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Greek Islands or Sicily

Hi. My husband and I are trying to decide between Sicily or Greek Islands for a week long trip in October. We have been to Italy before, spending most of our time in Rome and Florence. We are in our early 50’s and are healthy. We like beaches, good food & drink, some site seeing and relaxation.

Look forward to hearing your recommendations!

Gina in Minneapolis

Posted by
2876 posts

On this thread, you are always going to get arguments for the Greek islands ... are you seriously asking us to choose for you -- or is this a ploy for us to give you a detailed itinerary?? Have you done any research yet on your own? IF you want an online resource, this is a good one https://www.greektravel.com/greekislands/

If u consult any AMerican travel agents, they will automatically say "Santorini - Mykonos" because those are the Cliche Twins for Americans who choose on the basis of travel posters, calendars, YOuTube etc (And also because travel agents get paid on basis of hotels booked, and these 2 have the costliest hotels]. And they are the MOST tourisized, MOST expensive of all the Greek islands, as well as the least authentic by now.

When you say "week-long" do you mean 7 nights?... fly out on the 8th day? If that's the case, you MUST be back in the Athens area for the 7th night... cannot chance missing your homebound flight. In that case its 6 nights -- and as 2 do-able islands for First-Timers, I would say SANTORINI (2 nights), NAXOS 4 nights.

SANTORINI - ARR athens, allow 2 hrs layover to domestic flight to Santorini. Get a hotel with balcony on the Famous Caldera View (that's really what this island is all about). Beaches are black grit, just really with purpose-built tourist settlements, not villages. View sunsets, visit village of OIA 8-10 am (to miss cruise crowds), and after 36 hours, take 3:15 BLUE STAR ferry -- large modern ship w open back decks for view.. a nice 2-hr mini-cruise to NAXOS.

NAXOS - Book seaview balcony room by St. George Beach, directly adjacent to Naxos town, easy 10-15 minute stroll to attractions of port town -- shops, cafes, museums, tavernas nightlife. Car rental or day excursion to explore dramatic inland landscapes, hillside viillages, ancient ruins, vineyards etc. 15 miles of golden sand beaches. Fly back nooonish of y our last day before Departure day, go up on Acropolis at 4 pm for sunset & have gala last dinner.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you for your response. We have done some research, but we keep flopping back and forth.
I appreciate your island recommendation, I spent hours yesterday reading and looking at different islands.

Gina

Posted by
2626 posts

You can hardly go wrong, but if you are truly undecided on which you would prefer, this is a matter of logistics. What choice gives you the most time in country? A week is not a lot of time, so look at some specific flights and plans to get a sense of which would give you the most time.
I personally would not do any island hopping with a week--too much transit time. But, could you get a flight to Crete for example. You could also go to an area of Italy with Greek influence to get a taste of both--Fly to Naples and visit temples at Paestum for example (and the islands near there are just a short ferry hop).

Posted by
1917 posts

Hi Gina — we have made multiple trips to both Sicily and Greece, and I think Greece is more what you’re looking for.

Janet has given you wonderful advice on how to structure your trip. Santorini is breathtaking but busy. Naxos will give you relaxation and beautiful beaches and more of a “Greek experience.”

Another option would be to go to Crete and spend the whole week there. My husband and I will be spending four weeks on Crete in September. It is a huge island with so much to see that even in a month, we can only do the western half! But if you focus, you will get a good taste in just a week.

We are flying on one ticket from Denver to Chania, Greece (with stops in Munich & Athens). Going home, we had the same option. If you can book this from Minneapolis, it would simplify your logistics.

Western Crete has many incredibly beautiful beaches. And there are many Crete experts on this forum who can help you determine how to spend your week.

Have fun deciding!

Posted by
269 posts

As janet tells you if your return flight is 7 days after your arrival flight, going to Greece and visiting Athens + Santorini + another island will not really be the relaxation you are looking for.

If you want to go to Greece also look for Crete as advised by Charlene and valadelphia.
You will have the beach, the food and you will not have to take a ferry or a plane every 2 days.

However, Sicily can also be a good destination, it's different from the Italy you already know with Rome and Florence.

In October the weather in Sicily and in the Greek islands is about the same.

Posted by
998 posts

Lots of good suggestions already. As stated Crete will suit your needs. There are archaeological sites Minoen to Roman time lines, cities with 14th century old towns and harbours like Chania great beaches and friendly population who are happy you have chosen Crete to vacation.
You do not have sufficient time to really explore Crete but if you concentrate your week in one section of teh isalnd you will have a satisfying vacation.
I suggest west Crete and Chania specifically.
Here are some images perhaps they will help you decide.
Chania https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157632117917828

Chania 2018 https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157674446812148

Western Crete https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157632115757899