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Looking for advice on my Greece itinerary

Looking for advice on my Greece itinerary

Old Aug 23rd, 2022, 06:00 PM
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Looking for advice on my Greece itinerary

I'll be visiting Greece for the first time in early October. I'm traveling solo and was planning to spend 4 days in Belgium first, then flying to Naxos to stay for 4 days, and finally taking a flight to Athens to stay for 4 days before flying back home to the US. I'd be staying mostly in Airbnbs and I'd prefer not to rent cars, so I'd mostly be relying on public transportation, Uber/taxis, or guided tours to get around.

I am fascinated by ancient history, ruins, and artifacts, so that's one of my biggest motivations for going to Greece. I'd love to try the popular local foods. But I also enjoy seeing great natural views, interesting and unique architecture, and impressive old buildings such as cathedrals. I am not as big on nightlife or swimming, although I might stop by a nice bar or club or stroll along a nice beach here or there.

I was planning to stay on Naxos since I've seen a few recommendations for that island, there are good flight times available to arrive there from Brussels, and it's got a good central location to visit other nearby Islands. I was originally planning to stay on Santorini for 4 days, but I don't think you can get from there to Delos and visiting those ancient ruins on Delos is a must for me.

I'm trying to avoid the hassle of having to constantly unpack and repack my bags, which is why I was thinking 4 days in each of a couple spots where I could make 2 or 3 day trips from. I was thinking I could make day trips to Santorini, and Mykonos and Delos, from Naxos. And from Athens, I was thinking about making day trips to Delphi and Aegina, or maybe Hydra or Mycenae. I know it's a good bit further from Athens, but I've also considered visiting the Stadium at Olympia. But then they are also tons of museums I'm interested in visiting in Athens, and of course the ancient sites such as the Parthenon.

So I was hoping to get some recommendations about which spots would be best for me to visit to get what I'm looking for. Should I split my days differently and do something like take 3 days on Naxos or Santorini, 2 days on the other island, and then 3 days in Athens? Should I drop some of my planned day trips to more fully experience one of the islands or Athens city? Are there some awesome cities/islands in Greece I haven't mentioned that you think I'd like better? Should I drop days from Belgium or drop Belgium all together to spend more days in Greece?

I was planning to spend 4 days in Belgium because I'd like to visit some of the sites and museums in Brussels, Ghent, and Bruges, because it seems to be fairly similar to Paris(one of my absolute favorite cities), and because they're said to have really good beer, waffles, fries, and chocolate there. But I would consider dropping it if people think Greece truly deserves more days.

Any advice appreciated!
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Old Aug 23rd, 2022, 10:28 PM
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It would be a shame to stay on Naxos and not stop off on Santorini to explore the ruins of Ancient Thera and the equally amaziing Akrotiri, not to mention the Museum of Prehistoric Thera located in the main village of Fira. If you're not aware of these two archaeological sites take time to check them out by doing a Google Images search. You might change your mind.

Last edited by brotherleelove2004; Aug 23rd, 2022 at 10:31 PM.
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Old Aug 24th, 2022, 01:36 AM
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Naxos has beautiful beaches and interesting inland villages, but I wouldn’t go there to see ancient sites, or to visit Delos. Brotherleelove is correct that Santorini has the Minoan Akrotiri, and Ancient Thera as well. If you want to visit Delos it is far easier from Mykonos. The excursion boats from Naxos take 10 hours in all, of which you spend only 3 hours on Delos. They don’t sail in windy conditions, and by October might cancel some trips if not enough people sign up. By October there is an increasing chance of autumn storms, where small boats stay in port. From Mykonos the ferry takes only 30 minutes, and you can choose when to go back to Mykonos on a later ferry.

Should you choose Paros instead of Naxos, the excursion to Delos from the same tour boats spends less time at sea, because they leave from Naxos first, then pick up passengers at Paros, dropping them off at the end of the day before returning to Naxos. That saves 1.5 hours at sea on a small boat. Best of all, from Paros you would have a chance to visit the exciting excavations at Despotiko, which are now known to be as important in ancient times as Delos. Paros also has Panagia Ekatontapiliani, a 4th century church, said to be one of the most beautiful in Greece.

https://www.greece-is.com/despotiko-...-more-secrets/

That said, if you are really interested in ancient history, recommend visiting Santorini but skipping Naxos and Paros. Instead, spend that time in Nafplio, which in Argolis has the most concentrated collection of ancient sites in Greece, apart from Athens.

http://www.visitnafplio.com/

Nafplio has an Olympic type stadium nearby, saving a long side trip to Olympia. Do visit Delphi from Athens if you have a chance.

