Athens + Naxos + ???

Old Dec 8th, 2019, 05:19 AM
  #1  
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Athens + Naxos + ???

So, we are going back to Naxos and Athens for the fourth straight summer. We love both places. We are a couple with 2 boys (9 and 7).

We have ten nights. We were thinking to either just split (7-3 or 8-2 ) or do 5 nights in Naxos, 2 in Athens, and 3 somewhere else.

Kind of leaning towars spending 8 nights in Naxos and taking boat trips here and there, maybe do some hiking and biking. The past three years we just spend four days on the beach in Naxos, which was lovely, but with the 2 small boys and no car, it was hard to think of other things. Realize we might run in to trouble with the winds for small boat trips.

As for the somewhere else, we've done Antiparos, Paros, and Santorini and it's not necessary to go back. Any ideas? Would it be too much work to try another island? What about mainland Greece? Thessaloniki (and Halkidiki?)

BTW - thanks to those who responded to my thread about getting to Naxos from Athens! My hisband agreed to take the boat directly from Piraeus on the day we land. We love Athens but prefer exploring on or way back
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Old Dec 8th, 2019, 08:03 AM
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You may try Andros or Tinos, along the ferry route from Naxos to Rafina. Frequent buses from Rafina to Athens airport as well as to Athens.
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Old Dec 8th, 2019, 11:26 AM
  #3  
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Have you been to lovely Nafplio?
If you haven't already seen it, you might find some ideas in my trip report:
With Gratitude for a Glorious Solo Month in Greece
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Old Dec 8th, 2019, 11:30 AM
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Thanks - these are exactly the types of tips I wanted.

Is Napflio doable as a daytrip from athens using public transportation?

Love the idea of going to Naxos through Piraeus and returning through Rafina!
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Old Dec 8th, 2019, 11:35 AM
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Wow, the more I research Nafplio, the more I think it is worth a few days! How to fit it in?
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Old Dec 8th, 2019, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by OverIt View Post
Is Napflio doable as a daytrip from athens using public transportation?
If you check rome2rio.com, you'll see it's about 2 hours each way. For me, that's too far for a day trip; YMMV. And Nafplio has more than enough to offer to keep people busy for several days -- it doesn't seem to me to be day-trip material. Again, YMMV.
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Old Dec 8th, 2019, 11:38 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by OverIt View Post
Wow, the more I research Nafplio, the more I think it is worth a few days! How to fit it in?
We were posting at the same time!
IMO, it would only fit if you cut your time in Naxos or just wanted to give Nafplio a couple of days to get a sense of it.
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Old Dec 8th, 2019, 12:05 PM
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I would be fine doing 5 nights in Naxos, three in Nafplio, and two in Athens.
How would that work though? My husband will throw a tantrum if we don't head straight to Naxos!
So we would take a boat then from Naxos to Rafina and then a bus or something to Nafplio? Spend about one day in transit.
Then take a bus from Nafplio to Athens?

Aug 29 Leave Boston
Aug 30 Arrive Athens at 2 PM. Ferry to Naxos
Aug 31 Naxos
Sep 1 Naxos
Sep 2 Naxos
Sep 3 Naxos --> Rafina --> Nafplio.
Sep 4 Nafplio
Sep 5 Nafplio
Sep 6 Nafplio --> Athens
Sep 7 Athens
Sep 8 Leave Athens
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Old Dec 8th, 2019, 12:18 PM
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Seems like Naxos has connections to the Dodecanese and the other islands as well (Ikaria). Might be easier than getting to Nafplio.
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Old Dec 8th, 2019, 12:44 PM
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I am intrigued by Folegandros and Kythnos (hot springs!). Could I make those work? Kythnos seems close-ish to Athens, and we love hot spring...
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Old Dec 8th, 2019, 01:03 PM
  #11  
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Or Milos? It seems like Milos might be perfect. Hot springs, good connections from Naxos and Athens....
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Old Dec 8th, 2019, 11:57 PM
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Overlt, now you seem to be planning at least three or four separate trips.

For what it’s worth, it is easier to get around the mainland than between islands, especially when you throw different island groups into the mix. Rent a car and you can drive around the Peloponnese at your own pace and see ancient sites, Byzantium villages, historic seaside towns, and beaches better than the ones on Naxos. The Argolida region around Nafplio has several major archeological sites, and Nafplio itself is said to be the most beautiful town in Greece.

The southern coast of the Peloponnese has many beautiful beaches, and it’s not as windy as the Cyclades. Speaking of the Cyclades, I’ve been to Naxos several times, but always go back to my favourite Paros and Antiparos. Although Naxos is the largest island in the Cyclades, Naxos Town, Agios Prokopios and Agia Anna, the small area where most tourists stay, gets very crowded in June through September.
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Old Dec 9th, 2019, 07:22 AM
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Unfortunately, we cannot drive. My husband does not have a license and hasn't driven in about 20 years. I hate driving and get very nervous and can't drive standard. My children get nauseous and antsy in cars and I would need another vacation after hearing them fight and whine.

