Greece’s archipelago has thousands of big and small islands. Some of them are very famous among tourists, but there are also many not really known, but they surely have a special character and are worth a visit.
In this itinerary, we will suggest that for your next trip to Greece, you visit 4 Aegean islands – Syros, Naxos, Amorgos, and Astypalaia. We will also provide you with all the information you need to make your trip memorable!
We have created a google map where you can find all the suggested sights, hotels etc. You can see the map here.
When to go
The best time to visit the islands is early in the summer or late summer. During these periods the islands are not overcrowded and the weather is not too hot. So late May, the first days of June and September would be the best timeframe for your trip.
Of course, you will enjoy the trip during the other months too, but the July and August “Etesian” winds may make your ship travel somewhat difficult.
How to reach the islands
The islands are very well connected with the mainland and between them by ship, all year round and with very dense timetables during the summer season (from June to September)
Athens has three ports: Piraeus, Rafina, and Lavrion.
The port of Piraeus will give you more options concerning the timetables, has easier access from the airport- there is a reliable train line with a change at the Main Station (a direct route will start operating during the next months) and the ships are faster.
Syros, Naxos and Astypalaia are connected with Athens by air as well.
We recommend reaching Syros, the first island of this trip, by air directly from Athens International Airport, in order not to lose time. There are many flights throughout the day, each lasting about 35’, all year round and especially during summer months. Olympic Airways and Sky express operate at the airport.
Well, let’s go!
DAY 1: Syros
Syros’ port Ermoupolis is the capital of Syros and of the Cyclades group of islands; therefore there is a very good connection with the mainland.
The island is famous for its “Neorion” Shipyards, its remarkable colorful buildings and the narrow streets. Markos Vamvakaris, a famous folk Greek composer, was born in Syros.
What to see
Ermoupolis is a very busy town with many sights. Namely:
– Miaouli Square, the central square of the town where you will see the Town Hall, designed by the famous architect Ernst Ziller who has also designed the Greek Parliament.
– The Archaeological Museum, a small but rather interesting museum.
– Apollo Theater is an old theater designed on a scale like the famous Scala of Milano. There is also a museum with costumes used in theatrical performances.
– Greek Orthodox and Catholic Churches. You should visit the “Kimiseos Theotokou” temple where there is a picture of Holy Mary drawn by the famous painter El Greco.
– Markos Vamvakaris museum; if you are interested in Greek folk music “rempetiko”, you will love visiting this museum.
– Walk in the narrow streets of the Medieval Town of Ano Syros.
Where to swim in Syros
There are many beaches to choose from. Our picks are:
Galissas beach, 8k west of Ermoupolis
Kini beach, 7 km west of Ermoupolis
Agathopes beach, 11km southwest of Ermoupolis
Ways of transportation in Syros
The best way to see Ermoupolis Town is on foot. If you want to visit places outside the town you may consider taking the “KTEL” bus which is cheap but it may be unreliable. Check the timetables to be sure.
You could also take a taxi or rent a car or moped. You have to be very careful where you park your vehicle if you do not want to get fined and must always wear your helmet or seat belt. You should be very careful while driving due to the narrow roads and the bends and keep in mind that traffic signs are usually not obeyed.
What and where to eat
In Syros, you will be able to taste quality greek food and especially fish. But Syros is best known for the “loykoumi” sweet which you may know it as “turkish delight” and the local “halva”.
You will find many taverns. Our recommended places are the following:
– “Stin Ithaki tou Ai” ,Ermoupolis
– “Kapilio tou Markou”, Ermoupolis
– “Savvas”, Galissas
– “Allou Yiallou”, Kini
It is very easy to find the taverns, just ask a local or take a look at the map we provide you!
Where to stay
There are many places to stay and most of them are quite good. Our recommended hotels are the following:
– Central 9, in Miaouli square Ermoupolis
– Monte Kristo, 200m from the port
You are going to arrive at Ermoupolis at midday. You can spend the day on the beach of Kini or Galissas, eat there and come back to Ermoupolis for an evening walk.
Your second day in Syros could be spent seeing all the Ermoupolis sights, before taking a late boat which will take you to your next destination, the island of Naxos, in 3,5 hours.
DAY 2 Naxos
Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades island group. It is a very fertile island. Most people work in agriculture, but tourism has greatly increased the last few years and there is a great reason for this!
The most well-known sight is “Portara”, a marble gate of an ancient temple dedicated to Apollo. Apart from that, there are numerous sights to visit in Naxos Town and in other villages as well.
You will arrive late, so a night walk in the town, after checking-in at your hotel, would be great. Go to Portara and walk up to the Castle in the old town. The view is wonderful, overlooking the port.
Where to stay:
There are lots of hotel rooms and apartments to choose from. Our hotels of choice are the following in Naxos town:
– Emery Boutique Apartments
– Ampelos Suites
– Saint Vlassis Hotel
Ways of transportation in Naxos
Within the town, the best way to move is on foot. You will for sure enjoy walking through the narrow streets with the great architecture.
There is frequent bus service that connects the town with the villages, but if you want to be more flexible it would be better to rent a car. There are many agencies, we recommend “Summer Cars”. They are in Agios Prokopios, but they will bring you the car wherever you wish. The road network is in very good condition and it is easy to find your way. In the town, there are designated parking areas where you can park your car.
If you don’t want to drive you can still find a cab. You will find taxis in the port or you can call them to pick you up from your hotel.
What and where to eat
When it comes to food Naxos has plenty of high-quality choices. Naxos is quite famous for their “graviera” (like gruyere) and “arseniko” (hard goat) cheese and for the special variety of local potatoes. You also have to taste the “kitro” local liqueur. The local wines are also great. (Dionysus, the ancient god of wine, was raised in Naxos).
