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Help with Greece mainland & island itinerary

Help with Greece mainland & island itinerary

Jul 23rd, 2006, 03:57 PM
  #1  
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Help with Greece mainland & island itinerary

After months of "back and forth" on whether to go to Greece or to Italy next year, we've decided on Greece. Yeah! But, I need help with our very rough itinerary.

Initially, we were going to just go to the islands and Athens. However, after researching Greece on this board for months and reading many wonderful trip reports, we'd like to do a combination of islands and the Peloponesse, but aren't sure the best way to do that.

We would rent a car for the Peloponesse portion. For islands, Santorini is a must, and are thinking Naxos as well.

With 14-15 days (not including travel days), is this possible?

If so, what would be a logical order of things? Peloponesse first, then islands, then Athens last? We'd really like to stay in Nauplion and possibly Monemvassia. Thinking of doing 5 days for that, then drop car and ferry to Naxos, ferry to Santorini, and fly back to Athens for the last couple nights before heading home.

Or, what about including Hydra or Poros as an island stopover before heading back to Athens?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. We would be traveling mid-end of May, 2007.

lhopp is offline  
Jul 24th, 2006, 04:16 PM
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ttt
lhopp is offline  
Jul 24th, 2006, 04:29 PM
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Hi Ihopp,

May should be a lovely time to visit the mainland but it may be a tad cool for the islands... just wanting to give you a heads up on that. Murphy, another poster with a great trip report going right now, can probably tell you more about the temps on the islands as we spent all our time on the mainland.

Nauplion is an excellent base for many ancient ruins: Mycenae, Epidaurus, Nemea, Tiryns, Argos, Corinth and Acrocorinth (though I would visit these enroute from Athens as they are right on the way), and many smaller sites. Nauplion itself is a charming town (well the old part is) and it definitely merits at least a half-day for its Palamidi Fortress.

You won't see everything but you can get in a good sample of the ruins in the area with about 3 nights there. It's less than 3 hours from Athens even if you drive slow, and it's an easy drive too

I'm unsure of how many nights Monemvassia merits but I do believe it is a rather small town, so perhaps spending 3 nights in Nauplion and only 2 there is a good idea.

TexasAggie is offline  
Jul 24th, 2006, 04:30 PM
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Hi lhopp,

I think 7 days in the Peloponnese, 4 nights on Naxos and 3 nights on Santorini might fit the bill. I wouldn't add any other destinations with the time you have (Hydra, Poros etc).

Nafplio makes and excellent base for a few nights. Though I think Monemvasia is an excellent stop for a day - I wouldn't personally stay more than one night. I would consider another base in the Laconian Mani to see the sites in that area.

Perhaps 3 nights in Nafplio to see: Nafplio itself, Mycenae, Epidavros

1 night in Monemvasia to see: the Byzantine city itself.

3 nights in Laconia (Gythio/Aeropolis etc) to see: Dirous Caves/Aeropolis,
Mystras/Sparta/Langada pass, Gythio and a drive around Laconian coast to visit Vathia, Geromlinas, Porto Kagio etc and a visit to Kardaymli.

This is just my thoughts. Hopefully, someone else will chime in with there ideas. Of course outside of Laconian Mani there is the Dimitsana area which I have not visited, but which I understand is also very nice.

Perhaps grab a guidebook to research the Peloponnese so you know what part of it you want to centre your trip on. (there is also the Messinan Mani for example). I really liked my Lonely Planet it is helpful for lesser know stops.

A car would definately be the way to go to make the most of your time on mainland. I would fly out to the islands and back for the same reason.

Many recommend doing Athens last and I agree - so I would probably hit the islands without even stopping in Athens on first day, then travel back to Athens at the end. I would not spend more than 2 days in Athens on this length of trip but others will disagree.

