Help us plan our summer 2017 honeymoon ending in Santorini
September 19, 2016 12:46 PM   Subscribe

We're planning our honeymoon for the last 2 weeks of June 2017. The only part I'm sure of is that we want to spend the last bit in Santorini. Where should we go before that?

We will be flying from Miami. Neither of us have ever been to Europe. We are getting married in March 2017 so we don't need to just relax the whole 2 weeks, but I would like to end the trip with chilling out in Santorini so we don't feel like we need a vacation after our vacation.

I like the following things in descending order of importance:

Swimming (waterfalls, oceans, rivers, lakes, a puddle, anything)

My fiance likes:

Fancy accomodations

I would like to go to France or Italy but should we just stay in Greece for the whole two weeks? Should we go to other Greek islands? Should we go to southern Italy and take a ferry to Santorini (I don't know if this is a thing)? Should we go to Paris and then fly to Athens for a couple days and then go to Santorini? I even thought about going to Cairo but it seems like it will take too long to get there? I realize I'm being vague and broad but I really don't know where to go because I like basically everything.

My fiance doesn't want to go to Turkey (concerns about the airport after this summer's attack.) Any suggestions for other locales are completely welcome. Pricey is fine, no air bnb, no hostels.

Planes, trains, automobiles (or boats) are all fine for methods of travel and my fiance can drive a standard.

For the Santorini part - I'm planning to stay at Astra Suites in Imerovigli - how many days should we allot for Santorini? I really do not like a tourist trap but the views look killer and we'll be happy to lounge at the pool and on the beach at the tail end of our trip.
posted by tatiana wishbone to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My wife and I spent a week in Greece on a fraction of what you're looking to spend. We flew into Athens and spent two full days there, which honestly felt like a day too long, but it was July and a million degrees and we just mainlined the historical stuff we were interested in over the course of a big day.

Then we spent a few days in Naxos, a sleepy island that was on the way, ferry-wise, to Santorini. We loved puttering around Naxos, and though it doesn't have the huge views of the Santorini caldera, it was a highlight of the trip.

Santorini has a few things you can check out other than the views - winemakers, a few good beaches, etc., but the view is the star, and I think you're better off checking out those other things on places with fewer cruise ships. So if I were you, I'd plan the Santorini trip for as many days as I was happy lounging poolside +1.

I would also recommend checking out Crete as a potential stop on the way, particularly if you're interested in getting off the beaten track. It's a lot bigger than the rest of the Greek islands, so you have more opportunities to get away. We only spent a couple of days exploring Crete but I could have stayed there a week.

Pick your locations first, then pick your travel. The ferries are relatively cheap and the slower ones make for pleasant sailing in nice weather, but you can connect to most of the islands by air if speed is an issue.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:09 PM on September 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Europe is a big place. Buy Lonely Planet Discover Europe for $10. Its 800 pages will give you many more options and details than you will get here. Once you have a general itinerary mapped out, you can get country and city specific guides and come back here for additional advice.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 1:20 PM on September 19, 2016

We went to Santorini last September. It was beautiful and I don't regret going, but I hadn't realized in advance that it's basically a resort island at this point. The local economy is tourism, everything is set up for tourists. You'll hear much more English than any other language.

I really liked the ferry trip over from Athens -- the Agean is a really amazing shade of blue. I also enjoyed the "sunset cruise" we booked -- lots of outfits offer them, the basic idea is that you sail around the caldera for the afternoon, eat, drink and eventually watch the sun set. Very pleasant way to spend an afternoon.
posted by pocketfullofrye at 1:44 PM on September 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

We traveled around the Cyclades in a chartered sailboat with a skipper, which was amazing and I highly recommend it if you love water, relaxing, and fancy accommodations. I would not recommend Santorini. It's so overcrowded and touristy. I second Naxos, and I loved Sifnos and Kithnos. You have to go to Delos (day trip, no overnight accommodations, go really early in the morning). Incredible, especially as we arrived by sailboat and had the island entirely to ourselves because we were there in April. March and April are a great time to go to Greece. By the end of March, we felt a bit crowded. But at the beginning of March, we were almost alone. Loved it!

