Oh No. Driving Athens.

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Apr 21st, 2016, 07:09 AM
  #1
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Oh No. Driving Athens.

Without jumping into the blah blah blah of how terrible Athens driving is, what do you think of this plan.

I'm already locked into 7 nights at Hotel Cypria (Acropolis View) April 24 to May 1, however, I'd consider paying for an extra hotel night somewhere else if need be.

I think the biggest problem will be jet lag, but we can take naps along the way.

- Arrive Athens Airport SUNDAY (April 24) 5M I'm told Sunday evening traffic should be not bad.
- Using navigator, drive rental car straight to METROPARK at Mitropoleos 21-23 & Patroou 8, Athens (18 Euro/Nt).
- Monday morning at 7:30 AM retrieve car and drive to Delphi, See Delphi then drive to Arachova, to hopefully see some of Agios Georgios, April 23, 3 day festival, known as panigyraki; and if time permits or festival is not going on go to Hosios Loukas Monastery. Return to METROPARK Monday night.
- Tuesday morning drive to Nafplio, see Nafplio all day, then drive to Temple of Poseidon (the drive seems like all highway) for sunset, return car Tuesday night. If can't make it to Temple of Poseidon on Tuesday then keep car extra day (maybe stay in Nafplio) and go to Temple of Poseidon on Wednesday morning , then return car.
- Rest of trip stay in Athens without car.
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Apr 21st, 2016, 07:35 AM
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I don't know who told you that Sunday evening traffic "should not be bad" but they're wrong. Traffic in Central Athens is always bad, and on Sunday many people will be returning to the city after a weekend away. You're much better off staying out near the airport your first night (Check St. Thomas B&B and Peri's Hotel), picking up your car in the morning and driving around Athens on your way to Nafplio.
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Apr 21st, 2016, 08:01 AM
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Strangely, I never found driving in Athens bad. Maybe, when travelling to foreign countries, people consider things as bad that would be normal for them at home.

Monday:

Delphi is for me the most magical and mythical place in Greece. Hosios Loukas will give you an excellent example of Byzantine architecture in Greece. It is a rather quick and easy visit, you can do it if you have only half an hour. And one of the best places to buy icons. You will enjoy this day.

Tuesday:

I think you mean Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounio. I would not combine it with a drive to Nafplio. It is in the other direction and would require two additional hours of driving - just to see eight columns or so. It is not one of the first-rank attractions in Greece.

Also, I don't know if Nafplio is worth a longer stay. The Old Town of Nafplio is small, you will have seen everything in an hour or so. But on the way to and from Nafplio there are several first-rank attractions:

- Epidaurus with one of the largest theatres (you will see a much smaller theatre in Delphi and two more theatres in Athens).
- Mycenae, ruins of a city of a much older culture. Also, rather quick to visit.
- Acrocorinth, one of the most impressive medieval castles in Greece, on the slope of a mountain.
- The archeological zone of Corinth is rather mediocre, certainly not a must-see (unless you are interested in standing at the place where Paul hold his speech).
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Apr 21st, 2016, 08:29 AM
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Do you have to pick up the car on Day 1? Why not see something of Athens the first couple days while getting over jetlag, then pick up the car and make your excursions.

I thought the setting of the Sounion temple to Poseiden made it a highly enjoyable sight. Great place for a sunset.

For a change of pace there's a one-day 3-island ferry trip from Piraeus that gives you something of a feel for the islands. Or just go on your own to the island of Hydra: no cars, windmill, nice place.
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Apr 21st, 2016, 10:12 AM
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Unless there is wrong information on their website, they decided to combine Panigyraki with Greek Easter and it will take place on May 1rst-May 4rth on 2016.
http://www.panigiraki.gr/panigiraki/ceremony_programe/
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Apr 21st, 2016, 10:27 AM
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brotherleelove2004: I live in the NY metro area (and I drove a NYC taxi while in college) so I'm used to traffic. As long as it's moving along I can bear it. I'd at least want to check into my hotel on the first night. I can get the car on Monday morning in Athens, but that would delay me getting on the road.

Mimar: The reason for the Monday excursion, is I hope to catch the last day of the 3 day festival in Archova (I hope it is going on 4/23-4/25 I haven't been able to confirm this.)

traveller1959: I've got 6 full days in total not including arrival day. If I reserve 3 days for Athens and 3 days for excursions, should the excursions be Delphi etc., Nafplio, etc., Hydra skipping the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion. (I got a book out of the library called '501 Must Visit Destinations (in the world) and it lists Temple of Poseidon among them
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Apr 21st, 2016, 10:52 AM
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I agree with 1959 -I drove several times in Athens and didn't find it that bad at all.
However I was appalled at how the Greeks were driving on the highway and worse - on normal roads.
We saw three big car crashs in a trip of about 300 - 400 kms.
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Apr 21st, 2016, 10:54 AM
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Oh wow, Mariha2912, thanks for that information. That changes everything.

I guess I'll wait a couple of days for the excursions, after all, kind of a relief.
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Apr 21st, 2016, 11:10 AM
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>> 501 Must Visit Destinations (in the world) <<

That's funny. We recently had a debate here about "must-sees" and most of the Fodorites agreed that it is highly subjective and according to personal preferences whether something is a "main attraction" or not. And almost everybody rejected the idea that something like "must-sees" exist.

In my personal rank list of archeological sites in Greece, the Temple of Poseidon would fall into this category "nice, if I have the time to see it, but I can skip it without regret".

It must have been an impressive temple that greetet the mighty god of the seas as well as the sailors who came back from their journeys shortly before they reached their home port.

But unfortunately, not much of it has survived the millenia and now it is ruin with not much to see. I admit, Lord Byron had been there, and it is a good place for a sundowner after a day at one the the pretty beaches below, but it does not play in the same league of archeological sites like Delphi, Epidaurus, Mycenae or even Corinth.

Go there, if you have ample time and nothing better to see. But do not miss fantastic sites on the Peloponnese just to be back on Attica early enough to drive to Sounio.

And most probably, the above mentioned book is written for the globetrotter who travels the world by helicopter.
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Apr 21st, 2016, 01:19 PM
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traveller1959: Thanks for your insight!
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Apr 21st, 2016, 01:49 PM
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'must sees' sights are so biased.
For me cape Sounion is in my top 3. I saw it with clouds all over and just some rays of sun directed towards the temple.
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Apr 22nd, 2016, 03:45 AM
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>>I saw it with clouds all over and just some rays of sun directed towards the temple.<<

Divine intervention.
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