Hello, I visited the Cyclades several years ago. Visited Paros (Naoussa), Naxos, Santorini (Oia) as well as Athens briefly. Had an amazing experience and in planning another trip feel inclined to visit other islands despite the fact that I just want to go back to the same ones! I was wondering where else other people would suggest. I seems like I should visit Mykonos but am unsure, and am also interested in Antiparos. I want to go to Crete but that seems like it's own trip. I probably plan to be away a bit under 2 weeks.
Antiparos is a lovely, quiet little island, a good place to relax and enjoy your surroundings. I've been there a couple of times. Mykonos is much more mainstream and between all the cruise ship passengers and young party crowd it can get very busy depending on the time of year. Do some research on Folegandros and Anafi.
You could do both! Return to Santorini for Fira, and then try Íos, Sifnos and Antiparos.
It all depends on what you want for a Greek Island and when you are going. The High Season (July-August) will mean most islands will be crowded . . . more than others such as Mykonos & Santorini. Do you want a "real" Greek Experience or want to party, shop, lay around on a beach and hit the nightclubs? If you want Greece then islands like Sifnos, Milos, Naxos, Amorgos, Astypalea and other smaller islands would be best. If you want a "Disneyland" experience then Santorini & Mykonos would fit the bill. Antiparos is a small island just off Paros and would be fine. This recommendation all depends on what time of year you are going. Santorini & Mykonos is always more crowded even during the off-season.
I would probably be going mid-June. Definitely not going to party but some nightlife activity would be nice. Naoussa seemed like a healthy balance at night. Santorini was very nice but I definitely got the idea about how hundreds of tourists funneling off cruise ships can ruin the mood a bit.
Antiparos' nightlife is pleasant without being manic, mostly family-oriented but with a few small bars available.
You might even consider experiencing a different Greek island chain. We love the Dodecanese, stretching along the coast of Turkey.
You would probably start your trip by flying directly to Rhodes after landing in Athens. After a few days there you could hop to islands that (except for Kos) see few tourists. We loved Nisyros, where we walked in the crater of an active (but not erupting) volcano. Leros, Lipsi and Patmos are beautiful. Patmos is just a short ferry ride from Samos -- and from there you can visit amazing Ephesus in Turkey.
Lots of options... Have fun planning.
Yes, lots of options! I wish I could just take 6 months off and visit them all.
Perhaps by the time you go, things will have settled down economically in Greece. That would be a good thing for them and worldwide.
BTW, you couldn't go for 6 months anyway due to the 90/180 Schengen rules. Greece is a part of Schengen, at least right now. Who knows what might happen if they end up out of the EuroZone?
I'm sure glad we went in the fall.