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Help with Greece Itinerary - Athens, Delphi, Kythera

Help with Greece Itinerary - Athens, Delphi, Kythera

Old Apr 9th, 2011, 04:04 PM
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Help with Greece Itinerary - Athens, Delphi, Kythera

We are planning a visit to Greece in June with our two boys, ages 9 and 11. The main point is to visit friends in Kythera for six days, but we'd also like to spend time in Athens and Delphi. My oldest son just finished a semester of studying ancient Greece and Greek myths, so the timing is great.

We'll be leaving the US on June 13, staying until June 27, flying into Athens from NY. Basically we have 6 days in Kythera and 6 days other Greece (though it's possible we could add an extra day or two). I'm stumped about:

1. Whether we fly or ferry to Kythera. I'm thinking of flying, but could be persuaded otherwise. Our itinerary could impact the decision, I guess, as could the decision impact the itinerary.

2. Whether we visit Athens first. I was also thinking we could rent a car at the Athens airport and drive part of the way or all the way to Delphi, visit Delphi for a day, then maybe tour the Peloponnese a bit, circling back to Athens. Of course we could reverse it - visit Athens first, then Delphi, then circle home. My concern is whether there will be enough to keep the boys interested for 6 days.

3. Whether we skip the Peloponnese in favor of a three-day jaunt to Santorini. (So 2 days in Athens, a day in Delphi, 3 days in Santorini.) I visited Santorini in my youth and have such fond memories. I just don't know what the travel logistics would be and how easily we could get from Santorini-Athens-Kythera.

If anyone has any thoughts on logistics or scheduling this trip, or thoughts about must-sees for two tween boys in Greece, I'd be really grateful.

Thank you!
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Old Apr 9th, 2011, 06:55 PM
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txtree,
I imagine you will visit your friends at the beginning of your trip. You might consider a visit to the Acropolis before heading out to Kythera so the boys get a taste of the antiquities. Be sure to take them to the new Acropolis Museum as well.
As far as the remainder of your tour, it is tough to choose between the mainland or Santorini. I taught Greek history for years to fifth graders...I'd want to show them Athens, Delphi, and the area around Naufplion where they can walk through Agamemnon's lion gates at Mycenae and visit the theater at Epidaurus. So much will come alive for a young student of Greek history and mythology. I think you will find lots options and areas of interest on the mainland.
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Old Apr 10th, 2011, 05:41 AM
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Thank you. We were planning to visit our friends the second half, so perhaps the plan should be to rent a car at the airport, drive up to Delphi, then down to the Peloponnese to see Nafplion, Mycenae and Epidaurus, then back to Athens for a couple of days before flying to Kythira. Would it be worth it/workable to visit Monemvasia too? Corinth?
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Old Apr 10th, 2011, 06:09 AM
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You will pass by Corinth anyway to get to the Pelopennesus, but I would beware of the time you will spend driving in the car with two boys. If you were going to drive that far, why not continue and take a ferry to Kythira instead of flying? In that case you want to do Athens, Delphi, Naufplion, drive down to the end of the peninsula and ferry to Kythira. I do not know that far south, but others can weigh in if you start a new thread. If you have tickets to fly, my choice would be reverse your order like this: Get grounded in the sense of place by going directly into Athens for 2-3 days to pay homage to the Acropolis, visit the museums, walk in the plaka, hike (or take the funicular) up to Lycabettus. It's easy to have a rental car delivered to the hotel in the morning. Drive out to Nafplion for 2-3 days and visit the surrounding ancient sites, then up to Delphi for one night, then back to the Athens to catch your flight to Kythira.
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Old Apr 10th, 2011, 07:13 AM
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When you are at Corinth take a small side road from near the bridge over the canal down to the town of Isthmia. There is a sinking bridge there your kids will get a kick out of. I didn't tell the friend I was with what we were going to see... he thought I was taking a shortcut back to Athens... you should have seem the look on his face when the bridge disappeared! Here's a short video.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ProfileGa...i19989010.html

Have a small LED flashlight in your pocket at Mycenae... the stairs down to the well are pitch black and dangerous without a light.

In your case I'd visit friends first, then Delphi and Peloponnese then Athens last so you are right there when it's time to fly home.

Have fun!

