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Island hopping in September

I have recently taken the RS Greece tour which was great and now would like to return on my own solo for a visit to some Greek Islands. Initial planning stage includes: fly from LA to Santorini mid September. I read that there are flights from Rome to Santorini so could fly LA to Rome and then on to Santorini vs flying into Athens then on to Santorini. I would spend 2-3 nights on Santorini. I would then ferry to Naxos to spend 4 nights during which time would take day trip to Delos/Myconos. Next I would ferry to Athens and then hopefully catch a ferry to Hydra for 2 nights and then hopefully get a ferry from Hydra to Aegina for 1-2 nights and then on to Athens for 3 nights.

My questions:
The day trip to Delos/Myconos I am assuming can be arranged while on Naxos. Do these include a guide or is it just the ride?
I am assuming that I can catch a ferry same day after arriving from Naxos on to either Hydra or Aegina is that possible at that time of year?
Is it possible to get a ferry from Hydra to Aegina or vice versa? The maps i have seen show ferry going between these islands but I can't seem to find on the routes listed.

Posted by
3120 posts

I think it's more just a ride to Delos and from there you'd be on your own. If you want a guide and the tour doesn't provide one maybe a travel office in Naxos can help you find someone to meet you there or travel with you from Naxos.

There is no direct ferry from Naxos to Hydra or Aegina. You must first return to Athens/Piraeus to make that connection.

Ferry schedules: www.gtp.gr

Posted by
1157 posts

I did the day cruise to Delos/Mykonos from Naxos. There was no guides or tour . . . you are on your own. Bring a good guide book and you'll be all set. I liked Delos far more then Mykonos because you are stepping back in time with some of the most remarkable archeological sites anywhere, almost on par with Pompeii and because no one is allowed to live on the island, unlike Mykonos which is visually stunning but overly touristed and expensive. Nothing wrong with that if you like that king of island.

You are doing a lot of island hopping . . . one thing to remember is the time to island hop is the time it takes to actually "hop" from one island to another. They may look close on a map but it does take time to go from one island to another, either waiting for the ferry and the ferry ride. You'll also have to go back to Athens and wait for a ferry to Hydra then return to Piraeus, wait for the ferry to Aegina then the ferry ride.

As stated there is no ferry from Naxos to Hydra or Aegina, you'll have to go back to Piraeus which will be a 4 hour ride.

You may want to consider cutting out an island or two and get a more feel for where you are.

Posted by
3317 posts

Hydra is very popular on this forum because of being in Rick's books. That is fine, but he does not really deal with islands. Hydra has a charming harbor with lots of donkeys and no cars. It gets a lot of daytrippers. No beaches. IMHO, I have found Aegina to have more interest ... and there is not that much traffic, believe me. In May I've walked along a road for a long while before a car comes along, and it's just a local going home.

Aegina has a superb Temple mid-island, a few beaches (the water is great in mid-september), an unpretentious but interesting port town, (go into backstreets & it's REally Greek!. This daytrip photo-album shows highlights well: https://www.flickr.com/photos/36264706@N03/sets/72157621604646139/detail/ It's easy to reach Aegina; 40 mins on hydrofoil (closed in, no deck, no view) or 1 hour on conventional ferry (half the travel time of Hydra). Photos show why the latter is yr choice if available -- views of sea, ships, liners, sailboats, gulls, waves shore. etc.

The daytime BLUE STAR 9:45 from Naxos arrives at 3pm... There are Aegina ferries about every 30-45 minutes; if you can't get a conventional ferry outbound, get a hydrofoil & plan to get a conventional one back.

Posted by
156 posts

So another question. If I drop Santorini and fly from Athens to Naxos are the views from the ferry on way to Delos/Mykonos day trip and then from Naxos to Athens similar as Santorini to Naxos. Different but as breath taking?

Posted by
3317 posts

If you want to see Santorini without staying there, you can do a day excursion Naxos to Santorini & back on Tuesdays on a dedicated excursion vessel - http://visit-cyclades.com/day-cruises/naxos-cruises That website provides both day cruises. Its €50 for Mykonos-Delos and €65 for Naxos-Santorini-Naxos .. but latter is a longer trip, and also, while you are there, it provides its own bus to get you from dock up to Oia, then after a couple of hours, back to Fira town, and then down again to the pier.... saves you lots of taxi fare or local-bus hassle ... AND there's a licensed guide aboard, if you want to learn as you go (or you can be on your own & just come back to the bus when it's scheduled to move on). In Mykonos, you just get transport to Delos, then Mykonos, then back to Naxos.

There are 2 excursion vessels, but in Sept would recommend choosing MV Alexander, its larger & much smoother ride if waves kick up ... the other, Naxos Star, bounces around like a cork they say. MV Alexander does Santorini only on Tuesdays. It does several trips per week to Mykonos-Delos.

The ferry ride from Naxos to Athens stops at Paros, but otherwise, pretty much just view of the sea.

Posted by
156 posts

I just purchased my flight to Athens and when i tried to make my flight to Naxos same day on Aegean I discovered the flight i thought i was going to be able to book at 12:55 was not available only 8:20 AM (i get into Athens at 10:30 am) ugh. I see that there is a ferry leaving from Rafina at 15:45 or a later one from Piraeus. Those are now my only choices that I can see. Anyone have any advice of other options? Also any knowledge/preference for leaving from one of the two ports?Cost/availability of taxis or other transport to Rafina?

Posted by
27062 posts

Rome2Rio.com links to the (Greek-language) web site of the bus operator KTEL. It appears to have buses from Athens (not sure where) to Rafina at least once per hour. More useful would be the approximately-hourly buses from the airport to Rafina, though Rome2Rio doesn't seem to know about them. The linked web site refers to this as the "summer" schedule, but I believe there would be good bus service in September.

The airport is rather far from downtown Athens, but both are under 20 miles from Rafina. One source has the bus time as about an hour; another says 30 minutes.

Rome2Rio.com estimates taxi fare from the airport to Rafina at 30 - 45 euros for a trip lasting less than 30 minutes. I don't know how subject this trip would be to traffic delays.

I would plan on the airport-Rafina bus and default to a taxi only if my inbound flight was very delayed.