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Help with some details for Greece trip

Old Feb 5th, 2017, 06:35 AM
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Help with some details for Greece trip

My husband and I (late 50s) have pretty well nailed down our 11 day trip to Greece in mid- to late September but have some additional questions. Thanks for your earlier suggestions. Here's the plan:

DAYS 1-2 Athens - arrive 9 a.m. from eastern U.S. Spend 2 nights in Athens - one half-day jet-lagged and another full day. Stay at Zillers Boutique Hotel. Anyone stayed here? It gets good reviews and looks great.

DAY 3 - Rent car, drive to Meteora - should we go to the airport to pick up the care for easier driving? Possibly do Meteora sunset tour. Spend night in Kalambaka at Pyrgos Adrachti.

DAY 4 - Morning hike at Meteora, drive to Delphi, spend night at Nidimos Hotel. We're considering doing the Meteora sunset tour with Visit Meteora the first evening and the hike with them in the morning. Anyone done either of these tours? Anyone done both - and have a recommendation on which one is better? Presumably we could also do it on our own - although I like the sound of the hiking tour because it gets to lesser known spots.

DAYS 5-7 - Early morning at Delphi, drive back to Athens airport. Flight to Santorini.

We have two options - a 3:40 p.m. flight or a 5:15 fight. Can we make the early one? We're thinking we'd spend 8-10 a.m. in Delphi, then head straight to the airport by 10:30. Would this give us time to drop off the car and check in for the 3:40 p.m. flight? We'd like to get to Santorini in time to check in and see the sunset - which is about 7:15 that time of year - but we don't want to feel stressed about catching the earlier flight.

We'll have 3 nights on Santorini, so 2 full days. Hotel - Annio Flats in Imerovigli. Is that a good location? Suggestions on what to do? The walk from Fira to Oia for sure. Should we get a car (or maybe scooters?) for at least one day? What's the best way to get from the ferry to our lodging?

DAYS 8-10 - Ferry to Naxos. Spend 3 nights at Korali Boutique Hotel at St. George Beach. Suggestions on what to do while in Naxos? We'll have 2 full days and enjoy hiking, small villages, and some beach time. We'll probably rent a car. We've wondered if we should cut a night from Santorini and add it to Naxos as is seems there's more to do there - meaning 2 nights in Santorini and 4 in Naxos?

DAY 11 - Transfer back to Athens, spend night and fly home next day.

We originally considered (thanks to suggestions here) going straight to Santorini for increased efficiency and then saving Athens and the Meteora/Delphi leg for the end, but couldn't seem to make it work with flights coming back from Naxos. Lodging for last night in Athens - AthensWas Hotel.

We'd welcome any input in addition to the specific questions asked above.

Thanks!
Karen
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Old Feb 5th, 2017, 09:57 AM
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Anyone? Especially looking for advice on the timing regarding the flight to Santorini after being at Delphi in the morning.

Are 2 nights enough for Meteora and Delphi?
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Old Feb 5th, 2017, 11:45 AM
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DELPHI & PLANE --, in Sept. the site & museum should still be on the longer Summer hours (open until 8); thus you can go to the museum in late afternoon/ early evening, NO crowds, wonderful, then at 8 am next day go to ruins, leave by 10, drive back to Athens -- 3.5 hours to Airport. You should be in plenty of time for the 3:40. A Domestic flight check-in is supposedly 60 mins before departure, but 45 also works. And -- as an added assurance, if you have a "flex" ticket and some disaster happens, you could phone Aegean & switch to a later flight.


Santorini vs Naxos -- Of course some people will say stay stay stay in Santorini; these people say they just want to sit on their balcony all day, drink wine & look at the view. Me, if I did this I'd be snockered by noon!! It is of course up to you ... but weigh various factors:

• Santorini is 12 miles long, Naxos is the largest island in the Cyclades.
• If you like swims in the sea, Naxos has 15 miles of golden sand, while Sant. has black gritty beaches, fine for some but not the same
• Naxos is considered "a paradise for hikers" by THE expert on Cyclades islands, he's devoted his life to it: http://www.cycladen.be/NaxosEng.htm -- he photo's & describes 37 Naxian hikes. Santorini has one.
• In September, Naxian vineyards are harvesting... several of the mountain villages have wine festivals (inquire about them at the Harborside store that specializes in Naxos products, the store staff is knowledgeable).
.• For first-timers Santorini is a must-see but it's all about the VIEW, and with such a short holiday, choices choices. I 'd say, add that extra day to Naxos. SO much more You can see a lot in 48 hrs in Santo: here's how.

