The Best Greek Islands

Greece › Best Islands
Updated: February 11, 2023
By Santorini Dave

See Also

Mykonos – Where to Stay
Santorini – Where to Stay
Naxos – Where to Stay
Paros – Where to Stay
Milos – Where to Stay
Crete – Where to Stay
Athens – Where to Stay

Best island in Greece.

Santorini is the jewel of the Greek islands. A helicopter tour around the caldera and volcano (though not cheap) is a highlight.

The Best Islands in Greece

What Greek Island do I visit?

Best Greek island for first timers in Greece.

Naxos is a phenomenal island for first-time visitors to Greece. Fantastic beaches, great food, and very family-friendly. Plenty of spots for evening drinks but not the dance clubs and DJs like Mykonos or Santorini.

The 6 Best Greek Islands

Map of Greek Islands

1. Santorini

My favorite island in Greece is Santorini. If you can only visit one island make it Santorini. Loaded with great boat tours, wine tours, fantastic hotels, amazing restaurants, and awesome things to do. Along with Crete, Santorini is the best island in Greece in the winter and shoulder seasons when it still has plenty to do.

Best Greek island for views and beauty: Santorini.

Oia, Santorini for boutique hotels, honeymooners, and sunset views.

Fira, Santorini, Greece.

Fira, Santorini for nightlife, shopping, and caldera/sunset views.

2. Mykonos

The best nightlife and clubbing in Greece is found on Mykonos. Also has great beaches and a surprisingly charming capital village, Mykonos Town.

Best Greek island: Mykonos.

Ornos is one of my favorite beaches in Greece.

Best Greek island: Mykonos.

Little Venice in Mykonos Town. Filled with small restaurants and trendy clubs.

3. Crete

The largest Greek island and rich with beaches, historical sites, hikes, traditional villages, small cities, and great tours. So big that if you only have a week it’s good to limit yourself to only this island. If you have two weeks it makes a great pair with Santorini.

Chania's beautiful harbourfront.

Chania is the most charming town on Crete and a great base for exploring western Crete.

Best Greek Island: Crete.

Rethymnon has a cool old town and good beaches walking distance from most hotels.

4. Naxos

The most family-friendly island in Greece is Naxos. Great beaches and the main town is crammed with wonderful tavernas serving some of the best food on the Greek islands. The inland villages are marvelous to explore.

Best Greek island for families: Naxos.

The town beach in Naxos Town – shallow and very kid-friendly. Even better beaches are a short drive down the coast.

Best Greek island for local food: Naxos.

Naxos Town has some of the best restaurants in Greece.

5. Paros

A wonderful mix of the great beaches and villages of Naxos and the nightlife and boutique vibe of Mykonos. This island gets a little more popular every year but is still quiet compared to Santorini and Mykonos.

Best Greek island for boutique hotels: Paros.

Paros has two of the most charming towns in Greece, Naoussa (above) and Parikia (the ferry port). Either town makes a great base for exploring the other (and the rest of the island).

Best Greek Island for quiet and solitude: Antiparos.

A highlight of Paros is making a day trip to Antiparos – where the beaches are quiet, secluded, and some of the best in Greece.

6. Rhodes

Fantastic beaches, energetic nightlife, and one of the best preserved ancient towns in Europe. Rhodes is a fantastic choice for first-time visitors to Greece. A boat tour around the island’s coasts is highly recommended.

Rhodes Old Town.

The Old Town of Rhodes.

Best beach in Rhodes.

The stunningly beautiful St. Paul’s Beach, just below the Acropolis of Lindos in Rhodes.

Greek Islands – Where To Go

The Best Greek Island for First Time Visitors.

A view of the Santorini caldera. Yes, the best hotels in Santorini are expensive, but there are many affordable hotels with caldera views, like the Iliovasilema (above) in Imerovigli.

5-star hotel in Greece with infinity pool and view.

Athina Luxury Suites in Fira is one of our favorite hotels, though the best luxury hotels in Santorini are in Oia and Imerovigli.

The best greek island for clubs and nightlife is Mykonos.

Mykonos has the best nightlife and club scene of any Greek island. It usually starts with dinner and drinks by the water and then hit the clubs in Mykonos Town.

Best Greek island for nightlife: Mykonos.

Beach parties in Mykonos take place at Paradise and Super Paradise beaches and run from mid-June to mid-September. Other beaches, like Platis Gialos above, Paraga, and Ornos have beach clubs that have thumping music and dancing through the day until about 10pm. Then the party moves to Mykonos Town or the Paradise beaches.

Old Town in Rhodes.

Rhodes is one of the best islands for historical sightseeing (Crete, Naxos, and Santorini are also great). This is the main entrance of the famous Knights Grand Master Palace (also known as Castello) in Rhodes Town, a must-visit museum.

The best greek island for scenery and natural beauty.

Santorini and Milos are two of the most beautiful islands in Greece and have a similar other-worldly feel. This is the fishing village of Firopotamos on Milos.

Beach resort on Greek island of Ios in the Cyclades.

The private pool and view at Calilo Hotel on the wonderful island of Ios – a very short ferry ride from Santorini.

The best greek islands for island hopping are Santorini, Naxos, Paros, Ios, and Mykonos.

Island hopping by ferry is one of the highlights of the Greek islands. Sitting on the deck of a ferry and watching the islands pass by until you arrive at your destination.

The best greek island for walks and hiking.

Folegandros is the best Greek island for hiking – great paths all around this beautiful island.

The best greek island for food is Crete.

All the greek islands have great food and restaurants. The best Greek islands for foodies are Santorini, Crete, Naxos, and Paros. This is a gyros plate from a restaurant in Crete.

The best greek island for families is Naxos.

Naxos is a wonderful family destination. Great beaches, a relaxed vibe, cheap hotels (and luxury ones too), and there’s even a water park.

The best Greek island for families with teens is Paros.

Paros is also a great island for families and it’s got a bit more shopping and activity for teens – and nightlife for older family members.

Best Greek Island for Hikes

Sifnos is a quiet Cycladic island criss-crossed with beautiful (and well-maintained) hiking paths.

Greek Islands – When To Go

Best Greek island: Crete.

Chania in Crete. One of the most wonderful towns in Greece.

Best Greece Vacations

For the best trip to Greece, I recommend visiting Greek islands within the same island group. For example, I wouldn’t recommend visiting Corfu and Santorini on the same trip as they’re on opposite sides of the country. Instead, visit islands in the same island group: the Cyclades (the most popular), the Sporades, the Dodecanese, the Ionian, the Saronic, and the Northeastern Aegean. For one, they’re close to each other. And two, they have frequent ferry connections with other islands within the same group. For first-time visitors to Greece, the Cyclades make the most natural and convenient introduction to the Greek islands. Crete is its only island group and will have good connections to the Cyclades from May to October.

Best Greek Islands To Visit in March, April, October, and November

This is shoulder season. The busiest islands and those with a local population are quieter but still humming with plenty of hotels and restaurants open. Santorini, Crete, and Rhodes are the best Greek islands to visit in the spring and autumn period.

Best Greek Islands To Visit in May, June, and September

The Greek islands have beautiful weather in the months just before and after peak season. It’s a great time to see the islands, save money, avoid the crowds, and still have great weather (though not as hot as July and August). If you want to see the super-popular islands of Santorini, Rhodes, Corfu, and Crete without the tourists then this is a great time to visit.

Best Greek Islands To Visit in July and August

The busiest and hottest months. If you like beach parties and packed clubs then Mykonos is the place to be. The less-busy islands (Antiparos, Sifnos, Ikaria, Folegandros, Milos) have short tourist seasons and this is when they’re fully open and running. Santorini, Crete, Rhodes, and Corfu are in peak-season but all are large enough to retain their charm.

Best Greek Islands To Visit in December, January, and February

Most islands are very quiet in the winter. Crete and Santorini are the best islands as they still have plenty to do even in winter and there are lots of (open) places to stay and eat.

Best Greek Island for a family with young kids and teens.

Naxos is loaded with great beaches and the best greek island for families.

Greek Island FAQ

What is the best time of year to travel to the Greek islands?
June to September are the best months to visit the Greek islands if you’re interested in beaches, hot weather, swimming, sunbathing, and nightlife. If your interests are hiking, exploring, taking tours, and seeing historical sites then April, May, early June, late September, October, and November are the best months.

Which is the most beautiful island in Greece?
Santorini, Crete, and Corfu are widely considered the most beautiful and picturesque Greek islands. But all the islands have their own charms and beauty and every island has its passionate devotees who claim their island is the most beautiful in Greece.

What is the cheapest month to fly to Greece?
December, January, and February are the cheapest months to fly to Greece. They are also the quietest and least touristy months. For a good mix of affordability and good weather the months of April, May, and October have cheap flights and happy tourists.

Which Greek island has the most beautiful beaches?
Naxos, Crete, Mykonos, Ios, and Antiparos have the most beautiful and picturesque beaches with sparkling blue water and long stretches of golden sand.

Which is the prettiest and quietest Greek island? Which Greek island is the least touristy?
Sifnos, Serifos, Folegandros, Ikaria, and Karpathos are all beautiful islands that see far fewer tourists than the popular holiday islands like Santorini, Mykonos, and Paros. Prices for hotels and food are also much cheaper on these quieter islands.

Which is the cheapest Greek island?
Sifnos, Serifos, Syros, Milos, and Folegandros all great prices on hotels and inexpensive places to eat. Santorini and Mykonos are the most expensive islands and should be avoided if you’re on a tight budget.

Do I need shots to go to Greece?
Greece does not require any special vaccinations for visitors from the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, or Singapore. But travelers should make sure they are up to date on all shots usually required in western countries.

Best Greek island for weddings, receptions, and honeymoons.

Small Cameo Island on Zakynthos is a top spot for weddings and proposals. Zakynthos (Zante in Greek) is popular with package vacations but is not a great choice for island hopping, like the islands of the Cyclades.

About Santorini Dave

Santorini Dave Santorini Dave was started in 2011 by a guy who loves Greece and Europe, travel and great hotels. We're now a small team of writers and researchers dedicated to providing the best travel content on the internet. We focus on Santorini, Mykonos, Athens, and Greece, offering recommendations for top hotels, neighborhoods, and family-friendly hotels worldwide. Dave can be contacted at

  1. Greece Itinerary

    Hi Dave, this site is amazing and so grateful to have found you. Thank you!

    We’re traveling to Greece for the first time during last week of September/first week of October. We want to see Meteora, Santorini, and do some hiking, sightseeing and relaxing. Thoughts on the following itinerary:

    ~ 4 days on Mainland: 1 day Athens, 1 day Delphi, 1 day Meteora (hike to monestaries), 1 day Zagori (Bridges/Villages walk). I was going to hire a travel agency, but sounds like we can rent a car and do this on our own.
    ~ 4 nights/3 full days Naxos (is it too late in season to swim?). We’re on the fence on Naxos.
    ~ 4 nights/3 full days Santorini

    Depending on our flight times back to the US, we might be able to add a day to Athens at the end. I realize from your site that you highly recommend two days in Athens.

