Wow, i didn't know that it took so long to ferry from one island to another! i thought it was just a 2-3 hour affair.
I meant kos is the "best among them" as in scenery, beaches and food. I've based my idea on what attractions they have on the island and people's reviews on it.
I'm looking more for good scenery, peace, and to really embrace the greek culture. I was just brought to the attention of Santorini (no idea why i haven't read about this island in any website as of yet) and its in the Cyclades group, so i suppose i'll be travelling to Ios and Santorini. Am i still overreaching myself? I am not sure how many days i will spend at Ios or Santorini. From what i know, Santorini has many villages. So i can probably only spend time in Santorini and have to choose certain villages to visit only.
I suppose if there are no ferries to any convenient locations, i'll have to fly from Santorini (or do i have to ship to Corfu/rome) to either Sicily or Rome depending on where i decide to go.
Initially i wanted to have a taste of what each island had to offer, but i realized that it was unrealistic.
Thanks for you time, it's helped me a lot
In fear of concentrating too much on the Greek part of your itinerary, I will just add a few quick notes, and then I suggest you to do some research and open a new thread about Greek islands or Greece in general if you think me and others can be of further help about this.
You are coming from a part of the world where you may find great beaches. I would not go to a place just for the beach per se. Kos is popular for its sandy beaches, still it is mostly brown or gold-ish coarse sand and not white fine flour-type corall sand that you may meet in South East Asia. There are some scenic spots on Kos, but I never though of the island as partucularly scenic comparing to other spots in Greece. Of course beauty lies at the eye of the beholder and all that lol I never though Kos as a gastronomic destination either (?) .
That said I am not saying it is bad choice. Unfortunately due to some chapter flights of Europe and tour operators dominating the island since some years ago, you will see large parts of the island dominated by rather dull large AI package deal hotels. But it still has many quiet and more traditional corners. It has some interesting archeological sites too and of course it is the home island of Hippocrates, "father" of medecin. There are many villages to explore, but I am not sure you'll have time to explore a lot anyway.
Santorini is maybe the most known island destination in Greece worldwide and esepcially to North Americans. It is a small touristy island, most postcards with white cube houses and blue church domes are coming from this island. It is actually what's left of an ancient volcano and its famous caldera is where the crater of volcano was standing before the erruption in ancient times. According to some archeologists maybe Santorini is what caused the Atlantis myth. Santorini is a very unique and scenic place. Due to its volcanic nature there are many unique local products too, such as fave and wines etc. Its beaches are black volcanic shigle/pebbles/rocks though and it is so popular that at times it feels as a theme park.
I am not so familiar with Ios but I am not sure what drwas you there. It features only one real village and a couple of nice beaches and on July and August it attracts many young people in rsearch of wild nightlife. Not much to see and do other than party and enjoy the beach there.
Ios and Santorini team up well as a comnination as they are served by same main ferry line. They are only about one hour aprart and then it is around 5 hours ferry to Piraeus larger port of Athens).
You may want to have a look on arriving Athens, explore city, then connect to Ios, then Santorini, then get a flight (possibly through Athens airport) to Rome.
A side note: You seem to underestimatehow crowds of high season afects the whole island experience. Hords of Greeks and Europeans plus many international travelers invade Greek Islands on July and August. Santorini in winter has only 10000 people population, but it gets hundrends of thousand visitors in summer months. It is not easy to find authenticity into those circumstances. On my opinion, best place to find peace, scenery and embrace Greek culture is part of mainland. For example you may want to have a look on places such as Nafplio which is a pleasant sea side town 2 hours bus ride from Athens. You have 2-3 famous ancient sites in the vinicity plus town itsself is very interesting. Still , in order to embrace local culture and soak in the ambience of a place, you need time. And you have only a week on your disposal for Greece....
About your italian tour.
In south Italy must to see are Napoli and its surrounding, included islands (capri, ischia, procida), Vesuvio and amalfi peninsula, flegrean fields
Apulia: Lecce, Ostuni, Grottaglie, Otranto, Alberobello, Martina franca, ionian sea coast
About abbruzzo and umbria, they are very nice, depending what you want, if its about trekking and hiking, surely, sea not very nice (italian adriatic is not worth, while the best is ionian Apulian sea).
In umbria Perugia is nice city, as well as Assisi. In abbruzzo I couldnt recommend any specific nice city.
Betwen pisa and 5 terre, I would go to 5 terre (again is for hiking mostly). Pisa is worth only for the famous tower and deserve just couples of hours
my opinion, of course