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First time to Greece - Suggestion needed to complete itinerary

First time to Greece - Suggestion needed to complete itinerary

Old Jun 19th, 2019, 10:17 AM
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First time to Greece - Suggestion needed to complete itinerary

Hi there,
My wife and I will be in Greece for 8 nights in late Sep and we will be joined by two family members in Athens. I got accommodation for all of us for the first 3 nights and last 2 nights in Athens. I have left open 3 nights for an excursion somewhere outside Athens. We will have 4 full days for sightseeing in Athens, 2 full days before and 2 more days after the excursion. However, I am kind of lost in deciding on where to go for the 3 days as there are so many places to visit in Greece. My choices are:
1- Fly to Naxos for overnight stay and ferry to Santorini for 2 nights and fly back to Athens from there.
2- Visit Meteora (2N) and Delphi (1N) by way of train and bus.
3- Fly to Crete and make base at Chania for 3 nights. We will take day trips from there and then fly back to Athens.
Does it make sense to stay overnight in Naxos before ferrying to Santorini? Is flying out of Santorini a probem as I heard lines can be very long at the airport?
Also, still not sure how to go from Meteora to Delphi as I cannot find direct train nor bus for this route?
Based on what I have read, I think my wife and I would like Crete very much. We probably will need another 3 days to see the eastern part of the island so it might not be worth while for this short trip.
Welcome any feedback. Thanks.






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Old Jun 19th, 2019, 11:04 AM
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Depends a lot on what you want to see and do. Delphi is amazing, and if you like ancient sites, the Argolida area around Nafplio has more than just about anywhere else. Nafplio itself is a beautiful seaside town, and it takes only about 2 hrs by road to get there from Athens, probably less time than you would spend at Athens Airport waiting for a flight to the islands.

If if you have only one night for Naxos it would be better to give it a miss and add the night to Santorini. You can’t do much on the island in only part of the first day, and you will have to leave for the ferry port in the morning on the second.
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Old Jun 19th, 2019, 12:37 PM
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With only 3 days to go somewhere I would recommend one island and stay there. Aegina is often overlooked because it's so close to the mainland but it has everything one would want for a Greek Island: archeological/historic sites, lovely main town, seaside villages, abandoned Byzantine village in the hills, ancient olive groves, walking, hiking and is known as the Pistachio Capital of Greece.

It's a short ferry ride from Piraeus and may be your best option.

Nafplio is also a good option but if you haven't been to a Greek Island then Aegina may be a wonderful choice.

Crete is Greece's largest island would take days if not weeks to fully experience. Save it for another time.

I think it's a waste of time to ferry to Naxos for one night then ferry to Santorini. I would recommend staying in Naxos, one of Greece's nicest islands with something for everyone. Remember, every time you go from Point A to Point B takes time and time is valuable on holiday, especially with only 3 days outside of Athens.
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Old Jun 19th, 2019, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by A4MYS View Post
1- Fly to Naxos for overnight stay and ferry to Santorini for 2 nights and fly back to Athens from there.
2- Visit Meteora (2N) and Delphi (1N) by way of train and bus.
3- Fly to Crete and make base at Chania for 3 nights. We will take day trips from there and then fly back to Athens.
1. I agree that you should skip one or the other of these islands. Personally, I'd skip Santorini, but many (most?) would disagree with me.
2. Both excellent destinations, IMO!
3. Another vote to wait for Crete until you can give it more time.
I also agree that Nafplio is worth considering.
No bad choices, just difficult ones!
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Old Jun 19th, 2019, 11:55 PM
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If you go to Nafplio you can visit Spetses or Hydra from Porto Heli or Ermioni and still get your island fix. These two little ports are very near Nafplio, and are at the end of the route for ferries from Piraeus. The ferries take only 25 minutes from Ermioni to Hydra, the island first made famous by the old "Boy on a Dolphin" film.

