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13 Nights Greece, first time, April 2018. HELP

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Oct 18th, 2017, 02:16 PM
  #1
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13 Nights Greece, first time, April 2018. HELP

So my lovely DH surprised me with an early b'day/Christmas present gift, flights to Athens via Dubai from Brisbane departing March 29.

Greece has been on our ever expanding bucket list for years, so he thought if he just booked the flights we could go from there. So exciting, but also a little confusing. As I've never really spent anytime researching Greece I'm a bit flummoxed as to where to start. I do know, it will be cool, but that's ok, we are treating it as a 'taster', and we aren't really beach people, more exploring and enjoying local cuisine.

We will have 13 nights and 12 full days, arriving and departing from Athens, he would love to have a car and explore for a couple of days outside of the city. Then I'm guessing our must see's for a first visit will be Mykonos and Santorini? At this stage I have a travel brochure for some ideas and this forum. I'd love to hear from the Greece 'frequent travelers/locals' what you would do.

I need to get onto this as we are away for December and want to get a bit of an idea of what I need to book and if this time of the year will restrict us much.

thanks as always.
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Oct 18th, 2017, 03:15 PM
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It all depends on what you want! Santorini is beautiful and has Akrotiri, but also gets so many tourists that I found much of my very limited time there surprisingly unpleasant. Mykonos, too, can be overrun with tourists.

I would recommend the Michelin Green Guide and Rough Guide, and you might find some useful information in my long, but searchable, trip report:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-in-greece.cfm

Nice present! I'm sure you'll find much to enjoy.
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Oct 18th, 2017, 05:35 PM
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We have been in Greece twice in April and it was definitely NOT beach weather either time. Have you looked into the Peloponnese? Nafplio is charming and there are many amazing historical sights within an hour's drive: Epidaurus, Tiryns, Mycenae, Corinth and Acrocorinth (a little further), Nemea (also a little big further), and more small sights than you can believe! You could navigate around the peninsula seeing things along the way (Monemvasia, Mystras, Ancient Messene, Pylos, Bassae). Or you could cut across straight to Ancient Olympia. If you did that, you could next go north to Delphi on your way back to Athens. In any case, just wanted to toss out some mainland ideas given the time of year .
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Oct 18th, 2017, 05:53 PM
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Start with a current guidebook. Also use the tripadvisor website to check "things to do" for any city or island. The weather will be cold and cloudy with rain a distinct possibility. Plan your activities accordingly and have a back-up "Plan B" for each stop you make. Greek Easter is April 8 so you will need to make sure you have confirmed reservations for car rentals, ferry and plane tickets and hotels. That is the busiest weekend of the year.
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Oct 19th, 2017, 02:56 AM
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Crete, being southerly, will be just on the edge of beach weather at the start of April. The wild flowers, especially the poppies, will be coming into bloom and the local goats will be frisky on the hills. As a large island it has more going for it than just tourism. It also has air service from Athens.
PS: A stop-over of a couple of days in Dubai, going or coming, is worth the experience and is easily arranged with some transcontinental airlines.
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Oct 19th, 2017, 03:55 AM
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Santorini & Mykonos are two of the most popular, but heavily touristed and expensive Greek Islands. Depending on what you are looking for you may be OK with that . . . however there are numerous other islands and many parts of the mainland that could provide you with a better experience.

Still if you are going to Santorini/Mykonos in April then it shouldn't be as crowded and maybe a little less expensive.

Still I would start doing more research by using guidebooks, websites and asking more questions on travel forums.

Two of my favorite guide books are The Blue Guide to the Aegean Islands and Greek Island Hopping with the Blue Guide being the better of the two guides.