    Thank you!


    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Sounds great. I would switch the order so that you visit Naxos first when you want some hotter weather and the mainland last when cooler is probably best. At that time of year even two weeks can make quite a difference in temps.

  2. 12 Day Honeymoon

    SD Team — we just got back from our honeymoon in Greece and it was fantastic. Our 12 day trip to Athens, Paros, Naxos, and Santorini was completely inspired by your excellent recommendations. Your hotel, restaurant, bars, and activity recommendations were spot on and very helpful. My friend Shaun recommended your site to me and I’m so glad I listened. Thank you for making our honeymoon special.

    Jeremy and Abby Bush

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Great to hear. Thank you so much for the wonderful comment.

  3. Greek Island Itinerary

    Hi Dave
    Your website is fantastic and I have really enjoyed reading the questions and your replies. I am looking to go to Greece for 14-18 days in September and hope to visit Athens and the islands Santorini, Crete, Mykonos and Rhodes. I am in my 60’s and maybe travelling on my own or with a friend. We love walking, seeing historic sights, enjoy the beach and a little bit of shopping. I also love watching beautiful sunsets and sunrises. Love travelling on boats. If you think we should change any islands or can suggest how many days we should spend on each island, it would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Given your interests, and the other islands you’ve chosen, I’d recommend replacing Mykonos with either Naxos or Paros. You could fly directly to Rhodes, then ferry to Crete, ferry to Santorini, ferry to Naxos/Paros, then ferry to Athens. All of these routes have plenty of service (though do book Rhodes-Crete first as this will have the least number of options).

  4. Honeymoon Itinerary

    Hi! Looking to go on our honeymoon end of May. Have 10 nights, would love to hit 3 islands if it’s doable. Would you change this itinerary at all? We are in our upper 20s, want some relaxing/some exploring town, beaches, good food and wine.

    Day 1: arrive in Athens and fly to Santorini (night 1)
    2: full day in Santorini
    3: full day in Santorini
    4: full day in Santorini
    5: boat to Naxos early
    6: full day Naxos
    7: full day Naxos
    8: boat to Paros
    9: full day Paros
    10: full day Paros
    11: travel from Paros to Athens and fly home

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      That looks perfect. The only thing I’d mention is that it’s possible to fly directly to Santorini from many airports in Western Europe. If you could find a direct flight it would save you the time and money spent on the Athens-Santorini flight. Just an idea. Otherwise, looks like a great plan.

  5. Itinerary for Crete and Cycladic Islands

    Hello Dave, my wife and I hope to be in Greece in mid-September. The tentative itinerary would start with 3 nights in Athens with a day tour to Nafplio, ferry to Mykonos for 3 nights, then Naxos for 4 nights with a day tour to Paros, on to Santorini for 3 nights, ferry to Crete for 4 nights, and finish by flying to back to Athens for 1 night for next day flight home. Would welcome any suggestions. Perhaps it may be better to drop an island and add time on another (if so, which ones). Your expertise is much appreciated.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      That all sounds great. It’s a minor change but I might suggest dropping the day trip to Paros (ferry day-trips are not a great use of time, especially when you’re already doing plenty of ferry travel and seeing multiple islands) and add that day to Santorini, Crete, or an overnight stay in Nafplio (a wonderful town).

  6. Best Greek Islands for 2 Week Trip

    Hi Dave!

    Wow – so glad I found your website! Definitely the most resourceful Greece planning site out there. I’m planning a 2 week trip to Greece in early September. My husband and I have never been to Greece and are looking for help determining what islands to go to. We appreciate history but prefer to not spend time in museums. We like places with outdoor activities (beach, swimming, hiking), places with great food, plan to splurge on a few luxurious hotels/experiences, and are not big into the nightlife and clubbing scene. We definitely want to spend time in Santorini and maybe 1-2 days in Athens when we land. What other islands should we build into our itinerary? I am having trouble choosing!!
    -Nafplion (worth a day trip from Athens?)
    -Mykonos (is it better to visit Naxos/Paros/Milos/Crete than Mykonos?)

    Thank you so much!!
    Christina Cavanagh

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Along with Santorini and Athens, I’d visit Naxos, Paros, and Milos; or Naxos and Crete. Crete is a large island so don’t go unless you have 4 full days (ideally more but with two weeks, 4 days is probably the most you can do). For destinations with outdoor history attractions, I’d rank them in this order: Athens, Santorini, Crete, Naxos, Milos. Nafplio and Mykonos are both wonderful but not sure you’ll have time.

  7. Best Island for Group on Different Budgets

    Hi Dave – what a wonderfully informative website. There is so much information to wade through so was wanting your advice. 14 of us are planning a ladies (no husbands, children, etc.) island holiday to Greece in July this summer for 7 days. We’re coming from all over the world to arrive via Athens or Istanbul. Our budgets (the most important thing) also differ greatly! Our original thought was to visit Paros but I’ve since heard/read that this could be quite windy in July as well as a mini-Mykonos in terms of price.

    Our interests would range from nightlife to beaches with everything in between. Greece in a nutshell, I suppose.

    What are your thoughts?

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Ios has great beaches, nightlife, and restaurants. And accommodations that range from inexpensive and good value to 4-star and very nice. Probably your best choice. Naxos would also be good but a little more expensive and less nightlife.

  8. Best Time for Greek Island Hopping

    Hi Dave!

    Your website is incredibly informative and very helpful. My sis and I are planning a trip to Greece, just the to of us, and would like to go within the next 6 years when our kids are a bit older. I’ve done a ton of research of where we want to go and I have it narrowed down to begin in Athens and would love to end in Crete and visit the five main islands in between. My questions are: What would be the best time frame for this type of trip and are there travel agencies that you recommend to help us build the vacation we would like versus the preplanned destinations? I really appreciate your help.


    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Late June or early September would be the best time for your trip (great weather everywhere but not the large crowds of summer). Much better to plan and book your trip on your own than to use a travel agency. Better hotels, better prices, more unique trip.

  9. Booking Site for Large Villas

    Hi Dave! First let me say a BIG TEXAS SIZED THANK YOU for all your information. Your write ups have been very helpful in planning which Islands we want to visit when coming to Greece this summer. I have a question that I have not been able to find an answer for that I wanted to ask you. For part of our trip we will be with 3 other families. There will be a total of 8 adults and 8 children, ranging in ages from 3 to 17. We are really wanting to book a large villa/home while in Crete for 6 nights. I have looked on per your recommendation, however, most are showing villas or apartments with renting multiple units. We were really trying to book one large home for all of us during this portion of the trip. Is there a site that is unique or special to booking large homes in Greece? Or just go with the normal Airbnb or Flipkey? Any advise would be much appreciated! Thank you!!

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Sorry, I don’t know of any website devoted to large group villas. There certainly are a few large villas on Booking and Airbnb – it’s just a matter of finding them.

  10. Best Greek Island for Longterm Stay

    Hi Dave, great website, I’m glad I found you, your expertise and knowledge has blown my mind.
    I have a slightly different question than the ones above/below. I’m a writer, in my mid 40’s, single, living in England but am looking for a place to live on a Greek Island, not particularly a city, more a friendly village or town, think a more romantic scenario like The Durrells perhaps. I know it’s best I just travel around and see for myself with such a big commitment, but I just don’t have the time I’m afraid for that much traveling right now. So I thought there would be no harm in asking someone in the know for some ideas.
    What I’m looking for in no particular order is:
    Somewhere with a general sunny/warmish climate in the winter months.
    Historical sites, mountains, coasts, forests, to visit/walk/hike.
    Some nice beaches to relax for an hour or two or three.
    Great local food and places to eat in the day or evening, all a good walk or short drive away.
    Friendly atmosphere.
    I would prefer to live closer to the coast than inland so somewhere not TOO touristy in the summer months if possible.
    Surrounded by beautiful nature for relaxing and walks.

    Be as specific as you like Dave, gimme a road name if something comes to mind. Wherever you suggest I will thoroughly research whether it’s 1, 2, or 20 islands/towns/villages. I’m just a jobbing writer, not wealthy but with a spirit for life, good food, and nature if that helps. So a big thanks for any help you throw my way Dave.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Crete has the warmest weather in the winter, a ton of history, great inland villages, wonderful hikes, and incredible food (no place in Greece has bad food). The large coastal towns and resorts do get a lot of tourists in summer but they are easy to avoid if you’re inclined. I would start there. But there are so many great places that you’d love: Ikaria, Sifnos, Folegandros, Hydra, Nafplio (on the mainland), Corfu Town. The list is long. Good luck.

  11. Greek Island with Best Weather in April

    What island is the hottest to visit in April? I want to go do for my 30th birthday on April 18 and experience the warm beaches. Also, who should I book through to island-hop?

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Crete usually has the warmest weather in April but I wouldn’t call it hot. It’s possible you could be swimming and sunbathing but (on average) unlikely. Book ferries through and hotels through

  12. Greek Islands in 10 Days


    I will go in June with my wife to Greece for 10 days. I will spend 1 day in Athens and then I will have 9 days to the islands.
    I want to spend 2 days in Santorini and the other 7 days I want to pick up 2 of these 4 islands: Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, and Milos. What do you suggest? We are looking for beautiful beaches with clear water and travel around the island with moto.


    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      All are great islands. Mykonos for nightlife and beaches, Naxos for beaches and traditional Greek villages, Paros for trendy restaurants and beaches, Milos for beaches and a wonderful boat tour around the island. All have great food.

  13. Where To Go in Greece in May

    Hi Dave,
    Your website is fantastic! I’ve really spent some time scouring the information and have used it to come up with an itinerary, but would love your opinion and advice. We are two couples traveling together in our late 50’s, early 60’s, that love activity, tours, hiking or walking around, lots of history with a nice mix of a few days of relaxing/beach enjoying some really great food and wine. Shopping and culture are also things we love to do. We are planning a trip in early May to Mid May for 14 days to avoid the crowds. We are flying in and out of Athens, so we thought we would fly into Athens, rest up the first night, then see the sites there, spend another night and then ferry over to Mykonos the next morning. We want to spend 2 full days in Mykonos so we can take the day trip over to Delos and roam around the next day (3 nights), then ferry over to Santorini for 5 days and then ferry over to Crete for the last 4 days, then fly back to athens from there. The questions I have are 1. Is early May not a good time to visit Mykonos or other islands? I don’t want to be there and have all the restaurants/shops/beaches closed. 2. Is Crete a good way to end the trip? My friend who has been to Greece many times said that a better choice would be to go to Rhodes or to adjust days and fly back to Athens and go to Corfu, she said she even prefers Corfu over Rhodes. She said that she wouldn’t suggest Crete. What do you think about that? This will be our first trip to Greece, but we are good travelers, been all over the world and want to get the most out of our 14 days and don’t want to waste too much time traveling and being on the road. I know you mention Naxos alot, but she didn’t think there was much there for us.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      I would change the order of your trip: Crete then Santorini then Mykonos. This will push your Mykonos visit forward 10 days which will make the difference between quiet and not-so-quiet. But if you would make your trip one week later that would be even better (ideally hit Mykonos May 20 to 25). Santorini and Crete will be busier earlier. They also have a larger local population so never are quite as dead. I much prefer all 3 of these islands to Rhodes and Corfu. Though beautiful both of those islands get lots of package tourism which is less than ideal.

