This is my 2nd trip to Greece (did the mainland and Santorini the first time) but will be my husbands 1st time. We only have a week and thought we might try going to Skopelos and Skiathos Islands. ( I have been wanting to see the church from Mamma Mia) Have been reading travel blogs online and most people seem to love the islands. I would love to hear from someone that has been to these islands. Also trying to figure out the best way to get to the islands from Athens. Looks like flying is the easiest? Any suggestions would be appreciated. If you know of another island that might be a better choice, please let me know which one and why. Oh, we are late 50's...in good health and like adventure. We don't want to just sit on a beach..we like snorkeling, hiking, exploring, fishing and enjoying good food. Thanks.
When are you traveling? Assuming it's sometime between May & October, you have well over 100 populated Greek islands to choose from. Everyone has their favorites, but here are a couple of options to consider if you're having second thoughts about Skopelos and Skiathos (which I've not yet visited) and want an adventure. Whatever you do, since your time is so short, fly directly to your first island upon landing in Athens (allow at least 2 hours between flights) and fly back to Athens the day before your flight home.
Rhodes & Nisyros -- fly directly to Rhodes for a few days (large island, lots to see and do), daytrip to Symi, then ferry to Nisyros for two nights. Nisyros is a tiny island, with active (but not erupting) volcano that you can actually walk around inside. If you like adventure, you'll love this. Rent scooters or a car and tour the beautiful little island. Then ferry to Kos, and fly back to Athens.
Samos & the Fourni islands -- fly directly to Samos for a few days. Take a daytrip to Ephesus in Turkey. If you can make the ferry schedules work, visit the tiny but beautiful Fourni islands for a few days. Or visit Patmos, or maybe Lipsi. Then back to Samos and fly back to Athens.
Naxos and Amorgos or Paros -- fly directly to Naxos for a few days. Popular island, lots to do. Ferry to Amorgos or Paros for a few more days, then make your way back to Athens.
Check out Trip Advisor for all of these islands, and get yourself a good guidebook. (Or read Matt Barrett's online Greek island guide.) Have fun planning!
Darleen, if you'll check on the Trip Advisor Forum there are many "regulars" who rave abut Skiathos, mainly from the UK .. parts of it may be what they call a Brit "hive" ... full English breakfast, all that. Skopelos, not being as easy to reach, is much quieter. Also, it really helps to say WHEN you plan to come. A week in mid June is Waaaay different than the last week of July 1st 2 weeks of august. At the latter period, ALL the islands may be much more jampacked than you'd like. Another thing, for those islands might be good to bring along "water shoes" (or teyva sandals or crocs, footies you can swim in), because some of those lovely beaches are stony not just on shore but when you wade in -- its' awfully hard to walk on rocks in shallow water!
I dont know how much of that active life might be on those islands. I do know that Western Crete has a lot of hiking activities, and exploring, and it's so big that even in high season, you can go inland (on a Jeep Safari?) and find villages untouched by tourism. For that venture, I'd advise when u land to fly straight to CHANIA, the western Old ttown considered loveliest of Crete... you can stay just outsid of town on a nice sandy beach, and come into town for browsing, dinners etc.
If not familiar with many isles, this Matt Barrett section on Islands is helpful http://www.greektravel.com/greekislands/ you do need to stick to islands in same group, reasonably easy to reach. For example I like AntiParos & Sifnos. Fly to PAROS, take a quickie ferry 15 mins to AntiParos. When ready to leave, time it for when a ferry goes from Paros to Sifnos, then take one of the daily fast-ferries from Sifnos to Athens (2.5 hours). Matt Barretts section also helps you plan do-able itineraries.