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sifnos vs. naxos

Madison, Wisconsin
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sifnos vs. naxos

Hi

I was just wondering if anyone out there has been to both naxos and sifnos and could give me any inside tips to help me choose between the islands. My husband and I are going to greece Sept 1st-16th 2008. Along with some time on the mainland we want to visit two of the islands. We're going to Santorini but then I also wanted to go to a less touristy island. I had picked out Naxos because it seemed to have diverse landscapes, nice beaches, good hiking in the hills, and a venetian influence. I've been second guessing my decision to go to naxos after reading up on Sifnos. Sifnos had begun to really appeal to me for a couple reasons. They seem to have such great cooking, pottery, hiking, and such a beautiful hilly coastline. Overall they both seem to offer the less touristy experience I'm hoping to have, but I guess I'm wondering if Naxos will offer as much beautiful scenery as Sifnos seems to. Sorry, I know this is kind of a long broad question I was just wondering what opinions people might offer. Thanks for any help.

LODS

Philadelphia
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1. Re: sifnos vs. naxos

I love them both.... you can't really go wrong... these both have the best hiking in the Cyclades (Google Naxos Hikes, there's a dutch or belgian guy who has hikes for ALL the Cyclades -- print them out & take along!!!). Also, the sea will be wonderful for swims, with great sandy beaches -- UNLIKE Santorini beaches which are gray grit.

I've been to Greece 7 times in past 9 years, and Naxos is the only destination that's been on my itinerary every time... and I still find something new each time. Here's a "slide show" of Naxos by a dear friend, that gives an idea of just some of the attractions:

travel.webshots.com/slideshow/552001505EYxVYT

Sifnos is truly beautiful also. Stay up in Apollonia, Petali, Artemonas. THere are busses down to the beaches, and you can hike to Chora. There's a wonderful overview of Sifnos written by another dear friend, on IGO Greece -- it gives ALl the attractions, hotels, best restaurants etc too

www.igogreece.com/en/Greece.asp…

The only difference might be that in September Sifnos might be a bit more off-season (fewer busses). In Naxos it's easier to get around on busses -- just rent a car for one day to go around the island. On Sifnos, busses are less frequent.

Actually it may just depend on ferry schedules -- there are several daily from santorini to Naxos, but to Sifnos, not so much. Keep checking gtpo.gr, the standard ferry site, during the weeks before you go.

Philadelphia
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2. Re: sifnos vs. naxos

Actually, upon thinking about it, It shouldn't be Sifnos vs Naxos but rather -- these 2 islands vs. Santorini.

Santorini has a beautiful caldera, but It's all about looking looking looking at the caldera. I think that can be done in 2 days, then move on... so maybe you could do both islands!

Other Santorini things... the arch. museum in lieu of Akrotiri, which is STILL closed. Check the murals and the fab. photo sequence of the Akrotiri disvoery -- at the Nokimos Conference Center (its terrace has one of the best caldera views on the isle). You can hike up to Ancient Thira (which is a 5-acre hodgepodge of tumbledown stones, hard to figure out, but the view is sublime). You can buy gold jewelry. You can watch the sunset (but ALL these islands have the same gorgeous sunset)... DON'T go to Oia for it unless u have a pvt. terrace -- the parapet is a ZOO; hundreds of people elbowing one another, even in Sept. Find a nice high perch in Firostephani or Fira bar, for sundown in peace. Enjoy

Lux
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3. Re: sifnos vs. naxos

Sifnos AND Naxos.

Plus trip to Santorini (daytrip, one night)

H2

Molaoi, Greece
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for Peloponnese
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4. Re: sifnos vs. naxos

You have 15 days and Santorini only requires two of those at the most. That leaves you 12 or 13 for both Sifnos and Naxos so visit both as the others have suggested. Naxos is much bigger than Sifnos so I would reserve at least a week for it.

Because there are no ferry connections between Sifnos and Naxos, you will have to go through Santorini anyway to get from one to the other(unless you went back to Piraeus which makes no sense)so it's not a difficult trip. Personally, I would go to Naxos first and save Sifnos until last simply because Sifnos is still pretty busy in the first week of September. Leave it another week and it will be quietening down nicely.

If you really do want to spend some time on the mainland - and you haven't said how much time or what you're planning to do - and have to choose between the two islands, toss a coin.

Newmarket, United...
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for Antiparos
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5. Re: sifnos vs. naxos

Sifnos and Naxos are a challenging combination because, although geograpically close, are on different ferry routes. Before deciding your itinerary, suggest you wait for the summer ferry timetables to be released.

Last year FlyingCat 3 linked Santorini and Sifnos during high season. The Hellenic Seaways summer timetable, valid through 9/9/07, included those stops (also Naxos) in two daily runs between Syros and Piraeus. It remains to be seen what routes Hellenic Seaways will run this summer, and what their timetable will be after the first week of September.

Outside high season the most difficult leg would be between Santorini and Sifnos.

Toronto, Canada
Destination Expert
for Mykonos
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6. Re: sifnos vs. naxos

I fully agree with those who suggest visiting both Sifnos and Naxos, along with a short visit to Santorini. They're both beautiful islands, substantially less touristy (and considerably less expensive) than Santorini, and to recommend one over the other based on the criteria you listed would be very tough.

