Greece for the first time

Old Feb 22nd, 2020, 08:04 PM
  #1  
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Greece for the first time

Hello,
I will be traveling with my husband to Greece for the first time, we will be there for 2 weeks, flying in and out of Athens. I would like to visit Mykonos and Santorini. Was thinking about throwing Crete in too but is that too much? I think we would only need 2 days in Athens.
Any help is much appreciated!

Courtney
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Old Feb 22nd, 2020, 08:09 PM
  #2  
kja
 
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How to allocate your days depends on what YOU want to see and experience, and none of us can speak to that.

IMO, a week in Crete can be delightful, and if you include Crete, you could fly into Crete and out of Athens or vice versa. That said, many people think it's better to give Crete at least a week and a half, if not more.

And again, IMO, 2 days is very little for Athens.

If you don't already have it, I strongly recommend the Michelin Green Guide for Greece. And if you haven't already seen it, you might find some useful information in my trip report:
With Gratitude for a Glorious Solo Month in Greece

Hope that helps!
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Old Feb 22nd, 2020, 08:10 PM
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I think Athens is worth more than 2 days. I would also recommend at least an overnight in Meteora.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2020, 01:57 AM
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Is it 2 weeks of sightseeing that you want or 2 weeks of sun/sea/sand (time of year has not been disclosed so this might not be possible) or a mix of both? You need more than 2 days in Athens if you want to see the main sights. For 2 weeks, I would suggest Athens, Mykonos and Santorini or Athens and Crete. Crete is huge but that doesn't mean you to have to cover every corner of it. On the mainland, there are other sights to see apart from Athens, such as Meteora, Delphi etc, if that interests you.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2020, 02:25 AM
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Athens - Iraklio - Thira - Mykonos - Athens is the most popular itnierary with tourists from America and Asia. You find tons of posts about it in any travel forum.
And you don't need to know a word of Greek or to eat Greek meals.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2020, 04:19 AM
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First question is why Mykonos, Santorini and maybe Crete? My guess is that you know people who may have been to them. Huge cruise ship destinations so it's likely you have run into people who have been there. But there are so many other islands. If you get a guidebook - which is not a bad idea - but after reading about 50 or more islands they will likely blur in your mind and be hard to choose. So forums like this can be very helpful to pick an itinerary. But we need to know more about what you want.

What do you plan to do on these islands? - party, shop in expensive stores with international brands, eat and stay at upscale ( and expensive) places? Then go to Mykonos. If not, skip it. Do you want to see some of the most amazing scenery (both natural and man made) - then you probably want to keep Santorini in the plan.

Do you want to see some of the historic mainland sites or mostly just want to see the islands?
What time of year?
How do you feel about moving every two to four days? You can either island hop or base yourself for longer periods. Either is fine but you should know your preference.
Do you know how much you would like to spend? (total for the trip or a per day estimate)

One thing you should know is that groups of islands are connected by ferries so moving from one to another in a group is pretty easy but you can't just pick three or four random islands that are not easily connected or you will spend too much time getting from one to the next.

The most popular - by far - itinerary on this forum is Athens (2-3 days to see historic sites), Paros, Naxos and Santorini. Makes a good two week trip. I did it my first trip to Greece and I'm not sorry. Nice mix of very touristy (Santorini, but for good reason) and slightly less so.

Another option is Athens and Crete. Crete is very large so you can easily spend a week or more there and see various different types of places without leaving the island.

A much less popular option is the Western Cyclades - Athens - fly to Santorini - ferry to some (or all) of Folegandros, Milos, Sifnos, Serifos back to Athens.

I have a trip report and photos here: https://andiamo.zenfolio.com/f320347206
https://andiamo.zenfolio.com/blog/20...s-milos-sifnos
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Old Feb 23rd, 2020, 05:18 AM
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Listen to Isabel. Go to your local llibrary & take out an armload of guide-books. Don't be frightened; they won't bite! And you don't have to actually READ them all... browsing will give you a better idea, especially if you ponder the maps of Greece, and the information about getting around. If you are mainly interested in sun & sand, this British website- Greek Islands Holiday Travel Guide -- is refreshingly candid about what various Islands offer in the way of beaches.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2020, 06:01 AM
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There are more Greek Islands than just Santorini and Mykonos which gets all the hype from glossy travel magazine and aggressive travel agents.