• enjoy day #1 sunset, arrange for car delivery for next day early Day #2 Zip up to OIA by 8:30 AM to beat the cruise-ship mobs, then by 10:30 drive to visit rest of island... depends on your interests; Akrotiri, Ancient Thira (I loved it), museum in Fira, another sunset dinner. On day #3, take the 3:15 BLUE STAR ferry to Naxos, sit on upper back deck, your teeny Greece mini-cruise.

. NAXOS - 1 day just exploring Naxos Town (fascinating, photo ops etc) and a great beach afternoon -- Day #2 rent car & drive all over island (Tip: rent car 8-9pm the night before, so u can get an early start), Day #3, adventure of your own depending on what you love.
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Old Feb 5th, 2017, 12:31 PM
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travelerjan - that's exactly the kind of advice we were looking for! Thanks so much. I like the idea of the 3:25 ferry to Naxos meaning we'd have that morning in Santorini. It sounds to me like 2 nights in Santorini will do it.

Also, I'm glad to hear you think we have time to catch the 3:40 flight to Santorini. I hadn't realized Delphi would likely be open till 8 the night before. I thought they'd shortened the hours to a 3 p.m. closing year 'round. But yes, if we can get in a couple of hours the first night there, it will be perfect.

Thanks so much! We can't wait. Although we're in our late 50s, this is like a second honeymoon. We've only been married 2 years and are looking forward to a combination of interesting sights and romance.
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Old Feb 5th, 2017, 04:21 PM
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Glad if I could be helpful .. I did not address the question of your stay and the location of your chosen Santorini hotel. I trust that you booked it at the "flexible" price, not the no-refund price .... always a wise move when booking so far ahead of time! With the flex price, you do not need to pay in advance, only when you stay... and you may cancel without penalty until some weeks beforehand. I am not sure why you chose this place, whether it was a personal recommend, or photos just looked lovely online. There are a few things u should be aware of, regarding same:
• IMERVOGLI is more isolated than the other towns... nice, but means you may be going elsewhere for dinner? Also, if you are going into Fira Town to see the museum, shops, or (maybe) walk down the old steps ... it's too far to walk, and if you drive you will be unable to park there. Thus u will have to take a bus, which limits your flexibility.
• BUS OPTION - Inquire if your hotel is close to the IMERVOGLI bus stop. If so, u may want to take the 8:30 bus on Day 2 up to OIA and avoid parking challenge, then bus b ack to hotel to get car delivery from, say noon on Day 2 to noon on day 3.
• ROOM - If u booked a "sea view" this is NOT the caldera sunset view, but an East (morning) view over far shore. You'd want "caldera view" or "landmark view" = same thing. I see that your hotel for md Sept is about $356 for 2 nights. Also, I checked it on booking.com and see that their "cave rooms" have "built-in stone beds" .. this means a stone (often covered concrete) bed platform w foam mattress... personally I have found these Incredibly hard -- I had a twin room alone, & had to put both foam mattresses on one platform in order to sleep .. and I'm no princess. Be careful what you ask for!!

For short stays, I always recommend FIROSTEPHANI, which is just North of FIRA -- away from the crowds, but Easily walkable to Fira Town in 10-15 minutes. It as many hotels on the cliff edge with caldera-view rooms at same price or less & more convenient. People staying there can use bus or walk & only rent a car if they want to see Akrotiri & Ancient Thira. It's nice to have a sunset dinner in Fira with a couple glasses vino, and not face driving back to hotel in the dark.

I did a "dummy inquiry" for FIROSTEPHANI Sept 17-19 and saw many of my fave recommends there are already booked -- probably for advantages I noted! However, Hotel Mylos (rated Excellent on booking.com) has its Premium double w caldera view balcony for same rate as your imervogli. (and no concrete bedstead!) Something to consider -- and as I say, at Flexible rate you could book several, and decide later. (If booking.com would not let you book 2, you could book direct). However, may be full for your dates (See why you should share EXACT dates to get best advice?)

NAXOS - u picked a good & convenient hotel; in Sept St. George beach is far the best place to stay... the other beaches are more "hotel strips" and are closing down a bit. You can get out tothe beaches by bus, only rent a car 1 day for an around-island whirl.