  14. Itinerary for Athens, Santorini, and Naxos

    Planning to travel to Greece with my girlfriend from May 13-May 24 (10 nights flying in/out of Athens). Trying to plan our itinerary and we have come up with the following:

    Night 1: Athens
    Night 2: Athens
    Night 3: Santorini
    Night 4: Santorini
    Night 5: Santorini
    Night 6: Santorini
    Night 7: Naxos/Paros
    Night 8: Naxos/Paros
    Night 9: Naxos/Paros
    Night 10: Athens

    – What are your general thoughts?
    – Should we take the ferry or airplane from Athens to Santorini?
    – If we stay in Naxos can we take day trip to Paros (and vise versa)? Which one should we stay in if this was the plan?
    – Is Mykonos worth visiting if not interested in the nightlife?
    – Are there any other islands you would recommend adding to our itinerary?

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Looks great. I would ferry to Santorini. The only way I’d recommend flying is if you flew directly to Santorini upon landing in Athens (and then leave all your Athens’ days til the end). But if you go into Athens you’re better off taking the ferry. Yes, a day trip is easy between Naxos and Paros. Probably stay in Naxos and day trip to Paros but no great difference. Mykonos is a great island (but don’t bother with a day trip.)

  15. What Is The Best Greek Island For Holidays

    Looking for a Greek island with nice beaches and windsurfing. What one would you recommend?

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Naxos and Paros both have great beaches and are very popular windsurfing islands.

  16. Which Greek Islands To Visit

    Hi Dave. In 12 days is it possible to do Athens (1 day), Milos, Naxos, Paros, and Santorini? Is this too much? Which would you remove if necessary?

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      It’s a lot for 12 days – but comfortably doable, for sure. If you had 10 nights on the islands do 3 nights in Naxos and Santorini, and 2 nights in Paros and Milos.

  17. Itinerary for Zakynthos, Santorini, and Mykonos

    Hi, Dave! My husband and I will be going to Greece 8/26 – 9/4. We are flying into and out of Athens for cost efficiency. We really want to see Navagio Beach on Zakynthos for a day, and we realize this will likely be an overnight trip, or even 2 nights depending on the travel options. What is the best way to get from Athens to Zykanthos? What is the best way to get from Zakynthos to Santorini? Or is it best to just go from Zakynthos back to Athens and then to Santorini? We are trying to avoid additional flights but realize we may have to fly from Zakynthos to Santorini.

    Our potential itinerary is:

    8/26 – flight arrives in Athens at 12:15 PM, check into hotel near Acropolis and explore
    8/27 – depart to Zakynthos via bus and ferry
    8/28 – Blue Caves & Navagio Beach tour, return to Athens or depart to Santorini if possible
    8/29 – Santorini
    8/30 – Santorini
    8/31 – Santorini
    9/1 – Mykonos
    9/2 – Mykonos
    9/3 – Return to Athens
    9/4 – Flight home

    Any advice for traveling, places to see, places to stay would be appreciated!
    We love food, sight-seeing, boat tours, beaches, entertaining night life (but not night clubs). Thank you!

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      You seem to have your heart set on Zakynthos but I have to say it’s not a good use of time for a sort-of overrated payoff. Your time is much better spent (in my opinion) seeing another Greek island in the cyclades (maybe taking a ferry to Naxos or Paros sitting outside on the deck drinking a bottle of wine) rather than taking a bus and connecting flights. Zakynthos and Santorini/Mykonos are on opposite sides of the country and the only way from one to the other is by flying (or some combination of bus and ferry). So, my recommendation is to consider spending those Zakynthos days in Naxos, Paros, Milos, or some other Cycladic island.

  18. Turkey and Greek Islands Itinerary

    Dear Dave,

    My family of 5 (wife, myself, 14 yr., 12 yr. & 12 yr. old boys) will finish a trip to Turkey ending in Kusadasi. This will be mid-June. As 1st time travelers to the Greek islands, which islands do you recommend for a short trip of 5 days? I was thinking Santorini and Paros or Santorini and Crete.

    What is the best way to get from Kusadasi to the Greek islands and from the islands back to an international airport to fly back to Atlanta? It seems difficult to fly or ferry from Turkey to Greece. Similarly, at the end of the trip it seems like almost all flights from Santorini must go through Athens except for one route nonstop through London.

    Any other advice on hotels, villages, activities and logistics would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      The only ferry from Kusadasi to Greece goes to the Greek island of Samos. It’s a great island and certainly worth a few days. From Samos, there are usually direct ferries to Mykonos and Syros. These are very different islands that have a very different vibe – but both appealing in their own way. From Mykonos there will be direct flights to Western Europe (most likely Rome, Paris, Amsterdam, and London) though not every flight flies every day so requires some planning. Santorini would be another ferry ride from Mykonos. And Crete farther still. So you wouldn’t have time to get to either island.

  19. Best Greek Island for Students

    Hi Dave!
    Thank you so much for this amazing and helpful blog! I’m planning on taking a post-graduation trip to Greece with around 5-7 other friends (we’re in our late teens, mostly girls) in late-May/early-June of this year. My question is: which island would you recommend for us?

    We originally wanted to go to Mykonos for the nightlife, but it looks too expensive. We’re planning to spend around a week, and we’re looking for somewhere safe and cheap with great nightlife and other young people. Good beaches and hikes are a plus. Any other advice would be greatly appreciated as well. Thank you in advance for your help!!

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Ios has good nightlife, beautiful beaches, great food, and some good hikes. It’s also very affordable.

  20. One Week Itinerary for Greece

    Hello Dave,

    My husband and I are visiting Greece for a little over a week over the 4th of July. I was hoping you might be able to give us your opinion on a few things. Here is the itinerary we have come up with so far:

    Day 1 – Arrive in Athens around 5ish (sleep – Athens)
    Day 2 – Explore Athens (sleep – Athens) – Delphi? Nafplio?
    Day 3 – Travel to Island #1 in morning (sleep – Island #1) Naxos? Crete?
    Day 4 – Explore Island #1 (sleep – Island #1)
    Day 5 – Travel to Santorini (sleep – Santorini)
    Day 6 – Explore Santorini (sleep – Santorini)
    Day 7 – Explore Santorini (sleep-Santorini)
    Day 8 – Travel to Athens in evening (sleep Athens – near airport)
    Day 9 – Fly Home

    We are having trouble deciding on another island to go to besides Santorini (we both want to go there). I was hoping you might be able to make a suggestion. We are not really into late night partying/night life. We LOVE good food..quite possibly the most important item on our list. We also like to hike, my husband is very into history, we love beer/wine, we could definitely be into in a less populated/touristy type spot. Gorgeous beaches and great views are also a plus.

    Also, if there are any other suggestions you have in general for Athens and Santorini I would love to hear them. I would like to be able to leave Athens early morning on Day 3 so that we can have almost a full day on our first island. We would like to see as much as we can without feeling like we are running around from island to island the whole time.

    I am so happy I stumbled on your site as it has been extremely helpful already. I really appreciate your time. Thank you!

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Considering your interests (great food, hiking, beaches, nightlife unimportant) then Naxos should definitely be your other island. (And Naxos has many daily ferry connections with both Santorini and Athens.) Also, Athens needs at least one full day to explore so you should drop any thoughts about Delphi or Nafplio. Also, I would look into flights from Athens to Santorini on your night of arrival. If you could get to Santorini that night (and move your day in Athens to the end of your trip) you’d almost gain an entire day and could spend two nights on Naxos.

  21. Santorini, Mykonos, and Hydra

    Hi Dave, An incredibly helpful site for pinning down the details…what a jewel! Our plan is to visit Santorini (Grace) and Mykonos (Belvedere) and then likely Hydra. Do you recommend Hydra, and if so, which hotel would you recommend. If not, which other island would you suggest? Thanks for your advice. Camille

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Hydra is great but it does take a bit of time and effort to get to from the Cyclades. You’ll need to ferry to Athens, then might have to overnight there, then ferry to Hydra. Whereas Naxos, Paros, Milos, Folegandros, etc. would all be one direct ferry from Santorini or Mykonos. If you do go to Hydra then Leto Hotel is a great choice close to the port and shops and restaurants.

  22. Hotels with Private Heated Pools/Jacuzzis (but not in Mykonos and Santorini)

    Hi Dave! One more question, do you know of any resorts with heated pools or private jacuzzis/pools in the room that are heated on islands other than Santorini and Mykonos? Looking for something above 26/27 degrees and can’t seem to find any! Elounda Beach resort said they could heat the private pool but it costs 45 EUR per degree! Hoping you know of another option that would allow us to swim comfortably in Early June. Thank you!!

    Elizabeth Bresler

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Naxian Utopia: All 9 suites and villas have private pools; the Exotic Suite and the Horizon Suite add indoor steam rooms.
      Medusa Resort: Executive Suites boast private, outdoor jacuzzis, while Junior Suites have indoor jacuzzis.
      Naxian Collection: Most suites and villas have private pools. The Premium and Grand Suites share 1 pool, while the Elegant Suite has 2 pools.
      Naxos on the Beach: All suites include either an indoor or outdoor jacuzzi.
      Margaret of Naxos: One Suite has an indoor hot tub.
      Naxos Island Hotel: Family Apartments and some Deluxe Double Rooms have private, outdoor jacuzzis.
      The Saint Vlassis: Executive Doubles and the Penthouse Suite have outdoor hot tubs; Suites have indoor jacuzzis.
      Lagos Mare: Sea View Suites have indoor jacuzzis.
      Kedros Villas: The Family Suite has an indoor jacuzzi tub, while the Grand Villa and Residence have outdoor jacuzzis
      Iria Beach Art Hotel: Honeymoon Suites include indoor, jacuzzi tubs.

      Lilly Residences: Junior, Superior, and Honeymoon Suites have indoor jacuzzis. Both of their Diamond Suites boast private, outdoor plunge pools; 1 Diamond Suite has an additional indoor jacuzzi, while the other Diamond Suite has a second veranda.
      Anna Platanou Suites: All Suite types include a private jacuzzi or pool. The Luxury Suites can have an indoor or outdoor jacuzzi; Deluxe and Superior Suites have outdoor jacuzzis; the Exclusive Suite has a private pool with a built in jacuzzi.
      Hotel Senia: 2 room types have private jacuzzis, the Suite with Outdoor Hot Tub and the Superior Apartment with Spa Bath.
      Blue Mare Villas: Asterias and Ammos Villas both have private, outdoor jacuzzis.
      Kalypso Hotel: Some Superior Rooms and all Executive Rooms and Villas feature private, outdoor jacuzzis
      Kanale’s Rooms and Suites: The Junior, Maisonette, and Penthouse Suites all offer indoor jacuzzis.
      Yria Boutique Hotel: The Pool Experience Suites offer private, outdoor, infinity pools. The Yria Ktima Luxury Villa has an infinity pool and a jacuzzi-jetted plunge pool.

