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Can someone recommend a small town to stay near Athens

Can someone recommend a small town to stay near Athens

Old Dec 26th, 2009, 07:40 AM
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Can someone recommend a small town to stay near Athens

Hello everyone,

we have 2 free tickets to fly anywhere in Europe and we need to use it prior to August, but already have other european travel in summer, so we are thinking to go to Europe in May, and thinking to go to Greece, however, we only have one week to spare, and it will be my wife and our little son ( 1 1/2 year old ).

We are flying from NYC area, and since we are only going for a week, we don't want to spend time on connecting flights. Some of the destinations we were thinking on going was Salema, Portugal; Nerja, Spain, or South of Barcelona, Spain....but none of us have been to Greece and since these are 2 free tickets we thought that Greece will be great. However, we don't want to stay in the big city, we prefer to stay in a small town close to Athens that we can drive to, we are willing to drive up to one hour away from Athens. Maybe a small town close to the water, with restaurants etc etc......

Any recommendations will be greatly appreciated
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Old Dec 26th, 2009, 10:35 AM
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May is still a little early for beach vacations, but restaurants etc. should be open in Sounion or on islands close to Athens such as Hydra and Aegina. You wouldn't need a car to get to or *in* any of these places.
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Old Dec 26th, 2009, 10:42 AM
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We stayed at a place called Nea Makri, a seaside resort town, where wealthy locals have there week end homes. 30/40 min from Athens/ 20 min from the new airport. It has a beautiful Club Med resort.
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Old Dec 26th, 2009, 10:46 AM
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Please take into consideration the harsh fact that driving in Athens is generally a nightmare, and once there finding parking is next to impossible. Without knowing the layout of the city's streets to the point where you can navigate them without hesitation you will elevate your stress levels to the point of dangerous distraction. You'd be much better off focusing your search on a suburb where you can take a train into Central Athens, then use the city's bus and Metro systems to get around.
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Old Dec 26th, 2009, 03:42 PM
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Can you add a weekend onto that time frame so that you have ten nights instead of seven?It would make a big difference. That being said, even with seven nights, I'd still recommend- if you can make it after landing- a connecting flight from Athens to Santorini. It's a very short flight, only about 30 minutes, and you could spend five nights relaxing, sightseeing, dining at wonderful seaside restaurants there, before returning to Athens for two nights before your departing flight. This itinerary would give you a taste of one of the most beautiful islands before the tourism season really kicks in, although the water might still be too cool for swimming, especially in the earlier part of May. With two nights/two days in Athens, you can get a taste of the city's highlights without being overwhelmed.
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Old Dec 26th, 2009, 04:28 PM
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HI Weadles, yes actually it will be leaving on Friday and returning the following Sunday, so it will be 9 days today, I like that idea to spend 5 days in Santorini and the rest in Athens.

Any recommendations for apartment rentals in Santorini?
Any recommendations for hotel in Athens walking distance to the sites?

Thanks again for all of your help!!
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Old Dec 26th, 2009, 05:23 PM
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Since it's your first time to Greece, I'd opt for a hotel which will offer you some services (concierge, etc.) in case you need them. My recommendations wouldn't help since we've mostly stayed at couples-type places, so definitely seek advice from brotherleelove2004, who is an expert on Santorini. I would recommend Oia, however, since I think it's the more beautiful/charming part of the island ( lots of great restaurants and shopping, too!),and it has outstanding views of the caldera.

If you post your budget for Athens, you'll get lots of recommendations.

One last thought... You might want to check out connections to Santorini through Athens AND through Heathrow/Gatwick. I'm pretty sure that easyjet or RyanAir fly to Santorini, so see which offers better connecting flight times for you after the transatlantic portion of your trip.
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Old Dec 27th, 2009, 12:00 AM
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You asked for a small town close to Athens, near the water, and with restaurants. That would suggest to me Nafplion, of which much has been written by travelerjan and others on this forum. You don't have to go to an island to be near the sea in Greece.

Santorini would be one choice if you opt instead for an island, but be aware that many hotels in Oia and other caldera villages won't accept children because of the obvious dangers for them on the cliff face.

Flying from NYC to London for a direct flight to Santorini is wildly impractical. EasyJet has only three flights per week from Gatwick (none from Heathrow), and Ryanair doesn't fly to Greece at all. You would be much better advised to fly to Athens for a connecting flight to Santorini, ferry to another island, or rental car to a mainland coastal village.

