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Greek Islands, during late March
Old 01-14-2020, 07:16 PM   #1
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Greek Islands, during late March

DW and I (in our sixties) are planning a trip to Athens and Greek Islands during the last week of March.

We would like to fly from NY to Athens, spend a couple of days there, then hop on to ferries to visit the islands as follows: Athens – Naxos - Santorini - Mykonos – back to Athens., spending a day or two at each of the islands.

We have 9 days (2 weekends and a week) to spend which includes flights between NY and Athens.

Any suggestions or comments very much appreciated; Is end of March good time weather-wise, how many days to spend in each of the islands etc.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-15-2020, 06:00 AM   #2
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That is a lot for 9 days, but doable. I would probably only do two islands (Santorini and Mykonos) in order to have more time in Athens. Alternatively, to spend more time on those two islands....instead of trying to quickly hop between 3.
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Old 01-15-2020, 07:12 AM   #3
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What type of weather are you looking for? It certainly is off season, so crowding on the islands would not be an issue. If it were me, I would go in early May. In fact I have been there in early May and the weather was perfect, warm but not hot.
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Old 01-15-2020, 08:32 AM   #4
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Thank you all. Looks like March may be a bit cold, so we may postpone till April end
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Old 01-15-2020, 09:18 AM   #5
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We were on a group tour in Athens and the Greek Islands (yeah, I know) March 8 through 20 2019. It was chillier than I expected so we wore jackets most of the time. The last part was on a cruise (yeah, I know) and our ship was the first of the season (and since the economy depends on tourists there was a big welcome for us at some of the ports) to hit them, so you will likely be there at the beginning if the tourist season. Even that early, Santorini was really crowded and I can’t even imagine what it’s like later in the year.

It really is a magical place.
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Old 01-15-2020, 10:11 AM   #6
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We have done early April. What we found was that the ferry schedules are not as good prior to May/June. Quite a few restaurants and accommodations do not open up until April. Many close in Oct when their owners go back to the mainland. Orthodox Easter seems late this year. April 19. We have been told by some owners that they do not open up until after Easter. Not certain if this is common. IF we were going early, it would typically be right after Easter.

Flying is always an option. Aegean/Olympic have good fares and they have a sale going on at the moment. Many inter island flight have two segments....back to Athens, then Athens to where ever. We spent time in the Ionian Islands this past fall. Often air was almost as inexpensive as ferries/bus and much faster.
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Old 01-15-2020, 10:19 AM   #7
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Just be aware of the ferry worker stricks. Last time we were there, they decided at the midnight of each day if they would work the next day, which made our island hopping schedule difficult. We had to leave one island one day earlier and wasted one day of hotel room. The problem is that you really don't know if there will be a ferry tomorrow until the next morning.
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Old 01-15-2020, 10:37 AM   #8
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FYI: March temperatures on Santorini average 52 degrees F lows and 61 degree highs.
April temperatures are 55 degrees low and 64 degrees high.
April until September are the dry months.

This may be representative for the region. We went to all the islands you're wanting to see and Crete and Malta coming off a Norwegian Cruise and really enjoyed the trip.
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Old 01-15-2020, 11:11 AM   #9
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We were in Santorini for a few days in August 2018. It was the most obnoxious travel destination it has ever been our misfortune to experience. The whole place is one big tourist trap; wall to wall retail. Typical experience trying to walk somewhere: A giant tourist bus pulls up and the contents of the bus evacuates, nose to tail, blocking foot and vehicle traffic with a solid and impregnable queue. They are probably going where you were going and now all 50 of them are ahead of you.

I suppose crowds will be less in March, but it will still be Retail Land. Some people like that, I guess.
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Old 01-15-2020, 11:24 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldShooter View Post
We were in Santorini for a few days in August 2018. It was the most obnoxious travel destination it has ever been our misfortune to experience.
+1

Santorini is overcrowded and over-rated - every cruise ship stops there and the hordes are unbelievable. Spend a day there if you have to cross if off the "bucket list" - spend rest of the time in Mykonos (or another island)
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Old 01-15-2020, 12:52 PM   #11
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Thank you all for your suggestions
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Old 01-17-2020, 11:00 AM   #12
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Agree with Brett. March is cold and ferry schedules as well as restaurants and activities on the islands will be less than in May-September. We spent six weeks there in September 2018. Naxos, Milos, Skopelos and Athens were our favorites. Santorini is pretty but we rented a car to get away from the hordes of tourists. Highly recommend doing that.
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Old 01-17-2020, 11:06 PM   #13
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I don't know if you would consider spending more time on the mainland, but we really enjoyed Nafplion and the archaeological sites nearby, including Mycenae. Rick Steves covers it and so you will run into folks carrying his guides, but we'd go back in a heartbeat.
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Old 01-18-2020, 12:46 AM   #14
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We went in late October and spent 3 days in Athens then moved on to Mykinos and Santorini. I agree about the cruise ships stopping at santorini but in the evenings when they were all gone it was awesome. Spent over a week there alone at the Atlantis hotel which is well worth splurging for a caldera view room. There is a great Facebook group called Greek islands so check it out.
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Old 01-18-2020, 04:06 PM   #15
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A few years ago, prior to going to the islands, we took 8-10 days, rented a car, and tour the Peloponnese. We very much enjoyed our time in Nafplion, Monenvasia, etc. Well worth the trip. Last time we were in Santorini was on a cruise. We did not like it. Too crowded. We spent a week there years ago with no cruise traffic. Very, very different and more enjoyable experience. We have passed it over on several DIY island hopping trip. Naxos is a favourite.

There are so many beautiful and interesting places to see in Greece. This past fall we were a week in Northern Greece followed by three weeks in the Ionian Islands. It was one of our most enjoyable trips to Greece. We keep going back.
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