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Athens and Santorini

We are ending our month long trip to Europe with a few days in Greece at the end of July. We will be getting in to Patras (from Italy) around noon on a Sunday, taking a train to Athens and spending the night there. We are then taking an early morning ferry on Monday to Santorini, arriving there mid-afternoon. We are not sure then whether we should spend one night or two in Santorini. We are flying out of Athens back to the US that Friday, so we want to make sure we budget enough time for Athens, but we also don't want to skip on Santorini. With such limited time, does anyone have a recommendation for how to split up our time?

Posted by
73 posts

I think I would spend two nights in Santorini (Monday and Tuesday) and then leave early on Wednesday for Athens. There is so much to see and do in both places and you will have such a wonderful time! If you only spend one night in Santorini, you may feel rushed, And...after a month long trip, you may have a better idea of what you really want! Have fun!

Posted by
178 posts

Christine or anyone, what do your recommend that one should definitely see in Athens and Santorini?

Posted by
2863 posts

If possible I suggest you take a ferry to Santorini on that first Sunday so you don't waste your precious time just waiting around for the morning boat. You'l be arriving in Athens in time for either a late-afternoon highspeed ferry or the late-evening overnighter from Piraeus port. You can go to

http://www.openseas.gr/OPENSEAS/index_en.vm

to see what's available on either the 20th or 27th, depending on which Sunday you mean. Hellenic Seaways and Sea Jets both have afternoon highspeeds that will get you to Santorini about 8 PM. Anek Lines has an overnighter that gets in at a decent hour. The Anek Lines boat offers sleeping berths so it would be like renting a floating hotel room. From the Train Station you will need to take the Green Line suburban railway to Piraeus to catch the ferry.

When you arrive there will be a bus at the ferry port to take you into Fira. From there you can catch another bus to whichever village you've chosen for your stay. Once you're on Santorini take at least 2 days to explore. Please don't go all that way just for one day. Visit Ancient Thera, Oia, the museums in Fira, the red beach at Akrotiri, have a meal below Oia at Katina's Fish Taverna, maybe take a half-day cruise out into the caldera to visit the volcano and hotsprings. But most of all, relax and enjoy the amazing views.

If you want hotel or hostel recommendations let me know what your daily room budget will be-per person and if you want to be near all the youth-oriented nightlife or if you prefer something quieter.

You can see all of the major sights in Athens in 2 days.

Posted by
5 posts

I will be in Santorini in October and would love hotel recommendations. We will be leaving Athens on 10/18 and want to end up in Crete on 10/24. We definetly want to spend time on Santorini, but are very open to suggestions on islands between Athena and Santorini to visit. We figured we would be best to end out time in Santorini since it is close to Crete. We are going to spend 6 days on Crete from 10/24 until 10/30, then back to Athens and back home to California. Thanks for your help!

Posted by
2863 posts

Maureen-

The most logical islands to visit between Athens and Santorini are in the same island group, the Cyclades (kee-KLAH-thess) islands. The ones served by the same daily ferry as Santorini are Paros, Naxos and Ios but there are others if you can make the connections to them. I've spent time on Paros my last two trips to Santorini and have grown to enjoy it very much. It's a lot different than Santorini which makes for a well-rounded vacation. Naxos is somewhat similar and very large. Both have better beaches than Santorini. If you prefer to fly, both Aegean and Olympic Airlines fly to Santorini but only Olympic serves Paros and Naxos. The problem is that there aren't any direct island-to-island flights, you'd have to fly back to Athens and change planes, which takes time and is costly. The ferry is only a short hop between islands.

I will suggest that, if your itinerary is not yet set in stone, that you save Athens until the end of your trip so you don't have to stress about getting back to the mainland for your flight home.

As for hotel recommendations, I can help but please tell me if you want access to Fira's nightlife or total peace and quiet, or something in between, and if you want a caldera-side village or a beach resort. Most people prefer the caldera-side villages, preferably at a hotel with a sea view. And most importantly, what will your daily room budget be, and for how many people?

In case you didn't already know, from Santorini to Crete there's a daily highspeed catamaran ferry, the Hellenic Seaways FlyingCat 4. It will not be operating on every Wednesday in October.

http://www.ferries.gr/hfd/

Posted by
8293 posts

In 2002 we stayed at the Santorini Palace for 4 nights and it was like paradise on earth. Don't remember what we paid but it was a bit of a splurge (quite a bit, actually, for us) but so worth it. I couldn't stop taking photos of the sunsets ! Check out their website.