My advice would be either Nafplion, or a more family-friendly island such as Paros or Naxos. Naxos, for example, has some sandy, gently shelving beaches that warm up quickly in the spring. May will be fine for sunbathing, for your toddler getting his feet wet in the water, and perhaps for a short swim.
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Old Dec 27th, 2009, 01:30 AM
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What is your maximum daily room budget for Santorini?
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Old Dec 27th, 2009, 08:00 AM
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Hi Weadles, we actually would prefer to rent a studio apartment so we can make breakfast for us and the baby in the morning, etc. I forgot to mention but the free tickets are with continental and would prefer a much closer connection, so I'll look into connecting flight options to Santorini.

Brotherleelove2004 - our budget is 100 to 130 euros per night

Heimdall - Thanks for the advise, you definitely bring up a very important point, and since I've never been to Greece, nor I don't know what Santorini is like other than by looking at pictures, this will be a great concern specially with the baby, since he is walking/running mode right now. Do you have any recommendations for apartment rentals in Napflion, Paros or Naxos?

Thanks again to everyone's feedback. I obviously need to narrow things down so I can confirm our flights. THANKS AGAIN TO ALL!
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Old Dec 27th, 2009, 08:02 AM
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Well, ex-cuse me!! I was only suggesting the possibility of connecting through London IF it worked best with his/her translatlantic flight times. We've found, coming from NYC, that it can sometimes be difficult to catch a connecting flight from Athens to the islands.
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Old Dec 27th, 2009, 08:05 AM
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btw, Are there any flights from ATH to Naxos? which airlines do you use once in Greece? Just curious as I'm not able to find any available flights.
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Old Dec 27th, 2009, 09:31 AM
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Check the websites for these hotels: Blue Dolphins Apartments, Villa Maria Damigou, Gizis Apartments, Old Oia Houses, Casa Sofia and Villa Kallisti. These all have a view of the caldera. As far as I know these all accept children but be sure to ask. Your money will stretch further if you stay at one of the beach villages, Kamari or Perissa/Perivolos.

Olympic Air flies to Naxos. http://www.olympicair.com/Home.aspx?a_id=549

In Athens check out the websites for Attalos Hotel, Cecil Hotel, Amazon Hotel, Omiros Hotel, Central Hotel, Pan Hotel, Arethusa Hotel and Metropolis Hotel.
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Old Dec 27th, 2009, 09:33 AM
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Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines fly to Santorini.

http://en.aegeanair.com/Default.aspx
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Old Dec 27th, 2009, 12:20 PM
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In May on Naxos, the Ag. Giorgios (St. George) Beach area directly adjacent to Naxos Town (see map) http://www.naxos-greece.net/villages/TOPOGRAFIKO.HTML is hopping with Scandinavian toddlers -- the Swedes and Norwegians know this sandy beach is safe and joyful for children. I'm there every May and they're joyfully bouncing on the sand with parents relaxing nearby. A perfect "studio Unit" for you to rent, right on the sand would be Studios Kalergis or Studios Thomais. The beach level units have patios, so you can run in & out with your son, no stairs. There's a bedroom + a living/dining/kitchenette set-up, so your child can eat whenever hungry. The price in May is about 35 - 50€ per unit; about half the price of Santorini. The 2 places I mentioned are right where the words in purple "Agio Giorgios" are, on the map. There is NO through traffic, just small lanes there. About 50 metres away are good small groceries & Produce stands. Also nice tavernas right in the beach area -- my favoarite is Kavouri.

As you can see from the map, another big advantage is that it is easy walking distance, about 10 minutes, from the attractions of Naxos town -- tavernas, cafes, shops etc. The walk along the water side is level... you can push your tot in a folding push-chair (stroller). And you can dine at waterside, while child has a dessert & falls asleep in the chair. You may want to rent a car to explore the island, but it's not needed for everyday travel... the island also has a wonderful bus systerm that takes you to other beaches, and to mountain villages etc.

Naxos only has 1 flight to/from island per day, on Olympic Air... about 60€ total in May. If you wnt to fly direct from airport on arrival, the Continental nonstop from Newark arrives befdore 10 am; the Naxos flight is about 12:30 I think. There are also ferries from Piraeus, the best are the Blue Star ferries... about 5:30 pm afternoon, arrive 10? Returning o Piraeus, 9:45, arrives 3 pm.

