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Searching for the Goldilocks Greek Island

Planning a trip with a friend to Greece to include up to a week on one/more islands in July/August. Never been to Greece before and a bit overwhelmed by the numerous options. Hoping the wise forum members can help me choose an island/s.

Top priority is access to a variety of active pursuits like water sports (windsurfing, paddleboarding, etc.), boat/moped rental, day trips to neighboring islands/secluded beaches, hiking/countryside exploration, etc. I'd like quintessential Greek scenery/charm. Cultural experiences and history are great too, but not the focus as they're not a huge priority for my friend. Not looking for parties, luxury shopping, or huge crowds, but would like some liveliness with plenty of restaurant and bar options and charming towns and shops with local handicrafts. Not having to rent a car would be nice but isn't a big deal if makes sense for a large island like Crete.

My travel companion is a grad student with a limited budget. I'm covering lodging so am willing to spend more there, but we're looking for a spot where the cost of food/drinks and daily activities won't be too horribly inflated, as I assume they are in Mykonos/Santorini.

Thoughts??

Posted by
2039 posts

I know this one in Paros, not the accommodation itself but the place and the staff. The atmosphere is nice (rather young) they offer activities like kitesurfing, windsurfing, wakeboarding, diving, water skiing... The prices are fair, from 75€ in July/August for a double or 2 single beds with kitchen.

Louridis studios Golden Beach.

https://paros-studios.gr/

https://maps.app.goo.gl/iwWXXYfkTLQ39CSr7

Ask for availability via the contact page.

There are 2 or 3 nice bars in addition to those on the beach (The Beach Project, Golden Garden) a few restaurants on site or at the village of Drios 15 minutes walk away (including Anna's, one of the best in Paros) and the bus stop is 100 meters away in case you wouldn't have a car.

See also the entire east coast of Paros or the west coast of Naxos, the island just opposite.

Posted by
2145 posts

I can recommend Flisvos Sports Club on Naxos, at the far end of St. George Beach. They offer a variety of water sports (windsurfing, etc.) in a great location. They offer rooms & a restaurant/bar where you can watch amazing sunsets. It’s a short walk to town for restaurants and shops. Lots of hiking on the island — you might want to rent a car or ATV for a day to explore the island.

Posted by
17 posts

In Santorini, there are only a few places for watersports enthusiasts to enjoy.

You can only find some Jet ski and Parasailing activities in Perivolos Beach.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks! Santorini is not on the list due to cost/general tourist trap-ness. Maybe a day trip at most.

It seems to me that the best fit may be Paros? It appears, for an island that's relatively small at least compared to Crete, to have a lot of watersports, scuba, snorkeling, parasailing, horseback riding, etc., and thus that maybe it's more oriented toward active pursuits?

Posted by
2039 posts

Paros and Naxos in the Cyclades are good spots for water sports, particularly when a sport requires wind because the marine space between Paros and Naxos forms a kind of funnel which accelerates the north wind (the Meltemi).
So the entire east coast of Paros and the west coast of Naxos are suitable for this type of activity and this is where the main water sports clubs are located (even when a water sport does not require wind).

In Paros, Molos Beach and Golden beach are well known by water sports enthusiasts
In Naxos there is, among others, Laguna Beach.

In these two islands there are also many hiking possibilities (especially in Naxos)

Posted by
1588 posts

I have not been to Naxos. However, Paros is well known for being the windsurfing island.
Do not stay in Naoussa, which is full of tourist traps. Stay in Parikia, which is the capital town of the island. Paros is not that expensive.

Posted by
2145 posts

If you choose Paros, you can easily take a day trip to explore the tiny neighboring island of Antiparos. It has a very deep cave with stalactites & stalagmites if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

And there’s a great boat trip - Lazy Day with Captain Ben — that begins & ends on Antiparos but can pick you up on Paros as well. He takes you around the island, with stops for swimming & lunch. Highly recommended.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks! Checked out Captain Ben but seems like more of a party boat vibe, based on their instagram?

Posted by
1588 posts

I did the Captain Ben trip while in Paros. It was a few years ago but it wasn't a party boat. There were people of all ages.