Paros or Naxos – Where to Go

Updated October 21, 2016

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Paros and Naxos are 2 of my favorite islands in Greece. When people ask what island to visit in Greece my first answer is Santorini and my 2nd is usually Naxos or Paros (with Crete close behind – though Crete requires at least one to two weeks to fully explore). Both Paros and Naxos have better beaches than Santorini.

Both Naxos and Paros are a short ferry ride from Santorini. If you’re considering visiting another island after Santorini then Naxos and Paros should be at the top of your list. The following is an excerpt from a travel forum from a long-time resident of Greece that I’ve lightly edited (with permission, of course).

Paros or Naxos – Summary

  • Both have great beaches but Naxos has slightly better ones.
  • Both have amazing restaurants that serve wonderful local food.
  • Paros has a better nightlife and just feels a little trendier.
  • Naxos is more family-friendly.

But here’s a more in-depth comparison.

Paros vs Naxos

This is not a question of which is the “better” island. But which is the most suitable. Suitable on your interests, requirements and limitations on the particular trip. What is suitable for someone in one trip may not be suitable to the same person on another trip, and of course what is suitable to one person may not be suitable to someone else…

Paros and Naxos are very similar in some aspects, very different on others.

Size and characteristics

Naxos is the 2nd larger island on Cyclades, Paros the 3rd. Both are quite large. Naxos has a mountainous interior, Paros has a hilly interior. In both islands there are great beaches to be found all around their periphery. Both islands are quite fertile comparing to other islands, but mostly Naxos keeps the agriculture tradition alive, while on Paros more and more people quit these occupations and rely on tourism. On both islands there are people living from herding and fishing, not so many as they used to some years ago.

Naxos Town (The Chora).

Naxos Town is the wonderful capital and main port of Naxos.

Orientation and Moving Around

On Paros center of activity for locals is the capital town, Parikia , but a huge part of economical life, trades and services is to be found in Naoussa too. On Naxos, center of activity is Chora (Naxos Town). Parikia and Naoussa are port towns, but Parikia seems a bit more chaotic, because Paros is the ultimate ferry hub of Cyclades and not only, and it gets a lot of ferry traffic. Furthermore, maybe due to altitude and local architecture characteristics, the “couleur local” is more obvious when approaching Naxos Town, while you have to explore more in-depth Parikia to discover its charm. Both towns have their old town part, with Cycladic architecture, narrow lanes, arcs, and a castro area. Both towns have very decent sandy beach atached to them. Naoussa is a very scenic little port with a tiny venetian “castle” ruin, backed up by the old Naoussa Town with its charming lanes and arcs etc, and an expanding surrounding area, highly commercialized.

Parikia, the largest town on Paros.

Parikia, the largest town on Paros.

Moving around on Public Transport is much easier in Paros than on Naxos. There are many buses per day, starting early morning departing Parikia and Naoussa towards most parts of the island, especially during high season, making life easier to visitors wanting to explore villages, beaches etc. On Naxos, bus schedules don’t take into consideration a visitor’s wishes. Buses are oriented towards serving the local population, so most early buses depart from other parts of Naxos towards the Chora, and later on afternoon there are buses from Chora to the villages, making life easier for locals, but difficult for visitors. Exception on this rule is the excellent bus route connecting Chora to Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna and Plaka, and some times even more southern beaches.

Car/moto hire is widely available in both islands. Road system is very decent too. Paros is flatter, and most of inhabited parts of the island are to be found by the coast. It is easy to do an all around the island tour on a day. Naxos is much more mountainous and its town and villages are spread all around the place. There isn’t an all around the island circular route really. Road network is better on the west coast where most of the activity is located, while there are a lot of curves as you move inland. In order to reach the villages and beaches on the east, you have to climb up the mountain Zas and go down the other way. Roads on this side of the island are full of hairpin curves, while when on the east coast, if you want to explore further than the actual towns, you have to use bumpy unsurfaced roads. The same applies of course to the very south of the island, and part of the very north of the island.

On Paros, boat “taxis” connect Parikia and Naoussa with near by beaches.


Most towns/villages on Paros are to be found on sea-side locations. Due to good travel network and exactly their particular location, most of them have some tourism involved, which is very basic and low-key in places such as Drios or Aliki, or a bit more evident as in Punda Beach and more recently Pounda Antiparou and Piso Livadi. There are some inland villages too, more notable been Lefkes of course. Lefkes is a very beautiful traditional village, well-kept and very developed recently in a good way- some high quality shops and galleries around, taverns keeping the traditional ways, citizens coming back to renovate their old houses according to local architecture etc.

Naoussa on Paros.

Naoussa on Paros.

On Naxos, maybe most villages are to be found inland rather than sea-side. There are sea-side resorts such as Agios Prokopios and Agia Anna, which already charming have gone maybe a bit too commercial, but in general most places on Naxos are untouched by tourism and preserve a strong local character and their own pace of life. There are some sea side town such as Apollonas that get some amount of visitors, but places such as Lionas or Moutsouna, maybe because they are hard to reach, remain mainly the same as they used to be 20 years ago. Some inland villages such as Halki and Filoti or Apiranthos, take a fair amount of daily visitors, while others such as Potamia villages hardy see any tourist. Time seems to stand still in villages such as Koronos.


Both islands are famous for their nice beaches, mostly sandy ones. But there are any kind of beach one could favor in both islands. On Paros there are super-busy organized places such as Punda Beach or Santa Maria or the popular Golden Beach, while on Naxos there is St George Beach, Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna, Plaka… On Paros there is the (still) unorganised quaint Molos – with its neiborghoud Kalogiros beach where one can cover oneself with a therapeutic mould – or Tripiti and Glyfa where one can often be alone, while on Naxos there are Kastraki, Pyrgaki, Mikri Vigl, Aliki or even Ayiassos. On Paros there is nudism in Laggeri while on Naxos in Plaka.

The difference on Paros is that most locals advertise even the smallest beach such as Farangas or Lolandonis, while on Naxos, if you want to go a bit off the beaten track you have to discover everything your self. Beaches such as Kalandos, Hilia Vrisi, Pinelo or Psili Ammos are rarely mentioned on Naxos, although they rate from very decent to excellent ones. On both islands you can discover your own favorite place, as there are small coves and beaches almost everywhere.

Plaka Beach on Naxos.

Plaka Beach on Naxos.

Archeological Museums and Ancient Sites

Both islands share a very common ancient history, and n both places important artifacts have been discovers. Both Parikia and Naxos have one small but very interesting archeological museum each. On both towns there is one ancient site, important but not hugely impressive (the one in Naxos covered, the one on Parikia just railed around.Both free). I may be wrong as I didn’t have time to explore in a huge extend this aspect on Paros, but although there are many ancient locations identified as such, there is not much left to see. For example you follow signs to ancient Akropolis Koukounaries above Kolybithres beach, towards Kamares village, and you see literaly nothing. Naxos does not have a highly impressive site, but there is of course the charming Portara, and there are various sites all over the island, such as the various Kouros, ancient Iria, Temple of Demeter, and ancient aquaduct.

Churches and Monasteries

In terms of religious importance for Greek Orthodox, Paros wins hand down due to Panayia Ekantotapyliani church. Both islands have many monasteries around, like the scenic Moni tou Christou tou Dasous near the Petaloudes park with its friendly nuns, and the very rich Moni Logovardas where monks deny access to visitors. Naxos has its own monasteries such as Agios Ioannis Chrisostomos for example. As everywhere on Cyclades, everywhere you can see small churches, from 2-3 churches next to each other on a small village to one church standing alone at the top of a rock. Although I am not an expert on this field, I know there are very old churches especially on Marpissa, Prodromos, Marmara area. On Naxos there are various old churches, for example Panayia Drosiani dates back from the 6th century. Although churches are not my thing at all, I prefer Naxos because most of interesting churches are to be found on unique landscapes, and retain its original features, while in Paros they are mostly inside towns and they are heavily restored. Panayia Ekantodapyliani for example is supposed to be built by St Constantine following the wishes of his mother St Heleni, and this been true or not, it’s really dated back from the 3rd or 4th century. There are some very old frescos etc, but in general although impressive, it seems like a modern church to me nowadays.

Sports and Activities

Both islands are famous for their windsurfing which is mainly located on the west beaches on Paros, east beaches of Naxos, not only die to the winds, but also due to the stream between the two islands. Popular windsurfing centers are on Golden Beach and New golden beach on Paros and on St George beach and Plaka on Naxos, but in other beaches in both islands too. Waterski is to be found in both places too, mostly in St George in Naxos, maybe a bit more on Paros, mainly on Kolibithres and Santa Maria beaches. Kitesurfing in to be found too, mainly on Pounda on Paros and Mikri Vigla on Naxos. There are diving centers in both islands, Agios Prokopios, Plaka on Naxos, Golden Beach, Santa Maria on Paros. In both islands there is horseriding, mostly in Naousa on Paros and Agia Anna on Naxos. Paros a tennis club in Agia Irene area south of Parikia, while as far as I am aware of, there are tennis courts only in one or two hotels on Naxos. In both islands there is sailing, mostly in St George area on Naxos, Parikia on Paros. Kayaking, rings, bananas etc are to be found in the same areas and even some more. There is good hiking on both islands, I believe though that Naxos wins a bit on this aspect. On Paros there is the Vyzanine trail from Lefkes to Prodrommos which is well-sign posted, then there are some routes such as Logaras to Drios, but not much more, while on Naxos, although less organized, there are many more hiking opportunities. Mountain Zas climp, Potamia area and so on…

Other activities – Museums – Galleries

On Naxos, there is Kitron distillery on Halki. On Paros, there is winery on Naoussa.

On both islands there are plenty of small museums on various subjects. Near Aliki on Paros, a local artist-Benetos Skadas- created a small museum with miniatures of fishing boats, well-known buildings etc, various old-time items etc. In Naoussa in Agios Athanasios exibit hall there are important byzantine icons. There is a small folklore museum with local dresses etc hidden in the back lanes of the same town. Attached to Panayia Ekatontapyliani in Parikia there is a small museum with a collection of ecclesiastical items.

