Exploring Greece

Old May 25th, 2021, 02:23 AM
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Exploring Greece

Hopefully we will receive much needed advice on our beginning plans. We are 70 years young and in good physical health. Not really interested in lying on beach for hours or bar/nightlife~did that in our earlier years. This will most likely be our only visit to Greece.

Interested in scenery, historical sites, cultural events and of course wine and food. Plan to take wine, food and walking tours. We have driven in Sicily, Spain and Amalfi coast so not a problem.

Arrive Sept.6 and depart from Athens Sept.26

Arrive Athens from US. Spend the night in Athens to overcome jet lag.

Fly to Santorini for 3 nights. Fingers crossed that the cruise ships have not arrived in full force due to Covid.

3 nights at Sifnos and then 3 nights in Milos. Fly to Athens and pick up rental at airport.

Drive to Meteora for 3 nights and then Delphi for one night.

Drive from Delphi to spend 1 night at Corinth, then 2 nights at Nafplio and then 4 remaining nights in Athens.

Thank you for suggestions!
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Old May 25th, 2021, 02:57 AM
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I would skip your first night in Athens and fly to Santorini on your arrival. Saves going back and forth to airport and Santorini can be a good place to recover from jet lag.
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Old May 25th, 2021, 06:04 AM
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Agree with Judy I would just head over to Santorini from Athens especially since you're ending your trip in Athens. I've only been to Santorini and Athens on your list. IMO Santorini is all about the views. It's drop dead gorgeous, head over to Oia and do a sunset tour. we did a hiking tour of the island and then a wine tour. we also did a tour of Akitoria (I think that's what it's called) which was a fascinating archaeological site.

Athens of course is the home of the Acropolis and Parthenon.
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Old May 25th, 2021, 06:55 AM
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Agree with the others. Tough it out and fly straight out to Santorini. You will appreciate waking up there on your first morning and avoiding the hassle of having to make your way to the Athens Airport with a foggy head.
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Old May 25th, 2021, 07:08 AM
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I didn’t mention it in my reply to your PM, but agree that going straight to Santorini would be a good idea. That will gain you a day to use somewhere else in your itinerary.

I know you want to rest after your long overseas flight, but guess what? It takes just as long to get into central Athens from the airport as it does to fly to Santorini. True, you will have a layover between flights, but you can relax in one of the airport restaurants or even go across the street to the Sofitel Hotel for a drink or a snack. There is no better place to get over jet lag than on an island.

Alternatively you could spend that night in the Sofitel and take the first flight to Santorini early the next morning. Sofitel is expensive, but it’s only five minutes walk from the airline check in desks across the street. Early morning flights are usually cheaper than the ones leaving midday.

Last edited by Heimdall; May 25th, 2021 at 07:12 AM.
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Old May 25th, 2021, 08:40 AM
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And another one to tell you to fly straight on to Santorini! So much better than spending a night in Athens and then waking up and having to get back to the airport. And chances are that unless you have early check in at an Athens hotel, you’ll need to pay for 2 nights to stay there after arrival in the early part of the day. Much, much better to fly on to your first real stop.
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Old May 25th, 2021, 10:18 AM
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Please do not assume that you must enter and exit Greece via Athens. Using a multi-destination search, you might find that you can conveniently fly to Santorini on a combined ticket through another European gateway airport connecting directly to the island. Then fly home from Athens after your visit there. The multi-destination function will combine the trans-Atlantic and European flights into an itinerary that could be both quicker and, perhaps, cheaper than purchasing the individual flights yourself.
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Old May 25th, 2021, 10:29 AM
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Thanks as we have made changes to travel on to Santorini upon arrival in Athens.




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Old May 25th, 2021, 11:52 AM
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We usually fly from Athens to Santorini (though our destination is really Folegandros.....but too much for one day) We collect our luggage on arrival and roll it across to the Sofitel for a Bloody Mary toast to our arrival, then check in with Aegean Air for the short flight to Santorini.
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Old May 26th, 2021, 12:31 AM
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Well done plufmud! During your layover there are a few things you can do in the terminal if you have the time. One of the things I always do first is find an ATM and draw out some euros. There are several on the Arrivals level you will see after you retrieve your luggage and walk toward the escalator or elevator to the Departures level. Use one of the ATMs operated by a Greek bank (Alpha Bank, National Bank, Piraeus Bank & Eurobank), avoiding the blue & yellow Euronet ATMs, which are operated by a private company that has higher charges. There are ATMs on Santorini and Paros too, but itís nice to have some euros in your pocket before you leave the airport.

There are shops, restaurants, and coffee shops on the Departures level. One floor above that is a little museum (free entry) that displays artefacts discovered during airport construction. There isnít much to see, but itís worth a quick look if you have a few minutes.

if you are booked with Olympic Air or Aegean Airlines, you can check in online for your flight to Santorini up to 48 hours in advance, so you can do that before you leave home. Print out your boarding passes and then you donít have to line up at the check in counters when you get to Athens. Leave your bags at the drop off point next to the check in counters, where they will be tagged for Santorini and you will be given a receipt. That relieves you of having to tote your bags around during the layover, and you can proceed directly to the departure gate when you are ready.

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Old May 26th, 2021, 03:38 AM
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Thanks for the advice.
Should I prebook car rental on islands?
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Old May 26th, 2021, 05:58 AM
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If you can drive stick-shift, car rentals are much easier (and cheaper!). If you need automatic, advance booking is prudent, since far fewer in the fleets. Good idea to first think ahead about your activity schedule -- for example, if you're going to do a day-sail in Milos (delightful! only way to see some of the amazing shore landscape), then u don't want a car sitting around all day unused. Also in Santorini, plan carefully when & if a car is needed; parking can be a challenge. Hotels often can handle this for you, unless you are doing airbnb. And of course, do not forget to obtain your Inernational Driving Permit (v. easy, just stop by local AAA office & show your own drivers license; process takes 20 mins).
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Old May 26th, 2021, 06:35 AM
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Good advice from travelerjan. I drive at home, but prefer to use public transport in Greece. All my cars but one have been manual transmission, so forget about someone needing an automatic. Were it not for that I would wait until arriving on the island to shop around, but if you have reserved a rental take photos of any dents or scratches before you drive away.
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Old May 26th, 2021, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by plufmud View Post
Thanks for the advice.
Should I prebook car rental on islands?
Definitely, whether it is manual or automatic. You get the best prices that way. The smaller the car the better as roads are narrow and it is better for parking. You are only there 3 nights so a rental car makes best use of your time. You can get to places the bus does not take you to and in your own time. I never consider it a waste even if I do not use my car for a day, the cost is so small in the scheme of things, it does not matter to me.
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Old Jun 20th, 2021, 02:53 PM
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Bathy,

What car rental do you recommend? We are definitely going to rent a car at all of our stops in Greece.
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Old Jun 21st, 2021, 12:43 AM
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I use Autoeurope, rentalcars, holiday autos or economycarrentals., whichever has the best price. They are not rental companies but wholesalers and will sell major and local car rental firms.

For some destinations eg smaller islands, it might be less expensive to find local rental companies eg https://santorini-car-rental.com/en/
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Old Jun 21st, 2021, 08:17 AM
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For car rental at ATH airport for your mainland itinerary, many of us have repeatedly used AthensCarRental http://www.athens-carrental.com/athens-car-rental.php a good fleet, many options, good prices & insurance coverage. They don't have a pricey desk inside airport, they meet you as u leave the baggage pick-up area, and walk you outside to the car, do the paperwork there. On return, you take car as directed to a place inside airport & an agent takes it from you. Never a problem.

In Naxos, plenty of car rental places right on the "town Square".... if you require an automatic, u might inquire ahead online. ONE TIP for Naxos (and perhaps other isles); IF you want an early start for a day of exploring, you might consider picking up the car the evening before... offices stay open until 9... and park it by your hotel. This is because island people are a litle sluggish in the AM, having dined late, and when you have reserved a car for 9 am, it may be 10 or later before you are actually on the road. For a 24-hour rental, you'd return it before dinner anyway.
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Old Jun 21st, 2021, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by plufmud View Post
Thanks for the advice.
Should I prebook car rental on islands?
I would recommend that anyone, anywhere, pre-book a rental car for any travels this year. I live in a tourist area, and the companies sold off their fleets during quarantine. When the tourists returned there weren't enough cars to meet demand. A few weeks ago last-minute rentals here reached $700 per day. No typo: Seven hundred US dollars. Tourists were renting u-hauls, and then those sold out. Then they started chartering ubers for an entire day - so us locals couldn't even use that! I wouldn't risk trying to rent at the last minute, just in case Greece (or anywhere) has a similar shortage.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2021, 07:20 AM
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Michael I agree on pre-booking if possible but I think you are from a tourist area in the USA, and I don't believe the sell-off was as extreme in Europe.... and if you go on to the website of a major Athens agency like Athenscarrental I do not believe you will find customer-gouging prices similar to the ones you quote.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2021, 09:58 AM
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Thanks for the suggestion for Athens car rental and also Santorini car rental as I just booked for upcoming trip. Prices seemed to be very reasonable.
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