Choices, choices, choices

Apr 4th, 2016, 12:04 PM
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Choices, choices, choices

Hello everyone,

We will be travelling to Spain in August but we are now thinking about spending two weeks in late June in either Greece (Crete and/or Corfu), Croatia or the mid-Adriatic coast of Italy (Marche and/or Abruzzo).

All three look fabulous and we are wondering what each has to offer and which you would choose. We have been to other regions of Italy before and have also been to Rhodes, but we have never been to Croatia.

We love everything a Mediterranean European vacation has to offer, including sightseeing, beaches, medieval towns and just being part of the local culture.

Thanks so much.

AirBalloon is offline  
Apr 4th, 2016, 01:01 PM
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The climate view:

Greece will have the best climate in late June. Warm sea, sunny, agreeable.

The culture view:

Crete has the best archeology, Croatia has the best historic towns (Split, Dubrovnik).

The economic view:

Greece has the best value for money.

Another aspect:

What about southern Peloponnese?
traveller1959 is offline  
Apr 4th, 2016, 02:02 PM
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Hi Traveller1959,

We had never thought of the southern Peloponnese. We just took a quick look and wow, it looks wonderful.

Have you ever been and how would it compare to Crete or Corfu? I guess we could do this and either of the islands.

Please let me know.


AirBalloon is offline  
Apr 4th, 2016, 02:30 PM
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Crete vs Corinth, Naphlion, Olympia, and Delphi for "archaeology?" Sorry, but IMO the former far outshines Crete.
Dukey1 is offline  
Apr 4th, 2016, 02:37 PM
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Hi Dukey,

Are you saying the South Peloponnese is a much nicer place to visit than Crete?

AirBalloon is offline  
Apr 4th, 2016, 05:55 PM
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Given your previous post about Croatia,
what other information do you think you need to make a choice?
kja is offline  
Apr 4th, 2016, 06:14 PM
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Well, for one thing, Crete/Corfu and the Italian Adriatic coast.

Seems like those are two other things I need information on to make a choice.

If you do not have useful information to add, please move on.

Thank you.
AirBalloon is offline  
Apr 4th, 2016, 07:20 PM
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I asked an honest question. If you had specific information needs to which I could speak, I would have been happy to try to respond. And while you might not realize it, OTHER posters might find it helpful to know what input you've already gotten, input with which they might or might not agree.

One of the things I love about Fodor's is that all sorts of people generously volunteer their time and energy to help others with their travels. We don't always hear back, let alone get thanked for our efforts, but some of us do it because we find some value in trying to share our insights or observations.

If YOU do not find my questions or comments useful, YOU can simply move on.
kja is offline  
Apr 4th, 2016, 08:11 PM
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I think your question was a valid one, kja, especially in view of the vast amount of input this poster has already received, in numerous posts.
sundriedtopepo is offline  
Apr 5th, 2016, 07:18 AM
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This forum should be a place where one can ask questions, even if they are similar to ones already asked.

I am quite dismayed at the level of anger that some of you have when it comes to different posts I, and others, write. Every one of my posts is different, and this particular forum is for those who have been to all three areas mentioned in this post. I always read and acknowledge others that help me and I appreciate their input.

Next time, actually read my posts. This one had to do with comparing parts of Italy, Greece and Croatia, NOT Spain and Croatia. You did not offer anything useful except being rude and judgmental, so if you have nothing to offer or are not interested, please do not read my posts. This may save you time and energy.

Thank you.

AirBalloon is offline  
Apr 5th, 2016, 07:26 AM
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For me, south Peloponnese is the best part of Greece. You find there everything:

- breathtaking coastline and world-class beaches,
- picturesque fishing villages,
- historical cities (Pylos, Nafplio),
- some of the best archeology (Messene, Olympia, Corinth, Mycenae, Epidaurus...),
- Byzantine monasteries (Mystras...),
- medieval castles (Acrocorinth,Methoni...),
- good driving connections to Athens and Delphi.

I always wonder why everyone is determined to go on the islands. Islands have limited opportunities and are more difficult to reach. And Peloponnes (which is almost an island, just with a 6km-wide land bridge) has everything the islands have and much more.
traveller1959 is offline  
Apr 5th, 2016, 09:04 AM
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Thank you Traveller1959,

We have started to do research on the South Peloponnese and it has everything we could possibly want and more.

Which villages/towns would you stay in? We would like them to be medieval type and one to be close to gorgeous beaches where we can spend a few days relaxing.

I almost feel embarrassed that we had not thought of it before, concentrating on the more talked about islands of Greece.

Thanks so much.

AirBalloon is offline  
Apr 5th, 2016, 10:21 AM
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I would start out in Nafplion which exactly fits your Medieval description. While Nafplion has pretty limited beach Tolo is just 8 km down the road for a beach day.

