Greece-Early Planning, please help

Jul 6th, 2013, 05:58 AM
  #21  
 
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I'm not an expert on the Peloponnese, but would plan to spend a night in Nafplio, because there is so much to see in the area. That would also shorten your last driving day.
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Jul 6th, 2013, 06:19 AM
  #22  
WWK
 
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Just a comment on the Amalfi Coast portion. I would ditch the car idea in June. It's bumper to bumper traffic by then, plus hairpin turns with trucks coming up right behind you. Plus there is very limited parking in the coastal towns. Not fun at all.

You'd be much better off taking a train to either Naples or Salerno and making your way by various connections ( if Naples combination of train to Sorrento then boat or bus to final destination) to your hotel.
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Jul 6th, 2013, 06:34 AM
  #23  
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WWK Are the boats on the Amalfi Coast readily available on demand like taxis or are they more like tours? Do you have a web page where I can check them out? I know all this is quite early but I would like to be comfortable that we can actually do this before I book my FF flights which I may do soon.
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Jul 6th, 2013, 10:47 AM
  #24  
 
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A night in the old fortress of Monemvasia is a unique experience. Count then about 3 days for the drive to Athens with a half day stop at Mistras, stops at Sparti and Argos, 1 full day for Epidauros-Nauplia-Thyrins-Mycenae and a bit more than half a day for Akrokorinthos, Elefsis and Dafni Monastery. Count more time if you intend to enter Athens at a rush hour.

Forget the boats along the Amalfi Coast. There are freqent buses between Salerno and Amalfi as well as between Sorrento and Amalfi.
http://www.amalficoastweb.com/orari_...imetables.html
(will change at least twice until next June)
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Jul 7th, 2013, 04:58 AM
  #25  
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sdtravels,

When we were in Positano last year, there was a kiosk at the port where you could buy tickets for boats between Positano-Capri,Positano-Sorrento, and Positano-Amalfi. You can check: www.positano.com for further information. This was during mid-June-August.

In the past, there have been at least two sailings a day between these destinations and back. You can also check some of the boat schedules at: www.alicost.it , but for more updated information I would check with with your hotel's front desk.

We have been to Positano/Amalfi Coast several times and are going back tomorrow. We have never had a problem taking boats between most destinations. Wouldn't dream of renting a car there during the summer months. Too much of a headache.

Many tourists - us included - prefer the boats when possible to the SITA buses, which are often overcrowded and boiling hot in the summer months. Lastly, if you suffer from motion sickness, it's much less likely to happen on a bus than on the congested and twisting Amalfi Coast Drive.

From Salerno, I believe there is a ferry to Amalfi. Or, you could arrange a private transfer from Salerno to your hotel/apt.
We usually come in through Naples, so I am not familiar with those arrangements.

Good luck!
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Jul 7th, 2013, 05:05 AM
  #26  
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Just wanted to add that we have often visited Greece in early June. Great time to go! The water is often still a little chilly for swimming, but the weather is generally gorgeous, not broiling hot.
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Jul 7th, 2013, 03:40 PM
  #27  
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Thanks everyone. I'll keep you posted on when I get my flights. I've got two big trips planned before the Greece/Italy trip so watch for my trip reports. We are off in less than a month to Denmark for the first leg of a six week trip mostly in Africa. Happy travels.
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Jul 8th, 2013, 12:47 AM
  #28  
 
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I know I am a minority here, but I thought I'll throw my opinion just for some balance/different perspective.

I find 7 days in Athens absolutely fine even without day trips. If you want to really take your time and explore the city that is... 3 full days are fine to cover major outdoors sites and 2-3 museums, plus maybe enjoy a long walk around Acropolis or hike on Philoppapos or Lecabettus hill.this is true. But there are a ton more museums and walks ner the city center... And Athens is not only about this. You can stay in an appartment and feel a little bit like a local or choose a centraly located hotel, doesn't matter. Athens public transport is bery handy and you may explore some different areas outside city center where tourists rarely set a foot. You may explore some of the great food options outside the tourist tavernas of Plaka. You may discover some hidden or not so hidden corners very diverse one from an other. You may take a metro and walk or taxi to Alsos Papagou for a snack in the park cafe/restaurant there, only 15 minutes away from down town but completely different feel. Or you may metro to Kiffisia to see how old wealth lives on neoclassis mansions or metro/but it to Piraeus and explore its different harbour, from posh yaught marinas and upclass pricey fish restaurants to working class honest tiny taverns. You may walk and walk around city center and explore smaller lanes and corner shops, open markets, talk and interact with local people. You may have luxury of time to visit whatever site on a leisure pace and revisit if you wish. You may take plenty of pictures from different agles and see the Acropolis lit on different parts of the day. List can go on forever.

