Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page > Amalfi Coast / Greek Isles Itinerary
Notices

Amalfi Coast / Greek Isles Itinerary

Reply

Jul 21st, 2015, 08:10 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 551
Amalfi Coast / Greek Isles Itinerary

We are in our 60's and are contemplating a trip with our 25 y/o daughter to the Amalfi Coast of Italy combined with Santorini, Greece + Crete ( and Athens, late May - mid June (approx. 15 nights). This is a rough itinerary. I've not yet studied up on Ferry schedules nor our local flights but would love to know any suggestions about this. We are mid-range budget people (3 - 4 star hotels)

Fly LAX to Naples
3 nights in Sorrento (visit Pompeii, Capri)
Private guide transfer by road to Positano.
2 nights Positano
Boat to Salerno, fast train to Rome
2 nights Rome
Fly FCO to either Santorini or Crete (what airlines fly this route??)
3 nights Santorini then ferry to Crete or vice versa (What do I need to know about using the ferries?)
Fly from Crete (or Santorini) to Athens
2 nights Athens, then fly home.
LeslieC is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 21st, 2015, 08:12 PM
  #2
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 551
Sorry, I forgot the 3 nights in Crete (with a rental car) before flying to Athens!
LeslieC is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 22nd, 2015, 12:01 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
Volotea has a seasonal summer flight from Naples to Santorini, so you might want to check out if they are doing in next season. I think if it was me, I would fly from LAX to Naples and get a car service to pick me up and take me directly to Positano. You can see Capri as a day trip from there. Then I would spend 2 nights in Naples, to see Pompei and the archeological museum in Naples, and fly out. If Naples doesn't sound like your kind of place, then Sorrento could substitute.

If you also want to go to Rome, you can find out what airlines fly into Santorini and Crete by looking at the websites for those airports.
sandralist is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 22nd, 2015, 01:13 AM
  #4
WWK
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 1,582
Some flights to the Greek islands from Italy only operate seasonally starting about mid June. Check Olympic/Aegean, Alitalia, and Easyjet.
WWK is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 22nd, 2015, 08:29 AM
  #5
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 551
Thanks for those tips. I was trying to be in and out of Santorini before mid June to avoid the worst of the crowds.
LeslieC is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 22nd, 2015, 09:23 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,893
LeslieC, Crete is a huge island, and takes some time to explore. Counting the nights you've listed for your other destinations, it looks like you have only a few left to spare. Perhaps you should consider a smaller island on the way back to Athens from Santorini. Naxos would be a good choice — it has a great mixture of sandy beaches, inland mountain villages, and a beautiful chora (main town) topped by a Venetian castle.

Ferries are not a problem in early June, as you can wait until arrival in Greece to buy the tickets. The best ferries are large conventional vessels as opposed to smaller highspeed catamarans. From Santorini to Naxos sail the modern Blue Star ferries, which have open decks from which to view the scenery. Santorini to Naxos on Blue Star takes only about 2 hrs.
Heimdall is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 22nd, 2015, 10:20 AM
  #7
WWK
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 1,582
I agree w/Heimdall that Naxos or my current favorite, Paros, would be an excellent destination for you on the way back to Athens from Santorini. Both are much smaller than Crete and have excellent beaches and fewer tourists/crowds, especially end of May/early June.

Whatever you do, keep in mind that planes to and from the islands to Athens are very small and book up fast. So keep an eye on when they become available for booking. I think I booked my flights for this summer's trip to Greece last January.
WWK is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 22nd, 2015, 10:39 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,893
If you can't find a direct flight from Italy to Santorini, look for connecting flights via Athens. Aegean Airlines has flights to Athens from some airports in Italy, and several daily flights from Athens to Santorini. The Aegean flights are Airbus A320 series regional jets.

Olympic Air has flights from Athens to Naxos and Paros on small Dash 8-100 turboprops. Best option is to fly to Santorini first, take a ferry to Naxos or Paros, then you have a choice of flight or ferry back to Athens.
Heimdall is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 22nd, 2015, 06:28 PM
  #9
WWK
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 1,582
Just a note of caution about Paros: We had our outbound plane back to Athens cancelled in late March even though I had booked way ahead in January. We had to catch a ferry to nearby Naxos and fly to Athens from there.

Apparently a proposed runway expansion in Paros was delayed/not happening, which meant larger planes accommodating more passengers couldn't fly or land there.

Just something to keep in mind as you are planning.
WWK is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 22nd, 2015, 11:36 PM
  #10
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 551
But I want to go to Crete, not Naxos. Why is 3 days in Crete with a car not enough? I want the history that Crete offers. I also do not want long ferry journeys back to Athens, I want to fly back to Athens. One ferry journey (Santorini to Crete) will be enough for me.

Thanks all for the flight and ferry information.
LeslieC is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 23rd, 2015, 12:27 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,297
Crete is a huge island, 3 days, even with a rental car won't give you enough time to see the island.

However if you set your priorities, you can see the highlights, if you concentrate on one area.