Does Naxos "offer as much beautiful scenery as Sifnos?" Absolutely. Sifnos is pretty, with lovely mountain and valley areas criss-crossed by dozens of hiking trails, rugged scenic coastlines and charming villages (Kastro is a must-see). Naxos is a much bigger island with considerably larger mountains that offer spectacular scenery (of mountain valleys and villages, the Naxos coast, and nearby islands including Paros), great hiking choices, gorgeous beaches you can walk for hours (especially the long stretch on the southwest coast), and a bustling main town. Both islands have restaurants offering excellent food; most of our favourite meals in Greece have been on Naxos and Sifnos.

We've been to Naxos a few times before (it's probably our favourite island), but went to Sifnos for the first time last Sept. 20 - 24. We enjoyed Sifnos, even though our visit coincided with a severe windstorm that brought chilly temps, made hiking downright unpleasant much of the time, and ruled out time on the beach (because of all the sand being blasted around by the wind). The big disappointment for us was that many shops and restaurants had already closed and many of those still open were winding down and preparing to shut for the winter; to us, most of the island felt rather depressing and lonely. The villages lacked the vitality and colour we enjoyed on other islands (like Folegandros) where the tourist season had not wound down so much. But things hopefully are hopping a lot more earlier in September -- the time you're planning to go -- than they are towards the end of the month. As much as we liked Sifnos, we both had to admit that, when our ferry to Mykonos stopped at Naxos en route, we both regretted that we had not included Naxos on our itinerary.

If you could go to only one of the two, I'd personally recommend Naxos. Given the time you have available, though, I'd suggest waiting for the ferry timetables for September and then seeing if you could arrange a Sifnos - Santorini - Naxos combination, which would make for a wonderful Greek holiday experience.

Travelerjan has already given you links to some great online photos; if you'd like to see even more photos of Sifnos, Naxos and Santorini, here's a link to our online pics: http://community.webshots.com/user/donnyb1507

Philadelphia
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7. Re: sifnos vs. naxos

Donnyb, it's great to have you chime in with your wisdom. It offers the nuances that make the difference between a good trip and a great one...

I totally agree with your feeling about end-of-season ambience. 6 of my 7 trips have been mid-may to early June; my other trip was Sept. 5 - 25.

In a place like Sifnos, in late may, pre-season, people are opening UP shops and pensions, painting houses, whitewashing, theres a sense of anticipation and fresh energy. In mid-september, if you are on an island or in a resort that closes down pretty much in low season, you can get the feeling that one has when dining late in a restaurant -- waiters have put chairs on top of tables all around you, and are waiting for you to leave.

We avoided this on our Sept trip by having our last stop at a place that has a good year-round population -- Nafplio; the same would apply to Naxos.

Madison, Wisconsin
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8. Re: sifnos vs. naxos

Thanks so much for all the replies. I've really appreciated all the helpful insights from everyone. Travelerjan thanks so much for the helpful websites. I thinks I am going to just keep reading up on both islands for now and wait for the ferry timetables to come out before making more solid decisions. By the way Donnyb I was looking at all your photos last night and you have some beautiful pictures, looks like you had a great trip. Thanks again for all the input.

LODS

Pa
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9. Re: sifnos vs. naxos

I had the same exact problem last year....Santorini plus one of those two islands. I ended up choosing Sifnos b/c of the Elies resort. It looked so nice and new, right on the beach. I loved it...we just relaxed all day in the water and it was a great wind-down to our vacation (especially after all the walking and steps in Santorini).

That being said, it is very small and quiet. If I were going to go in Sept, and I wanted a tad more action, I'd probably choose Naxos. For straight peace and quiet...Sifnos.

Toronto, Canada
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for Mykonos
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10. Re: sifnos vs. naxos

travelerjan: I loved your analogy comparing end-of-season ambience with lingering in a restaurant at closing time. That's exactly how things felt to us on both Sifnos and Milos. Like yours, our previous trips had been during mid-May to early June, and we definitely preferred the pre-season atmosphere. I'm sure we felt so wistful during our ferry stop at Naxos because its port and harbourfront were positively bustling, compared to the rather sleepy port areas on Milos and Sifnos. We had great times on both of those islands, but I'm sure we would have loved them a lot more -- especially Sifnos -- if we'd been there during a time more businesses were open or at least preparing to open.

LODS: Thanks; glad you enjoyed the photos. Our latest trip was indeed wonderful, but all of our holidays in Greece have been terrific. Each visit has been better than the last. I can't say enough good things about vacationing in Greece (as many of my friends and family would attest; I think they actually suspect that I'm secretly on the payroll of the Greek National Tourist Organization!).

kaneve: Sifnos would indeed be a perfect place to recover from all the stair climbing in Santorini -- only if you can avoid the lure of those dozens of scenic footpaths throughout the island! I'm certain we did as much walking up and down hills and steps each day on Sifnos as we did each day of our Santorini visits in previous years. And you're absolutely right about Sifnos being an ideal spot to visit for pure peace and quiet. Our first night on Sifnos, we ate dinner on the outdoor restaurant terrace of our hotel (the Delfini in Kamares) and were awestruck by the incredible peace and quiet -- all the more remarkable considering that we were directly across the bay from Kamares port and village. The serene atmosphere of that evening is just as unforgettable to us as the delicious home-cooked Greek meal we ate under the stars.

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