I hear sifnos is great, but i see no mention of it on your site. We plan on being in greece for 17 days starting easter, visiting crete for one about one week, and athens, and santorinii, and possibly either paros, naxos, or sifnos. We are not interested in beaches, or clubs. We are interested in culture, beauty, history, and culinary. Which of these islands would you recommend visiting and for how long? I would take flights rather than ferries, if it is better way to go. I can rent a car, but i only drive automatic.
Hi @regina and welcome to our forum!
Sifnos is a great island.
Don’t get me wrong.
In fact, there are no less beautiful greek islands and I personally love them all.
My target is to visit them all one day.
Everything is really subjective on these cases.
Every island is different (though they have similarities…).
The problem starts when you have to pick some because your time will be limited in Greece and you cannot go eveywhere.
Yes, you can probably visit a different island every day within tour 17 days trip to Greece but it’s not smart is it…?
Sifnos is great.
However, I believe Naxos, Paros, Milos and Syros have more to give you in terms of culture, food and beauty.
Not many people mention Syros for example because it’s an island not filled with the amazing beaches of Naxos or Mykonos.
Culinary-wise they all have amazing options and you won’t be disappointed with any of the food you will eat.
However, Naxos and Syros probably have an advantage because they are famous for their meat dishes and local cheese they produce.
In regards, to how many days you should stay on every island I would recommend the following for a 17 days trip:
2 nights Athens
3 nights Santorini
7 days Crete
3 nights Naxos
2 nights Syros or Milos
Ypu won’t be able to fly between the islands as there won’t be connecting flights probably. These are very rare and don’t run all year round.
And there is no point of going through Athens. It would be very time consuming and expensive.
You can only fly from and to Athens at the start and end of your trip.
You only choice would be ferries between the islands.
You can certainly rent an automatic car while on the islands. In fact, you should definitely rent a car on every island otherwise you will waste too much time with the unreliable local buses.
Also, Crete is a massive island and you will be very limited without a car to be honest.
i thank you for your response, but i just want to add a couple of things about us,
firstly, we are not interested in beaches,
second, in terms of food, we are pretty much vegetarian, and we do eat fish., but no meat. (you mentioned naxos and syros having great meat dishes)
i know that we will only be flying to and from athens at the start and end, and using ferries the rest of the time. Are all of these islands easily accessible via ferry? Do they all have flights to athens? Since we are arriving in athens in the evening, do you think 2 nights are enough? It basically gives us one full day to see athens, and keep in mind that is with jetlag, so i kind of need a bit of time to relax as well.
in terms of your suggestions, i think i would prefer not running around so much, and maybe extending time in some of these spots and maybe eliminating either naxos, syros or milos? I want to have a pleasant and somewhat relaxing trip, get a feel for greece, not rush from one port to another.
Can you suggest hotels?
this is what i have narrowed it down to so far: chania- domus renier, scala de faro, or casa delfino?
eastern part of crete,no idea where to stay, but probably not in herkalon, but near
athens, ava, or electra metropolis?
santorini,where is good location/ hotel? oia or fira, or is that too busy in early may?
If you are vegetarian then you won’t have any issues in Greece.
There are hundreds of amazing vegetarian traditional dishes and obviously great seafood and fish almost everywhere in Greece (especially on the islands).
If you are not interested at all in beaches and the sea then I would not suggest Milos.
Naxos and Syros have much more to offer to be honest with much picturesque areas to visit.
I don’t think 1 full day (in jetlag mode) is enough for Athens. I believe you need at least 48 proper hours but I don’t know if you can fit that in your schedule.
That’s exactly my point!
In this case you should better visit 3 places in total:
Athens (for a proper 2 nights at least),
Santorini for 6-7 days and
Naxos for another 5-6 days
In terms of hotels all the ones you mentioned are great.
In fact, the best thing you can do is to head over to Booking.com and spend some time to read reviews.
So in regards to your question on where to stay I have written very detailed guides on the 3 major islands:
For Santorini: read my detailed guide here
For Mykonos: read my detailed guide here
For Crete: read my detailed guide here
Let us know if you have any further queries!
we have total of 18 nites, so I think first 3 night in athens, which I had planned on following with crete for a week. then santorrini. you suggest naxos instead of crete?
i think after one week crete, we are still left with 8 nights to split with santorrini and naxos. 4 nights each?
how does this sound? : 3 nights in athens, and 5 nite santorrini, and one week crete, 3 nite chania, 3 night east, maybe sisli?, naxos 3 days. that gives us the 18 days we have.
i also wanted to ask you about hydra…i think that can be done as a day trip from athens.? Is that worth going to?
That sounds great!! Totally doable and worth it!
Visiting Hydra is the best daytrip from Athens.
It is definitely worth going to but if you only have 3 nights in Athens, I would spend more days to explore other areas in Athens (visit more museums etc) rather than going to Hydra to be honest.
If you were not going to visit any other greek islands and only stayed in Athens, then Hydra would give you a glimpse of how a cute greek island with no cars is.
It is picturesque and pretty (don’t get me wrong) but you will still have to get a ferry , spend time to go to Piraeus etc…
Not sure if it’s worth the hassle in your 3 days in Athens to be honest because you will see other greek islands after Athens.
One of the must-dos in Athens is to visit the Sounion Temple of Poseidon though!
Magnificent location and views (around 1 hr away drive from central Athens)
great,glad u approve!
I have been looking into hotels etc. I saw your list in santorini, but my freind is raving about iconic,a bit of a splurge, but is it worth it?
I would love hotel with view, but not crazy about the steps. I assume town is on top. are there any good hotels closer to the top? we can walk, but we are planning on some hiking, and dont want to return at night to a lot more walking. any recommendation?
I noticed big differences in pricing depending on week booked. it looks like some towns go up in price in may, some down.
flights to athens are incredibly cheap from naxos, 23eu, but there are only 2 flights p day. can I rely on them operating, or am I better off ending in crete or santorini rather than naxos?
do ferries usually go on strike may 1?
Do all of the islands have taxis or Uber and are they reliable and easy to use
Hi Donna and welcome to the forum, we hope that we’ll be able to help you with any questions you might have in planning your trip.
With regard to Santorini (it’s the only island I know anything about), there is no Uber.
As far as taxis go, on Santorini there are only around 40 to service the entire island. They need to be ordered, but any hotel, restaurant, bar, cafe or shop will be happy to do this for you. They are also relatively expensive so if you’re thinking of relying mainly on taxis it’s going to be a big overhead for you.
The island has an excellent bus system - cheap, frequent, and (for Greece ), pretty reliable. The main hub is in Fira from where you can get to all of the major destinations on the island.
Hope this helps but please get back to us if you need any further information.
Martin, are the car rentals near the airport or ferries? Is Santorini driveable and easy to park?
Hi Donna, there are the usual suspects - Hertz, Sixt etc at the airport and at least one agency at Athinios ferry port but can’t remember which one it is. There are also several reputable rental agencies in the main towns and villages.
I’ve never actually driven on Santorini, but it’s a small island and easy to navigate. Bear in mind that the roads are very narrow and very busy.
Depending on when (time of year, tine of day) and where you go parking can be a challenge, such as peak times in Fira, Oia etc.