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Best way to get from Athens to Naples & rec for Greek Isles & Amalfi Coast

Best way to get from Athens to Naples & rec for Greek Isles & Amalfi Coast

Apr 23rd, 2015, 01:13 PM
  #1  
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Best way to get from Athens to Naples & rec for Greek Isles & Amalfi Coast

Hello fellow travelers!

Your assistance would be greatly appreciated as we are currently planning our honeymoon trip to Greece (Isles) and Italy (Amalfi Coast). We are in our mid-late 20s, adventurous, want to relax and party, experience history and culture, eat delicious food, and take lots of photos!

Current itinerary:

Tue 8/25: Fly out of US
Wed 8/26: Arrive in Athens, fly to Mykonos (which regional airline is best? Should we prepay for bags?)
Wed 8/26 - Sun 8/30: Mykonos (beaches, day/night clubs)
Sun 8/30: Ferry to Santorini (which ferry is best/fastest?)
Sun 8/30 - Fri 9/4: Santorini (planning to stay in Oia, Fira/Oia hike, wineries, beaches)
Fri 9/4: Ferry or fly to Athens (recommendations for either?)
Fri 9/4 - Sun 9/6: Athens (Acropolis, Plaka, Kolonaki, maybe nightclub on water)
Sun 9/6: Fly to Naples (or fly to Rome? Can't find flights for Sunday out of Athens to Naples)
Sun 9/6: Arrive in Naples or Rome, take train to Sorrento (or hire driver?)
Sun 9/6 - Wed 9/9: Sorrento (also day trip to Capri, Blue Grotto, maybe Pompeii)
Wed 9/9 - Fri 9/11: Driver to Amalfi (also explore Positano, maybe Vietri/Ravello/Praiano - suggestions?)
Fri 9/11: Driver to Naples or driver to Sorrento, then train to Naples (meet local friends, explore city a bit, see where pizza was made)
Sat 9/12: Train to Rome, fly out of Rome to US

We are fairly happy with our itinerary. We are still deciding whether we want to do four nights in Mykonos and five nights in Santorini OR vice versa. Recommendations?

Our main concern is that we can't seem to find a direct flight out of Athens into Naples on Sunday 9/6. I see these flights are available on Saturday and a few other weekdays (on Easyjet and Meridiana). We could fly into Rome, but we prefer not to, as it looks more expensive and we don't want to spend all day taking trains (or driving) from Rome to Naples to Sorrento.

Should we change our itinerary and spend one less day in Sorrento and fly out of Athens and directly into Naples on Monday 9/7? Then we would add an extra day in either Mykonos or Santorini, keeping Athens the same.

OR

Should we take a day away from Mykonos or Santorini, then do Athens (Thur-Sat), leaving on the direct from Athens to Naples on Saturday, still spend three nights in Sorrento as planned (Sat-Tues), and then add the extra day onto Amalfi (Tues-Fri)?

Also, any recommendations for hotels in Mykonos, Santorini, and Amalfi? We already booked Athens (Hilton), Sorrento (Hilton), and Naples (Marriott) as we are using points (we can switch our reservations days around if necessary at no charge I believe). We also have American Airlines points that we can use in (and around) Amalfi for these hotels (haven't researched them, if anyone has stayed there, please share experience):

Hotel Residence - Amalfi
Hotel Aurora
Locanda Costa Diva
Locanda Del Fiordo
Torre Saracena Hotel
Hotel Fontana
Grand Hotel Excelsior Amalfi
Il Saraceno Grand Hotel
Villa Romana
Hotel Amalfi
Hotel Lidomare
Hostaria di Bacco
Santa Lucia Hotel
Hotel Dei Cavalieri

Looking forward to any and all responses! I know this post is long as I was trying to be as thorough as possible.

MANY THANKS!!!
Ls6989 is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2015, 03:37 PM
  #2  
 
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Hi

I would take one night off Mykonos if it means you can get the Sat flight. And spend an extra day on the beautiful (and romantic) Amalfi coast.

I would fly Santorini to Athens. Ferry takes hours.

On Santorini a hotel with caldera views is a must. Do a search of this forum. There are many post on hotel recommendations for various budgets.

