Greece for the first time itinerary

Old Mar 20th, 2008, 03:26 PM
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Greece for the first time itinerary

Hello Fellow Fodorites,
My wife and I are thinking about making our 1st visit to Greece in September. We would like to visit Rhodes(3 nights), Santorini(3 nights), Athens(2 nights)and a combined Delphi/Meteora visit(1 or 2 nights). While we are quite sure about what we want to see - we are not so sure about the best way to get from place to place, or the most efficient order in which each place should be visited. One thought, was to fly to Athens and straight onto Rhodes(if it's indeed possible to make such a connection on the same day). Then another flight(I believe there are some flights between Rhodes and Santorini, that do not require a stop in Athens)to Santorini. Then perhaps a ferry/catamaran/hydrofoil/kayak(just kidding!)to Athens - where we would finish up our trip. What do you think? Any and all suggestions and feedback are greatly appreciated.
Thanks.
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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 07:10 PM
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Where does your trip begin?

If you are starting from the USA, could you possibly travel from Heathrow to Rhodes, work your way to Athens and make that your final stop?

Otherwise, I think proceeding directly to Rhodes upon arrival in Athens is a good plan although a very long trip.
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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 08:08 PM
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I think it's a good plan to connect straight through to Rhodes. YOu maximize your time and avoid backtracking. We've done it this way two summers in a row.

I would check with Brotherleelove on this, or Heimdall, both of whom are among the resident Greek experts here on Fodors, but there are very limited flights (possibly none) between Rhodes and Santorini. Both this year and last, we had to return to Athens, then connect on a second plane back down to Santorini.

The only other possiblity I can think of is a flight between Rhodes and Heraklion, Crete. I believe either Olympic or Aegean used to fly this route. Anyway, from Heraklion, you can take the Flying Cat to Santorini.
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Old Mar 21st, 2008, 03:54 AM
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The order of your itinerary looks okay to me. Moving between two island groups (Dodecanese and Cyclades) complicates matters, but with careful planning it is possible.

Brotherleelove can give a better answer than me on the Rhodes-Santorini link, but I believe www.skyexpress.gr has a flight between those islands. They haven't posted their summer schedule yet, so you will have to keep checking the website to confirm.

The rest of your itinerary, Athens to Rhodes by air, and Santorini to Athens (Piraeus) by ferry, is easy, although you may want to save time by flying from Santorini back to Athens as well.

You will need two nights to visit both Delphi and Meteora.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2008, 11:19 AM
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Thanks for the feedback. We will be leaving from the USA. Does anyone have experience with CHAT Tours, based in Athens? They have several 1 or 2-night guided bus tours combining Delphi and Meteora, but I wonder if this is relatively easy to do on our own via renting a car for 2 or 3 days? How is the driving on the mainland? As for the order of our itinerary, I was thinking about perhaps starting off in Athens for 1 or 2 nights. Since it will be such a long journey, it might be nice to settle into Athens and explore the city for a day or two, before heading up north to see Delphi/Meteora. We could then fly to Santorini, and end up in Rhodes. The day of our departure, we could take an early flight from Rhodes to Athens, and connect in Paris, Amsterdam, etc. for the flight home. Decisions...decisions!
As for hotels in Athens, is it generally best to stay around the Syntagma Square or Plaka area - for convenience, safety, etc.? In Santorini, do you suggest staying in Fira, Oia or Firostefani? Has anyone done any snorkeling or diving in Santorini or Rhodes?
Thank you again.
Larz
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Old Mar 23rd, 2008, 11:35 AM
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Hi Larz-
Sounds like a great trip- you should check out Matt Barret's website, greektravel.com. I think he has good answers to most of your questions.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2008, 12:26 PM
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Many posters here, myself included, would encourage you to stay in Athens the night before your flight.We've visted Greece twice, and both times have had at least one boat or plane delayed or cancelled due to high winds. Not something you want to deal with the day of your flight home.

In Santorini, we stayed in Oia, a lovely small town with incredible views of the caldera, and outstanding fish restaurants down at Amoudi Beach. It's pretty quiet after sunset though, so if you're looking for more nightlife, you might consider Fira.

In Athens, yes, I think staying around Syntagma Square and the Plaka is the best location, although many hotels in that area have gotten quite expensive.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2008, 02:20 PM
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Another reason for starting in Athens is that you can go to the Archaeological Museum and get a grounding for what you will see other places.

I would shave a night from Santorini and add it to the Delphi/Meteora visit.

Driving is not difficult in Greece, except on more remote mountanous roads, and allows for serendipitous discoveries along the way.

Vera
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Old Mar 23rd, 2008, 05:35 PM
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if you go to meteora and then back to athens be sure to leave plenty of time to catch a flight to santorini ( book the latest one you can)
we did meteora ) got a coach trip overnight but it was nerve wracking on the way back because we hit awful traffic on that friday afternoon and could well have missed the flight to santorini from athens airport
it was a mad rush across traffic with our wheeled luggage to a railway station that linked up to the airport train
it was such sweet relief !
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Old Mar 24th, 2008, 03:00 PM
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We did a similar trip in May 07. Flew JFK to Athens, same day flight onto Rhodes. A long journey but it's best to get that out of the way and then you have the beautiful island to enjoy. Fly onto Santorini next and then enjoy Athens. We did the 3-day Delphi Metora bus tour. It is a very long drive from Kalampaka to Athens and the traffic is unpredictible. Good luck and enjoy.
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Old Mar 25th, 2008, 03:10 PM
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Thanks for the responses.
Miss-Maple:
Do you recall how many days you needed in Rhodes, and did you spend some time in Lindos? How many days did you spend in Santorini? Did you feel that you had sufficient time in Delphi and Meteora to explore the sights on your own, or was the vast majority of time spent on the bus? Also, how did you schedule that 3-day trip within your time in Athens? I was thinking about perhaps spending 2 nights in Athens, the next 2 for the Delphi/Meteora trip, and a final night in Athens. By the way, is it true that Akrotiri is closed indefinitely?
Thank you.
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Old Mar 26th, 2008, 10:25 AM
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Lindos is a must if you visit Rhodes, as is Rhodes Town.
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Old Mar 26th, 2008, 12:05 PM
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Akrotiri is still closed for restoration, with no reopening date yet announced. It is unlikely to reopen in 2008.
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