If anyone wants to add any info, send the text to George Tsampas (moderator), if its good, it will be added. Try to be brief. Thank you for your help! Have a nice trip and enjoy Greece!
Advance warning: Boats from Athens don't connect all the Greek islands every day. For an average island (not the big or touristic ones like Mykonos, Santorini or Crete) there are boats every 2-3 days, at various hours, average price 35 euros deck (my guess). Planing can't always be donne in advance, but on the go, as schedules change and booking online has certain restrictions.
CS GROUPS ON ISLANDS
Cyclades Islands: http://www.couchsurfing.org/group.html?gid=5787
Ionian Islands: http://www.couchsurfing.org/group.html?gid=6320
Dodekanisos Islands: http://www.couchsurfing.org/group.html?gid=6321
Santorini Island: http://www.couchsurfing.org/group.html?gid=38691
CS GROUPS ON CRETE:
Heraklion CS(Handakas, Kastro, Hora): http://www.couchsurfing.org/group.html?gid=14211
Chania, Hania, Canea: http://www.couchsurfing.org/group.html?gid=9305
Crete (Candia, Girit): http://www.couchsurfing.org/group.html?gid=7171
Greek Islands: http://www.couchsurfing.org/group.html?gid=5070
Cretan beaches: http://www.couchsurfing.org/group.html?gid=18863
CHOICE OF ISLAND?
There are many beautifull islands, connections to other islands vary. Boat schedules are out by end of May. Check www.gtp.gr Almost all Aegean sea islands are connected to Athens. Cyclades group of islands in the middle of the Aegean sea is the eadsiest and quickest choice (from Athens airport). Nice islands (Cyclades islands): Naxos, Paros, Milos, Santorini, Koufonisia (Iraklia, Shinousa), Anafi, Ikaria. Moreover the Ionian group of islands in the Adriatic sea, Crete, the Dodecanese islands close to Turkey (easy access for travelers from Turkey), Sporades islands (next to central Greece) or Samothraki in the north are just some of the recomend island. Its unfair that I haven't mentioned many other islands, but can't write a book on this page. Wherever you go, you will love it.
Alternatively, you can get the boat from Ankona, Italy, in the Adriatic sea and visit the islands: Corfu, Lefkas (or Lefkada) or any of the Ionian islands. Then you can head to Athens and Cyclades islands.
Many choices. depends on your money, when you travel and the kind of trip you want. In most islands there are many places for freecamping, but away from civilisation, and need transport...
In August hotel prices, tourists, noise, pollution double. So please try to visit on another date!
THE BEST NOT TOURISTY SMALL GREEK ISLANDS
1.. Ikaria (not too islolated), but its small and beautifull! (north-east of Cyclades islands, Aegean)
2. Amorgos (see movie: The Big Blue)(Cyclades islands, central Aegean)
3. Koufonisia, 3 islands (Cyclades islands, central Aegean)
4. Gavdos, cedar tree forest and amazing beaches, 50 permanent habitants, (south of Chania, Crete)
5. Chrysi, cedar tree forest and amazing beaches, no permanent habitants, (south of Ierapetra, Crete)
6. Samothraki island, waterfalls (even in summer) and beautifull mountain hikes (north-east Greece, near Kavala-Alexandroupoli)
7. Astypalea (Cyclades islands, central Aegean)
8. Tilos (Dodecanese islands)
9. Nisyros, volcanic islands, (Dodecanese islands)
10. Anafi (Cyclades islands, central Aegean)
11. Serifos (Cyclades islands, central Aegean)
12. Sifnos (Cyclades islands, central Aegean)
13. Simi (Dodecanese islands)
14. Agathonisi, very remote, lonely and small, (Dodecanese islands)
15. Antikythira (between Crete and the Peloponese)
WHICH ARE THE BEST SMALL GREEK ISLANDS?
If you want to see many islands, and like to explore, 3-4 days are enough for each island. Depends how much time you have. The choice is difficult and there is no right or wrong choice. My list is: 1.Santorini, 2.Naxos, 3.any island (between Amorgos, Koufonisia, Iraklia or Schinousa), 4.Ios, 5.Milos.
Good luck choosing!
1.. Santorini. A must see. 2 days are more than enough, but could easily stay more. A miracle of its own.
[ 1.b. Mykonos. A party island. You have to see it, even if you don't like this kind of lifystyle. A fast boat will take you straight from Santorini in 4 hours. White houses, good beaches, crazy night life (maybe the best in the world). 1-2 days would be enough (unless you're addicted to its lifestyle and you want to stay more) ]
2. Skiathos - Skopelos - Alonissos. 3 Islands very near one from another. Amazing beaches and fantastic landscapes. Koukounaries beach in Skiathos was voted many times as the best beach ever. 2 days in Skiathos, but could also visit Skopelos and Alonissos, it's worth it (3 days all together).
3. Hydra - Poros. Very near Athens, you can see both in 1 day with a day trip (only boat that leaves from Athens). Traditional architecture, white houses one after the other, quiet life and good original energy.
4. Lefkada - Kefalonia - Corfu. Turqoise waters (Lefkada - Kefalonia), super landscapes (mostly trees and see and nice houses). Far from all the other islands, you need a bus from Athens. At least 7 days but really worth it.
5. Ios (+Paros + Naxos). A party island but really worth going! White houses, very good beach (Mylopotas), monasteries at the other side of the island, near Santorini (1 hour). Many campings and crazy night life, people from all around the world. You could find a job there. Also visit Naxos and Paros (near there, very nice beaches). Paros architecture is really nice and also it has great beaches (but very touristy and hectic during summer). Naxos is more like Skandinavian tourists and quieter.
6. Chios (+Lesbos + TUrkey + Oinousses). An island that has everything to offer, hundreds of beaches, good food, hospitable people, super landscapes interesting architecture. Near Turkey, so you can also go to Turkey for a day trip. Also Lesbos island nearby, really worth it. Plus Oinousses island for a 1-day trip, amazing. 5 days for all this, 3 days for Chios only.
7. Crete. (where I come from). Huge, HUGE island, (warning - very addictive! you might want to stay for life - many people have). At least 1 month to see it, BUT you can start from Chania (old city is amazing), stay at Platanias or gerani (12 klm outside of Chania- super sea and accommodation) and then visit the big canyon (Samaria), the pink beach (Elafonissi), the white sanded beach (Falasarna), Preveli monasteri (with a beach full of the palm trees). Don't forget to visit Rethymnon, super city and good people.
minimum 10 days (but 1 month recommended and you'll see why..)
8. So many. really... so many
FREECAMPING (also NUDIST) BEACHES
Every Greek island has the best freecamping and/or nudist beaches! Its difficult to say which island is most beautifull, or which island has the best nudist beaches. Every island has its secrets, as long as you discover them! The difference is very small. If people tell you which island is best for something, and you go to the worst of the choices, you will still like it as long as you discover its secrets. You will only understand the difference if you stay for a couple of years in Greece and you will be able to form an opinion, based on your taste and standards, which differ from person to person.
I live in Chania, west Crete, and I discover a new place/secret every month!
For freecamping and/or nudist beaches in Chania: best is Sougia (close to water, civilisation, beach), Kedrodassos, Lissos (near Sougia), Gyaliskari (near Paliohora), Glyka Nera (near Sfakia), and in many small beaches along the E4 European Hiking path which goes along south Crete (but you can't stay long because there is no drinkable water nearby). In Spatha peninsula is Menies, Agios Pavlos, south of Rodopou (too far, can't stay long). In Akrotiri is the bay of Saitan (too far, can't stay long).
In Rethymno there are many places in the south, around: Preveli, Rodakino, Agios Pavlos, Triopetra. In Heraklio many places around: Komos, Matala, Agiofarago, Lendas. Many small beaches along far east Crete.
By the way I did not include small, difficult to access beaches, which have no name and you have to know the path!
Good luck choosing!
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