Check out Matt's Greek Guide for excellent help. It may be overwhelming with info but you'll have fund researching.

http://www.greecetravel.com/
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Oct 19th, 2017, 05:34 AM
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Mykonos and Santorini are popular because so many people love what they have to offer, but they won't be crowded in early April. Santorini has some wonderful Easter celebrations, particularly in the village of Pyrgos:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0F1EtGN0Lio

That said, I agree with TexasAggie that you should plan some time in the Peloponnese, which is rich in historic sights and is a year-round destination. Frankly I would get bored on Mykonos in early April, because it will be very quiet except for Greeks who come to celebrate Easter with their families. Most of the shops and clubs will still be closed, but of course there will be places open for islanders to buy groceries and other necessities.

Pay no attention to what crazyh writes — he only goes to Greece off-season, and most of what he contributes is taken from what he reads on TripAdvisor, Matt Barrett, and the guidebooks, often getting things out of context.
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Oct 19th, 2017, 07:13 AM
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Heimdall: Spoken like a true know-it-all.

By the way I have gone to Greece every October (islands & mainland) since 2010, more than some less than others . . . so I do have an idea of what I'm talking about.

I never insult you, criticize you or say you are wrong or right . . . at least have the same courtesy!
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Oct 19th, 2017, 08:58 AM
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Sorry, crazyh, but when you made a list on another thread of your "favorite islands", half of which you have never even been to, that says it all. Frankly I find that insulting, not to say dishonest.
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Oct 19th, 2017, 09:53 AM
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Any chance you can change your flight dates to end of May/early June or are they set in stone? If you can't, take Heimdall and TexasAggie's advice. The islands will be quiet, possibly boring, and very doubtful that you'll be able to swim at that time, which is a shame.

I suggest looking into Nafplion, if you haven't already, as discussed above. We loved it there, and plenty to do that's not so weather dependent. It's about a 2 hour drive on the highway from Athens. I know there's a bus, too, from Athens, but that may be seasonal? Only in the summer?
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Oct 19th, 2017, 10:14 AM
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What I post on another forum has no bearing on this forum. I will never mislead anyone intentionally.

You also criticize me for using Trip Advisor which you use on a regular basis to post and I also use your posts as a reference. So apparently your posts on TA are useless.

I have no problem when someone has a different opinion than me but I do have a problem with insults.

From now on just ignore what I post just like I'll ignore what you post whether it's on Fodors or Trip Advisor even though you criticize me using it but you use it regularly.
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Oct 19th, 2017, 03:12 PM
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Thank you all for your great input, its helped immensely.

No, we can't change flights, its more about timing it with work and 'life' in general. Swimming would be lovely but we are realists, thats not what this is about.

So far, from reading all the above......yet to investigate in detail..... maybe time in Athens and a few days driving further afield, then fly to Crete. I would love to see Santorini seems so iconic and it may help us make up our minds re a return visit.

Dh loves to drive and has done so all over Europe, he also has a real thing for Bridges & I quote, "really old stuff". ;-) So he would love to drive across the Charilaos Trikoupis Bridge and also head to Olympia and other suggestions made by texasaggie.

We did know about Greek Easter, a friend who is Cyprian has suggested we would enjoy an Easter service. Neither of us are religious, although I came from a very serious religious family and I do enjoy and appreciate the ceremony/celebration.
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Oct 19th, 2017, 05:16 PM
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Do come back once you've done some research. And if you are thinking Athens, the Peloponnese, and Crete, consider the order: to Crete ASAP, then the Peloponnese, ending in Athens. But it will depend on what you end up trying to see / do.
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Oct 19th, 2017, 05:49 PM
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Thanks kja........but does this not count as 'research'? I'm getting some great help and suggestions.
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Oct 19th, 2017, 06:01 PM
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That's a matter of opinion! I think one can get some great info from Fodorites, but, personally, I would never plan a trip without studying some good guidebooks. IME, people's interests and preferences vary greatly (as they should!), so if I want to plan a trip that suits MY interests, I want to know what my options are, independent of whether others loved them, hated them, or didn't include them.
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Oct 19th, 2017, 06:29 PM
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Aussie, what you get here are each person's individual experience -- so no, this is does not count as research, this is sampling, and tip-gathering. And just roaming the INternet is not that reliable as research either if it is your only rference -- websites want to attract, so they will show you beautiful photos, and never mention a down side (such as the place being totally DEAD outside of May-September, or is an island with few notable sights and not much to do outside of Beach Season). That's why Travel Guides are a useful reality check, they have to be more straightforward, noting highlights but ALSO downsides -- if they don't, in the long run readers will shun them.

