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help with itinerary in june

Hello all,
thanks for your help in advance. I am travelling with my 21 yr old daughter to Greece from Oregon on June 22 via Rome then Athens. (we plan to head to Rome for a 2nd leg of travel in Italy).We are celebrating her college graduation. We would fly back to Rome from Athens on July 3 or 4th. She is more interested in relaxing on the islands. Not big into nightlife or parties. We would like the culture/people, nice villages, beautiful beaches (less crowded). Not much into crowds and touristy venues. She had at first wanted to visit Santorini but now changed her mind due to crowds and expense.(will save for another trip)
We think Milos would be a nice island and she wanted to go to Kefalonia to see the Melissani Cave and there seems to be many nice beaches there. So we though 2 islands would be fine with Athens to fly in and out of. These 2 islands now seem impractical as it seems they are far apart and there are no flights between them during our dates. So what would you suggest as an alternative island to one of the above. We would ideally like to see 2 islands in the time we are there- which could be staying on one and touring another. We are open to suggestions for a great first trip to Greece. And if possible suggestions for favorite places to stay on these islands that is not too busy or crowded and moderate price range. (we realize it is a busy time to travel)
Thanks
Annette

Posted by
1329 posts

Annette

You might consider Andros, the most northern of the Cyclades. It's off the main tourist routes and never gets very busy.

We've written up our thoughts on it and have put up some photos which will give you (hopefully) a good idea

http://www.greekramblings.org.uk/Andros.html

http://www.greekramblings.org.uk/Juicebox%20albums%20-%20Andros/Andros_overview_photo.html

You can't fly but can do a 2 hour ferry ride from Rafina, the second port of Athens, which is about 40 minutes by bus from the airport.

Cheers

Alan

Posted by
2952 posts

Hi, AE! -- I'm a bit confused about how much time in GReece -- June 22- July3?? Or is that partly Italy?? If all that is Greece, 11-12 days is ample for 2 islands; you could even squeeze in a 24- hour Santorini Stopover, just to see the "Famous Caldera View" that friends are sure to ask about. BtW, it doesn't work very well to Stay on one island and tour another -- ferry schedules are planned for the needs of Greek residents, not daytrippers. However, Naxos & Paros do have excursion boats that make a day trip feasible.

If you want 2 isles different from one another, moderate price, MILOS and NAXOS fill the bill. MILOS has ferries that go direct OR, as I said, u can stop 1 night at Santorini, which is in between. Here's a Scenario (only approximate, since lack of clarity about actual time in Greece:

JUNE 22 -- fly to MILOS -- Aegean flies @ 15:20 (3:20) and 18:10 (6:10pm), 45 minutes (the sole ferry is 3:30pm & total travel time to port/sail = 7 hrs!). To fully enjoy Milos requires car rental at least part-time; bus system is lame even in high season. Port town has lots of tavernas (restaurants), but the beach there is ick. Pollonia is a charming village, right on a beach, several tavernas. Milos has 22 (!!) beaches to choose from! HIGHLIGHT - ancient ruins, Plaka (hi town), and (DONT-miss) boat-trip around island rim, w. stops for swims, BBQs (many choices lined up in port nightly; our fave was catamaran). Plenty to do for 4 days! Some pix of Milos Highlights: https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157634779985764

JUNE 27 -- ferry to SANTORINI daily ferry 10:20 -12:30 or so. For just 1 nite, book less-expensive Hotel near caldera Rim (booking.com shows a fine Firostephani place, Hotel Mylos, has a room left but book NOW!). Strategy: Take Bus to OIA after 4 pm (when cruise crowds have left), to enjoy views, take pix. LEAVE by 6 when NEW mobs arrive for overhyped "Oia Sunset". My own sunset recommend: rooftop terrace of STANI restaurant in Fira http://www.stani.gr -- great views, bounteous dinner for €15 or so!

JUNE 28 -- Sail to NAXOS 10:45 - 12:10 -- this modern ferry has Back Deck to see view of Cliffs on Departure. In NAXOS, you can stay at St. George beach adjacent to town, a 15-minute stroll to its cafes, shopping, museums sights, and take a bus (every 30 mins) to the outer beaches like Prokopios, Plaka (avoid Ag. Anna). For moderate beach hotels look @ booking.com St. George Beach Naxos. SO much to do/see/experience in Naxos!! Port town has amazing winding stairstep lanes, a castle, Huge arch on a causeway, superb tiny museum w. priceless pre-historic figurines ... and the rest of Island has dramatic landscapes, marble mountains (!), farms, vineyards, hill villages ruins galore. Rent a car for 1 day to zoom around & see highlights. This photo album covers Naxos highlights: https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157634605629689/ You'll want at least 4-5 days here!

JULY (2??) -- Return to MAINLAND - Fly? OR 5+ hr ferry journey. If u do latter take large modern open-deck BLUE STAR ferry. Book on island, a few days ahead -- "reserved economy" seat (€38) , specify side section. Sit on deck to enjoy view, then use indoor reserved seats to read, snack, nap. Morning sailing 10 - 3pm eats up a day -- I like the one at 6pm-11:30, I call it the "sunset sail."

JULY 3?? -- if you wish, an Athens sightseeing day -- up early to be at Acropolis by 8 or so, beat the tour crowds ... enjoy Ancient Agora, Acropolis Museum; FREE audio downloads @ Rick S website lets you D-I-Y. Save your souvenir shopping for the Plaka shops on your last day .. then ON to Italy.

NOTE -- If you choose a scenario like this, your TOP options are (1) Milos Flight, (2) Santorini hotel, (3) Athens Hotel (4) Naxos hotel ... and you should find & book NOW... do the refundable/no deposit option. The ferry tickets can wait til you reach the islands.

Posted by
7 posts

Wow!
Thanks so much for the great advice! yes we will be in Greece for that long, Janet. (Till the 3 or 4th- will take a short flight from Athens to Rome- plan on booking that now too) We plan to head to Italy for a couple weeks after Greece.) I really appreciate the thought and detail put into your reply and advice. It sounds like a great plan! I like the Idea of Milos and Naxos with one night at Santorini. Definitely will book now (I know it sounds complicated but my younger daughter will already be in Greece with a college tour/course for 3 weeks- then we all fly to Rome- We were waiting to book everything until we had her plans finalized). I realize how fast it books up.
Thanks- it really helps to get some tips and advice from experienced travelers. We are very excited to experience Greece!
much appreciation!
Annette