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Trip to Greece in June

We are 2 couples and 2 singles on an extended 60th birthday celebration for three of us. In early June we're looking at 10 days in Greece as part of a longer trip that includes a couple weeks in Spain and Portugal just prior to Greece.

Our plan is to fly in late to Athens (flight already booked), cab over to a hotel near the ferry port Piraeus (hotel recommendations?) and head out early the next morning to our first island for 4 days; either Ios or Mykonos. Looking for a relaxing paced restaurant, pub, low key attraction kind of place. Would like to hear any experiences/recommendations people have had along those lines on those islands.

After that we will ferry to Santorini for 4 days where we have already booked a house looking over the caldera in Fira. I'm curious about any "not to be missed" spots on Santorini people may recommend.

Then it's back to Athens by ferry. Based on other posts we are planning on booking the ferries once we arrive in Greece. Is that really a good idea? Also, can we expect the ferries to be on time, as we have a fairly close air connection outbound from Athens.

Posted by
4522 posts

Rich,

Also, can we expect the ferries to be on time, as we have a fairly close air connection outbound from Athens.

Are you planning to fly out of Athens the same day you arrive there from Santorini?

The ferry from Santorini to Piraeus takes about 8 hours as I remember.

Posted by
3286 posts

About the ferries, no, don't count on them to be on time -- especially if you have a close connection. Look into flying from Santorini back to Athens. You may luck into a sale on airline tickets on Aegean.

June may be better, but both the catamaran from Santorini to Heraklion and the hydrofoil from Piraeus to Hydra took much longer than scheduled in mid-late October due to rough seas.

Also keep in mind that the trip on the X96 bus between Piraeus and the airport takes about 1 1/2 hours. I'd allow twice that much to account for the bus schedules and getting oriented at each end.

A taxi will take about half that long, but you are probably too many for one normal size taxi, so adjustments will have to be made.

Go to athensinfoguide.com for more, and better, information on getting from the airport to Piraeus port and vice-versa.

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks for the info on the ferries. Looking at the SeaJet timetables for June 2015, the Masterjet originates in Thira at 8:00 and arrives in Piraeus at 14:00. Our flight departs from Athens at 19:30, so while a late ferry could make it touch-and-go it doesn't sound like an undoable connection. Opinions?

Posted by
11158 posts

As always with such matters, the answer to your ferry-flight question is How Lucky Do You Feel? and How Risk Averse Are You?

Remember that if you miss your flight home from Athens - for any reason - you are responsible both logistically and financially for getting home. A last minute, one-way ticket to the US will cost a LOT.

Years ago I read something about how unreliable Greek ferries could be. I won't post the exact quote as it could seen as insulting, but the gist was that due to both weather and ... other factors ... you should never count on a ferry even running on a particular day, much less on time.

It's up to you, but I'd definitely get to the Athens area the night before an international flight.

Posted by
2796 posts

I would NEVER try making a same-day ferry connection from the islands to the Athens Airport, especially on a small-ish SeaJets ferry, including the Masterjet. Their fleet seems to break down much too often. There are just way too many unforseen variables that could delay or cancel the ferry.

Posted by
4505 posts

It could depend too on the type of airline ticket you have. If you are able to, and for some reason were delayed and would miss your flight, you could notify the airline and get re-booked on another flight. But that won't work for some types of tickets or if you don't have FF status for the airline.

Ideally you should stay in Athens the night before or take a morning flight to Athens.

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks all for the reality check on the ferries. It looks like there are some late morning flights from Santorini to ATH and a few even later that will make the connection much more reliably. We'll go that route.

Posted by
913 posts

Rich, last May 16th we landed in Athens, overnighted at a lo-cost and awesome little hotel/B&B 15 min from the airport (Hotel Peris, $80 EU /nite with Bfst, free pick-up and drop-off) and caught a 35 minute flight on Agean Air ( $120EU pp) to Mykonos.

