Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

First time trip to Greece, up to 3 weeks, any suggestions appreciated

First time trip to Greece, up to 3 weeks, any suggestions appreciated

Old Jan 4th, 2023, 08:04 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 49
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
First time trip to Greece, up to 3 weeks, any suggestions appreciated

Hi, we are a couple in our early 70s, late 60s looking for suggestions for a first time trip. Arriving mid May or June 2023 for about 14 - 21 days. interested in maybe a sailing portion for a day or so
local food, history , local experience, not big partiers. , which islands to see
Recommendations for small tours or local guides also maybe
In early planning stage so any suggestions would be appreciated
wilkie is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2023, 10:04 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,500
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
We've visited a few of the islands and it can get very hot and crowded in summer. Unless you are used to hot weather, I'd suggest going in May, not June. On our first trip we visited Mykonos, Naxos and Santorini, all in one ferry grouping, and all different and worth visiting. Other islands we particularly liked were Rhodes (for history), Folegandros (romantic) and Hydra (relaxed feel, no traffic, only donkeys). We also visited Chania in Crete and loved it but I know there's a lot more to Crete. Delos can be visited on a day trip from Mykonos and is really interesting, though hot and dry with little shade so be prepared. Symi can be visited from Rhodes on a day sailing trip, and is a very attractive island.

If you catch one of the big ferries to an island, you can get up on deck for amazing views and fresh air. On the catamarans you sit inside and you can't see that much. As a very rough guide, ferries are half the cost of catamarans and take twice as long. This website has been around for years, maybe worth a look -
https://www.greecetravel.com/ Also worth looking at guidebooks, from the library or book shop - Lonely Planet are excellent.
KayF is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2023, 01:08 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,177
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
A trip to Greece without spending some time on the mainland is incomplete. From Athens you can travel easily by car or express bus to Nafplio, which is surrounded by UNESCO World Heritage sites, and is one of the most beautiful small cities in Greece. Another place I enjoyed visiting is the archeological site at Delphi, home of the Oracle legend.

That said, when most people think of a trip to Greece they think of islands. Kay F gives a good description of islands you can visit in the Cyclades and Dodecanese island groups and Crete. I’ve found that really hot weather usually doesn’t kick in until the last half of June, so May and early June are perfect.

For travel, flying to and from the more distant islands from Athens will save a lot of time. If you arrive in Greece at Athens it’s best to take a connecting flight to an island with an airport rather than spending the first night in Athens. Why spend an hour travelling into Athens and then have to back to the airport the next day? You could also take a ferry to the first island, but bear in mind most ferries depart in early morning and only a few in afternoon. Personally I avoid highspeed catamarans when I can, especially the small passenger-only ones that are unpleasant in rough seas.

Modern conventional ferries such as the Blue Star fleet cruise at around 24-26 knots, compared with the high speeds in the mid 30s, so are no longer half the speed of the catamarans. There are many advantages to conventional ferries along with the lower fares. They have plenty of room to walk around and go to the open deck. They also have a choice of where to eat, from snack bars to table service in business class. Best of all they are larger, and very stable when seas are rough.
Heimdall is online now  
Old Jan 5th, 2023, 04:33 AM
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 150
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Another vote for spending up to a week on the mainland: Nafplio and surrounding sights, perhaps Mystras and Messene, Delphi. History, culture and great food, plus the driving is surprisingly easy with much of the signage in both alphabets.

Consider a cooking class in Athens at the Greek Kitchen.
FTOttawa is online now  
Old Jan 5th, 2023, 05:59 AM
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 3,205
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think May and June are fine for the islands, but I would be concerned about it being too hot in Athens in June. We visited Greece last May. We were in Athens at the end of our trip, so this would be late May, and it was very, very hot, definitely in the 90's. We were sweltering at the Acropolis. But it is doable; make sure you have hats and water. And you can get relief by visiting air-conditioned museums. Temps were comfortable in the islands.

