Sicily or Greek Islands

My husband and I are planning a month vacation in Italy next summer of 2014. I want to do 2 weeks in Italy and then a relaxing 2 weeks in either Sicily or fly over to Greece and Island hop. Which do you think is more relaxing? I have read that you have to rent a car to get anywhere in Sicily and after two weeks of
non-stop going and sightseeing in Italy, I would like for the last two weeks to be more laid back and slower pace. Also-I lived in Florence for 4 months in college and traveled around Italy so I want to see some different places. Thoughts? Who has been to Sicily and the Greek Islands? Which do you like better?

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3344 posts

I've been to both and I loved both. Either one can be relaxing or not, depending on how you decide to spend your time. Sitting on a beach all day is just as relaxing in Skiathos as it is in Panarea or San Vito Lo Capo. It's a tough decision and nobody can make it for you. Toss a coin.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
2506 posts

I've been to both as well. I am biased toward Sicily. I've traveled without a car most of the time, and there were only a few places I was not able to get to by public transportation. Cefalu is a good place to have beach time plus some interesting sights, and it's on the Palermo-Catania/Messina train route. You might also consider some time in Lipari, from which you can take the ferry to Stromboli, Panarea, and Vulcano. Agrigento is also near good beaches and has the Valley of the Temples. Siracusa and Taormina can also be good bases, but with less beach. None of these requires a car.

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3344 posts

I've been to the Cyclades: Mykonos, Naxos, Santorini. Beautiful places to visit, typical Greek islands that you see in the travel magazine pictures. I am addicted to beaches (I never miss the opportunity to go around here, sometimes even when the damn San Francisco fog rolls in) and I love all types of seafood. However I don't know if I could take 2 full weeks just in those islands. I think I spent a week or less in total there. There is a lot more to see in Greece. In your shoes, with 2 weeks at my disposal, I would visit either ALL of Sicily or ALL of Greece, not just those 3 or 4 islands in the Cyclades. I get bored if I relax more than a day in one place, I need to be on the move, constantly. I will relax at home, when I get back (for a day). Also, it is not true that Sicily is necessarily hotter (or cooler) than Greece. Both places are at the same latitude. Everything depends on how far you are from the water, where you get a lot of cooling sea breeze. The small Greek islands get a lot of wind and at night it's pleasant, but the same is true in the Sicilian islands (like the Aeolians) or the coastal areas. The interior of Greece is hot as hell in summer, just like the interior of Sicily.

Posted by Maggie
Little Rock, AR, USA
26 posts

Roberto- Have you been to any of the Cyclades island? I am interested in Santorini, Milos and Sifnos..do you recommend any of them?

Posted by Steve
Gaston, Oregon, USA
869 posts

Maggie, one thing to consider is the weather. Sicily gets really HOT in the summer, starting in June. The sand can get so hot that you have to wear beach shoes just to get out to the water. But the Greek islands (especially Crete) can be much cooler. We loved the Aeolians; so laid back and each one so different and easy to access from Lipari. Both Sicily and Greece can get packed in August, when everyone heads out for vacation.

Posted by Sherry
Santa Cruz, CA, UAS
15 posts

Last summer we stopped at both Mykonos and Santorini. I love the Greek Islands, but skip Mykonos and spend time on Santorini. Santorini isjust beautiful and the views are out of this world. Unfortunately, these were day stops on our cruise. Needed more time in Santorini.

Posted by Carol
Martinez, CA, USA
522 posts

We have been to both and also loved both. Just returned from 28 days in Sicily. Which month do you plan to go? Late April - May is different from summer so it's a little hard to comment. We thought Sicilian food was even better than mainland Italy. Cefalu has a great beach and also has La Rocca and a beautiful Duomo. You could also take a day trip to the Madonie Mountains although we went only to Castelbuono if you get bored. But in 2 weeks you could also see a lot more of Sicily, if you were so inclined. If you decide to go to Greece we agree you should skip Mykonos. We spent 4 days on Santorini and 5 on Naxos and were never bored. Lots of history on both islands, great beaches, great views, and great food. Those two islands plus connection time could fill 2 weeks.

Posted by Maggie
Little Rock, AR, USA
26 posts

We are going next July 2014 and are starting to plan now. I think we decided on Greece, although I'm a little worried that it will be very expensive. I know we want to visit Santorini and skip Mykonos..are the smaller islands-such as Milos going to be less expense than Santorini? I feel like Santorini is the most expensive of them all. Is this true?

Posted by Howard
Atlanta, GA, USA
42 posts

Sicily. Driving is easy. Best sights (in my opinion) Palermo: Stay at a hotel close to Central sights to walk out at night, dine and stroll. Hire guide to show you good stuff and Monreal, 30 minutes away. One day is good. Two days is better. Then, rent a car.... Segesta: Drive to Segesta Temple(Google it) and hire a guide for an hour re: local wars back then. Easy drive south about 90 minutes from Palermo. You'll think you're in Ancient Greece. Drive another 90 minutes Selinute Temple on south Sicily, like Ancient Greece, close to ancient Carthage and very hot. Wear good sunbrella hat and shirt entire trip. I remember a hotel on the beach near Selinute, you'll have to find. If you have the energy, drive to.... Agrigento: 6 Temples in a row, in my opinion, most spectacular Greek Temples anywhere, including Greece. From the Hotel Villa Athena you could see the Temples at night, spectacular, expensive but worth it for the view. Armerina (forgive spelling): 90 minutes from Agrigento, Villa of Roman general with the best (in my opinion) collection of mosaics of girl gymnasts, heros, animals, myths, etc viewed from walking ramps above. Syracuse: Museaum is geat. Confirm that its open. Hire guide for "ruins" like ancient Greece. Great hotel on ocean may be worth splurge. Google Syracuse. Taormina: Drive from Syracuse, stop at Aetna along way, then Taormina also like ancient times. Great beach. I stayed at Hotel Greta, cheap, WONDERFUL views of everthing including Mt. Aetna smoking, WONDERFUL food, high up from main area but only a 10-munute drive. Lipari and Stromboli: Island via Ferry. Weather and seas permitting, you could see lava flowing into the sea.
Get back to Palermo Sicily is like ancient Greece. I think you'll need to rent a car or hire a tour operator to do the above.

Posted by Charlene
Centennial, CO, US
915 posts

Maggie, Santorini is one of the more expensive Greek islands, but it doesn't have to break the bank. I have friends who stayed at Pension George, a short walk from Thira, for 65 euros/night. I suspect Lee could also come up with other good suggestions for you. If you're concerned about budget, just spend 3 nights on Santorini and then head for the smaller islands (which I think you'll really enjoy). On Milos, I was looking at Niki Savvas, or Capt. Savros. Write to them with some projected dates and see what they can offer. Food and excursions will be very inexpensive on Milos, Sifnos and similar islands. And the people are wonderful. If there's any chance you can change your vacation dates from July to either June or September, you will find better prices and less crowds.

Posted by olive007
1 posts

Is anybody still reading this feed?
Travel time : 5/10-20 sicily
5/20-5/30 italy mainland or Paros?
Question: 10 days booked on Sicily with group of friends flying over from San Francisco. They all are going home afterwards but I am taking 10 more days.
Bologna where I have friends or Paros, Greece where I also have friends.
Is there enough time left for Paros?
Also friend living in Paris who used to travel regularly to Athens says that it is too short a time for Paros in view of travel days spent getting there and that there are often transport strikes (esp now with election) which could eat up even more of my limited travel time.
Friend in Greece says NOnsense.

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3344 posts

Olive007.
I suggest you start a new post instead of piggy backing a zombie.