We spent a month on Rhodes, which has a dynamite archaeology museum; if you go that far east, stay in Lindos, and visit Simi Island. We spent a week in Athens and it was hot, crowded, touristy, and pretty dirty. I wish we'd been able to go to Crete and Corfu, and to Ithaki and Kefalonia — much more green than the Cyclades.

I preferred Italy, however, especially Cinque Terre (lots of tourists, but so amazing, and some very fancy accommodations) and Lago Maggiore (see the smaller towns for relaxing and being on the water). Rome is too crowded for my taste. Venice is crowded, especially when a cruise ship docks, but magical.

I loved Malta. I love southern France. I love Spain, from Madrid south to Gibraltar makes a beautiful trip.
posted by Capri at 2:08 PM on September 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

I work for a travel agency (I am not a travel agent, I do their bookings), and two weeks in santorini is too long, you will get bored (unless all you want to do is relax). I would suggest maybe a week in Spain or Italy, fly into Athens, spend a night (or two), then hop over to Santorini for 3-4 nights.

Santorini: Astra Suites is one of our vendors, and its a lovely, good, choice, we have never had issues with them. I would also suggest you do a day catamaran trip while you are there, cause they are usually just amazing.

You cant (or at least we never do) take ferries from Italy to Greece. There is a great link of ferries between the Greek islands however, and if you wanted to maybe just do two weeks of Greece you could fly into ATH, spend 2 nights (you really just need one full day to see everything unless you are super into ancient history) , fly to Crete (not so touristy, Chania is great), and take a ferry to Mykonos (doesn't have to be a party place) and end in Santorini. Fly from JTR to ATH and back to the US.

Or, and what I would probably suggest, is to do a combination of Italy and Greece. The Amalfi Coast is beautiful, but getting SUPER touristy, so it depends on your tolerance of that . Also depending on how fancy your fiance likes their accommodations the Amalfi coast can get expensive. (although you are going early season, so it shouldnt be too crazy)But it would be fun to stay in Positano or Sorrento, do the Path of the Gods hiking, have some fabulous food, and take the ferry for a day trip to Capri. I would be tempted to go for more Rome- Florence- Tuscany, but thats my preference, it gets you a ton of art and beauty, but no water.

We have had clients absolutely adoring trips in Spain, and its just beautiful and finding it incredibly welcoming. Drink some great wine and have some tapas in Barcelona and look at amazing architecture for a week, then go off to the islands.

One last suggestion would be maybe Croatia and then Greece. I would have to think about the logistics a little but, but it could totally work. Croatia is amazingly beautiful and would tick a lot of your boxes.

Here is my advise you didn't ask for: don't over plan your trip. Leave enough time in each location to relax and enjoy it, and only book like 1 tour a day. I see a lot of people trying to pack in everything possible, and they end up spending half their trip looking for the tour start location or in transit to the next place. Not how you want to spend your honeymoon.

Feel free to PM me with questions or if you want vendor suggestions, and enjoy!

(PS- I love France, I just don't know if I would do France in March, then Islands.)
posted by zara at 5:26 PM on September 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

I like the idea of Miami to London, which is relatively short, and then London to Santorini. London is easy and hits all of your criteria and June is a great time to go, with very long days and lovely evenings. You could do a Paris/Brussels overnight trip easily as well with Eurostar.

London to Santorini Airport is available on a number of airlines depending on the season, but the most comfortable way to do this would be in business class, either on the delightful Aegean Airlines (excellent catering up front!), via the convenient and easy Athens Airport, to Santorini (definitely multiple connections daily) or British Airways' BA Cityflyer service (which this past summer ran twice weekly) on their compact Embraer E190 direct to Santorini from London City Airport, far closer to the centre of town and much less hassle than Heathrow/Gatwick - five-minute security lines and walk-to-the-plane-across-the-tarmac boarding!

Spend your last few days in Athens; people seem to hate it, but there's a lot to see and do if you are into history (and not just ancient history!). June won't be as hot as July or August. I can also say that the Rough Guide to Greece (note: not rough!) was what I used on a trip to Thessaloniki, Athens and Crete this year, and never steered me wrong.

You could fly Aegean back from Santorini to Athens, of course, and then go to any other destination in Europe before going home to Miami.
posted by mdonley at 4:48 AM on September 20, 2016

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