My 17y/o daughter and I will be in Italy/Greece in June, 2011. We'll have about 8 days to island hop and need recommendations on where to go besides Santorini. Looking for: easy to get to, charming, great food, not too touristy or crowded. Ideas? Wondering about Naxos or Paros.
Naxos and Paros are your best options for a second island within easy daily reach of Santorini. I prefer Paros for its close proximity to Antiparos for daytrips. You can also take a daytrip on an excursion boat from both Naxos and Paros to the world heritage island of Delos which includes a stop on Mykonos for a couple of hours.
Nancy, I'd also suggest Naxos as a second island to visit on your trip. I visited both this year, and it's an easy trip from one island to the other by Ferry. I decided to visit Naxos first and then Santorini, as there's an airport on Santorini so that made it easier to get to my next stop (Milano). ¶ You might want to check Matt Barrett's * www.greecetravel.com * as there's LOTS of information there on the various islands, and great travel tips for Greece. Good luck with your planning!
Lee- my thoughts exactly. Both islands are a snap to get to and would easily fill a few days.
Eight days in the Greek Islands will be wonderful. We haven't been to Paros. We did visit Naxos (by ferry) and found it provides a nice contrast to Santorini. Many fewer tourists and some nice beaches. Be sure your camera is ready - great sunsets.
The nearest to Athens islands Andros & Kea (Tzia) are very nice and not so touristy as the ones everybody knows. Also Oios and Folegandros are beautiful places. There is also Donousa (even smaller island). I am half Greek and I would suggest to most people to stay away from the "obvious" islands especially during high season (unless you just want to party). However, Santorini is a must although it is "obvious" too. A completely different suggestion is to look for Peloponesse (Naflpio, Ermioni, Hydra, Spetses, Monemvasia, Mystras)
Nancy You might want to consider Sifnos. We've just got back from there and it had some of the best restaurants we've found in 30 years of travelling in Greece. See Matt Barrett's site for a breakdown - http://www.greektravel.com/sifnos/restaurants.htm - Everything else about the island is good too. There's great swimming in Kamares and a good bus service to get you to other places on the island. At the moment there are two boats a week direct from Santorini - Wednesday and Saturday - but you'll need to check timetables nearer the time. I echo the idea that it would be best to take the boat down and fly back from Santorini. Cheers Alan