Greece: Cyclades and Rhodes
This was my fifth trip to Greece — it’s my favorite place to travel! — and our second trip together. I wanted Steve to experience Rhodes. We put that at the beginning of our trip before heading to the Cyclades. It would have been a simple ferry trip from Rhodes to Amorgos except that ferry stopped running before we left making that connection complicated, but still doable. We planned our favorite beach town (Perissa) for a relaxing end to our trip, and some of the less commonly visited Cyclades Islands in between. That gave us a good mix of the old buildings, charming villages, beaches, and walking that we enjoy.
* In US dollars at time of trip.
Days 1 and 30: Athens
The Plan: Our flight from the US will arrive here. We’ll spend the afternoon in the Athens area then board an overnight ferry for Rhodes. (We were going to spend the night in a hotel and fly the next day, but this is a little cheaper. And we haven’t been on an overnight ferry.) And we’ll spend a night here before flying home.
The Reality: We opted not to try any sightseeing during our first afternoon in Athens (we spent a couple of days there on our last trip to Greece) and we didn’t hit the beach on our last afternoon, though there was one nearby.
Days 2-4: Lindos, Rhodes
- Explore the village, beach, and ruins.
- Climbed up to the acropolis
- Spent the day at the beach
- Explored the village
The Plan: I made a day trip here the first time I visited Rhodes and thought the village would be a good place to spend a few nights. So we’re going to spend the first three nights here and gradually ease out of our jet lag while still doing something enjoyable.
The Reality: Lindos was a nice way to get over jet lag and ease into vacation mode. It’s Greece in microcosm.
Days 5-8: Rhodes Old Town
- Explore the old town
- Rent a car for a day or two and tour the rest of the island
- Palace of the Grand Master
- Archeological museum
- The old town in general
- Driving the west coast
- Tsambika beach
The Plan: We stayed in Rhodes Town the first time I came here. We were in the new town then. We want to stay in the old town this time, right in the midst of the atmosphere. I see a lot of narrow cobblestone ways and tracking down old buildings. Maybe some beach time, though I don’t recall the beach near town being that great. Perhaps when we have the car?
The Reality: The Palace of the Grand Master was an unexpected gem. Staying in the old town was perfect. Having the car for a day to explore and a day to drive to a great beach worked well. If we returned to Rhodes we would likely base ourselves here.
Days 9-12: Amorgos
- Hike to villages from Aegiali
- Drive from Aegiali to Chora
- Hit the beach near Aegiali
- Hike to Langada from Aegiali
- Drive from Aegiali to the other end of the island
- Hit the beach near Aegiali
The Plan: We’d like to do some hiking on this trip and Amorgos sounded like a good island for hiking. We also wanted to hit some of the less-visited Cyclades islands. Not too out there. Just a bit off the beaten path.
The Reality: We’re not always the hikers we used to be. We enjoyed the part of the hike that we did. It was beautiful and relaxing driving on Amorgos. We skipped Chora and hit Katapola instead. Aegiali was a near perfect beach destination. (That hill!)
Days 13-18: Milos
- Hike to Klima
- Hike to Sarakiniko
- Hike to Kleftiko
- Take a boat tour to places unreachable by road
- Beach time
- Hike to Klima
- Drive to Sarakiniko and the north coast
- Boat tour to Kleftiko and the south coast
- Beach time at two different beaches
The Plan: We flew over this island on our flight from Crete to Athens on our last trip and it looked so fascinating from the air I put it on the short list for a future trip. The photos we’ve seen of rock formations and colorful fishermen’s huts look enticing. And it has lots of beaches!
The Reality: We adapted our plans to lots of windy weather (which is not uncommon). It was handy having a car since we stayed near Plaka and buses originate from Adamas. There’s a lot more to see here than we were able to fit in.
Days 19-22: Folegandros
- Hike to Angali beach
- Hike from Ano Meria to Chora
- Hike from Chora to Agios Nikolaos
- Hike to Agali beach (AKA Angali)
- Walk from Chora to the port
- Walk to THE church
- Explore Chora
The Plan: On our last trip we really enjoyed the old town on Naxos, and Folegandros is reputed to have one of the nicer villages in the Cyclades. And like Amorgos it’s a little off the beaten path.
The Reality: It was super windy while we were there which made outdoor activities not as pleasant. So we got a little bored but still enjoyed ourselves. The one hike we did do was NOT what we would call easy. Most of it was well-marked.
Days 23-29: Santorini
- Hike from Fira to Oia
- Hike from Perissa to Ancient Thira
- Explore caldera villages
- Boat tour?
- Beach time
- Hike from Perissa partway to Ancient Thera
- Sunset boat tour
- Lots of beach time
The Plan: We came here on our last visit to Greece. Yes, we know Santorini is the very definition of on the beaten path, but Perissa is our favorite beach town to date so we’re coming back. For a week this time. We plan to re-do the Thira to Oia hike and be better prepared this time! We also didn’t see much of the caldera villages so we may carve out some time away from the beach for that.
The Reality: We just didn’t feel like leaving the beach! We tried one hike and did a beautiful sunset sail. And found out as we were leaving the island that the better part of beach for getting in the water is down by the rock. So I guess we need to come back!
- We used Lonely Planet Greece (Kindle format) as our main resource
- Greek Travel Pages has a ferry search tool that allows you to enter an origin or destination and see how you can get from/to there. Great for researching possible ferry connections without having to know exact end points or dates.
- Matt Barrett’s Greece Guides has been around forever and is an encyclopedic resource to travel in Greece.
- This website has very detailed information about hiking in the Cyclades and a few other regions in Greece. We used it to research hiking opportunities and choose islands to visit.