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ATH to Nafplio--Some logistical ponderings

ATH to Nafplio--Some logistical ponderings

Nov 1st, 2018, 09:29 AM
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ATH to Nafplio--Some logistical ponderings

Before I can get into my nitty-gritty trip planning, I need to sort out the start and finish of the trip so I know how many days I have to work with.
Late May, 10-night trip, in and out of ATH. We arrive and depart at 1pm. Strong leaning at this point is for the trip to encompass the Peloponnese. We've done very well with driving trips the last few years. DH does the driving, and we feel safe in picking up the car at the airport if we limit the drive to about an hour. That is preferable to doing a bus into the city and then a long bus ride.
Seems like Nafplio would be best place to start, but a two-hour drive upon arrival is outside the comfort zone. Can anyone recommend a special stop an hour away from Athens? Or, given those parameters, how would you structure it? For example, start with a night in Athens and then pick up car the next day (kind of dread the back and forth to the airport)? I also kind of worry that if we save Athens for last (just a night or two), we might end up skipping it (I tend to favor nature and villages, and I expect this trip to be no different). With our afternoon departure time, how far of a drive would you be comfortable doing that day? (or do you recommend instead returning the car a day or two before and ending in Athens)?
Thanks for helping me sort through this!
yorkshire is offline  
Nov 1st, 2018, 10:25 AM
Join Date: Mar 2013
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You may check Loutraki Visit Greece | Loutraki
or the small beach resorts of Kineta or Ayi Theodori
neckervd is offline  
Nov 1st, 2018, 10:27 AM
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You don't have to return to airport to pick up the rental car. We stayed at this hotel near the Parthenon and the museum. https://www.herodion.gr/en. A street with several rental car agencies was a quick walk nearby. If you stay one night and pick up the car next day mid day you can do a lot in Athens in 24 hours. Note at least when we were there a few years ago Greece was one of those countries that insists you have International Drivers Permit and the rental agency required we show it.
laurie_ann is offline  
Nov 1st, 2018, 10:33 AM
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I'll check that out neckervd.
Laurie_ann, did you find driving out of the city more difficult than driving away from the airport? That would be my only concern.
yorkshire is offline  
Nov 1st, 2018, 10:56 AM
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We could be more helpful if you'd share more. Do you hope for any island visits on this trip? Have you been to Greece before & plan to return? I see u are from UK, which is a far different matter from coming from N. America or Australia. It might change advice markedly.

• First, with only 10 days, you want to be travel-efficient. You waste a lot of time being in Athens first night AND last night.... necessary if exhausted by 24+ hr travel from California or Oz, but lucky you, your flight is only 3 hours. You'll be at airport curb by 3pm (1500) latest, so yes, get your car. May daylight is loooong so I'd see no problem in a straight-shoot to Nafplio (2.5 hrs on Greece's Most modern highway, not even a brake-tap until after Corinth Canal). However, if you do insist on a Shorter drive, there's no very fascinating place to stop. Another brit has recommended this place, on a pebble beach on the Gulf of corinth just 45 minutes from ATH airport, https://www.cokkinishotel.com/en/ -- it's not near anything, so your options are limited to having a swim, dinner & an early night. Up to you.
• DAY 2 -3-4 -- given an early start, you can stop at Isthmus to check out the Corinth Canal on the Old Bridge... then go on about 15 KM, and jump off on N. Side of Biggie Highway to enjoy NEMEA -- the "runner-up Games site" to Olympia. On S. Side of highway, continue to Nafplio & still be there by early afternoon plenty of time to explore Old Town, enjoy seafront sunset. Next couple of days, visits to ancient sites, do beaches etc..
• DAY 5-6 -- Dependng on how much driving you want to do & your interests could venture to Mystra, Monemvasia etc. Cannot advise without more input
• Day 7 - Whatever your itinerary, try to be at Airport by 2 pm to return car, then taxi or x95 bus to central Athens hotel. You could do Acropolis frm 5-7:30, and avoid the big tour group crowds & get good late-day photos.
• DAY 8 - 9 - Athens sightseeing.
• Day 10 - You're required to be in line at Airline by 11 AM for intenational flights, so Day 10 is just a good breakfast & check out of hotel
travelerjan is offline  
Nov 1st, 2018, 11:13 AM
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Thanks travelerjan, your posts have helped me dream over the years, and now the first trip to Greece is finally happening. The name is a red herring, I am actually coming from the US east coast. Hence the reluctance to go much more than an hour drive on arrival. My husband did an hour and a half drive this year with a similar schedule, so I'll talk about that with him.
The Peloponnese seems to have all we would desire--ancient history and ample nature, so I am thinking mainland only, unless my husband talks me into islands, which would make for an entirely different trip. It's probably too early for me to be planning this, but I am all about maximizing time, so that's why I am scoping out the transport logistics now. Getting that first and last night nailed down helps considerably.
Depending on if we do one or two nights in Athens, I aim to have only two or three other bases--three three-nighters would be our typical pace.
I need to do a lot of research, but I'll be back!
Just one thing for now: for a 1:30 departure, if I was dropping the car off at the airport before the flight, what time would you recommend getting to the airport, considering we are transiting through Germany, carry-on only, with phone boarding pass? I'm trying to work backward now, in case Athens the first night could work and we could come from afar (about a couple hours) the last morning.
yorkshire is offline  
Nov 1st, 2018, 11:25 AM
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We didn't drive to or from the airport in Athens. We returned the car at same location and stayed one more night in Athens before an early flight. But if you look on the map you will see that the airport is the opposite direction from the city as is Napflio. You might even have to drive through the city on the way from the airport. I am not sure. As for type of driving, we live in Chicago and it reminded me of picking up car on Lake Shore Drive and driving up to Wisconsin. Not too bad.
laurie_ann is offline  
Nov 1st, 2018, 01:52 PM
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I can understand why you don't wish to drive very much after a long overnight flight. Staying the first night in Athens and getting an early start the next morning may be a good idea.

