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Santorini and Naxos - Trip Report 1

Hello, we just returned from our 3 1/2 week trip to Greece and want to thank everyone who answered questions and posted to the Greece forum for helping it be an amazing experience! For the few months before our trip, I checked the Greece travel forum pretty much everyday and learned a lot. So here is how some of how our travels went.
April 9 - arrived in Santorini via Frankfurt from Seattle. I wanted to use our Priority Pass for lounge access in Frankfurt for the 3 hour layover, but because the lounge is in a different terminal, it was not convenient to do so. Even the Starbucks that we could see from our gate was outside of our security area and would require a long line to get back in, so we hung out near our gate and got food and drink from several nearby cafes. We had to go though passport control to get to our departure gate, but with only a few people in line it went quickly. We stayed in Oia at the Zoe Aegeas (highly recommend) and our hotel owner, Zak, arranged for a pick up from the airport for $40. We were glad we did that because of being jet lagged and the difficulty of locating places in Oia. It was nice to have someone at the airport holding up a sign with our name on it who knew exactly where to go! We ate dinner at the cafe by the bus stop in Oia as we needed to go the the mini market next door for breakfast supplies. We got a Greek salad and chicken souvlaki to split and they were both delicious. I don't know why Greece can grow delicious tomatoes in April, but the US cannot!
April 10 - We rented a car for the day (around $45 with insurance) and enjoyed visiting the lighthouse, Akrotiri, Dolphins restaurant, the beaches, and the town of Pyrgos. I also booked our Blue Star ferry to Naxos this day on Ferryhopper that day. The hardest part of the day was finding a place to park the car when we returned to Oia in the late afternoon. I can't imagine how crazy it will be in the summer! We spent 10 euros on gas for the day.
April 11 - We took the bus to Fira to do the Fira to Oia hike. We didn't know the bus schedule, but heard they came every half hour, so showed up, got in line, and enjoyed chatting with others in line and after about 15 minutes the bus arrived. We got on the bus and while it was driving, the fare taker came by and collected the fare of 1.80 euro. He preferred exact change, but made change for everyone who needed it. We got off in Fira and using the Alltrails App found the trail and started walking. It was a beautiful hike and took us 3 hours and 15 minutes to go the 6.5 miles with 1,151 feet of elevation gain. We weren't hungry while passing through Fira, Firostefani, or Imerovigli, but were quite hungry when we arrived in Oia. We brought snacks and water and were glad we did. There is a place to get drinks about halfway through the hike. We ate as soon as we got into Oia and then rested up on our deck and enjoyed the Caldera view.
April 12 - We checked out of our hotel, but left our bags there and explored the castle and back streets of Oia. My husband really liked the idea of a private transfer, so Zak arranged for that (45 euros) to the port. We took the Blue Star Ferry at 13:50, showed our online QR code, stowed our luggage in the luggage room and enjoyed the scenery from the outside decks. We arrived about 17:30 and Hotel Grotto picked us up from the port for free. We got welcome drinks while they put our luggage in our room and Sofia told us about things to do on the Island of Naxos. We watched the sunset from our deck and then went down the easy hill to the Cozi restaurant for dinner.

April 13 - We spent the day exploring the Chora town, the archeological museum (small, but interesting), walking St. George Beach, and walking out to the Portara. We went back out to the Portara for sunset (seems to be the thing to do) and back to Cozi for dinner - so good!
To be continued!

Posted by
2905 posts

Everything looks smooth so far -- hope the weather holds, for exploring around the island!

Posted by
21876 posts

How about putting this in the Trip Report section so that someone can find it and read it a month from now?

Posted by
58 posts

Frank - I tried to put it under trip reports, but it wouldn't let me do it since i already posted it here.

Posted by
30 posts

thanks for sharing your report.... we are leaving in 12 days and i cannot wait !! question for you and the Forum - we are staying in Fira and thought about taking the early bus to Oia in the AM to beat the cruise crowd and then hiking the other direction back to F...
that might mean we are hiking in the early afternoon ~1ish -4ish..... thoughts?? (ps , I am with you lken56.... i check every day!)

Posted by
58 posts

gryhndgrl23 - As long as the weather has not become too hot, hiking in the afternoon should be fine. it was in the 60's while we were hiking and very comfortable. Have a great trip!

Posted by
238 posts

Thanks for the report!
We leave in about 2 weeks for this same route plus Athens at the end.

Does anyone know if it will be humid the last week of May, early June?

Posted by
393 posts

Does anyone know if it will be humid the last week of May, early June?

Weather is not an exact science - with climate change you never know, and I may have been lucky but after quite a few stays in the cyclades during May/June, I only remember a cumulative sum of an hour or two max of light rain these last 15 years

Posted by
1 posts

Great information. Thank you! Did you fly Seattle to Frankfurt to Athens, then to Santorini?

Posted by
58 posts

karenbajpai - We flew Seattle - Frankfurt-Santorini on the way there and Athens-Frankfurt-Seattle on the way back.

Posted by
49 posts

I am typing this reply sitting in the port of Santorini waiting for the ship to Naxos. Just a quick comment about weather. It is nice and warm in the afternoon but freaking cold in the evening, when sun goes down and wind blows.
Look like New York in March. Even if weather report said 65 degree, it's really fell like 50. I think it became warmer with each day, but don't forget a good jacket.
We didn't do the hike, too much walking for us. So we took a bus from Fira to Imerovigli and walked back to Fira. Beautiful. Then the next day we took a but to Oia and spend day there.
We stayed in Firostefani, hotel Milos. Great view on Caldera. We also took a sunset cruise with dinner on the boat for 55 euros total. No hiking or swimming, just cruising.

Posted by
5 posts

Good report to read - my husband and I are travelling to Greece in August and also going to Santorini and Naxos! We will be in Santorini about 4 days and renting a car. We will be in Naxos about 2.5 days and i don't think we will rent a vehicle there. Then going to Athens for another 2.5 days before coming home. Any other restaurant recommendations? Or beach recommendations?