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Island hopping East to West: Keep Rhodes, but drop Santorini and Naxos for Nafplio and Hydra?

I love all the wisdom shared on this forum. It has helped us evolve our Greece travel plans, which get better with every bit of input we receive. Thank you! Here goes with another question ...

Following our "Best of Turkey" tour, we had planned to make our way back to Athens via the Greek Islands, starting with Rhodes. What I'm finding is that the travel time required between islands is a lot. To get from Rhodes over to Santorini requires either flying and connecting via Athens (so doubling back) or taking a red-eye ferry that arrives on Santorini at 2am. Ugh.

So, we are rethinking how we want to get back to Athens and how we prioritize our time. I would appreciate any insights.

Maybe we just stay on Rhodes for a week and then fly non-stop into Athens. And then spend 2-3 days each in Nafplio and Hydra. That would mean missing Santorini and Naxos entirely. My husband has been to Santorini already, so he's fine with this change. Would I be sorry for not getting to see these two islands? Or would Nafplio and Hydra more than make up for it?

Thank you!!

Posted by
2596 posts

It is hard to mix islands from different groups as you are finding. It makes sense to visit another island that is close to Rhodes as Jolui suggests. It doesn’t make much sense to me to fly back to Athens to visit Hydra which is something easily done by anyone visiting Athens.

I had wanted to visit Rhodes when I made my first trip to Greece. I had to nix it when I started to understand how the ferries and flights work. I have a friend whose husband has a family home there who spends two weeks every year there.

Posted by
3362 posts

Deborah, first of all, drop Hydra. People on this forum are always saying Hydra, Just because "Rick said so." He promotes it as an add-on to his mainland tours, so his followers can say "I was on a Greek Island." If you've been to any others, like Rhodes or the Cyclades, Hydra will be a let-down. lovely harbor, but almost no reachable beaches (people jump off rocks to swim, no outstanding landmarks, scenery etc. Celebrities have lovely homes, hid, away, but day-tripppers or overnighters, not so much. Jo Lui has given you some good choices, and you have plenty of time to research & make your choices.

We can help you organize a do-able itinerary... incidentally, when you want best advice, it's good idea to be Very specific on things like dates. I had to hunt up the Steves tour to find out when this "Post-tour" adventure begins. I gather the Turkey tour ends Sept 29 (a Friday?) in Istanbul, and then you're considering 2 weeks in Greece. Earlier there's a handy ferry from Rhodes - Santorini 2x a week -- but the last sailing in 2022 is Wed sept 26, and I expect 2023 will be the same. If you could get into one of the earlier Turkey tours, that would be an elegant solution. However... my thoughts:

RHODES -- Sept 30-Oct 1-2... Stay in Old Town 2 nights, see stuff walk the top of the wall etc... 3rd day, rent car to see Lindos (don't stay there), then maybe drive west coast. If you wanted another Dodocanese Island, Kos is handy & has airport ... be aware it has a big presence of British "holiday-makers" with purpose-built resorts

FLY ATH Oct ? - rent car -- drive to Argolid area... Might want to stop At NEMEA and CORINTH CANAL
ARGOLID -- 6 days? You could split your stay between Old Town Nafplio and perhaps a relaxing beach place like this one just 20 minutes outside of Nafplio Since you've seen a ton of Greek antiquities in Turkey, maybe you'd just like to enjoy Argolid countryside, and tour a Nemean vineyard -- heart of red wine country.
ATHENS -- final 3-4 days.

Posted by
1506 posts

I was just on Rhodes and Kos which pair well together as they are 3 hours apart by ferry.
You’re correct in concluding the ferry ride from Rhodes to Santorini is just too long- a couple of them take 22 hours and the one that takes 10 hours arrives at 2am. You can book cabins on most long-haul ferries
but that doesn’t sound like it’s a consideration You can get to Santorini from Kos in 5.5 hours arriving at 2am. From Santorini you can get to Paros in 2-4 hours by ferry and then Naxos in 30 minutes. Naxos to Athens takes 3-5 hours.
To streamline your vacation it will be best to simply book flights from Rhodes to Naxos or Paros . That ticket will connect through Athens International Airport. It’s less expensive to book the ticket all the way through rather than buy two separate tickets, and the airline will also be on the hook to make sure you get there. To return to Athens it’s 3-5 hours by ferry from Naxos.
As others have said, ditch Hydra as it will be disappointing. Nafplio is awesome and just 2 hours by bus from Athens.
I assume you’re going next year because the Greek ferries start winding down their schedules in October and this year it looks like that is now already happening- another reason to fly rather than take the ferry for your plan.
You can view ferry info @
and for air ticket info.

Posted by
3362 posts

Kenko, that ferry from Rhodes/Kos that arrives in the wee hours has its last run for the season on Sept 26;, and OP won't arrive on Rhodes until Sept 29 earliest.... so it's not an option anyway.