A few of my friends and I are stopping in Greece at the end of a month long trip around southern Europe (Spain, Italy, Greece). We're starting in Athens for a few days to see the sights, but then want to get out to the Islands to relax. Right now we don't have much of a preference, something not too difficult or expensive to get to, not overcrowded, and mostly just beautiful scenery (which I hear is everywhere!) and a relaxing atmosphere. Any advice would be appreciated! Thank you!
Just to note, weather will not be beach relaxing weather yet, and some hotels etc are actually closed for winter.
I would suggest Santorini anyways. Scenery there would be great regardless of weather.
This is easy to answer. Go to the island where the movie Mamma Mia was made this September, with Meryl Streep, Colin Firth and Pierce Bronson .. coming out in June, so you can see where you were and show your friends, too. Skopelos. Stay at Del Sol www.delsol.gr with Sophie, eat at Molos or Nastas, go to Agios Iannis Kastri where the monastery on the rock was rebuilt for the wedding scene in the movie, and check your e-mail with Pepy and Stratos at the Internet Cafe. There's no airport, so you have to take a ferry from nearby Skiathos, but don't stop there ... continue to the best island in the Aegean.
Beautiful scenery is everywhere. If I had to pick one island for 3-7 days it would be Crete but that is a little far. Maybe Naxos because it is not too crowded. It has beaches, bars, scenery, it is the biggest island around that area without being over run like Santorini and Mykonos (keep in mind these are overrun for a reason they are both worth visiting).
Each Greek island has its beauty. I think they are different from each other in some ways. I vote for Crete and Santorini, and Rhodos.
The views are awsome from any island. I've only been to Crete, we rented a car and went around . Very cool. you only need less then a day to do it.
Hello Amanda. I recommend : fly from Athens to the island Naxos. It is in the Cyclades islands group in the Aegean Sea. Hotel Apollo at Naxos town ("Hora").
Approaching Naxos town from the airport, in a Taxi, is very pleasant. Naxos town is at the sea Coast. The road for motor vehicles is along the water front, and parrellel to that road is a road for pedestrians. Naxos has the best beaches in Greece.
A bus goes to the beaches. Busses go to the other villages on that island. Naxos has olive tree groves, fruit trees, grapes, figs, corn, potatoes, goats, donkeys, mountains, a wilderness environment. Naxos is the only island in the Cyclades islands that could be described as having lush vegetation. Walk from the Apollo Hotel to the bus stop. Naxos is a good place for a relaxing, care - free vacation. I was there in 2005. I liked Naxos more than Rhodes. Read about Naxos in the book "Greece" (Lonely Planet), 6th Edition, or any later edition in which the chapters on the Cyclades islands were written by Des Hannigan.
Someone pointed out that I had failed to mention when we would be going, which is obviously a fairly important detail.
We'll be going at the very beginning of August, which is our reason for concern over crowds. We've heard of the crowds at Santorini and Mykonos so we are hesitant to go there, but at the same time we figure that there are crowds there for a reason (as someone else has mentioned).
Long story short, we're not sure what to do.
Amanda, yup, islands will be crowded, no doubt about it, we went in late September and they were still crowded, just starting to wind down a wee bit. But, as you said, sometimes a place is crowded because it IS so nice.
Yes, Mykonos was trampled by millions of people. Some people think Mykonos was ruined. Santorini has the buildings which are typical of the Cyclades islands : small white buildings and blue roofs. But Santorini has huge crowds of tourists in August.
If you go to Greece in August, that is a good time to be at a beach. Santorini does not have a good beach. Naxos has good beaches, better beaches than Paros. Paros has more visitors than Naxos because Paros has more hotel rooms : travel agents in the U.S.A. send people to Paros. Another interesting island is Sifnos. A catamaran goes to Sifnos from the port of Piraeus (2 hours, 45 minutes) daily in August. Read about Sifnos in the Lonely Planet book on Greece (6th Edition, 2004). Sifnos has enough variety for it to be a good choice as the only island to go to. The best islands for walking on trails (paths) are Sifnos and Naxos. Whichever island you go to, reserve a room there before you leave the U.S.A.
When I knew I could afford to travel to Greece (in 2005) the first book I looked at was the DK Eyewitness book of the Greek Islands. It has many little color photographs. Looking at the photographs in that book could cause a person to desire to go to ALL of the islands of Greece. But some of the islands are less desirable than others. For example: I think the only desirable aspect of the island Hydra (located near the Peloponnese of the mainland of Greece) is that it does not have motor vehicles. It has carts pulled by Donkeys, but it has only one road. Tourists at Hydra stay at the waterfront, near the ferry boat dock. Hydra is convenient for day trippers from Athens. The island Naxos is much better than the island Chios (in the northeastern Aegean Sea). A book that has good descriptions of the Greek islands is the Thomas Cook book on the Greek islands. (It does not need to be a recent edition of that book).