      Eiriana Luxury Suites: 3 of their 6 suites feature private, outdoor jacuzzis: Zephyrus, Boreas II, and Eurus.
      Salt Suites: The Sea Houses and Sea View Suites all have private, outdoor jacuzzis overlooking the sea.
      Nefeli Sunset Studios: The Master Suite boasts an outdoor, private jacuzzi.
      Milos Breeze: Exclusive Rooms can have either indoor jacuzzis or private plunge pools; Honeymoon Suites all feature private plunge pools.
      Captain Zeppos: The White Home offers an outdoor jacuzzi.
      Thalassitra Village Hotel: Executive Suites and Grand Executive Seaview Suites both have private pools with jacuzzi jets.

  23. Honeymoon Itinerary for Greek Islands

    Hi Dave,
    I am planning my honeymoon to Greece and can’t decide the best itinerary. We want to relax but we also don’t want to lie on a beach for 2 weeks. We would love the right balance of travelling and relaxing. We were thinking Santorini, Milos (or Naxos?) and then maybe Athens? 3 days Athens, 5 days Santorini, and 5 days Milos/Naxos?

    What do you recommend?
    Thank you so much in advance,

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      I think that’s a great plan. Santorini is a must and Milos and Naxos are two islands that have both great beaches and lots to do and see away from the beach. Renting a car and exploring the interior villages of Naxos is a must-do and so is a boat tour around Milos. If you’re willing to cut Athens to 2 days, I would recommend Santorini 5 days, Milos 3 days, Naxos 3 days, and Athens 2 days.

  24. What Islands To Visit

    Hi Dave, going to Greece in September from the 3rd to 18th. Paros and Milos are pretty much decided but we are not sure about adding a 3rd island. We arrive in Athens early in the day from an overnight flight so will be jetlagged. My husband is staying on for an additional week near Thessaloniki. We have already visited Athens, Aegina, Crete, Santorini, Mykonos, Paros, and Rhodes. My husband isn’t really a beach person and I love the beach so we do need a mix of things to do. We are pretty fit and enjoy being Active. Great restaurants are a must. Any suggestions?

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      I think Naxos would be a great choice for you. Wonderful beaches, interesting inland villages, plenty of hiking, great food.

  25. Which Greek Islands To Holiday In

    Hi Dave. Thank you for your amazing website! We (30’s / 40’s couple – no kids) used your recommendations last year in September and visited Santorini (7days), Milos (3days) and Crete (12days) before spending 3 days in Athens. The trip was amazing and Greece is calling us to go back again this year! We have a conundrum which we are hoping you can assist (well, many of them really!)

    We are planning to come back at the start of September for 2 weeks to visit different islands for some beach and sun. To give you some background, we loved Santorini, Milos and the quieter / smaller places in Crete (Loutro, Falassarna, Samaria Gorge). We enjoy beach time, some hiking, site seeing, good wine / food and good / buzzy atmosphere at night for dinner / tavernas.

    We originally thought we would try the Ionian islands (something different from what we experienced) with a view of visiting Cephalonia, Paxos, Lefkada or staying with the Cyclades with Paros/Antiparos and Naxos. We know that transport options may be more challenging on the Ionian side.

    Can you please give us your opinion of the Ionian islands understanding what we like (above) and compared to our trip last year? We’ve read suggestions that it is more of a package holiday destination like resorts along Northern Crete which we didn’t enjoy being around.

    If staying with the Cyclades option, we originally thought of Paros and Naxos although read that Antiparos comes highly recommended. Would you suggest Naoussa on Paros or Antiparos? In this option, we would look to stay 5 days Paros/Antiparos and 5 days Naxos with 4 days left over for another island close by if you have any suggestions??

    Thanks in advance Dave!!!

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      The Ionian Islands are a quite different entity to the more familiar Aegean islands. There are in effect only seven of them plus a sprinkling of satellite islands that make for a very enjoyable package. They are different from the point of view of flora – they are greener and less barren than their Aegean cousins and they share a different history to the rest of Greece and the other islands, having absorbed much Venetian and Italian influences over the years. This is particularly apparent in the Old Town of Corfu where you could be forgiven for thinking you might be somewhere in Italy.

      They are packaged tourist places, though not quite in the extreme league of the north coast of Crete, but certainly they look to the ‘managed’ traveller more than the individual. September is a good time, though the start of September is still pretty close to high season and you will need to make bookings in advance. The waters of the Ionian are a bit chillier than the Aegean, but the islands sport some very spectacular beaches and seaside resorts. They are very popular with Italian travellers in their boats and motorhomes.

      Transport to them is easy enough with at least four airports receiving international flights (Corfu, Aktio (Lefkada), Kefallonia, and Zakynthos). Ferries to and from the mainland are well provided for, though travel between them is not quite the same deal as the Aegean islands.

      The most remote island of the group, though still politically an Ionian island, is Kythira which dangles off the bottom of the Peloponnese and is perhaps the least-known Ionian treasure. It’s largish island with the kind of moody, windswept atmosphere that as you express above that you like. Do consider.

      Zakynthos is the one with the ‘reputation’ for rowdy package tourism, though in all honesty it is mainly clustered around the dreadful resort of Laganas. The island happens to be the home of one of the most spectacular beaches in Greece – the famous ‘shipwreck’ beach that you can only get to by boat, or if you are daring enough – by parachute.

      Kefallonia is another large island with a busy packaged summer population that combines mountains, beaches and villages in a very appealing way. It’s big enough to get away from others and there’s lots of fine wine and food, buzzy atmospheres and hiking and sightseeing. Look up Fiskardo and Assos.

      Ithaki (Ithaca) is Ulysses’ home island and one might argue that it hasn’t changed much since. This is the kind of island where you go to get away from the other islands. It’s not so easy to get to and has a kind of dreamy, earthy kind of atmosphere that will appeal to lovers of an alternate Greek vacation. Hiking, good food, and nature galore.

      Lefkada is the island that’s not an island. You can drive to it across the causeway from the mainland, but it feels every bit an island. Aristotle Onassis bought the satellite island of Skorpios here as his own bit of getaway paradise. Beaches, windsurfing, boat hire, good food and wine are all here and there are few built-up package resorts. The main tourist area is centred on Nydri.

      The next big island north is Corfu, the grandmother of all holiday packaged islands, but with plenty of other individualized retreats. Arguably the prettiest of all the islands, it is lush, green and clean though it can get a bit cluttered in high Summer. Pretty well all the options you want are on offer, but the best hikes and ramblings are to be had away from the central east coast. Author Gerald Durrell chose well in Corfu: his famous White House in the north-west of the island is at the little seaside village of Kalami.

      Off the southern tip of Corfu is the gem of an island called Paxi and may be what you are actually looking for, given your previous experiences. You can’t go wrong with Paxi. It is classy, clean, green and still pretty Ionian Greek. It is not a packaged island, but more a place for selective visitors.

      Transport between them can be patchy, but a new service linking Zakynthos with Corfu which started this year now brings all the islands (bar Kythira) together. Zakynthos is otherwise linked to Kefallonia with an old-style open deck ‘slipper’ ferry; Kefallonia includes Ithaki on its local small ferry route to Nydri on Lefkada. There is no link (except for the new service) from Lefkada to Paxi/Corfu. Corfu has links to Paxi and its little know satellite islands just to the north. Kythira has an airport with flights to Athens and ferries to Crete (Kissamos) and the Peloponnese (Gythio, Kalamata, and Neapoli).

      In summary, the Ionian islands are very popular for one good reason: they are all attractive destinations in their own right yet differ quite significantly from one another.

      For Paros, choose Naoussa if you want trendy restaurants, bars, and shopping. Choose Antiparos if you want quiet charm and beaches within an easy walk.

  26. 2 Month Itinerary for Greece

    Hi Dave,

    I’m traveling to Greece for the first time, and I’m so fortunate to be staying for about 9 weeks (peak season, unfortunately, I’m an educator and it’s summer!). I have ample time planned in Athens, and the Peloponnese (with rental car). Here’s where I need some help and suggestions. I have 5 weeks saved for the islands and I’m still trying to figure out how to spend them. I’m not sure if I’d like to cover just a few islands and soak them in a bit deeper with longer stays…or to travel at a quicker pace covering several islands in each main area (the Cyclades, Ionians, Crete-Rhodes Dodecanese, Eastern Islands) I’m an easy traveler and enjoy diversity. I crave spending time with locals and interacting with families – home stays at times, I enjoy the water and I’m an avid diver, I like hiking and exploring. Also, want to perhaps relax a bit – food/wine tasting welcomed). I’m excited about the trip and my ideas are racing all over. Do you have some ideas and suggestions to share? A rough sketch itinerary for Greece? Thanks so much!

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Nine weeks in Greece is a dream itinerary it certainly gives you lots of flexibility. As you seem to have Athens and the Peloponnese sorted, you just need to sort out your five weeks on the islands. What you need to realize, however, is that the islands are not all mutually interconnected, but rather they are ‘grouped’ – both administratively and from the point of view of transport routes. Here are the main groups.

      • The Argo-Saronic Islands closer to Athens and run from Aegina to Spetses.
      • The Sporades Islands in the mid-northern Aegean three of which are connected to Volos and the fourth one to Evvia.
      • The Islands of the NE Aegean running from Samothraki in the North to Samos in the South
      • The Ionian Islands from Corfu along the west coast ending at Kythira
      • The Cyclades (the ‘traditional’ Greek islands) occupying the central Aegean
      • The Dodecanese Islands running south from Samos along the Turkish coast to Kastellorizo
      • Crete a large island rounding off the bottom of the Aegean Sea.

      These groups are generally better connected among themselves than with other groups, so you are probably better advised to target them on this basis. As it’s your first time to Greece, you may want the full-on Greek island experience and you could easily fill your five weeks flitting from one island to the other in the Cyclades. You could start in Kea and work your way down to Milos via Kythnos, Serifos and Sifnos then segue to Paros and Naxos. Dip down to Santorini, up to Mykonos and back to Piraeus. The map will also show plenty of other Cyclades islands to pick and choose from such as Ios, Sikinos, Folegandros, Amorgos, Syros, Tinos and Andros – yes! too many choices, but you will find that sticking to one group it will be easier to get between them. Realistically for a period of five weeks you will not want to be doing more than 6-8 islands.

