Any feedback on your favorite Greek island? Looking for something less traveled, not a cruise ship stop, natural beauty, and small in size. Don't need fancy restaurants or accommodations. Thinking of Patmos possibly. Any other secrets/favorites? Thanks....
I went to Sifnos (Cyclades) last year and I really enjoyed it. It is very picturesque. It was not very touristy at all. Some great, very affordable hotels and some good restaurants in the small little villages on the coastline. The beaches are not very developed, so you don't find beaches with chairs for rent and bar service. What you do find is quiet, natural beaches where you can lay underneath a tree for shade. The island is small and easy to get around, and the town in the center has a sprinkling of nice shops are cozy bars and restaurants. You just have to wander past the main driving road into the pedestrian streets to find them.
I did a 2 week trip in the Cyclades. Flew to Athens and took a ferry first to Santorini, then Mykonos, and last to Sifnos. Sifnos was picked for me by default since the whole reason for going to the Cyclades was to attend a wedding with my boyfriend on this island. It was a beautiful wedding and really exciting for me to be part of a small authentic Greek wedding.
I stayed in 2 hotels in Sifnos because we switched to the wedding hotel the day of the wedding. The first was Lighthouse Hotel and the second was Hotel Windmill Bella Vista. Each was a small family run hotel and we stayed in a small apartment. I’m not sure which one I liked best. Our room at the lighthouse was really really nice, but the other hotel had a prettier pool with a nice view and a nice little outdoor restaurant and bar area. Both hotels were good and had great rates, in my opinion. Each place was peaceful and relaxing, like the island.
We did a lot of ferry travel which overall was ok. We had no delays or cancellations and it was pretty easy to get on and off. To my surprise, I liked the slow ferries more than the fast ones because they were much larger and more stable. We took one speedjet type ferry and I hated it and thought I was going to be sick half the time. The others took much longer (up to seven hours for one trip) but after being on that speed ferry for 2 hours I was ok with that. It’s kind of a pain to book online. I would suggest greeka.com as we had the best results booking through them.
Last but not least, I know you said you wanted to visit something of the beaten path, but you really should consider a stop in Santorini. Words cannot describe how beautiful it is. There’s a reason so many tourists go there…
If you need any more tips feel free to ask.
Hi C....thank you very much!!! I want to check out your suggestions. I had been to Greece years ago but only went to Corfu and Aegina. I am excited to be planning this trip for next year.....Thank you again!
PS- We would also be going North to possibly visit relatives.
Santorini is beautiful but really touristy and overrated. If you do go there, check out the volcano--you can get on a boat afterwards and they let you jump off and swim over a short distance and then climb up the volcano. It is surprisingly fun to swim around pumice!
Any possibility you could visit Crete? It's larger, but was much more traditionally Greek in my mind. Lots of restaurants grilling seafood freshly caught-wonderful food and people. Wonderful architecture and lots of history that you can see in the buildings. The inner part of the island seems like it's circa 1000 AD-lots of old forests/villages/mountains. Absolutely beautiful.
I one hundred percent agree with taking the slow ferries. I nicknamed the fast boats "barf barges" because I have never seen so many people vomit at the same time-and I'm a post-surgical nurse. Even the Greeks were hugging the trash cans. The slow ferries are much more enjoyable.
Hi N....Crete might be nice to add to the mix. Thanks for the ferry tips. I was considering Patmos (LL has a great package.) It is quite challenging to get there though. I am trying to stay off the beaten path...I guess I will have to balance quiet, remote, with trying to get there!!!
If indeed you get to go to Greece next year, do plan in a visit to Crete via ferry. We did the trip many years ago visiting Heraklion, and were impressed by its history, its wonderful beaches, and the Palace of Knossos. Crete island is the largest of Greece and is located in the south of the Aegean Sea. Crete is one of the most famous Greek islands and often visited with Santorini. It is separated in 4 prefectures: Chania, Heraklion, Lassithi and Rethymno. The island has everything to offer: mountainous landscapes, a coast with many beautiful beaches and rocky coves, beautiful towns and charming villages and harbors, excellent food, ruins like Knossos, of the Minoan Civilization, one of the greatest civilization ever, and an exciting nightlife…
If you go, I recommending reading Mary Renaults books "The King Must Die" and "The Bull from the Sea". Mary Renault does an excellent job of bringing the ancient Mediterranean civilization to life. She is able to transform mythic characters, particularly Theseus, into believable flesh and blood human beings. I enjoyed seeing Greek mythology, which we now view simply as an amusing collection of stories, turn into a serious religion through the eyes of Theseus. Mary Renault leaves it open to interpretation whether the gods really are taking an interest in Theseus's adventures. A wonderful read....
Hi C and L... Thanks...this would be a trip for next year and most of the Greek auctions expire in 2011.....boo......It is a milestone birthday for me next year so started to put ideas together. I think it will be between Greece and Argentina.