On Naxos Town there is the Venetian Museum of course. In Apiranthos there are three interesting small museums , the archeological one, the geological one and the folk art one.

In both islands there are some art galleries, such as Apothiki in Parikia and Medousa in Naoussa, and the Petalouda Art on Naxos Town.

Local Products

Both islands produce decent wines, olives, olive oil. Moraitis wine is a quite strong brand name localy on Paros. Paros produce a local spirit called Souma, similar to Raki/Tsipouro. Naxos produce Kitron and there are 3-4 flavors, and 2-3 brand names, Valindras been the most famous. In both islands local pastries and desserts such as spoon desserts, amygdalota, loukoumades, jams etc are widely available, Hamilothoris been a favorable brand name on Paros. Both island have an excellent dairy products. Naxos is famous for its cheeses: kefalotyri, anthotiro, graviera, feta and especially mizithra and xinomizithra. Although it is not known so widely, the same cheeses of high quality are produced on Paros too.

Naxos produce a large quantity of potatoes every year.

Paros produce a small but high quality amount of chick peas that are cooked in various ways all over the island.

In both islands there are some local workshops offering pieces of art, especially pottery. Yria Ceramics on Paros and Fish&Olive pottery on Naxos come immediately to mind.

Paros and Naxos marble and emery are very well-known all over the world, in both islands the marble quarries are accessible to public and on Naxos one can see remaining infrastructure of the emery industry in Moutsouna and Lionas.

Day Trips

Both islands share identical and common excursions to Delos/Mykonos, Santorini, Iraklia/Koufonisia. On Paros there is an island bus tour taking in Antiparos town too. On Naxos there is a bus tour as well, taking in all the important spots (minus the Antiparos of course). On Naxos there is boat trip taking in various beaches all around the island, while there is not such a tour on Paros – I guess because all beaches are easily accessible on a vehicle, which is not the case on Naxos. But on Paros there are boat trips taking in Antiparos and Despotiko.

Food – Local specialities

On both islands the food is absolutely fantastic! The fact there are so many ingredients produced on the islands themselves adds to the quality. For example a favored dish on both islands is mizithropitakia – small mizithra pies – while in many places especially on Paros, Greek salad is served with local xinomizithra instead of feta cheese. Chick-peas dishes, especially the traditional slow-cooked in a clay ones, are a favorite dish on Paros, while gouna fish, dried in the sun is a favored in Naxos among other great sea food.


On both islands there are many different types of accommodation, from camp sites to rooms to let, to mid-ranged hotel to very expensive hotels. There are a couple of large all inclusive hotels such as Naxos Imperial or Porto Paros, but in general there are not very large complexes, so be aware. Furthermore, no matter how some hotels advertise themselves, there are not super-luxurious hotels of American standards like the ones you may find on parts of Crete, Santorini or Mykonos. Accommodation in general is more down to earth on Cyclades. On Paros, some form of accommodation is to be found in most areas though, while on Naxos you will mainly find accommodation on the western part of the island. Upper-class accommodation on Paros is mostly located on Parasporos beach near Parikia and on Kolibithres/Monastiri beach near Naoussa. On Naxos upper-class accommodation is mainly located around St George beach, Stelida area and Agios Prokopios. Budget accommodation such as studios, rooms to let and small B&Bs are to be found in both islands, especially Parikia on Paros and St George beach on Naxos, but not only. My own very personal opinion is that Naxos is slightly more budget friendly, with better value for money on those types of accommodation. Studios with a kitchenette are more common on Naxos too. Seasonal house rentals and villas rentals are more common on Paros, but they are the type of villas that are addressed to rich celebrities mostly. A private house rental in Myti near Farangas, can cost up to 25000 euros/week, with daily maid service and some champagne included of course.

Self Catering – Eating Out

Both islands have a large year around population. So there are brunches of large chain supermarkets on both, which in general are cheaper than the local ones. DIA and Atlantic are to be found on both islands, on Paros there is Carrefour Marinopoulos too. On Naxos, local chain Koutelieris offer decent prices and very decent variety of products too.

In terms of quality, of course it worth to purchase cheese, wine, meat, fish, fruits and vegetables from the local stores.

For breakfast, most hotels will welcome non-residents, but there are many places in both islands offering breakfast, especially in sea front locations-I’ll just mention the great Rendez-Vous Cafe on Naxos Town.

Restaurant and Taverns serving food of very high quality is to be found everywhere on both islands, even the smaller village will have at least one tavern. On my personal experience, on Naxos, portions seem to be huge and bill seem to be small, while on Paros usually it is the other way around.Of course there are some hidden gems on Paros, and some not so decent places on Naxos, so… My opinion is that Paros is a bit more pricey island in general.

On both islands there are the ever-present souvlaki/gyros places, some creperies, pizzerias, places offering sandwiches etc. In Parikia town there is a Goody’s eatery too. For those who don’t know what I am talking about, Goody’s is the strongest Greek fast food brand name, something like a Greek McDonalds, just a bit healthier. I hear there was a Goody’s on Naxos Town a few years ago, but it closed down. It must be the only Goody’s ever that opened somewhere but didn’t make it!

On both islands there are other cuisines to be found. Except the popular pizzeria/trattoria places that are to be found almost everywhere in Greece anyway, there is a Mexican and an Asian restaurant on Naxos, while there is a very good TAI on Paros.

Last but not least, when talking about food, lets not forget the popular bakery/pastry shops in both islands for a quick snack. And for desserts, I strongly suggest a visit in Wafflle House on Naxos Town and a visit in Hamilothoris Zaharoplastio on Naoussa or some honey puffs-loukoumades from “Paradosiako” in Naoussa’s back lanes again.


Both islands have a very decent nightlife. Naxos is more low-key with most of bars, a few nightclubs and a bouzoukia place located on Naxos Town. Parikia in Paros is considered the most lively spot of the island all year, with Naoussa a close second. Actually, although foreign visitors consider Parikia the center of the night activity, Greeks consider Naoussa the hot spot of the island! Punda Beach – a complex of shopping center, restaurants, beach bars and swimming pool, often hosts various DJ sets and events. There are a few bars staying open untill late especially in high season in most places, eg Piso Livadi, Druos,Aliki,even Lefkes. On Naxos the same applies on Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna, Plaka, Apollonas. Both islands get very busy after middle July till 20th of August and although there are some party goers on both islands, Naxos is more oriented to families and couples, while Paros welcomes a large amount of young people. So things on Paros get a bit wilder.


Both islands enjoy a variety of cultural venues. In Chora, the privately owned Venetian Castle organizes concerts, recitals and traditional Greek night. In the countryside, in Bazeos Tower there are many exhibitions all summer, and often concerts are taking place there too. Of course there are many festivals with live greek music and dance all around the island on various dates, such as the 17th July Agia Marina festival in Koronos or the Agios Ioannis 29th August festival on Apiranthos. Usually around the end of June, a Beach Volleyball Tournament takes place on St George beach.

On Paros, there are many many events and local festivities organized by the local authorities all summer. For example the Fish & Wine Fair the first Sunday of July in Naoussa, the 15th August Panayia Ekatodapyliani celebrations and the famous pirate night on 23rd August in Naousa. There are various events and recitals organized at the Paros Cultural Park Ai Giannis Detis too. The Aegean Sailing Rally passes Paros. Both islands are often visited from famous Greek and foreign artists, maybe Paros slightly more. Both islands are well-known for their local musicians, especially Naxos with its great violin players.

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145 Questions and Comments

  1. Itinerary for Santorini, Naxos, Athens

    Hi Dave! I am really enjoying your website. I am writing for your advice. My husband and I are two active people who enjoy hiking, swimming, boating, wine and food, and beautiful scenery, and art and history. As far as Athens, my husband really just wants to see some of the archaeological sights. I want to take a photography tour on Santorini. I have been dreaming of going there for a long time. We tend to seek out the local restaurants when we travel to see what the people really eat in a location. We are arriving in Athens May 7, 2018 and flying back out early May 20th. We are coming from Texas, so it will be a considerable travel distance. This is what I am considering:

    May 7: continue travel with flight Athens to Santorini, arrive around 5pm local time
    May 7-May 14: Santorini (7 days, 8 nights)
    May 15: Leave in am and travel to Naxos (ferry??flight??)
    May 15-17 Naxos (3 days, 3 nights)
    May 18 Fly from Naxos to Athens in am
    May 18, and 19 Athens (2 days, 2 nights)
    May 20 fly out for home

    My concern is with jamming too much into a trip. We don’t want to have a tight schedule and be super tired when we get home. We are considering just staying on Santorini and really exploring and spending one more day in Athens and cutting out the Naxos portion. Any advice you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

    Kind Regards,

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      That sounds like a great itinerary. The good news is that either way you do it (with Naxos or without) it will feel like the perfect decision. “Oh, I’m so glad we got to see Naxos – it was so different than Santorini,” or “I’m so glad we spent those extra days on Santorini – I wouldn’t have wanted an hour less.” That’s not much help, I know, but there’s no right answer. Naxos has some great beaches (better than Santorini) and amazing inland villages and hikes. You won’t be sorry if you go. Also, some really incredible local restaurants. One thing I would do if it were my trip is to ferry from Naxos to Athens instead of fly. It does cost you a few extra hours (depending on whether you go Blue Star or the smaller/faster/rougher Sea Jet) but to fly you have to taxi to the airport, lineup for baggage ticketing, lineup for security, wait some more, fly, taxi into the city when you get to Athens. Whereas if you’re staying in Naxos Town you can walk to the ferry port 10 minutes before your ferry is set to arrive. I find it much more relaxing.

  2. Where To Eat in Paros

    Hi Dave, fabulous website! Do you have any restaurant recommendations in Naoussa, Paros?


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Taverna Glafkos.

