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Island hopping in the Cyclades: Mykonos, Naxos, Ios and Santorini

Island hopping Cyclades

Three weeks we travel with backpack and two children without much plans in the Greek islands and let us surprise. We fly to Mykonos and back from Santorini. In between, we fill the time with adventure. Here we go!

At a glance:

Travel time: 12.09.2016 to 03.10.2016
Flight: with Condor from / to Dusseldorf to Mykonos and back from Santorini for about 650 € for two adults, a child and a baby

Kalimera Greece! The flight is over. The first four nights are booked, a rental car also. I expect a lot of variety, delicious food, sun, beach and sea. Of course it will be stressful and exhausting with two small children. But that's just the normal madness.

4 nights Mykonos: The island of the wind

Mykonos Town

At a glance:

Period: 12.09. to 16.09.
Overnight: Airbnb
Car hire: from green motion for 5 days a VW Up incl. all fees for about 100 € booked over check24
Onward journey: with Fast Ferries for 34 € for 2 adult (children under 5 do not pay anything) on ​​site at the ticket office

Once we arrive, we pick up our rental car outside the terminal and drive off. What is striking are the many scooters and quads on the streets, most without a helmet. Seems to be fashionable here.

View from our apartment

View from our apartment

Without major problems, we arrive in our great Airbnb apartment by Nicolas. We feel right at home. And of course I'm in love with the whitewashed house with blue windows and the indescribable sea view! That's how I imagined Greece. On FAVORITE SPOT from me. Only this wind makes it almost impossible to sit outside in the evening. That's a pity. Unfortunately, we can not do more than shopping on the day of arrival.

In three days we explore three beaches, drive once across the entire island and of course to Mykonos Town. But one after anonther.

Life is a Beach:

Kalo Livadi on Mykonos

Kalo Livadi on Mykonos

Just around the corner from our accommodation are fortunately three great beaches that are not so crowded. Agia Anna, Lia and a Kalo Livadi, The first two are really nice too, but my favorite is Kalo Livadi. The water is clearest here, the atmosphere most relaxed. Of course there are beach chairs and umbrellas everywhere and some music, it is just Mykonos.

Once we drive with our rental car on the north side and land on a lonely, small pebble beach in "the middle of nowhere". So that's what it is here too. In fact, the beach is nothing special, but the path is the destination. The landscape is very own: barren mountains and bright white houses in between. That has something ...

Mykonos Town:

Picturesque Mykonos Town

Picturesque Mykonos Town

We park our car at the old harbor for free and walk about 10 minutes along the water in the old town. Everything is perfect everywhere and just beautiful. The alleys and cottages are like from a picture book. Very picturesque everything, as they say. Here it is true! At every corner you will find again a perfect photo motive. Little Venice with its cafes and houses directly on the water with a view of the five windmills is cinematic. Mykonos town alone, as cheesy as it gets, is definitely worth a visit.

Ano Mera:

Ano Mera on Mykonos

Ano Mera on Mykonos

Our accommodation is located only about 10 minutes drive from this sweet town in the interior. In principle, life here focuses on the small village square with some restaurants, shops and the village church. It is very tranquil and hardly anything going on, a nice contrast to Mykonos town. We go eat here twice and enjoy the peace ...

Next trip:

By ferry to Naxos

By ferry to Naxos

On Friday we start our journey Naxos, The vehicle we leave at the airport and the son of the car rental drives us nice way to New Port, There we are waiting for our red ferry from almost ferries. It works like clockwork, despite two small children. As soon as the ferry arrives, all passengers are on board and off we go! The ship is almost empty at this time of the year, that comes to meet us. The ride takes about 1,5 hours and then we see already Naxos' Hora (ie Naxos city) in front of us.

Conclusion:

Mykonos lives up to its clichés. It is expensive and party you can certainly do well ... Alone the supermarkets are a stylish club with loud music. Young families can be seen here rather less. But there is also another and calmer side of the island, you just have to search or find it. Yes, and the wind! He is really omnipresent here in the Cyclades. The so-called Meltemi winds.

9 Nights Naxos: Beauty at second glance

Naxos Plaka Beach

At a glance:

Period: 16.09. to 25.09.
Car hire: over Europcar on site. Costs include all charges 25 € / day for a small car
Accommodation: Stella Apartments booked via booking.com
Next trip: Blue Star Ferries booked in the ticket office on site. Cost about 15 € per person

With bag and bag and child and cone we enter the harbor Naxos Town from board. We treat ourselves to a taxi for 15 € to our accommodation, which we have already booked on Mykonos for five nights. The plan is possibly to change to a second location on the island. Let's see.

