Ashley from the USA has an impressive jump on her planning for her upcoming Greece trip this summer. The planning Gods would approve. She reached out to me for some extra suggestions and I was more than happy to give them.
One of my best friends lives in the Netherlands and is meeting me in Greece in June, and we’re looking for some advice about what to do & where to spend our time. Your recent post “Athens Itinerary : 6 days Glyfada-Saronic Islands-Athens-Santorini” is super helpful – just hoping you could help us tweak it based on when we’re going and what we’d like to do.
The only things that we have set in stone are our flights to & from Athens – we get in around noon on Sunday the 18th and leave the following Sunday around noon – and a hotel in Athens Sunday night when we arrive. Ideally we’ll have a relaxing trip where we can visit some of the cool historical sites, get some beach time, go hiking, eat tons of good food and enjoy some good wine.
This is is roughly what I had in mind:
– See Athens on Sunday afternoon (the Acropolis & Parthenon, maybe a hop on/off bus tour?)
– Ferry to an island on Monday (Paros?)
– Ferry to Santorini on Wednesday
– Fly from Santorini back to Athens on Saturday
BUT I’m questioning whether we want to spend some more time on the Athens coast instead of on Paros (or another island) and if that would help us avoid any tourist crowds or spend some more time seeing historical sites.
Would love you to share any input or advice you have for our planning.
Thank you in advance!
Suggestions for 7 days in Athens – Cyclades Islands
Just having a Sunday afternoon/evening to do the whole historic Athens thing is a bit tight. It can be done and what better way to stay active and resist napping (don’t nap! fight the urge)?
It really depends on how quickly you want to get islanding… If you want more time in central Athens, you could take the afternoon boat out on Monday and spend the morning running around Athens. There are either early morning (7ish) ferries or afternoon ones (times vary between 3-6pm).
For ferries, I suggest using Viva.gr
To answer your question “BUT I’m questioning whether we want to spend some more time on the Athens coast instead of on Paros (or another island) and if that would help us avoid any tourist crowds or spend some more time seeing historical sites.”
I think you will be ok with a strong 24 hours in central Athens if you take the afternoon boat out on Monday. Everything is very close together and walkable. I suggest staying in Glyfada after your islanding as it is way less stressful than the the center and you want to end your trip on a peaceful note.
For Paros I’d recommend staying in Parikia (hotels) which is where the port is OR Naousa (hotels). With Parikia, you have the convenience of the port and it is the largest town on the island. Naousa is more picturesque with a bit more of an upscale feel. There are buses that run regularly from the port to Naousa.
Both of the times I have been to Paros, we rented our own transportation (motor-bike the first time and a car the second). The best beaches are not walkable from either of the towns. A day trip to Anti-Paros, is also something you can do if you stay on Paros and slip one more island under your belt.
Another popular island to combine with the Athens -> Santorini route is Naxos. I like Naxos because you can stay (hotels) in the traditional village of Chora and walk to a nice beach, Agios Georgios. I’ve been to Naxos twice and never rented a car. We did take the bus twice from Chora to Plaka beach (which is a really nice beach!).
–Paros and Naxos are on the same ferry line that goes to Santorini, so you could even do one night in each if you are super ambitious!
Hmmm where to start! If you can catch one sunset in Thira and one in Oia, you can then join in the debate over which is the best 🙂 I suggest staying in Thira city (hotels) as it is centrally located. Most hotels do port/airport transfers, so make sure you choose one that does. There are buses going all over the island and to the different beaches. Red beach is a must! You mentioned hiking… you can actually hike from Thira to Oia. I was in Santorini last June and the weather would have been ok for this. July or August– probably too hot!
To squeeze in a bit of coastal flavor, you can stay in Glyfada (hotels) upon your return from Santorini. It’s closer to the airport than central Athens and there is a simple Airport Express bus (X96) that brings you directly there (and back again the next day). It would be the perfect end to your vacation with a more relaxed, chilled out vibe than the hectic city center.
Greece is an excellent choice for a girls trip… beautiful beaches, tasty food and great wine, what more could a girl ask for?!