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Need an 8-day itinerary for Greece in May

Need an 8-day itinerary for Greece in May

Old Feb 9th, 2009, 10:11 AM
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Need an 8-day itinerary for Greece in May

My wife and I (both mid-50s) like being fairly self-sufficient and laid-back in our travel... staying in B&B's, small inns, or studio apartments, and getting around by rental car or public transit. This would be our first trip to Greece and we'd be going either this May or May of next year. We're thinking of spending 8 days in-country (plus a travel day on each end) and would like to split the time between the mainland and probably just one island... certainly no more than two.

Santorini has always seemed absolutely magical (fantasies of watching the sun set from a terrace on the cliffs at Oia!) but I'm sure there are other islands that are equally splendid.

Our interests include hiking in beautiful countryside, exploring ancient ruins, swimming from uncrowded beaches, eating great food at unpretentious restaurants, and staying away from the hordes. The lodging budget is somewhat flexible, but a great place at a bargain price is, of course, the preferred option.

Any thoughts?
BaltoTraveler is offline  
Old Feb 9th, 2009, 11:14 AM
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Hi Baltotraveler,

Everyone has their own favorites, but here is one option:

With eight days to split between mainland and islands, you are wise to limit yourself to only one island. By flying straight to Santorini upon arrival in Athens, you would make the most of your limited time.

Fly back to Athens from Santorini, then perhaps pick up a rental car and drive to the Peloponnese. I'm not an expert on the Peloponnese, but know it has many of the things you are interested in. Allow at least two days at the end of your trip for Athens.

How you divide your time is up to you, but 3 days on Santorini, three in the Peloponnese, and the last two in Athens would be one possibility.
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Old Feb 9th, 2009, 04:54 PM
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Heimdal has provided a very sound suggestion.
8 days is not much time to visit Greece so you will want to hit the highlights but not spend too much time hopping from one place to the other so two destinations is about right.
Santorini is in my opinion a must see and you have hit that one right on. I do not think there are other islands equally as splendid.

Based on your criteria of beautiful countryside, Ancient Ruins, uncrowded beaches, unpretentious tavernas, and staying away from hordes you will need to combine a second complimentary location to Santorini.
I would suggest there are two good destinations to consider. Nauplion is about two hours from Athens and has a wonderful old town with three Venetion Fortresses. Ancient Tiyrns Ancient Nemia and Ancient Corinth are on the way to Nauplion and so is Mycenae.
You can easily rent a car and drive. Be careful however Nauplion will be crowded on the weekend as many Athenians use it as a quick get away location. During the week it is quiet in May.
A second option is Naxos. It is about three hours by regular car ferry from Santorini and is on the way back to Athens.
It has everything you have asked for with very good beaches and a maze like town that was designed to confuse pirates and tourists.
In May there will be enough tourists around to make it interesting but not crowded.
Either option coupled with Santorini is a winner.
To tempt you here are our pictures of Naxos and Nauplion.

stanbr is offline  
Old Feb 10th, 2009, 02:21 AM
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I know Santorini is popular with many on here and it is unique. Though Santorini is no doubt beautiful, it can be crowded, pretentious and very touristy (especialy Fira) - IMHO. Given the length of time of the trip and your interests (similar to ours), I'd consider spending the full time on the Peloponnese.

We did a 10 day trip in May '06, hiring a car from Athens. This, or similar, could easily be adapted to your needs, as there is realy so much to see in that area. May is a lovely time to go - you may get beach weather, though it isn't guaranteed, especially at the begining of the month.

Here is a link to my trip report and pictures.


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Old Feb 10th, 2009, 03:46 AM
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I would agree with Maria that while Santorini is very beautiful, it's where absolutely everyone goes. I'd vote for Nauphlion and an overnite to Hydra which is a very pretty island with no cars and is convenient to Athens.

Personally, I think a lot of people miss out on some very interesting parts of Greece b/c they're obsessed with going to Santorini.
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Old Feb 10th, 2009, 04:26 AM
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I'm in the process of planning my trip to Greece for 27 days in September (excluding travel days), so I'm very much interested in your comments for Balto.

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Old Feb 10th, 2009, 06:03 AM
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Thanks, everyone!

A question relating to driving: are all the road signs in the Greek alphabet, or do they have some with Latin letters as well? (A few years ago, I was driving from Croatia into Bosnia and the road signs all switched to the Cyrillic alphabet, which threw me off completely.)
BaltoTraveler is offline  
Old Feb 10th, 2009, 07:17 AM
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In all but the most out of the way villages, there are usually 2 signs, one in Greek, the other with the English equivallent - there is usually a translation for informational signs too. The main roads are generally in good condition and reasonably signposted. The Road Editions maps have both vesions of place names, which is useful and you soon start to recognise some of the Greek letters. Outside towns, the traffic is usually light, you just need to be aware of the odd heavy truck, mad Greek driver or herd of goats! Go for it. We've been driving in Greece for over 15 years (OK, my other half does the driving) without major problems.
Maria_H is offline  
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