Stella Apartments on Naxos

Stella Apartments on Naxos

In fact, we like the layout of Stella Apartments very well and will be a new one FAVORITE SPOT from me! A green oasis surrounded by palm trees, a huge pool and right on the sea! Nice.

Yassu or Hello:

Agia Anna on Naxos

Agia Anna on Naxos

The first two days on Naxos we do not have a rental car and let us just drive and arrive first. We also rent a quad for fun for a day. There is much to discover in the immediate area. We ended up more or less in a small tourist village, to be precise between Agia Anna and a Plaka Beach, In the off season it is relatively harmless here and just right for us. Not too crowded, but not quite off the beaten track with the two kids. Within walking distance are two beautiful beaches! The food and the restaurants are great, right in two places we become regulars: in Petrinoand in the

Tavern Paradiso on Plaka Beach

Tavern Paradiso on Plaka Beach

Paradiso Tavernright on the beach. The location of our apartment is strategically perfect. We are a little irritated only by the many pensioners here and the sometimes very unfriendly Greeks.

From searching and finding:

Then we rent a small rental car to get to know the largest of the Cyclades island. Two days we drive around and still looking for another place to stay. We drive almost the entire south coast and find beautiful, secluded beaches and beautiful landscapes. From Plaka Beach, past Orks to Mikri Vigla. My favorite beach on Naxos! Then on to Pagaki until after Agiassos, The other accommodations do not inspire us. Either it morbid charm or the places are a bit extinct in the off season. We therefore decide to enjoy the luxury of Stella with our favorite locations around the corner for another four nights. Only the many pensioners and Germans disturb us a little ...

Beautiful mountains:

Mountains with a view of Filoti

Mountains with a view of Filoti

Here then opens up the true beauty of Naxos and its originality! For days we explore the mountains and the interior. Driving on the serpentines with breathtaking views over the coast to the other islands is fantastic!

Café O Platanos in Filoti

Café O Platanos in Filoti

First it goes Filoti with its nice cafes. We go in here twice 'O Platanos' for the best cappuccino on the island and delicious Nutella crepes. The bakery opposite is also recommended. Then on to Aspirathos, Here, too, a sweet, small mountain village with sweet streets and stylish restaurants, great views and many cafes. At the beginning we could not understand for whom this should be. But then the buses arrived at noon ...

Walk over Aspirathos

Walk over Aspirathos

We make a total of two hikes. The first leads us from Aspirathos from high up to the Fanaris, The path is steep and rocky. After about an hour we return without having reached the summit. The view is still great and our son is having fun. The second tour takes us from the Agia Marina from half an hour to Monastery Fotodotis and is my personal must-do!

Let yourself drift:

Apollo on Naxos

Apollo on Naxos

At the end we drive for about an hour Apollo on the north coast through thousands of serpentines and far from any tourists. At least we think. A great ride! At the end we land in the small fishing village with several restaurants on the water in a row and a small beach. We are almost alone and find the sight of the many, empty pubs somewhat bizarre. And then come back to the buses. Oh.

Unfortunately the last few days are freshening up and we just drive around a bit and go to my favorite beaches and restaurants. Of course, the pool always works. We just let the soul dangle.

View over Naxos city

View over Naxos city

One day before departure, we decide where to go: Ios! We drive to Naxos Town and buy our ferry tickets. We will book the accommodation for four nights via booking.com. I'm curious!

Naxos Town and onward journey:

Kastro quarter Naxos

Kastro quarter Naxos

On the last day after nine nights we continue towards Ios. We give the rental car and lock our luggage for about 12 €. Now we have less than three hours to explore the capital before our Blue Star Ferry leaves. So it's only for the bare essentials: harbor promenade, Kastro district with its winding streets, the ruined castle and the 1739 coffee with a great view. Then it's already back to the port. The ferry comes rushed, the arrival and departure is purely routine and we are flashed, how fast it all goes. We are also taken in by the interior. And after an hour we are already there!

Conclusion:

Naxos, the largest of the Cyclades, has much to offer. Wonderful, miles of beaches, a great mountains and delicious restaurants. However, we were disturbed by the certain pensioner charm. And partly unfriendly staff. As a family you did not feel welcome everywhere. Nevertheless, Naxos is a really beautiful and varied island.