We love Greece because don't have to drive. We've used public transportation and ferries to get around Naxos, Paros, and Antiparos. Nafplio sounds lovely but it seems like we would need to take a car to derive full advantage.

I'm looking into Milos right now - it seems to be about two or so hours by boat from Naxos and not soo far from Piraeus (by boat). We love hot springs.
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Old Dec 9th, 2019, 08:21 AM
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Okay, I understand. Although I can drive and own a standard transmission car, I choose not to in Greece and use public transport myself. That means a trip around the Peloponnese is out of the question for you, but it is very easy to get from Athens to Nafplio by public transport. The KTEL Argolida bus system is very good, and takes about two hours by express bus. Buses run every hour or two throughout the day:
https://www.ktelargolida.gr/en/homepage-en/

Ferries between Naxos and Milos are the very small passenger-only types, e.g. Superjet and SeaJet 2, both operated by Sea Jets Consortium. Most sailings last summer took about 5 hours depending upon route, with another late afternoon sailing taking about 2 hours, usually running well behind schedule. These two ferries are the ones everyone complains about when seas are rough.
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Old Dec 9th, 2019, 08:30 AM
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It doesn't make sense to go from Naxos to Rafina if you don't stop over somewhere along this itinerary.
Naxos - Piraeus ferries are more frequent. Metro trains from Piraeus to Athens run continuously. Trains from Piraeus to Korinthos (with 1 intermediate change) run every 30 minutes.
Buses from Athens Kifissou bus terminal to Nafplion run about every hr. Take a taxi between Piraeus boat's pier or Athens to the Kifissou bus terminal.
You need 2 days if you want to visit Nafplio, Mycenae and Epidaurus by public transport. It needs a good planning, but it's possible.
Any Athens hotel can book a guided 1day coach trip to these destinations, however.

The ferry timetables for next year are not yet published. The following connections existed in the last summers:

Naxos - Folegandros - Milos: usually daily, may be with a catamaran change at Santorini on certain days.
Naxos - Kythnos: not daily for sure. One direct slow boat weekly. More frequent catamaran connections.
Piraeus - Kythnos - Milos: more or less daily.
Kythnos - Lavrio: several boats daily. Buses from Lavrio to Athens (2 hrs or so)

Naxos - Ikaria: not daily, change at Mykonos
Naxos - Patmos - Kos: direct ferry every Saturday afternoon/evening
Patmos - Kos - Rhodos: direct ferry every Sunday morning
Naxos - Santorini (boats change) - Rhodos: 2-3 times weekly
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Old Dec 9th, 2019, 08:35 AM
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Overit , I do not drive ... and have taken the bus many times to Nafplio. It's an enjoyable 2.5 hour drive on a modern, airconditioned reserved-seat intercity (KTEL) bus, on a modern highway 2/3 of the way (ask for a seat on LEFT side for best view of the sea), then on smaller roads through rolling fertile countryside, thru olive groves and citrus orchards. Nafplio itself is almost car-free in Old Town, great for strolling... worth a day just for that! This wonderful noncommercial website - http://www.visitnafplio.com/ gives ALL details; click every link! I looove the walk around the base of the peninsula.... the town beach is stony, but has handy concrete walkway with ladders into the sea, Terrific. And kids love the "castle" aspect of Nafplio... the tower atop the town (u go up in an elevator IN the cliff), the castle in the bay, the mighty Palamidi fortress on a Gibraltar-type rock... there's a "happy-train" you can take there & back... and one of you can walk DOWN the 999 steps with the boys... I myself sit in the cafe at the foot of the stairway, & have coffee & await my stairway friends.
There used to be a local excursion that would go to both Mycenae & Epidaurus in 1 day... but no more. No matter; you can take a local bus to Epidaurus at 9 am or so, and just visit its STUNNING theatre, that's the main attraction, then get a noonish bus back. Instead of Mycenae (a biggish & lengthy visit for young ones), take a local bus for 10 mins out of town, ask driver to let you off at TIRYNS. This is a fab Iliad-era ruin, and there's almost no one there!! U can climb up it, see views, go thru its tunnnel etc, then go back to the road & Flag down any Nafplio- bound local-area bus. Another Naxophile & gifted photographer, "Stanbr" also loves & depicts Nafplio --
-- Like Naxos, it has wonderful sunsets you can enjoy in a relaxed seafront setting, not the mob-scenes of Santorini. I can suggest a number of moderate lodgings in Old Town, if you book early; best values get snapped up.

