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Recommendations for Island(s) to Visit from Piraeus

Group of 10 (two families with 5 young adult children and 1 teenager) have booked a cruise next June which ends starts at Rome and ends at Piraeus. Cruise ports within Greece includes Mikonos and Santorini . Our two families would like to extend our trip by an additional 5 nights before heading back to Athens to fly home. We are looking at the Naxos given its proximity and recommendations on this forum -- we are looking for islands within a 2 hours ferry ride out of Piraeus -- so open to other recommendations as well.

We are looking for a cute town, beautiful beaches, water activities, dining and pubs --with at least dining/pubs preferably walkable from where we are staying (is this possible?)

Questions:
1) Where is the best part of the island to stay? Would love recommendations for lodging -- with our group size we realize we will need to rent two apartments.
2) Is car rental recommended or a necessity?

3) How does one get around the island if you don't have a car?

4) Is there a "must see" list for Naxos?

5) Any other islands we should consider?

Thank you!

Posted by
996 posts

If you want the quickest way to islands then flying is the way to go as long as the island has a airport.

Naxos does and it's a lovely island with something for everyone.

However if you are looking for nearby islands to get to under 2 hours then Aegina would be the best option as it has everything one would want in a Greek Island.

Nice main town on the water, seaside villages, beaches, archeological/historic sites, ancient olive grove, abandoned Byzantine village in the hills and a lot more.

Hydra would be another option but it's more of a day trip island but could be adequate for 5 nights but is limited in what you can do compared to Aegina. In addition it's pricier if that's a concern.

Posted by
536 posts

1/ The only islands accessible in 2 hours or less from the port of Piraeus are either the islands of the Saronic Gulf, for example Aegina. Or Serifos and Sifnos in the Cyclades. Naxos is 3.5 hours from the port of Piraeus.
Apart from the cruise stopover islands that you will see, Rick Steves mainly promotes Naxos but I can assure you that Aegina, Serifos and Sifnos (to name a few) are just as good, if not even better (according to the preferences) and that you can spend 5 days there without getting bored.

Sifnos: https://www.greeka.com/cyclades/sifnos/

Serifos: https://www.greeka.com/cyclades/serifos/

Aegina: https://www.greeka.com/saronic/aegina/

2/ Do not go to the Greek islands based on the restaurants and pubs, these are not what makes the beauty and the attraction of the islands. (except maybe in Mykonos for partygoers). I don't know what you mean by "pub" but know that Greek pubs don't exist. There are breweries, local beer, but no Pubs. You will find everywhere good restaurants, taverns, as well as less good ones.

3/ You will have to decide if you will stay one night in Piraeus (or in Athens) before taking the ferry back to an island. This will depend on the arrival time of your cruise, the island you are going to and the ferry schedules for that island.

4/ If you go to an island just after your arrival in Piraeus with the cruise without spending a night in the mainland, be aware that Piraeus port is huge. There is about 2 miles between the Cruise Terminal Port and the Ferries port, depending on the departure gate of the ferry.

Since you will be a group of 10 I suggest you ask the cruise organization if they can organize a transfer to the ferry port. Otherwise you will have to find a transfer/taxi for 10 yourself or walk to the ferry departure dock.

5/ Generally ferry companies apply a child rate between 5 and 12 years old (50% of the price) It's free under 5 years old.