6 Nights Ios: Underestimated favorite island

Milopotas Beach Ios

At a glance:

Period: 25.09. to 01.10.
Car hire: over Costa Cars on site. Cost 25 € including all fees for a small car
Accommodation: Iceland House booked over booking.com
Onward journey: ferry High speed 7 for about 30 € per person
Island House Hotel on Ios

Island House Hotel on Ios

When we dock, we did not expect much from this small island of the South Cyclades. I just read that in July and August it is a popular destination for backpackers and party people. Not so in late September. The harbor is small and tranquil, as is the Hora. We are picked up by hotel and drove directly to the property. Here is our next favorite spot: the Island House Hotel, Totally idyllic and yet only five minutes walk to the well-known Milopotas Beach. Here it is supposed to go insane in midsummer, now there is no trace of it. The beach is long and beautiful! Today we do not do anything anymore and just enjoy the wonderful accommodation with pool and awesome sunset.

Ios Town:

Ios Town

Ios Town

First, we explore the Hora and take a taxi for 5 € for us all in the old town. We walk to Mühlenberg through the narrow streets. Everywhere white houses are built directly on the hillside, the city is really very small and cute. Life usually rages here in midsummer. Today most of the restaurants, bars, clubs and cafés are closed. Therefore, the city looks a bit extinct but still very charming. We walk about 20 minutes back to the property with great views over the sea and the bay.

We spend the afternoon on the beach. The atmosphere on the island is just incredibly relaxed and all super friendly, so we decide to stay one more night ...

Two days rental car:

Psathi Beach on Ios

Psathi Beach on Ios

On the first day by car we drive to the beaches Theodoti and a Psathi on the north coast. Both are breathtaking, deserted beaches! Unfortunately, it is very windy and only partially suitable for swimming. The way across the island alone is great. Everywhere the view over the sea and on every corner goats, sheep or cows directly on the street. In Psathi we eat in the only restaurant the first time goat - yum!

In the afternoon we borrow on "our" beach a SUP. A perfect day!

Maganari Beach on Ios

Maganari Beach on Ios

The next day we drive to the south Maganari, I just say: Wow! The view from the top of the three bays is great! And once you are on the beach, you only have to jump into the crystal-clear water. My favorite beach on Ios! There is not much here. A few taverns and accommodations and a few umbrellas and sunbeds. There is hardly anything going on, we are all alone in the first of the three different bays. A dream! We stay for lunch and drive back to Milopotas beach in the afternoon.

Last day - or not:

View over Ios

View over Ios

By bus (1,80 € per person) we drive one day before the scheduled departure to the port. We have not booked a ferry or accommodation for Santorini so far. We spontaneously decide to stay one more night at lunch. We just like it here too well. We walk along the little harbor and buy our tickets for the ferry on Saturday.

Back home we go back to the beach and this time we borrow a kayak. Unfortunately, it is quite windy again and we jump only briefly in the pool.

Beach days and onward journey:

SUP at Milopotas beach

SUP at Milopotas beach

Our last day is a relaxed beach day. The wind is less and we lie down Far Out again umsomst in a daybed. At noon we eat in the Drakos tasty fish. Super nice restaurant. The fish are still being caught. We borrow another SUP and in the afternoon enjoy a brilliant smoothie in our favorite café: Cantina del Mar! Shortly before we finally book a hotel on Santorini and thus follow a tip from my guide.

Sunset at the pool

Sunset at the pool

The departure is imminent. Too bad, it's soooo relaxed here! Beach, pool and Cantina del Mar. are still on the program and then the hotel owner brings us to the port at 15. The highspeed ferry is over 30 minutes late and on board everything is pretty chaotic. We are rather disappointed this time. The first view of Santorini after about 40 minutes drive is once again unique ...

Conclusion:

Unexpected often comes. Outside the months of July and August, Ios is a true idyll with a super relaxed atmosphere. The people are everywhere very warm and friendly, even if families with small children are not necessarily the target group. There are beautiful, almost deserted beaches and you can easily spend a week here. My insider tip in the Cyclades!

2 Nights Santorini: Expected spectacular

View over Santorini

At a glance:

Period: 01.10. to 03.10.
Car hire: over Tony's booked in the hotel Thira. Cost 45 € per day including all fees for a Jimny
Accommodation: Hotel Thira booked by email
Oía on Santorini

Oía on Santorini

One has already seen a thousand pictures of Santorini and its famous "Caldera". So roughly I had an idea of ​​the island and rather scared of all the tourists. But when you are really there you can not escape the beauty. Powerful and unique! As you take for two days also gladly times the Asian crowds and tourist traps in purchase. The price-performance ratio is certainly not right here.

We spend the night near downtown Fira Hotel Thira for a whopping 120 € per night. The apartment is large, the terrace nice and with sea view (not on the crater rim) and the owners really very helpful. All in all, nothing special.

Sightseeing tour:

Food with a view

Food with a view

In principle, we make the full tourist program: mule track, cable car, food with crater view, small hike from Fira to Imerovigli on the breathtaking Caldera along. Of course, we also go shopping for souvenirs.

