I am seeking advice or suggestions regarding Islands within the Cyclades group of Islands. We are spending 4 days on Santorini, and are looking at either 2 nights on another 2 separate Islands, or 3-4 nights on one only. Initially, I had looked at Ios then Naxos, however, it appears Ios is for a much younger crowd. So given we are early 50's, I am now contemplating Naxos and/or Paros. I have visited Trip Advisor to try and gain some insight, but am interested in perspective of other travellers who have visited either these two Islands or can suggest alternatives.
YOu should consider just one additional island… it can take over half a day to change islands even when the 2nd island is visible from the first! In 11 trips to Greece, I've visited most of the Cyclades islands, some of them many many times. Naxos or Paros are among the most convenient, coming from Santorini and I'm famously biased toward Naxos. Great for all ages, good night-life in season, but not over the top. However, we can give u the best advice if you share some important added information; (1) exactly when are u going? situation differs greatly if it's late-july/August or May-June or Sept and (2) what's most important to you?? if swimming/beach-going is really key, perhaps u should think about lopping 1 day off Santorini (where the beaches are really not that much, it's all about the view), and adding a day to Island #2. Finally, (3) where/when do you have to be, after your island(s) time?? If you're flying home immediately afterwards, u should plan for the night before to be in Athens or the airport area… not safe to plan a connection to an overseas flight on same day. A few more details will help.
In that area we have only been to Santorini and Naxos. We loved Naxos and we spent 5 nights there. Four nights there would be just about right for you as it does take a few hours to get there from Santorini. If you're interested in history, from Naxos you can take a day trip to Delos; the entire island is an archaeological museum. The boat we took stopped at Delos for 3 hours and then at Mykonos (which we would not have chosen, but had no choice) for 3 hours before returning to Naxos. We stayed at a hotel near Georgios beach and within 15 minutes walk of the old town. The old town of Naxos is very interesting. We also rented a car for one day to visit sights on the rest of the island. We were in our late 60s at the time, not sure if that info will make you more or less interested in our comments :)
Thank you both for your advice and insight. We are travelling from Athens to Santorini on 14th September. I am not really an avid beach goer, preferring the hotel pool if I feel like a swim, but love the idea of strolling through the towns, enjoying restaurants and cafés, with some sightseeing here and there. Prior to the Greek Islands, we are doing a whirlwind tour of Italy, so this portion of the trip is predominantly for relaxing. I have allocated 2 nights in Athens prior to our fight home, and as we have done Athens relatively thoroughly 5 years ago, this time is to re explore the city centre. Would you suggest Naxos for 4 nights, perhaps doing a day trip to Paros?? I think we have decided to fly from Athens to Santorini, as 45 Mins on a flight v 8 hours on a ferry doesn't excite me. However, from Santorini to Naxos, ferry appeals, purely for the relaxation aspect. Any advice is greatly appreciated!!
I would suggest Naxos for 4 nights, including a day trip to Delos. IMHO, Naxos and Paros are pretty similar, so I am not sure it's worth taking time from your relaxing to do that day trip. However, Delos is unlike anything you'll ever see and I think it's highly worthwhile.
We also flew from Athens to Santorini and then ferried from Santorini to Naxos and then Naxos to Pireaus. We have not been to Paros so can't comment on that island, but can agree that Delos is very special.
Naxos Archological Museum is where I first fell in love with the simple Early Cycladic marble figures (collection of these is second only to Athens). I also wouldn't miss a side trip to Delos. Buses can help you see more of Naxos with three or four nights there.
Thanks to all for suggestions. I have booked 4 nights in Naxos, and will definitely look at a trip to Delos, it sounds amazing! If timing and relaxation allows, maybe a day trip to Paros.
Hope you have a great time and love it as much as we did!