Hello, my wife and I are going to fly from Rome to Athens then plan to boat over to one of the islands for a few days. Looking to spend 2 nights in Athens at A is for Athens B&B. Would you recomend Santorini as a first time to the islands? Looking to spend 3 nights. We just enjoy views, relaxing some nice local markets and small restaurants. Thank you.
Well everyone will likely say Santorini.. the views ARE amazing.. but for me it would be Naxos .. where the scenery is as beautiful as the people.. the beaches are gorgeous ( something Santorini is not able to really brag about) and the food and hotels are cheap ( Santorini means "spend lots of money " in Greek.. lol ) .
Whatever you do .. don't go to Mykonos.. nothing relaxing or little market about it.. think Fendi Stores and crowds.
Look for direct flights from Rome to one of the islands using this website: http://tinyurl.com/j32qbpy
Save your time in Athens for the end of your trip so you don't have to worry about a last-minute return to the mainland from that island. Unforseen problems do happen occasionally.
Santorini is the most popular and heavily touristed island in Greece. Spectacular scenery but tends to be so crowded and expensive that your impression of a Greek Island can be distorted.
So much depends on what you want for a Greek Island Experience: Culture, history, archeological/historic sights, more locals than tourists, traditional Greek Food and way of life or shopping, partying, nightlife, laying around on a beach, the buzz of crowds and spending money on tourist souvenirs rather than traditional Greek products.
Lots of options for islands that may offer more tradition: Naxos, Amorgos, Sifnos, Milos, Lemnos, Thassos, Ikaria, Chios, Samos and lots more.
More research on your part will discover the tourist's Greece and the tradionalist's Greece.
thank you all. the flight into an island sounds good. I still would like to see Athens, even if for a day. Can one day trip to Santorini ?
We could help you a lot better, and not be doing a shot in the dark if you would share key facts:
• what exact day/time do you plan to fly out from ROME?? (BTW, If it's between june - september. Lee is right, you can get direct flights to Santorini, and that will save you precious time). And what exact day/time does your homebound flight depart from ATH airport? When your stay is so short, every single hour counts, and affects advice!
• If you have five whole days (not counting departure day), and you fly into Santorini by noon of day ONE, you need to know this: It is NOT the place for "nice local markets" and cozy restaurants, if you go between June - September -- most weekdays 8,000 +cruise passengers cram the lanes & streets 10 am - 4 pm, not to mention all other package-tour throngs. If that's your situation would suggest this strategy:
• DAY ONE - Fly direct to Santorini, shell out $$$ for quiet hotel with Caldera VIEW, just enjoy looking, sunset on balcony
• DAY 2- Flee on 9 AM+ Ferry (large catamaran w. open decks for view of Santorini) arrive NAXOS 11 am -- enjoy fascinating NAXOS Town, stay at adjoining beach: (see these pix) https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632094558042/
• DAY 3 & half of Day 4 - Enjoy Naxos highlights (you can even rent car & drive to mountain villages, other beaches)
• DAY 4 afternoon - FLY to ATH; taxi to hotel ... go up to Acropolis late in day; it's open until 8
• DAY 5 - sightseeing in Athens all day
Looks like ill do the tourist thing and stay in Santorini for 3 days. We plan to fly in and out of Rome and skip Athens. This will be at the end of a trip to Como and Cinque Terre. I thank everyone for all the great information.
Personal opinion and taste here , but I think you made the right decision skipping Athens , its one of my least favorite cities in all of Europe . If you had more time it might have been worth it , but for less than a week I wouldn't shave off even a day for it if I didn't have to .
Either Santorini or Naxos would be great, but you'll have to tolerate more crowds on Santorini (especially on cruise ship days). I may have missed it, but when is this trip taking place? If you book a hotel away from the main sights, it will be quieter. There are a lot of accommodations on Santorini, but you'll have to decide which part of the island to stay. If you're planning to rent a car on the island, be sure to pack along an I.D.P.
I would have to disagree about spending time in Athens. While it's not Rome or Paris it does have world-class archeological sites and museums, Plaka, Anafiotika, Central Markets, tavernas by the score, excellent food, and so much more . . . and it's a lot less expensive.
We have been to Athens numerous times and still find different areas to explore while still visiting our usual favorite areas.
If you are going all the way to Greece it would be a shame not to spend some time in Athens. Most of what people go to Athens for is in a small area, very walkable and enjoyable.
Hi David - responded to another of your posts. We spent 3 nights in Athens (just right) and then 3 in Santorini during our first (and only so far) trip to Greece.
IF you are not interested in Greek history or Greek landmarks or ancient sites. then there is is no point in trying to "sell" Athens to you, or even Santorini. The first glimpse of the Acropolis took my breath away, but then, I'd been reading about it/dreaming about it for decades. If it's just some dumb high rock, no big deal. First glimpse of the Santorini Caldera 3 days later was also memorable ... but then, I'd been reading about it for decades. If you just want a nice time -- fly to an island (it may as well be Santorini), zip back to mainland, get a good Athens hotel, have a nice dinner and go home.
thank you tommyk5, at this time we are looking at 3 nights in Santorini and 2 in Athens
Looks like Hotel Mylos - Firostefani on Santorini and A for Athens in Athens.