      Of the above groups the Dodecanese probably constitute the best opportunity to mix islands between groups. You could, for example, take the Blue Star Ferries and map an island-hopping route that essentially heads in the same direction. In this way you could take in some of the Cyclades – Syros, Mykonos, Patmos, Naxos and some of the Dodecanese – Patmos, Leros, Kos, Chalki, and Rhodes – without any backtracking. Hellenic Seaways is another major ferry company whose routes you may want to explore.

      The other groups are best tackled individually. For example, the Ionians have no ferry connections to the rest of the Greek islands; the same story with the Sporades and the Argo-Saronics. The NE Aegean islands do have a link to the Dodecanese and the Cyclades but are probably best left for another trip once you have got the feel of the rhythm of the Greek islands.

      Crete is a destination unto itself but is commonly linked with Santorini and Mykonos and with daily catamarans between Crete and these islands it is easy to see why. Crete feels less like an island than anywhere else and can seem and feel daunting at first touch because of its size.

      To sum up: a lot depends on your own stamina because island hopping means packing and unpacking, getting on and off buses and ferries. Limit your choice of islands to perhaps one or two less than you think you can manage. Maximise transport links to avoid backtracking or port-transferring and since you are traveling high season be aware that you will usually need bookings ahead at most places. It is possible to turn up on an island and not find a place to stay or have to make do with a third-rate option.

      As a starter to explore ferry services, go to the and punch in your route searches. Note: air travel between islands is not generally good. Air travel is normally only feasible between Athens (or other mainland destinations) and the island in question. Some exceptions do exist – Rhodes Kastellorizo, Kos-Leros-Astypalaia, Thessaloniki-Limnos-Ikaria etc. but again you will need bookings weeks in advance.

      Finally, and this is perhaps the best tip of all – as it’s the old-style romantic one – book transport to and accommodation on one starter island (Paros is a good choice). Sail/fly there, sit down relax, pour cold drinks and eat healthy Greek foods for 4-5 days while working out where to go to next with your tablet under an umbrella on the beach. Book your next stop online and go there. Repeat the exercise. No hassles about being locked into a fixed itinerary and if you like a place, you stay longer. If not, you move on. You will generally find transport tickets for a day or three ahead and hotel owners often know someone on the next island who can fit you in. In Paros, Petres Hotel is a good starting point. Good luck and happy sailing!

  27. Itinerary for Athens and Greek Islands

    Hi Dave,

    Love your website! So informative.
    My boyfriend and I will be traveling to Greece on August 1-11th. We have 10 days. Is this a feasible itinerary for a couple in their early 30s who want beach, relaxation, good food, boating, and some history? Fly into Athens have one full day there then fly to Naxos for a day and a half, Milos for 3 nights, then Santorini for 3 nights, then back to Athens for our flight? We chose Milos over Naxos at first, but after reading your blog it seems the beaches in Naxos may be better?


    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      That’s a busy itinerary but doable. Naxos has better beaches, Milos has a more stunning and unique beauty.

  28. Greek Islands with Teens

    Could you help with suggestions on where to take (2) 18 year old’s celebrating graduation. We will be landing in Athens on the 18th of April and departing for Crete, Mykonos, Santorini and back to Athens for a flight back to the USA on the 26th. Any help on things that are interesting for that age group would be terrific.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Vist Knossos (near Heraklion) and a get a tour guide. Do a boat tour and walk the caldera path in Santorini. Do the cooking class in Mykonos. Visit the Acropolis in Athens (and get a tour guide). Those would be my top recommendations.

  29. Trip to Corfu, Crete, & Santorini

    Hi Dave,

    I think you’re killing it with your website with the plethora of information/opinions available.

    We are wanting to hit 3 islands and have narrowed it down to Corfu, Crete, and Santorini. I was feeling pretty good about this but I haven’t seen a lot of hype for Corfu. I was thinking it would be more unique as compared to the other 2 with its proximity to Italy and Turkey and Albania. Am I missing something, do you have any insight you could provide, please?

    Thank you,


    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Those are 3 great islands. Corfu is much more green than Crete and Santorini and does have a different feel (more Italian but it’s no where near Turkey). The trouble with doing all 3 is that Corfu is on the opposite side of Greece from Crete and Santorini so you’d need to fly via Athens. It’s better for most people to visit another Cycladic island (Naxos, Paros, Milos, Folegandros) instead of splitting up their trip between the two sides of the country.

  30. Best Greek Island for Honeymoon

    Hi Dave,

    We are planning our honeymoon in Greece. We can probably take up to two weeks. One of the places we want to go is Santorini. We would like to visit one or maybe two other places if possible. The other places we were looking at are Athens, Mykonos & Crete. Which of these would you recommend with Santorini if we were thinking of visiting 2 or 3 places total?
    Also, with the time we have, how many days would be best in Santorini and the other places I mentioned above?

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      They’re all great choices. Athens (1 to 2 full days) is great for historical sightseeing. Mykonos for beaches and nightlife (2 to 4 days). Crete for historical sightseeing, greek culture and towns, some beaches but spread out (4 to 7 days). Santorini has great sightseeing, tours, and some history (4 to 7 days). If visiting outside of June to September then drop Mykonos and do the other 3 for sure.

  31. Best Greek Islands for Families

    Hi Dave,

    We are traveling to Greece in early June for two weeks. We are booked for 2 nights in Athens and 2 nights in Santorini. I am trying to decide between going to Crete for a few days or Naxos and Milos rather than Crete. We have three kids ages 19, 12 and 11. Which do you think would be funner for us as a family?


    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Go with Naxos (great beaches) and Milos (fun boat tours and cool swimming spots).

  32. Itinerary for Cycladic Islands

    Hi Dave! I’m planning my honeymoon for early September, starting from Santorini. I’d like to hit Naxos, Paros and finally Milos before returning to Athens. Is this order of islands doable? I’m most concerned about ferries being available to each of the islands, especially Paros to Milos. Are ferries routinely available daily in September? Also, for all these islands would three full days each be too much or not enough? My wife and I aren’t into nightlife, just looking for relaxation, great beaches, beautiful water and amazing food! Thanks!

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      You’d have to check the schedule for your specific dates but I think Santorini then Milos then Paros then Naxos and Athens would probably be the best order. 3 days in each sounds great. Or a small tweak: 2 days in Milos and then 4 days in Santorini (splitting time between 2 of the 4 caldera towns) or even 4 days in Paros (splitting time between Naousa and Parikia).

  33. What Other Greek Islands To Visit?

    Hi Dave,

    My fiancee and I are heading to Greece in July. We’ve been to Naxos, Paros, Mykonos, and Santorini. This time we plan on being there July 1 to 23. We’re definitely including Milos, and one of Paros or Naxos. Any recommendations for other islands? Any particular ferry routes we should consider? Some “less touristy” islands are a must (for at least one island). We can be lively or very chilled. Thanks and best wishes!

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      For beaches: Sifnos (quiet island, an easy stop between Athens and Milos) or Ikaria (quieter still, but a little more effort to get to).
      For lively: Ios (great nightlife and magical beaches, good restaurants too).
      For hikes: Folegandros (many paths around the island, great local food).
      For less-touristy atmosphere: Syros (large local population, tourism occupies a relatively small percentage of economy) or Sikinos (small, sleepy island that doesn’t get a lot of visitors).

  34. Greek Island Itinerary for Honeymoon

    Hi Santorini Dave!

    This is a great resource! I am planning our honeymoon for August. We have about 2 weeks. We are thinking of flying into Athens, exploring for a full day, then flying to Santorini for 2 or 3 days, then ferry to Milos and spend maybe 10 days there.

    I’m a little worried I’ll get bored in Milos. My husband likes to stay in one place, but I like exploring. We would have split our time more evenly but we want to stay on the caldera and it’s just too expensive to stay any longer than two or three nights. Alternatively, we could stay in Santorini for longer but move to a cheaper hotel. Perhaps Santorini 6 nights and Milos 6 nights?

    We love beautiful natural sights, charming Greek towns, the water, swimming, hiking, and biking. I love exploring and figs, the husband would love to see ruins and explore history.

    Do you think we should change our itinerary?

    Thank you so much!!

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      10 days would be a log time in Milos. Could be great if you’re happy with quiet days but I’d recommend spending more time on Santorini (or another island). If you’re looking for a cheap hotel steps from the caldera and surrounded by great restaurants then check out Merovigliosso in Imerovigli.

  35. How Long in Athens? Greek Island Itinerary

    I need to finalize plans for a mid-June trip, looking to stay 9-10 nights. Traveling with my wife and two sons (24 and 16). Definitely want to go to Santorini, Mykonos and Athens. Was considering 3 nights at each, but after reading on your site, I am thinking about stealing a night from Athens and spending 2 nights at Naxos. We want to see the major sights in Athens, can we do that in a day? Any comments on the itinerary given our group is welcome.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Can you see all the major sights in Athens in one day? No. But you can see the Acropolis, Acropolis Museum, and the top historical sites of the Plaka in one day. If you had an extra half-day then visit the Archaeological Museum in Exarcheia. That still leaves many great sights but you will have seen all of the iconic Athens attractions. Adding Naxos is always a good idea. You might even enjoy it more than Mykonos (but no nightlife like Mykonos).

  36. Samos to Santorini and Other Greek Islands

    Hi Dave,
    My husband and I are heading to Greece in July this year. We fly into Athens and then are connecting to Samos where we are meeting up for a friend’s 50th birthday celebration. We have 4 nights here and then another week to explore some other islands. We would love to visit Santorini although I know it is not close to Samos so not sure if that is the best option? We thought about Paros or Naxos for 3nts, and then Santorini for another 3nts. Then fly back to Athens and spend a couple of days here before we head for Dubrovnik. Do you know if there are ferries between these Island points and would that be the best use of our time? I guess we don’t want to waste too much time travelling between points! We are just playing around with ideas at the moment as Samos is the only part set in stone. Open to any suggestions as this is my husband’s first trip to Greece and my last trip here was with my parents about 35 years ago!

    Thanks so much in advance.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Your best bet is to take the Hellenic ferry from Samos to Mykonos. Spend a night or two there, then ferry to Naxos, Paros, and/or Santorini (there are many ferries doing this route in summer).

  37. Itinerary for Greece in March

    Hello, Dave!
    I love your website, congratulations. Me, my wife and a couple of friends are traveling to Greece in March (I know it’s not the best time of the year to visit Greece, but it’s the time we have available). We are in our late 30’s and are looking forward to some beautiful views, chill out time and good food. We’re not after huge parties but some local music wouldn’t be bad. We have 13 days in our hands, so by reading your texts I’m considering spending some 2 days in Athens, 3 days in Mykonos, 4 days in Santorini, 4 days in Chania.
    Do you think it’s a good schedule? Are we spending too much time or too little time in any of these places? Would you recommend a different setup for that time of the year?
    Thanks in advance, mate.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      That all sounds good though I would recommend Naxos over Mykonos in March as there’s more to see and do there when not beach weather. And if you do decide to do Mykonos be sure there’s a ferry from Mykonos to Santorini for your dates. And same for Santorini to Crete. There should be ferry service but the route starts different times every year so you do want to be certain.

