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May 2024 - Santorini & Naxos

Planning to do a trip to Santorini, Naxos (and Athens before heading back home) and trying to decide on dates.
We were originally thinking of going in late April but have learned that it might not be opened up totally yet, too chilly for the beach activities and the prep of orthodox easter will change things.

So now we are thinking of heading that direction on May 6, 2024.

Orthodox Easter is May 5, 2024 - do the school kids get out for two weeks in Greece? If so, when? I’m assuming there will be lots vacationing when we are there if we did the May 6 date? Or will Greece school vacation be over with and they have all gone home?

Do you recommend still coming on that May 6 date or waiting until June?

Thank you!

Posted by
1936 posts

School holidays in Greece for Easter 2024 will be from April 29 to May 10.

Friday May 3 and Monday May 6 will be public holidays.

Many Greeks will be on the roads, taking ferries or flights to celebrate Easter with their families.

Each year additional ferries and flights are planned.

If you want to attend the Easter celebrations, now is the time or never.

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you!
What’s a great time to visit these islands without too many crowds, spending time outdoors and on the beach areas some with decent weather?

Posted by
3333 posts

May 15 - 31 ... water's warm enough to swim (brisk for 30 seconds then blissful), loooong day s, everything's open but not yet crowded... (this is IMPORTANT - now many less-visited Greek isles have been "discovered" and in 2023, unwelcome crowding later), and balmy weather ... again, with climate- change you can have a heaat-wave of 90+ F in early June. Another plus; shoulder-season room rates thru May 31.

Because you want to do Santorini, try strategy to avoid the worst crowds. For those monster cruise ships (3000 psgrs) -- the worst days (sometimes FIVE docked) are Mon AM thru Fri Noon. Thus u might consider a Flight Thurs PM May 16, arr ATH May 1 AM, get early aft Santorini flight.. just as MonsterShips depart. Stay 3 nights, then scram on ferry to Naxos for 7 days or so.

Posted by
1936 posts

I always stay between early May and mid-June, which is the best period (for me).

Fewer people, 90% of accommodations are open, prices are cheaper, vegetation is in bloom, days last longer, temperatures are ideal and the Greeks start the tourist season in top form (I've also been there at the end of September, and found the people tired).

If you have the opportunity to experience Easter there, don't hesitate.

However, be aware that in early May you will have a slightly chilly sea for swimming, and compared to other islands I'm sure Santorini will be crowded.

I will add to janet's warning about cruise ships arriving in Santorini:

For the week of May 7 to 12, between 2 and 5 cruise ships per day are expected with, each day, a total of passengers between 4000 and 8000

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you for all the information and also about the cruise ships.

Do you have recommendations of where to stay in Santorini and also Naxos? Area of town as well as any accommodations? Any airbnb/vrbo rentals?

We’re 2 friends in our 40’s doing a girls trip. Would like a safe and somewhat quiet area of town to sleep. Not into the loud nightlife.

Posted by
1376 posts

For Naxos you probably want to look for a hotel at St George beach. It is actually part of Naxos town so very convenient for exploring Naxos waterfront harbour and old town with its maze of back alleys leading up to the Venetian era Kastro. Naxos town is the transportation hub of the island with the ferry port and you can easily get bus transportation around the island particularly the Mountain villages.

St George has a good sand beach but is just far enough from town to be quiet at night.
There a few hotels taking 2024 bookings for May already on booking dot com however you are likely going to find many more choices in Late October early November. We have been going to Naxos for 30 years and have developed relationships with several hotel owners and I can't get a booking for May next year. They are all telling me wait till late October when we have time to set 2024 prices.
To whet your appetite
Around Naxos town 2022 https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72177720299959098
Back to Naxos 2022 https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72177720299940917
St George Beach https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72177720299943096

Posted by
7 posts

We decided on mid may to end of May 2024. Planning to go to Santorini 3 nights, Naxos 4+ nights and then to Athens one or two nights before we head home.

We are looking to start booking lodging and interested in your personal recommendations for:
Santorini
Naxos
Athens- (I’ve read Plaka area is quaint but know nothing about it).

Would prefer something that has two bedrooms- an Airbnb type rental or apartment type rental, or hotel that is in a quieter area and safe area. And preferably something that allows cancellations up until month out or so in case the world travel gets halted or unforeseeable things come up since we would be booking so far out.

Also, any tips on flying from Athens to Santorini? Airline, etc.
And ferries from Santorini to Naxos?

thank you!

Posted by
1936 posts

Don't worry if you see a lot of accommodations that don't have availability for May 2024, the 2023 season has just ended and owners haven't yet set their rates for next year. Some have gone on vacation and won't even respond to emails.

There are no unsafe areas on the islands. If you rent a car you can move away from the main towns and find many more accommodation options in quiet places (especially in Naxos which is the largest island in the Cyclades) but the choice depends mainly on your preferences.

The Plaka district in Athens is one of the most convenient for visiting the main sites if you stay only 2 nights. Almost all major sites will be accessible within a few minutes walk

The only area to avoid is Omonia Square where the atmosphere can disappoint an unaccustomed visitor, and where it is preferable not to walk in the small streets at night. I point this out because this is where you will find cheaper hotel rates.

In Athens you will find plenty of Airbnbs but they can generally only be booked with a minimum stay of 2 or 3 nights.
I know a few (I often go to Athens and never to hotels) but they are accommodations mainly with a single bedroom and a possible sofa/bed in the living room. Given that you will only stay there for 2 nights maximum, a hotel would probably be a better option.

I'm sure that other members in this forum will have have plenty of good hotels to recommand to you.

(but if you insist I can give you information about some interesting Airbnb apartments)

any tips on flying from Athens to Santorini? Airline, etc.

The two Greek airlines are Aegean/Olympic and Sky Express. They are the ones that serve the islands. Aegean is regularly ranked among the best European airlines.

And ferries from Santorini to Naxos?

In mid-May you can take a traditional ferry from Blue Star Ferries (usually the Blue Star Delos) or a high-speed catamaran from Seajets. Seajets are a bit faster (and more expensive). I strongly recommend a Blue Star with which the trip (only 2 hours) will be more pleasant and comfortable.

Below is a video of the Blue Star Delos (with arrival in Naxos)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsL9OnWbURE

Posted by
11348 posts

You should be aware that the Plaka in Athens is tourist central which has its pluses and minuses. We prefer not to stay there rather near Kolonaki and the embassies.

Posted by
325 posts

Don't know how you tolerate cold water but I would go early June rather than early May. Our favorite thing in Santorini was taking a cruise around the island to see different beaches with minerals (red, white, black) and we swam in the middle of the caldera. Some spots have the warm water from the vents coming up through the ocean floor.
We stayed just outside Oia and loved it there. I could walk those streets all day. Def agree with trying to time the cruise crowds and get away from people. If you're close you can visit early morning or late at night when it's quieter.

Posted by
697 posts

We stayed on Santorini and Naxos and in Athens last summer and had 2-BR units on Santorini and in Athens that we liked very much.

Santorini:
Pantelia Suites
This is one of the nicest places I have ever stayed. It was a luxurious treat with to-die-for views that we enjoyed for 2 nights and then left for Naxos because we couldn't afford Santorini any longer than that, lol.

Athens:
NS Place
Really nice, clean, modern apartments located in the Plaka. Easy to walk to museums and the Acropolis, with restaurants and gelato on the street below.

In Naxos we rented a big house -- we were a group of 12 -- so that wouldn't be helpful to you. But if you have a car, there should be plenty of lodging choices on Naxos (which was my absolute favorite place in Greece that we visited; we stayed 5 nights and could easily have stayed far longer).

Have a great trip!