Rob
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Old Apr 10th, 2011, 08:10 AM
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You could stick to your original plan, Delphi, Nafplio & area, Athens, then Kythira. While you are on Kythira for the week you can use a day, or even an overnighter, to take the ferry over to Neapoli & go visit Monemvasia (about 40km, or 50km, depending which route you take). I'm sure your friends will help with the arrangements, or even come with you!
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Old Apr 10th, 2011, 08:11 AM
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Sorry, the above is assuming you take the flight option to Kythira.
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Old Apr 10th, 2011, 09:24 AM
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Ferries from Piraeus to Kythira run only a couple of times per week, as far as I can tell. That may have a bearing on your decision whether to fly or take the ferry: http://tinyurl.com/3sjkktb

You may be interested in this website, which I ran across a few years ago: http://www.kythera-family.net/
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Old Apr 10th, 2011, 11:19 AM
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I love the sinking bridge! Thank you all for your ideas. Because of timing with our friends, we will need to visit Kythira on the second half of our trip. I also realized I am loathe to take an overnight ferry (ever since a bad experience on the Red Arrow from St. P to Moscow a few years ago, I have a fear of rocking, overnight trips!), so I think we'll fly. How about:

Fly from NY to Athens.

Day 1: Rent car and drive to Delphi. Visit the sites in the afternoon, stay the night (any tour guide and/or accommodation suggestions?) and also visit the next morning.

Day 2: Drive toward Nafplio, stopping along the way for lunch. Google maps says it's a 4-hour drive if we take the ferry - is it worth the extra drive to see the Rio-Antirio bridge?

Days 2, 3, 4: Stay here: http://www.hotelperivoli.com/ Has anyone heard of this place? It looks lovely. While there, take day trips to Mycenae, Epidauros, Nafplio. Let the boys swim in the afternoons. Maybe take a family cooking class!

Days 5 and 6: Drive to Athens. Spend two days doing the things recommended by Parosblue.

Day 7: Fly to Kythira. Do nothing. Except perhaps take the ferry to Monemvasia (great idea, yiassas).

Day 14: Fly from Kythira to Athens, from Athens to NY (I think the flight schedules work).

I think it could be fabulous!
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Old Apr 10th, 2011, 11:37 AM
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I think there may be some direct ferries from Monemvasia, but not sure how much of the peak season they run, but Neapoli is an all year round ferry.
Perfect subject for me at the moment, I'm just packing ready for tomorrow, we're going off in the car, first stop Monemvasia!
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Old Apr 12th, 2011, 06:02 AM
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Bookmarking. (Our tentative plan for traveling between Napflio and Delphi is to aim for the Egios ferry, but take the bridge if we miss it.)
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Old Apr 28th, 2011, 12:49 PM
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Hey txtree, I can perhaps be slightly more helpful on this thread than on the Samaria Gorge-- just to say that we missed the last ferry to Agios Nikolaos but the drive to Delphi from Naplfio was very nice (well, perhaps I should say "scenic" because I hesitate to describe driving in Greece as "very nice", given that you spend most of the time on the highway with one tire in the breakdown lane keeping an eye out for passing cars in either direction of traffic).

I don't think I would go out of my way to drive via the Rio bridge instead of taking the ferry-- I probably would have been happy to swap an hour on the Greek roads for an hour on the Gulf of Corinth and the bridge was impressive but not *that* exciting-- but I was glad we drove along the coast, and not via Athens, even though it added a little to the drive.
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Old Apr 29th, 2011, 07:05 AM
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I've never really been one to write detailed trip reports but I'm happy give some info. if it would be helpful. So here’s a few random thoughts—

We enjoyed Nafplio. It’s a nice town and the fortress is well worth a visit (although we were glad we had a car and didn’t walk up the steps, especially since the first time we tried to go we found out the fortress, like a lot of sites when we were travelling, closed at 3:00 pm, so we had to console ourselves with some delicious fresh OJ from the concession stand in the parking lot). One of the better meals of our trip was at Arapakos, on the “restaurant row” along the water.

We stayed in Delphi itself, which is about 2-3 streets of hotels, restaurants etc. supporting visitors to the site (which is a couple of hundred yards down the road). There's not much to the town but its setting is beautiful. Arachova is more of a real town, but it's probably 15-20 mins by car. If you are driving right from the airport and considering going to the site that afternoon, I'd probably suggest staying in Delphi itself. We were planning to do the evening visit and a morning visit to the site, but we were running late and only did a morning visit (and only to the main site, including the stadium, and the museum but not the springs or tholos of Athena), which worked out fine.

We had a nice time at Epidauros just sitting in the theater and listening to different tourists perform one at a time—Shakespearean monologues, or lullabies or pop songs (driving tip – ignore signs for “Ancient Epidavros”, unless you want a nearby town – I think the theater is signed as “the Ancient Theater of Epidavros”). We also liked Mycenae, which has the Lion’s Gate, the Tomb/treasury (a little down the road), and then a bunch of ruins (it’s a little more fun when you go to the National Archeolog. Museum in Athens if you’ve been to Mycenae and seen the grave circles that produced all the gold on display). You do need a flashlight if you want to go down the cistern steps at Mycenae, but even with one we decided the steps were too slippery to go all the way down. We didn’t do Nemea or Corinth but I hear those are nice too.

In Athens we did the Acropolis and Agora (had a nice lunch at Diodos near the downhill exit from the agora), the National Archeological Museum and the Acropolis museum, and just walked around. We had a very nice dinner at Strofi Tavern, not far from the Acropolis museum (but it’s a little more upscale than “tavern” suggests).

Guess maybe that did turn into a trip report, but if there’s more I could add that would be helpful, feel free to let me know. Hope you have a great trip!
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Old Apr 30th, 2011, 04:27 AM
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Thank you - that is helpful! Sounds like a great trip. I will have to start preparing my performance piece for Epidaurus.

Our itinerary has evolved and grown somewhat, starting with 5 days in Chania, then Athens for just a day and a half, then Delphi for a day, then around Nafplion for 4 days, then Gythion, then ferry to Kythira for 5 days, then back to Athens. I'm hoping that produces the perfect vacation combination of adventure and sloth!

I think we will also stay right in Delphi rather than Arachova. And thank you for the restaurant tips.
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Old Apr 30th, 2011, 04:55 AM
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OK, I understand that visitors to Delphi come on a rushed visit,see museum/sites then go, and I agree that up to an extend modern village is touristy. BUT it is a REAL village, and before tourism, village was still there. Actualy, on 1890s village was ON the sites, then archeologists moved people to the current location in order to make excavations and discover all those impressive ancient stuff. People used to deal with agriculture, especially olive oil and olives, and they still do together with tourism. If you have time for some hikes, there are grear paths in the olive grove, there are a couple of very old water mills there. A path can lead you down to Kira on the sea front if you are a keen hiker. Then, above the busy touristy streets in the village, there are some regular streets where people actualy live, not cater to tourism. Further up, near the local cemetery, there is the former house of Eva and Agelos Sikelianos, currently a museum, and there is a hill where E4 hiking path starts and you can get in marvelous places up on mountain Parnassos. Back at the main road, if you walk outside village, on the opposite side of the ruins, you'll reach the courts, turn left and found your self on a "platau"- a clearance on the side of the cliff, where therer are remainings of a tiny old church and fabulous views. Great place for a peaque-neaque. There is one of those concrete colums near by, among the bushes, serving as a sign for army maps etc.
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Old Apr 30th, 2011, 06:55 AM
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Mariha, I cut & paste my favorite new tips in an "I-Tips" (internet tips) ... My " I-Tips Delphi/Mariha" document is getting realllly long, and I've just added this suggestions. This was the first that I knew that the village originally was on TOP of the ruins! But of course, that would make sense ... I wonder what fund paid the costs to enable people & businesses to relocate.

Few people realize that in Athens, the entire Ancient Agora there ALSO was covered with structures from the 19th century on and to uncover the ruins, more than 400 houses & shops had to be removed and the occupants relocated.
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Old Apr 30th, 2011, 09:54 PM
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I don't mean to indicate that we are giving Delphi (or Athens) unduly short shrift. I was a classical archaeology major in college and spent an extraordinary three weeks in Greece one summer a long time ago - a week on the mainland, a week on Crete, and a week between Santorini and Paros. (It was very good to be young.)

My favorite place of all was Delphi - it was so magical, we ended up hiking the area and lingering longer than we had planned. Which meant we never got to Mycenae or Epidaurus or anywhere else across the Gulf of Corinth. So I guess I'm now making up for that and trying to spend some time on the Peloponnesus. But who knows - maybe we'll stay in Delphi longer than planned once again . . . .
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Old May 1st, 2011, 05:42 AM
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The village was called Kastri then, and people relocate on 1891-2 (wide excavations started on 1892). Many local people help to reveal all those magnificent artifacts and buildings. In fact, as they were starting discovering big stuff,as the Kouros' , Charioteer etc, they seemt o throw away smaller stuff such as broken statues, architectural parts, broken ceramics etc. After decades people were still discovering antiquities in the surrounding area, and some of the older houses in Delphi, have some ancient architectural stuff,as poor people those as building material. I am aware of a house where a friend lives, and step on her front door is part of an ancient treasure column or something. : )
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Old May 1st, 2011, 08:33 AM
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I did not mean to slight Delphi (indeed I was trying to counteract some advice I heard that suggested Delphi was not a nice place to stay), but I freely admit I have not the knowledge, time or talent to do justice describing any place we visited in Greece, so I appreciate your added information mariha.

txtree we enjoyed Chania a lot, although as I think I mentioned in the other thread we didn't "do" a lot beyond walking around the town (or, when that proved too strenuous, sitting in cafes) and visiting some nearby beaches. We had nice dinners at Tamam and Portes.
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