Considering a 2 week trip to Greece in October 2016. Looking for suggestions. What islands would you recommend. Want to visit Santorini and Mykonos as well as some of the less touristed islands. Do you need a car in these places to explore. How easy is it to go island hopping. Would plan 1-2 days in Athens. Is there anywhere on mainland Greece that is recommended. Our typical European trip is to base in an apartment or house for 1-2 weeks and explore by car. How would this work with island travel.
Do you have a Greece guide book yet? If so, great. If not I would suggest you get one soon to help in your planning. We used the RS Greece Guide Book in planning for our trip to Greece in 2014. You might want to return to this web site after you have narrowed down your plans some to ask more specific questions that the folks on this web site may be able to answer.
Charlie is right ... you'll do best to inform yourself a bit more about Greece, browse guidebooks look at a map, select some places that interest you beyond the "cliche twins" that Americans all seem to name first (Mykonos/Santorini -- the most touristic, least Greeklike, invaded daily by huge cruise ships). You need to know more because you are currently asking questions as if we are travel agents. When you have more of a grasp on your interests, we can answer specifics, rather than planning out your entire trip for you.
As for your last sentence, Greece is not a" typical European trip." We see this "base" strategy cited by people who go to Tuscany ... there you can rent a villa, then drive 30 miles in each direction every day, and see an new area, then return to villa by dinner time. If you are going to the greek islands and drive 30 miles an any direction, you drown! No, what you do is go to one island, stay a few days, then move on to the next. That's why they call it Island-HOPPINg, not Island-basing. If you can deal with the idea of never really unpacking your clothes into a bureau, and being on the move a bit, then it's a Great Adventure! Happy planning!
First some answers that I think most who have traveled to Greece can agree on, the concept of a "base" on an island does not work well, mainly because there are not really frquent inter-island ferries going back and forth. They tend to have a ferry come through on a route, usually in each direction, serving a string of islands. This means that you certainly can get to the next island, but maybe not back on the same day. For closely packed islands, there may be some private boats, but plan on hitting one island then moving on.
As mentioned, Ferries take a route, so islands you choose need to be on a common route or have connections. To randomly choose islands may mean lots of travel time, heading back to Athens to catch another ferry, or overnights in a port to catch a ferry the next day. Mykonos and Santorini can be done easily together, as can Naxos, Paros, and several other islands, but mixing in Rhodes, Samos, or Patmos for example would take some time and planning.
For each island, figure your day of travel between islands is mostly taken up with travel, so the very minimum would be two nights on an island, better to have three so you have two uninterupted days on the island, so for two weeks look at the most 4 islands, more likely 3 plus some time at the beginning and end on the Mainland.
For October in the islands, it is still a good time to visit, things will be slowing down on some islands, maybe some places shutting down for the season on smaller islands, but still plenty of services. Don't overlook the mainland or even Crete. There is of course Delphi and the Meteora on the mainland, and the Peloponnese is packed with great sights and towns (Naphlio, Epidaurus, Mycenae, Olympia, etc.)
Check out Matt's Greek Guide . . . it's one of the best for everything Greece: