Hoping you Greek isle experts can help us out…we're taking a cruise from Istanbul to Athens in October and will have about 4 extra days at the end. We've been to Athens before, so we're hoping to jump off the ship at Piraeus onto a ferry/hydrofoil and spend the remaining time on an island, and we've narrowed it to those two. Any preferences among those who've done both? We are 3 middle-aged adults and my 22-year-old daughter who like adventure of the non-nightlife variety. :-) Thanks in advance for any input!!
By October ferry service will have been cut back somewhat so your decision might at least be partially determined by your initial arrival time in Piraeus. There are 2 ferries scheduled for October to Paros, 7:30am and 5:30pm. You'll need to check your arrival date against the schedule: http://www.gtp.gr Same consideration for Hydra, although it appears that you'll have many more options ferry-wise.
Hydra's charm comes from the fact that there are no cars allowed, which helps it retain an old-world feel. Paros is much larger and there is lots to see and do but a rental vehicle would be advised, although the island has a good bus system.
Thanks, Lee…yes, we know about the availability of transportation on our two travel days, that is what helped us narrow it down to the two islands. Really hoping to make the most of those last 4 days before flying home. If you could only go to one, does anyone have a strong preference between the two? Thanks!
I enjoy Paros, but seriously, if you only have time for one island and the ferry timetable is in your favor, go to Santorini. It's the most amazing island in the Aegean and it's close to Paros on the same ferry route.
I agree, Santorini is magnificent--we spent a week there in 2005, and it is one of the ports of call on this cruise.
I'm specifically looking for feedback on Paros vs. Hydra. Can you help me on this, Laura?
I'm not familiar with Paros, but just got back from Hydra and loved the two days we had there. It's very tranquil because of the no-car or scooter rule. There are beaches within walking or water-taxi distance and hiking in the hills. It attracts wealthy Athenians, partly due to its proximity to Athens. There were some pretty outstanding yachts parked in the harbor.
I've never been to Paros but I absolutely loved Hydra. Only spent 2 nights there and would have love a couple more. I liked the no cars because it really made it more laid back and quiet, not a lot of nightlife action. We hiked over the hill to a restaurant on Mandraki harbor and had dinner and watched the most beautiful sunset I've ever seen. Hiked up to the monastery above the town, took lots and lots of photos - it's so picturesque. You have to hike a ways or take a boat to the nicer beaches, none right in town, but that's part of the fun.
I've stayed on Paros 3 times and enjoy it very much. There are lovely beaches, a couple of interesting museums, great restaurants, friendly people and enough to keep you occupied for a few days. I like to rent a scooter to explore. The roads are safe and not crowded. You can also take the little shuttle ferry across to Antiparos as a daytrip or take a boat tour. This website is very helpful with suggestions: http://www.parosweb.com
If archaeological sites interest you there is a daytrip boat excursion from Naoussa on Paros to the world heritage island of Delos.