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GREEK ISLAND suggestions?

GREEK ISLAND suggestions?

Old Sep 18, 19, 7:35 am
  #16  
 
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Crete is huge, Santorini is small. Chania is a very, very beautiful city, Fira is a very, very beautiful small town; they have completely different architecture. There are lots and lots of things to see in Crete and much fewer in Santorini (Akrotiri would be a must). Chania is still alive outside of the peak season while Santorini is almost dead. The view up from, or down into the caldera (Santorini) is simply stunning. Chania is certainly cheaper than Santorini. The bottom line is whichever you choose you'll be very happy you went there and at the same time disappointed you didn't go to the other. You'll immediately have to start planning the next visit to one of those two (or any of the 227 inhabited) islands in the Aegean and the Ionian seas.
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Old Sep 18, 19, 11:46 am
  #17  
 
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Originally Posted by KLouis View Post
Zakynthos: Great island, I simply love it (it was even better before a major earthquake and an ensuing fire destroyed 90% of the houses in the 50s, I've only seen pictures ). Rather touristy.
Kalymnos: no idea, but my son says it's very nice and not very touristy.
Kos: again, based on my son's experience (6 months of his military service there), nice but very, very touristy.
Rhodes: Big island, nice places but very, very, very, very touristy, including places you should avoid (e.g. Faliraki, full of Brittish youths that are drunk whenever they're awake).
Same goes for Laganas on Zakynthos - avoid! Unless you like puking Brits and questionable microwaved food that is. That said, I agree Zakynthos is a lovely island, and it is not too difficult to escape the tourist masses if you do some research/have a car to explore some villages. Food is indeed great!

As for the other islands GetSetJetSet mentioned before I can't speak out of personal experiences, but I heard great things about Kalymnos from Greek friends (the island is high on my own list of Greek islands to visit!).

Originally Posted by Agneisse View Post
For a first-time Greek islands visitor would people recommend Santorini or Crete (Chania) for a couple of days? I am interested in good views (so the caldera is very tempting) and chilling with a good book. Don't really care for beaches as would be visiting outside peak summer season. Any other suggestions also welcome but ideally one that has a flight from Athens. Thanks!
What do you exactly understand by 'outside of peak summer season'?

Especially Santorini is still very crowded from mid-May until mid-October. When I was in Athens last May (heading to one of the smaller Cyclades islands) there were already droves of Americans/Asians on the airport and in the port of Piraeus all heading to/coming from Santorini. Heck, on my ferry to Serifos (which continues to Santorini) 95 percent of all passengers were overseas visitors heading for Santorini with only a few tourists/locals heading to some other islands.

Crete as also busy/popular but to a lesser extent (the island as a whole and Chania as a city are bigger so obviously you won't notice the crowds as much). If chilling is important to you, and if that goes together with crowd size (it does for me, I can't relax in an overtouristed place!), then I would certainly avoid Santorini and go to Chania.

Sure, the views might be beautiful on the island of Santorini, but Chania isn't all too bad either, especially if you head out of town into the mountains/down the coastline. More importantly, Chania has so much more local life and flavour than Santorini. There are tons of lovely places on the waterfront or in the atmospheric backstreets of Chania where you can linger over a glass of wine and read a book in all quietness while watching the world go by.

PS. I have to disclose that I have lived in Chania in the past and I might be a bit biased
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Old Sep 18, 19, 12:16 pm
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Not to forget eastern Crete. Less tourists, better archaeological sites, and breathtaking scenery around the Mirabello Bay.
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Old Oct 4, 19, 6:32 am
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I would add the Ionian island of Ithaca for those that want something not over touristy. No airport means no package holiday groups. To access the island you can fly to Kefalonia (from a number of European cities direct over the long summer or via Athens) and then take a taxi (45 mins) to Sami and take the ferry (20 mins) to Piso Aetos on Ithaca. Either arrange for a taxi or hire car, or have the hire car from Kefalonia and take it on the ferry with you. You can get ferries direct to Ithaca from Astakos and Patras, both which can be accessed by buses from Athens. Making it such an effort to get there means the average joe doesn't try, so it's normally only sailing groups, ex-pats and those in the know that go there. There are day trippers from Kefalonia too.

