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Help with Greece mainland itinerary

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Hi - We are going to Greece in the last two weeks of August. My 9 year old daughter has been studying ancient greeks this year in school, so we want to go see some of the sites, as well as have a bit of chill out on an island. For the island part, we are planning to stay on Naxos for the second week before heading home, so we are set there.

We tend to be more slow travellers than people who need to rush around and see and do everything, but that said, we would like to do some touring around on the first leg of this trip. That's the bit I'm having difficulty with - figuring out an itinerary for the mainland to see some sites before we head off to Naxos - so I'd like to ask some of the more experienced Greece experts out there for suggestions.

Right now, the plan is to spend 2-3 days in Athens and then head up to Delphi. The question is, what do we do after that? Meteora is supposed to be amazing, but really far away. I've also read that Nafplio and the surrounding area is also great, but it's in a very different area. If we go to Nafplio, I also thought it might be fun for her to go to Olympia (seeing as we live in London and it's the Olympics this year) but that seems a long trek for a day trip from Nafplio.

I would be really grateful for any suggestions or recommendations for the itinerary and also if you have any hotel/restaurant recommendations... We have about a week for the first leg of our trip, which would include the days in Athens.

One thought would be when we leave Athens, we drive to Delphi in the afternoon, spend the night there, visit Delphi in the morning before it gets too hot, then do the long four hour drive to Nafplion, stay there and do Epidaurus and Mycenae one day, spend the night then drive to OIympia, stay there one night, drive back to Nafplio, spend the night then head back to Athens...

Are there any good places to stop along the way between Delphi and Nafplion, to break up the drive?

Going out to Olympia seems like a long drive so it may be out of our way, and we just skip it... or is it such an amazing place we have to see it? Your thoughts?

If we don't do the drive to Olympia, are there any other sites near Nafplio that we could visit as a day trip? Maybe some more minor archeological sites that are still interesting? Is Tripoli interesting, or Megalopolis (they both sound like big, busy, hot cities)? Or Sparta? Or do we just go to a nice beach nearby and relax for a day?

Should we go to Nafplion first, and then head up to Delphi? Delphi is a priority for us...

Should we rent a car and drive ourselves? I've heard it can be difficult to drive around due to signage and poor roads. Would it be better to try to find a driver or take a tour? In some ways, we'd like to not have the stress of driving ourselves, but my concern about the tours (at least the ones I've seen advertised on the net) is that they tend to be too rushed and pack too many things into too many days. However, a driver sounds expensive!

Finally, when we get back to Athens to get the ferry to Naxos - Should we spend the night there (or in Piraeus) and get a ferry in the morning, or is there a night ferry to Naxos?

Many many thanks in advance for your help and recommendations.

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