Help with itinerary - Santorini + ???
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Aug 22, 2012 2:22 PM Last Post By: travelerjan
Aug 18, 2012 2:45 PM
Help with itinerary - Santorini + ???Hi,
I'm a 30 year-old female planning a solo trip to Greece for Aug. 27-Sep. 11 (flights aren't set yet but it looks like these will be the dates). I've been reading up in the forum to get ideas for my itinerary and I was hoping for some help...
I visited Greece for the first time last year - I was in Plakias, Crete for a week (and celebrated my 30th there too) and absolutely loved it. I loved the beaches, the people, the food... The trip inspired me to see more of Greece asap, so I am planning a two week trip and decided to fight the urge to go back to Plakias and see some new places this time around...
I am traveling solo and prefer to stay at hostels (or dorm-style accommodations) - both for budget's sake and also because it's usually a great way to meet people while traveling. I love spending time at the beach (and being in the water in general) and want to relax on the beach for at least some of the time, but am also a "doer" and love exploring new places - seeing beautiful scenery, small towns, getting a feel for the culture, etc. I prefer to be in a place where I can meet new people (and not just do things solo all the time). I'm happy to go out at night, but am not interested in getting drunk all night and sleeping all day. I don't really like to drive and prefer to travel either by foot or bus. Generally, I like small towns/villages over cities and prefer places that aren't "too" busy in terms of tourism (which is why this trip is planned for when the season dies down...).
My initial thoughts for the trip were that I'd like to visit Athens for a day or two (mainly to see the Acropolis), Santorini and another island. In that way, I'd have 5-6 days per island, which is a pace that I think is nice (I like to get a good feel for a place and not rush around between a lot of different places...). After doing some research, what I've been thinking to do for the trip is to start in Santorini (it looks like I can fly into Athens and get a good connecting flight there so I wouldn't spend as much travel time en route...), visit another island in the area (or maybe even two - people have been telling me that I won't want to spend more than 3 days on Santorini), and then spend a couple of days in Athens before my flight home.
I'm hoping for some help on deciding what other island to visit after Santorini, and also whether to consider a third. I was originally thinking about Ios or Mykonos, but from what I've heard/read I think they are a bit too much of a party for my tastes. I've read a lot of good things about Naxos and Paros on the forum so I am considering visiting one of those (or maybe both, or one of them and another island).
Based on what I've said above in terms of what I'm looking for (I hope I've given enough info...), which island(s) would you recommend? I've read somewhat contradictory comments about Paros online (on the one hand it sounds small and quiet, but some people say it's overly commercial and full of mass tourism, etc.), and am also wondering about Naxos (considering I wouldn't want to rent a car but would want to explore the island...). If I do end up staying 3-4 days on Santorini and have a week on another island, where is there more to see/do? Where are the beaches nicer? Is there any other island in the area you think I should be considering (maybe Sifnos?)?
I'd appreciate any feedback and thank you in advance. BTW, this forum has already been very helpful to my planning efforts so thanks...
Aug 18, 2012 6:28 PM
1First of all, it takes a minimum of 4 days on any island to relax and get into the rhythm of life there. Anyone who says 3 days is enough must have restless leg syndrome.
Whatever has been said about Paros, both positive and negative, can also be said about Naxos. They're very similar in most aspects. Both are excellent choices in tandem with Santorini. If you choose Paros you will also be able to take the little local shuttle ferry across to Antiparos, which is a very friendly island. You will also be able to take the excursion boat to Delos which makes a stop in Mykonos Town for a quick look around. Paros, Antiparos and Naxos all have excellent beaches. Santorini, not so much.
Mykonos will still be in the midst of its summer madness, so unless you like the party scene it's best to avoid it for longer than the excursion stopover.
Aug 19, 2012 6:24 AM
I agree with brotherleelove about Paros and Naxos. Both very good choices considering nice villages and great beaches. It will still be a bit busy in the end of August, though so also take a look at islands like Sifnos, Milos, Folegandros Serifos and Sikinos. You will find some good info here: http://www.greek-islands.us/greek-islands/ and here: http://www.greektravel.com/greekislands/cyclades.htm
Here is also a very good blog about Sikinos and Santorini: http://www.greecetraveler.com/index.php?page=santorini-anafi-sikinos.
Here you will find the ferries: http://www.gtp.gr/
Read more and come back for more questions if needed.
Aug 19, 2012 2:21 PM
3Thanks for your replies.
