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Greece and Italy in 20 days

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Dec 25th, 2014, 11:58 PM
  #1
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Greece and Italy in 20 days

Hi guys!

My best friend and I are wrapping up our sophomore year of college by traveling to Greece/Italy! We only have around 20 days until summer school starts. We will be flying out of Atlanta probably May 8th or 9th and returning May 28th or 29th.

We have never been to Europe, but would love to see Greece and that area. So, we are planning on flying into Athens, spending some days there then heading by ferries to Greek islands such as Santorini and Mykonos, etc then taking a ferry to southern Italy and seeing some areas down there.

Here's where I need help: in 20 days, what cities should we absolutely see or would you recommend? I have no idea where to go in Southern Italy or where we would fly out of. We would love days to relax on beaches, but also some typical tourist scenes and nightlife on some other nights. We don't want to feel rushed!

Thank you so much!
cholce is offline  
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Dec 26th, 2014, 12:30 AM
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Sorry- Just to add on.

What if we went from Athens-Mikonos-Paros-Santorini-Milos-Back to Athens-Kefalonia-Bari-Naples/Capri area

is that too much? We would do ferries and probably some cheap flights if needed
cholce is offline  
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Dec 26th, 2014, 12:35 AM
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As for flights.....where are you coming from?
I can't comment on Greece, but Bari, Naples, Capri + possibly Sorrento and the surrounding area sound fine (depending on how much time you give it).
Appia is offline  
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Dec 26th, 2014, 12:58 AM
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Sorry, I read too quickly. From Atlanta. So you'll probably find better flights home from Rome than from Naples.
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Dec 26th, 2014, 02:44 AM
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Air fares vary enormously from one destination to another. The cheapest flights may last more than 24 hrs OW, with several airport changes (and more chances that your luggage will get lost). Multi stop flights (for example ATL - ATH, FCO - ATL) are often much more expensive.

Gems in Southern Italy:
Adriatic side: Matera, Alberobello, Castellana, Lecce
Tyrrhenian side: Rome and surroundings, Naples-Ercolano-Ischia-Capri, Sorrento, Amalfi, Paestum
Sicily: Taormina, Siracusa, Noto-Modica-Ragusa, Agrigento, Cefalu, Palermo, Segesta, Selinunte, Islands of Lipari, Vulcano and Stromboli.

Be aware that Sea water will be rather cold in May and that therefore, most beaches will be deserted.

According to the places you may fly in and out, you may check timetables and fares to the followoing airports:
Athens, Rome, Milan, Thessaloniki, Naples, Bari, Catania, Palermo.

Local flights with European low cost airlines like Ryanair, Easyjet, Vueling, Aegean, Meridiana can get cheap if you have only few luggage to check in.
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Dec 26th, 2014, 07:36 AM
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We don't want to feel rushed! >

Well, you will be, especially if you add in some more stops in Italy. Travel in Greece isn't all that speedy, especially by ferry. And May isn't quite high season, so there may be fewer ferries running.

Consider flying on from Athens upon arrival to your first island stop. That will save the time you'd spend getting to Piraeus.

After your time in the islands, how do you plan to get from Athens to Kefalonia? Is budget an issue?
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Dec 26th, 2014, 09:10 AM
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I agree with Mimar. A lot is going to depend on your budget and whether you'll find economic flights into Athens and out of Rome.

Are we talking backpacking + hostels here? Or something more upmarket?

By train from Bari to Naples is going to eat up most of a day (4 to 5 hours in the train depending again on how much you want to spend + getting from and to hotels at each end).
You are going to have to look closely at the logistics because island-hopping is a great idea but it does involve some rushing around.
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Dec 26th, 2014, 11:10 AM
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Thank you guys!!

Budget for flights is not an issue so we could definitely fly to islands and from Bari to Naples. Our parents are paying for all our flights and we are paying for the hotels, food, etc. so we are planning on staying in low-priced hotels so I guess it's somewhat a form of backpacking.

I am thinking maybe we should cut down on some of the islands? Maybe Athens, Mikonos, Santorini? before heading to Naples. That way we have more time to explore and relax?
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Dec 26th, 2014, 05:14 PM
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I think it's a better idea to fly from Athens to Rome, traveling by sea from Greece to Italy is very time consuming. Start in Athens, spend 4 days in the capital then take the ferry to Mykonos stay 3 days continue to Paros stay 3 days and then head to Santorini and stay for 3 days. Return to Athens and fly to Rome. Spend 4 days in the city and then head to Napoli. Use Napoli as a base for your day trips to Costiera Amalfitana, Pompeii and Capri. Stay 3 days in Napoli. I think it's a pretty loose itinerary.
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Dec 26th, 2014, 09:49 PM
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Hello Chocle!
I guess it is a matter of traveling style, but say 3 nights means 2 full days in a place and if you are lucky some hours on either end of the stay. I feel that even tiny islands such as Santorini deserve more than just 2 days and definately large metropolitan areas such as Rome or Athens deserve at least 4-5 days each. Bear in mind that moving locations too often means a good part of your trip will be spent in transit among places rather than in places their selves and do note that a transit day can easily cost double a day stayin in a place, so the more you move, the more you "eat" of your budget. Consider that jet lag might be an issue upon arrival and you might have to take it slowly for one day or two too.
If it was me I would pick no more than 5-6 spots in a 20 days time frame and pick wisely so that connections among destinations are not far too time consuming and complicated.
That said, every one travels differently and lots depends on what you want to see and do on each area...
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Dec 27th, 2014, 12:40 AM
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You've got some very generous parents! That's nice.
PetrosB3 has it about right. I'd perhaps add a day to Naples if you want to take day trips around. If time gets too tight after the Greece leg I see cheap flights from Athens to Naples (via Milan) cutting out Rome altogether. Also there are flights from Naples to Atlanta via Frankfurt with Lufthansa.
You are going to have to do a lot of research and make some decisions fairly quickly.
Btw Naples is a rather gritty city. Some people love it, some hate it. A good alternative would be to base yourselves in Sorrento and visit Naples, Capri, Amalfi coast, possibly Ischia (as you seem to be island lovers) all by hydrofoil or ferry, and Pompeii by suburban train.
Buon viaggio!
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Dec 27th, 2014, 03:16 AM
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My recommendation is to fly to Greece from Atlanta, and after seeing what you want to see in Greece, then fly directly from Greece to Naples -- which isn't any "grittier" than Athens, although for 2 young women, you might get a lot of forward male attention. If you would prefer the smaller Sorrento or Salerno, fine, but I wouldn't be overly swayed by negative opinions of Naples if you read up on it and like the idea. You can't "base" yourselves on one of the Italian islands and do day trips because the ferry schedules just don't favor it. You should be able to find flights out of Naples that can connect you through a European city back to the USA, or go up to Rome at the end of your trip and fly out of there.

Just in general, there is a lot you can see and do in the areas that you are talking about -- both inside Greece and inside Italy -- but these are areas where public transportation can be time consuming. You can easily eat up a lot of time spending it getting to places and not having enough time once there to enjoy them before you have to turn around and go back to your "base". Even though the sea waters may be cool, the sun can be fiercely hot in May, so consider that too as you do your planning.
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Dec 28th, 2014, 01:39 PM
  #13
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You guys have been beyond helpful- thank you so so so much!

We are planning on flying into Athens, spending a lot of time in Mykonos and Santorini then flying from Greece to Naples or Rome and flying home from there later!

Thank you thank you thank you! I literally had no idea where to start without all of your help.
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