Good Travels,

Murphy
murphy89 is offline  
Jul 24th, 2006, 04:35 PM
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Lol TexasAggie, we posted at the same time

When I was in Greece mid-late May the water was cold but people were starting to swim (tourists anyway).
The key was getting in the water - after that the temp improved quickly!I was in Chios/Lesvos around that time and I swam quite a bit - but I also often was the only one. The weather was nice and warm, but even so much as a slight breeze off the sea will discourage taking a dip. I wouldn't avoid the islands in this month, just accept that the water will not be tropical.

Cheers,

Murphy
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Jul 24th, 2006, 04:49 PM
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Hi murphy,
I was hoping you'd see this and post about the islands in May

I did notice a big difference in the temps /b/ the two weeks of our trip but don't know if the warming trend continued past May 13th. If the temps do tend to go up about 5 degrees per week in May though, it might be a reason to save the islands for later in the trip if you are intent on lots of swimming/beach time, right? Well, at least if you are a cold-water wimp like me ;-)
TexasAggie is offline  
Jul 24th, 2006, 04:51 PM
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P.S. For Ihopp's benefit,

Our first week (April 30-May 6) was cooler with highs in the high 60s and low-70s. Our second week was universally sunny with highs in the mid-70s to upper-70s.

But that could have just been a weather pattern and not indicative at all of the normal temperature trends
TexasAggie is offline  
Jul 24th, 2006, 04:57 PM
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Thanks Texas Aggie and Murphy very much for your help! It's good to know we're not too far off track. I like both of your suggestions, so we'll work on things from there.

Although, I think DH was hoping the water would be warmer for swimming and he'll probably now want to push back to June or early September. There was a place in Oia that I wanted to stay that someone posted is already booking for May, 2007, so I guess we'd better decide fairly soon if I want specific places to stay.

That's exactly what I was thinking, to end with 2 days in Athens.

I will take a look at the Lonely Planet guidebook and read Murphy's trip report as well. Thanks!

lhopp is offline  
Jul 24th, 2006, 05:05 PM
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The one advantage to not going in June-July-August (mainland at least), is that the museums and sights are not overrun with tourists. I imagine that you get a bit of the same effect in September as many families won't be vacationing then b/c their children are in school. So less crowding at the historical sights... but probably still fairly warm water b/c it has been sunning for three months
TexasAggie is offline  
Jul 24th, 2006, 05:12 PM
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That's what I was thinking Texas Aggie-maybe September after school is back in session would be better than mid-May if we want to enjoy the beach and experience less crowds.

I am definitely a "wimp" with cold water too! Laying on the beach for hours isn't a priority for us, but a little swimming would be nice.
lhopp is offline  
Jul 24th, 2006, 05:29 PM
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Hi Ihopp,

That is how we tend to do the beach. We enjoy swimming and water activities but don't really like wiling away the entire day laying on a beach chair... especially when there are fascinating things around to explore.

You definitely need to read murphy's trip report if you are into swimming and scuba diving
TexasAggie is offline  
Jul 24th, 2006, 05:38 PM
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I'm not a big swimmer--more enjoy mostly sitting by the pool and taking a quick dip now and then. DH has been after me to take scuba lessons, but truth be told, I'm clastrophobic and scared to death. I guess I should try snorkeling first and go from there!

The reason we thought of combining mainland with a islands is that 2 weeks of just relaxing on island after island would probably be relaxation overload for us. We definitely need a mix of historical sights and museums to see as well as relaxing time to have an enjoyable vacation.
lhopp is offline  
Jul 24th, 2006, 05:38 PM
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check, check, check - I agree with all of TexasAggie's points.

I think June is good time to travel in Greece - the hills are still green and there are lots of wildflowers around to see. The water improved greatly in June - a noticable improvement each week - though in fairness, there was a heatwave in Greece this year for a few weeks the very end of May and the first two weeks in June - so that likely helped alot

Certainly in increase in tourists (though not overwhelming) in June and it was the start of the "season" so the prices were starting to go up - you may find better deals in September.

Whatever you choose, Greece has lots to offer - I'm sure you will enjoy your trip.

Cheers,

Murphy
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