Last edited by Heimdall; Aug 24th, 2022 at 01:44 AM.
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Old Aug 25th, 2022, 07:59 PM
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Bearing in mind your second paragraph and the very short time you will be there. A visit will only be a very small sample of what Greece has to offer.
I'm assuming the US way of counting days which seems to include travel days.

Larger islands like Crete, Rhodes, Kos have enough to see for your 4 days, not all of them just the one island. Of those Rhodes would probably be the best with a slightly longer season stretching in to October.
There are 5 to 6 direct flights per week from Brussels to Rhodes even in October as it is very popular holiday island for Europeans.

If you drop Belgium, there are daily ferries Rhodes to Kos. Both with daily ferries/flights back to Athens.

Belgian beer - The only time I have drunk Belgian beer was on the Greek island of Skyros many years ago, never been to Belgium.
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Old Aug 27th, 2022, 04:16 PM
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I have never been to Greece but know Belgium well. While Brussels is French-speaking I would not put it in the same category as Paris, it is a far smaller, more intimate experience with lots of little neighbourhoods, which you realise when you leave the centre, and is a very different experience to Paris for that reason: even though it is a world capital it is not up there in size with a London or Berlin. I will leave the decision of whether or not to drop Brussels to someone who has visited both Belgium and Greece. However, in terms of architecture, although you won't get ancient ruins, between the medieval make-up of Bruges and Ghent and Brussels' Grand' Place (partly rebuilt in the 17th century after the medieval style), four days there would be ideal. You will easily get your fill of beer, waffles, frites and chocolate.

Some addresses for you: in Brussels, Maison Dandoy (Rue Charles Buls) - sells lots of little traditional cookies, and upstairs there is a tearoom where you can have a sit-down waffle (although there are plenty of street food-style places to get a waffle like Belgaufra in Rue Neuve or Galet, which pushes chocolate spears into their hot waffles). For moules-frites and other seafood: Noordzee-Mer du Nord, but only in months with an -r in their name. Beer: Poechenellenkelder, right next to the Manneken Pis, has a traditional atmosphere. If you are a serious beer drinker, Moeder Lambic Fontainas is about three minutes further away. Chocolate - visit the Galeries St-Hubert which is next to the Grand' Place, or the very elegant Place du Grand Sablon, just a few minutes walk further on, for high-end chocolate shops. If you are just after frites, well, there are frites all over the place and in restaurants with just about every meal (you are in Brussels, after all), but if you are trying to get the best and don't mind a trip, you should look for Maison Antoine at Place Jourdan or Frit' Flagey at Place Eugène Flagey. However, they are a bit far afield if you are in the centre. If you are planning to go on that excursion let me know and I can pull together some other places nearby for you to visit.

Lavandula
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Old Aug 27th, 2022, 05:06 PM
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I have been to Athens, Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes and Corfu.
I have not been to Brussels, but have been to Bruges, Ghent and the coastal area of Belgium. At least what I saw of Belgium was nothing like Paris. I enjoyed Belgium, especially the people, art and food.

However, if I could make flights work so the trip to Greece is not too arduous, I would skip Belgium and see more of Greece. Greece is a long trip. I would make the most of it with as many days as possible for Greece.

You can always combine Belgium with another, closer country on a shorter trip when you might have less time.

It is hard to get to Greece for just a few days and hard to see a lot. It is easier to get to Belgium for a few days, at least from the US, and you can see a lot of Belgium a short time.
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Old Aug 28th, 2022, 11:26 AM
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Two areas with notable antiquities are the island of Delos, mythological birthplace of Apollo and his twin sister Artemis, and the areas surrounding Napflio on the Peloponnesean Peninsula, Mycenae, Edipdavros, Tiryns, Nemea and a short trip to Mystras.
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Old Aug 29th, 2022, 01:55 AM
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I agree with Happy Trvlr, and I gave you a link for Nafplio (not Napflio) in my reply #3. You could have a wonderful trip to Greece without even setting foot on an island if you combined Nafplio with Athens. Another place to visit on the mainland for ancient sites is Delphi (home of the Oracle legend), which can be seen on a day trip from Athens, but less rushed if you stay overnight. I have been to both Delphi and Delos, and can’t make up my mind which I like best.

If you want to visit Delos it would be best from Mykonos, which won’t be “party central” in October. Overall I prefer Naxos to Mykonos, but being end of season and with October weather, a day trip to Delos from there isn’t guaranteed.
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