I have read all of the recent posts regarding the best island hopping itineraries, but I did not see one that included both Paros and Naxos. I just want to clarify recommendations about which of these 4 choices would be good for first time visitors with 8 days to give to this part of the trip? As most of the forum participants mention, we love beautiful scenery, hiking, historical places of interest, and interacting with residents of the area. Thank you.
We loved our September 2018 Island Hopping trip. I am not sure when you are going but I can tell you what we did. As it was end of summer we got the last Easyjet flight from Milan (best airfares for us from San Francisco) to Mykonos. Our hotel picked us up at the airport. Mykonos was nice for a few days. Then we took the short enjoyable Ekaterini ferry (which I think is more fun than a hydrofoil) to Naxos where our hotel picked us up and stayed there four days and had a wonderful time with nice walks and swims and food. The little museum is great as well as are other ancient sites by the Castle. We didn't go to the mountain towns. We were scheduled to take the Blue Star Ferry (again to bypass the hydrofoils) to Paros but there was a 2 day strike of all of the boats with a lot of people scrambling to get back to Athens for their international flights etc. Luckily one of the many offices selling tickets booked us on the Naxos Star Excursion Boat which makes day trips from Naxos to Paros and it was great as a fun ride leaving at 8:45 am and arriving at 9:15 in Naoussa where we were staying instead of Parikia. Paros for four nights was our favorite partially as we loved our hotel and taking the little boats to beautiful swimming cove beaches and going to the nice Moraitis Winery. We then departed on Blue Star to Athens (great) and on to Hydra and Nafplio where we shared a taxi with a couple to see the sites. In regards to your followed forum question my daughter rented a car from Athens for touring the Peloponnese (loved) and the rental company delivered it to them outside of Athens proper. They found driving easy but sometimes parking more challenging. Hope I didn't talk too much. We all found the Greek people very kind.
This was most helpful thank you.
Both Paros and Naxos will give you what you are seeking. In many ways they are similar but the difference are enough to make it worthwhile to do both. With 8 days you can do 4 on each island.
Last October, my wife & I spent 3 nights in Athens, then flew to Santorini. 3 nights on Santorini were enough to enjoy Akrotiri excavation, a couple of museums, some good food, and wandering in attractive towns. BUT crowds, especially in Fira & Oia, were absolutely over-whelming. Also very hot & humid. Not likely to return. Blue Star ferry to Paros with stops at Ios & Naxos on the way. 2 nights on Paros. Did not venture away from main town but thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Short Blue Star ferry ride to Naxos. 3 nights on beach. Also stayed in main town as so much to see and do there. No crowds on either island. Weather on both much nicer than Santorini. There appears to be plenty to explore on other parts of either island. Likely returns. People on all 3 islands friendly & helpful. Picked Paros to visit first as the airport on Naxos is closer to town. Flew back to Athens and drove to Nafplio. No experience with Mykonos. Happy traveling in any case.
Thank you so much!