My husband and I have flights booked into and out of Amsterdam 9/1 - 9/15. We want to spend a few days in Amsterdam and then go hang out somewhere new to us for about a week that is not scorching hot (or if it is hot has some water nearby). We are intrigued by Santorini as there is a direct flight on Transavia Holland. So, first question: Does anyone have any experience with this airline? I'm not familiar with it. Second question: Would you stay on Santorini for the entire week or go to a quieter island? We want a nice balance of modest sightseeing, wandering villages and down time by a pool. This is not a "we have to see this" type of trip. My hesitation with Santorini is the cruise ship crowds. Based on preliminary research, it looks like Paros or Naxos could be good options as well. We are not interested in island hopping although might consider one or two nights on one island in order to get five nights or so on another. We have total flexibility as to which dates between 9/1 and 9/15 we choose. Based on what I've read, going the second week of September might be better. Would welcome insights, as well as any recommendations on accommodations. We would like a view, a pool and small kitchen - not too much to ask! Many thanks in advance - there appear to be some amazing posters in this forum!
One our first trip to Greece, we arrived on Santorini after two weeks in other locations in in Greece. We had been enjoying Greek hospitality and ambiance. That all ended in Santorini. It looked so Greek but the reality was that is was not like what we had enjoyed the previous two weeks. It was the first time we saw other Americans and that is all we saw. Employees in hotels and at rental car company were not Greek. It was mobbed. So look at the spectacular view and visit Akrotiri and Ammoudi Bay. After a few days, go to Paros or Naxos for a wonderful , more lengthy visit. Our first visit was in late September, second visit( to visit Akrotiri after it reopened) was in early October. I love Greece, just not what has happened to Santorini.
We had a similar itinerary as Suki. Last September spent about a month in Greece. Our last 10 days were divided: 4 nights in Santorini, and 6 nights on Naxos. We felt 3 nights in Santorini would have been plenty. We were happy staying in Firostefani. It was quiet, Caldera view, less crowds and walking distance to restaurants and sights. Took a wonderful island tour. Avoiding the cruise ship crowds is doable! We went to Oia in the am. We liked Santorini, but LOVED Naxos! Great beaches, accomodations, history, great restaurants. If we had another 4-5 days we would have gone to Paros. Next time!
Santorini appears to be everyone's idea of a Greek Island, right or wrong, good or bad. However, there is more to a Greek Island than Santorini. One week there could be either torture or wonderful depending on your budget, what you are looking for in a Greek Island, crowds, "Greekness" and so on.
Naxos or Paros would provide you with a less crowded atmosphere and Sept. will certainly be a lot less crowded. Naxos offers something for everyone and there are day cruises to Delos/Mykonos or if you really want to see Santorini then a day trip there will give you an idea of what you are either missing or not missing. Plus a lot less expensive on Naxos.
In addition you have the option of trips from Naxos to the Small Cyclades Islands which most people aren't aware of.
Lots of wonderful accommodations in Naxos either Naxos Town or nearby St. George Beach with options for all tastes and budgets.
Thanks all for the opinions and insights. We are leaning toward flying in and out of Santorini but staying the five days in between on Naxos. That should allow us to get a look at the Santorini scenery, but provide plenty of hang time in a quieter place. Now to decide where to stay....
Do you mean flying to santorini, ferrying to Naxos, and then ferrying back to santorini, and flying out of santorini?
You don’t want to do that. Fly into santorini and then back to Athens from Naxos.
Yes, that's what I was thinking. What's wrong with that plan? Too much ferry time? We thought that would work because the flight we were taking from Amsterdam is direct to and from Santorini. Your guidance is much appreciated!
Well it is a half of a day lost to ferrying each way at a minimum. Where you catch the ferry is not in a town but a ways away. We were in oia which is further away than Fira and allowed an hour for travel time and everything else. Are you thinking you would ferry back and then catch your flight back to amesterdam? Or try to stay overnight twice? The second is a hassle. The first would probably be preferable if it worked. You could probably take a taxi to the airport although I would arrange something ahead of time. There are not many taxis on the island and I didn’t see any at the port. You would have to build in a buffer so likely to spend time in santorini airport which has nothing to amuse you.
Also, I have to tell you that the one day we were to take a ferry, there was a strike so that is another potential complication in Greece. We found one ferry not affected by it and took it. But it was very slow and took about 5 hours. So we left at 7:30 am and didn’t get to our new place on Naxos until 2:00 pm. Other ferries are faster though but we would have had to take them a different day.
The thing is we would have just had to spend more time on santorini than we planned had we not found a ferry but would not have missed an international flight.
Can you fly into santorini and out of Athens? If you can get a flight from Naxos to Athens, that is probably what I would do. But that, of course, has its own complications , so you will have to decide what trade offs you want to make. The Athens airport is nice though and I would much prefer to hang out there (and did several times on trip I took) than in santorini’s.
But frankly, another factor in my response is that I really didn’t like the ferry ride that much. It may have been the ferry I was on but I felt sea sick and my daughter got sick. So as a result, I would much prefer to fly. I had booked flights from Naxos to Athens and was so glad I didn’t have to take another ferry.
Thanks for the very thorough explanation Beth. I appreciate your taking the time! I will re-think and re-look at all the logistics. You raise a lot of good points. Plus, I have a husband who is prone to sea sickness :-) . I'm starting to think it might be easier to stay in Amsterdam!
It might be easier but not as fun!
Bring some domamine if you decide to take a ferry. We didn’t have any and they didn’t sell it on board. Some of our party were perfectly fine and my impression was the seas were much rougher than usual that day. But my daughter did decide she never wanted to go on a cruise!
Also, the conventional car ferry that goes in the afternoon from santorini is larger than what I took and has outdoor deck. Mine had cars on it so was pretty large but no outdoor area and it stopped everywhere which made the ride rougher.
But Greece is wonderful. You really should go! It is worth all the complications.