As for Santorini, that's not my favourite island either, but the views of the caldera are to die for, and it has Greece's version of Pompeii, the Minoan village buried during the volcanic eruption in 16th century BC. You can also visit Ancient Thera, the ruins high up on the mountain where you can look down on airplanes arriving at the airport. The crowds at Santorini Airport you've heard about are only for charter flights, not the domestic flights from Athens. I've been to Santorini twice, and am very glad I did!
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Old Jun 20th, 2019, 12:08 AM
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Also, still not sure how to go from Meteora to Delphi as I cannot find direct train nor bus for this route?

There is no train to Delphi and no direct buses from Kalambaka(the small town by the Meteora monasteries). You'll have to change buses 2 times and the journey takes at least 6 hours.

It'd be easier to treat Meteora and Delphi as separate trips.

1) Take a train from Athens to Kalampaka, visit the the monasteries, return to Athens by train.

2) Take a bus from Athens to Delphi and return the next day.
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Old Jun 20th, 2019, 10:14 AM
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Thank you for all your suggestions thus far.
For the Santorini option I meant to fly to Naxos for a night and then take the short (relative) ferry to Santorini for the approaching sight of the white cliff top island. Not sure if it is worth such trouble at all.
I found a car service that would transport you to Meteora with a 2-hr stop over at Delphi for extra fee. I am looking into this so I can spend two nights in Meteora and then return to Athens by train. This will give me the extra day to do a ferry day trip to Hydra or Aegina. Would it do justice with just a 2-hr stop over for Delphi ?
I still like to consider Chania as it is less touristy place where you can still experience local Greek culture and good seafood. Is Chania comparable to Aegina for local Greek culture and good seafood?
I seriously would opt for the Meteora and Delphi itinerary if this trip were just me and my wife as I can always plan for an exclusive island fix trip after this first visit.

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Old Jun 20th, 2019, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by A4MYS View Post
For the Santorini option I meant to fly to Naxos for a night and then take the short (relative) ferry to Santorini for the approaching sight of the white cliff top island. Not sure if it is worth such trouble at all.
For me, it would not be worth the time and effort -- not to mention the opportunity you would lose for enjoying Naxos; YMMV. Personally, I think choosing EITHER Santorini OR Naxos makes more sense.

Originally Posted by A4MYS View Post
I found a car service that would transport you to Meteora with a 2-hr stop over at Delphi for extra fee. I am looking into this so I can spend two nights in Meteora and then return to Athens by train. This will give me the extra day to do a ferry day trip to Hydra or Aegina. Would it do justice with just a 2-hr stop over for Delphi ?
I spent about 4 hours exploring Delphi's ruins plus about 1.5 hours at its excellent museum. I'm sure some people spend less time there.

Last edited by kja; Jun 20th, 2019 at 05:34 PM.
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Old Jun 20th, 2019, 11:29 PM
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You can see the Santorini cliff top villages from the caldera much better by taking a boat trip while on Santorini. I agree the first sight of the caldera villages from the deck of a conventional ferry is breathtaking, but just as you enter the caldera an announcement is made to proceed to the car deck to get ready to disembark. There are no windows on the car deck, so you see nothing more until the vehicle ramp is lowered at the dock. IMO going to Naxos for one night just to take the ferry to Santorini is a waste of time, and inadequate to enjoy much of Naxos itself.

Just so so you know, fresh seafood is very expensive in Greece, and the prices are shown by the kilo on the menu. Some items, e.g. swordfish, are usually frozen, and not so expensive. Octopus is good value.
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Old Jun 21st, 2019, 09:05 AM
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Per Heimdal: If you go to Nafplio you can visit Spetses or Hydra from Porto Heli or Ermioni and still get your island fix.

