Greece itinerary--please critique

Jan 12th, 2011, 07:53 PM
  #1  
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Greece itinerary--please critique

We'll go to Greece this summer, finally, as a family. The kids will be 9 and 14 at the time. We have 14 full days, including the day of the arrival (June 29th). We would like to have some sightseeing, cultural experience + a couple of islands for relaxing time. This is our preliminary plan:

Day 1: arrive Athens and fly to Santorini
Days 2, 3: Santorini
Day 4: Santorini (until about 6 pm) -- Crete (Iraklion) via ferry
Days 5, 6, 7: Eastern Crete (still unsure about the exact location and the hotel)
Days 8, 9, 10: Western Crete (near Chania)
Day 11: early flight to Athens; straight to Delphi from the airport via rental car
Day 12: Delphi to Athens
Days 13, 14: Athens
Day 15: flight home

Is 7 nights enough time to get a good taste of Crete? We know that there is a lot to do there but we do not plan to cover everything, we can come back. We want to see the key sights and enjoy the place. Shall we take one night from Santorini and add to Crete?

Alternatively, we are thinking about skipping Crete altogether and adding Mykonos and another island (or day trips from Athens) instead. Since this is our first time, we are really open. Your suggestions will be very appreciated.
Gina_07 is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 03:06 AM
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I see nothing wrong with your itinerary, and wouldn't take a day away from Santorini. There's a good chance that Akrotiri will be open again by the time you get to Santorini, and if so, you won't want to miss that. IMHO no matter how long you spend on an island it's not enough.

Should you wish to skip Crete and add another island, think Naxos and/or Paros (or maybe Naxos and Antiparos) rather than Mykonos. I enjoy visiting Mykonos earlier in the year, but by the beginning of July will be getting very crowded. Naxos and Antiparos are family-oriented islands, and would be perfect for your 9 & 14 year-olds.
Heimdall is online now  
Jan 13th, 2011, 05:38 AM
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I agree with Heimdall ... your allocation of time is about right, and your transport will work out well. It looks as if you've been doing some homework. I"d stay with Crete if I were you ..since you'll be going in High season, it's a big enough island, it can cope with the influx -- and next time u might not have the 7 days for it. Some thoughts:

Accommodations/Athens & Santorini= your 1st priority. Best-located budget places are going FAST. If u give price range (in EUROS), we can give u advice, otherwise we're just guessing. In Athens, stick to Plaka area or adjoining. In Santorini - my reco. is for Firostephani; in July FIra Town TOO crowded, Oia too Pricey. For Islands: you dont often find 2BR apts; 1-BR "studio units" are more available; a BR+larger rm w 2 daybeds, Kitchenette niche, table/chairs, eat-on balcony or patio. Also, adjoining rms on a hall OK?

Accom East Crete == An expert on East Crete on TripAdvisor, GB of Devises, has us all sold on Anissaras, 20 KM east of Heraklion, a quiet backwater between 2 resorts (Gouves and Hersonissos). No package-tour throngs. His Fave, 50 yards back from sandy beach: "Mike's Place" . IDEAL for your family. http://www.mikesbeach.gr/ Rent car at Port (I've done well 3x with Autoway) and u can do ALL your sightseeing in easy day jaunts from here.Amazing prices. Book NOW

Accom W. Crete -- Good to be on busline 10-15 minutes from Chania Old Town, on beach or w. pool in hot weather. (Old Town free-parking area will be jammed in July, easier to bus in/out). BUT you don't want to get into a tacky "holiday village" of all package-tour crowds. 2 to check: http://www.lefka-apartments.gr/ OR http://www.corinna.gr/en/location.php (more upscale).
travelerjan is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 05:42 AM
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A PS: If you don't have a guidebook yet, I recommend ROUGH GUIDE. Currently the best for details, backgrounding. Few pix--but u can get those from Internet. Excellent maps/city maps .. u can photocopy them to carry around. PLUS -- it's laid out so you can "pull out" the relevant sections (Athens, Cyclades, Crete), and "bind" the spines with Duct Tape and Presto! mini-guides... & you don't have to take the Big Fat Book.
travelerjan is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 05:51 AM
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I just received an e-mail from Rena at Delfini Villas in Oia. All their facilities except for rooms and studios offer double bed and sofa bed. They have a 2 BR traditional house for a family of 4 for 210 euros per night. Don't know what your budget is. The complex has a pool which all can use. It's located in complex C where the 2 BR house is. Check out their website. www.delfinivillas.com
chris45ny is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 06:06 AM
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www.greecetravel.com

good insider info

Crete might be a bridge too far in the time you have

add some closer islands to www.santorini.com

maybe Meteora pretty awesome...

