Visiting The Cyclades Destinations Of Mykonos & Santorini
We know this because we did it and these are the questions we asked of Greek Islands veterans. After all, you go to the islands, not just an island and you’re going to be moving around a bit.
The Best Time To Travel To The Greek Islands
If you’re a PubClubber who loves to party, the answer is simple: July. That’s the prime party time when people all over the world shed their clothes and inhibitions on the beaches of Mykonos and Ios and the bars of Santorini.
It build up in June and there’s a good leftover singles scene the first two weeks of September. Avoid August; that’s when the Italians swarm over the islands like locust and the prices nearly double because the Greeks don’t necessarily like the volume and impatient manner of the Italians.
Which Islands Shall I Visit On My Trip To Greece?
The most heavily traveled Greek Islands are the easiest to reach from Athens. They are the Cyclades and the two “must do” islands are Mykonos and the breathtaking Santorini. You’ll want to hit one or two others and if you really like to party, make sure it’s Ios. Paros is just kind of so-so, but it can be a good one-night resting spot between Mykonos, Ios and Santorini.
From Athens, that is the succession of islands – Mykonos, Ios and Santorini. The thing to do is spend at least two weeks and start at Mykonos for four to five days, do one or two on Paros or Ios, and four to five on Santorini. Then hit Mykonos on your way back to Athens.
Other islands, like Crete, Rhodes and Kos, are too far to take a ferry, so that requires flying, and flying in Greece is not nearly as easy or fun as taking the ferries.
Shall I Get Hotel Reservations In Advance?
One of the joys of island hopping in Greece is the process of getting off a ferry and walking through the dozens of locals holding up signs practically begging you to stay in their place.
You interview each one of them according to price and location – and for PubClubbers, always stay in the town – and then they will take you there in a rickety old small vehicle.
All these places are fine. They are super-clean and the landlord is a friendly Greek person. Of course, with websites now like Airbnb you can probably do most of your accommodations shopping in advance but by doing so, you’re missing out on one of the adventures of traveling in Greece.
For those who prefer hotels of course they have them, but only Athens has the big chains. All these places are locally owned and the places you get off the ferry (or at the airport) are cheaper, sometimes more than half the price of hotels.
How To Travel From Island To Island In Greece
The Greek Islands have an excellent ferry service. You can get tickets from any of dozens of travel agents in the towns – they post the schedule and times on a board outside their offices. Tip: Take the “show” boats. The “fast” boats are uncomfortable tubes that bounce along the water.
The “slow” boats cruise at a leisurely pace and you can stretch out on the deck. Grab a snack and a couple of beers from one of the little hits at the ferry dock and enjoy the journey.
What About Cash/Credit Cards & Greek Currency
Greece unwisely moved from the drachma to the Euro (which as of this writing is 1.11 to the USD) and you can get money from bank ATMs all over the place on the islands. Most places we visit – and that means bars and restaurants – prefer cash to credit cards. Places to stay run by locals also are mainly paid for in cash.
How Much Time Shall I Spend In Athens?
This historic city is chaotic, hot, dusty, etc. That’s what lot of travel websites and tourist books claim but in reality it’s a fine place to spend a couple of days. There’s a harbor near the port ringed with taverns which are a great place to spend an evening.
The Plaka is the tourist spot of busy tavernas and frenzied waiters dashing from table to table at the foot of the Acropolis.
And there’s the ruins, some of which are just standing alone as you walk through the city.
Things are much improved for transportation now that a train whisks you from the airport to various parts of Athens.
Is It Safe And What About Unrest In Greece?
The islands are perfectly safe; you can stumble down an empty street at 5 in the morning and not worry about a thing.