  3. Naxos or Paros in October

    Hi, thank you for this very useful piece. We just came back from a week in Santorini and I’m planning to go again in October for school break, just two moms and a couple of kids. We’ll have a car. Which would be better in October, Naxos or Paros? I’m leaning towards Naxos but open to both. You mentioned that both islands are year-round ones. Thanks, Andrea

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Perhaps a slight recommendation for Naxos but both would be great in October. (Early October should still have beach weather, late October will likely be too chilly to swim but fine for hikes and sightseeing.)

  4. Best Ferry to Naxos from Athens

    Hi Dave
    Great guide to both islands. I’m staying in Naxos with family in late August. Our plan is to catch an early ferry from Rafina and get into Naxos by noon. It’s a fast ferry (Sea Jet), and I’m wondering if we’re better off taking a Blue Star ferry from Pireaus instead. I’ve read varying opinions about the ferries, with some saying the fast ferries are terrible, you can’t see anything, etc. I’d prefer to spend the night in Rafina and catch an early ferry as opposed to staying in Athens and rushing to get to Pireaus in the am. Any advice for a newcomer to Greece?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The (SeaJet) Champion Jet1 that does the Rafina to Naxos route in August is a good ferry (better than the smaller SeaJet). Staying in Athens is far more interesting than staying in Rafina but the ferry itself from Rafina is a fine choice.

  5. Greek Island with Best Beaches

    Hi Dave,

    My husband and I have 3.5 days in Greece, quick getaway. We have never been and want to go on an island with the best sand beaches. We will be spending the day on the beach and night eating out. What is your suggestion? Thanks!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Both Paros and Naxos have great beaches. In Naxos the beaches are close to little beach towns with tavernas and restaurants. In Paros beaches are away from the towns. Both are wonderful islands.

  6. Family-friendly Beach on Paros

    Hi Dave
    Very helpful thank you.
    Many years ago we frequented Myconos and stayed on Ornos beach in the small studios which we loved.
    My family of 4 and my mum who is well but elderly are travelling from afar back to Greece after many years.
    I tried to book the same studios on Ornos but no luck and can’t seem to find anything close by that’s affordable.
    I am thinking of going to Paros and I hope you can help us with which beach will be our Ornos. We need an organised family beach with preferably BnB studio or hotel on the beach or at least close easy access. I loved the bus from Ornos to town and the vibe after a day in the sun. Where would you recommend we will find something similar on Paros or any other close island? I’m struggling to work out the sandy organised less windy easy access beach and close accommodation. Also on a budget due to our sadly week currency. Thanks a mill spent hours searching!


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The days when you could lodge economically are long gone, let alone sleep for free on a beach for two weeks as many who are old enough to remember Mykonos in the 70s did! With upwards of $300 for a night of sleep on what is undoubtedly an attractive island, a trip to Mykonos these days requires a sturdy and well-filled wallet. That said, Ornos Beach is still – in theory – offering reasonably priced lodgings but as you seem to have done the homework and calculations, it may be time to move on. That may be a good move as it can be hard to capture the memories of the past by coming back to try to relive them.

      Paros is a good option and it shares with Mykonos that Cycladic style and look – rocks, sandy beaches, white walled houses and cosy tavernas that beckon you in invitingly. It is a larger island; it has an airport and a busy boat port so getting there is easy. So far so good. Now taking into account your age logistics – young and old and somewhere in between, it sounds as though you need a modicum of facilities, and you won’t want that dastardly Meltemi (northern) wind that can play havoc on many of the Cycladic islands.

      Paros’ main tourism infrastructure is focussed in and around its two main towns: the port of Parikia and the former fishing village (and now traveller magnet) of Naoussa. They are both perceptibly bigger than Mykonos’s Ornos, so you may still be looking for that touch of coziness that you remembered from Ornos. A little smaller, but a village no less is Piso Livadi on Paros east coast you can rent a place literally on the beach if you desire. It’s compact yet cosy and has that ‘just for me’ atmosphere.

      A little more out on a ledge but on a better (and more sheltered) beach is the rather scattered community of Chrysi Akti or Golden Beach. This is really patchwork of agricultural roads all leading to a beach that really does sparkle like gold on a sunny day with an equally scattered community of rooms, villas and apartments. This place comes into its own when the north wind blows with barely a ripple flecking its crystalline waters. The Golden Beach Hotel at the west end is more of family place with a restaurant attached from which you can literally step out and onto the sand. Louridis Golden Beach Hotel is a little more organised and has nice sea-facing studios for up to five persons.

  7. Day Trip to Paros

    Hi there,

    Have read your site avidly – so much more helpful than anything I can find on the net or in guidebooks. My family of 4 are staying on Mykonos from 19th July to 2nd August 2016. I’ve already booked us a ferry trip and short stay on Santorini as wanted to make sure we don’t miss out on tickets, but would really appreciate your advice on a day trip from Mykonos to Paros (would particularly like to see Naoussa if possible). Are there any boat excursions we can book from Mykonos (haven’t found any yet) or is doing it ourselves the best option? If the latter, 1) what ferry company is best, 2) is there any preferred day of the week to go on? 3) is it necessary to book ferry tickets this far in advance as I have for Santorini? Would really appreciate your expert advice as I want to make the most of the time we have on these beautiful islands. Thanks so much!!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      It’s easy to take the regular ferries to get to Paros (and any day trip excursion that you bough would use the same ferries). On most days there are a couple boats that will get you to Paros by 10:30. The last ferry from Paros back to Mykonos leaves at 6pm – so that will give you 6+ hours on Paros. Plenty enough to wander around Parikia and then get to Naoussa for a look around and late lunch/early dinner. The bus from Parikia to Naoussa leaves from the “bus station” directly beside the ferry port, so it’s very convenient. No need to book these tickets in advance. Wait until after you arrive and retain your flexibility to change your dates or mind.

  8. Surest Way to Buy Naxos Ferry Tickets

    I am going to Naxos on July 2, 2016. I am wondering what the best way is to handle the ferry tickets from Athens to Naxos and back again. I want to take an early ferry to Naxos and then back again to Athens and there are 5 in our party. I am a nervous sort so I’d like to know the surest way to get the tickets with the least stress and bother.

    Kakia Hall

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      If you want to leave nothing to chance then buy in advance on the Blue Star website then pickup from kiosk at Piraeus ferry port (close to the metro station and easy to find – just get there at least 45 minute before your ferry).

  9. Paros and Naxos on a Budget

    Thanks so much for the article! My sister and I are planning on visiting Greece in early October of this year. We are trying to figure out the cheapest options since we are traveling on a budget. Is there a big price difference between Paros and Naxos? Would we still be able to take a day trip to Santorini in October? Or would we need to plan an overnight in Santorini because it is off season? Thanks so much for your help!

    Bonnie Smith

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Paros and Naxos are both good for budget travelers – plenty of nice, family run hotels with small clean rooms. Many include some sort of free breakfast, though nothing elaborate. I’d definitely recommend staying overnight in Santorini for at least one night. In October you should be able to find some fairly inexpensive accommodations. A day trip to Santorini is hard to make work even in high season. (One reason for this is that the port at Santorini is a good distance from the main towns so just getting to and from the port can eat up one hour each way – and the bus returns to the ferry port well in advance of departing ferries so that’s more like 90 minutes.)

  10. Santorini, Sifnos, Naxos, and Athens

    Hi Dave,

    Thank you for this very helpful guide. I was hoping to get your advice on what you think of this following itinerary: we’re arriving in Greece on May 31st and will leave in mid-June. We are planning 5 nights in Santorini, 4 nights in Sifnos, 4 nights in Naxos, and 2 nights in Athens. Do you think 4 nights in Sifnos is too long? What do you think of the island? If we were to reduce it to 3 nights in Sifnos, we would extend our # of nights in Athens to 3 instead of 2. Thanks so much for your help!


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Sifnos has great beaches and a slower pace than both Santorini and Naxos. With that much island time, yeah, I’d probably trade another island day for a day in Athens but I wouldn’t say 4 nights on Sifnos was “too much”.

  11. Paros or Naxos with Kids in Early May

    Hi Dave,

    Really useful post, thanks a mill. My wife and I have done a good bit of travelling around the Greek Isles back in our ‘youth’, working in Paros as university students for a few summers, travelling latter years when gainfully employed around Paros, Naxos, Santorini, Serifos, Sifnos, Milos and Amorgos (over the course of a few trips/years). We got engaged in 2007 in Santorini! We are looking this year for first two weeks in May to introduce our two kids (5 & 3) to the delights of the Greek Isles.

    Paros feels like our spiritual home, I always loved Naxos too. I know both will be pretty quiet in early May. Just wondering if you have any thoughts on what might be a better fit for us/the kids? I presume weather wise, there is little to choose; it seems, given its bigger population that Naxos might have a bit more ‘buzz’ about it at that time. I’m all for a quiet holiday, but don’t want a ghost town/beach feel.. Santorini feels like a bridge too far as regards ferry times from Pireaus for the small ones and (as we are on a tight budget) beach time is our option, rather than somewhere swanky with a pool.

    Any insight on this would be gratefully received!


    Niall Manley

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I think Naxos has a little more to see and explore, and a little more history and culture – so it makes a better fit for the quieter months. Since it is shoulder season you’ll want to stay in one of the larger towns so it’s not completely dead and Naxos Town has a better beach than either Parikia or Naoussa. But be prepared for weather that is not completely beach-friendly. And the sea is chilly (even with nice weather) until mid-June.

  12. Athens, Santorini, Naxos, Paros, and Mykonos

    Hi Dave,

    Thank you so much for providing all of this information. My husband and I are planning a trip arriving to Athens at 9 am 8/26. I was thinking to take a flight straight to Santorini stay for 3 nights in Oia then ferry to Naxos for 3 nights then ferry to Paros for 2 nights. From Paros we would go to Mykonos for 2 nights then ferry to Athens for 2 nights. Do you believe this possible. My husband and I love beaches and exploring towns do you believe this is a good mix? Should I cut an island out? Thanks so much!


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Sounds busy but very doable and a great mix of islands. There always a trade off between days in one place and how many islands you see. Invariably, they’ll be something that in hindsight you’d tweak – I wish we stayed longer there and skipped that place – but you don’t know until after you’ve been there.