I guess it depends on how you like to travel. I find that although a minumum of 4 nights/3 fuill days on every place is a good tule, it is often more rewarding to take your time on larger places. I am not on my '60s, I am early 30s. I have pleasantly spend 3 weeks in Paris and 3 weeks in London and 1 week in Warsaw and 1 week in Dublin on my first visits on those cities. I did not get bored.
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Jul 8th, 2013, 05:21 AM
  #29  
 
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Hi SDtravels - like the new itinerary.

Just a note of caution - we found the driving from one part to another of the "fingers" of the peloponnese to be much more arduous than expected. The distances look small but you are going through long, windy mountain roads and it takes a lot out of you. If you can both share the driving it might help? Otherwise maybe factor in staying put for a day in some place to break it up.

If overnighting near Gythio, we loved the hotel Castello Antico, which at a 3* rating (I think) punches well above its league and it price tag.

The motorways are good, so your last driving day may not be quite as bad as you expect. It's those darned mountain roads that take you by surprise...
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Jul 8th, 2013, 05:23 AM
  #30  
 
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BTW if you click on my name and scroll down to see all my topics you will find a sort of trip report I did last year on the peloponnese - dealing only with hotels and restaurants, but you never know, there might be some useful info there.
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Jul 8th, 2013, 08:37 AM
  #31  
 
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Mariha,
you are right, but for people who are really interested in History and culture of Athens and Greece. But most people in this forum find a visit of the Greek National Museum "too boring" and would certainly not go to the Cycladic Museum the next day and to the Acropolis, Byzantine and Benaki museums at the following days. Most people in this forum would never visit the walls of Pericles and would consider the visit of Kaiseriani "a waste of time".

Knowing that and seeing that they didn't plan enough time for Peloponissos, I suggested to reduce the time in Athens.
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Jul 8th, 2013, 09:36 AM
  #32  
 
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Most people also don't explore culinary Athens that has many great restaurants, but prefer to eat at one of the tourist traps of the Plaka....

Have given often detailed advice on great restaurants and tavernas in the centre of Athens, that don't offer touristy food, nobody ever visited them though......
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Jul 8th, 2013, 09:58 AM
  #33  
 
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And most people don't realise how much Athens has to offer. That's why it is so valuable for people like mariha (who has been on this forum since 2007) and clausar to remind us there is more to Athens than Parthenon and Plaka. ;-)
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Jul 8th, 2013, 03:59 PM
  #34  
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Thank you. All points well made.

Mariha, we are mostly interested in archeological sites and great scenery. We have never been museum people so that will probably be low on our list. We also don't spend a lot of time at each place. I guess we kind of go, see, go and read about it later or before.

I like your suggestion about staying in an apartment. We prefer to stay in apartments for the space and the ability to cook some meals with local ingredients. Since we are moving around quite a bit on this trip, it might be easier to stay in hotels and eat out. littlejane, I will look up your recommendations.

Food generally isn't a priority for us. We hardly ever go to restaurants even at home since we are gourmet cooks and never really enjoy food we think we can make better ourselves. I hate tourist trap restaurants that generally (in my experience) serve low quality meals. It's hard to take restaurant recommendations since in the past, we have trouble finding them and then go somewhere else anyway. We will likely ask locals for recommendations. However clausar thanks for mentioning your posts, I will definitely look them up for some ideas.

littlejane, thank you for the hints about the driving. I was already thinking that is a lot of driving, but I didn't think about the type of roads. It depends on when I can get my flights. There is a FF flight 3 days earlier. I might just take that and spend more time in Peloponnese.

