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Getaway to Greece - Advice Needed (Athens, Mykonos, Santorini)

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  • KeithMEL
    replied
    Decided to re-post in the TR forum of our time around the Greek Isles (Milos, Santorini, Mykonos, Paros, plus Athens). http://www.sqtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16628
    Last edited by KeithMEL; 15 March 2020, 08:17 AM.

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  • sydunipete
    replied
    I travelled to these locations this year. Each island has it's own personality and you can get lucky / or unlucky depending on the number of cruise boats visiting at the time you are there.

    Mykonos is the most tourist island. If you like Capri you will probably like Mykonos. It's over priced and the town is a long way from decent beaches (unless you like nightclub themed beaches with boom boom music). Expect to pay more money for less quality food or you can go super indulgent and rub shoulders with the rich and famous.

    Santorini is a little better. Fira the main town is also visited by cruise boats. It's built high on a cliff face and looks West giving great sunsets. Fira is touristy but the restaurants have great views. A short ride will take you to the East of the island which is more relaxed. Plenty of cheap and good food and good swimming beaches. Buses work well or your can hire a car or quad bike. We stayed mostly on the quieter beach side for a few nights then just a night or two in Fira. This worked well for us.

    We loved Naxos. It was more natural and less touristy. Beaches were amazingly good. Costs were way down and we loved the more relaxed pace. We will definitely return there.

    A tip with Athens. Apart from taxis etc you can get from the airport to town on the metro or the X95 bus. Both take about an hour. Unfortunately the train is well known for pickpockets especially as you get closer to the downtown stations such as Syntagma. We found the bus much better - and this was backed by the views of locals. Much less pick pocket problems (and it's cheaper).
    Last edited by sydunipete; 2 December 2019, 01:40 PM.

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  • yflyer
    replied
    Originally posted by MAN Flyer View Post
    I would definitely recommend taking the Fast Ferries / HSC's to the islands from Piraeus. Avoiding the airport on Santorini alone is worth it.
    Thanks for the advice, MAN Flyer! Having experienced Santorini Airport when we returned to Athens, I would agree that JTR does not make the best impression -- it is way too small for the amount of traffic it gets! All that said, it was nice to be back in Athens so quickly, after a very short flight. I would not want to arrive in Santorini by plane, though, getting there by ferry is very pleasant and scenic!

    Originally posted by MAN Flyer View Post
    clearly somewhat late to the discussion...
    We had a great trip, with the TR done and posted! But never too late for more travel advice...a lot more to Greece that we didn't see this time round!

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  • MAN Flyer
    replied
    I am little biased in this as we deal with a few of them, and clearly somewhat late to the discussion..., but I would definitely recommend taking the Fast Ferries / HSC's to the islands from Piraeus. Avoiding the airport on Santorini alone is worth it.

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  • yflyer
    replied
    Originally posted by N_Architect View Post
    You can be at the ferry port gate even as late as at (say) 07:20.
    Since the tickets are pre-booked online then I would imagine they will be with the ferry staff down at the entrance/embarkation gate. Best if you could check that yourselves or via the hotel concierge once you arrive in ATH.
    Thanks N_Architect! I checked with the hotel concierge and they said we could pick up the tickets on the day itself, ideally up to 40 min before the ferry departs.

    Thansk for all the advice! We are looking forward to our trip!

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  • N_Architect
    replied
    You can be at the ferry port gate even as late as at (say) 07:20.
    Since the tickets are pre-booked online then I would imagine they will be with the ferry staff down at the entrance/embarkation gate. Best if you could check that yourselves or via the hotel concierge once you arrive in ATH.

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  • yflyer
    replied
    Originally posted by N_Architect View Post
    August 2017 is now approaching its final days, the locals who live and work in the Athens area (centre and suburbs, incl. Piraeus) are gradually returning back from their summer holidays. So by the time the clock hits September 1st more or less all of them will have been back to their positions and the city of Athens will be much more busy than today.
    Ah...so Athens is like Rome, which seems to empty out completely in the summer months.

    Will heed the advice on helmets and road safety if we do rent a scooter on the islands. I am personally not too keen (Seen too many car cam videos of motorcycle accidents), but maybe if the traffic is very light, I might consider it.

    We have decided to take the ferry from Athens / Piraeus to Mykonos. The ferry leaves at 7.30am. Any idea how early we need to be at the port? Should we risk collecting the tickets (Pre-booked online) on the morning itself, or should we pick them up the day before?

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  • N_Architect
    replied
    Scooter rental in the islands is very popular and practical. Talking about small islands of course here, e.g. Paros, Santorini, Patmos, Ios, etc.

    Don't forget that due to the morphology of these islands, scooter use is very helpful especially during the high season summer months, otherwise how can you have access to some points/destinations within the island.

    However one needs to be very careful when driving the scooter, please wear a helmet at all times and be very mindful of car drivers.

    August 2017 is now approaching its final days, the locals who live and work in the Athens area (centre and suburbs, incl. Piraeus) are gradually returning back from their summer holidays. So by the time the clock hits September 1st more or less all of them will have been back to their positions and the city of Athens will be much more busy than today.

