Greece and Italy Combo

Mar 28th, 2017, 01:35 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2017
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Greece and Italy Combo

I am reposting this as my post from early this morning was buried under so many "oriental" spam posts.

My girlfriend and I will be travelling this summer to Greece and Italy for just under four weeks.

We are flying into Athens then driving through the Peloponnese, up through the mainland to Corfu, then taking a ferry to Otranto, Italy, where we would travel through southern Puglia. We would then drive north to Rome, where we would end our trip. We are spending about two weeks in Greece and about the same in Italy.

I have a few questions.

1. Should we allocate any time to Albania?
2. How many days should we spend in Lecce?
3. As we drive up to Rome, should we drive along the Adriatic coast through Puglia and Abruzzo then directly west to Rome or more through central Italy, through Basilicata and Campagna, and see Naples as well?

JohnnyRocket is offline  
Mar 28th, 2017, 04:18 PM
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For future reference, there is no need to double post -- regular posters know to look beyond the first few threads.

While I understand that you want to see all these places, are you sure you would actually be able to see them? It sounds to me like you would be spending a disproportionate amount of time getting from place to place, with comparatively little time to actually see anything. For comparison: What you are describing for Italy could easily take your full month.

Here's what I recommend: Get some good guidebooks (or spend some time with a few in your local library) and plot your wish list on a calendar. Each time you propose to change locations, pencil in your transportation, add some time on either side (for getting to/from your lodging, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, getting oriented, etc.). Then see how things fit together.

You can get a fairly accurate idea of driving times on, but driving isn't necessarily your best option. Picking a car up in one country and dropping it in another will cost an arm in a leg. (Actually, picking up anywhere in Greece and dropping it anywhere else in Greece will also carry a hefty drop-off fee.) You can get a sense of your alternatives on, but check anything you learn there, as it doesn't reflect seasonal adjustments and is not always up-to-date.

Good luck!
kja is offline  
Mar 28th, 2017, 11:34 PM
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I've driven around Europe several times in my own car, including Italy but not Greece. I found it easy to drive in the countryside and small towns, but a pain to drive in large cities such as Rome. If I were to rent a car for a trip such as yours, I would rent one car in Greece, turn it in, fly to Italy, and rent another car there.

I have read of day trips from Corfu to Albania, but they have mixed reviews. A quick Google search got over 100,000 results, with this one on top:

This morning when I clicked on posts tagged for Greece, your two posts were right next to each other. Today you may find them buried under a new batch of Korean spam posts if you just click on the Europe forum. Mods remove those posts, but every day more appear, and will continue to do so until Fodor's moves to a new platform.
Heimdall is online now  
Mar 28th, 2017, 11:57 PM
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Hi: I've done both countries on one trip and am glad you are allowing 4 weeks for your trip because there is A LOT to see and do in each country! Is this your first trip to both Greece and Italy? If so, it might be nice to see as much as you can in each place rather than rushing from one country to another. How much time are you spending in Greece and Italy? If not, maybe 1.5 weeks in Greece and 2 1/2 weeks in Italy would allow you enough time? In Greece, it's feasible to concentrate your sightseeing efforts in Athens and nearby Delphi in 2-3 days, then head over to Mycenae, Epidaurus and Corinth areas (don't forget Mt Olympus) on the Peloponnese. I would avoid Albania and go to Corfu as you've plannned. It'd be a shame not to see gorgeous Santorini and Mykonos while you were in Greece! We did a weekend cruise out of Athens that left on a Friday and returned on a Monday via Monarch Cruise lines and we were able to see many islands (the above 2, as well as Crete and Patmos). It was reasonably priced and we saved money on trying to take ferry boats individually to all those places. It conveniently combined all the islands into one complete trip, and included a stop in Ephesus, Turkey.

I've been to Italy numerous times and have family there, so I made a specific point to go to the Puglia region to see a part of Italy that I had never seen before and it was well worth it. The Puglia region of Italy did not feel as "tourististy" as the other parts of Italy, IMO it was a much more authentic experience. We stayed in Gallipoli and Otranto (loved both places!) and took day trips to Lecce, Bari, Barletta, Trani and other towns along the Adriatic coast. Alberobello, Grotte Di Castellana, Matera (i Sassi) were a few of the places we visited as well. So to answer your question about driving west, you could drive or take the train west from Bari after you've seen some of the Puglia region towns mentioned. I like using public transportation in Europe so we took a direct train from Bari west to Naples and then saw everything on the west coast of Italy. From Naples of course, you can see the Campania region, la costeria amalfitana and then go north up to Rome, Florence and whatever other cities you plan to see in Italy. Hope this helps! Buon viaggio!
Huitres is offline  
Mar 29th, 2017, 08:19 AM
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How long is a piece of string and how much time is right for any given place? Those 2 questions are much the same.

It's up to you to decide how you want to spend your time but I would agree that you should lay it out on a calendar and see how much time you will spend moving vs. time spent IN a place seeing and doing things.

Each time you move, you more or less lose that day to travel. Even if it is a relatively short hop from one place to another, it still ends up taking up far more time than just the actual travel time itself.

I always count travel days separately from days spent IN a place. So for example:

Day 1 arrival
Day 2 in A
Day 3 in A
Day 4 in A
Day 5 move to B
Day 6 in B

When you do that, you can then total up travel days and see what percentage of your time you are going to 'lose' to travel. While seeing the scenery from the car as you drive is part of the enjoyment, I still count it as a lost day as far as being IN a place seeing and doing things.

I have seen people planning trips with 50% of their time in travel days. Many tour bus trips are even worse. They never spend even 1 entire day IN any place.

