Would like to find out if is advisable to go to islands near Athens or to islands further away (i.e Santorini or Mykonos) in Jan.
I know that it is winter now in Greece. Would be making a trip to Athens soon. Would like to know in Jan, is it advisable to go to the nearby islands in Athens or to the islands further away (i.e Santorini or Mykonos)?
What can you do in Santorini or Mykonos during winter in Jan?
At this time of year anything catering to tourists in the islands will be closed, and as this is not a time for the beach you will have NOTHING to do. It is a bit like coming to a ghost town, very depressing.
What you could do is to go to some of the real close islands, Aegina or Poros, takes about an hour from Pireus, I have also heard Kea is nice but never been. But these islands are not the typical Cycladic islands, with white houses, but has a different feel and atmosphere. They are popular weekend retreats for the Athenians. You could also look into Syros which has a beautiful capital city (well, town) again not the white little cubes, but what is called neo-classic style. It is a "real" town, so should be interesting on its own.
Alternatively you can go to some nearby places on the mainland, for example Delphi and Arachova, the former for the archaeology, the latter is a ski resort, but also a pretty village (both in the same area) or Nauplion, a small town southwest of Athens, close to Mycene and other famous archaeological sites, although the town itself is worth the trip. Again, popular for Athenians. You can reach these places with the KTEL bus service, or rent a car.
Enjoy your trip
Hi Greek Gal
Thanks for the information.
Since is winter, guess the best thing for me to do is to stay in Athens or make some day trip to the nearby island or towns.
Thanks for the tip.
Since I only have 3.5 days. Would be taking 1 day to go to the Acropolis and Plata. Among your suggestion, which one would you strongly recommend for the remainder 2.5 days?
By the way, have you been to the factory outlet near the airport? Is it good? Wonder if is worth the effort to make a trip there since is not near to the city.
There are many interesting things to do in Athens besides Plaka and Acropolis. You should definitely visit the Acropolis museum in combination with the actual site. There are some very good museums, for example the Benaki musuem (they have several buildings, I very much like the Islamic Art Museum, though it is a bit tricky to find), the museum of Cycladic Art, the Byzantine museum and the National Archaeology (the gold treasure from Mycenae is just amazing), you can check them out if they are interesting to you. There is a Planetarium that people have recommended but I have never been. The Kolonaki area is the chic area, with expensive boutiques. Climbing the Lycabettos hill gives you the best views. You should also visit the Syntagma square with the house of Parliament (with the picturesque guards dressed in skirts), and the National garden.
There is also a very pretty little monastery called Kesariani which is up on the Hymettos mountain, you can go there by bus and then walk, or take a taxi (they are quite cheap but do check that the meter is on). Of course only if the weather is good. If you like modern art there are always lot's of exhibitions going on.
There are lots of shopping in Athens, though I don't think it is particularly cheap. I have never been to the outlet, it would take you at least 1 hour to get there by the airport bus from the center.
For the evening go to Thisseon, for the many cafeterias and the night view of the Acropolis. Nearby Psiri is the party district.
If you only have 3.5 days I would suggest you take the boat to Aegina, it is an easy day trip. I would take the regular ferry from Pireus. To Pireus take the surbuban train from Monastiraki. It is a long trip to go to Delphi for just one day, but you could check if there are tours, it is a great place to go.
Do also check out the metro stations especially Syntagma and Acropolis, they give a nice glimpse into history.
Have a good time. Most of the city is quite safe, but do look out for pickpockets in the tourist spots.
Thanks for your information and tip.
Will save them all down.
Really appreciate that.
By the way, your list is so comprehensive that I wonder if 3.5 days is enough for everything in Athens. 😊
Hi! Here is a video of us being silly in south Africa and Greece. Enjoy!
This is our travel blog to the islands of Santorini and Mykonos. Quite abit of info in it.
[Edited: 2011 Jun 29 08:23 - Jabe:6222 - No URL drops on forums, please.]
Wonder if you are aware that the winter in Greece might be "mild" relatively to Northern Scandinavia, but most will find it wet and many days too cold as the houses MAY be inadequately heated. And of course Christmas closes a lot of things for some days.I really think you should stay away from the small islands. (and the mountain areas on mainland) - this does not leave much.
I agree, I made the mistake of visiting Crete in the winter, and while it was nice to have the island to ourselves, basically nothing was open. One little restaurant, virtually none of the bars/rental places/etc. Athens was better, as it's a full-fledged city, but a lot of the islands are mostly tourist-driven and so just shut down when it's cold.
Hi Roger, are you sure you went to Crete? About half a million people live on the island, and they just LOVE going out to dinner. Even in winter time in the towns there are lot's of open restaurants, cafes, bars. And even in smaller places there are usually a few places open. In addition, Greeks honor their Sunday lunch in a taverna in a village or at the seaside. Only in my small village there are five tavernas which are full with people every weekend. But the tourist villages will be fairly closed down, but I wouldn't recommend anyone going there in the Summer either, as they cater to the charter crowd.
The traveler has to be aware, though, that the winter weather is unpredictable in the Mediterranean area, beautiful sunny days quickly change to pouring rain and low temperatures.
I wouldn't agree with Kenn to avoid the mountain areas on the mainland in winter, there are in fact quite a lot of winter sports going on and there are lot's of cozy guest houses, if you like that sort of thing. Zagorochoria and Pilion are really beautiful in the winter, and there are many more to be discovered. But bring warm clothes and an umbrella if you go.