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Visiting Greek Islands after RS 14 day Greece Tour

My family of four just canceled our 21 BOE tour and signed up for the 14 day Athens and the Heart of Greece tour that starts June 6th. We decided to stick with one country instead of trying to deal with several countries during the uncertainness of Covid. We have decided to fly in two to three days prior to the start of the tour. After the tour ends we are contemplating going to maybe one or two of the Greek islands. Any feedback from tour members who have done this and where you went would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you in advance!
Marie

Posted by
2996 posts

Hi MarieM., We took the wonderful Athens and the Heart of Greece Tour in 2017. We arrived in Athens 2 nights before the tour. We extended our stay by going to Naxos x 6 nights & Santorini x 4 nights. We absolutely loved Naxos! We felt 3 nights in Santorini would have sufficed. We were there in the month of September. That said, June is a popular time to visit as well. Good choice! I hope stanbr chimes in & shares his amazing photos of Naxos.

Posted by
117 posts

We did 2+ weeks on our own fall of 2018. Naxos great - 4 or more nights! Flight to return to Athens easier from there than Paros. But Paros very good - 2 to 4 nights. (Only a short ferry ride from Naxos). Santorini required but once enough for us - 3 nights about right. Too many tourists. Akrotiri & island tour safe bet. Islands, especially Santorini, will be hot.

Posted by
222 posts

If I am correct you have middle and or high school- aged travelers with you? Mine were passionate about Greek mythology and we went to Crete, a very short flight from Athens, then rented a car for several days. Seeing the bull motifs, Minotaur "labyrinth", etc was incredible. There was also (sorry, it's been a long time) a really special beach with conservation efforts for sea turtles and the memorable hike through Samaria Gorge. We used a tour bus to get to Delphi from Athens, another really special excursion for your time prior to the tour. I am not sure what Covid will be like as far as boats, but we also went on a cruise to several islands that ended in Ephesus prior to the return to Athens. Seeing Patmos was a real highlight.
I am glad you were able to make changes that give you more peace of mind! Safe travels!

Posted by
234 posts

A visit to the Islands after the tour is a great idea - a totally different experience. I have been to Crete on three occasions and love it…lots of interesting archaeology, museums, etc. and some fabulous beaches. You need at least a week there, more if you can swing it. I also enjoyed Rhodes on a one day cruise stop, I enjoyed exploring the medieval town and met some charming cats! It’s certainly a place I could go back to for a longer stay.

Posted by
5042 posts

Crete has a variety of things to satisfy most requirements - history galore, beaches, exploring, water sports etc. To get so much variety elsewhere, you would have to visit several smaller islands, so make life easier and stick to one island then you spend less wasted time in transit.

Posted by
19 posts

Thank you all for the wonderful advice. I am finding that we need to stay longer than anticipated. Your suggestions have kept me busy researching and I appreciate your feedback. I am relaying all of your experiences to my family! We are having a lot of fun discussing and planning!

Best,
Marie

Posted by
1 posts

We arrived in Crete between lockdown in the UK end of september 2021?. (so place was not so tourist populated)
I'd advise flying down from Athens as it is quite a long trip by boat.
we hired a car and air Bnb'd our way around Crete for 12 nights, very exciting.
I would recommend travelling across to south Crete, visiting Matala through to Paleochora back over to Hania and down the north coast stunning beach's and scenery

Good luck
Paul

Posted by
1 posts

Hello Marie,

My wife and I took the Best of Greece tour in May of 2019, a few months before the plunge into the vortex of Covid-19. We elected to fly directly from Newark to Athens on Emirates. What a fabulous flight and at the time in 2019 a very easy pass through immigration to enter the country. We spent one night in Piraeus, close to the high speed ferry docks. We took a morning jet catamaran to Santorini and flowed Rick Guide book to get up form the ferry doc to Thira, then another bus to Oia and stayed a a beautiful cave apartment run by the Anemomilos Villas. Spiros was a great host and the cave apartment was wonderful. We stayed 3 nights. Perfect location for relative privacy, sun deck, hot tub and caldera view. The hotel associated with the cave apartment had a great place for courtyard meals, along with great pedestrian walkways to shop, windmills, churches, and restaurants. Through Viator we booked a small group winery and cooking tour. Van met us at the hotel and took us to three wineries across the length of Santorini for sampling, light foods (like Tapas) and history of the island. Finished up with a cooking class and back the the hotel for the evening, which we spent in Pyrgos for the most amazing Orthodox Easter celebration. Search YouTube for the evening fires, its simple amazing. We flew back to Athens from Santorini on Aegean Airlines, good connection. I hope this offers some ideas of use. Enjoy!