First trip to Greece (last minute!)


Aug 17th, 2017, 04:29 PM
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First trip to Greece (last minute!)


My husband and I just decided to go to Greece in early October (leave on the 4th, come back on the 12th) and I would like to book the flights as soon as possible so I'm overwhelmed with which islands to choose! I don't want to eat up a lot of time traveling, but also don't want to stick around the Athens area because it's convenient. I know nothing about Greece and am just starting to research it, but I wanted to get your advice about itinerary ideas! I was thinking 3 or 4 days in Athens, then the rest of the time at islands? Again, I know nothing about Greece YET! I do know that I (probably) would like to see Santorini despite the crowds, but Mykonos is not appealing.

We are in our mid-twenties, love traveling and have been to Venice (loved!), Rome, Tuscany (didn't love), Amsterdam, Paris, San Sebastian (loved!), Barcelona, Seville, and Granada.

Our favorite things to do on vacation are eating, drinking, sightseeing, history, and walking tours. We are generally active on vacation with but want to have time to relax on a beach as well.

What do you recommend based on travel times between islands? There's so many islands that I', overwhelmed and don't know where to start! Thank you in advance! And yes, I will be getting guidebooks!
kbmtravel is offline  
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Aug 17th, 2017, 04:30 PM
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**edit: should say "don't want to stick around the Athens area just because it's convenient."
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Aug 17th, 2017, 04:45 PM
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Hi KBM - that sounds just like my post from 2 years ago. We spent 4 days in Athens, then spent two days visiting Meteora and Delphi which were both phenomenal. We then flew to Crete which was fascinating and amazing food, beautiful seas, and then took a ferry to Naxos which was my favorite part of the trip - I would move there in a minute, it was so beautiful and laid back and friendly. so can't speak to the other islands, and I don't know how frequently the ferries run this time of year, but they were very easy to book and take. Let me know if I can answer any questions - have a great trip
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Aug 17th, 2017, 05:55 PM
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alas laura she only has SEVEN days (arrives on 8th, must fly home on 12th), your plan would just be tantalizing, but nowhere near possible.

KBM you need to be VERY VERY clever with logistics, in order to minimize time in transit, maximize time at destinations. I will give my usual stern advice - better to be realistic, and to realize when one does not have time one must sometimes spend money. And BTW, when you want good advice fast, it is thoughtful to give more info, especially where you are coming from. I had to scout your past postings to discover you fly out of JFK. Here are some basics:

• INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT -- Flying out Wed 10/4 you MUST get the Delta Nonstop out of JFK about 5pm -- arrives 10 am; don't try to save $ by a Europe connection... none will get you there until afternoon and then you may lose a whole day. For return flight do not fall for early departure; get one no earlier than 9 am (u must be in line by 7, 1 hour to airport = leave hotel 6 am). Any earlier wrecks your final Athens night.

• DAY ONE - On arrival 10/5, get Soonest Aegean Flite to Santorini -- there's an 11:45 @ €146. Book it NOW! or u must wait till a 3:40 (1540) flight, and every hour is precious. Get hotel ON the caldera -- I vote for FIROSTEPHANI (which is ON the rim, but walkable to Fira Town attractions. NOTE -- right this minute Hotel Sofia has a room w balcony view @ €180 for 2 nights -- BOOK NOW! NO risk! (Free cancelltation). Find good restaurant to enjoy view (I like STANI roof in FIra town), enjoy evening.
• DAY TWO - Take early 8:30 am bus up to OIA... to enjoy 2 hours for photos & wandering before cruise mobs cram the lanes... then take bus back to Fira town, good little museum (45 mins), maybe go up on Ancient Thira (top of a bluff) or down into buried city of Akrotiri; another sunset.
• DAY THREE (10/7) - Early plane! There's one @ 8:40 - arr 9:25 @ €164 - thats 45 mins vs. 8-9 hrs by ferry. As I said, it's a case of time or $$. Here is what I'd recommend: On arrival at ATH pick up rental car, drive on modern express hiway 2.5 hours over Corinth Canal. Stop 1 hr at Ancient Game site NEMEA just 5 mi off highway, then on to FABULOUS !!! Nafplio (considered THE most beautiful Old Town in all of Greece) ... on a peninsula! check website!! -- if possible book Hotel Agammemnon with a seaview (they have ONE balcony w sea view room left for Oc 7-8-9 -- book NOW!! NO RISK! free cancellation w.o. penalty until 9/20). Wander beautiful town, best sunset in Greece @ seafront cafes, enjoy moonlight at Marble-paved central square cafe).
• DAY FOUR -- Explore Fortresses/Castles -- Palamidi Acronafplia, do spend 1 hr at Superb small Arch. Museum (an achilles-era armor suit!!) go to Mycenae if you wish, SWIM at Arvanita cute town beach or my favorite secret cove, Asine, across from Tolo Beach. Another Sunset!!

• DAY FIVE -- up early, drive across "thumb" of peloponnese, stop an hour at EPIDAURUS just to see AMAZING ancient amphitheatre (world heritage site), then back via corinth Canal to return car @ airport. Taxi or bus to central Ath hotel near sites; this clever website ranks hotels by How close to Acropolis! - any with Review rate of 7.9 or better usually reliable -- and these days has some apts that are well-located at under $300 for 3 nights.

• DAY 6 & 7 -- Up early, visit major landmarks, Acrop museum etc.

... wow I just planned a trip for you. Hope you will use the info.
travelerjan is online now  
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Aug 17th, 2017, 09:52 PM
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As travelerjan wrote, only 7 days on the ground severely limits your options. You expressed and interest in Athens and Santorini, and 3/4 days in Athens leaves the remaining 3 or 4 for one island, not more.

If you want to go to Santorini, go to Santorini! Suggest you book a connecting flight to Santorini and save Athens for last. The flights to Santorini are only 45 minutes, which incidentally is how long it would take to get from the airport to central Athens, so you might as well go straight on to the island.

Leave 4 days for Athens and you will have time for a day trip or quick overnight to the Nafplio area or Delphi. If you'd rather not drive, there Athens based travel agencies, e.g. Chat and Key, that offer group and private tours to those locations. See for an example.
Heimdall is online now  
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Aug 18th, 2017, 05:21 AM
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I am in sync with Heimdall, such a sensible man. I should have pointed out that great option to visit Nafplio area -- my favorite tour of this type is it's for 1 night & 2 days. The Big advantages are (1) enables you to get to both Mycenae and Epidaurus without car rental (2) VERY importantly, a BIG part of the trip is FREE TIME... they get you to Nafplio (Nauplia) and allow you the whole afternoon & evening, and most of next morning to explore & enjoy ... none of that off-the-bus-take-photo-and-reboard nonsense. (3) it has a very nice tourist hotel option for the one night, which is just a block away from the lovely marble-paved square ... the "first-class" accom is outside of town requiring taxi, avoid it. I think it goes on a Tuesday, back on a Wednesday, perfect timing for you. If you have a hotel reservation in Athens, they are used to guests taking "a day away" for short tours, and will keep your big bag in their storage room while you zip away & back. Do it!!
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