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Need help with itinerary for Greece

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Dec 2nd, 2015, 06:33 PM
  #1
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Need help with itinerary for Greece

Hi.

I have 7-8 days at the end of June to visit Greece. I am coming from Budapest to Athens. and I have to start and end my trip in Athens. I am trying to devise an itinerary but am struggling. It may be that there is so much I want to do that I am overwhelmed. I have never been to Greece before.

I like history and art and would like to see the sights in Athens and any important sites nearby (within a day) such as Delphi.

I would also like to get the island feel. I am not too interested in partying or crowded beaches although I love the ocean, the sun, and watersports. I just do not love all of the human bodies and crowded bars. I prefer to find a more tranquil place where I can read a book, relax, swim, fish, play in the waves (I can surf), or collect shells, hike, see ancient sites (while hiking?) etcetera.

I was thinking Crete which has all that I want but is seems massive. I would also prefer to be within walking or public transportation of everything. I would also prefer not to incur too many expenses such as renting a car which I think is almost necessary for Crete.

I am also concerned about travelling back to Athens from Crete. I believe it is an almost 8 hour boat ride at night. I am travelling alone and am not too sure about staying in a cabin with strangers. I would consider staying at another island along the way if this shortened the difficulty of the trip.I would fly to an island but do not love flying. I am flying at other points on the trip, and I would prefer not to deal with the hassle of airports, waiting, taxis, etcetera (again).

I am not married to Crete, I read that Spetses, Hydra, or Poros might be easier to get to (and around) from Athens. I would really prefer a Greek fishing village that is laid back and does not attract too many tourists which is also accessible.

Ideas are welcome.

Thank you for your help ahead of time. I have posted recently before, but my follow-ups have not been answered and so this is why I ask for help again.
WLMIV is offline  
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Dec 3rd, 2015, 12:52 AM
  #2
 
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Regarding day trips from Athens, if you don't want to rent a car you can take a tour with one of the Athens based companies, e.g. CHAT and Key:
http://www.chatours.gr
http://www.keytours.gr

If the "7-8 days at the end of June to visit Greece" don't include travel days to and from the country, that helps, but still doesn't leave much time. You will need at least two full days for Athens (more would be better) and another day for each of your trips to sites outside the city. Travel to even a nearby island absorbs most of a day getting there, checking into a hotel, etc, and another day getting back to Athens.

Late June is a good time for the beach, but there is no surf in the Aegean, so unless you mean wind surfing that is out. Your idea of visiting one of the Saronic Gulf islands (Spetses, etc) seems a good one, as they are easy to reach from Athens. There are also ports near Nafplio in the Peloponnese to reach Spetses and Hydra in less than an hour.

If you travelled to Nafplio from Athens by bus you could see some of the important archaeological sites in the area, then move on to an island. It would be quick and easy to return to Athens (Piraeus) by ferry from one of the Saronic Gulf Islands. You could also do the reverse, first going to an island and then to Nafplio via the ports of Porto Heli or Ermioni, finally returning to Athens by bus. All that would take at least a few days, but combine your island with a trip to several important historic sites.

http://www.visitnafplio.com
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Dec 3rd, 2015, 01:54 AM
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First of all, I strongly encourage you to see Delphi - for me it is the most impresssive archeological site at all and also mythologically very significant. From Athens, driving to Delphi takes a little more than two hours, so it is doable as a daytrip.

On the way back, you may do a little detour to see Hosios Loukas, one of the finest Byzantine monasteries in Greece and founded around 950 A.D.. It is UNESCO World Heritage. Although very impressive, it is quick and easy to visit and an excellent place to buy icons (buy replicas of icons which are painted in the old style, do not buy original ones - it is illegal to export them). Hosios Loukas is practically on the way between Delphi and Athens.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPcMx5ibWE0

Secondly, I would not spend to much time in Athens - 2 full days will be enough. Although the Acropolis, the Agora, the museums, the temple of Hephaistos are must-sees the beauty of Greece is outside of Athens.