Here are some wonderful views of naxos by my friend Stanbr (I rendezvous w him & his bride every year on Naxos)
OVERVIEW - http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7634605629689/
NAXOS TOWN - (magic @ sunset) http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7632094558042/
-- fave sunset sit is club at the E. end of Town harborside -- Coffee & Creme? Night & Day? .. facing across seafront to the arch. Good outdoor taverna high up looking down - To Kastro (Ask! how to get there). Exciting new Greek-cuisine, "Nostrimon Hellas" (delicious Greece).
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Old Feb 5th, 2017, 04:48 PM
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Thanks - great info. What do you think of Oia? Yes, I booked at the flexible rate so we can easily change. I'm considering this place (Oia Collection, in case the link doesn't work). Will check out the one you mention...

http://www.booking.com/hotel/gr/oia-...=total;ucfs=1&
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Old Feb 5th, 2017, 04:53 PM
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And dates are as follows:

Sept. 16 - leave home
17-19 - Athens
19-20 - Meteora
20-21 - Delphi
21-23 - Santorini (if we cut to 2 nights and stay 4 in Naxos)
23-27 - Naxos
27-28 - Athens
28 fly home
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Old Feb 5th, 2017, 05:39 PM
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Jan - love your idea of booking more than one and then canceling what we don't want. I just booked Mylos - the premium with the caldera view as you suggested. The idea of breakfast on our private balcony overlooking the caldera sounds fantastic.
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Old Feb 5th, 2017, 07:19 PM
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Oia is the prettiest, good views, many dining restaurants. Easy access to Amoudi Harbor. With those winding roads I wouldn't want a scooter. We had a rental car.
We were there four nights, never saw a sunset. It was too long a stay there.
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Old Feb 5th, 2017, 07:36 PM
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I have read of a rental car company that will drive you out to the highway from Athens so you don't need to drive in Athens or go to the airport to pick up a car. I believe it was here on Fodor's but I also remembering doing a Google search and the company came up easily on the search.

You are going to love Meteora!
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Old Feb 5th, 2017, 08:10 PM
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That rental company is called Avanti/Swift .. highly promoted by Matt Barrett on his Greece website. OK reviews but Be Careful to specify a new or recent model (some reports of older cars). That feature is a BIG draw -- I wonder why more agencies don't do it ... it does require that the driver get back to the agency afterward, which may be why not. It would be useful IF, at the end of your rental, Avanti allowed you to drop it at the airport. I would enquire re this.

Regarding Oia Collection, have never seen it, from googlemaps it does appear to be down on the cliff face, a lot of steps down & back up... certainly looks swanky! I'm not a good person to ask, the "cave" villas are only lit thru the front -- windows/french door -- so always give me a bit of the old claustrophobe vibe, that's just me. Also would check out that bed whether its "stone platform."

Regarding staying in Oia itself, its fine until about 10 am or 10:30 when major throngs arrive ... I've been in Santorini in early May and 2nd week in September, and find that's still not "off-season", due to cruises & package tours (especially Asians, on busses). The lanes are quite cloggy until about mid-afternoon. Then, in May it's quiet from 4 - 7, when fresh crowds arrive again for sunset (which they've been told is somehow much better there than elsewhere). So, in Sum, I like to be in Oia & wander around, from about 8:45 - 10:30 in the mornings. Many people stay on their balconies to avoid the tourists, but I prefer to go elsewhere & walk.

For sunset, I prefer to be at a rimside cafe like Mylos or Remvi in Firostephani, or the rooftop terrace of a Fira restaurant like STANI http://www.stani.gr -- no crowds, no one elbowing you to take a selfie, no standing-only vigil, justsitting at white-tablecloth venue, relaxing.
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Old Feb 6th, 2017, 03:06 AM
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Yes, I think we'll check with Swift. We'd want to pick it up in Athens, have them drive us to the outskirts, and then return the car to the airport for our flight to Santorini. If that worked, it'd be great. But if not, we don't really mind going to the airport to get the car. About an hour extra to do so?
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Old Feb 6th, 2017, 06:35 AM
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Hi Althorn. Actually I checked your hotel and it's in an ideal situation .. I had stayed at super=budget Metropolis Hotel right next door, so handy (It used to have a SIX-STORY-HIGH bougainvillea vine (Guiness world record). Staying there, you don't really need Swift -- because Metropolis is really a "straight shoot" to Highway #75 out of town, the route to meteora. A good map & GPS will get you there w. little stress. (NOTE: don't count on GPS alone.. sometimes it gets confused, with all the alternate spellings). The key thing is, end at airport to make that flight. So u want a hotel dellivery, airport drop-off without a big add-on fee. If u decide to go to airport to pick up, the Monastiraki Metro station is downhill, Syntagma station is uphill, equidistant, takes 45 mins on train.. but u must count time getting down to platform & waiting for train. If it's me, I take the X95 at Syntagma, goes every 20 mins 24/7. €6, bag is Inside bus in central "pen". Big advantage; no standing, no pickpockets. Takes about 1 hour d-to-d except in rush hour... actually u would be outbound, not so bad.
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