      They’re all great islands.

  13. Milos or Naxos?

    Hi! My boyfriend and I are planning on visiting the start of Sept so far the plan is Santorini > Milos or Naxos by ferry > Mykonos by ferry > Athens by plane. I need help picking between Milos or Naxos? Or is there another island you would suggest? How many nights would you recommend on each island? We only have 10 days so don’t want to spend too much time travelling! Thanks!
    Terri Smith

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Both Milos and Naxos are great islands but Naxos has much better ferry connections with Mykonos. From Milos to Mykonos there are 6 ferries per week in early September and they take 5 to 6 hours. From Naxos to Mykonos there are several ferries per day and they take about 40 minutes. If you’re on a limited time frame the choice is clear.

  14. Golden Beach on Paros

    Hi Dave!

    I am planning a trip in mid-August with my boyfriend to Paros and we are staying on Golden Beach. I was wondering if you could tell me if this is a good location to stay and what are some fun activities to do in this area? We are in our mid-20’s so we are looking to do more than just bum at the beach!


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Great beach and a good spot for learning how to windsurf. But there’s not much around here beyond a few hotels and restaurants. Certainly no nightlife. If you wanted shopping and a restaurant scene then stay closer to Parikia or Naoussa – or at the very least, rent a car.

  15. Fastest Ferries between Greek Islands

    Hi Dave
    My partner and I will be in Santorini in early June for a wedding. Below is a rough idea of our plans. We plan on catching the fastest ferry between islands. Are there any days the ferry companies don’t operate and are there any luggage restrictions? I went on the Blue Star Ferries website and it seems they haven’t updated their timetable yet. Is there a ferry company you highly recommend based on our itinerary?

    Mykonos – 2 nights (flying in from Athens in mid May)
    Paros – 3 nights
    Naxos – 3 nights
    Santorini – 6 nights
    Athens – 2 nights on the way back.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Lots of ferries running that route so shouldn’t be a problem in early June. No need to book in advance. Buy your tickets when you first arrive in Mykonos. But if you want to be certain then go to Seajets, Hellenic Seaways, and Blue Star to purchase directly (you’ll then pick up tickets on the islands). The only luggage restrictions are what you can carry on board.

  16. Naxos Delos Mykonos Tour

    Hi. Can I do the Naxos/Delos/Mykonos tour and get off on Mykonos to stay there?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Yes. Not sure what their allowances for luggage are. If you don’t have much you should be fine. The boat gets to Mykonos about 5pm and stops at the Old Port right by Mykonos Town.

  17. Paros and Naxos

    Hi Dave.

    My wife, my daughter and I are thinking of spending 7 nights in Paros in late June 2016…visiting Naxos on a day trip. Is this ok or should I spend 3 nights in Naxos and 4 in Paros? I have already visited Santorini and Mykonos.
    Robert Raniti

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      It’s much better to spend some time on Naxos than to do a day trip. When you do a day trip you don’t get to enjoy the towns in the early morning or evening – the two times when the island is at its best.

  18. Mykonos, Santorini, and Naxos

    Hey Dave,

    Great site! Love all the info. QQ for you, I’m heading to the Greek islands next May 19-30th. My initial itinerary looks like this, get into Athens morning of the 19th, head straight to Mykonos for 4 nights, then onto Santorini for 5 nights, then Athens for 2 nights and back to the States on the 30th. I’m going with my gf and we’re both in our late 20s. I’d really love to check out Naxos, but wasn’t sure if I had enough time. Do you think that I should cut out a day from both Mykonos and Santorini and do Naxos for a couple nights in between? Or stick to the original itinerary?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      It’s a tough call but yes I would probably make time for Naxos. You can even do Naxos for just one night. There’s an early morning ferry from Mykonos to Naxos which gets you there at 10:30. Then a late afternoon the next day at 15:25 or an evening ferry (but not on Fridays or Sundays) at 7:55pm so you could almost have 2 full days and only lose one night on Mykonos. (It’s nice to break up the trip from Mykonos to Santorini too as the only direct Myk-Santo ferry is a small high speed ferry that can be choppy.)

      1. Mike

        Awesome! Thanks so much for the reply. Yeah, after some more research I think 4 nights in Mykonos is more than needed anyway. We definitely want to check out the party scene for one night, but that’s really it. I’m going to look into going to Naxos for two nights.

  19. Santorini, Naxos, Paros, Milos

    Such a helpful comparison! I’m heading to the greek islands next August for my Honeymoon and thought id decided on Paros, Santorini than Milos before heading back to Athens, however now im thinking both Paros and Naxos then Santorini? Or do you think I should skip one to include Milos? We just really want to relax and swim. Not big drinkers but like good food.


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      All are great islands so you can’t go wrong. Naxos and Paros are somewhat similar so if you wanted something different then Milos is a good candidate. To do Milos right you need to do a boat tour around the coast of the island – not sure if that’s appealing to you. Naxos and Paros are easier to explore on your own (either by bus or rented car) and they’re also easier to get to and from Santorini. Milos is a little out of the way (though in August there are so many ferries it should still be pretty easy to do Naxos – Milos – Santorini).

  20. Paros to Mykonos Day Trip

    This site rocks – thank you! Like a number of folks on here, it seems, we are planning a trip for late May and trying to decide the best itinerary. After doing some initial research, here is my thinking.

    Arrive Sunday May 22 and take flight straight to Santorini – arriving around 2PM Greece time
    Stay in Santorini 3-4 nights
    Ferry to Naxos and stay there 2-3 night
    Ferry to Paros and stay there 2-3 nights
    Ferry to Athens for rest of time (3-5 nights) before flying back on Fri June 3 – travel day.

    Your suggestion on the best mix of nights in each? I figure we will at least do a day trip to Mykonos on one of the days we are on Paros or Naxos (I think I saw that option). And I have read good things on Hyrda, which I think could be a day trip from Athens but that might be too much traveling. Any insight is appreciated. Upper 30s, no kids, looking for most relaxing on the islands with some wineries in Santorini and then doing the tourist thing seeing the sites in Athens. Thanks!


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Your itinerary looks good. And smart to leave Athens to the end of your trip. You can do a day trip to Mykonos from Paros by taking the Seajet (leaves Paros at 10:50am and returns at 6:15pm giving you about 6 hours on Mykonos). Be sure to take the small Seajet as that will drop you at the Old Port – walking distance from Mykonos Town. The larger ferries use the New Port which then requires taking a bus to town.

  21. Athens and Greek Islands in January

    HI Dave,

    Thanks for doing this site! I have booked an 18 day stay in Greece mid – January 2016. I am 40-something solo woman traveling and this is the time off I had! It is my dream to travel to Greece and so I thought to do it right away ….. I am thinking of sailing with BLUE STAR to Santorini, Paros, Naxos and wish to walk the trails, eat in local taverns and stay in small family run places, perhaps AirBNB. Looking forward to a 3/4 nights in Athens as well and tour the street art and local food and wine scene. I really welcome any of your suggestions as I am a bit nervous about traveling off season. Thanks alot Dave!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I’m sure you know this but have a warm winter jacket. With the wind and rain it can be cold on the islands. That said, I’m sure you’ll have a great trip. The islands are great in the off season – especially if you get lucky with the weather. You’d be fine not booking accommodation in advance and waiting to find something on each island. If there’s no one at the boat to greet you ask around at the restaurants near the ferry port and they’ll invariably know someone who rents out there place.

  22. Itinerary for Greek Islands

    Hi Dave,

    Your site is great! I had no idea where to even start when thinking about visiting the islands but this is great!
    My husband and I are looking to travel to Greece late May/Early June. We are looking for a mainly relaxing trip with some exploring (we love hiking) and of course a lot of eating, we also Won’t say no to a few nights of partying. Here is what we are thinking:

    Saturday – Arrive Athens
    Sunday – Ferry to Naxos, stay 4 nights
    Thursday – Milos, 2 nights
    Saturday – Ios, 2 nights
    Monday – Santorini, 5 nights
    Saturday – Santorini to Athens
    Sunday – Fly home

    I’m not too bothered with essentially spending no time in Athens as I am more interested in the Islands. It has always been a dream of mine to visit Santorini – but is 5 nights too many? I know the beaches aren’t the best there, but our first week will be mostly beaches so I’m not bothered about that. More so looking to end the trip with a lot of romance and relaxation in Santorini.

    How does this itinerary look? Any advice is great! Thank you so much!!


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      This sounds great. Santorini is wonderful and deserves 5 nights. 4 nights in Naxos is good too – lots to see and great beaches. Ios and Milos are both deserving of visits. I’d get an early morning flight from Santorini to Athens which will give you almost a full day in the city. Athens has lots to see but most of it is fairly close together and many of the top sights are open until 8pm, so if you got there mid-morning you could see a fair bit.

  23. Naxos and Paros with Kids

    Hi Dave,

    Just looking for your advice please if possible.

    We are a family of 6, looking at taking our 4 children aged between 2 and 6 to Naxos and Paros next August for 16 nights. We have found accommodation in Parikia and Agios Prokopios and flights via Athens both ways. Would you suggest we spend longer on one island than the other with us having young children? We just need a nice beach, possibly a local playground, a couple of excursions during our stay. We won’t be renting a car so will be relying on public transport/taxis.

    Thanks so much, any advice you can give would be great, I haven’t been to Paros and Naxos in years!

    Lindsay Cregan

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Those are 2 great places and a nice mix. Agios Prokopios has a great beach and is a fun beach town. Parikia is much larger with more places to eat and shop, lanes and streets to wander about, but lacks a really good beach – for that you’ll have to take a bus or one of the small boats that depart from the port every 30 minutes or so (it makes a fun outing). And from Parikia it’s also easy to take the boat to Antiparos which has wonderful beaches. As I say, I think it’s a good mix of beach (where after a week you’ll probably want a little more to do) and town (where after a week you’ll probably want to be steps from a beach instead of a bus or boat ride away).