  38. Itinerary for Greek Island Holiday

    Hi Dave,

    I was originally going to fly into Athens, then do Mykonos, Santorini and possibly Paros all in 10 days. Now I’ve decided to skip Athens altogether and just do the other 3 islands. We’re going the last week in August. So I have 3 questions:
    1) Which is better to fly into – Mykonos or Santorini? (I’m coming from Boston).
    2) Are these 3 islands fairly close to each other and reachable by ferry?
    3) Do I have enough time in 10 days to do 3 nights in Mykonos, 4 in Santorini then 2 nights in Paros?

    As always, thanks a bunch!

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      1) Both are fine just be sure to fly in and out of different islands (it’s a waste to backtrack to your original island). So fly into Mykonos and out of Santorini, or into Santorini and out of Mykonos.
      2) Yes, they’re close and easy to get between with ferries.
      3) 10 days is fine for 3 islands.

  39. Itinerary for Greece

    Hi Dave!

    Thank you so much for all the info on this site. I will definitely become a patron when I get more into the weeds of planning. I have always dreamed of visiting Greece (my #1 dream vacation) and I finally get to go this summer!

    My boyfriend and I are traveling there in early to mid-June and need some help figuring out which places to visit and how long to stay at each location. We will probably only be spending about 7 days in Greece.

    We are in our 20s and looking for a fun and romantic trip. We both love hiking and adventure activities. I love beaches and views. He is interested in the historical sites and Ancient Greece. We do not care about parties or shopping. What itinerary should we follow? Where should we go and how should we budget our time in each locations?



    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      I would do 3 of the following 4 places: Athens (1 full day), Naxos (2 to 3 days), Crete (3 to 4 days), Santorini (3 to 4 days).

  40. Greek Island for 50 Somethings

    Hi Dave,
    We would love your help, we are a party of four 50 plus adults from Australia and never have been too the Greek Island. We’re not sure whether we should be going to naxos or paros , we are there for 4 days and not sure whether just to stay on one island and ferry to the other and if you think possible even a day trip to santorini. Our priorities are culture and history, swimming in beautiful beaches, beautiful views, nice towns, and food and drink. We’re not interested in clubbing at all, but more laid-back late night bars definitely appeal. This will be our one big holiday this year as we will be celebrating my 50th birthday while there so want it too be special.
    Our budget is more mid-range than sky-high, and hoping for help with hotels to stay at.

    This may be way too vague for you to help! But if you can, it would be hugely appreciated!

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      My top recommendation is to go to Naxos and stay there (don’t bother with day trips). If by 4 days you mean 4 nights then you could spend 2 on Naxos and 2 on Paros but that wouldn’t be my first choice.

  41. Greek Island Itinerary

    Hello Dave, great and very informing web page. Added to my favorite pages.
    We are a couple with an average age of early mid 30s and we prefer calm places. We like nature, old/authentic cities, swimming and snorkelling. Also we like nice restaurants, calm and remote places.
    Next year, between 18-26 August we plan to visit Greek Islands and my father wants to come with us.
    Our alternatives are: 1st alternative: Santorini 2 nights, Naxos 2 nights, Amorgos 3 nights, Naxos 1 night, 2nd alternative: Santorini 2 nights, 3 nights Ios, 3 nights Naxos, 3rd alternative: although irrelevant to the other alternatives Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonnisos. which alternative do you suggest? Amorgos or Ios?
    We will be very happy if you can give an idea, we know that all the Greek Islands are very beautiful, thus it is hard to make a decision:
    Thank you for your help.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      In favor of the Ios itinerary is that the 1st alternative seems a little busy and rushed. In favor of the Amorgos itinerary is that you’re visiting during the peak of the high season and Ios and Naxos will be very busy, Amorgos less so. I’d let those two criteria guide what you decide.

  42. What Greek Islands?

    Hi Dave,
    I used this guide last year to plan my first ever trip to Greece and it was amazing, so amazing that I have to go back!
    Both my partner and I are 32. My itinerary last year was:
    – 2 nights Athens, 6 nights in Naoussa (Stayed in Kallisti, couldn’t recommend highly enough)
    – 3 nights in Santorini (Blue Mills Suites)
    – 5 nights in Naxos (Nissaki beach hotel, also amazing). BTW my favourite was probably Paros!

    So, what should I do this year? My thoughts:
    – Fly into Chania in Crete – Stay 4 days there in Casa Delfino then move to
    – Agios Nikolaos or Elounda for 3-4 nights. Which area is nicer and what hotels should I stay in?
    – Then I’m thinking of taking the ferry to Mykonos and staying in Mykonos town for 3 nights. Up for a party and chillout on a few expensive beaches!
    – Any advice on where to go after for around 5 nights? Back to Naxos (we didn’t really move from the town last year unlike in Paros where we rented a car and saw the whole island)? What about Folegandros? Tinos? Milos? We would like somewhere with a nice town to walk around, upmarket, more couple less family, nice bars and things to see during the day bit also nice beaches etc?

    What do you think of the itinerary and choices?
    Note: If you would swap Crete or Mykonos with other islands I would be open to that too!
    Thanks so much,

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Chania is a great choice. A wonderful charming town. Elounda is great for a quiet laid back stop, Agios Nikolaos has a more interesting vibe and is more of a real town. Also very charming. I prefer Ag Nik but Elounda has more luxurious hotels. (Crete hotels.) Naxos has lots to see in the interior so if you didn’t explore then certainly consider that. Folegandros and Milos are both incredible. Folegandros is more suited to walking and relaxing (and has some top notch restaurants and hotels). On Milos you need to do a tour and get out and actively explore to do it justice. Geologically Milos is stunning. A little like Santorini but with better beaches.

  43. Greek Islands in Late September

    Hi! I have fallen in love with the cyklades and have visited Santorini, Ios, Naxos and Folegandros in late june. Folegandros was the best, a fantastic island. We are now thinking about going to Paros the last week in September. Naoussa seem to be a great place. What’s the weather like in late September? Is it still quite warm? I also wonder about the sea conditions. May the sea be rough at that time of the year? I don’t like wavy ferry rides 😨 Thank you for a good sight!
    Ulrika, Sweden

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Weather is usually great in late September. Still warm, water is beautiful. See is often rougher in August when the wind can blow hard from the north.

  44. Greek Island with Nightlife for Twentysomethings

    Hi Dave,

    I’m hoping you can help myself and a friend decide where to go. We are hoping to go away around mid August for 10 days-2 weeks. We’re looking for a sunny place and beaches to tan and relax during the day, with some big nightlife and a good strip (the odd daytime activity maybe too). However we are in mid 20s so want to go somewhere with the same age group or older. I’ve been to Zante and although it was super fun at the time (I was about 18) and loved having the strip etc, just don’t want to be the older people there anymore! Money is also fairly tight, so nothing too expensive (was thinking santorini maybe before hearing the price along with it).

    Any recommendation(s) would be greatly appreciated!


    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Paros is what you want.

  45. Which Greek Island in August

    Hello Dave,

    My wife and I are trying to find out which island is best, we are traveling with a newborn, and we are looking for beautiful white sand beaches, cozy and classic greek towns and stay in a hip hotel, also hip restaurants would be a plus.
    I understand that August is a popular month but also trying to stay away from crazy overcrowded islands.
    Do you think is possible to find all in one island?


    Fede Saenz

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      I think Naxos would be the best island for you: incredible beaches, wonderful villages, great restaurants, and some very good hotels (though I don’t think I’d go so far as to call them hip – but nice, for sure). The farther south you go from Naxos Town the quieter the beaches get – so keep going to find the balance you prefer. If you want an island with a little more hip but beaches not quite as perfect then try Paros. If you want to err on the quieter and idyllic side then Antiparos or Ikaria.

  46. Athens, Paros, and Santorini

    Hi Dave,

    my husband and I arrive in Athens this coming Sunday and fly home the following Sunday. Trying to make the most of our short stay and based on your recommendation we are choosing to tour Athens on the front end of our trip, then Ferry to Paros and then Santorini.

    Is two nights in Athens enough? That would leave us one full day of touring the Plaka. Which Island would you recommend staying 3 nights, Paros or Santorini?

    Many thanks for your great site!

    Rebecca McLean

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      One full day in Athens is perfect and enough time for most visitors (just try to pack in as much as you can and definitely get up to the Acropolis). I’d spend longer on Santorini than on Paros.

  47. Crete for 2 Days at End of Trip

    Hi Dave! Your website is simply amazing and has answered most of my questions thus far. (Basically used your website and information to plan 90% of our trip)!
    My sister (32 years young) and myself (28 years young) are traveling to Greece from 22nd August – 6th September. This will be the first visit for my sister and my second visit so I am trying to show her my favourite places as well as visit new ones myself (i have only ever been to Mykonos and Santorini). Our trip starts in Athens for 2 days, Mykonos for 6 days, Santorini for 5 days and leaving us with 3 days to spare at the end of the trip. (4th Sept – 7th Sept) We fly out of Athens in the am on the 7th Sept so need to be back in Athens prior to this.
    Question: Is it worth taking the evening ferry on the 4th Sep to Crete (Heraklion) from Santorini, then the bus onto Chania so that we can do the Samaria Gorge on the 5th? Spending the full day in Chania on the 6th and taking the last flight out of Chania that night back to Athens? (or do you think this is trying to squeeze in too much in too little time)?
    Alternatively, we are looking at going to Elafonissi Beach instead of the Gorge… but are not sure what will be more our while!!
    Basically we just want to see the best bits in a VERY small window…. so if you have any other recommendation as to what we can do with these 2-3 days would be much appreciated!

    Thank you!

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      It’s doable and probably worth it. But it would be easier and more practical to use those 2/3 days with a stop in Naxos or Paros on the way between Mykonos and Santorini.

  48. Greece Itinerary for 10 Day Trip

    Hi dave – very cool and informative site! We’re a family of 6 (all adults) traveling to Greece for the first time…and most likely the last time. We’d like to visit some historic sites, but more interested in experiencing Greek life in small towns. Beaches and nightlife are not important. I’m looking to put together a balanced itinerary covering 10 days (11 nights) and had the following in mind:

    2 days (3 nights) road trip to include Delphi, Kardamyli, Monemvasia, Nafplio.
    2 days (2 nights) Hydra
    2 days (2 nights) Santorini
    1 day (1 night) Naxos
    3 days (3 nights) Athens

    Any suggestions? I’m not stuck on this, so feel free to make recommendations.


    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Looks great. I’m partial to Santorini so would recommend a day more there (and cut one day from Athens). But otherwise, should be a great trip.

