high (which I guess is good) but since September is the start of off-season you can do a lot better for less, especially if you deal directly with the accommodations owner. What I normally do is use a third-party agency like booking.com or trip advisor to search for something and when I find it I go directly to the accommodations' website and see what they offer and their prices. Often times you'll get a better price and more friendlier customer service.

When I go to Greece in October either solo or with my partner we get very good offers for decent accommodations. Nothing fancy or over-the-top but a standard studio, kitchen area, bedroom and nice balcony goes for around 30 euros for a single or 50 euros for two.

Obviously you can spend a whole lot more for something outlandish but why spend extra money for a place when you'll be spending more time outside of it? As long as it's clean, safe and centrally located you can get outstanding deals off-season.

Use this excellent Greek website to seach for options:

http://www.gto.gr/index.htm

Just enter a destination (island group or mainlan) and you'll have many options, far more than third-party websites.

Posted by
10 posts

Thank you tommyk5, for some reason I thought the budget for accommodations would need to be high so good to know I can find cheaper as I would prefer spending it on food or the scenery.

Posted by
1 posts

I'm planning a trip to Greece the last part of September as well & am very interested to see all the replys & follow along with your plans.

Melissa

Posted by
3120 posts

Melissa, you're better off starting your own thread and asking the questions tailored to your particular trip to Greece. You'll get a lot more information that way instead of waiting for someone to add to a week-old posting.

Posted by
1117 posts

Hi Becka,

I wouldn't want to be quite as discouraging as some of the other posts. Santorini, in my opinion, is a great place for your first Greece vacation. Yes, there are many tourists, but they are there for a reason. Santorini is just spectacular.

If you are on a budget, yes, Santorini is a very popular island, and hotels generally are more expensive than on other islands. But some extra Euros spent on a room with a crater view are well worth it, in my opinion.

Many cruise ship tourists never get much farther than Thira unless they are with a guided tour, so I really wouldn't worry too much about those and just enjoy your stay.

Now if you do want peace and quiet and not so many tourists around you, there's an easy way to find an island that will offer more of that: Pick one that doesn't have an airport.

Greece, in my opinion, is one of the safest places to travel alone as a woman; the islands especially.
I've had men make passes at me in really pushy and unpleasant ways in Rome for instance, but none of that - ever - in Greece.

That said, in Athens you should observe the same precautions as in all big cities, but that's mostly concerning pickpockets. The Athens taxi drivers used to be notorious for taking clueless tourists on huge detours and charging fantasy prices, but the city has pretty much put a stop to that by posting the fares all over the place.

Posted by
1368 posts

If you do choose Santorini as your island of choice there are ways to manage the crowds. You can look for a hotel in Firostephani. It is essentially part of Fira but just far enough away that the cruise ship crowds don't go there. You can get the same great Caldera views. You can manage your contact with the crowds by going into town early and again after they depart. You can watch the sunset from your balcony.
The problem is two fold most of the good properties are sold out on booking dot com and they are expensive.
I randomly selected 3 nights Sapt 12 and found only 1 hotel with the caldera view and within your price range. It was hotel Mylos at US 148 per night. A bargain for sure.
You could also look in Imerovigli which has caldera views. Its closer to Oia.

One year we stayed in the tiny village of Finikia. Its less than a kilometer from Oia and has lovely sunset views over the Aegean side of the island. This is not a caldera view but its pretty nice. We would walk into Oia in the morning and wander around. Its quiet and peaceful then. Around 10 there will be an invasion of about 30 tourist buses thats the time to find something else to do. In the evening we watched the sunset from our hotel then walked into Oia for dinner. By then the crowds will have departed and its quiet again.
You can see it in this album
Santorini http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632154800782/

You should fly to Santoirni immediately on landing in Athens. There are at lest 6 daily flights to Santorini on Aegean airlines. Return to Athens for the end of your trip so you are on the mainland before your return flight.

Posted by
1157 posts

A poster stated if you want peace and quite then don't go to an island with an airport. I would have to disagree. Astypalea, Skyros, Ikaria, Kythira, Karpathos and several other smaller, less-touristed islands have airports which make it very convenient and quick to get to. They are not overly touristy, tend to be more traditional and if you go in September you may be one of the few tourists.

I flew to Astypalea in early October from Athens and only saw two other tourists (a couple from Sweden) the rest were locals which made the experience even that much better.

The other islands I mentioned are also not as well known as the Big Name Islands which have airports Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, Corfu, and Crete can get very crowded, be more expensive and may not meet some people's idea of a Greek Island. However, Crete is a large island and you can find traditional Greece just about anywhere.

So, don't overlook "some" islands with airports . . . they could very well be what some look for to escape the touristy islands but still be easy to get to, quick and really not that much more expensive than a long ferry ride.

Posted by
1117 posts

@Tommyk5: You got me wrong. I did not say "if you want peace and quiet, don't go to an island with an airport". I said "if you want peace and quiet, go to an island without an airport".

There is a small but significant difference between the two sentences. I'll leave it to you to figure it out. :-)

Posted by
10 posts

Anna , it looks like I'm putting Santorini back on as it really was a bucket list to do and I'd like to see for myself, at this point I get the feeling I'd be hard pressed to pick a favorite so I'll go with my first choice of Santorini & Athens. Something also tell me that I'll be doing return trips there so I can visit other Islands next time.
Stanbr, I did see see that hotel Mylos on booking.com and the price shouldn't be a big deal after all as I may not be travelling alone after all. And yes I will definitely take the advice and fly straight to Santorini after arriving in Athens and do Athens at the end as recommend by all.
Tommyk5, this is what I have so far... I'll arrive in Athens Sept 21st around midday and hopefully get a flight straight to Santorini (I haven't booked that flight yet but told I can wait) on the 23rd or 24th I was thinking of a day trip to Naxos but not sure if it's at all feasible but I did email the blue star ferry for timetable & prices, they emailed me back saying they sail from Santorini to Naxos on the 24th at 12:55 for 21 euros, I figure the day may be wasted travelling so if we don't go to Naxos then I leave for Athens the 24th and spend the remaining time there before returning home on the 27th. I think the hotel is now my issue as everything seems to be booking fast even though it's the off season.
any recommendations for taxi service or other ferries?

Thank you guys so much & I am super excited to see Greece!

Posted by
1368 posts

You have so little time so a day trip to another island probably isn't a great idea. There are two ferries on the 23rd that get you into Naxos in the afternoon and one ferry the blue star that departs Naxos around 11 PM back to Santorini.

Posted by
91 posts

The 3rd week of September is absolutely not off-season, in fact it's only 1 step down from the hideousness of August! But at least it shouldn't be quite so terribly hot. The sea will be lovely & warm. It's a very popular time for masses of people to travel, especially Europeans without school-aged children, older people etc.
Santorini will still be very busy; you will, I think, find it expensive, & you will be advised to book accommodation before travelling.

Posted by
1157 posts

Anna: Sorry, my mistake.

I still say you can find quiet Greek Islands with airports including Astypalea, Skyros, Ikaria, Kythira, Lemnos and several others. And since the poster is going in September it will make a Greek Island with an airport even easier to get to. When I flew to Astypalea on a small prop airplane in early October there was a total of 4 passengers on the plane including me. The rest were locals!