The only trick is, it can take a LOT of time to get there from Naxos. The Nafplio express bus from Athens leaves hourly on the HAlf=hour and takes 2.5 hours. If you take the 9:45 AM blue star ferry from Naxos & arrive piraus at about 3:00,you have to taxi (15?) to Kifissou Terminal for the 4:30pm (1630) bus, to arrive Nafplio at just before 19:00 (7 pm). Major snacks & chocolate bars required to pacify cranky companions! (I speak from experience!) I have not checked on availability of a ferry to Rafina, there may be one that arrives earlyier, But then you 'd need to bus/taxi to airport than get a X93? bus (70 minutes) to Kifissou. You might consider a 45-,min. flight in AM from Naxos to Airport. Then its a 70 min bus (or a 30 min taxi) to Kifiissou. That would shorten your trip considerably, but I don't know your budget.
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Old Dec 9th, 2019, 09:02 AM
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What wonderful responses - travelerjan, you've convinced me to try and focus on getting Nafplio! We are not opposed to flying from Naxos to Athens (if we book far in advance, it would not be terribly expensive). I would love to hear your suggestions about where to stay in Nafplio.

Too bad about Milos - was hoping to go to the hot spring .
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Old Dec 9th, 2019, 06:51 PM
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Save Milos for your next trip -- This (outdated but useful) ferry map The Greek Island Ferry Route and frequency Chart shows the best routes... one is down the West Cyclades... Kythnos -- Serifos ( a gem) -- Sifnos (Great for hikes!) - Milos... Or if you start at Santorini, you can link to Folegandros then Milos. You should be aware as a nondriver that Milos' public bus system is lame even in high season and worse, in Spring/Fall. For me, its best adventure is a boat trip around the rim of the island wher you see magical rock formations from its prehistoric volcano history.

As for Nafplio hotels I don't know what your budget is. you should realize that few islands have "quad" rooms ... I gather in Naxos you wer able to find something like a "Bedroom + studio" unit... so handy with kids, a kitchenette ell + table, to feed them bkfst & other times. Not as easy in Nafplio Old Town. For years I stayed up the steps at a great old hotel, now in new mgt and spoiled.. However, there are 2 pensions up there that I think have rooms for more than 2 -- Pension Nikolaos, and Pension Bonne Nuit. On the sea level, where I stayed this year and looooved is Hotel Agamemmnon, BEST locadtion in town, balconies right on the sea front, but don't if it has the right accomms for you with 2 young ones. Another place on sea level, down a lovely lane is Omorfo Poli ... a variety of rooms, convenient & quiet. A good standard Hotel, just a block off the Main Square is Hotel Victoria ... it may have tripls & bring in a cot. I suggest you use booking.com and put in your exact dates (dummy date if u are not sure yet), and see what's on offer... book or contact direct. NOTE: sometimes if y ou contact direct hotels want you to give 1 nights payment in advance, via bank transfer, which is easy & cheap from europe but a BIG DRAG from USA, very costly. I ran into tthis iwth Agamemmnon & ended up booking thru Booking.com which would take my credit card... with free cancellation privileges.
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Old Dec 9th, 2019, 07:02 PM
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Whoa! NAFPLIO rooms -- I just checked booking.com for Sept 4-5-6 (a rough idea of when u'd want to be there) nd Agamemmnon was full, so was Victoria... but Omorfo Poli has a "family suite" 2 rooms with double bed in one, single beds in the other, for $315 USD for 3 nights, at the free-cancellation rate. NO risk, so I'd suggest you book this pronto!! if you find something you like better, you can always cancel, but I like the location, central but not noisy.... and at the END of a narrow lane, not in the lane itself.
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Old Dec 10th, 2019, 12:02 AM
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Some accommodation on the islands includes apartments, which you will find when including that in your search criteria. IMO that would be better than crowding together in a quad room, but probably more expensive. That would be similar to the “family suite” in Nafplio mentioned by travelerjan.

BTW, booking(dot)com is a good search engine, but it’s availability notices are a bit misleading. When it says, for example, “only two rooms left at this site” or words to that effect, they are referring to the rooms allocated by the hotel to the website, not the hotel itself. Most hotels allocate only some of their rooms to the booking websites. Also, when the website says “no availability” far in advance that may mean the hotel hasn’t started taking bookings for those dates yet, not that it is sold out. Sometimes it’s wise to look for the hotel’s own website and cross check there, and you may find a room available for direct booking.

Early September is very busy, so sort out your hotel bookings as soon as you can. Also, ferries and flights returning to Athens from the islands are very busy in early September, especially on weekends. Book your flight back to Athens early, especially if flying back from Naxos, which is served by small turboprops.
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