Posted by
5 posts

Lee & Norma,

Thanks for the info. As far as hotels go, we are not big on night life. We like to go out for a nice dinner and maybe some where after for a night cap, but do not need music, dancing, etc. We like to hike and walk, Probably not toal peace and quiet, but something in between. We would like a sea view, but would be open to a beach resort too. There will be 2 of us and I would say 80-100 Euros would be our budget.

Suggestions in Paros would be greatly welcomed too.

Thanks again,

Maureen

Posted by
2863 posts

Maureen-

I think Oia would fit you best. Check Aspa Villas, Thea Studios, Stelios Rooms, Delfini Hotel and Old Oia Houses. These are the least expensive with a caldera view. There's also Ether Studios in Oia. It's a little out of the way but has an unobstructed sunset view and a pool. Oia has plenty of excellent shops, hotels, galleries and restaurants in every price category. There are some mellow bars for a quiet drink. My favorite is Pelekanos.

The beaches on Santorini leave much to be desired for hard-core beach addicts as they are either red or black rocks, pebbles and/or grit. There are no atypical white-sand beaches there. The water is still wonderful but many are disappointed by the beaches themselves. If you prefer the beach concentrate your search on Kamari and Perissa Beaches.

For Paros, in May of 2007 I stayed at Alexandra's Rooms in the main village of Parikia. My room was spacious, very clean and only 20 euro/night, although I don't know what it will cost this coming October. There was A/C, TV, fridge and the best high-pressure hot water I've ever experienced in Greece, and lots of it. A couple of the upstairs rooms even had a great sunset view. When you get off the ferry walk to the street, turn left and with the bay on your left shoulder walk for about 1/3 mile until you see a shop on the right side of the street called "Colors" next to the Hotel Paros. Alexandra's Rooms is sandwiched between these two set back off the street about 100 feet. The people in Colors manage the rooms.

http://www.alexandrasrooms.gr/Photos.html

Posted by
23 posts

Hi-We just returned from Athens and Santorini. I recommend 2 nights on Santorini. We stayed at the Lotza Studios-very cool cave-style apartments. 95 euros per night in June for family of 4.Extremely peaceful-pedestrians and donkeys go by walkway outside our door but no cars. Incredible atmosphere in Finikia-a nice 10 minute walk from main part of Oia. Great taverna 2 minutes away; market,bus stop and caldera view 5 minutes away. Hiking trails and beach not too far. Great hosts. Very helpful. Arranged shuttle to ferry for us. Santorini's beautiful-we took overnight ferry from Athens so as not to lose a whole day traveling.
Good Luck!

Posted by
115 posts

Lee could you recommend accomadations for these places? We are mid 50's want inexpensive place, but probably not a hostel, but close to it.
Thanks,

Posted by
2863 posts

Helene, Santorini has an excellent bus system so you don't need a car, but having one really gives you the ability to explore on a whim at your own pace.

There are lots of inexpensive places to stay. Have you done any research and have you determined which village on the island you prefer? Private rooms go for anywhere between 25 and 1600 euro night, so choose a village and let me know when you plan to go and what your daily room budget is and I'll try to come up with some recommendations.

Posted by
21206 posts

I thought I read somewhat or someone posted that Santorini starts to shut down around mid Oct and the ferry system goes to a reduced schedule around that time. Lee ?????

Posted by
2863 posts

Yes, that's true. What starts shutting down (but not completely off) in October are those businesses relating to tourism-hotels, restaurants, boutiques and galleries, etc. Since the islands all have permanent populations those businesses that provide goods and services for the permanent residents remain open all year. These supplies come to the islands by ferry. The ferry companies provide off-season transport based on local demand so even if there are cutbacks in ferry schedules most of the islands are still reachable on a regular basis, some every day.

If you use the ferry schedule website http://www.gtp.gr you will be able to see what schedules are put in place for the off-season. Some of these winter schedules are only now beginning to appear as "not yet authorized" but will give you an idea of what to expect.

Posted by
5307 posts

Maybe your plans are set, but have you considered flying? When I weigh the time and cost of: Train to Bari from? (Rome Naples, Florence?), Ferry from Bari to Patras, Train To Athens, Ferry to Santorini; I see it as two to three days of travel with little happening along the way. Aegean Air, and partners, offer flights from most Italian cities to Athens and on to Santorini for about 200 euro and getting you there the same day. Athens should be saved for the few days (well worth at least two nights) before you leave.

Posted by
5307 posts

I guess I could add...that means you get to Santorini Saturday Afternoon or early evening, spend 2-3 nights, then either hit another island on your leisurely way back to Athens, or head right back and hit a Day trip or two on the mainland (Delphi, Mycenae, Epidaurus, Nafplio),