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  • yflyer
    replied
    Originally posted by SQflyergirl View Post
    You should. I spent quite a lot of time there in the early 2000's - mostly based in Thessaloniki
    Mrs yflyer was keen on Corfu as well, but one look at the map told us that Athens, Corfu and Santorini in 7 days just didn't make a lot of sense (Although to my credit I somehow managed to plan a theoretical itinerary which actually did that...). So we will need to do Corfu another time, ditto Thessaloniki etc, as well as Crete, as suggested by N_Architect...

    Originally posted by SQflyergirl View Post
    driving a lot into Xanthi and Kavala. Really enjoyable.
    Not too keen on driving in Greece, although Mrs yflyer read that scooter rentals were quite popular. Not sure if I want to risk a scooter either. Must persuade her to go around on foot, in running shoes...

    Originally posted by SQflyergirl View Post
    Still have a big ol' bag of Drachmas that i guess i'll keep as a souvenir
    Probably stashed together with your bags of Italian Lira, French Francs and Deutsche Marks...
    Last edited by yflyer; 3 October 2017, 10:38 AM.

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  • SQflyergirl
    replied
    Originally posted by yflyer View Post
    Yah, doing the touristy thing this time. Hope to see more of the "real" Greece next time round...
    You should. I spent quite a lot of time there in the early 2000's - mostly based in Thessaloniki but driving a lot into Xanthi and Kavala. Really enjoyable. Still have a big ol' bag of Drachmas that i guess i'll keep as a souvenir

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  • yflyer
    replied
    Originally posted by CarbonMan View Post
    What a fine collection of travel advice! Never been to Greece myself but my Greek colleague tells me to skip the expensive touristy islands and head to the real Greek islands. I guess one has to still visit Mykonos and Santorini at least once.
    I agree! This sort of advice is really hard to come by!

    Yah, doing the touristy thing this time. Hope to see more of the "real" Greece next time round...

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  • CarbonMan
    replied
    What a fine collection of travel advice! Never been to Greece myself but my Greek colleague tells me to skip the expensive touristy islands and head to the real Greek islands. I guess one has to still visit Mykonos and Santorini at least once.

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  • yflyer
    replied
    Originally posted by SQflyergirl View Post
    I've visited Santorini 3 times in the last 4 years - If you're looking for a place with some people around and not too quiet: Oia is the best place to stay.
    I remain in awe of your travels...

    Yes, I've booked a place on in Oia. Was debating between Oia and Fira but your post, and N_Architect's inputs, swayed the decision to Oia.

    Originally posted by SQflyergirl View Post
    August is definitely peak period - and is crazy.
    Hopefully tail end of Aug / early Sep isn't as bad...

    Originally posted by SQflyergirl View Post
    As for dining, recommendations are tricky: I've noticed what was a fantastic restaurant on this trip, suddenly went downhill the next trip - i found out it was related to the roving chefs. They're hired for the season, and the next season they may not work there anymore.

    But I do like Strogili's / Skala and Floga - all in Oia. Skala and Floga are next to each other. They've been the most consistent for me over the years.
    OK am checking these places out! Thanks for the insight about the variability of restaurants from year to year, and how restaurants sometimes hire chefs just for the season...I would never have guessed that...

    Originally posted by SQflyergirl View Post
    As for Athens - The Hilton is a good bet.
    Originally posted by kapitan View Post
    The last time I was in Athens, I stayed at the Hilton, which have rooms looking towards Acropolis....
    I've booked the Hilton Athens for a one night reward stay on our last night...no status at Hilton this year, but they had redemption availability...

    Originally posted by N_Architect View Post
    I'm also alerted from a very close friend who has a leading role at the local hotel industry that you should definitely check "Electra" hotels (for Athens area), especially their "Metropolis" property.
    For our first night in Athens, I booked the Grand Bretagne on an SPG redemption...I checked out Elektra Metropolis, as suggested by N_Architect and it was very impressive, however it was over budget, and the SPG redemption was free, so I went for the SPG this time round, but the Metropolis looked great!

    Originally posted by N_Architect View Post
    Recommended fish restaurants include "Akti" (in Vouliagmeni), "Labros" (again in Vouliagmeni, LabrosRestaurant.gr)
    Fish restaurants are a great suggestion, and thanks for the heads-up that many places use frozen/imported fish...we would have been none the wiser. Will look up those places that you mentioned...
    Last edited by yflyer; 17 August 2017, 10:08 PM.

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  • HUGE AL
    replied
    Originally posted by yflyer View Post
    (If I didn't search first, HUGE AL would come after me for being lazy...)
    …and for not knowing better...

    Originally posted by SQflyergirl View Post
    ...
    Glad to see you back!

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  • N_Architect
    replied
    I'm also alerted from a very close friend who has a leading role at the local hotel industry that you should definitely check "Electra" hotels (for Athens area), especially their "Metropolis" property.

    Leave a comment:

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