You might also go to Mystras the last refuge of the Byzantines then head for Monemvassia where you can stay in period rooms inside a walled city.

Continue along the south coast and consider a drive down through the Mani then continue to Pylos, Koroni and Methoni.

Oh yes Olympia is also pretty close by the time you get to the last three villages.

Peloponnese Battle Castles

Nafplio and Peloponnese
stanbr is offline  
Apr 5th, 2016, 02:41 PM
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Thanks Stanbr,

Your pictures are wonderful, as are your itinerary recommendations.

Is 15 or 16 days enough time to see what you recommend without rushing?

AirBalloon is offline  
Apr 5th, 2016, 03:41 PM
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Yes 15 days would allow you to take your time and really absorb what is there.
I would suggest 3 to 4 nights in Nafplion. On the way from Athens stop at the Corinth Canal then Ancient Corinth and then Ancient Nemia. It had sister games to Olympia and the stadium is still there plus a partially restored temple. It is a tidy site that takes less than an hour.
Then a couple of days in Nafplio plus a day or two for Mycenae, Tiryns and Epidavros
It is about a two hour drive from Nafplio to Mystras. Mystras is at least a 4 hour site. Then finish the drive to Monemvassia. We arrived in early evening and decided to spend two nights there. We then drove to Aeropoli where we did Diros Caves then the Mani the next day. If I had a do over on that I would probably spend a night in the Mani and explore more in depth.

We then drove to Pylos but stayed in Methoni. I think if I were to do that one over I would stay in Koroni. It had more to offer and that particular castle actually had people living inside the walls. You will probably need three or perhaps 4 nights there. We missed Ancient Messene and Nestors palace was closed so there is another day in the area.
We continued north for Olympia then further north to See Chlemoutsi Castle which had a magnificent view.

We missed the Lousios Gorge and the railway. If you still have a day on the return sneak over the gulf of Corinth at Patras and go to Delphi. it is probably the best archeological site we have seen.
Olympia Delphi Meteora
stanbr is offline  
Apr 5th, 2016, 09:51 PM
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(1) I am not angry with you, nor have I been, and I certainly had no intention of being rude or judgmental. From my perspective, I simply asked a question to clarify what information you wanted about Croatia so that if I had relevant information, I could provide it. And then -- when you responded with what I could only interpret kindly if I assumed you had misunderstood my intentions, I tried to place my response in context.

(2) I HAVE read your posts, I have tried to respond to them to the best of my ability, and -- in this particular thread -- I tried to respond to your starting request for information about “what each [including Croatia] has to offer...." You now say that you wanted responses that involve comparisons among your possible destinations, and even so, you express gratitude to others who do NOT provide comparisons. How confusing!

(3) You can, of course, ask whatever travel-related questions you want! And you can ignore any comments you don't like -- as you obviously know, given that you have previously ignored quite a few. (That's not a criticism. It is a statement of fact.)

(4) I am interested in the questions you raise – or I wouldn’t read your posts. I am well aware that I don't need to respond to you. OTOH, I don't think it serves anyone well to allow unwarranted criticisms to go without reply. JMO.
kja is offline  
Apr 6th, 2016, 01:51 AM
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stanbr mentioned Koroni. A friend of mine has a vacation home there and we stayed there last summer for a week before we made a road trip through Peloponnese and Greek mainland.

Koroni is a fishing village which had been saved from mass tourism. There are just three or four small hotels, but about a dozen of restaurants in a row along the port where you can seat and watch the fishing boats bringing the fresh fish which you can eat a couple of minutes later.

There is one word that describes Koroni: authentic. Koroni has a castle which is much smaller and less impressive than that of Methoni, but there is a working monastery inside the ruins of the castle which you can visit (make sure to leave an Euro or two at the lovely little souvenir store which is operated by the nuns!).

Koroni has also a fine, 3km long beach, where sea turtles bury their eggs (there is an organization of volunteers who protect the nests, you may join them on an early morning inspection tour).

Koroni is a good base for daytrips to Messene (one of the best archeological sites at all, but somewhat neglected by the guidebooks because the excavations are so recent), Methoni and Pylos. Also, you can hire a speedboat for trips to Mani peninsula or to hidden beaches along the coast.
traveller1959 is offline  
Apr 6th, 2016, 01:58 AM
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The Peloponnese is the treasure chest of Greece. You will be amazed of how many beautiful places are packed in such a small piece of land. Medieval towns, ancient cities, mountain villages, natural wonders, pristine beahces, and amazing food. It really is a paradise for any tourist. As a Greek, an particularly of Peloponnesian heritage I can suggest you an ideal Itinerary for seeing the highlights of the region.