Another good choice is ANTI-Paros. This is an island almost touching Paros. You can get there on a flight or ferry to Paros, and then there's a little putt-putt ferry that goes 1/2 mile to Anti Paros. A small island only 1 main street about 5 tavernas, no cars. If you want more entertainment you just ferry to Paros for shopping, museum, ancient sites etc. Both are good choices for parents of young children... Santorini, alas, I think you'd be jumpy the whole time if you stayed in a hotel with a view over the cliffside. Go when he's older.
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Old Dec 27th, 2009, 12:59 PM
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Hello Travelerjan!! THANK YOU SO MUCH for the information. I saw the pictures of the studios that you are recommending and that's exactly what we were looking for. Now, I'm trying to see if there is any availability at those place, and also check out flight availability from Athens to Naxos.

If this doesn't work, then our second choice will be to rent a car in Athens upon our arrival and drive to Nafplion and stay there for 4-5 nights, then go back to Athens and stay there for a couple of days before our flight back to the US

Thanks again everyone!

Carlos
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Old Dec 27th, 2009, 02:20 PM
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I agree that Antiparos is a wonderful island, and in fact where I go twice a year in May-Jun and Aug-Sep. It's especially good for families with small children, with it's pedestrian-only main street and shallow sandy beaches. I didn't mention Antiparos because it's not the best choice for first time visitors to Greece, except as part of a longer trip incompassing several islands. Antiparos is where people go when they have had their fill of island hopping, and want a place to relax. Many of it's visitors are regulars, coming year after year.

In this case I would be guided by travelerjan, either with her advice on Naxos or Nafplion. Olympic Air has the contract for flights to Naxos only until the end of March, so you may not see flights for May on it's website yet. My feeling is they will win the contract for next summer as well, but it will be February or March before we know for sure.

Weadles, I know your suggestion was well meaning. ;-)
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Old Dec 27th, 2009, 03:02 PM
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gotcha! no wonder I didn't see any flights to Naxos in May/June. I will have to wait until then. In the meantime I will go ahead and confirm my flights to Greece.

Antiparos will have to wait until we are more acquainted with Greece. Since this is our first time, and only going for a week, I'm trying to

Thanks a lot everyone!
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Old Dec 28th, 2009, 01:30 AM
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Yes, go ahead and confirm your flights now, and make reservations for hotels and internal travel later. There are always vacancies in May/June, so you needn't worry.

One heads up is for Pentacost, always 50 days after Easter. In 2010 Greek Easter is April 4th, so Pentacost is May 24th. That weekend (May 21-24) is a popular getaway for Greeks, so flights/ferries to the islands at the beginning of the weekend, and back to Athens on Monday are busy. I'm not saying don't travel on that weekend, just make sure you have your plans firmed up in advance if you do.

In regards to Naxos flights, that is a subsidized route, in the past operated by Olympic Airlines, the state owned carrier. Now that Olympic Air (a new company) is privately owned, all bets are off. Olympic is the only major player with aircraft small enough to land on Naxos' short runway, so it will probably win the contract for next summer, but it's by no means certain.

All I can say, is keep checking the Olympic and Athens Airport http://www.aia.gr/ websites. Right now Naxos flights are departing at 10:00am, but when summer timetables are released they may well revert back to 12:30pm.
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Old Dec 28th, 2009, 10:09 AM
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Carlos, Heimdal is SO smart! What would Fodor's Greek Forum do without him.. a voice of calm and sanity, he calms everyone's travel jitters.

I can add to that calming factor, I hope. Go ahead and book those FREE (lucky man!) Continental tickets. If you continue your luck, a Continental flight will arrive before 10 am and you will also get a Naxos flight at 12:30 or 1 pm. If the connection does not work out, you need not fret ... you will not have to go all the way in to Ahens, then turn around and come back to the aiport... I have a B & B 10 minutes away from the airport, free pickup upon request, where you can go for the afternoon, sit by their pool, have a nap, then a nice dinner & overnight, and they'll take you back to the airport (or arrange a taxi) in the AM, for that Naxos flight. The link to their website is http://www.stay-in-athens.com/index.htm

If you find your connection will not work, and this looks good to you, book a room here instantly they only have 3 rooms. Room in may for 3 is about 100€ including big breakfast.
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