I started reading the websites that Ingela posted and about the various islands mentioned, and am now really liking the idea of going from Santorini to Milos and Sifnos. They both sound beautiful and they are close enough to each other that I think I could do both without driving myself nuts.
I checked the ferries and it looks like I can do it easily (there is a ferry from Santorini to Milos every day on the dates I think would be relevant and a daily ferry between Milos and Sifnos, and I can get a ferry from Sifnos to Athens...).
I'm only concerned about a few things with these islands:
1. Accommodations - I've been looking for hostel/dorm accommodations on both islands and haven't found anything. The least expensive single room I could find on Milos so far is 43 Euro, which is way beyond what I would want (and could afford) to pay. Do you have any idea if there are less expensive places to stay on these islands (and what price range are we talking about)? Is there any way for me to guarantee this in advance or should I just show up and hope to find something on the spot? Any recommendations for which towns to stay in on these islands? Recommendations for specific low-cost accommodations would be greatly appreciated...
2. Are these islands backpacker-y oriented at all (or frequented by solo travelers much)? Not that I mean to be a snob in any way, but I am a bit apprehensive of getting to an island that is full of families and/or couples ONLY. I would like to be able to meet other travelers...
3. Are these islands easy to travel by foot/bus? From what I read, it wasn't entirely clear if I would need to rent a scooter (or the like) to get to the nicer beaches, etc.
Thanks a lot!
Aug 19, 2012 3:07 PM
Aug 19, 2012 10:06 PM
Aug 20, 2012 5:17 AM
Regarding the Milos accommodations, it looks like something went wrong with the link. I think I managed to get to the right place, so for anyone interested - this is the link: http://www.milos-island.gr/rooms-apartments/pollonia.html
This might be a silly question, but can anyone just rent a scooter and drive it without killing people? I have a driver's license for a car, but have never driven a scooter and the idea scares me a bit. It sounds like this is the way to go in Milos, but I'm just wondering how safe/practical it is...
Aug 20, 2012 8:32 AM
7If you have never driven a scooter do NOT do it. Ingalex can tell you about the Santorini hospital full of scooter newbies ... besides I think you would need a motorcycle license in order for insurancce to cover you. I only mentioned it because you did. Rent the cheapest smallest car you can find , after all youare not going to race with anybody and there will be NO traffic really. We were there the last day in May, and most of the time were alone onthe road, outside of Adamas... 30€ should do it ... chat with Nikos. BTW get an international driver license -- costs $15 in us, takes 15 minutes. They don't always ask for it, but if you bend a fender, that's when they'd ask, and you'd be stuck with cost.
Aug 22, 2012 1:51 PM
8Thanks for the clarification regarding the scooter, I would be scared to drive one anyway... I got an international driver's license today in case I end up renting a car (though I am hoping to avoid it).
Anyway, I do have another question, not really about the itinerary but just in trying to understand the ferry system... It seems that some lines are run by different companies either on the same days or on different days and I'm wondering if there are any ferry companies that are more recommended/reliable than others. Is there any real difference between them?
I understand that the car ferries that are bigger and slower than the catamarans and I assume the catamarans are more expensive (since they are faster), but is there anything else that should be taken into account?
Also, can I count on buying ferry tickets on the day of the ferry (this would probably be in the beginning of September) or should I book in advance? (I would prefer to be somewhat spontaneous, but wouldn't want to get "stuck" somewhere...).
Aug 22, 2012 2:22 PM
9Milos & Sifnos are moe often served by the fast-ferries (catamarans -- eithr car-carrying or passenger only) ... of the 2 fast-ferry companies, the Speed-Runner model is larger, thus more stable if the winds kick up. Conventional ferries hold 1200-1800 passengers, so unless you are taking one on a Sunday afternoon to Piraeus, you don't need to buy until the day before. However, the so-called fast-ferries are more limited, (400-450 passengers) so if you have a certain "MUST" sail date, best to book ahead -- certainly if you are goig to Pireaus, the destnation of most Greek families.
The other factor would be, are you leaving Santorini & and want to have a view (and a camera shot) of the caldera cliffs from below? Then think about the Large ferries,because they have outside decks, the others do not. Some people say, get a large ferry coming IN to the Santorini caldera, for the view -- but those advisors turn out to be people who took a cruise. You can stand on the deck & view the caldera on arrival ONLY if you are not disembarking permanently. If Santorini is your stop, youwill be expected to be "downstairs" on the car level, in the dark, with your rolling bag, waiting for the ferry ramp to slam down, so you won't see a thing. It's only on leaving that you can stay on deck.
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