Congratulations, have fun
worldinabag is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2015, 04:09 PM
  #3  
 
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Wed, 26th - entirely travel day.
Thur, Fri, Sat - Mykonos
Sun, 30th - travel day
Mon, Tues, Wed, Thur - Santorini
Fri, 9/4 - travel day
Sat - Athens
Sun - travel day
Mon, Tue - Sorrento (day trips)
Wed, Thur - Amalfi
Fri - travel to Naples from Amalfi will use 1/2 day. On to Rome for the night? Or were you planning to stay in Naples that night?
Sat - fly home

The last bit needs a little more planning. You might switch the days in Sorrento and Amalfi. You are traveling a lot anyway on Sun. Go on to Amalfi. Go to Sorrento after that and be closer to Naples for that leg of the trip. Just an idea.
I would highly recommend you to return to Rome the night before your flight out. Then, no worry about late trains, strikes, etc. Depending on flight time, enjoy some time in Rome.
Sassafrass is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2015, 05:51 PM
  #4  
WWK
 
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There are very few weekly flights from Athens- Naples. Do yourselves a favor and plan your itinerary around that flight. You'll save a lot of time.

Once you land in Naples, I'd advise going to Positano or Amalfi first since it's the farthest destination. Spend a few days there, then try to take the boat to Sorrento. It's a lot more pleasant than the horrible SITA buses, unless you're going to spring for a driver.

Just a FYI: Positano is a lot more romantic and beautiful than Amalfi, which is a real city. Something to think about.

From Sorrento, you could take the local Circumvensia train to Naples, then switch over to the fast train to Rome ( 70 min).

Definitely plan on spending the night BEFORE your flight home in Rome. We once missed our flight because we decided to return from the Amalfi Coast to Rome on the day of our flight home and hit horrendous traffic.

Sorry-- just saw that you'd asked about flights to the islands from Athens. Aegean/Olympic are the same company now, so that's who you would book with. Flights can be pricey but are so much quicker and easier than L O N G ferries to the islands.

If you post your budget, we can all make hotel recommendations for the various destinations.

Good luck!
WWK is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2015, 06:42 PM
  #5  
 
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>>>Sun 9/6: Fly to Naples (or fly to Rome? Can't find flights for Sunday out of Athens to Naples)<<<

Did you check flights on Aegean?

http://en.aegeanair.com/

If you find a flight into Naples airport, you would take the Curreri shuttles bus from the airport to Sorrento (10€ - it doesn't go into Naples).

I don't understand your nights on the Amalfi coast. Are you changing hotels several times? Staying a night in Naples?
kybourbon is online now  
Apr 23rd, 2015, 07:20 PM
  #6  
WWK
 
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Pretty sure Aegean doesn't fly to Naples. I had a really hard time finding flights for this route two years ago. I think Easyjet and Alitalia may cover it on certain days of the week only.
WWK is offline  
Apr 24th, 2015, 01:01 AM
  #7  
 
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"Wed 8/26: Arrive in Athens, fly to Mykonos (which regional airline is best? Should we prepay for bags?)"

That's an easy one — Aegean Airlines. Check the flights on http://en.aegeanair.com, and pick one that gives you a 2-3 hour layover in Athens after your expected arrival time. Some of the flights to Mykonos are with subsidiary airline Olympic Air, but it really makes little difference. The Olympic flights are on Q400 turboprops, which are newer than the jets in the Aegean fleet, and a dream to fly on. I would book Flex tickets which include 1 free 23kg bag rather than GoLight + 17€ per bag. The Flex tickets are only 3€ more, and give you extra benefits, e.g. free ticket change, so to me it's a no-brainer.

"Sun 8/30: Ferry to Santorini (which ferry is best/fastest?)"

That's a contradictory term, because usually the fastest is the worst and the slowest the best. Unfortunately there are no conventional ferries on that route, so you are left with a choice between five different catamarans/high speed ferries, all of which have inside seating only. The fastest of these are small passenger-only catamarans which have cramped seating, and a rough ride in windy conditions.