Here is my idea of a joke: " It'd be a shame not to see gorgeous Santorini and Mykonos while you were in Greece! We did a weekend cruise out of Athens that left on a Friday and returned on a Monday via Monarch Cruise lines and we were able to see many islands (the above 2, as well as Crete and Patmos)." "and included a stop in Ephesus, Turkey." Four islands plus Ephesus in 4 days!

That's called quantity and nothing else. You 'see' them but you see nothing. Even with overnight travel, it is still not possible to spend any amount of time on any of those islands. That's a joke. A 'list ticker' itinerary. What do you get, an hour or two to step off the ship and say, 'been there'.

The question is, what is best use of time. Time spent moving or time spent IN places seeing and doing things? If it is time spent IN places, then the less you move the better it is.
Dogeared is offline  
Mar 29th, 2017, 08:39 AM
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Given the ambiguity of the original poster's time in each country, I had no idea how long he would be in Greece! It was not a "joke" to suggest the mini cruise. I did not want him to leave Greece without having seen those beautiful islands that Greece is made of. I got the impression he was only going to Athens then over to the Peloponnese peninsula. If he could extend his time for at least 2 weeks, he would have more time to spend in those island locales as well as other famous Greek sites. And yes, a 4 week trip to 2 countries is going to be rushed, no matter how you look at it! So at least he could see the basics while he is there and certainly make plans to return another time at a greater length. I am in complete agreement with you on the best use of time and hope he can plan accordingly.
Huitres is offline  
Mar 29th, 2017, 01:32 PM
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Hi everybody,

Thank you for all of your answers and opinions. I have travelled to Europe before and have driven on every one of those trips. I have spent time in Spain, Italy, Scotland, Greece, Germany, Norway and Sweden, among others, and I usually take a month for each of those trips.

As I will be concentrating on a few choice areas in both Greece and Italy, I have come up with a basic plan for both countries, spending about 2 weeks in each. I want to spend about 9 days in the Peloponnese, and about 5 days in Corfu, before spending a day ferrying to Otranto, where we would spend a few days, then driving to Lecce for about 3 or 4 days, spending time in the city and taking a day trip to Gallipoli.

We would then spend about 8 days driving either up the Adriatic, then crossing over to Rome, or driving through Basilicata and Campagna to Rome, where we would then fly home.

As I have been to both Athens and Rome, I do not plan on spending time in either of those cities.

I apologize for not being more clear (it is my first posting on Fodors).

So, I have reduced my questions to two:

1. Should we allocate any time to Albania, maybe even as a day trip from Corfu?

2. As we drive up to Rome from Lecce, should we drive along the Adriatic coast through Puglia and Abruzzo then directly west to Rome or more through central Italy, through Basilicata and Campagna?

Thank you all very much.
JohnnyRocket is offline  
Mar 29th, 2017, 11:23 PM
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If you want opinions on visits to Albania from Corfu, do a search in the Corfu forum on TripAdvisor, or look here:
Heimdall is online now  
Mar 30th, 2017, 02:22 AM
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Hi Heimdall,

Thank you for your response. Great information on Albania and day trips there.
JohnnyRocket is offline  
Mar 30th, 2017, 04:52 AM
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>>>spending a day ferrying to Otranto<<<

Is there still a ferry to Otranto? Does it take cars? Many rental companies have clauses about taking rental cars on ferries. Have you checked that?
kybourbon is offline  
Mar 30th, 2017, 01:17 PM
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Hi kybourbon,

You are right. I will have to take a ferry from Corfu to Bari, then drive the 200km south to Otranto.

Thank you for this important information.
JohnnyRocket is offline  
Mar 31st, 2017, 08:25 AM
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Instead of taking a ferry from Corfu to Bari, Italy, I have an idea of continuing our drive north from Corfu, through Albania and Montenegro, into Croatia, and then spend about two weeks in Croatia instead of Italy (we have seen various regions of Italy on past trips).

The drive from Corfu to Dubrovnik is about 550km, about a day's drive, but I think we will stay overnight in Kotor. Instead of flying home from Rome, we would fly home from either Zagreb or Trieste.

What do you all think?
JohnnyRocket is offline  
Apr 1st, 2017, 04:04 AM
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Hello John,

Make sure you spend enough time in Istria. At least 4 or 5 days. And this makes sense especially if you are flying home from Trieste (which you spend the night at least).
MichaelAndrews is offline  
Apr 1st, 2017, 05:22 AM
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Have you searched for a company that will rent you a car say in Albania and allow you to return it in either Croatia or Italy ?

I am not sure that driving through Albania is as easy as one might imagine.....

From Corfu you will have to take the boat to Sarande and start your trip to Croatia from there.
I haven't checked the distance from Sarande to Dubrovnik, but don't underestimate it even if it is only 550 km, since we are not talking about a highway.. ( unless something changed, that i am not aware of)
clausar is offline  
Apr 1st, 2017, 05:31 AM
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I think you will have a real problem with car rental. You will either find you aren't allowed to take a car through certain countries (if you are, make sure you have any necessary vignettes) or that the drop fee in another country can be several hundred dollars.
kybourbon is offline  
Apr 1st, 2017, 07:12 AM
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If you want to go from Western Greece to Croatia by car, you have to start at Ioannina (after having visited the lake, the famous theatre of Dodoni and the caves, which takes a full day alltogether) and to proceed to Gjirokaster (visit!) and then to the Albanian Riviera (Saranda - Drimades, may be Butrint). On day 2, you may visit Berat and Tirana, on day 3 Durres - Shkoder - Ulcinj - Stari Bar - Sveti Stefan - Budva, on day 4 Cetinje - Lovcen Pass - Kotor - Dubrovnik.
If you cannot invest so many days, it's not worth to travel through Albania and Montenegro.
It would of course cost a fortune to rent a car in Greece and to drop it off in Croatia, if that's even possible.
neckervd is offline  

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