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yiassas Jan 23rd, 2017 01:46 AM

BTW, the wild greens are available everywhere, they just vary from place to place as to what grows there. As a general name, no matter which greens they are, it's called horta. Some can be quite a strong flavour, some a little bitter, my favourite is vlita,

kja Jan 23rd, 2017 02:03 AM

@ yiassas:

The Arcadian Gate has been added to my “must-see” list – thanks for the recommendation, and the inspiring photographs! It looks like some people were having a great time – no assumptions made about who is or is not a Fodorite. ;-)

I think I'm learning Greek words in good order: 1st, efcharistó! 2nd: horta. As one who seeks diverse experiences, horta sounds like something I will love. :-)

thursdaysd Jan 23rd, 2017 05:45 AM

I think you are right to be cautious about the Samaria Gorge. I did hike it, in 2006, and did the last part with both knees complaining bitterly. Happily they were OK the next day, but I would not attempt it now. (I was 59 at the time.)

Hiking just the bottom section is much more feasible, however, as best I remember that section is all rounded rocks, and difficult footing. Make sure you have good footwear, preferably with ankle support. In fact, that will be useful for Greece in general - lots of steps, many of them slippery.

TexasAggie Jan 23rd, 2017 11:07 AM

Hi kja,
I can't seem to find my own trip report from 2006 or 2009 that talked about the open access tholos tomb in the orange grove close to Tiryns, but here is a link with photos and general "how to find it" directions :-)

TexasAggie Jan 23rd, 2017 11:10 AM

Re: Nemean wineries, we just stopped in :). Our favorite was Palivou. We were traveling in early May and were the only visitors there at the time, but others arrived just as we were leaving.

kja Jan 23rd, 2017 06:04 PM

@ thursdaysd: Thanks for confirming my impressions of the Samaria Gorge. And wow, I hadn’t thought about taking hiking boots with ankle support – I was planning on taking just good (but low) hiking shoes. Something to consider!

@ TexasAggie: Thanks so much for the directions to, and pictures of, the Tholos Tomb of Tiryns! (And BTW, I love the self-portrait. :-) ) I also really appreciate the winery recommendation – sounds like a delightful experience!

travelerjan Jan 23rd, 2017 08:18 PM

Doggone it Yiassas, you are right!! What a memorable day! I'd love to have a copy of one of those... you know that was the trip where I lost my camera (In Kerameikos of all places). I bought an Instamatic, but mourned the loss of pix of Petalida, Ancient Messini and Gialova -- but still cherish the memories!

kja Jan 23rd, 2017 08:34 PM

@ travelerjan: That certainly looked like a wonderfully memorable day! Although I didn't own a camera for my first few trips abroad, once I got one, I can't imagine how I would feel if I lost it. I'm glad you are able to cherish the memories!

kja Feb 14th, 2017 10:23 PM

The lodging I identified near ancient Messene, the Messana in Mavromati / Marommation, is described on as having no parking. I can’t imagine that being the case, but haven’t been able to confirm that I would have a place to park a car. I’m sure I’m overthinking – but if any of you have any insights, I would welcome it!

And of course, I remain open to other comments on my plans….

Thanks in advance!

Heimdall Feb 14th, 2017 11:24 PM

Most small guest house-type hotels don't have their own parking lots — people leave their cars on the street. I can't imagine how the guests would get there if there was nowhere to leave their cars.

There are six reviews on TripAdvisor, all giving the hotel a maximum of five stars. Only one is in English, but there is a Google Translation button on each review.

kja Feb 14th, 2017 11:38 PM

@ Heimdall: Thanks so much! For some reason, I'm only able to access one of the Greek reviews on TripAdvisor, but all the reviews I found anywhere were very complimentary. I suspected that the parking situation was what you describe, particularly upon review of a close-up on Google maps. As I said, I'm undoubtedly overthinking.... Many thanks for your reassurances!

Heimdall Feb 15th, 2017 12:10 AM

Just ask at the hotel where to leave your car. If there is nowhere directly in front of the hotel you should be able to stop long enough to unload your luggage. Wherever you park, always leave enough room on the narrow roads and streets for trucks and buses to get by.