My recommendation would be Hellenic Seaways Highspeed 4, a large car-carrying catamaran which I have used several times. The other two high speed ferries scheduled that day are ChampionJet 1 and Terajet, both operated by Sea Jets Consortium. Neither of these ferries have sailed that route before, so I would hesitate to recommend them until they establish a track record this summer. FlyingCat 4 and SeaJet 2 are both small passenger-only catamarans that are okay when seas are smooth. Of the two I would prefer FlyingCat 4. You can check the schedule at http://www.openseas.gr/en/ferries-sc...antorini_thira

"Fri 9/4: Ferry or fly to Athens (recommendations for either?)

You may as well fly unless you want to spend all day on a ferry. If you want a ferry experience, Blue Star Delos is best, but it arrives in Athens very late in the evening. In this case quicker may be better if you choose Highspeed 6. Again, ChampionJet 1 appears on the timetables along with ChampionJet 2. ChampionJet 2 is supposed to be purchased by Sea Jets, but is still sailing in the English Channel under the name Condor Express.
Heimdall is online now  
Apr 24th, 2015, 01:14 AM
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Heimdall, what great info!
Sassafrass is offline  
Apr 24th, 2015, 08:32 AM
  #9  
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Thank you so much for the informative replies, friends!

@worldinabag - That is what we are leaning towards, maybe a day off Santorini since we have an extra night there right now. I think we will fly as well from Santorini to Athens, we really don't want to waste any time. I have been told to book a room with a sunset view, is that the same as caldera? We really want to experience the beautiful sunsets from our balcony. Which do you recommend? Thanks!

@Sassafrass - Sunday 9/6 doesn't quite work for our travel day if we cannot find a direct flight from Athens to Naples. Those seem to only run on select days. We are thinking of stopping in Sorrento first, because it seems like a good base and it is much easier to get to Capri from Sorrento by boat. If we switch and go to Amalfi area first, should we take the train to Sorrento and then driver to Amalfi, or driver all the way from Naples? Our flight home on Sat 9/12 out of Rome is at 12:15pm, so we are thinking to just take the train right to the FCO airport around 7-8am. We wanted to stay in Naples the day/night before as we have local friends and wanted to catch up/have dinner. Also this would give us the opportunity to see Naples for maybe half the day. Do you think this is a bad idea? Do you think there might not be enough time for us to make our flight? How early do the trains start running? I've searched and found that it shouldn't take longer than two hours by train from Naples directly to FCO?

@WWK - I wish they had daily flights from Athens to Naples! Should we fly out Saturday and cut a day off Greece or Monday and cut a day off Italy? Positano is beautiful and we were originally planning to stay there as the base for that side of the coast (and still might), but then I realized we had points that we could use and get at least one night covered at any of the hotels I listed in my original post. Should we just save the points and stay in Positano anyways? We planned to do a day trip to Positano from Amalfi, explore, shop, have dinner, etc. Right now, we have a hotel booked in Naples (center of town) for Friday, the night before our flight from Rome, which is at 12:15pm on Saturday. We thought it would be plenty of time to get on a fast train from Naples to Rome in the early morning (7-8am) and still be fine for our flight. Thoughts? We are staying in Naples the night before because we wanted to see the city for a bit and also meet up with local friends for dinner as a little reunion. Also, we are definitely going to fly to/from the islands and Athens. The ferry between Mykonos and Santorini will be enough boat time! As far as our budget, we are flexible...we would prefer not to spend more than $350 US a night at a hotel. Any suggestions would be great!

@kybourbon - I don't see any direct flights on Aegean from Athens to Naples. On the Amalfi coast, we are planning to spend three nights in SOrrento, then two or three nights in either Amalfi or Positano. Those would be our base towns I suppose. Once in SOrrento, we want to see the town, go to Capri for a day, maybe go to Pompeii, lay on the beach/pool. In Amalfi, we want to visit Positano, maybe go to another surrounding town, relax by beach/pool. We are planning to do that last half day and night in Naples before flying home the next morning out of Rome. We are thinking Naples so we can meet with our local friends. Should we stay another night in Amalfi/Positano on Friday and then hire a driver early on Sat to drive us to Rome for our flight? Our flight is at 12:15pm on Saturday.