TIP: Don't be afraid of spending time driving, most destinations are close to eachother and the scenery is simply stunning. Driving is sn experience on its own here.

So, the Itineraey:

You will start from ATHENS, and drive towards your final destination NAUPLION. You will make 3 short stops. First stop is ANCIENT CORINTH, one of the greatest Greek city-states of Antiquity. Today among the ruins stands out the Temple of Apollo. Second stop is ACROCORINTH, the colossal acropolis of the ancient city. Third stop is ANCIENT NEMEA, this is where the first labour of Hercules took place, defeating the Nemean Lion and in his honor the "Nemean Games" took place in the city. The Temple of Zeus stands out among the ruins. After seeing these sites, head to Nauplion to spend the day.

Spend the day in Nauplion. Apart from strolling the beautiful old city, other activities is ascending the Palamidi Citadel, visiting the Archaeological Museum, and visiting the Agios Georgios Church. Enjoy some fresh fish in "Arapakos", and don't miss the gelato from multi-awarded "Gelateria di Roma".

Today you will visit two incredible ancient sites. First stop is ANCIENT MYCENAE (UNESCO), the legendary city of King Agamemnon which led all the Greeks against Troy. Don't miss the enormous Cyclopian Walls, the Lion Gate and the Royal Domed Tombs. Second stop is EPIDAURUS THEATER (UNESCO), one of the greatest and best preserved Greek theaters in existence. Famous for its crystal clear acoustics, which you can hear a whisper from the bottom when on top, the Epidaurus Theater is today the top institution for Greek Theater culture and in the Summer during the "Epidaurei Festivala" plays are played here by some of the greatest artists in the World. After seeing these sites, return to Nauplion to spend the day.

Today you are leaving Nauplion and head to MONEMVASIA. You will make 3 stops. First stop is ANCIENT SPARTA, the mythical military superpower of Ancient Greece. The city and its ruins are like its people and ideology, austere, nothing extravagant but the wealth of Sparta was its fighters and brave spirit that changed the fate of World History. Second stop the ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM OF SPARTA, that holds a great variety of Spartan artifacts. Third stop is MYSTRAS (UNESCO), a jewel of the Byzantine Era. This medieval city was the home of the last Byzantine Emperor, before heading to Constantinople for the final siege. It houses some great examples of byzantine architecture, churches, palaces and public buildings. After seeing these 3 sites head to Monemvasia to spend the rest of the day.

Spend the day in Monemvasia. One of the most picturesque towns of Greece, built on a colossal rock and surrounded by medieval walls. Strolling the old lanes is an activity on its own, but don't forget to visit the Church of Elkomenos Christos which houses the Byzantine masterpiece-icon of Elkomenos Christos, and also climb onto the old upper city (Ano Polis) once the neighborhood of the aristocrats now a ghost-town, only the Byzantine cathedral of Hagia Sophia stands. The town has many chic bars and restaurants, like "Chrisovoulo" and "Voltes". which serve dishes made with local delicacies. An interesting cafe/bar is "Enetiko" ideal for having a drink while enjoying the sea view and fresh Aegean breeze.

Today you will make a day-trip to one of the most famous beaches of the World. You will go to ELAFONISOS ISLAND (6' by boat) and head straight to the "Simos Beach". White sand making different formations, deeping into the most azure waters you can imagine. Stay as long as you please, and then return to Monemvasia.

Today you leave Monemvasia and head to AREOPOLIS. You will make 1 stop in the town of GYTHEION, to see the architecture strolling the old town, and then going for lunch in one sea-side taverna serving fresh fish like "Trata". Gytheion is also the town from which Helen and Paris left for Troy, leaving the Kingdom of Sparta. Then once you eat and relax, drive to Areopolis.

Spend the day in Areopolis. Areopolis is the capital of the Maniots, descendants of the Spartans and tremendous fighters and pirates through all their History (never got conquered by the Turks). The Mani is a harsh region full of stone and infertile land, all the houses are stone-towers which were uses as fortresses by the families in case of attack. A landscape of stone towers, infertile lands, olives trees, tall naked mountains and sea are what make Mani such a unique place. The capital of Areopolis is the only real town of the region, and has a very special aroma. Made exclusively of stone, strolling the old lanes is a fun activity to do. Also visit the Byzantine churches of the town, with thousand year old frescoes. A taverna I recommend is "Barba Petros" which serves local delicacies and excellent dishes from the region.