We are also in our early 70's. This was our itinerary if it helps you with planning:
Santorini - 3 nights
Naxos - 4 nights
Nafplio on the Peloponnese Peninsula - 5 nights
Athens - 4 nights

I agree with Heimdall and FTOttawa about spending time in Nafplio and surrounding areas. We visited Epidauros, Mycenae and Mystras. Mystras (Byzantine ruins) is about a 1 hour and 45 minute drive from Nafplio one way, but well worth it. It is my favorite and I would love to re-visit it. Just stunning! There are other ancient ruins, too, but we did other things such as sightsee and explore in Nafplio, a beautiful small city on the water. We drove down the Argolid Peninsula after visiting Epidauros to swim at a beach and have dinner at a fishing village.

Santorini is beautiful! It is expensive, touristy, and crowded, but it is well worth visiting at least once in your lifetime. The caldera views are stunning. We also rented a car for a day and visited the Akrotiri archaeological site, lighthouse, red sand beach, and black sand beach. A very enjoyable and rewarding day.

Then we took the Blue Star Ferry to Naxos, a very pleasant 2-hour trip. Naxos is less crowded than Santorini, less expensive, and more laidback. We also rented a car for a day and traveled around the island visiting mountain villages and fishing villages. We had an awesome meal at a fish taverna sitting outside right next to the Aegean. This was one of the best days of our trip.

We flew from Naxos to Athens Airport where we picked up our rental car and drove 2 hours to Nafplio. When it was time to leave Nafplio, we returned our car to the airport, and we took a taxi to our Athens hotel. You don't want to drive in Athens. And driving around Greece is very easy.

I agree with KayF about purchasing a few guidebooks. I used Lonely Planet and the Michelin Green Guide, along with help from the wonderful people on this forum. And a few websites, such as Santorini Dave and Matt Barrett.

I wrote a trip report. If you are interested, you can click on my name, go to trip reports. I wrote it in June 2022.

We did use a guide for the Acropolis. I think it's Athens Walks. The name is in my TR.
KarenWoo is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2023, 07:13 AM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 170
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You've gotten good advice on islands and the mainland. I won't name my favorite island because it's already popular enough, but second the recommendation for Nafplio. It's beautiful! Also, many people suggest that Athens should be skipped, but I emphatically disagree. It's become a favorite spot for because of the food, walkability and rich culture and history. I've done two tours (a general food tour which included the Athens Central Market and stops for savory pie, charcuterie items, small plates and dessert, and a street food tour where we sampled an array of Greek olive oils and I the best souvlaki ever) with Greekality. Great value and really fun!
nylilly is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2023, 07:21 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 11,309
Likes: 0
Received 7 Likes on 1 Post
I agree with those who say spend some time on the mainland. The islands a re lovely but can be packed. Maybe pick one island and just do that. We really enjoyed Rhodes. There was alot to see, not crowded for the most part and just beautiful I have a TR from our 3rd trip to Greece this past May. 29 Days in Glorious Greece
yestravel is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2023, 08:58 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,303
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I spent all of my days on the mainland with no regrets, when I return I'll do the same. May was absolutely perfect--warm enough to swim but never sweltering. We had massive sites like ancient Messini practically to ourselves.
Bradt Guide was the most comprehensive.
yorkshire is online now  
Old Jan 5th, 2023, 09:42 AM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 453
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Heimdall always has good advice on Greece. I was helped greatly. There is another recent post about several islands with answers you could also look at. I posted my 2016 trip there. If you are on the mainland, Meteora is a must see. I believe KarenWoo did the same trip we did but started on Santorini and worked backwards to Naxos.

3 stops in Greece...Athens, Santorini, Naxos..sound about right?
Debbielynn is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Feb 29th, 2020 05:05 AM
Apr 28th, 2011 11:49 AM
Jan 17th, 2004 03:27 PM
Jun 22nd, 2003 03:04 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -