First time in Greece

Old Feb 14th, 2016, 08:26 AM
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First time in Greece

Hello. My family of 4 adults will be traveling to Greece for the first time in late June/early July 2016. We are planning on staying in Athens for 3-4 days and Santorini for 3-4 days. We would also like to see ancient Olympia, Delphi, and Meteora. At this time, I am thinking that Olympia can be seen in 1 day, Delphi can be seen in 1 day, and Meteora in 2 days. Is this correct?
My problem is that we really don't want to drive in Greece, so I am unsure of how to get to Olympia, Delphi, and Meteora from Athens. The tour companies that I have researched don't seem to give details about how long it takes to reach each town, how long they allow you to sightsee, etc. Also, I have found a hotel I really want to stay at in Meteora, and I doubt it is one that the tour companies use.
I am hoping that someone can give advice of the best way to see these three places, out of Athens, that will truly give us time to explore on our own terms. For example, in Meteora, the tour companies only visit two monasteries, and don't allow time for exploring/walking the pathways.
We don't want to waste time backtracking to these towns, and we want to maximize the time we have so we can explore as much as possible.
We are on a budget, and this will probably be our only trip to Greece, so any help will be appreciated.
Thank you!
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Old Feb 14th, 2016, 08:42 AM
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Try contacting Dolphin-Hellas Travel and Fantasy Travel, both in Athens, to see what they might have to offer.

With so little time to spend in Greece I do recommend that you fly, not ferry, directly to (and from) Santorini when you first arrive, not after Athens, to prevent backtracking and so you don't waste precious time on a ferry and so you don't have to stress about returning to the mainland for your flight home. Nothing will ruin your vacation faster than a last-minute mad-dash for the airport.
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Old Feb 14th, 2016, 09:41 AM
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I know there are bus trips to Delphi and Meteora, I think by Fantasy travel mentioned above, but I'd be surprised if the tour allows for different hotels but it's worth checking.

We almost never drive in Europe and prefer trains (or flights if needed), but we are biting the bullet and getting a car after our time in Athens to drive to Delphi/Meteora and then the Peloponnese, then ditching it at the airport on the way out of town. (If you do end up driving at all you need an international driver's license -- easy to get through AAA or by mail).
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Old Feb 14th, 2016, 11:25 AM
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Driving is so easy in Greece - the roads are in excellent condition, the signage is good, the drivers are relaxed, hardly any traffic on the roads.

For Olympia, half day is sufficient - 2 hours to walk through the archeological site and 1 hour for the museum. But after touring the archeological site you might want to have a refreshing dive into the sea. So, consider staying at a beach hotel.

Delphi take a bit more time - 3 hours for the archeology, 1 to 2 hours for the museum. Besides, there is much to see beyond the archeological site. Arachova is a charming town, you have Mount Parnossos, scenic drives through the mountains and the Corycian Cave, so one full day would be required.

On the way to Delphi (or from), make sure to stop at Hosios Loukos, the most beautiful Byzantine monastery in Greece (UNESCO World Heritage). It is a quick visit (maybe an hour), but very rewarding.
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Old Feb 15th, 2016, 02:23 AM
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A car gives you maximum flexibility and this itinerary is possible on public transport but exausting on a so tight time frame. If you do not wish to drive or eliminate some of your destinations, private transport or an organised tour is the way to go.

http://www.chatours.gr/
http://www.gotours.com.gr/en/
http://www.keytours.gr/

offer more or less identical bus tours on major mainland sites since donkey years. If you are interested to be part of a bus tour group, more likely all other travel agents will book you with one of those. If you are interested on a customised private tour, I agree it is better to contact one of the agencies brotherlee mentions which are very reputable and experienced Greek agencies among others.
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Old Feb 15th, 2016, 07:40 AM
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Thank you to mariha2912, traveller1959, annw, and brotherleelove2004. I appreciate your input.
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Old Feb 15th, 2016, 08:56 AM
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Agencies like Fantasy or Dolphin, don't have their own tours, they cooperate with the 3 big ones that Mariha mentioned.
While they can offer you a tailor made tour based on your interests, this would be something pretty expensive.

The best option to visit all these places at your own pace would be a rental car, traveller1959 gave you some good advice.
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Old Feb 15th, 2016, 01:05 PM
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Driving time from Athens to Olympia: 3:00
From Olympia to Hosios Loukas: 3:30 (very scenic)
From Hosios Loukas to Delphi: 0:40
From Delphi to Meteora: 3:30
From Meteora to Athens: 4:00

Not estimated times, but personal experience.
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Old Feb 15th, 2016, 02:20 PM
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dbje have you decided how you are going to make the trip.

Most of us here would certainly do it by car rental. Have you changed your mind on that? Are you planning on taking one of the tours?
Anyway this is what you can expect to see,
Olympia Delfi Meteora https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr...7645469717811/
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Old Feb 15th, 2016, 08:31 PM
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Wowie, great pics, Stan!
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Old Feb 17th, 2016, 11:31 AM
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All the above replies said anything I had to say. I just want to agree that driving in Greece is really easy, the roads are new and the signage is in English too. And it will give you the flexibility to stop anywhere you like. And be sure that you will find many excuses to stop
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Old May 29th, 2016, 05:32 PM
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Thanks to everyone for their advice.We decided to take a private 1-day tour to Olympia, and then a 2-day bus tour thru Viator to see Delphi and Meteora. I'm sure driving ourselves would be better, but the drivers in our family were unwilling. I'm just grateful we have the opportunity to visit Greece, and I'll take what I can get!
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