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Advice: Greece for 10 days, mid April

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Two people, arriving Athens April 14 - one departing Athens April 22, the other departing Athens April 24 (Easter! sad we will miss this.. but duty calls.)

We are loosely considering Athens / Santorini / Mykonos. The islands have proved daunting to research because there is just so much information. The ferries seem quite long, as well. Seems difficult to justify a long ferry ride (5+ hours) when we only have a short time in the country.

Questions:
* Athens at front end or back end? We have heard appeals for both.
* Santorini + Mykonos = too much? Trying to get some down time and not over schedule ourselves (as we are so prone to do)
* Santorini + Mykonos = good choices or should we be leaning toward Crete / others? We are into food, hiking, beaches, relaxing. Not sure if beaches will be a factor at this time of year.
* Really want to see Delphi. Go solo or with a guided tour? Spend the night? 3 hours by bus is a long haul.
* Is 3 days too many in Athens?

Appreciate your input!

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    Many Questions! Glad u can come at all... but u will need to plan your time carefully -- the week before easter can present Challenges. So many people may be rushing out of Athens to their hometowns, even starting many days before.

    I got intrigued with your challenge (also procrastinating on a project) -- so Ths Blonde found herself working on a scenario for you. NOTE: it really helps if you can be exact even to time of day, as in arriving 10:30 a.m., or leaving 12 noon. It tells us what transportation is feasible.

    NO, beaches will NOT be a factor. At all. I see u are from PA (I'm from Philly) too many Americans equate Aegean with the Caribbean. Look at Globe. Latitude more like northern VA. And weather can be iffy; bring rain gear. So ... here are some thoughts:

    MYKONOS -- not a good choice. Main themes, beach & parties. Neither are on in april

    SANTORINI -- Only if you can Afford to fly (45 minutes vs 8-9 hours on ferry), and timing is right (see what I mean about giving arrival time?). If u arrive Ap 14 noonish theres a 3 pm Aegean flight €109, if arrive 3-4 pm, there's a 17:45 (5:45) Olympic flight for €95. You'd have friday, Saturday to see the Caldera, take pix, walk around; there's a Sat Ap 16 Aegean flite back19:40 (7:40) at €75. Is it worth 170-200€? You'd have to decide.

    DELPHI -- A 1-day org. tour is too rushed -- over 3 hrs driving each way, they give u less than 2 hrs onsite, then drag u off for a taverna meal u don't want, and a rug-store visit ditto. You can do D-i-Y if you're willing to prep on your own, take bus from Liossion St KTEL station noonish to Delphi (3 hrs), visit lower part of area at 4 or 5, stay o'nite; go to main site 8 am - 11, leave as bus throngs arrive, get 1 pm? bus back to Athens.

    ATHENS --No 3 days are NOT too many in Athens. Consider getting a good guide book ... usually I do not recommend Rick Steves because "Rick-heads" walk all over Europe following blindly in his footsteps ... but his book "Athens & the Peloponnese" tells a beginner all you need to know about Athens.

    INSTEAD of FARAWAY ISLANDS? -- Consider a 2-day tour where u stay in a place that FEELS like an island (a peninsula surrounded by Water) ... NAFPLIO, considered most beautiful Old Town in Greece. A 2-day CHAT tour will take u to an ancient ruin, MYCENAE (of Iliad fame), then to Nafplio for afternoon, o'night, next day to explore!, then afternoon to EPIDAURUS (famous theatre!) then back to Athens. Costs just €130 in tourist hotel & if u go on Apr 18, all sites are FREE - it's National Monuments Day April. Here's the info to explore this option:
    TOUR -- http://www.chatours.gr/sub_cat_page.asp#9 (CHAT is excellent company)
    SITE INFO -- http://www.visitnafplio.com/visitnafplio.com/Home.html (check its video of a walk thru Nafplio on a sunny February)
    BEAUTY GALORE - Slideshow of Nafplio & nearby ancient sites (the seafront has best sunsets in Greece IMHO) ... http://travel.webshots.com/slideshow/551991579dJbWvh

    A MINI-ISLE EXPERIENCE -- Metro To Piraeus, take an open-deck ferry (NOT a hydrofoil; they are enclosed) for 1 hour, to AEGINA. http://www.aeginagreece.com/ This is crowded on Weekends with Athenians, but very serene mid-week. Explore town, take bus or taxi inland to a fab monastery and the BEST-preserved temple in Greece (Temp of Aphaia), then hike downhill to beach, Ag. Marina, have lunch... back to main town, take a sunset ferry back to Piraeus. If you want to stay o'nite, just do walk ups to HOtel Artemis, Electra, Pavlou,Brown. Here's a friend's photo-sequence of daytrip to Aegina http://www.flickr.com/photos/36264706@N03/sets/72157621604646139/detail/

    ANOTHER DAY by SEA - bus down the coast to famous Temple of SOUNION, for the sunset.

    A FEASIBLE SCENARIO For YOU
    Apr 14 -- Arrive, orientation walk around ATHENS
    Apr 15 -- Up Early! Acropolis in AM , Acropolis museum 1-3, nice place for sunset
    Apr 16 -- AM: more sights? Noon bus to DELPHI, 3-5 lower site, stay o'nite DELPHI
    Apr 17 -- Delphi 8 - 11, noonish bus, back by 3, "down time" ..
    Apr 18 - 19 -- 2 Day tour to ARGOLID, o'nite in NAFPLIO, back to ATH hotel eve of 19th.
    NOTE: you could do a 2-3 day trip to Santorini here, fly bpth ways about €200...

    Apr 20 - 21... Dealer's Choice! A 1-day visit to Aegina (or stay overnight?)
    April 22 - Companion Departs -- you go to Corinth? Climb to Acrocorinth? Whew!
    Apr 23 -- Good Friday; be aware, most sightseeing stuff closes 12 noon. Have a plan
    Apr 24 -- Departure

    HOTEL NOTE: This kind of approach involves leaving one's Athens hotel for a night then coming back ... Hotels are accustomed to this due to the many bus-tours ... No penalty, you just have to set it up beforehand. Your room may change, but u just leave your big bag in their luggage room & just take a small bag to Delphi, e.g.

    A LAST NOTE: if u want to discuss, we're both in PA; click my name & contact me.

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