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Friday, 08 June 2007

The Cyclades: Thira and Naxos - Page 3

Written by Amanda Lynch
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The Cyclades are ancient, breathtaking, and in large part gloriously untouched by the modern hustle of city life. I once assumed that they were also inaccessible to someone without lots of money to throw around (which was me, three weeks into a four-week journey across Italy and Greece, and about 99.9% into my budget). Luckily, my husband and I were there outside of “high season,” when prices and temperatures soar and the islands become overrun with tourists.

Outside of high season, the beaches and restaurants are largely deserted, and many places are preparing to open (or close) for the season. However, we found no lack of good food or good service, and it was relaxing to take in the experience, meet the locals, and enjoy the scenery without the flurry of tourist season.

 

Other highlights of Santorini: The Museum of Ancient Art, which houses some truly astonishing works and is cheap (€5, free for students); walks through the picturesque towns; and the world-famous sunset.

 

Food on the Greek islands is fresh and healthy, and wonderfully inexpensive. At a restaurant, a decent meal will cost about €12 (US$16), and you can get a hearty Greek salad with fresh herbs and feta cheese for €5 or €6 (tip is included – just round up the bill). If you want to go cheaper, bread and cheese from local stores cost next to nothing, and snacks like gyros and souvlaki cost €2-€3. Expect to pay more if you want to sit down at a table rather than walk away food-in-hand. And if you order coffee, be prepared for something more akin to Turkish coffee than to Starbucks (read: the Greeks like their coffee strong).

 

Renting a car is not necessary on Thira (most of what you would want is within walking distance), and hotels often provide free shuttles to and from the port. When we got to Naxos, however, we found that the island was big enough, and boasted enough historical points of interest, that we chose to rent a car.town

 

A car can be rented for €30/day according to the internet, but, as with the ferries, it is easier to just visit one of the many rental outlets on the island. Once there, you can deal directly with an agent, and often get lower prices. Make sure you get the deal in writing (most rental agencies are family-owned), and read carefully before signing it (you don’t want to have to put $3,000 down for scratching the fender). Finally, return the car well before you need to catch your ferry, so if there are any problems, or the office is mysteriously closed, you don’t miss your ride.

(Page 3 of 4)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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