  24. Santorini, Paros, Naxos

    Hi, I have 9 full days in the islands. I’m thinking two days in Santorini (just to see it but know it will be swamped with tourists), and the rest (week) in Paros and Naxos. How do you recommend splitting this? I was thinking 4 days Paros (to have one day Antiparos) and 3 in Naxos. But been reading much about longer in Naxos?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      That sounds like a great plan. Antiparos is wonderful and deserves a day trip – or even a night or 2. Santorini is busy but I would never call it swamped (as long as you avoid the cruise ship crowds but that’s easy to do).

  25. Paros or Folegandros

    Hi Dave,

    I love your article on Naxos vs Paros (as I am also torn). However, I am going to add a third option in hopes that maybe you can help with this one too. My boyfriend and I are visiting Greece in May of 2016. We are doing: 3 nights in Santorini, 3 nights in a second island and 2 nights in Athens before flying back home.

    My question lies in whether we should do Paros or Folegandros? Do you have insight on Folegandros?

    We both love hole in the wall restaurants, good food, good wine, an occasional night out about town…. but we also love peace, quiet and some nice hiking. We were thinking we could get the “social” part of the trip (restaurants, bars, etc) from Santorini and then get the peace, quiet and hiking at our 2nd island.

    We were set on Folegandros as I’ve heard about the sweeping vistas, lovely Chora and beautiful green trails, but I’ve heard that in May, it may not be so great.

    What is your advice?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I love Folegandros. Some of the best food I’ve eaten in Greece was in Folegandros. There are a couple restaurants in the Chora that are amazing. If you’re looking for beautiful hikes and peace and quiet then Folegandros (especially in May) is perfect. It might seem like you’re one of the few tourists on the island – but there will still be things open. Getting from Santorini to Folegandros might be a bit of an issue in May (you might have to move your travel day up or back a day to get a ferry).

  26. Day Trip to Paros

    Hi, very informative and incredible site!

    I’m wondering if you could shed some light on whether there’s any chance of doing a day trip to Paros from Athens? Am visiting Athens this week for a few days but not sure if there’s enough time to go on a day trip. Additionally, the ferry schedule is pretty confusing and I’m not sure if there are returning ferries on the same day from Paros back to Athens?


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      By ferry it is not possible. By air, maybe. There are early flights from Athens to Paros but can’t find any late returns. If you could return the following morning then that’s probably your best bet.

  27. Special Restaurant for Birthday on Naxos

    Hi Dave,

    You’re website has been ever so helpful with planning my trip coming up at the end of the month, so thanks for all the great tips! I am taking my mum over for her 60th birthday to Naxos and then onto Santorini. Are there any restaurants you could recommend in Naxos as special occasion dinner or just somewhere even that has wonderful food for her actual birthday evening? I’m finding it a bit tricky researching online! Any tips would be great!


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I recommend Taverna Boulamatsis in Naxos Town. It’s on the main walkway on the Naxos port but you enter it from the alley behind so it doesn’t get the tourist traffic that the restaurants on the main strip get. It’s very good and though it’s not a “to die for” setting it’s quite nice. Make reservations and ask for a table along the edge of the balcony so you get a nice view.

  28. Justin

    Hey Dave, no question here since you seem to have answered every imaginable scenario already. Just wanted to thank you for all the valuable info! My wife and I will be doing 4 nights in Santorini at Chromata and four more in Naxos at Nissaki. Good work on the site…

  29. Day Trip to Ios or Naxos

    We are spending 4 days in Santorini and 4 in Mykonos. Could we potentially do a day trip to Ios or Naxos? To take in some great beaches? We will be there first week of September?
    Lynn Swavely

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      It’s much better to spend a night on one of those islands as you move between Mykonos and Santorini. Day trips waste so much time. You could stop at Naxos with very little cost in time or effort (Ios would be a little harder).

  30. Multiple Greek Islands

    Hi Dave! Wow, wonderful site! My fiancé and I are flying in and out of Mykonos giving us 14days to travel (29th aug-13th sep) we have already booked 3nigt in Mykonos town upon arrival for an immediate chill out/holiday mode starter. We are then undecided and this is where we need your help- Naxos or Paros? Then Milos or Ios? Or Folegandros (my favorite, but not too well served and fairly pricey to reach!) Finally, We have two nights booked in santorini before heading a back to Mykonos to fly home (bit of a treat!). We are a late 20’s couple we love great beaches, hiking exploring, scenery, food, WINE and a bit of nightlife. We aren’t on a huge budget, so thinking we should keep the travel down to avoid too many boat tickets. Can you do an operator pass, or a Mykonos – santorini return with permitted stop offs?
    We’ve both been to the less attractive and less Greek resorts such as Kavos and Malia as early twenty-something’s so we’re very excited to see what the islands have to offer! Much appreciate your time in responding.

    Lizzy Moore

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      There are no ferry passes or multi-stop tickets on the ferries. All ferry tickets are one way, from one island to another island. All 5 of those islands are great. Naxos, Paros, and Ios are the easiest to get to and from Santorini – but in high season the others are fine too. Ios and Naxos (and Mykonos) have the best beaches in the Cyclades.

  31. Crete or Paros?

    Your website is incredible. Fantastic info and saved us lots of research hours. It’s me and my friend – 2 girls in their 30s. We would like to go to a place that’s not too fancy and posh such as Mykonos and still enjoy good party nightlife, cool bars and good local food as well as beautiful beaches. Planning a holiday from 28th or 29th of August untill 4th of sept. Which one would you recommend: Crete (Chania) or Paros? Any further suggestions?
    Thank you in advance

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Both are wonderful places. Chania is very picturesque but perhaps feels a little less Greek and more like a (beautiful) Mediterranean port town that you could find in Italy or Croatia. The main town of Paros (Parikia) is a more typical Greek-island town with winding alleys leading this way and that way. Both have good nearby beaches. Chania has more if you’re into active day trips but Paros still has plenty to do. Paros is a better choice if you want to visit other Greek islands. You can’t go wrong with either. Flip a coin and know that you’re going to a wonderful place.

  32. Which Greek Islands?

    Hi Dave,

    Your website has done wonders for us.

    We are in the process of planning a trip to Greece in June. We land in Athens at 12:30 pm.

    Our current itinerary has us visiting Athens and the islands

    Athens – 2 nights
    Mykonos – 2 nights
    Paros – 3 nights
    Santorini – 3 nights
    Crete – 3 nights

    In our discussions, we are thinking we should visit 3 islands instead and adding a 4th night to the islands or a 3rd night to Athens. Also, we are traveling with a four year old.

    Do you recommend trimming the list of Islands to 3? also, would you recommend us visiting other islands instead?

    Any advice would be truly appreciated.

    Thank you,

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I would add Naxos and drop Crete (a wonderful island but large and deserves more than 3 days which will just leave you feeling rushed). Naxos is also great (the best Greek island) for kids. And it has easy ferry connections with both Paros and Santorini so your route would be Athens to Mykonos to Paros to Naxos to Santorini.

      1. Ramon

        Thanks Dave.

        We also thought about dropping Mykonos and adding a 4th night to Santorini and Crete. Would you still advice against Crete for four nights and visiting Naxos instead?


        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

          It’s a tossup. I’d still probably do Naxos but 4 days does make Crete more doable.

  33. 8 Days in Paros, Naxos, and Ios


    We’ve got 8 nights sandwiched between 5 night stays at both Mykonos and Santorini. We are looking at staying on Naxos, Paros and Ios and wondering how best to split the days. We’re thinking 3/3/2 Paros/Naxos/Ios. What would be your view. The time frame is mid-September. Thanks in advance for your advice!


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      That sounds perfect. Mid-September is a perfect time for those islands too.

  34. Athens, Santorini, Naxos with Toddler

    Hello Dave:

    My husband and I are planing a 8 days Greece trip (5/30 – 6/6) with our 15 months old boy. We are thinking 1 night in Athens then flight to Santorini for 3 nights, ferry to Naxos for 3 nights then flight back to Athens before Croatia. Is that doable with a toddler? Do you have any recommendation for family friendly hotels in Naxos or Santorini (not too expensive)? Do we need to rent a car? Should I bring a stroller?

    Thank you so much for your time and all of your advice!!!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      That sounds great. Renting a car has more benefit on Santorini than on Naxos. Though you could rent a car on both or neither and be fine. I would not take a stroller – completely useless on Santorini, some benefit in Athens and Naxos but still not worth it. For the best family hotels in Santorini read this (Villa Agnadi is great if you need a pool and is not to expensive). In Athens location is the most important factor so try A for Athens.

  35. Honeymoon in Mykonos and Santorini

    Hello Dave
    Thank you for all the great info. We are getting married in Santorini next June and trying to decide what to do for our honeymoon. We had originally thought we would go to Mykonos but we are worried it maybe too up market for us. We are in our early 30’s and love the beach and pool in the day and going out for nice food and drinks in the evening. We like the idea of beautiful beaches with a bit going on but not rammed with sun loungers, which I have read some of the south of Mykonos are. We don’t want to be paying over the odds for stuff ,but don’t mind paying for a nice room with a view .Mykonos does make sense to end up on as we can fly direct home to London. We have 6 nights for honeymoon. What would you recommend? Thank you

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      If you mean that you have 6 days besides your wedding time in Santorini then (with your interests in mind) I would split them 4 in Naxos (great beaches and easy going and enchanting main town) and 2 days in Mykonos (to experience their beaches and lively Mykonos Town at night).

  36. Mykonos to Santorini in Early August

    Hi Dave,
    Please help decide which ferry. From Mykonos to Santorini on August 7th, as early as possible. There is a SeaJet Champion I (car ferry) that originates in Pireaus makes some stops, leaves Mykonos at 9:45 arrives Santorini at 11:30 am. This seems like a fast trip for a big ferry. The other would be Hellenic at 9:55 which arrives Santorini at 13:05.
    Brooke Stebbins

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Unless you really like ferries, I would take the faster one.

  37. Paros, Karpathos, Santorini, and Crete

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks so much for this great site!