Lots of options for Greek Islands depending on your interests.

Athens deserves a minimum of 2 days with 3 or more being better. There's more to Athens than just the tourist sites.

I agree . . . you need to do more research on what you want. What I like for a Greek Experience may be different than what you want.

Here's a great website for Greece:

https://www.greecetravel.com/

Here's another good one:

https://www.davestravelpages.com/greece-travel-guides

Don't forget guide books like Lonely Planet (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/greece), Rough Guide (https://www.roughguides.com/destinations/europe/greece/), Blue Book to the Greece (https://www.blueguides.com/greece/)

Research is your best "weapon" for travel. Not only is it informative but it's also educational and just plain fun!
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Old Feb 23rd, 2020, 08:18 AM
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kja
 
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Originally Posted by isabel View Post
What do you plan to do on these islands? - party, shop in expensive stores with international brands, eat and stay at upscale ( and expensive) places? Then go to Mykonos. If not, skip it.
I must admit that Mykonos was not my favorite island, but I think Mykonos offers more than just parties, expensive shops, and upscale lodging. It offers classic scenes of the beautiful architecture of the Cyclades, some stunning beaches, and those glorious windmills, to name just a few things. And I believe it's got the easiest access to wonderful Delos.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2020, 11:17 AM
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It's uphill!

Greece is WONDERFUL. But it's VERY HILLY which came as quite a surprise to most of my fellow travelers. Outside of Athens the paths are steep and ground beneath your feet uneven. Take a walking stick, it comes in handy.

If you go to Delphi it's up, up, up....so be prepared.

Rode the cable car UP at SantoriniÖ.but had to walk down because it two windy to ride the car. . 600+ steps...so be prepared to be a bit more active than you might have thought.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2020, 04:51 PM
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Thanks for your responses! I definitely plan on doing some more research, just wanted some opinions, figure it would give me different places that I may not have considered at all. I really need to make some decisions ASAP since we are going the end of May/early June. Figure we would do some of the typical sightseeing in Athens and explore but also find time for relaxation on the islands.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2020, 08:49 PM
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I'm not a fan of Athens so two days would be enough for me. Everyone is different though. If you have 14 full days you could add another island but Crete is a long way south and huge so you wouldn't have time to see that much (Chania is lovely, can fly in or get ferry). You could visit Santorini and Mykonos - which I think are beautiful, there's a reason they are so poular - and maybe add Naxos or Folegandros instead of Crete? As mentioned above, ferries operate in groups of islands so you should try and pick islands that are easy to get from one to the other. I found this website useful last time we travelled to Greece - https://www.go-ferry.com/

I have to disagree with Isabel about Mykonos. Maybe there is that side to the island but we wandered and explored the lanes, ate cheap and yummy gyros, took a million photos and didn't stay out late or spend much.

One tip is that the ferry times can change last minute, we had one departure change the day prior by 5 hours so be a bit flexible if you can and don't travel by ferry back to Athens the day of an international flight.

Kay
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Old Feb 24th, 2020, 12:01 AM
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Mykonos isnít my favourite island either, but it has a beautiful chora (main town) with winding passageways and well maintained classic Cycladic architecture. Late May/early June is a perfect time to be there, and if you walk away from the Little Venice/windmills area you escape the cruise ship crowds that hang around there. Hands down it is the best island from which to visit Delos, and that has been my main reason for going there.

Santorini gets crowded too, especially in Fira and Oia where the cruise ship passengers go. There are easy ways to avoid the crowds there as well. Santorini is crowded for a reason: itís views over the caldera are unforgettable.

If you have time in your itinerary to stay a few nights on another island you will be rewarded by a different side of the Cyclades. Naxos and Paros are both on the summer ferry route between Mykonos and Santorini, are less expensive, and quieter too. Naxos has many fans on this board, and itís easy to decide where to stay, as nearly everyone chooses the small corner of the island from Naxos Town to Agios Prokopios and Plaka Beach. Paros is a little more complicated, as there are many places to stay around the island. Antiparos is a separate island but within commuter distance to Paros, and thatís where I like to stay.

Last edited by Heimdall; Feb 24th, 2020 at 12:03 AM.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2020, 10:06 PM
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I want to book a vacation in Greece and I was thinking of Zakhintos, Thassos or Lefkada. What is the best sea resort in Greece? Where do the locals go?
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