Ammoudi on Santorini

Ammoudi on Santorini

On the second day we rent a Jimny with an open roof! After all, that's our last day. We are cruising and reviewing our 3 week trip. We drive to Oía and a Ammoudi in the north, further into the interior of the island Pirgos and finally to the black lava beach of Perissa.

Lava beach in Perissa

Lava beach in Perissa

The hotel owner drives us in the evening then still nice way to the airport. A tiny section of our lives comes to an end. Especially with kids this moment will never come again.

Conclusion:

I think you must have seen Santorini at least once in your life! The view over the crater rim is really unique and stunning! Whether one has or wants to spend his entire holiday there now, is an open question. For me personally two days have been enough ... Next time I would treat myself to a luxury hotel right on the hillside :)

Practical tips:

Travel time:

Sunset on Naxos

Sunset on Naxos

Absolutely outside the high season! The best months are May, June and September. Then it is already / still nice and warm, but the tourist crowds (not yet) there. Attention: Late in September, some facilities and restaurants are already closed and many resorts seem a bit "extinct". The temperatures were on average about 25 degrees. We also had days with 30 degrees, when it was windy it was rather 23 degrees. But every day there was sunshine.

Ferries:

On the high speed ferry

On the high speed ferry

The timetables can be seen in advance on the Internet at gtp.gr, very convenient. However, without prices. But we always booked on the spot in the ticket office, because you could partly specify on the Internet no children and the tickets had to pick up at the counter before. The ferry connections are also in the low season regularly, but rather unknown destinations are rarely approached. Of course, the big, slow ferries are cheaper than the speedboats, of course. Children under 5 years pay nothing.

Cars:

Serpentines on Ios

Serpentines on Ios

In the low season it is not a problem to get a rental car and at very favorable conditions. Book on the spot I can only recommend, although otherwise I would like to book on the Internet ... The streets are partly not paved, but still passable. The road network is very well developed everywhere. Mostly you have a great panorama over the island world of the Cyclades!

Bus:

On the tourist islands the bus system is very good! Only on Mykonos was it with our remote accommodation rather difficult. A very cheap way to explore the islands even without a rental car.

Accommodations:

Our pool on Naxos

Our pool on Naxos

In principle, we had no problems getting accommodation on the different islands. The easiest way was over booking.com, There is no lack of choice, as all four islands are relatively touristy. However, I found it hard to find something sensible on Naxos. Many places seemed a bit deserted or the facilities had a somewhat morbid charm. On Santorini I would book in advance. The beautiful and good accommodations are booked well in advance, even in low season. Mykonos and Santorini are equally priced (overpriced). Naxos and Ios are again very passable with about 60 € / night.

With children:

Four on the way

Four on the way

Island hopping with children in the Cyclades I can only recommend to anyone! There are quite a few families on the way and the ferries are very comfortable. To 100% family friendly I found none of the islands. Mykonos is rather chic, Naxos in the hands of pensioners, Ios actually a party island for backpackers and Santorini far too crowded. Still, most were very friendly and loved our kids! There was a cot everywhere, but not everywhere a high chair ...

Conclusion:

Three weeks on four islands. Mykonos, the Stylish. Naxos, the varied. Ios, the relaxed. Santorini, the beautiful one. A great experience and the four islands could not be more different! Traveling with kids was sometimes exhausting, sometimes a moment for eternity. We as a family have grown even more together.

The Cyclades are everything, just not boring. The "hopping" itself is now very comfortable and with a bit of organization no problem at all. I think we will be back.

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3 comments

  1. Patricia Müller sagt

    I'd rather pack my bags and see more of the Cyclades.
    You will be motivated by your journey experience and report to be "drifted". So you discover a lot more. Hats off! To make an island hopping holiday with small children.

  2. Claudia sagt

    Hey, very funny - I discovered your blog last night and today we are from Paros to Ios translated - and my husband has also booked the Island House Mare apartment! I just had to reread because the name seemed so familiar to me. So far, I can only agree - a great place to stay! We travel with our 10 months old daughter over the Cyclades for 5 weeks and I will include your reports in our planning from now on. Had Ios also more than Partyinseö feared, but here is still preseason and your report makes you really feel like the island! Thanks for that!

    • favorite spot sagt

      Dear Claudia, Thank you for your kind and motivating commentary, that really makes me happy! And how nice that you make 5 weeks island hopping, awesome! I loved the Island House Hotel, maybe you like my other favorite places too :) and I like to hear from you again what you have discovered for beautiful places! Greetings and continue your journey. Tatjana

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