Help me Figure out Where to Go in Greece

Old Oct 2nd, 2021, 02:32 PM
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Help me Figure out Where to Go in Greece

Planning our 3rd trip to Greece for Spring (May) 2022. My husband and I want to spend the majority of the time on the mainland where we have only been to Athens, Delphi and Nauflion. Want to visit Rhodes for 5 days or so and will spend 3-4 nights in Athens on arrival. We have been to Crete and several other islands. We will be away a month so should have about 20 days to exploreourside time in Rhodes and arrival days in Athens. We will rent a car. Looking for some suggestions on small villages, Archeological sites, some hiking if weather is not hot and any other ideas for whatever is not to be missed. Not particulalry into beaches other than to just have a look for their lovely scenery.
A few ideas are, but at this point exploring options so all ideas are appreciated
Olympia
Mystras
Sparta

Kardamyli for base to explore the Mani peninsula
and....???
Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2021, 05:53 PM
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one thought

If you haven't been to Meteora do it! It was the highlight (literally) of our trip. We only really went there and Delphi outside of Athens and the islands (loved Naxos). Enjoy
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Old Oct 3rd, 2021, 12:09 AM
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Since you will be spending some time in the Peloponnese, don’t miss the amazing but little visited archeological site near Kalamata called Ancient Messene, which is now on the UNESCO World Heritage list. I was there one September several years ago, and there were fewer than a dozen other visitors on the entire site. After our visit we stopped for lunch at a taverna in the village above the site, and had a panoramic view from our table.

Rather than posting my photos, let me refer you to Dave’s Travel Pages, which has similar photos to mine and a brief description of the site:
https://www.davestravelpages.com/ancient-messene/
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Old Oct 3rd, 2021, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by lauramsgarden View Post
If you haven't been to Meteora do it! It was the highlight (literally) of our trip. We only really went there and Delphi outside of Athens and the islands (loved Naxos). Enjoy
Thank you! Look wonderful. We have been to Naxos twice and indeed its a great island.

QUOTE=Since you will be spending some time in the Peloponnese, don’t miss the amazing but little visited archeological site near Kalamata called Ancient Messene, which is now on the UNESCO World Heritage list. I was there one September several years ago, and there were fewer than a dozen other visitors on the entire site. After our visit we stopped for lunch at a taverna in the village above the site, and had a panoramic view from our table.

Rather than posting my photos, let me refer you to Dave’s Travel Pages, which has similar photos to mine and a brief description of the site:
https://www.davestravelpages.com/ancient-messene/

Great website -- thanks for bringing it and Messene to my attention.

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Old Oct 3rd, 2021, 07:10 AM
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Don't forget the archeological sites of Rhodos, like Lindos, Kamiros, Ialisos and, of course, the walled medieval city of Rhodos (sleep there in one of the charming old city hotels like St-Michel, Attiki, Cavo d'Oro.....) as well as the medieval places of Filerimos and may be Feraklos castle....
The side trip to Symi is highly recommended.
In May, it might be a good idea to visit the butterflies valley too.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2021, 07:18 AM
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Sounds like you want to spend a lot of time in the Peloponnese and it is filled with everything one would want for a trip to Greece.

Lots of history going back to ancient times right up through Greece's War of Independence with the Ottoman Empire and continuing till today.

Your best sources of info would be guidebooks. My favorite is the Cadogan Guide to the Peloponnese. While it's last publication was 2008 it still relevant and has far more info than any other guide book for the area.

An option would be the Bradt Guide which is up to date but more of a Reader's Digest will less info but nice colored photos.

I was scheduled for the Peloponnese this October but cancelled due to the virus.

Yes, Messene is a must. Far less touristed than Olympia and not overly commercialize

Last edited by crazyh; Oct 3rd, 2021 at 07:21 AM.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2021, 08:37 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions. I think we will revisit Delphi, its been ages since we were there. And go to Meteora from there. Suggestions on where to stay? Is it possible to stay in one location and visit both though it looks rather far to do that. Google maps has the 2 4+ hours apart. Where is it best to stay to visit Delphi? What abut Meteora. anything else to see around there making it a couple days stay? I really don't like on nighters.


Originally Posted by crazyh View Post
Sounds like you want to spend a lot of time in the Peloponnese and it is filled with everything one would want for a trip to Greece.

Lots of history going back to ancient times right up through Greece's War of Independence with the Ottoman Empire and continuing till today.

Your best sources of info would be guidebooks. My favorite is the Cadogan Guide to the Peloponnese. While it's last publication was 2008 it still relevant and has far more info than any other guide book for the area.

An option would be the Bradt Guide which is up to date but more of a Reader's Digest will less info but nice colored photos.

I was scheduled for the Peloponnese this October but cancelled due to the virus.

Yes, Messene is a must. Far less touristed than Olympia and not overly commercialize
Thanks for the guidebook ideas. Always loved Cadogan. Sorry for your cancellation. there sure have been alot for all of us. Hope you get back soon.

Last edited by yestravel; Oct 3rd, 2021 at 08:55 AM.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2021, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by yestravel View Post
Thanks for the suggestions. I think we will revisit Delphi, its been ages since we were there. And go to Meteora from there. Suggestions on where to stay? Is it possible to stay in one location and visit both though it looks rather far to do that. Google maps has the 2 4+ hours apart. Where is it best to stay to visit Delphi? What abut Meteora. anything else to see around there making it a couple days stay? I really don't like on nighters.




Thanks for the guidebook ideas. Always loved Cadogan. Sorry for your cancellation. there sure have been alot for all of us. Hope you get back soon.


I"m not sure if this reply will work, but wanted to respond about Delphi & where to stay -- on my first Greece trip, long long ago, I had an AWFUL bus-tour daytrip to Delphi, very frustrating. Then a dozen years, later, in late May, I did an overnighter, and it was SO different... I"ll cut & paste the advice I"ve given ever since ...

The drive from the airport should take about 2.5 hrs, snack before you go, I don;t know about good stops midway. I'd recommend starting early afternoon. You arrive first, downhill from the main ruins, at the (unfenced) lovely round tholos "Athena Temple", seen on all the postcards. You can stop there now, or as you go... and also there's the famous Castellian Spring -- still a faucet there from the source. Moving uphill you reach the Ruins/Museum site, but keep driving til you come to a "Y" intersection, with shops on the RH.. this is the town center. For a place to stay, I recommend PAN hotel, (owned by uncle of a Greek friend). It's a hundred yards or so down hill rom the intersection, on the downhill side (importantly). We were offered a back room on the lobby floor and were hesitant, asking to see first. We were led down a corridor to the room balcony, where we saw hawks circling BELOW our Feet. We took the room! It looked DOWN the mountain to the sea, moderate rate. We were walk-ins, but I'd say, reserve ahead to be sure. OUr hotelier recommended we se the Museum before dinner ... It's a short walk, down the way we came, along a parapet. It's open until 8 pm from May on, u can easily see it in an hour, Very well signaged, NO crowds. then have dinner on an outdoor terrace back near hotel -- there's a nice little cafe on that Y intersection. NOTE: do NOT miss drinking local water!! it comes straight from Snow-Melt atop Mt. Parnassus. Nectar of the Gods!! Seriously, best water in Greece)

Next AM, get to ruins gate by 8 am and you'll have 2-3 hours before bus tours swarm in... by then you'll be high high up in the site ahead of the crowds. Afterwards you can go down to the Athena Tholos if yu missed it before. If you want a complete experience, local guide Georgiana Hasiotis - http://www.delphi-guide.gr/ - is deservedly praised, but like all lilcensed guides her fee is about €60 per hour/2 hr minimum, for small groups. You can do well with good Homework. My recommendations:

MY DELPHI LINKS for ADVANCE PREP & PRINT to TAKE:
• Printable Maps! (Museum, Sacred Precinct, Wider area) – http://www.planetware.com/map/delphi-map-gr-del.htm
• Sacred Destinations - Delphi, Greece - Ads, but good info; see menu on side
• http://www.ancient-greece.org/archae...chaeology.html
• Dr J's Delphi – Dr. J's Illustrated Sacred Way at Delphi
NOTE: click items in SIDE MENU for complete photos & explanatory text. SUPER!
• Wikipedia entry, succinct & surprisingly good --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delphi
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Old Oct 3rd, 2021, 09:31 AM
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CLARIFICATION - When I said "start early afternoon" I meant from Athens area, to arrive at 4 or 5 pm.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2021, 01:36 PM
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Our Greek friends insisted that we visit Mystras and we were so happy we did. It is Byzantine , a nice change from the ancient Greek antiquities. We stayed in Sparta.
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Old Oct 4th, 2021, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by yestravel View Post
Olympia
Mystras
Sparta

Kardamyli for base to explore the Mani peninsula
and....???
I found the Bradt Guide extremely helpful.
Absolutely add Messene--amazing! We visited in May 2019 and practically had the place to ourselves. Also heartily second Mystras. One way we maximized our time (which was half yours) was by seeing sites in between bases, like Mystras between Nafplio and Kadamyli, and Messene between Kadramyli and Stemnitsa.
We really enjoyed Kardamyli. Look carefully at drive times (unless you really enjoy day trips/driving--I don't). You could easily have three or more bases for the Mani.

We also liked the Stemnitsa area, where we hiked to monasteries (we had planned to return the next year and explore northern Greece and Meteora, alas covid disrupted those plans). We stayed in tiny Zatouna, but Stemnitsa and Dimitsana are both nice.

People seem to love Monemvasia, but we did not have time. The Gialova area is also on my list for next time, but I am a beach lover (google image the beach there!)
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Old Oct 4th, 2021, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by travelerjan View Post
CLARIFICATION - When I said "start early afternoon" I meant from Athens area, to arrive at 4 or 5 pm.
That will work for us as we will visit Delphi after flying back to AThens from Rhodes.

QUOTE I found the Bradt Guide extremely helpful.
Absolutely add Messene--amazing! We visited in May 2019 and practically had the place to ourselves. Also heartily second Mystras. One way we maximized our time (which was half yours) was by seeing sites in between bases, like Mystras between Nafplio and Kadamyli, and Messene between Kadramyli and Stemnitsa.
We really enjoyed Kardamyli. Look carefully at drive times (unless you really enjoy day trips/driving--I don't). You could easily have three or more bases for the Mani.

We also liked the Stemnitsa area, where we hiked to monasteries (we had planned to return the next year and explore northern Greece and Meteora, alas covid disrupted those plans). We stayed in tiny Zatouna, but Stemnitsa and Dimitsana are both nice.

People seem to love Monemvasia, but we did not have time. The Gialova area is also on my list for next time, but I am a beach lover (google image the beach there!)"
thank you -- very helpful.

My biggest issue is now not the number of archaeological sites, but trying to balance that with just enjoying some scenic little villages & perhaps getting in some hiking.
Any recommendations of charming small villages where we could stay and do day trips as well as kick back and enjoy the village? Do these fit the bill? Others?


Last edited by yestravel; Oct 4th, 2021 at 10:20 AM.
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Old Oct 4th, 2021, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by yestravel View Post
My biggest issue is now not the number of archaeological sites, but trying to balance that with just enjoying some scenic little villages & perhaps getting in some hiking.
Any recommendations of charming small villages where we could stay and do day trips as well as kick back and enjoy the village? Do these fit the bill? Others?
That is the challenge! No doubt some of the drives are long--that's why I mentioned seeing some sites in between places to break up longer drives. We actually ended up driving to Mystras from Kardamyli instead of en route as we had planned, as it was a rainy day. We otherwise wanted to just hike while we were in Kardamyli--it's a long drive anywhere because of the way the town is situated. Nafplio is one of the better "base" places, but you've already been there. Because there are so many very tiny places, I think it's better to come up with your "must" list first, then see how it all fits together, but you are absolutely right that you should at some point pick a place to just be without tons of day trips. Kardamyli has that because it is quite scenic, with some historic interest and plenty of restaurants, and you can just set off on hiking trails from within the town.
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Old Oct 4th, 2021, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by yorkshire View Post
That is the challenge! No doubt some of the drives are long--that's why I mentioned seeing some sites in between places to break up longer drives. We actually ended up driving to Mystras from Kardamyli instead of en route as we had planned, as it was a rainy day. We otherwise wanted to just hike while we were in Kardamyli--it's a long drive anywhere because of the way the town is situated. Nafplio is one of the better "base" places, but you've already been there. Because there are so many very tiny places, I think it's better to come up with your "must" list first, then see how it all fits together, but you are absolutely right that you should at some point pick a place to just be without tons of day trips. Kardamyli has that because it is quite scenic, with some historic interest and plenty of restaurants, and you can just set off on hiking trails from within the town.
Thanks for your thoughts. I have been looking at maps with the various points and its hard to lfigure out. We dont mind driving and in fact enjoy it. We plan on visiting Nafplio again as its been so many years since we were first there. We celebrated Greek easter there and it was quite the festivities. Although I feared it will be very different 30 years later!

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Old Oct 6th, 2021, 06:41 AM
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Thanks everyone for your thoughts. This is a tentative itin we have come up with. We travel very slowly and prefer to avoid 1 night even 2 nights stays when possible. We want to see ruins, we'd also like time to hike and just explore villages and do drives to see dramtic scenery. This will be our 3rd trip to Greece. Let me know what you think.

Athens - 4 nights (mainly to get over jetlag as we're not fans of Athens)

Rhodes - 6 nights

fly back to Athens and pick up rental car and drive to Delphhi
1 night Delphi

Meteora - 2 nights

Olympia - 2 nights (a fairly long tdrive from Meteora to here)

Gialova - lokks like a pretty area to just kick back in for a day

Louisios Gorge area - 3 nights

Mani peninsula - 5 nights

Nafplion - 4 nights (been here before)

Return car in Athens and fly home

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Old Oct 6th, 2021, 08:01 AM
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I think it looks great--I agree about two nights stays, but for Meteora and Delphi, I think it's the way to go if you are going to include them on this trip.
You might be able to rework that long drive south somehow, but I think you have hit the highlights.
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Old Oct 6th, 2021, 08:27 AM
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Lots of interesting sights on your Itinerary. May is a very good time.. lots of flowers & greenery even in dry spots. My suggestions would just be one of sequence. I know I know, this is Johnny One-Note, but since u say you are "not fans of Athens" -- why start there then?? No fun getting over jet lag in a large bustling national capital!! Makes NO sense. MUCH more relaxing to recover on an island..,. especially a NEW island, that provides curiosity to get you up in the morning. There are PLENTY of flights to Rhodes ... I suggest you land in ATHENS, allow 2 hrs for the layover/luggage etc and take off to Rhodes! I've stayed in Old Town right by the Medieval Wall, far from the port with its cruise ships ... SO atmospheric. Do Old Town in the 1st 1-2 days while you reinvigorate ... walk the top of the Wall! go out to Ancient Rhodes ruins just West of town for a snack & a bevvy leaning on a broken column. it's all great. THEN u can rent a car to explore the rest of that fascinating island.

The rest of your trip would follow, but again, I would tweak the sequence, please try to avoid an all-day drive!! Why not plan a flight that lands mid-morning, get car, and then drive to METEORA?? You'd arrive late in day, my Meteora-loving friends, say the evening views there are magical, then do the climbs to monasteries the next day. And the following day, drive to DELPHIi .. not a huge distance - youdon't want to feel like a 16-wheeler driver. Next AM, off to Peloponnese. Frankly, i'd put your NAFPLIO stay right here... about the right length of drive ... and en route you'd have time to do a 5-mi detour off the highway to NEMEA -- u can see it in an hour, I found the stadium more evocative than Olympia.

After that, I'd suggest doing your Peninsula thing CLOCKWISE... more efficient in terms of roads I believe. It's extremely confusing, becuse you keep including quotes from others -- are you doing Mystras & Monemvasia and Messene??? -- or just drive-by? Hard to tell. But the Mani is clear, so you could head there from Nafplio -- after Mani, stop in Messene for a few hours, then sack out at Gialova (Hotel Zoe there is my Secret Eden). THEN move on, with a stop at the recently re-furbished & impressive Nestor's Palace, then ON to Olympia. (or that Gorge, I've never figured where it is & its' not a must for me). An Olympia tip = the major bus-tour crowds start with ruins area at 9 am then go to Museum -- so you do opposite. Museum is EMPTY at 9 am and thus thrilling to explore... then the crowds pour in, you head to the great outdoors because ruins are is huge, plenty of space.

When u are done with Olympia... then you might be done with Major sights & just want a fast ride. and that road around the west all the way to Corith is a good highway, smooth sailing in May... you could stop at Isthmus for lunch if you haven't yet hopped off the intercity highwy to walk across the Canal (so deep! so skinny!!). Then, zip back to Airport, drop car, taxi flat-fee to your Athens hotel, and put your feet up.. reinvigorated, your memory bank full of landsapes and historical lore.. ready to explore Athens major landsmarks u may have missed... and seek out some bypassed secret gems.
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Old Oct 6th, 2021, 09:06 AM
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Thanks! yorkshire and travelerjan. I might add, we love driving and a long days drive now and then are fine with us. We manage to find all kinds of sites in our drives, so I don't feel compelled to shorten a drive.

Food for thought on the itin you proposed, travelerjan. One issue is picking a car up in Meteora and dropping in Athens -- drop off charges can be high esp now with such sky high car rental rates.

travellerjan, I'm not sure what you mean when you say " It's extremely confusing, because you keep including quotes from others -- are you doing Mystras & Monemvasia and Messene??? -- or just drive-by?" What is confusing? I responded to people by placing their quotes in my response.

We might visit Monemvasia -- that is still undecided. We would do it as a long day trip if we do it. Not sure -- we tend to be pretty flexible in our travels and don't plan in every day trip. We keep ideas of what and where and go with the flow.
Yes, we will visit Mystras. I am just changing the itin and adding a stop there between the Gorge and Mani.
Thanks for mentioning Messene, that got left off. So will need to figure that out.

Last edited by yestravel; Oct 6th, 2021 at 09:18 AM.
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Old Oct 6th, 2021, 09:24 AM
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Unlike Jan, I would go from Delphi via Nafpaktos - Rion-Bridge to Patras - Olympia and do the Peloponissos tour anti clockwise. Otherwise you would have to drive from Delphi almost up to Athens (Elefsis) in order to reach the highway to Korinthos (- Naflpio).
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Old Oct 6th, 2021, 10:13 AM
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I was not suggesting to pick up a car in Meteora! I think i just said "get car" meaning get one when you land at ATH airport. As for how to do Peloponnse -- clockwise or anti ... something to be said for either way. Main thing is, don't start a long drive mid-day ... my confusion about stops is that you indicated interest in earlier responses, but then didn't mention them in your comprehensive outline.
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