Thirdly, you want "island feel". What is "island feel"? On the islands, the scenery, the villages, the coastline and the beaches are EXACTLY the same as on Greek mainland or the Peloponnes, which is practically an island. The only difference between an island and the mainland is that the island is more difficult to reach and that, depending on the size of the island, the options are limited. Look on a map of Greece: All Greek coastline is rugged, with bays and coves and beaches everywhere. You will have the "island feel" on the coast of the mainland too.

You look for a beach without mass tourism. You find that everywhere in Greece. When you take the coastal route from Athens southwards to Cape Sounio (with spectacular ruins of a temple) you will, once you have left Athen's suburbs, come along several very beautiful beaches, sandy coves, which will not be crowded in June. Usually there is a beach restaurant with showers and loungers but also ample free space in the sand. Just open Google Earth and fly from Athens southwards over the coastline to Cape Sounio.

For a Greek fishing village, my prefered one is Koroni on the Southern tip of the Peloponnes. There is no mass tourism, just three or four hotels with no more than 10 rooms. The village has a picturesque port where the catch of the day will be landed each day before noon, a beautiful Old Town, a castle and a working monastery which can be visited. There is a long, sandy beach with a surf club and lots of seaturtle nests. The village is authentic but has enough infrastructure for a tourist, especially a row of restaurants along the quay.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koroni

We loved this little hotel:

http://www.koronivillage.gr/

For something different, look here (sorry, only in German):
http://www.koroni.biz/ (It is the surfing and sailing school which operates something like a very unusual hotel.)

The drive from Athens to Koroni takes 3.5 hours, with lots of attractions along the way: Mycenae, Nafplio, Ancient Messene (another excellent archeological site with very recent excavations, including the very best stadium at all).
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Dec 3rd, 2015, 05:52 AM
  #4
 
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The best places in Athens to see in Acropolis and Plaka , this is one beautiful place down of Acropolis .I recommended islands in Ionian sea , Corfu , Lefkada , Zakhintos , Kiefalonia . This islands have the most beautiful beaches and are not very expensive.
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Dec 3rd, 2015, 08:16 AM
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If Delphi is a must for you, why not to check Galaxidi as your sea-side destination? A car is more convenient to explore the area but a trip from Athens and a visit on Delphi is possible on public transport. While bus is slower than a car, at least you get to see the countryside rather than been on a ferry surrounded by sea for endless hours.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galaxidi
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3ZNTsZePBc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tsyAOqScuc

http://www.ktel-fokidas.gr/en/summer-galaxidi
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Dec 3rd, 2015, 09:45 AM
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Galaxidi has only pebble beaches and is for my taste too close to that dreadful high-pollution mine.
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Dec 3rd, 2015, 11:20 AM
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Yes but it is a great place to take it easy and read a book, relax, swim, fish, collect shells, even hike and see ancient sites etc and I find pebble beaches much more interesting than sandy ones .
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Dec 3rd, 2015, 11:26 AM
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By the way, Kalafatis beach on Galaxidi is a blue flag beach as are Maiami and Trokadero in Itea, literaly across the place where ships are loaded with bauxite.
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Dec 6th, 2015, 05:18 PM
  #9
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Thank you all for your replies. Yes, maybe you are right about the islands. A trip out of Athens seems like the solution.

Thank you. I will now have the mull over your replies.
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Dec 6th, 2015, 05:39 PM
  #10
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Heimdall and Traveler 1959:

Let's say I arrive in Athens I spend three days there. I then travel to Hydra and Septses for a night each, then go to Nafplio for two nights. How do I get to see those archaeological sites such as Corinth, Mystras, or Methoni?

Would either of you suggest a sample itinerary for 8 days? I am happy to go either way but must start and end in Athens.

Also Can you give me the exact details on how I might be able to move about? I would like to have it well planned before I get there so that I do not run into complications.

Thanks. Your ideas were great and helped give me focus.
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