@Heimdall - Looking at Olympic/Aegean flights right now. Definitely going to book Flex (no brainer!). How early do you recommend to book these flights? I looked a few days ago, and I am looking now and it looks like the price dropped by about $50, will it go down more? Also, if we are landing in Athens (from US) on Wed 8/26 at 9:35am, can we make it on the 10:50am? The next one is at 1:25pm, and we don't really want to be sitting in the airport all day and personally, I'm pretty good with quick transfers. (I travel for work often, and I'm usually the type of person that gets to the airport 45min before my flights is scheduled to take off...) However, I have never been to Athens airport, so not sure how it runs. For the ferry between the islands, you would say Hellenic Seaways Highspeed 4 is the best option? How early should we book tickets? Also, do we have to sit inside the whole time (I believe it's around a 3 hour trip, right?) or can we go out on the deck/walk around/etc? We are going to fly back to Athens from the islands as well, as we do not want to waste time!

Looking forward to your very helpful responses. Thank you again!!!
Ls6989 is offline  
Apr 24th, 2015, 08:50 AM
  #10  
ekc
 
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I would trim a day off of Sorrento and add it to your Amalfi stay. You can reach Capri from Amalfi also via ferry. If you spend a day exploring Amalfi, a day exploring Positano, one day on Capri and one day exploring Ravello, you don't have much time to see anything else.

To get back to Rome, take the ferry from Amalfi to Salerno, then direct train from Salerno to Rome.

Can't help on Amalfi hotels, as Positano is always my destination of choice.
ekc is offline  
Apr 24th, 2015, 09:04 AM
  #11  
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Another question I forgot to ask:

From research, many have recommended saving Athens for the last few days after visiting the islands. Does everyone here suggest this as well?

On another forum, someone recommended that we stay in Athens for a few days once we arrive from US. Then go on to the islands, and from Santorini there is a direct flight to Naples on Volotea (both on Sat 9/5 and Sun 9/6).

Thoughts?
Ls6989 is offline  
Apr 24th, 2015, 10:04 AM
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I wouldn't like to predict whether Aegean flight prices will go up or down, so if you are happy with the present prices you may as well book now, but you could wait a bit longer if you wish.

Athens Airport is small and efficient, but if you are flying to Athens directly from the US you will have to go thorough passport control, pick up your bags and take them to the Aegean counter, then walk to the departure gate. Theoretically it would be possible if you have already checked in online and have boarding passes, but personally I'd wait for the later flight. If you are willing to take a chance, go for it. There is a luggage drop off point next to the Aegean counters for people who already have their boarding passes, and that will save some time.

I always wait until I get to Greece to buy ferry tickets, but if you wish to book online a month or so early should be enough time. None of the catamarans have outside seating, so you are stuck inside the cabin the whole time. I'm not sure about Terajet because it has never sailed that route before. From photos I've seen it looks like it may have an outside deck, but if it sails as fast as they say it does you wouldn't want to be out there very long.

There is another option if you want that "wow factor" of sailing into the Santorini caldera while standing on an outside deck. Take one of the earlier catamarans from Mykonos that stops at Naxos and get off there. Wait for the Blue Star ferry that also stops at Naxos, and take it the rest of the way to Santorini. The only danger is, if the catamaran is late leaving Mykonos you may miss Blue Star. That isn't too much of a risk if the catamaran is going on to Santorini - just stay on board for the whole trip.

For your last question, yes I recommend saving Athens for last. I would rather get over my jet lag on an island than tramping around city streets in Athens. It also gives you a cushion in the unlikely event weather or another factor delays your return from the islands. That doesn't happen very often, but if you are going to spend a few days in Athens anyway, you may as well save it until the end.
Heimdall is online now  
Apr 24th, 2015, 10:35 AM
  #13  
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Thank you for your very informative reply, Heimdall!

My other thought is this in order to get to Naples directly from Athens:

Fri 9/4: fly out of Santorini on an early flight at either 7:25am or 9:15am. Spend the day in Athens, go to Acropolis, walk around Plaka, have dinner at a restaurant with a view of Acropolis.
Sat 9/5: fly to Naples (2pm on easyjet)

Is this enough time in Athens? That way we don't lose a day/night in Santorini. Otherwise, we were thinking of leaving Santorini on Thursday (mid-late afternoon) and have two nights and basically a day and a half in Athens. Also, how early to do you have to get to the airport in Santorini before the scheduled flight time?