Today you will drive through the Mani region, seeing some of its top sites. Your first stop is the DIROS CAVES, one of the largest and most interesting caves in the World, a 2,800 meter water passage which is explored by boat for 40'. After seeing the caves drive to "Mavros Piratis" taverna in Neo Oitylo, one of the best tavernas in Mani serving fresh fish and other delicacies by the sea. Once you eat drive to VATHEIA, the most iconic Maniot settlement built on a hill crowned with stone towers. Once you see Vatheia drive to CAPE TAINARON, the southernmost point of Greece believed by the ancient Greeks as the Gates of the Underworld. Explore the small Necromanteion or the Oracle of the Dead, and after take a deep in the local beaches. Further explore Many driving after that, or return to Areopolis.

DAY 10
Leave Areopolis and head to PYLOS. You will make 2 stops, your first stop is KALAMATA the Messenian capital. A culinary hotspot and with a charming old town. This is the place to taste Messenian cuisine including roasted pig, kalamata olives, and local cheeses. A recommended tavern is "Polychronis" with traditionally made dishes. Then drive to POLILIMNIO WATERFALLS, a beautiful natural landscape. Then drive to Pylos and spend the rest day.

DAY 11
Today you will make a day-trip with 2 stops. You first stop is the METHONI CASTLE, a picturesque medieval castle with a great tower. After seeing the castle, your second stop is the VOIDOKILIA BEACH. One of the most beautiful Greek beaches, with a unique geographical shape and all shades of blue and green. After seeing these sites, return to Pylos and spend the rest day there.

DAY 12
Leave Pylos and head to STEMNITSA. You will make 2 stops, first stop is ANCIENT MESSENE. One of the best preserved ancient cities in Greece, a UNESCO candidate site. Your second stop is the TEMPLE OF APOLLO EPICURIUS (UNESCO), built by the architect of the Parthenon it is a masterpiece of Greek architecture. Then complete your drive to Stemnitsa.

DAY 13
Spend your morning in Stemnitsa. One of the most beautiful mountain villages of Greece, built in traditional architecture with old churches and classic meat tavernas. Then drive to the village of Dimitsana, built also in traditional architecture and considered one of the most beautiful in Greece. Eat lunch at "Zerzova" and taste the local delicacies of local meat, chylopites (traditional pasta) and fresh cheeses and vegetables.

DAY 14
Leave Stemnitsa and head to ANCIENT OLYMPIA. The greatest festival of the Greek World, the Olympic Games, took place in here. One of the holiest cities of ancient Greece, the city prospered and gained great wealth, and was once home to one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World the Temple of Zeus. Today you will see the ancient stadium, where the original Olympics took place, the ruins of the Temple pf Zeus and many other wonderful sites. Don't miss the ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM OF OLYMPIA, holding a collection of incredibly important treasures from the ancient city. The highlights of the collection include the "Hermes of Praxiteles" considered the greatest sculpture of the ancient world surviving, by the greatest sculptor of Antiquity, Praxiteles. Also the great statue of "Nike of Paionios", "Zeus and Ganymede", the sculptures from the pediment of the Great Temple of Zeus which are preserved in excellent state, and the "Helmet of Miltiades" the original helmet that the Athenian general Miltiades gifted to Zeus in Olympia to thank the Gods for the Greek Victory at the mighty Battle of Plataea, saving Greece from the mighty Persian Army and changing the course of World History.

-The Itinerary goes like that:
ATHENS, ancient corinth, acrocorinth, ancient nemea, NAUPLION, ancient mycenae, epidaurus theater, NAUPLION, ancient sparta, archaeological museum of sparta, mystras, MONEMVASIA, MONEMVASIA, simos beach in elafonisos, MONEMVASIA, gytheion, AREOPOLIS, AREOPOLIS, diros cave, vatheia, cape tainaron, AREOPOLIS, kalamata, polilimnio waterfalls, PYLOS, methoni castle, voidokilia beach, PYLOS, ancient messene, temple of apollo epicurius, STEMNITSA, dimitsana, STEMNITSA, ancient olympia, archaeological museum of olympia.

I hope you find the Itinerary interesting, if you have any questions ask.
PetrosB3 is offline  
Apr 6th, 2016, 05:36 AM
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PetrosB3, Would love to do that itinerary.
Sassafrass is offline  
Apr 6th, 2016, 04:12 PM
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Thank you, PetrosB3, for your detailed itinerary which helps us so much in planning our vacation. The Peloponnese looks simply incredible and we may just have to ask you some more questions as we move forward (thanks for that).

We would never have even thought about this wonderful area if it wasn't mentioned by Travellerer1959, who, along with stanbr, has offered us great advice as well.

We may be able to stretch our vacation a few more days. Did you find your itinerary rushed for the 14 days? If we do spend an additional 2 or 3 days, should we choose another destination to stay at or increase the days one or two of the places you mentioned?

Thank you.

AirBalloon is offline  

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