If you are visiting the Peloponnese you really don't need to go to an island, as there are many beautiful seaside towns with an island-like atmosphere. For a second base you could pick somewhere along the south coast, e.g. the Kalamata area, where you can see the huge but little visited archeological site at Ancient Messene. Nearby are the beautiful seaside towns of Pilos, Methoni, and Koroni. Another option for a second base might be Monemvasia, but I'm not familiar with that area.

If you really must visit an island you can take a day trip to Hydra while you are at Nafplio (from the ports of Ermione or Porto Heli).
Heimdall is online now  
Nov 1st, 2018, 01:59 PM
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Just what I am thinking Heimdall, just want to avoid a first and a last night in Athens if I can.
I've read a bit about the Mani area, and that sounds right up our alley.
yorkshire is offline  
Nov 1st, 2018, 04:04 PM
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Late May is glorious in that part of Greece, and the Peloponnese holds many delights.

I’ll add my voice to those saying to wait before picking up a rental car: Although many people are not aware of it, there is mounting evidence that driving with jet lag is just as dangerous -- to yourself and others -- as driving drunk, and nothing you can do will prevent the microsleeps (which you might not even notice) that are the apparent culprit. Seriously -- NOT a good idea, no matter your other constraints, no matter your prior experience, and (just like drinking) no matter if you are only going to drive for an hour or so! And please be patient with me if you think I’m being overly adamant, but I know too many people who have died or been seriously injured in accidents to which jet lag was a contributing factor, and I know too many people who will spend the rest of their lives dealing with the knowledge that they were responsible for accidents that resulted in multiple deaths, including those of children, all because they were too confident in their ability to drive safely with jet lag. The issue has become a bit of a cause célèbre for me….

And as others have noted, there is no reason to go back to the airport to pick up the car: There are many places from which you can rent a car on the outskirts of Athens, places you can reach by taxi or, in some cases, public transportation. You could then return it to the airport, assuming the timing works out. And I’m pretty sure (but not positive) that you could reach the airport from the Peloponesse without driving through Athens.

I know you haven’t started planning the “core” of your trip, but you might find some useful information in my trip report:
With Gratitude for a Glorious Solo Month in Greece

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Nov 1st, 2018, 04:13 PM
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Santorini, Athens, Delfoi, Meteora, Nafpaktos, Nafplio... here we go.

Have a little read.........the driving section may help. Good luck.
aussiedreamer is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2018, 12:21 AM
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If you don't want to spend the first night in central Athens, there are several options near the airport. The most expensive is Sofitel, just across the street from the terminal and next to the metro station for trains to Athens. You could check into your hotel room, then hop on the metro for an afternoon in Athens without worry about driving. Next morning go to airport car rentals and drive to Nafplio.

There are cheaper options near the airport, including Peri's Hotel, which will pick you up and drop you back at the terminal or car rental. I also like staying in Rafina, a small ferry port 30 minutes from the airport. It's in the wrong direction for Nafplio, but that shouldn't make much difference if you are going back to the airport for the rental car anyway. Check out Hotel Avra, which has nice views of the harbour.
Heimdall is online now  
Nov 2nd, 2018, 02:01 AM
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Rafina is fine, if you continue by ferry to Andros, Tinos, Mykonos or by catamaran to other Islands.
The place itself is hardly more exciting than Kineta or Loutraki.
neckervd is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2018, 09:45 AM
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If you return car to airport you will NOT have to go through athens -- you use same road as when leaving. This fab online map (clic & it gets huuge) http://euro-map.com/karty-grecii/pel...eloponnesa.jpg Shows road all way from airport + all of Pelopponese, every single road PLUS terrain, makes it clear where valleys are + hilly/mountain terrain.

If you are planning to include the far side of Pelopponese, its just me, but instead of Mani and those everylasting deserted family-feud towers, I've preferred a stop at ANcient Messine & then a swoop along the southwest coast -- Pilos, and my dream secret haven, Gialova (an almost-undeveloped 5-mile sandy beach w. aquamarine water, to DIE for!) , Nestor's castle, Navarino Bay, with its ruined castles, wildlife sanctuary etc. Your choice!
travelerjan is offline  
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