Thanks so much!!
Ls6989 is offline  
Apr 24th, 2015, 10:58 AM
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Well, it's up to you how much time to spend in Athens. It seems to me that people who just see the Acropolis and Plaka go away with a bad impression of the city, while those who have enough time to explore more of Athens leave with a different perspective. To get an idea of what Athens has to offer, check out http://www.athens-walks.com. Have a look at their Food Tour as an example of things you will miss. If you do have a chance to use one of their tours you won't regret it. Kostas, the owner, is a former Evzone (presidential guard) and hires experienced local guides.

I've only flown out of Santorini once, and seem to remember being there an hour before flight departure and having plenty of time. Be aware, though, that Santorini has lots of charter flights, and if some are leaving about the same time as yours it could be busy. Ask your hotel staff when you are on Santorini and they will give you the best guidance.
Heimdall is online now  
Apr 24th, 2015, 02:53 PM
  #15  
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Thank you for the suggestions, Heimdall. I would like to have more time in Athens as well. So I think we might just leave Santorini Thu 9/4 on either a 11:40am and 2:30pm and then have a full day on Fri 9/5, and still leave Sat 9/6 to Naples... My fiance would rather trim it to just one day and do it all on Friday, as he would rather just be on a beach instead of explore...

Do you think we are trying to put too much into this trip? We have 18 days, but about 4-5 of those seem to be traveling days. Please let me know your thoughts!

Thanks!
Ls6989 is offline  
Apr 24th, 2015, 06:37 PM
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Hi again

"I have been told to book a room with a sunset view, is that the same as caldera?" Yes it is.

There are many hotel recommendations for Santorini in this forum. The village of Oia is very popular. We stayed at Firostefani. This pretty village is a short walk from Fira, the main town. The views are breathtaking. The hotel we stayed at was the Grotto Villas but it has since been remodelled and now operates as the Cliffside Villas - http://www.cliffside.gr. I strongly suggest a room with a private balcony for those "intimate champagne moments". It may be a bit more expensive but the highlight of your honeymoon travels will be the sunsets over the caldera. You'll talk about it for years.
worldinabag is offline  
Apr 24th, 2015, 08:29 PM
  #17  
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Thank you @worldinabag!

Wow I just looked at the hotel's website and it is stunning! Just what I imagine when I think of Santorini

Would you recommend Firostefani over Oia? Also, the rooms with a balcony, do they also have their own private pool? Thanks!
Ls6989 is offline  
Apr 25th, 2015, 01:52 AM
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Me again.

I didn't visit Oia. However I note you want to party (Fira) and relax so at Firostefani you are well placed.

No the rooms don't have a private pool. The pool is for all guests to use. I think you're after a jacuzzi?

I suggest using the search facilities in this forum. You'll get lots of recommendations. Good luck and happy days.
worldinabag is offline  
Apr 26th, 2015, 05:21 PM
  #19  
WWK
 
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Me again, too.

To answer a few of your questions:

I don't know any of the hotels you name in Amalfi. In many trips to that area, we've stayed in Naples, Sorrento, and especially Positano.

I highly recommend that you do NOT wait until the morning of an international flight to make your way to Rome. There can be all kinds of unanticipated problems. Why take a chance on missing your flight home?!

Lastly, totally your decision on whether to cut a day from Greece or Italy because of the flights. You've picked my two favorite countries, so I would hate to give up a day in either one!
WWK is offline  
Apr 26th, 2015, 08:44 PM
  #20  
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Thank you for the candid replies @WWK. We will be rethinking our last night before the flight home as we of course do not want to miss it!

Which hotels in Positano have you stayed at and enjoyed?

We also decided to split our trip up this way: for Greece it will be 4 nights in Mykonos, 4 nights in Santorini, 2 nights in Athens. Then in Italy, we are still deciding whether to first do 3 nights in Sorrento, then 3 nights in Positano or Amalfi and last night in either Naples or Rome...OR we may reverse Positanto/Amalfi and then Sorrento... Suggestions?

Thank you again!
Ls6989 is offline  

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