  49. 10 to 12 Days in Greece

    Hello! Our family has traveled to a few Greek destinations on a cruise – Corfu, Kefallonia, and Santorini several years (and three kids) ago. We are coming back to celebrate a (big) birthday in September. We have four kids, from 14 months to 8 years, all of whom will travel with us. We are aiming for 10-12 days. We are mulling over:
    – Santorini – luxury hotel for 2-3 nights (Perivolas/Katikies or similar)
    – Crete – 5-6 days, Chania, Agios Nikolaos, Elafonissi Beach worth it?
    – Naxos – this trip or maybe next, Agios Prokopis, Agios Anna, Plaka Beach, Naxos Town
    – Skopelos – have seen it is a bit under the radar but being lauded as one of the world’s best islands and have not seen much on it here. Skopelos Town, Paralia Stafilos, Mamma Mia sights…Thoughts?
    – Hydra – it’s close to Athens, and looks lovely, but is it worth the stop with the kids? May skip for another trip.

    We really want beautiful beaches, scenic seaside towns, great food, and once we get there, easy. I don’t mind a little schlepping, as it is part of the adventure. Also, I get really seasick every time I take a ferry or whale watching boat in the Pacific and am curious about that in the Mediterranean in September.

    How would you route us, given we would like to stay put a few days in the beginning to get over the time difference? I would like to do Santorini toward the end, but have some beach time right after. Thank you for being a great resource!


    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      You’ve obviously given serious thought to your schedule and it looks good, but given your relatively compressed timeframe, it might be difficult to fit it all in. Travelling between destinations really eats into your down time. Carrying kids along adds to the pleasure, but also slows down movements. So, what’s best?

      Crete, Santorini, and Naxos look quite doable within the 12-day block, but Crete’s beaches are scattered throughout a very LARGE island, Santorini really only has Kamari and Perissá (and some southern coast bays) and Naxos does have nice places to swim. If you choose only to visit those three islands in your relatively short time, you will do well.

      You’d probably really want to stick to Chania (Platanias/Agia Marina) for your Crete stint, with a day trip to the very worth-it Elafonisi Beach. Kids will work well in this area and if you don’t mind schlepping a tad, you’ll do well.

      Be cautious with Santorini and kids. Some hotels don’t do kids (check carefully) and not all hotels are suitable for kids along the caldera lip. Many steps, confined spaces and other guests who don’t actually want to hear kids … Here’s an idea – look for a child-friendly hotel (perhaps on the beach at Perissá) and base yourself where the kids will like it and then take them to the caldera scene. There are a couple of child-friendly hotels on the Caldera, but they get booked very early in the year.

      Looking at the wildcards Hydra and more so, Skopelos … you will have quite challenging logistical issues in weaving Skopelos into the mix. Great island – Mamma Mia and all that – but no airport and only serious boat connections with the land port of Volos … It warrants a separate trip.

      Hydra is an easy add-on to Athens, but only if you have the free days and you will want at least two nights. It’s a very walkable place (no cars) – or take a horse and cart – but not a beach destination. If you have a spare day in Athens, take the local ferry to Angistri for a great day on the beach.

      Ferries in September? The big winds are usually over and it’s commonly smooth sailing, so no worries on that score. The Mediterranean is not the Pacific ;-)

  50. Crete, Santorini, or Both?

    Good evening Dave

    We are a family of 4 adults (ages early 50’s and early 20’s). Will have 6 nights in the Greek islands. We originally planned to stay all 6 nights in Firostefani on Santorini. However, Crete is appealing given our interests below and typical day (see below).

    THE ASK:
    Given this is our first visit to the Greek islands, for 6 nights, our interests and our typical day on holiday, what would you recommend?

    1. Stay all 6 nights on a single island – 6 nights Santorini or 6 nights Crete (with day trip to either island)?
    2. Split time between the two islands? If so, what is your recommended split between Santorini and Crete?

    Our interests:
    Natural sights and wonders
    Culture (food, drink/wine, meeting/talking with locals)
    Historical & Archeological Sites & Stories
    Daily quiet R&R time at pool or beach

    Our preferred activities:
    Pool & Beach (incl snorkeling/diving, swimming, water sports)
    Hiking, Biking, & Scooters
    Visiting historical/archeology sites, quintessential local towns/views, and vineyards

    Typical day on holiday:
    Rise and 1hr workout @ 7:30am
    Coffee, danish, relax & catch up on news and social media
    AM Activity for 1-2 hrs (pool, beach, hike, scooters, boat tour, archeological sites)
    Lunch – onsite or off-site while window shopping at a quintessential town
    Pool or Beach for 1-2 hours (including nap/book reading time) or planned activity
    Unstructured time until dinner
    Dinner around 7:00 PM or 8:00 PM with spectacular sunset view
    Nightlife for 1-2 hrs

    Darryl Miclat

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      It’s a tough call. The good news is that whatever you decide, it will feel like the right thing after you’ve done it. You’ll almost certainly say to yourself, “I’m so glad we saw both islands” or “I’m so glad we had 6 full days on Santorini.” In deciding I would ask whether a return trip to Greece is likely or possible in the next couple of years. If so, then spend your 6 days on Santorini and explore that island, then return to Crete at some time in the future for a deserving 7 to 10 days. But if this is a one-time deal for the foreseeable future then do 3 days on Santorini and 3 days in Crete. (Whatever you decide don’t do a day trip to the other island as it’s not worth the time and effort.)

  51. Where To Go for Greek Honeymoon

    Hi Dave,

    My fiancé and I are interested in the Greek Islands for our honeymoon in early August. I know it’s not the ideal time to go, but it’s right after our wedding. We are two women in our late thirties. We’d fly into Athens and then I was thinking Santorini for 4 nights and then possibly one other island. We’re into the beach, snorkeling/boat trip, maybe a hike or bike ride and amazing food. We’re not interested in the party scene, but definitely want to explore amazing restaurants. You know, the perfect amount of romance and relaxation combined with culture and epic scenery. Suggestions? Thanks in advance!


    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Yes, Santorini for sure. Other good choices would be Naxos (good hikes, traditional food), Paros (trendy nightlife and restaurants), and Milos (very cool boat trips around the island).

  52. Is Corfu a Good Island to Visit?

    Hi Dave, you truly do offer and insanely helpful guide to Greece. Thank you so much for doing that, I know it’s super hard work to keep up with responding to people! You do it very well.

    I’m sorry if you covered this in another part of your site, (either I’m technically challenged or there just isn’t a search function for your site) but I’m curious about Corfu. From what I can tell, you mentioned it once in your site under your post about best beaches. The Paleokastritsa area is something that has caught my attention for a while and is on my list, and then I saw pictures of Nissakids Bay and that looked kind of amazing.

    I’m curious why you don’t mention Corfu more? Is it just because it’s not the region that you tend to be in, and is so far away from the rest of the islands? Or is there something else about it that you don’t like? I very much would value your opinion on this matter!
    thank you so much,

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Corfu is wonderful. Great beaches, food, beautiful, and Corfu Town is charming. One disadvantage of Corfu is that there aren’t any nearby islands that are easy to ferry to. So you’re not going to be island hopping like in the eastern Greek islands. But if you’re fine missing out on that then Corfu is a great choice.

  53. Santorini Ios Ferry in April

    Hello Dave,

    this is the most helpful website I’ve ever come across, thank you so much for all your information!
    I wanted to ask, my boyrfriend and I will be visiting Santorini from March 28th-April 4th, and even though it’s a short period we were hoping to do a day trip to Ios. But it doesn’t seem like ferries are available on those dates. Do you know if any ferries go to Ios and back on same day during our dates?

    Thanks a lot!

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Things could change but as of now there are no ferries between Ios and Santorini until later in the year.

  54. Tour of Greek Islands – Costs for Meals and Ferries

    My husband & I were planning to go on an organized Hiking the Greek Isles tour in May, that we just found out is cancelled. It is our 10 year anniversary so we’d still love to plan a trip on our own for about 2 weeks in length. We are a bit apprehensive because we are from Canada and have never been to Europe before. I have several questions I’m hoping you can help me out with. One, how much should we budget/day for eating out for lunch & dinner? Most of the hotels look like they include breakfast. Two, how much should we budget for ferries? We are considering around 2 days in Athens, 2 days in Tinos, 2 days in Naxos, 3 days in Santorini & 4 days in Crete. Our main goals are seeing the beauty of the Greek islands, getting some physical activity in (walking & hiking), and spending time together. Any input would be much appreciated! Thanks very much! Jennifer

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Budgeting for Greece is always going to be subject to what your expectations and needs are. Assuming that you, like many travellers, like to eat a filling breakfast, savour maybe a light lunch and feast on a heavier dinner (or vice versa), enjoy a drink with your meals and are not totally vegetarian/vegan and prefer to sleep in comfort and cleanliness, then there is a set of figures that can be guesstimated.

      Comfortable accommodation in May for 2 persons can be found for between €40 and €80 per night. A meal for two that includes a starter, two main meals, salad and a litre carafe of local wine will cost you around €25-35. This can vary widely depending of level of establishment you eat at. A cheap vegetarian dish (pulses or vegetable) will set you back by no more than €5-6 a plate. If you get your breakfast included at the hotel, that is good because breakfast can add another €15 for the two of you per day.

      Prices do vary across the country with Mykonos and Santorini being perceptibly dearer, but the season is in your favour with May being considered shoulder season with negotiable accommodation rates.

      Ferries are not really cheap any more – certainly not like they used to be – but the vessel fleet is better, safer and faster than in previous years so the cost is justified. You can get exceptionally cheap deals on longer-haul routes if you are prepared to forego a booked seat: €14 v €40 on a run to a mid-distant island, but it’s probably wise to consider taking fast catamarans to get to core islands (Mykonos, Santorini, Paros etc.) and even then, go the extra 10/15% for Business or even VIP class for the extra comfort. On longer hauls it can be cheaper to fly if you seek out flights online and book beforehand.

      A good place to start researching your ferries is Once you have got a hit, go to the indicated ferry company and punch in your dates. You can book online and pick up your tickets when you get to Greece.

      Finally, as for walking, the Greek islands lend themselves very easily to good walks. You will enjoy the caldera rim walk in Santorini, the Samaria Gorge walk in Crete, and basically walking anywhere you like on other islands. Check out the islands maps and walking trails on maps available here, that will give you a handy heads-up.

  55. Hotel and Beach Recommendations for My Clients

    Hello Dave

    I am a travel agent in Melbourne, Australia and I have used your website regularly.

    Really fantastic work and I hope that you don’t mind a professional agent using your services. I have referred many customers to your site as it is easy to go though and full of fabulous information.

    I am a bit stuck here with a young couple late 20’s, trendy and cool. They have done Santorini and Mykonos last year and they have booked now 2 weeks for Lefkada, Kefalonia, and Zakynthos. Is there anything you could give me that would help me finding great hotels and places to stay on those islands? Their budget is $500 per night per room.

    Thanks again for your great work!

    Kindest regards
    JP Boutefeu,
    Personal Travel Manager

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Excellent choice of islands, though getting between them presents one or two challenges (they are not as conveniently connected like the Cycladic or Dodecanese islands so island hopping is not as popular in this island group). All three islands are served by airports with year-round connections to Athens and in the Summer with international charter flights from Europe. Let’s take the pros and cons of each island.