We spent 3 nites there, (at a great and quiet little hotel: Omiros,$63 EU nite w Bfast and awesome views)and then took the Hellanic Seaways large cat (booked ahead of time for $56EU) to Santorini. The large cat can handle rough seas better than any small model.

We then took the Hellanic Seaways cat to Crete for week, and FLEW back to get our return US flight.

We loved Mykonos and Santorini! On Mykonos we took a ferry to the ancient island of Delos, and got a great guide. On Santorini we rented a car for the day and went to the Pompeii type town of Thera, and got as great guided tour. (eat lunch or dinner at the last restaurant down the beach from the "port"..OMG!) We also used the car to explore the other side of the island from our base in Firostefani.

Posted by
9 posts

New question for you experienced Greek travelers. We'll be landing late in Athens in June to take a ferry the next day to Mykonos. I see ferries available from both Pireas and Rafina. There seem to be more from Pireas, but all are before 8:am. Rafina is closer to the airport and has a 14:30 departure (much better after a late arrival), but it seems like a smaller port with fewer hotels near the port. I'm inclined to go out of Rafina but is there something that I don't know that would make a Pireas departure a better choice?

Thanks for any help.

Posted by
2796 posts

There's nothing at all wrong with Rafina. It's closer to Mykonos which makes it a good choice for a shorter ferry ride. It's much closer to the airport and there's a bus that will take you there from right outside the arrivals hall. Ask at the ticket kiosk next to door 5 where to catch it. If the ferry is originating on your island it will most likely depart on time. But if the ferry you plan to take back to the mainland for your outbound flight is coming from a long way away, say Rhodes or Samos or Lesvos, the time delays can build up along the route. There's no way to know if the one you need will be on time.

Posted by
2416 posts

Agree with Lee about Rafina ... there are several good budget hotels right by the port Hotel Corali is a good budget choice http://www.hotel-corali.gr, has good Trip Advisor reviews as a handy place for a night's stay, Hotel Avra is more upmarket. You'll just be wanting to plunk down & relax after rushing around 2 other countries ... getting ready to unwind on Mykonos.

Posted by
1182 posts

Rich

I agree with Lee and Janet about Rafina. We go there regularly on our way to Andros and it's a nice little port with a number of good restaurants. It also has good connections with the airport. The bus times are here

http://www.athensairporttaxi.com/en/athens_airport_to_rafina_port.htm

As this page says the bus stop is opposite the Sofitel and not where all the express buses stop.

Janet is right that the Corali is a reasonable option. It's a nice family run place with balconies overlooking the square. The one drawback is that it is fairly small, quite echoey, and most of the other clients are going for 8 o'clock boats. They are therefore getting up around 6 and it isn't ideal if you are trying to sleep! For that reason we've recently been staying at the Avra.

http://www.hotelavra.gr/

It's more expensive but an extensive buffet breakfast is included.

Obviously it's a matter of taste which suits you better.

Alan

Posted by
9 posts

Then Rafina it is.

What's everyone's opinion as to whether you should buy the ferry tickets in advance or just get them at time of travel. Do the ferries ever sell out in June?

Thanks.

Posted by
2416 posts

No they don't rich, unless it would be the last ferry at night on a Friday maybe, but even then I doubt it.

Posted by
1182 posts

Rich

Janet's right about the ferries not selling out.

There are several ticket offices along the front just under the steps down from the Avra. They are open late and we normally buy tickets the night before just to avoid a rush in the morning. Probably not a problem if your boat isn't until 14.30 :-)

If you want a sit down lunch before you get on the boat there are several places along the harbour front. Our favourite is on your left second from the gates leading into the port, so pretty much as near to the boat as you can get. They sell good taverna food at reasonable prices. The very last place before the gates is a snack bar if you just want something to take on board. The boat will also have snack bars with Greek favourites like cheese pie and coffee.

Alan