    My new husband and I are planning our honeymoon in Greece for 13 days starting June 1 this year. We’re looking for a short posh stay (prob in santorini) and for the rest of the time a more low key, fun, exploratory, tasty beach holiday! We’re not looking for clubbing, but good food music and good energy for sure 🙂

    Some islands we’ve been recommended are Paros, Karpathos, Santorini, and Crete. I read all you wrote about Paros and Santorini – sounds great 🙂

    2 questions:

    1. Is 2 days too short to just get a taste of Santorini before heading back to Athens and home? I’d like to see the scenery and explore a bit, but we don’t love overly touristic places.

    2. Any thoughts on Karpathos and Crete?

    Thanks for your time!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      1. Two days is not a lot on Santorini but yes I would say it’s enough to get a good look around and enjoy the major highlights. More time is always better but 2 will suffice.
      2. Karpathos is a little like a mini-Crete but less touristy and some very traditional villages. Crete is much larger and more to see and do (and more great beaches) while Karpathos has some of Greece’s best snorkeling (though still not world class).

  38. 2 or 3 Islands?

    Hello Dave ! Incredible guide to greece and it’s been really helpful in planning out trip. We are planning a holiday in June around the 10th for 8-9 days. I’m really confused. Should we do 1 day at Athens, 3 in Mykonos and 4 in Santorini. Or 1 in Athens, 3 in Mykonos, 2 in Naxos, and 3 in Santorini.
    Will this be too hectic? Reading your reviews about Naxos I want to visit it too. Or is it possible we do a day trip from Santorini?
    Thanks in advance

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      There is no right answer, of course. You almost never regret seeing another island but it can come at the cost of feeling rushed and on-the-go all the time. I do not recommend day trips however as you spend as you’re much better off staying on the island as spending that time back and forth on a ferry (without getting to stay the night which is the most interesting time to really see an island).

  39. How Many Island to Visit

    Hi Dave,
    Thanks for all of the helpful information on your site! We will be in Greece this summer from June 8-20. We are flying into Athens and planning on leaving the next morning for Santorini (June 9). Our current plan is to spend 3 nights in Santorini, 2 nights in Naxos, 2 nights in Paros, and 2 nights in Mykonos before heading back to Athens on the 18th. Do you recommend traveling to all four islands given the short time frame or would you recommend cutting out one of the islands and spending three nights on each?
    Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      It isn’t a clear or obvious choice but if it was me I’d probably go with 3 islands with 3 nights on each.

  40. Paros with 3 Teenagers

    Hi Dave,
    Great information about Paros and Naxos, thank you.
    We’re going to Paros for a week in the middle of July 2015; we’re in our late forties and we’re taking our seventeen year old son and his two friends with us. We’re thinking of staying in Parikia, what do you think?
    Graham and Mandy

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Parikia is a great town with lots of shops, restaurants, and good nightlife (but not crazy like Mykonos). Paros has some great beaches. I think it was a great choice.

  41. Mykonos and Naxos

    Hi Dave! Awesome site! Anyway, husband and I are flying into Mykonos late May. Originally, we intended to spend the 7 nights that we have in Mykonos and take a trip to Delos. After coming across your site, I’m now considering breaking up the trip with a couple of nights in Naxos. Do you think this is a good idea?


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I think it’s a great idea. Naxos is wonderful and a perfect complement to the lively crowds in Mykonos.

  42. Book Hotels in Advance?

    Hi Dave

    Really appreciate the insights on your website. It has been most helpful while planning our trip.

    Need some suggestions.
    We are a couple in our early 30s, plan to spend 3 nights in either Naxos or Paros in mid June.
    We will be arriving on ferry from Santorini & going on to Mykonos.
    1. Should we book the hotel/accommodation in advance? or is it ok to arrive on the island & then decide. (around 12th-15th June). Cost implications?
    Looking for something that is basic, clean , air-conditioned, attached bath, easy to access, located close to beach/ restaurants/ center of town
    2. Which island is better in terms of ferry connectivity from Santorini, onwards to Mykonos. Better beaches? Cost of living?


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      1) Book hotels in advance if you’re looking for something special, particular, or in a certain location. Showing up without a hotel in June shouldn’t be a problem. There will be hotel and private domatia owners at the ferry dock to greet you. But you’re sort of at their whim. You’ll look at their photos of their properties, choose one that looks okay, get in their pickup truck to go to their place, and then you’ll end up taking it even if it’s not exactly what or where you were wanting. And it’s usually fine. But if you’re particular then you’ll be disappointed. It’s hard to compare rates as the places you get when you book on arrival are different than the places you book in advance. As for directly comparing one hotel you’ll get a better rate by booking in advance.

      2.) Both Paros and Naxos are on the same routes for most ferry lines. That is, the ferries that visit one usually visit both. So there isn’t any difference for connectivity to Mykonos or Santorini. Naxos has more and better beaches. Paros has more nightlife. The islands are about the same for cost, with maybe Naxos being slightly cheaper.

  43. What To Do with 4 Extra Days

    Hi Dave
    Wow, so kind of you to take the time to answer these questions. My wife and I and our two daughters (9,12) are heading to greece arriving mid September. We will be in Santorini for 4 nights, then to Naxos for 5 nights. We then have about 4 more days before we head to Athens for 2 days. Any recommendation for that 4 day window? Stay on Naxos, vist Paros, another island, somewhere on mainland near Athens? We are open to anything… Any suggestions greatly appreciated!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Paros would be a good option (it’s a fun island) along with nearby Antiparos – only reachable from Paros, off the tourist track, almost no cars, great beaches.

  44. Naxos/Folegandros/Paros

    Hi Dave! We love your website, it’s really helped us plan our honeymoon! We just wanted to get your opinion on two different options we were thinking of for our 10-day honeymoon. We are definitely staying in Santorini for 5 nights (4 days), and then we were thinking about going to Naxos for the next 5 nights (4 days) and taking a day trip one of those days to Paros (coming back on a night ferry). However, we have now also been toying with the idea of going to folegandros/milos for 2.5 days, and then Naxos for 2.5 days. Our thought was that maybe we should experience one more island, and some place like Folegandros would show us the more quiet/remote side of the Cyclades. However, we also know that it is possible to find quiet in Naxos, and we don’t want to be too rushed. But we don’t want to miss anything either…. what do you think?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Folegandros is a great island – nice walks, good restaurants, but don’t go there for the beaches. It’s more different from Naxos than Paros is – so yes, that’s a good way to add some variety to your trip.

  45. Day Trip from Santorini in April

    Your site is great. We are going to Santorini in late April for a week and wanted to take a day trip to another island. We were thinking of Naxos, but that doesn’t seem possible based on the Blue Star ferry schedule. Is it possible? And if not, do you have another suggestion.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      It’s difficult to make a day trip from Santorini at any time of year (the ferry schedule doesn’t make it easy or give you a lot of time on any island) – but it’s pretty much impossible in April when there are few ferries. You could make a day trip to nearby Thirassia on the opposite side of the caldera (boats leave from Amoudi Bay below Oia).

  46. Accommodations in Villages with Locals

    Hi Dave!

    I’m headed to Naxos for 3 days in May. Is it easy to find accommodations in the villages? Do you think it’s easy to get accommodations with the locals?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Don’t book in advance. When you arrive in Naxos there will be locals meeting the ferry that have rooms in their private homes – simple and cheap. Most will be for Naxos Town and around but some will be in the villages.

  47. Naxos or Paros


    Could you help me with an advice?
    We are 2 adults and a 6 years old child and I have no idea which island to choose for the summer holiday, naxos or paros. They both look lovely and each has pros and cons…
    We are mainly interested in nice but not crowded beaches, beautiful villages and good food. We are used to travel by car a lot and we like to explore places. And then swim a little:)
    So? Naxos or Paros for us?
    Thank you

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      You’d be happy with both but sounds like Naxos (more beaches, more villages) is the better fit.

  48. 1 Week in Santorini/ Island with Best Beaches

    Hi Dave!

    Me and my fiance have 2 weeks to spend in the cyclades islands and were stuck on which islands to visit. We were originally going to go with a week in Santorini and a week in either Naxos, Paros or Milos. We are going from July 23 to August 7th of 2015. Is 7 nights a lot to spend in Santorini? We dont really care much about the night life. Our main focus is the beaches and taverns and maybe drive around (or use the bus) to see some scenery. Were on a tight budget and trying to fit at least 2 islands into our vacation. Which island do you believe has the best beaches? White sand, shallow water? And not too packed with tourists.

    Thank you SOOO much!

    Valerie Tjortjoglou

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      1 week is not too long on Santorini, but – if you’re looking to save money then shortening your time there might be in order. Naxos is one of the better value islands in the Cyclades and has wonderful beaches. The beaches close to town do get busy but the farther down the coast you drive the quieter they get.

  49. Mykonos, Santorini, Naxos, Ios

    Dear Dave, – We would appreciate your advise –
    We are a family of 4 travelling with our 2 adult children aged 24 and 21. We arrive in Athens on the 14th of June 14th of June 2015 for 12 nights in Greece.
    We are planning on 2 nights in Athens on arrival and 1 night in Athens before departure.
    Three nights in Mykonos (Petosos Town Hotel)
    Three nights in Santorini (Nissos Thira Hotel)
    Three nights in either Naxos (? hotel?) or Ios ( Ios Palace Hotel)
    We enjoy the beach, nightlife and scenic spots.
    – Would you recommend either Naxos or Ios Islands?
    – Which Island after Mykonos would you recommend as the second Island and which as the last Island before departing back to Athens?
    – At each location we would like to be near the beach and nightlife or have easy accessability to both. Are our hotels good choices?