      Lefkada is an island, but is connected to the mainland by a causeway at the northern tip and its access airport is on the mainland at Aktio (Preveza). It is an island popular with Greeks and mainly European visitors. Italians and Brits predominate. It is green, verdant, has good beaches and facilities and is compact enough to get around easily. Tourism is centred on the east coast around the port village of Nydri. It is low-key accommodation with villas and small family-run hotels predominating. Off-shore from Nydri are a couple of islands worth visiting on excursions: the sizeable Meganisi (car ferries run to and fro’) and the private Skorpios Island which belong to the Onassis family. On your own hired motor boat, you can heave-to on just one private beach on the north side of the island and swim and claim boasting rights to having swum on Aristotle Onassis’ private piece of Greece.

      Between Nydri and the next main tourism centre is the little port and beach of Mikros Gialos (small bay) that is a great little base for individual travellers for a day or three. The port village of Vasiliki on the southern underbelly of Lefkada is a haven for windsurfers: see this page or this one for more information. The little village is very pretty and is a good base for general holiday-making (as are the two other places). From Vasiliki there is a regular local ferry that runs to Fiskardo on Kefallonia (via Ithaca/Ithaki).

      Kefallonia was severely shaken by an earthquake in 1953 and thereafter lost its quaint gloss. The picturesque northern port of Fiskardo however, escaped much of the destruction and remains to this day one of the main focal points for visitors to the island, so is a good spot for a stay of 2-3 days. Pretty, waterfront cafés and restaurants and a cosy, folksy feel predominate. Asos, between Fiskardo and Argostoli is a west coast ‘resort’ village that pulls in its fair share of visitors and the view down to Asos from the main island road is one of the most photographed spots on Kefallonia.

      Argostoli is the capital on the mid-west flank of the island and is not really a destination itself, that moniker falling to the contiguous beach scene running from Lourdata south eastward to Skala. While development might have caught up here by now, it should still be a pleasant beach scene and focus for a relaxing stay. The Melissani Cave on the east coast is a must attraction and while it can be visited on a day excursion from anywhere on Kefallonia the two villages or Agia Efthymia and Poros are low-key ‘resorts’ pulling in a regular crowd of travellers and may warrant a look-in. The port of Pesada (just west of Lourdata) is the home of the local ferry to Zakynthos (Zante).

      Zakynthos is an island of certain extremes: beauty and crass, mass tourism of the worst sort. The islands – like all the Ionian islands is lush and verdant and boasts the now famous ‘shipwreck beach’ (Navagio) that many seek to travel to and swim at. Yes, it’s worth it and numerous excursion boats make the run from ports on the west side of the island. Environmentalists and capitalists clash daggers at Laganas where the mass tourism trade is carried out to the detriment of the Caretta Caretta, or loggerhead turtle that loves the beach as much as British tourists on a binge. Read this page for the background. There is an alternative scene to Laganas at Vasilikos over to the east, but it is much more low-key and less busy.

      Transport between the three islands relies on local ferries and these are unsophisticated ‘landing-craft’ style boats that do little more than ferry passengers and vehicles in Spartan comfort, but they are very functional and vital to the inter-island communication. There is plenty of on the ground support excursions and infrastructure and the islands are well-used to tourism; the only exception is that travellers will need to use a bit of independence in getting between the islands.

  56. Best Island for Hiking, Exploring, Beaches, Boat Trips

    Hi Dave!
    My husband and I are planning a trip to Greece in late May/early April. We already plan to spend a few nights on Santorini, and are trying to choose one other island to pair with it (will have 3 nights on other island). We are in our late 20s and are more interested in outdoors (hiking, exploring, beaches, boat trips). I’d like to keep travel time to a minimum, so I have been looking at the closer islands – Milos, Paros, and Naxos. Do you have any recommendations or thoughts on a good island to pair with Santorini?
    Thank you!

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Naxos for the hiking. Milos for the boat trips. Both for beaches and exploring.

  57. Greek Islands for Culture, History, Swimming, Food, and Drink

    Hi Dave,

    Thank you for putting together such a great site. My husband and I are planning a trip to the Islands in May – neither of us have been and, honestly, have no idea where to even start putting together an itinerary. We have at least 14 nights to spend there (and may be able to push that to 17). I’m in my early 30s, my husband’s in his early 40s. Our priorities are culture and history, swimming, beautiful views, nice towns, and food and drink. We’re not interested in clubbing at all, but more laid-back late night bars definitely appeal. This is probably our one big holiday this year so while the budget is more mid-range than sky-high, we can push it a bit for the right places or experiences. We’re happy to take in quite a few islands, or with a mix of longer and shorter stays.

    This may be way too vague for you to help! But if you can, it would be hugely appreciated!


    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      The good news is that all the Greek islands are great. There’s almost no chance that you’ll pick 3 or 4 different islands and come back disappointed. That said, you’re probably best to focus on the Cyclades and of those Naxos, Paros, Antiparos, and Milos have everything you’re looking.

  58. Which Islands with Teenage Daughter

    Fabulous site Dave! I am taking my daughter to Greece for 12 days in late May this year as a grad gift (yeah I know…, I think my Dad gave me a Timex watch, but I digress) and we are flying into Santorini expecting to spend 5-6 days there then ferrying over to Mykonos (not really sure why?) for a couple days. A couple days there and then flying into Athens for 2-2.5 days to inject some culture into what is otherwise somewhat hedonistic trip. I was wondering, after reading about other islands whether it is worth going to Mykonos. I’d love to go to Crete but it seems to be tough to squeeze that in. The original plan was to go to Istanbul for a couple days but it seems really sketchy right now. So is Naxos a better idea than Mykonos? Should we stay longer in Santorini? Is 2.5 days too much for Athens? Any and all info is appreciated.

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      I would recommend Naxos over Mykonos and with 12 days you could easily add Paros too. With Santorini, Paros, and Naxos you’ll get a good mix of different delights and some ferry island hopping too which is fun in itself. 1.5 days in Athens is perfect for most – 1 day for the Plaka, Parthenon, Acropolis Museum area; and a half-day to visit the Archaeological Museum which is a short drive or walk from the Plaka but hard to fit in one day along with the other sights.

  59. Day Trip from Mykonos to Delos

    We’re planning a Greece trip to celebrate our 25th anniversary in September next year. We plan to arrive in Athens and directly take train to Kalambaka/Meteora (2 nights), then down to Delphi (hotel stay in Athens), a day to see sights in Athens, a day trip to Nafplio and then leave to explore islands. Our plan is to go to Naxos for 4-5 nights, then to Santorini (for our anniversary) for 4 nights, and then to Crete for 5-6 nights. I would like to see Delos and wonder if it’s possible to stop in Mykonos, do the tour to Delos and still be able to catch ferry to Naxos the same day?

    Thank you so much for your assistance! We’re looking forward to visiting Greece!


    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Yes, it’s possible. Get the SeaJet ferry from Athens to Mykonos. It should arrive at 9:30am or shortly after. You’ll have to hurry to store you’re luggage at the Sea and Sky travel agency across from the Old Port and then buy tickets for Delos. The last ferry to Delos leaves at 11am or maybe 11:30am. Ferry to Delos is about 30 minutes. Last ferry back is at 3pm which will give you plenty of time before the last ferry of the day to Naxos (at 6:15pm on SeaJet). All the ferries mention here use the Old Port. Don’t book any ferries that use the New Port or you’ll have trouble making the connections.

  60. Best Greek Island for Budget, Beach, Nature

    Hello Dave,

    It’s still months away but my boyfriend and I (we’re in our late twenties) are thinking about going to a Greek island in the first week of October. We’ve both never been to Greece and we’re wondering what the best Island is for us.
    We’re on a budget (think €50 per person per day) and would like to go someplace warm and sunny where there’s also a combination of culture and nature. So we can explore in the mornings and relax at the beach in the afternoon. Preferably a sandy beach. We don’t need a lot of nightlife but it would be nice if not the whole island is closing down already. Do you have a suggestion?

    Thanks in advance!


    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      I’d go with Naxos: cheap hotels can be found, great walks and hikes through the mountains, wonderful beaches, and popular enough not to be dead in October. €50/per day is doable but you’ll really have to watch it.

  61. Best Islands for Guys in 30s

    Hi Dave,

    We are two guys in our early 30s, we have 12 days for the Greek Islands. We like to swim, ride bikes, or drive on the islands to explore villages, culture, local life, love to eat local food, rest and have beers on beach, stroll and walk around in evening, etc. We will go to Santorini for 3 nights and select Fira according your suggestions, we are confused for next island between Crete and Naxos. Crete is huge but if we choose Naxos as it’s easy to reach from Santorini than does 8-9 days will be boredom in Naxos? Please suggest what’s best and on which place we should look for accommodation in either island you suggest..

    Manik Arora

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Yes, I would agree that 8 or 9 days is too long for Naxos – unless you’re happy sitting at the beach for several of those days. But if you’re looking to be semi-active and explore then you’d be best to add Paros and spend 4/5 days on each. Crete, on the other hand, would be perfect for an 8/9 day road trip. Start in Heraklion (where the ferry arrives from Santorini) head east and then south and finally ending up in the western town of Chania where you can fly up home from.

  62. Milos Hotel and Things To Do

    Hi Dave,
    My husband, another couple, and I are planning a trip to Greece in September. We are staying in Milos for a few nights and were planning on staying at Melian Hotel and Spa….do you know anything about this hotel? I was worried about proximity to things, but it looks like no matter what, we are going to need to rent a car or use the bus system to get around. It seemed though that Melian had 6 or 7 restaurant options within walking distance. Also, any ideas or tips on things to do, see, or go?? We plan to do one of those semi-private sailing tours, but other than that we are an open book. Thanks so much for any input!
    Laura Carroll

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      The Melian is great and yes an easy walk to a good range of restaurants in Pollonia. The sailing tours around Milos are the highlight of the island but would also recommend renting a car and exploring the spread out beaches and stunning views. Getting around Milos to see things by bus is doable but definitely easier with a car.

  63. Santorini, Naxos, and Milos in Spring

    Hi Dave! Your website is so detailed and helpful! I’m starting to plan a trip for late May-early June. We were interested in visiting Santorini, Naxos (we opted for Naxos instead of party-filled Mykonos) and Milos. Our main airport of arrival is Athens. What order should we visit all three islands (in terms of convenience of ferry/flight availability) and how many nights do you recommend allotting to each? Thanks in advance for your time!


    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Ferries between Naxos and Milos don’t start until June 7th (one each way, every day after that). Ferries between Santorini and Milos start April 28th and there is one every day in each direction. And there are always ferries between Naxos and Santorini. So if the dates work I would fly to Santorini (the longest leg) then ferry to Milos then Naxos and back to Athens. But if you need to travel between Naxos and Milos before the 7th then ferry Athens to Milos to Santorini to Naxos and back to Athens.

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