Posted by
20 posts

We just returned from 5 weeks in Greece - 5 ladies. We spent 10 days in the Peloponnese peninsula, 3 weeks in Santorini and other islands, and 3 days in Athens. One of the ladies used to spend 6 months/year on Santorini so we stayed at her friend's pension in the smaller town of Karterados - Pension George. It's owned and run by a wonderful family. Recently renovated. Nice rooms with refrigerators and hot pots, some with balconies overlooking their lovely pool and courtyard. We felt totally safe there, the family lives on-site and they can pick you up at the airport or arrange transportation for you to and from the port, etc. They have double rooms (two twins together, can't be separated) and rooms with 3 beds - arranged as two twins together as a king plus an additional twin. We had two of those rooms plus a double for our group of 5. Spotless, in a very quiet neighborhood with restaurants and bakeries within a few blocks. A bit of a walk to Fira, but not bad, about 1.5 miles mostly on the main road. Supermarket on the way, very handy. Bus available on the main road. It was like being a guest in our best friend's home, we were so safe, cared for, had everything we needed close by and enjoyed our walking in all directions from there. Highly recommend the ancient traditional village of Pyrgos, the opposite direction from Fira. The walk was worth it, to the top of the hill with castle ruins and a church, and restaurant with the most spectacular view of the island. Tiny little alleys, winding paths, bougainvillea, totally charming. I can't say enough good things about Pension George if you want a quieter, wonderful place to stay... :o)

Posted by
20 posts

Almost forgot. We stayed at the Adams Hotel in the Plaka in Athens. Great location, older/basic hotel, not spacious but clean and well staffed. Door locked at all times, you get a code, so we felt very safe. Same setup - 5 ladies and the "double" rooms were usually two twins pushed together. They can be separated a couple inches, not a lot. Tiny bathroom, but clean and plenty of hot water. Not deluxe but who spends time in a hotel room in a place like Athens anyway! Close to all the Plaka offers, and the Acropolis museum, plus a view of the Acropolis from their rooftop deck. Reasonable rates and close to all the restaurants, shops, etc. in the Plaka and surrounding areas. Not far from Parliament, and other sites on the combined ticket that includes the Acropolis. I'd stay there again...

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you for the suggestions.

On Santorini, it sounds like Firostefani is a good location to be a little away from the noise and crowds but close enough to everything.
Does anyone have Firostefani area hotels you recommend?

Posted by
1652 posts

We stayed in Firastefani at the Blue Dolphin Apartments recommended by Janet on this forum. We really enjoyed our stay there. Our room had a balcony overlooking the caldera, and the cost was about $230 per night. For an additional cost, you can order breakfast to be delivered to your room and eat on the balcony. We did that several mornings. Breakfast was huge and delicious. They also have a driver who will pick you up at the airport, drive you to Oia if you don’t do that long walk, and other places. There is a fee for these services but I remember they were very reasonable.

Posted by
7 posts

Greece Travel Experts... : )
We need your help.
We are looking at an Athens Airbnb in the Koukaki area- near streets- Lazeon, Tsami Karatasou --
Is this area considered safe?

We are two friends in our 40's on a girls trip traveling together.

Would love your input.

We had found one closer to Odissea Androutsou and Vizantiou but unfortunately it got snatched up before we could reserve it.

I don't know anything about where to stay in Athens other than someone recommending the Koukaki area.

thanks!

Posted by
1936 posts

The Koukaki neighborhood is perfectly safe, including at night, and has the advantage of still being inhabited by locals with plenty of restaurants and small local shops (the further south you go in the district, the better).

When we go to Athens we always spend a day in Koukaki even if we stay in another neighborhood (my girlfriend has her favorite clothes shop there and I have my favorite gyros and souvkaki restaurant)

We stayed several times in Airbnbs in Koukaki near your Airbnbs in Odissea Androutsou and Vizantiou streets.
If you can settle for just one room, see this one:

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/29359316

The owner, Magda is very nice.

It’s €75 per night all costs included.
The studio is not huge but has a very well equipped kitchen, a decent bathroom, and even a washing machine.
And above all a huge rooftop (the entire roof of the building) with a view of the Acropolis

But there aren't many free nights left in May.

In plan B see this one:

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/15249110

It's a little further south, without a rooftop but with a terrace and it's a three-night minimum stay.

As plan C see this one:

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/16144380

We didn't stay in this one but I selected it as a plan B (and I think it has two beds)
It is right next to Georg Olimpiou pedestrian Street which has lots of bars and restaurants, including my favorite souvlakis :-))

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you for all the info!
I should of mentioned we are looking for a 2 bedroom.