Run to your library and get a couple of Travel Guides -- EYEWITNESS: the Greek Islands will give a pictorial overview, Lonely Planet is good on Logistics, and ROUGH GUIDE to GREECE is the best, overall. I would agree with KJA that a good sequence would be: upon arrival, fly immediately to Crete (Chania), rent a car there, spend bout 5 days, ferry to Sntorini for 2 days, fly back to Ath airpot, rent car, go to Lovely Nafplio on the Peloponnese & spend 4+ days in that area (SO much to see/do ANY month of hte year!), and then spend final days in Athens.

This superb NONcommercial NAFPLIO website is created by a Norwegian expat; http://www.visitnafplio.com tells & shows ALL -- cllick on EVERY link. It's totally reliable Plus see this Fab Nafplio photo album https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr...21576320941089 incl. surrounding "argolid" area. With car, enroute TO Nafplio you can detour 10 minutes off the highway to amazing NEMEA "Sacred Games Site", runner-up to Olympia, . It has been restored, and has competitions every 4 years, its stadium is thrilling to visit http://nemeangames.org

NAFPLIO is considered THE most beautiful Old Town in all of Greece, and #2 is CHANIA in Crete. This album shows its beauty & history --https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632117917828. Also, since Easter is April 1, Chania could be a lovely place to celebrate it. To get ferry to SANTORINI, u will need to go to HERAKLION ... So early in the year the ferries won't be daily, altho you might be lucky and there will be some the week after easter.

SANTORINI is all about the view so get a hotel near or on the Caldera rim and stay a couple of nights. You can fly back to mainland in 45 mins vs 8-9 hours on the ferry. AND your flights (this one & to Crete) will be cheaper than ferries, if you sign up for the Aegean/Olympic Air "newsletter" (actually an e-mail alert) that alerts you to "promotional price" tickets: https://en.aegeanair.com/newsletter/?email= & here's the site to book tickets. https://en.aegeanair.com/plan/book-a-flight/ TIP - when u see a good price - POUNCE!! these half-price tix dont last long. And they are selling Spring tickets right now.
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Oct 19th, 2017, 09:33 PM
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great info thanks.
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Oct 20th, 2017, 04:58 PM
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loving all these detailed suggestions, certainly a great starting point (not our first time traveling......my "research" comment was tongue in cheek ;-) ) Travel books ordered, google maps working overtime. We think we'll plan where we want to be for Easter and work around that, so any suggestions re a great spot to spend a few days over Easter would be great.

AD
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Oct 20th, 2017, 05:18 PM
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Chania for Easter. All the best places to stay are on Theotokopoulu Street or just off it (runs parallel to harbor on West side of Old Town) and mostly family owned & run, and when u book you can inquire about best way for visitors to attend/observe services & celebrations & where to have Easter dinner ... they'll steer u right, and maybe you'll even get an invite!
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Oct 21st, 2017, 01:18 PM
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Just a preliminary thought......

As the flight from Australia is LONG, the thought of then getting a flight to Crete (albeit a short one) isn't very appealing.

So arrive Athens 8.30pm on a Thursday, stay for a few days, to get our bearings and catch our breath. Then get a car and hit the road for 3/4 days. Arriving in Crete Wed/thurs before the Easter weekend, spend the weekend there 3/4 days then getting a ferry to Santorini on Easter Monday, for two nights before flying back to Athens on our departure to Dubai day. Flight to Dubai 6pm.

Is it crazy to change locations on the Easter Monday?
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