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Help with ferry from Piraeus to Naxos to Sifnos in July?

I will arrive at Athens airport at 2:45 pm on Thursday July 12th and will be taking a ferry from Piraeus to Naxos and on to Sifnos 7 days later. Will I be able to catch an early evening ferry or do i need to wait until the next morning? I am not seeing any ferry schedules this far out and would like to book hotels asap. I would greatly appreciate any assistance. Karen

Posted by
3364 posts

Even in High Season, there are fewer from Naxos to Sifnos, than from other island. those are my 2 favorite islands, but they are on different ferry routes -- Western Cyclades, and Central Cyclades. You might find that PAROS or SANTORINI have more -- in the past they've had ferries more times a week to SIFNOS.

However, you may get lucky. There is a way to check what the "pattern of service" was last year. Use the Ferry search site http://www.openseas.gr/openseas/en/ -- it has a magical feature. Put in Your start=port and your destination. The Date slot calendar has a LEFT hand arrow ,.. and when you click it, you can roll back to July of 2017. Choose the DAY of week, not DATE you want. For instance, the 3rd Thursday in 2017 was July 20, not 19th Last year there was a SEAJET from Naxos to Sifnos on Wednesday july 19, 2017 at 17:25 (5:25 pm).... and no ferry on Thursdays or Fridays last year. Same applied to PAROS. Last year Santorini offered 2 sailings, AM and early afternoon, on both Thursday & Friday. Thus if you wanted a 1-night stopover in Santorini, you could take the noon BLUE STAR from Naxos stay 1 night just for the View, then leave Santorini on Friday Morning or noon.

Of course 2018 schedules may differ... just keep this website in mind. And BTW, about hotel bookings .... some hotels have a "bottom dollar" price with no change/no refund on booking.com and also their own sites. But usually for a slightly higher rate €10 or so, almost all Greek hotels & pensions offer cancellation/change without penalty, as long as they are notified 2 weeks or so in advance. So its risk-free. In addition, I've always found, in 12 trips, that once you make a reservation, island hotels can work with you if you have to "tweak" your arrival or departure by a day. They are islanders! They know about Ferry vagaries.

Another thing -- this is often the time of year when hard-working owners-managers of small family lodgings (the BEST kinds to stay in , IMHO) decide to take a little time off.... especially if they are open from Easter through October. So if you send an inquiry and get no response, don't think they're ignoring you. They may just be on holiday themselves, or in Athens for a dental appointment and shopping etc. Just try again.

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you Janet. I was not aware of this feature when searching this ferry schedule site. After reviewing the schedule I think we will spend our first night near Piraeus and catch the ferry first thing in the morning. I think we might be cutting it to close with getting out of the airport, collecting our luggage and transportation to the port during rush hour. Your advise has served me well over the years. We took our first trip to Greece in 2008 and since then we have been to Nafplion, Naxos, Santorini, Kefalonia, Milos and Athens. With your help, along with Brotherleelove and Stanbr we have had great adventures and seen many beautiful sights. The scenery, food and people of Greece can't be beat. Thanks again. Karen

Posted by
3364 posts

Hi Cookie -- in my ferry advice, I only dealt with the Sifnos ferry challenge, not the challenge of getting the 5:30 Blue Star to Naxos. I have usually thought that just under 3 hours would be enough to catch a ferry -- but several things are different in y our case:
• I've usually dealt with 9 - 10 AM plane arrivals (mostly nonstops from N. America and 99% on time) -- but if you have a connection in Europe there's much more opportunity for delays
• Flight delays, and also slowdowns in a crowded airport are much likelier in July vs May-June-Sept
• and yes, the rush hour could wreck even the speediest airport exit

For an overnight in Piraeus (which I have never done), numerous people have told me that Piraeus Dream is a reliable hotel to use. As for dinner that night, look around carefully. As you already know from previous trips, the waterfront street itself can be very grungy and noisy, with heavy traffic, especially in July. If you want to get away, and dine with a much nicer view and some really fresh seafood, Greek friends have recommended a taxi to the Yacht Harbor, Mikrolimano (see this map - http://www.mappery.com/maps/Pireas-Hotels-Map.jpg

You're already familiar with Naxos locations but Once you tell us areas you're considering on Sifnos, I will probably chime in with recommendations (or warnings) ... like Naxos, Sifnos does have a quite good bus system, and you probably can manage without a car except perhaps for a one-day exploration.

Posted by
3136 posts

If you were to go to Sifnos first you can catch a ferry at 4:15 pm or 5:00 pm on July 12. It only takes 2.5-3 hours depending on which one you take. www.gtp.gr

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you Lee and Janet for your advice.

Lee, my only problem with trying to catch the 5 p.m. ferry is that my flight will not arrive until 2:45 p.m. that only leaves 2 hours and 15 minutes to get luggage, leave the airport, get transportation to the port and buy tickets for the ferry. I think it is just cutting it too close.

Janet, I see what you mean about the ferry schedule. I have been trying different scenarios to come up with something that will work and the only thing I have found so far is if I leave on Thursday I think everything will work out perfectly. My plan is to spend six nights in Naxos and four nights and Sifnos and then three nights at the end of our trip in Athens. I was trying to allow three days to get home only because of past experience with flight delays and ferry cancellations. We live in the midwest so I count my blessings if I only have 2 layovers. Leaving Athens to fly back to the US on a Friday may be risky.

For hotels I'm looking at Sigma Studios on St George Beach in Naxos and in Sifnos I'm looking at Alk Hotel in Kamares. In Athens I will use some hotel reward points.

Thanks for your help.
Karen

Posted by
3364 posts

In Naxos, Sigma studios is an OK location, as long as you get a front room, or one on upper floors. Their ground-floor back is not so much. also look (if available) at (1) Diogenis Studios http://www.studiosdiogenis.com and (2) Lefkas Studios http://www.naxos.gr/en/naxos/accomodations/where-to-stay/article/?aid=607 -- both even better, right ON beach and I believe same rates as Sigma or better.

In Sifnos, which I've visited 3? 4? times, I've preferred staying up in Hilltown of Ano Petali- Apollonia - Artemonas (the 3 are in a row, no division), and take the good bus system down to Vathy or Platy Gialos beach. One arrives at Kamares, and I've gone there for dinner, and it's on the west coast so has a nice sunset but frankly -- the town makes me feel a little "hemmed in" since it's a narrow port wedged between steep hills. Also, the beach is not that great (i've tried it 2x) ... it's cramped and narrow and full-ish even in may, and in July could be jammed. Also, with so much traffic from ferries and other vessels docking just a couple hundred yards away, the Kamares water gets constantly stirred up, and is brownish not clear and blue like the other beaches mentioned. Also, since it's the port town, the "main street" has been very very busy, day and evening whenever I've been there even in May; it would be more so in July! If you'd rather stay in the hills or on a beach, I have some suggestions. If not, I hope your lodging choice is way over at the far side from the ferry dock, where there is no beach, but you swim off some big rocks.