If you're choosing between these 2 islands, pick Hydra. Spetses is infested by noisy vespas. Hydra has no vespas and uses donkeys to transfer goods. It's delightfully quiet and walkable. (See the windmill.)
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Old Jun 21st, 2019, 11:49 AM
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We spent a beautiful day on Spetses. It was so green unlike the arid Cyclades. I do not recall any noise from vespas.
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Old Jun 25th, 2019, 01:22 PM
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If this trip were just me and my wife then I would not mind visiting places like Hydra, Vespas or Nafplion. But I wanted to take my two family members to somewhere unique that has a wow factor so they can write home about it. I think It will be a toss between Santorini and Meteora. Still thinking about going to Delphi first by bus and stay overnight and then going up to Kalabaka by car transfer for 2 nights and return to Athens by train in the PM. This will give me about one and a half days in Meteora. We can then do a day-trip to Aegina or Hyda in one of the remaining days in Athens. So much to see and my list includes Rhodes, Crete, Mykonos, Santorini, Corfu and the Peloponnese region....
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Old Jun 25th, 2019, 03:59 PM
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If you've given up trying to see both Santorini and Naxos, you've got a toss-up IMO.

Originally Posted by A4MYS View Post
If this trip were just me and my wife then I would not mind visiting places like ... Nafplion. ... my list includes the Peloponnese region....
I'm confused. Nafplion is in the Peloponnese.
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Old Jun 29th, 2019, 03:42 AM
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Hi!
For me going to Naxos for 1 night has no meaning. Naxos is famous for beaches and villages that you will not have time to visit. The town of Naxos has nothing beautiful to see.

Fly to Santorini from Athens and teh view is the same beautiful from everywhere. Just book tickets on time.
​​​​​​
Nafplio is beautiful and Delphi also. What I would for sure suggests you to do is along with monuments watch an Ancient Tragedy performance... Athinais theater, Epidaurus, Herodes...
This is sth unique
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Old Jun 29th, 2019, 04:57 AM
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Do you not drive? I have driven from Athens to Meteora and then down to Delphi, stopped at Galaxidi and back to Athens.
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Old Jun 29th, 2019, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by elpida View Post
Hi!
For me going to Naxos for 1 night has no meaning. ... The town of Naxos has nothing beautiful to see.
I disagree that there's nothing beautiful in Naxos; I agree that going there for 1 night doesn't make much sense.
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Old Jun 30th, 2019, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Odin View Post
Do you not drive? I have driven from Athens to Meteora and then down to Delphi, stopped at Galaxidi and back to Athens.
How much time was involved?
I was thinking about doing this and mentioned it on another thread and was discouraged from doing so.
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Old Jun 30th, 2019, 08:23 AM
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@ starrs: If it helps you plan, I spent about 1.5 days in Meteora, which felt about right to me (although you could, of course, spend less time there). At Delphi, I spent about 4 hours on site and another 1.5 hours at its magnificent museum.
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Old Jun 30th, 2019, 08:49 AM
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Thanks. A lot depends on how and how early we return to Santorini (or another island stop), but here are the distances/ drive time from Google Maps -
A to D = 2. 5 hours
D to M = 3 hours
M to A = 4 hours
So although the order may flipped (M before D or vice versa) , if we had an early am arrival via plane from Santorini, it seemed doable to drive to one of them (D for example) and sight-see on the first day. Spend the night. Drive to the other one and spend the day and night on Day 2. Day 3, finiish sight-seeing and return to Athens before dark. We have a flight out the next day (around noon). I got the impression the drive time was not doable (based on another post), but three full days seems to be "enough" time, understanding that some people may choose to stay longer.
Yes? No?
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Old Jun 30th, 2019, 09:06 AM
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@ starrs: The tricky part would, I think, be closing hours. Can you get to Delphi in time to see what you want to see before the site and museum close? BTW, I'd add a bit of time to that driving estimate for reaching Delphi, not just for picking up your rental car and getting onto the road, but also because some of the roads near Delphi probably take a bit more time than Google estimates, at least IIRC -- and then you need to find parking and probably walk some distance to the site. I don't know what post you are referencing, but there's a frequent poster on Greece (t..j..) who often claims this trip is not feasible, apparently without having actually done it. From what I can tell, those of us who have done it generally think it is a possibility, depending on the exact timing, the time of year (which affects closing / opening hours), travel preferences, etc -- but I think you would need to reach Athens early. JMO.

Last edited by kja; Jun 30th, 2019 at 09:20 AM.
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