    Luisa Oliveira

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      If you’re looking for nightlife then Ios definitely beats Naxos. Both Ios and Naxos have great beaches so there’s little difference there. Mykonos and Santorini have lots of nightlife but it tends to be a little older crowd. Ios will have more college-aged nightlife so your kids will appreciate that.
      The order of islands should be Mykonos to Ios to Santorini.
      Petasos Town Hotel is in Mykonos Town and not near a beach. It’s a short walk to the bus station and from there you can go to many beaches. Don’t confuse this hotel with its sister hotel in between Platis Yialos and Psarou beaches – though there is a free shuttle bus you can take to the beach hotel and use its facilities for free. Staying in Mykonos Town is lots of fun.
      Nissos Thira Hotel is in Fira. A nice budget hotel with a pool but it’s not near the beach and does not have a caldera view (which is fine but just so you’re not surprised). It’s a short walk to the bus station where buses leave regularly to the beach towns (about 15 minutes away). And the shops and restaurants are a 5 minute walk from the hotel. It’s a good handy location. I would recommend staying here and enjoying the caldera than staying in a beach town.
      Ios Palace Hotel overlooks Mylopotos Beach – one of the best beaches in the Cyclades.

  50. How Much Time in Mykonos, Paros, Santorini

    Hi Dave!
    I am planning on coming to Greece in August (I know…so busy! but only time I can make it) I want to spend time in Mykonos, Paros, and Santorini – I am flexible on how many days to spend in each island but have about 7-8 days total. I was hoping for some advice with respect to how to split up 7-8 days amongst the 3 islands. Any advice?!


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      With 8 days I would do 4 days in Santorini, 2 in Mykonos, and 2 in Paros.

  51. Paros to Milos

    Hi Dave,
    We will arrive to Santorini the last week of August from 8/21-8/31. We are trying to map out Santorini, Paros, and Milos. We don’t see any ferries currently leaving from Paros to Milos so we are contemplating going to Naxos instead of Paros. There is only 1 ferry leaving from Naxos to Milos and it’s about 4.5hrs. I’d like to book all the ferries beforehand so we don’t have to worry about buying them when we transfer to another island. Do you think there will be more ferry options in the coming months and we should wait to buy the ferry transfers? Also, I didn’t see an express ferry option and wonder if that’s an option from Naxos to Milos.
    Steve Kokkinos

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The Aqua Jewwel usually goes from Paros to Milos year round on Tuesday and Sunday (with stops in Serifos, Sifnos, and Kimolos in between). But the company that owns it is in some distress at the moment and it’s uncertain whether the ferry will be run this summer. Keep an eye on the Aqua Jewel Schedule to see if it is updated. (How long you decide to wait is something you have to decide on your own.)

  52. Santorini and What Other Island in April?

    Hi Dave! Quick question.
    What islands do you suggest to combine along with santorini for a honeymoon couple. We have 8 nights in total to spent at greece. Would be reaching Athens on 10 April’15. Also what island/town to go first. Not fond of beaches. Would rather prefer to roam in greek chrarming towns, night life and good food.
    Thanks Very much!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Crete, Naxos, and Folegandros are all great islands for hikes, charming towns, and good food. (There’s not much nightlife anywhere on the islands in April – Fira on Santorini will likely have the most going on.) Crete and Naxos both have good connections with Santorini. Folegandros doesn’t have good connections.

  53. Day Trips from Naxos

    Fantastic site! We are planning a trip to Greece from September 3 to 13. After 3 days in Santorini, we were thinking of going to Naxos for 4 days and using it as kind of a home base for day trips to Mykonos and Paros, since Naxos is more affordable and closer to those islands than Santorini. Are the ferry schedules from Naxos to Mykonos and Paros good enough to make day trips workable?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      To Mykonos there are morning SeaJets (until mid-September) that leave at about 11am and get to Mykonos at 12:20. On the way back (not Sunday) there are ferries that leave at 6pm and get back about at 7:30. This would give you about 5 hours to walk around Mykonos Town and have a nice meal. Probably not much more.

      Paros is a better connection. A SeaJet leaves Naxos at 9:30am takes 45 minutes to get to Paros. The return is at 7:10pm and gets to Naxos at 7:35. That gives you about 7.5 hours on Paros. You could probably walk around Parikia and even get to the charming fishing town of Naoussa.

      That said, I’m not a big fan of day trip as I think it’s time better spent switching islands (even for just one night) and not wasting time with to-and-from ferry trips.

  54. Ferry from Athens to Naxos, Paros, Santorini

    Great suggestions…thanks so much. Can I ask your advice. We have about 10-11 -12 nights. Thinking Santorini, Naxos and Paros. Would like to go to Santorini last. Is it possible to go to all 3 from Athens? And do yo think Athens / Naxos/ Paros then Santorini ? Can you island hop or do you have to go back to Athens??
    Lovely reading your posts!!!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The Blue Star ferry goes daily from Athens to Paros to Naxos to Santorini. You do not have to return to Athens.

  55. Blue Star from Athens to Mykonos to Paros to Santorini

    Hi Dave – your site is a life saver btw!
    Quick question, we’ll be island hoping from Athens to Mykonos to Paros to Santorini; Can we take the Blue Star Ferry to and from these islands. We don’t want to take a chance getting sea sick.


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      There is always a daily Blue Star from Athens to Mykonos and from (Athens to) Paros (to Naxos) to Santorini. But there is only a Mykonos to Paros Blue Star from June 27 to September 6. Outside of those dates you’ll need to take a SeaJet or Hellenic Highspeed. (In winter there are no Mykonos to Paros ferries at all.)

  56. Athens - Santorini - Ios - Mykonos - Athens

    Hi Dave

    Great site, finding loads of info to plan a holiday! Just wondering about ferries to and from Athens to the Islands.
    I am planning on visiting Santorini first followed by Ios, Mykonos and then maybe one night in Athens before flying home. I see you have mentioned the The Blue Star as the best ferry service to use. Would that suit the following itinerary?
    Athens – Santorini – Ios – Mykonos – Athens

    Thanks a mill for the help

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Sort of. The Blue Star is great for Athens to Santorini and Mykonos to Athens. But the Athens-Santorini ferry does not stop in Ios from June 1 to September 20 (only Naxos and Paros during the summer months, the rest of the year it does stop in Ios on most days). So for Santorini to Ios you’ll need to take a SeaJet2 (which runs between early May and early September). There is a Blue Star that does the run from Ios to Mykonos from late June until early September. If you visit outside of that time frame you’ll also need to take the SeaJet2 on that leg.

  57. Athens, Santorini, Naxos

    My husband and I have 12 days to spend in Greece. It sounds like Santorini and Naxos are a must. How many days would you spend in Athens, Naxos and Santorini? Would Mykonos be too much? Where would you start and end and how would you get from place to place? HELP!!!!
    I guess I need an entire itinerary 🙂

    Jennifer Halm

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      • Leave your days in Athens until the end of your trip so you have a buffer against a delayed or canceled ferry
      • 7 days in Santorini, 3 in Naxos, 2 in Athens
      • Can add Mykonos too, take 1 day off of Athens and 2 off of Santorini
      • The Blue Star ferry runs from Athens to Naxos to Santorini (and back to Athens). It’s the best ferry especially if you’re prone to seasickness. There are high speed ferries that cut 3 hours off the journey from Athens (from 8).

  58. Hostels/Ios, Paros, or Naxos

    Hi Dave,
    I am a solo 25 year old female traveler and have 5 nights to spend in the islands before jumping on a tour in Mykonos, I am planning to fly into Santorini early June to start off, can you recommend any good hostels here for me to look in to here? Secondly I am keen to go to another island for 1-2 nights before heading to Mykonos, where would you recommend staying? Ios? Paros? Naxos? Thanks in advance!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The Santorini Youth Hostel in Fira is excellent. Ios and Naxos have the best beaches. Naxos the most cultural attractions. Ios is the best for single travelers. Take your pick.

  59. Which Island for 6 Adults, 4 Kids

    Dave. Just came across ur site. Valuable pointers it appears. Six adults and four sixteen year old teenagers looking to got to the Greek Islands for ten days July 4th -14th 2015. We want active town, bars, shopping, beaches, boat trips etc while the kids want sporty excitement with safe town environment to poke about in. Some in the group insist we go to Corfu, others Chania in Crete, others Naxos and still others Mykonos. We’d rent a decent villa or two with pool and prefer to be on the beach . I’d be interested in your comment / suggestion. Reds and thanks. Francesco

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      • Corfu is beautiful but it feels less Greek than the islands in the Cyclades. Food is delicious but more Italian influenced than other islands.
      • Naxos and Mykonos are great fun islands. Mykonos has a party vibe and very lively Chora (main town). Naxos has more cultural sites and is quieter – 16 year old boys would be more likely to “get bored” on Naxos than Mykonos. Parents would be more likely to “get worried” on Mykonos.
      • Crete is a great island too but much bigger than the others. Be prepared to do lengthy day trips from Chania to really appreciate the island. If shorter outings sound more appealing then Naxos and Mykonos are better (neighboring towns and beaches are 10 to 20 minutes from the Naxos and Mykonos Chora.)

  60. Mykonos to Ios, Naxos, or Paros


    We will be staying in Mykonos and Santorini and are thinking about a short stop on another island. Is there a ferry from Mykonos to Ios? What do you think of this island compared to Naxos or Paros? Also, we aren’t into clubs too much. If we stayed two nights in Mykonos (so we would have one full day) do you think that’s enough? Or would three nights, two full days be better?



    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      There is a ferry from Mykonos to Ios from early June to early September. Ios is a great island with wonderful beaches. It does have a reputation as a party island but (like Mykonos) the party scene is easy to avoid. Both Naxos and Paros have more to do than Ios but for just a few nights Ios would be a perfectly fine island to visit. I’d rather have 3 nights on Mykonos than 2 but obviously it all depends on how long you have in Greece and your priorities.

  61. Where To Go in February in Greece

    Hi Dave,

    My husband, 4 year old child and I are visiting Greece for a week in mid – February. This will be our first trip. We are interested in a few days of seeing the sights and a few days of relaxing on the beach.

    We are looking at flying into Athens, immediately taking a ferry to Mykonos and spending two days there followed by two days in Santorini. Finally we will spend three days in Athens / Poros before flying back to London.