On the version of TripAdvisor I am looking at there is only one review (in English) on display, but when you click the "All Languages" button all six appear. Now that I have done that I see there are five Excellent ratings and one Very Good. With such a variety of nationalities I'm confident the reviews are genuine. I hope the view from the hotel is as good as this, from a taverna we had lunch at:

Here is the rest of my Messenia album:

Recommend stopping at the little monastery in my photos near the Ancient Messene site. The monks are very friendly!

kja Feb 15th, 2017 04:42 PM

Thanks again, Heimdall! In an odd coincidence, the hotel responded today to a message that I had sent to them days ago, and they confirmed our suspicion: Parking is available on the street. I’m very pleased, as this little hotel does seem perfect for my needs. As you noted, the tripadvisor reviews (I hadn’t realized that I had checked only some languages) are very favorable, as are those on I hope the views are as nice as those from your taverna -- and if not, I'll look for that place. :-)

Thanks, too, for sharing your Messenia album. I’m struck by some of the similarities between Ancient Messene and Ephesus. Can you tell me the location of the little church you visited just before Ancient Messene?

Heimdall Feb 16th, 2017 10:51 AM

Hi kja, the monastery is called Voulkano, and is just east of the village of Mavrommati where you will be staying when you visit Ancient Messene. The hotel will tell you haw to get there. If yiassas sees this post she will be able to give more accurate directions, because it was in her car that I was riding.

Heimdall Feb 16th, 2017 11:03 AM

Kja, if you have Google Earth on your computer, type in Moni Voulkanou in the search box, and it will fly you there. You can also zoom in and have a look at Ancient Messene and the village of Mavrommati.

kja Feb 16th, 2017 01:03 PM

@ Heimdall: Moni Voulkanou duly added to my notes. Efcharisto!

HappyTrvlr Feb 21st, 2017 08:54 AM

Some more thoughts in no particular order:
Arkadi Monastery: the Holocaust that occurred there in late 1800s , priest, warriors, women and children blew themselves up with dynamite rather than be under Ottoman rule, made for a very poignant visit. There is a memorial to see there.
Also on Crete,not too far from Arkadi, the pottery village of Margarites. There are many touristic shops but an excellent potter and shop is owned by Giorgios Dalamvelas, a third generation potter. His shop is in a beautiful restored building that stands out from the others. I bought quite a few of his beautiful pieces.
Our Greek friends suggested we buy a copy of "The Cretan Runner" which we found in Chania. It is written by a shepherd, who ran behind the lines as a boy in WWII, through the mountains, for the British Army from German Occupation to Liberation. Recommended.
Nemea: Gates were padlocked to stadium, walked around it, slipped and fell on a bush full of rusty barbed wire.Be careful. Several hours in the Napflion ER gave me a stitched up arm ,an experience to remember and a bill for 3€.
I could spend weeks in Naplion. Chania and Napflion are both so beautiful.
Practicing the Greek alphabet in advance was very helpful.
Local friends sent us to Kafeneio in the Kolonaki neighborhood, Loukenou,26, of Athens for dinner. It is a traditional taverna in a very nice setting with delicious food, out of tourist fray.
After traveling the world, Greece still tugs at out heartstrings.

brotherleelove2004 Feb 21st, 2017 10:13 AM

"Day 9: Morning ferry to Santorini – visit Akrotiri, walk part of the caldera ridge and explore some of the villages, sunset, 1 night in Santorini"

To have any hope at all of accomplishing this leg of your journey you're going to have to rent a car at the ferry port so you don't waste time. Drive directly to Akrotiri, which is on the south end of the island and not very far from the ferry port. After Akrotiri you can locate your hotel, check in, then make your way to the area of the caldera rim that's walkable. The trail begins in Fira and ends about 3 hours later in Oia. If you're staying in Oia you can walk towards Fira and get off the trail about halfway, where the trail returns to the main road at the little snack bar, and take the next bus back to Oia or continue on to either Imerovigli, Firostefani or Fira before returning to Oia for the sunset. (Buses are frequent and Taxis are available.) Or, since the best sunset views are from Imerovigli you can check into a hotel there, walk to Oia then take the bus back to Imerovigli in time for the sunset. But I think having a car waiting for you at the ferry port is essential for this to succeed.

kja Feb 21st, 2017 03:30 PM

@ HappyTrvlr:

OMG! While I admit that I seek diverse experiences when traveling, I am more than happy to forego medical emergencies! I hope your tetanus shot was up to date – and I just confirmed that mine is. ;-) That Greece still tugs at your heartstrings despite this experience speaks volumns.