I fyou take the boat from Santorini, you will be arriving in Heraklion.

You could do a small tour that could be like this :
Since you will arriving late in Heraklion, you would only have time to walk around in the old city and overnight in HER

1. day
drive to the south with an overnight in Matala or Agia Galini ( Phaistos/Gortys/Matala beach) -

2. day
Rethymno ( Armeni Minoan cemetery - Arkadi monastery- Margarites village) overnight in Retymno

3. day
Chania ( Aptera, Kournas Lake, old city of Chania)

overnight in Chania

Fly to Athens from Chania
clausar is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 23rd, 2015, 07:58 AM
  #12
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 551
Thank you. I wasn't hoping to see all of Crete as we don't want to stay in a different hotel every night and I do appreciate it is much larger. Rhodes was an alternative in my mind but I thought the ferry between Santorini and Rhodes might be too long. For Crete, my focus was just Heraklion and Chania. Good to know the ferry comes in at Heraklion and flights available from Chania back to Athens. Based on the ferry arrival time in Heraklion it sounds like we'd need to stay there overnight and then have two nights Chania. Is there any logic to reversing the order of the islands: flying from Rome to Crete first and then ferry to Santorini, then flying to Athens, perhaps to have more daytlight on Crete?
LeslieC is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 23rd, 2015, 01:32 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,297
If you can reverse the order, then fly to Chania, so you can get back from Heraklion to Santorini, without having to backtrack
The departure from Heraklion is either at 8:30 or 9:30 hrs with arrival approximately 2 hours later in Santorini, you would have to spend your last day and night in HER.

Both Knosos and the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion have extended opening hours and close daily at 20:00 hrs.

2 nights in Chania would give you sometime to see more of this beautiful city, and perhaps visit the archaeological site of Aptera, or the Monasteries of the Akrotiri Peninsula .
clausar is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 23rd, 2015, 01:42 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,439
Indeed do fly into Chania. You can easily spend your two days getting lost in the back alleys of the old town and harbour. On the way to Heraklion you can stop at Ancient Aptera and then Rethymnon to visit the Fortezza.
Give yourself enough time in the late afternoon to explore Heraklion harbour and perhaps Knossos.
Here is what you will see.
Chania http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7632117917828/
Chania 2015 https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr...57655164548880

Western Crete http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7632115757899/
Rethymnon https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr...57654700502270
Heraklion https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr...57655935354556
and just for fun Sorrento
Sorrento http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7634654031558/
stanbr is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 23rd, 2015, 04:12 PM
  #15
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
Clausar,

I have a chance to fly to Chania for less than a week, and I am wondering if I should stay there the whole time or if I should go to a different area of Crete. The only reason I would go to Crete is to get some feeling for the culture of Crete. Not interested in hiking the gorge or beach lounging. Don't mind if not everything is super-picturesque (I live in a super-picturesque, colorful antique Italian fishing town). Is Chania a good place to get a sense of what makes Crete tick today, and why it is different from the mainland of Greece? Would probably be going in September.

Sorry LeslieC -- hope you don't mind this hijack!
sandralist is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 23rd, 2015, 11:47 PM
  #16
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 551
No problem Stanbr, Incredible photos!!!
LeslieC is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 24th, 2015, 06:31 AM
  #17
WWK
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 1,582
LeslieC,

My husband reminded me that during a very short ( 9 day) whirlwind tour of Greece several years ago, we spent 3 days in Chania, then flew home to Athens. I have great memories of that trip and absolutely loved Chania. If that's all you have to spare and where you want to go, do it.
WWK is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 24th, 2015, 02:56 PM
  #18
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,297
Sandra,

My two favourite cities in Crete are Chania and Rethymno, with Rethymno being on the top of my list.
Both are real cities, vibrant with a larger permanent population, and both are University cities..
Of course they attract many tourists, but you can still experience the true Crete if you interact with locals,
Cretans are extremely friendly, Cretan hospitality is famous in Greece and Cretan food is excellent too ( even has a venetian touch ).

Crete is a very touristy island, Heraklion airport is the number one airport in arrivals in Greece, but it still has undiscovered spots...
clausar is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 24th, 2015, 03:47 PM
  #19
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
Okay, thanks for your insight! I will also check out the logistics of seeing Rethymno. I have eaten what purported to be Cretan food in Athens, and liked it very much (better than anything I've eaten in Venice, actually) and would look forward to the real deal. I generally have found wine from Crete to be some of the nicest I have tasted from Greece. So hoping the flights work out to be easy, since we've always wanted to go.
sandralist is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 24th, 2015, 03:54 PM
  #20
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,297
Sandra
Rethymno is just 60 km away from Chania, and easy to reach with a Ktel bus.
What I love the most are all the little villages that are between Rethymno and the south side of the Rethymno prefecture, few of them have preserved their venetian architecture......
Get away from all the touristy restaurants of the harbor of both Chania and Rethymno to discover real Cretan cuisine..
There are very few good Cretan restaurants in Athens....
clausar is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:46 PM.