    Given the time of year and the fact that we’re travelling with a child, would you recommend any changes to our itineary, such as visiting Naxos over Mykonos? We are vegetarians. Will food be an issue in any of the islands?

    Would you recommend trips to Delphi / Meteora from Athens?

    Thanks for your suggestions!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Yes, you should definitely visit Naxos instead of Mykonos in February. Naxos has a larger population and has more open than Mykonos in the off season. Also, there is no way of getting from Mykonos to Santorini in February. You would need to return to Athens to get a different ferry to Santorini. Whereas Naxos is on the same Blue Star ferry route as Santorini so you could get from one to the other directly. Delphi and the Meteora are great (I really love the Meteora). Both can be cold in February.

      1. Aditi

        Thanks, Dave! In Naxos, would you recommend staying in a hotel in the main town (such as the Adriani), or in apartments closer to the beach? How easy is it to get to the beach from the town?

        For the few days in Athens, would you recommend staying in the city itself or in Poros, which seems to be quite close? We want to do a lot of sight-seeing whilst in Athens and visit the Meteora / Delphi as well.


        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

          In summer it’s tough to know where to stay, the beach or the town? But in February it’s very easy: there’s nothing to do at the beach and the only places open are in town.

          Poros is 1 hour by ferry from Piraeus (on the fastest ferry: the Hellenic Seaways Hydrofoil), then a 10 minute walk to the metro, then a 20 minute train ride to central Athens. So you’re much better off staying in Athens on the days when you want to explore Athens.

          Good luck.

  62. London – Crete – Santorini – Naxos – Athens – London

    We will be flying to Crete from London in late June. I was also trying to decide between Naxos or Paros and this has helped! Is it worth it to do both or just pick one? Here is my itinerary so far. Let me know what you think.

    London to Crete
    7 nights Crete- ferry to Santorini
    2 nights Santorini- ferry to Naxos
    3 nights Naxos- ferry to Athens
    2 nights Athens- fly back to London

    I thought about adding Paros for 2 nights after Naxos but not sure yet. I usually like 3 nights at each place. We love to swim, love to eat, and love strolling villages.

    Also, any recommendations on towns to stay in while we are in Crete for 7 nights? Maybe 2 different places?

    J. Anthony

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      That’s sounds great. The only change I would suggest is to make it 6 days in Crete and 3 in Santorini. In Crete I would do 3 days in Chania and 3 in Rethymnon (or 4 and 2). Somehow fitting in a visit to Knossos Palace (just outside of Heraklion) would be highly recommended. Unless you were thinking about adding more days I would not recommend adding a visit to Paros.

  63. Naxos, Mykonos, or Crete?

    Great site it has been so informative and I have used a lot of your tips in planning our honeymoon. Looking for a little advice on a second island. We are spending 5 nights in Santorini and then are trying to decide on going to either Naxos, Mykonos or Crete for 3 nights. What do you suggest? We are in mid 30’s and like a good pool, great beach and hopefully a place to be able to do some hiking. Also any hotels you would suggest on either of those islands. In Santorini we’re staying at Absolute Bliss.
    Again great site and thanks for the help.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Naxos is my 2nd favorite island after Santorini – but if you’ve heard me say somewhere else on this site that Mykonos or Crete are my 2nd favorite then don’t hold it against me as I change my mind all the time 🙂

      They’re all great and you can’t really go wrong. But Naxos – especially if you want to do some hiking – stands out. All 3 of those islands have great beaches so not much difference there. Mykonos has more of a party vibe. Crete has a bit of everything as it’s so big – but it’s not a great choice when you only have 3 days.

      These are my favorite hotels on Naxos. (Nissaki being the best of the bunch.)

  64. Santorini, Naxos, Athens

    Hi Dave!
    Im planning on being in Greece for first time May 16-25. Ideally I would like to spend a couple of days in Santorini, Naxos, and Athens…do you think its a realistic aim? Are there ferries running between Santorini and Naxos?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Those are 3 great destinations and make a great combination as they are connected by the best ferry route (the Blue Star ferry). Good choice. No need to book ferries in advance, though booking hotels is a good idea (not absolutely mandatory though).

  65. Cheapest Way from Santorini to Crete

    Hi Dave – we are thoroughly enjoying reading your articles. Very helpful as we are going to Naxos before Santorini.
    We will be travelling from Santorini to Crete on Sunday 17th May. Can you recommend a cheaper option than the fast ferries @ approx 60euro? I noticed you mentioned flights which were more economical, but maybe we are out of season? Besides there would be airport transport to be taken into consideration. Any advice you may be able to provide would be greatly appreciated.
    Kind regards,

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The Highspeed ferry is the only way from Santorini to Crete. At this time, it doesn’t seem like there are any direct flights from Santorini to Crete for the summer of 2015.

  66. Naxos to Santorini Ferries

    Hello Dave!
    It’s been great reading all the questions and information you have to offer. I’m planning a honeymoon to Greece/ Italy for Mid October. Would you recommend flying into Athens, taking a ferry to Naxos for a night then a ferry from Naxos to Santorini. Do ferries from Naxos to Santorini run often? Also, we are considering going to Crete for the last island. What are your thoughts on Crete? Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      1. There is a Blue Star ferry from Naxos to Santorini every day (in the afternoon).
      2. Crete is wonderful. It’s a large island so you do need at least 7 to 10 days to do it justice.

  67. Naxos to Athens Ferry

    My husband and I are going from Athens to Naxos for a 3 night stay..that is our plan after departing a cruise ship.
    I am concerned about getting around in Athens and back to airport after Naxos trip and THINK I am reading that the
    ferry leaves Naxos at 10 pm? And we would be getting back to Athens at midnight? I am so hoping that I am wrong about
    the times as I am not comfortable getting in so late and having to find our way to the airport at that time of day..that is only thing stopping me from booking our rooms on Naxos…we are not young and as adventuresome as some I guess…


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      You don’t mention your date of travel so I can’t comment precisely.

      But … you have it sort of right. Most Blue Star ferries from Naxos to Athens leave Naxos at 6pm and arrive in Piraeus (the Athens ferry port) at 23:15. There are many taxis waiting at the port so if you do want to go directly to the airport it’s easy to grab one (taxis from the port to the airport cost €50 to €60 and take about an hour). There is also a bus directly from the port to the Athens airport which runs about every 30 minutes.

      There is an alternative to that ferry that gets you to the airport much earlier and avoids arriving at night. There is a Naxos to Rafina ferry that leaves Naxos at 10:45am and gets you to Rafina at 2:45pm. It runs 5 days a week (not on Friday or Sunday). If you’re traveling in July or August there is a second Rafina ferry that arrives at 11:00pm. The Rafina port is closer to the airport than Piraeus. (Taxi from Rafina to the Athens airport takes about 30 minutes and costs about €30.)

      1. debbie gigliotti

        thanks so much for the alternate time..and the cost….We will be there on the 7th of Oct. wed and have
        not decided if 3 nights or 4…guess it will be determined by the your helpful manner and
        additional information that you provide without asking! Merry Christmas!

  68. Greece, Mykonos, Santorini, Naxos

    Hi Dave,
    Great site that has me in contemplation mode and I’m looking for a little advice. My fiance and I are planning our honeymoon for next summer and our original plans were to spend about 8 days in the Greek Isles before flying to Istanbul. Originally we were going to do 5 nights in Santorini and ferry to Mykonos for 3 days and fly out from there but I keep hearing about Naxos. What would your thoughts be on doing Santorini for 4 nights, 2 in Naxos and then 2 in Mykonos. Is that too much jumping around in that amount of time or is it doable?

    Thanks Dave,

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      That sounds great. Even though I recommend 3 or more days on each island it’s amazing how much you can see staying just 2 nights.

  69. Mykonos or Naxos/Paros

    Hi Dave,
    I stumbled across your website and fell in love with it. The pictures and comparisons are wonderful.

    We are a couple in our 30’s travelling to Greece for 10 days, first week of May.Our plan was Athen -> Santorini -> Mykonos -> Athens. After reading your website I am inclined to change Mykonos to Paros or Naxos. We are not party people, love exploring, enjoy nature walks and would love an authentic Greek experience. Also we would like to take the Blue Ferry between the islands. What do you recommend?

    Thank you for taking the time out to help us with this.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      First off, they’re all great islands so you can’t go wrong. Make a plan and then be happy with it. It will be great. Naxos and Paros do have better ferry links with Santorini – The Blue Star goes all the way from Santorini through Naxos and Paros to Athens. To get to Mykonos requires a smaller ferry that isn’t as appealing. (And that ferry is more likely to sell out which then requires more planning. With the Blue Star you can’t easily wait to buy your tickets in Greece which is nice.) Mykonos Town is awesome and does have a special charm. It’s the highlight of Mykonos and in May won’t be clogged with partiers. Naxos and Paros have more to see in the form of hikes and small Greek villages. The weather isn’t guaranteed to be beach weather in early May (probably but not for sure) but the best beaches are on Naxos then Mykonos then Paros. Hope that helps.

  70. Naxos or Paros

    Hi Dave, incredible site! I have a question in regards to Naxos vs. Paros. We are a couple in our 30′s, staying only for 3 days on one of these islands on our way back to Athens. Which island has a better (photographic, old, fun to walk around) Old Town section? Also, which has better/more shopping (local crafts, etc.)? We’re really planning on lying on exploring town and then lying on a beach/swimming until dinner, and don’t have time to explore either island really. So which town would you recommend more highly?

    Thank you so much for your time and all of your advice on this website! Super helpful.


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Hi Mark. Both islands are great. I know it’s hard but don’t stress about this too much. You’ll have a great trip with either so make a decision then don’t second guess it. Just get excited about where you’re going and how much you’ll love it.

      That said, for beaches Naxos is better (not way better but more choice and better beaches). For shopping I’d say Paros – more shops, more variety. It’s a little closer to Mykonos in this regard. Higher end travelers looking for quality products (but once again not a huge huge difference between the two islands). For photography, I think Paros has the more classical Cycladic look. The Old Town in Parikia is really wonderful to wander around.

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