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GR - which island?

I've only been to Naxos, Santorini, and Crete. But we will be back again this spring and I need to decide on an island for a 1 week stay. I generally like to stay in one place for a week more than jumping around. Naxos was a good food island more rustic and genuine. The south side of Crete and the mountains were nice too, but Santorini and Crete on the north side were too expensive and skewed to the English and German tourists.

Extended family in Athens have a house on Chios, and thought about going ther with a side trip to Turkey if time allows...


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  1. Absolutely loved Sifnos. Very small island with a distinct culinary tradition. Wonderful low key place to stay - we had a room almost directly on the beach in a tiny village with a dozen tavernas. Not good if you want excitement, but excellent for independent exploration.

    1. What about Mykonos? I just loved it there.

      1. Have been to many islands. Chios is not my favorite. We planned to take a boat acrocc to Turkey but the boats were not running and we had to get a boat ride from a friend of a friend who knew the Mayor. Big pain.
        Our most favorite island is Hydra. Very small, very quiet (no cars or motorcycles) but beautiful. Lots of good eats. You must walk everywhere or take a donkey. The nicest hotel which has a pool is Bratseras- in an old sponge processing factory. Very near to the port.There is also a charming guest house called Miranda. There is not much to do and the main harbor where you land has no beach- you go to the rocks for sunbathing and dive off into the sea but if you stay at the Hotel with a pool it is even better. Many very good restaurants. You can take a water taxi to the other side of the island to the beach.
        Another wonderful island with many more things to do is Cephalonia. The best part is you can take a day trip to the beautiful little island of Ithaki (Ithaca). Not extremely touristy.
        We also love Corfu (Kerkira). Now, Corfu is quite large and you will have a lot to do there. So if you are looking for lots of sightseeing, nice drives, many beaches etc. this is the place. Hyrdra is for a lazy time in a beautiful place and Cephalonia is in between.
        Another suggestion is to drive from Athens to Mt. Pelion. Such an amazingly beautiful place. The villages of Macranitsa and Tsagarada are wonderful. Tsagarada(not sure of spelling) has a fabulous beach. Wonderful restaurants. It is about a 3 hour drive from Athens.

        1. If you are looking for a non-touristy island, which it sounds like you are, Chios would be a nice place to go. Another island nearby Chios that you might like is Lesvos. Both these islands will give you more of a genuine island experience than do places like Corfu that have a thriving tourist industry. Of course, if an island isn't a tourist mecca, it may not have the same easy infrastructure for tourists that more visited islands do. But if you're independent, and don't mind renting a car, you can have a very good time on places like Chios and Lesbos. Also, if you are going places where you have family, you'll probably get a warmer welcome and a more genuine experience than if you go someplace where you are a complete stranger.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Laurie Constantino

            Also, your foodie dollar goes farther on an island like Lesvos(aka Mytilini). Last September, I was eating like a queen on Lesbos for 2/3 (sometimes 1/2) the price of what I had been paying in Mykonos, Santorini and the larger cities in Crete, and the quality was usually better.

            The fish restaurants in Sigri, a small fishing village on the west coast of the island, are known throughout the island to be particularly good (especially the Cavo di Oro -Golden Key).

            I also had amazing meals in Mytilini town (the capital), Molyvos (O Faro in the harbour), Vigla (To Balkonaki) and Gera.

          2. I would recommend Rhodes. I have been to Chios last - I would say that the others here have commented well about what you can expect in Chios.

            However, no-one has mentioned Rhodes, which I think would take about 1 week to visit. There is 1 wonderful restaurant recommendation that I can make - Kioupia. It is hard to get to however. They have recently opened another one in the northern area of Athens, Kifisia. However the original restaurant is in Rhodes. Fixed menu, with fixed price. No way to finish the entire meal. Excellent food. At one time it was one of the top restaurants in Greece.

            1. Try the south side of Lesvos ... Plomari ... excellent food and drink.

              2 Replies
              1. re: TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis

                Great suggestions! thanks. I'm still in the mood for a little Island hopping, but just found out from a friend in Athens that we can have his house in Corinth for the entire trip! Any suggestions out that way? with the crappy-and I mean crappy- dollar to Euro exchange I'm looking to save a little $. His country house is supposed to be lovely (something like 9 bedrooms!!!) Anyway with the savings I can spend a little more on food, krassi & ouzo. Yea!

                I think I've been to Kifisia, family live on the North Side of Athens in Pefki, I'll ask about Kioupia.

                I'm just ichin to get going - put on a linen shirt and hang out on a veranda somewhere with a view!

                1. re: 67.p.car

                  You can still spend a day in Hydra- just across from Peleponnes- a quick boat ride.

              2. Went to Naxos once, my father inlaw is from there. We had too many great meals in various cafes and with families but one place really stuck out called The Lucullus Taverna. Awesome meal, great ambiance. Mother Maria's Cheese Pie was to die for. It was right in Hora. If you find your way to Naxos don't miss this place. If I could back I would go back just for that meal.

                Having only been to Naxos, I can't comment on the other islands but there was something about the rustic feel of the island that I found appealing versus a touristy place. We stayed in hora, more touristy but spent a good chunk of time in villages and visiting beaches where the locals went.

                3 Replies
                1. re: angelo04

                  I just checked my notes and we ate at Lucullus two years ago. Agreed - very atmospheric. It seems I had some kind of unspectacular meal but my notes also say that dinner at 11 p.m. is too late for me. Which may explain my lack of detail. We stayed in Hora for 3 days, then went to Moutsouna on the other side of the island for another few. Naxos is really good.

                  1. re: Nyleve

                    the trip was fantastic! We did spend a lot of time in Corinth (Xeloceriza exactly) We ate a whole lot of super fish this trip. Two restaurants really stood out - one was the Dolphin in Plaka (not to be confused with "the plaka" in Athens) and another was Etherona (something like that in Katakali Corinth... for the Island part of the trip we went out to Zakynthos - Caretta beach is awesome.

                    1. re: 67.p.car

                      I would have to wholeheartedly agree with Sifnos (Cyclades). It is one of the lesser known islands and is not as touristy as Santorini or Mykonos. The white wash architecture is so breathtaking and the cuisine (which the island is known for) is superb. One is Greece's greatest chef's and culinary experts came from this jewel in the Aegean.

                      The hiking trails and beaches are wonderful. Public transportation is good and you can get around pretty easily. Their signature craft is pottery, beautifull colored and glazed with simple designs.

                      It is also reasonably priced and you can find a hotel or pension to stay. Ferries (both conventional and fast speed) are available.

                      My husband and I planned to stay there four days and we extended our visit for a week. Couldn't get enough! The guide books just do not do it justice.