It takes a lifetime for someone to discover Greece.
But it only takes an instant to fall in love with her.
- Henry Miller
October 2017 (Shoulder Season) - to avoid dealing with crowds, the unforgiving Mediterranean Sun and paying astronomical prices during Summer.
Crete – Athens – Kalambaka (Meteora) – Athens – Naxos – Santorini
Domestic Transfer / Transport
I spent a bulk of my time researching the routes and most affordable options; do note that this is based on my itinerary and the list is not exhaustive - Just to save you the hassle!
1) RyanAir I flew from Chania – Athens with RyanAir. Other airlines mostly fly out of Heraklion. I had planned to drive to Heraklion but scrapped the idea due to time constraints and extra charges (~€30) to drop the car off at a different location. RyanAir also flies from Santorini - Athens, but it’s an early departure so won't recommend it.
KTEL runs a bus service from Chania to Heraklion (Website: HERE)
2) Sky Express
I wanted to see what the other islands were like and picked Naxos. Ferry timings did not suit me so I flew with Sky Express. FYI the ticket included a complimentary airport lounge visit.
Flew with Volotea from Santorini to Athens to give myself sufficient time to catch my outbound flight back to Singapore.
4) Aegean Air / Olympic Air Check these airlines too if it suits your schedule/budget.
5) ANEK Ferries Overnight ferry from Athens to Chania (Crete). It saves you one night of accommodation jf you are willing to rough it out by sleeping on chairs, plus you can 'brag' about the experience. You can pay more to stay in a cabin - but while disembarking I overhead a fellow passenger commenting on how her cabin was extremely stuffy, so... your choice.
Tip: Board the ferry early, get to one of the sofa seats so you can lie down for the night. Otherwise be prepared to sleep on chairs (What I did), or the floor (what other taller passengers did). Eye masks are necessary because the lights are so bright they hurt your eyes. I was running late because I had to stop at Syntagma Station to get a data card and underestimated the travelling time. I also had trouble finding the gate at Piraeus port, so do your research and plan your route.
6) Blue Star Ferries For island hopping.
Use viva.gr to check ferry schedules / book ferry tickets.
Cost breakdown (SGD)
Flight (SIN – ATH): $862 (~USD 663) Accommodation: $626 (~USD 481) Car Rental + Car Insurance (I got mine from icarinsurance): $237 (~USD 182)
Internal Transfers (Air + Ferries + Train): $471 (~USD 362)
Everything else: $710 (~USD 546) Total: $2,906 (~USD 2,235)
Places of Interest
Chania, Crete (3 days)
1. Chania Old Town
2. Old Venetian Harbour
3. Old Chania Market
4. Elafonisi Beach
5. Koukouvaya Cafe
6. Venizelos Graves
Athens (4 days)
2. Roman Agora, Ancient Agora, Hadrian's Library, Temple of Olympian Zeus
3. Mount Lycabettus
4. Piraeus Port
5. Syntagma Square
6. Monastraki Square
Kalambaka (1 day)
Naxos (3 days)
1. Chora, Old and New Town
2. Temple of Apollo (Portara)
Santorini (4 days)
1. Fira Town
2. Perissa Beach
3. Red Beach
6. Pyrgos Village
7. Megalochori Village #esthergoestravelling