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Athens, Santorini, Crete, 15 days in May: Itinerary help

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Nov 10th, 2013, 07:08 PM
  #1
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Athens, Santorini, Crete, 15 days in May: Itinerary help

Hi,
I was just wondering if I could get a little input on the trip to Greece in planning.
The plan:Athens, Santorini, Crete, 15 days in May
So far know I only want to spend 2 days in Athens.
We are looking to do some hiking, lots of history and some relaxing.

Does anyone have suggestions as to the best approach from Athens? Crete or Santorini first?
what is the best mode of transportation from Athens to Islands? between the islands?
How much time show be spent per island?

Thanks for any input!!
imahappyhobo is offline  
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Nov 10th, 2013, 07:35 PM
  #2
 
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It is best to spend your time in athens at the end of your trip so you can easily make it to the airport for your flight home. Sometimes getting off an island is compromised by weather. I like your choices, but I would add that the peloponesse has fabulous history and hiking, plus great beaches? fly to Crete from athens, ferry to Santorini and fly back to athens. Santorini is expensive but crete is reasonable and has the best food. Have fun.
yipper is offline  
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Nov 10th, 2013, 11:52 PM
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Fully agree with yipper! For someone interested in "lots of history" the Peloponnese is not to be missed. The problem is how to fit it in with your other interests in only 15 days. Most people go to the islands for beach oriented holidays, but there are more important archaeological sites on the mainland, particularly in the area around Nafplio.

If you want to go to Crete, fly there directly upon arrival in Athens, and spend as much time as you can spare. Then take a catamaran to Santorini for 2-3 days and fly back to Athens from there.

If you can squeeze in a couple of nights in the Peloponnese, rent a car at Athens Airport and take the 2-3 hour drive to Nafplio. There are many important ancient sites in the area, far more than on any island. With more time you could drive to Delphi, stay overnight, and then circle back to Athens for your last two days. Delphi is the most amazing archaeological site in Greece, IMHO.
Heimdall is offline  
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Nov 11th, 2013, 01:17 AM
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we flew from athens to santorini..
the only place ever to charge us excess baggage fee...a whopping 25 euros lol

athens airport is huge...so do allow plenty of times for connecting flights

meteora is a great overnight trip from athens...really quite unique and absolutely a must-see in my opinion...itd mean youd need to tack on a day onto the athens end..the tours go from athens and through delphi and then to kalambaka for the night and then you visit the amazing monasteries the next morning before heading back to athens
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Nov 11th, 2013, 09:01 AM
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If you can time your initial arrival time in Athens with a flight out go directly to either Santorini or Crete and get the island portion f your holiday started.
Crete is very large so you will have to choose wither the east or the west and concentrate your time. We chose the west and had two weeks. We never finished our initial plan and have been back twice for another two weeks since then and still never finished that initial plan. We chose the area around Chania as our base. Here are images of just Chania. You can step back in time here as you absorb all that a 15th century old town and harbour has to offer.
Chania http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7632117917828/

You should spend at least a week in Crete and then break up the rest of the vacation between Santorini and Athens. You will need to catch a ferry from Heraklion to get to Santorini Say 3 to 4 days in Santorini and the balance in Athens. I would fly back to Athens, Aegean has their summer schedule up already and are offering 9 euro fares plus taxes. That only allows you a carry on under 8 kilos other wise you have to pay for your extra bags.
I know you only plan two days in Athens but that central area around the Acropolis will fully absorb at least 2 to 3 days.
Athens http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7632121475515/
Once you have confirmed your plan then we can suggest more detailed places to stay and things to do.
Have fun planning
stanbr is offline  
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Nov 11th, 2013, 10:05 AM
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The issue I see is the time available and how many of your 15 days you are willing to lose to moving from A to B.

If your 15 days includes your arrival and departure day (which are both a write-off) then you are down to just 13 days. If you make 2 moves during that time then you are down to 11 days actually spent doing and seeing things.

Crete alone can easily take all of that time and you will still have only scratched the surface of what there is to see and do there.

I would do just Athens (I agree you should do it at the end, not the beginning) and Crete. Or if you really want to visit Santorini, then I would visit another nearby small island rather than not have enough time on Crete. So perhaps, Santorini 5 nights, Naxos 5 nights, Athens 3 nights. Times up.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
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Nov 11th, 2013, 10:50 AM
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2 islands and Athens will make 2 weeks fly by, so it's my recommendation that you go directly to one of these two islands by air when you first arrive at the Athens Airport. Choose the flight with the most convenient connection time using Aegean Airlines or Olympic Air. For example, fly into Chania on Crete and make your way to Heraklion where you will take the highspeed catamaran ferry (2 hours) north to Santorini. After Santorini you can fly (30 minutes) or ferry (5-8 hours) back to Athens. Saving your exploration of Athens for the end eliminates backtracking and builds in a couple of extra days for returning to the mainland in case of any cancellations out on an island.

By the way, you will need a rental car on Crete to get the most out of that experience. It's a huge island and realistically takes a minimum of a week with a car to barely scratch the surface. Be sure to go to your local CAA office to pick up an International Driving Permit if you do plan to rent a car.
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
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Nov 12th, 2013, 07:56 PM
  #8
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Thank-you so much for the feedback!!
We are now considering dropping Santorini, so we may better tour Crete.
As much as we wanted to see Santorini, western Crete sound so interesting and may be better use of our limited time.
I really don't want to be rushing around, that's no vacation.
imahappyhobo is offline  
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Nov 13th, 2013, 07:49 AM
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Good thinking imahappyhobo. I would suggest then that you take brotherleelove's advice and fly immediately to Crete and visit Athens on the way back.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
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Dec 1st, 2013, 03:56 PM
  #10
 
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There are a lot of great suggestions here but in the end it's all about what your priorities are--what types of landscapes, art, architecture, history, etc. do you prefer? I feel I could give you better advice if I knew more about your interests.

And like you said, you don't want to be rushing around or trying to see too much because you lose time (and energy!) going from place to place.
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