Happy Journey,
qwovadis is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 06:56 AM
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This is very helpful information. Thanks to both of you. Since you approve the time allocation, I will go ahead with the bookings. I'll take a look at the Rough Guide.

A few more questions, if you don't mind. If parking is more difficult near Chania, is it better not to keep the car at all or we may still need it for some places? Is Samaria Gorge a must-do or there are better things to do in Western Crete? We like the beach but we get bored if we stay too long, so we are going to move around. Given that we have a few days only, we'd rather pick the top priority places. Do you know of any nice reasonably priced car rental place at the Athens airport? I read about one on this forum last year but can't remember the name.

In Athens, we have already booked Athens Gate, which I think is in the Plaka area, so we should be good.
Gina_07 is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 07:04 AM
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Chris, our only concern regarding Oia is that it may be a bit isolated. Am I wrong? I have never been there, so can't tell for sure. We plan to go there for a sunset dinner. We do not plan to get a car in Santorini (maybe we should), so we thought being close to Fira would help with moving around. I might be totally wrong.

qwovadis, we considered Meteora very seriously as an alternative. It looks stunning. However, the drive seems so long. It makes sense to do it with Delphi, which means lots of driving for a couple of days. I wouldn't mind doing it with adults only but I am afraid it may be too much for the kids.
Gina_07 is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 07:14 AM
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No with the 4 of you,. I say, keep car. Easiest way to get around. If you get for 1 week, a good price... you can pick up in Heraklion port, drop off at Chania airport for only minor fee, avoids backtracking, maximizes your time. And actually, if u stay outside Chania but drive in there, early day u can get that free parking at seside area near west wall. Leave it there while you explore the town. THe parkng there is more difficult at night when people drive in for the nightlife, but u have kids so that's not u.

WEST CRETE = Options #1 a day to explore Chania Old Town, #2 day-trip drive south? Palace of Phaistos?? #3 a vist to Rethymnon (1-2 hours only) for visit to huge FORTEZZA... AND, off main highway 10 miles, near Panormos, visit thrilling/eerie Melidoni Cave (scene of tragic crime by Turks). [ either of these can be done as stop-offs n your drive WEST from Heraklion area]. #4 -- As for Gorges -- in HOT July, would not recommend all-day GOrge walk ordeal at Samaria. If u want a Gorge experence, I rcommend the 3-4 hour max jaunt down IMBROS gorge... just as lovely, no crowds. Park car at top, walk down (take picnic!), get taxi at bottom to return to car.

CAR RENTAL -- Almost all agencies will rent one pllace/drop off another w.o. extra charge, or v. low fee. I already mentioned Autoway in my first post. U can tell them Janet of Philadelphia -- travelerjan -- recommended.
travelerjan is offline  
Jan 13th, 2011, 07:27 AM
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ADDON re Santorini

Gina, I agree, if you don't rent car on Santorini, look to book in Firostephani... easy walk to Fira Town, but quieter. Also, u can walk 100 yards slilghtly downhill from rimside hotel and Look! you're right on the main road, where the busses run to Oia. So handy. As for Oia, do NOT go there for the sunset ... go there at 8- 8:30 am, the light is beautiful then for photos, and it's before the cruise-crowd & Bus-tour mobs arrive. For the sunset, it's JUST as gorgeous from a Firostephani hotel or cafe (News flash! Sun Sets in the WEst Everywhere, not just in Oia!). Believe me, you do not want that rimside-crowd scene in Oia... and afterward, all 500 to 1,000 people want to get on the SAME bus, and it's like Times Square at rush hour.

Some Firostephani hotels -- Sunset, Hotel Mylos, Blue Dolphins, Mill Houses, Villa Ilias (on border of Fira/FIra town). Some w. small pools, some w.o. All have good views... act now as they fill up in high season.
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