Most of the taverns in the island offer good quality food. Our favorite taverns are located in Apiranthos village:
– Rotonda, very good food and wonderful view, just outside the village
– Platanos, in the center of the village
DAY 3 Naxos
Dedicate this day to the exploration of the villages of the island where you can visit many sights and take some time on one of the many sandy beaches. Our picks for you day in Naxos are:
– Goddess Demeter ancient temple in Sangri. A wonderful restored ancient temple in an astonishing environment.
– Kouros of Melanes and Apollonas. Ancient big statues of young men (“kouros” means young man, in ancient Greek) that were, for some reason, never finished. The first two statues are located near Flerion village. There are signs which will lead you there. There is also a second one, in better condition, if you climb the hill (around 15′ walk).
The third and largest is located in Apollonas. You can easily reach the place by following the signs. There is no parking area, so you can park your car roadside. (Apollonas village has nice places to eat and there is also a sandy beach to swim).
-Emery Transportation Cable Car. You have to see this, if you are interested in mining and geology. You can find more information here
– Dionysus Temple in Glinado village, where concerts are organized during August and July when the moon is full. Ask your hotel for more information.
– Apiranthos and Filoti villages. Small, picturesque, mountainous villages to take a walk or have a coffee. Apiranthos has excellent taverns to taste the local cuisine or buy local products.
Where to swim
There are many beaches. The best and most preferred are:
– Agios Prokopios
– Agia Anna
– Mikri Vigla
DAY 4 Naxos and boat trip to Amorgos
On this day you can visit the Archaeological Museum of Naxos, before taking the ship to Amorgos (the journey lasts almost 4 hours).
Amorgos has two ports, Katapola and Aegiali. The trip duration from Naxos is the same to both ports.
The island has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Kastri was settled by the neighbouring Naxians, Katapola port was inhabited by the Samians and Aegiali by the Milians. The Venetians ruled the island for 300 years and built a castle in Hora village. Amorgos was united with Greece in 1832.
The Amorgian embroideries were famous and exported abroad thus contributing to the economic condition of the island. The famous ancient Greek poet Simonides, who has written the Epitaph dedicated to the Spartans at Thermopylae, was an Amorgian.
You may have seen the island in Luc Besson’s film “The Big Blue”.
Where to stay
You may find hotels and rooms to let in Aegiali, Katapola and Hora. The best of them are the following:
– Aelia Studios, in Aegiali
– Villa Le Grand Blue, in Katapola
– Amorgos Pearls, in Katapola
– Vorina Ktismata, in Hora
– Panorama, in Hora
Ways of transportation in Amorgos
Despite the small size of the island there is a well organized bus service along the island, connecting Hora, Katapola and Aegiali, at least during summer months.
You also have the more expensive choice to call a taxi. The price for a taxi from Aegiali to Katapola is 25 euros.
At the ports you may also find car/moped rental agencies, if you want to be completely free to go anywhere you want.
What to see and do
Enjoy the stunning view and the sunset from Hora where you can also visit the Panagia Hozoviotisa Monastery dedicated to Holy Mary (there is a bus from Hora to the monastery) and the small archaeological museum.
If you like hiking, there is a very well maintained path network. You can find trail maps and more information here.
Where to swim
If you want to enjoy crystal clear waters then visit one of the following beaches:
– Mourou Beach
– Agios Pavlos
– Aegiali Beach
Where to eat
You will find some good places offering typical Greek food, mousaka, pastizio and fresh fish.
Try one of the following:
-Tranzistoraki, in Hora
– Ambrosia Gallery Restaurant, in Aegiali
– Diosmarini’s, in Katapola
Days 5 and 6 Amorgos, boat trip to Astypalaia and overnight stay there
Spend the day at the port Aegiali or Katapola depending on the ship’s timetables. It is common that the ship is delayed, so feel free to ask the port authority about the exact time, in order to organize what to do while waiting. You may go swimming or take a seat for ouzo (kind of liqueur) or coffee.
The trip to Astypalaia will last 2-3 hours depending on the port of departure and the weather.
Where to stay
Consider one of the following hotels for your stay in Hora:
– Aphrodite Studios
– Andromeda Resort
Ways of transportation
The cheapest way to travel around the island is the sufficient bus network which runs every 30′ in the summer and connects the main villages with Hora. Buses do not cover all the destinations, though, and can limit you. In that case, you can rent a car. There are few agencies in Hora and it is easy to reach them.
A couple of taxis are also operating on the island.
What to see
– The windmills in Hora. There are eight of them in the main square, near the bus stop, so the windmills are the town’s meeting point.
– Guerini Castle and the churches of Panagia (Holy Mary) and Saint George, located in Hora. Note the differences in architecture and enjoy the view from the castle.
-Infant cemetery in lower Hora. It has been used between the Geometric and the Hellenistic period and it is unique.
-Archaeological Museum in Pera Gialos. This is a small museum, with free admission where you can see aspects of the life on the island during its long history.
Where to swim and hike
You will find many beaches. It is not easy to choose. Boats are generally used to reach the beaches. Ask your hotel about timetables. Our favorite beaches are:
– Agios Ioannis
If you prefer hiking, there are many trails to follow. You will find a map here.
Where to eat
You will be able to find a restaurant in every village. The best according to our experience are:
– Ouzeri Anastasia
– Plori Bar Restaurant
– Agoni Grammi
For your trip back to Athens it is best to take the plane. Astypalaia airport is frequently connected with Athens during the summer, so you will have many choices depending on your connection with the flight back to your country.
This was our proposed travel itinerary for these 4 Aegean islands. Of course, you are free to alter the program and increase the days of your stay on one or more islands.