The Arkadi Monastery is firmly on my itinerary, but I hadn’t taken prior note of Margarites and will take a look. Thanks for bringing the village and potter to my attention!

Nor had I known of <i>The Cretan Runner</i> -- sounds interesting! I just ordered it on Kindle.

I’ve begun practicing transliteration with homemade “flash cards” and am on lesson 8 of Pimsleur’s Greek One. I don’t expect to be able to carry on a conversation, but maybe I can at least be civil.

And thanks for the dinner recommendation – I’ve taken some notes, but haven’t yet tackled that part of my planning. Efcharistó!

@ Brotherleelove2004:

Thanks for bringing this potential snag to my attention! Some additional information might be useful: Thanks to marigross’s trip report, I booked at Aethrio in Oia, which has a small, private roof deck from which guests can see the sunset without having to negotiate crowds. :-) Sunset should be at about a quarter after 8, so I’ve been thinking that if I get to the roof (with a glass of wine) by a little before 8, I should be OK.

With that “plan” in mind, my hope had been to take a taxi from the ferry port to the hotel, check in, and then leave ASAP for Akrotiri. I haven’t fully researched my transportation options, but was considering taking a bus to Fira, bus to Akrotiri, and buses back, stopping as time permits at the museum in Fira. I read somewhere that it might be best to visit Akrotiri later, rather than earlier, so that I maximimze my time there after cruise-ship passengers leave (but not so late that I miss sunset). And I thought that if I paid careful attention to the time, I could get off the bus somewhere between Fira and Oia to walk a part of the ridge.

BUT, of course, what seems to work on paper often doesn’t, so I would welcome your comments and suggestions. Thanks again!

brotherleelove2004 Feb 21st, 2017 05:02 PM

I use this nifty website that shows me the direction of the sunset for any time of year and I'm sorry to tell you that between that website and after looking at all the photos on the Aethrio website as well as all the posted guest photos on and I'm almost 100% sure that my initial suspicion is correct. No sunset view from the Aethrio in late-May/early-June. Also, if you don't go to Akrotiri first you will be wasting a lot of time in transit, as Oia is on the north tip of the island and Akrotiri is on the south tip. This puts them about 45 minutes apart. So if you go to Oia first by taxi that'll take about an hour with check-in included, then you have to go back to Fira, another 25 minutes or so, to wait for the next bus to Akrotiri, another 25 minutes. The ferry port is just 20 minutes from Akrotiri. If you contact Vazeos Car Rental in Oia you can ask for a pickup at the ferry port and go to Akrotiri first, locking your luggage in the car. When you're finished there you can take your time returning to Oia, maybe take a side trip to one of the black sand beaches or stop in Fira for a look-see, then continue the rest of the way to Oia to your hotel. You can either drop off your car at Vazeos that same day or if you've arranged it, use it to take you back to the ferry port for your ferry to Naxos. Also, Spiridakos Car Rental has an office at the port if you want to drop it off the next day on your way out.

You can walk along the trail from Oia towards Fira as far as you like, with the understanding that the first place you can leave the trail is at that snack bar I mentioned, which is about 3 miles from the hiking trailhead in Oia.

Map of Santorini:

The only time you could possibly avoid crowds at Akrotiri would be 8am, first thing in the morning. It's actually wonderful then. Otherwise, by the time you plan to get there it will be crowded. It's not just the cruise ship passengers that keep it busy. Here's another idea: Your ferry to Naxos doesn't leave until mid-day, so maybe you could go there on your way to Naxos. This would free up your first day to do whatever you wanted. Just a thought.

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