Feel free to keep commenting. I welcome any suggestions. This will likely be our only trip to Greece so I want to get a taste of all the highlights.
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Jul 8th, 2013, 04:09 PM
  #35  
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By the way, if you have any interest, here is a link to my photos from our last trip to Italy. We went to Venice, Bolzano, Lake Garda, Florence, San Sano, a few other Tuscan villages, and Rome.

http://garyandsusan.shutterfly.com/italy2006/101#101
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Jul 8th, 2013, 07:19 PM
  #36  
 
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We've spent the bulk of our last three trips to Greece in the Peloponnese. From Nafplio alone, there are day trips enough to keep one busy for well over a week! We too are very interested in ancient sights. Some highlights besides the biggies (Mycenae, Epidauros, Tiryns) are Nemea, the Argive Heraion, Midea, the tombs at Dendra, and Lerna. Ancient Messene (not too far from Kalamata) is an amazing sight, as is Ancient Olympia. Pylos and Vassae are also fascinating. Mystras is hauntingly beautiful and Monemvassia is very unique. I could keep going... All to say that you can't go wrong spending as much time in the Peloponnese as you can .
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Jul 9th, 2013, 01:13 AM
  #37  
 
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So for some scenery make sure you hike up on Lycabettus or Philopappos hill for aerial views of Athens. You may be able to save half day or something too and explore some of Attica coast line which is pretty scenic too, for example sea views from Zea/Kastella on Piraeus or a day trip to Sounion Temple....

Reading about a place is not the same as exploring and absoarb. I understand what you say about museums, but having some space for a walk in say Anafiotika and a decent tavern meal is not the same.Getting feedback is not the same as "feeling" a place. Eating in taverns in Greece is not simply about the food. It has a strong social aspect. I think you may realise what I'm saying when you are there....

On rest of your itinerary, in case you have some spare time you may consider a stop by UNESCO heritage site Hosios Loukas Monastery ~25 kms before Delphi coming from Athens,in a rural and quiet area and maybe a stop by Arahova ~10 kms before Delphi- quiet mountain villlage on summer, trendy ski resort on winter-. Then having a car you may want to consider staying on one of the hotels on upper Delphi residential area. It is only 5-10 minutes walk down to the main road and further 5 minutes to the sites and museum, and a stay thewre is more quiet and somehow "authentic". Even if on the main road, make sure you get a hotel and a room with a view.
Be aware that Delphi is a demanding site, lots of climbing up and down on a hill side. Eve fast paced people need at least 2 hours there. I believe museum worths a visit too, some impressive staff and is small enough to explore even in 30 minutes on a fast pace.

I believe Galaxidi and Nafpaktos are nice spots to spend an overnight or at least a few hours, I understand that you can not fit everything in on your time frame though...

Enjoy your trip!
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Sep 27th, 2013, 04:32 PM
  #38  
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We've been away for awhile but now I'm back to planning. The Peloponnese looks like a lot of driving on very winding roads. Now that we've had time to think about it, I think we will spend 5 weeks in Greece and 1 week in Lake Garda for the wedding. We'll save the rest of Italy for another time. That way we can take our time with Greece.

Could someone suggest an itinerary for Peloponnese for about 12 days? Should we stay in one location for a week and do day trips or should we stay 1-2 nights as we go? Kalamata looks like a central location but day trips look like a lot of driving and backtracking. Open to suggestions....
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Sep 27th, 2013, 05:26 PM
  #39  
 
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If you haven't seen it I recommend browsing the Lonely Planet Greece travel guide. There are many nooks and crannies throughout Greece that all sound interesting and beautiful. Our trip next year will be only about 10 days and there is just too much in LP I would want to do but if I had a month, wow! It has suggested intineraries as well as many details about lodging, dining, site seeing. (And LP recommendations tend to be on the budget end as far as costs.)
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Sep 27th, 2013, 06:55 PM
  #40  
 
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Ill throw in my bit ...even if it is a bit late
Our plans were dramatically changed for the better when a colleague of mine suggested we dont do the local islands but instead go to kalambaka/meteora to see the amazing monasteries built into the towering rock structures. ( monks had to be lowered down in baskets apparently)..google and see what I mean.
It was an overnight tour - wed already been to delphi so we didnt do the oracle tour again but hung out in the village.We overnighted in Kalambaka- a really vibrant village at night and could see the lights of the monasteries way up high
The next morning we set off to visit these awesome feats of engineering and Im so glad we did...I have never to this day seen anything like it.
In the afternoon we were dropped off to the airport and headed to santorini. That trip really added a different texture to the experience of Greece as a whole and I highly recommend that anyone thinking of just doing a few nights in Athens (recommend maybe two or three at most in the capital itself)should consider venturing into the interior.
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