The island is split in two, north and south with the main port in the south, but the majority of villages in the north. This is the home of Odysseus, with a couple of small museums to while away your time at. Go for walks, go for swims, have something to eat and admire the scenery. If you time it right, you may be there during one of the village all night fetes. A scroll through some of the photos here will give you an indication of the colour of the island and a flavour of the fetes.
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Old Oct 4, 19, 6:55 am
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@dddc: Ah, finally a post from an aesthete! Bravo! I was in Ithaca in 1972 and since then I long to go back. The only place in the world where, back then, the jukebox in a cafe contained a choice of opera arias and wonderful local cantades (καντάδες), in addition to "classical" R&R from the '60s. Anyway, judging from your pictures, although still beautiful and very Ionian, tourism is there to stay. Judging from my own more recent three visits to Paxoi (100 km to the North), if you visit in May or October you'll enjoy Ithaca and Paxoi, and the rest of Greece even more.

Last edited by KLouis; Oct 4, 19 at 7:01 am
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Old Oct 5, 19, 6:37 am
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Originally Posted by KLouis View Post
@dddc: Ah, finally a post from an aesthete! Bravo! I was in Ithaca in 1972 and since then I long to go back. The only place in the world where, back then, the jukebox in a cafe contained a choice of opera arias and wonderful local cantades (καντάδες), in addition to "classical" R&R from the '60s. Anyway, judging from your pictures, although still beautiful and very Ionian, tourism is there to stay. Judging from my own more recent three visits to Paxoi (100 km to the North), if you visit in May or October you'll enjoy Ithaca and Paxoi, and the rest of Greece even more.
I first visited Ithaca in 1978, spending 3 months there. Next wasn't until 1992 when it was only 6 weeks, the most years from 2008 but only for a max of a week. This year I made 2 visits, in July and September. With the contacts I had there, May and October are quiet and the weather unpredictable. We had massive electrical storms the morning I left. When I arrived in mid-Sept the locals were saying it was too cold to swim! With the local festivals on during July and August I would recommend going then to experience a bit of the local atmosphere. Just bring earplugs if you plan to sleep as the music goes to 3am or later.
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Old Oct 9, 19, 9:20 pm
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We are a family of 4 that includes 2 kids (3&8) that are planning a trip to Europe for May 2020. We are hoping to spend 4 nights in either santorini or other Greek islands and would appreciate if you have any recommendations for first timers to the Greek islands with small kids in terms of which island to pick and if 4 days in one place is going to be too much.
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Old Oct 10, 19, 9:04 am
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Hydra - who needs cars anyway ?

What about Hydra ? Perfectly beautiful Greek island , no cars , just donkeys. Ok it’s a ferry ride , the fast ferries have slowed down I guess to save fuel , still only a couple of hours from Pireas , part of the fun. Perfect place to chill out and relax , some nice boutique hotels , shouldn’t be crowded in the autumn.Hills to climb if you are energetic , fabulous view from the monastery at the top. Not sure with children , beaches small and pebbly , but perfect for adult relaxation. If you’re really lucky the hotel will send a donkey to the ferry port for your suitcase..
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Old Oct 10, 19, 4:45 pm
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Originally Posted by Stivelio View Post
We are a family of 4 that includes 2 kids (3&8) that are planning a trip to Europe for May 2020. We are hoping to spend 4 nights in either santorini or other Greek islands and would appreciate if you have any recommendations for first timers to the Greek islands with small kids in terms of which island to pick and if 4 days in one place is going to be too much.
Santorini will be great in May for the adults (especially because it will not be packed), less so for the kids, especially the 3 years old: too young to enjoy the views and the antiquities, and not an island especially recommended for its beaches. Hydra will be fun for the children since they can walk by themselves without any danger (zero cars and hardly any motorbikes). Certainly not Mykonos and Ios and all other party islands or party towns on otherwise nice islands (e.g. Faliraki/Rhodes, Malia/Crete, Laganas/Zakynthos, etc.). As for the four days, this can be too much or too little depending on your mood: weather, taste, etc. Personally, I never stay longer than a week on an island I visit, other than Crete (permanent resident!).
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