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One week in Greece in April -- where to go beyond Santorini?

One week in Greece in April -- where to go beyond Santorini?

Old Jan 13th, 2020, 02:57 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2020
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One week in Greece in April -- where to go beyond Santorini?

Hi everyone,

My partner and I are headed for Greece this April, and have just eight days. We fly into Athens on Friday night at 8:30 the first week of April, and fly out the following Saturday.

We have booked a refundable hotel deal in Santorini from Wed-Sat. That part we feel really good about. The question is where to spend our remaining time in early April -- Friday night through Wednesday morning.

We know it may be rather cold and aren't expecting beach weather or a party scene at all... we're more interested in good food, sightseeing, and beautiful walks -- but also somewhere that isn't entirely shut down in the off-season so we can still enjoy some late-night drinks.

We've worked out through looking at plane tickets and ferry tickets that each of the following itineraries could be possible, and we have friends or family that have recommended all of the following, so we're a bit confused about what sounds best!:

- A few days in Athens, an overnight to Hydra, then either Paros or Naxos (or same trip minus Hydra)

- Spend a night or two in Athens, and then fly round-trip to Corfu, before ferrying to Santorini

- Spend a night in Athens, then fly to Crete for four days, then ferry to Santorini

We know Crete is HUGE and typically not recommended for that short of a trip, but we also would totally be okay with just seeing part of it, and are curious if that sounds like a better choice than Corfu or Paros or Naxos since those seem to be mostly lively during the summer months. We also could be talked into spending more time on the mainland if that seems better for April, too.

Thanks so much for your time in advance!
Jeff
jeff_in_brooklyn is offline  
Old Jan 13th, 2020, 03:12 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2008
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We went late in the season and absolutely loved Santorini. But we enjoyed exploring the mainland much more than expected. Given the time of year, consider locations on the mainland instead and/or another island.
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Old Jan 13th, 2020, 07:09 PM
  #3  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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You might want to make sure you are giving yourselves enough time in Athens, and if so, consider Nafplio or Delphi for the little time you'll have left.

If you haven't already seen it, you might find some useful information in my trip report:
With Gratitude for a Glorious Solo Month in Greece
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Old Jan 13th, 2020, 07:27 PM
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kja is right. You don't have as much time as you think you do.
"We fly into Athens on Friday night at 8:30 the first week of April, and fly out the following Saturday.

We have booked a refundable hotel deal in Santorini from Wed-Sat."

Day 1 - Friday - travel - arrive at night
Day 2 - Saturday - Athens day
Day 3 - Sunday - Athens day
Day 4 - Monday - other day?
Day 5 - Tuesday - other day?
Day 6 - Wed - to Santorini
Day 7 - Thursday - Santorini
Day 8 - Friday - Santorini
Day 9 - Saturday - Fly out

So you have 2 days to explore Athens and 2 days to so something else.
As I said before, I LOVED the mainland and had no idea how much I would.
I loved a day trip to Corinth on my first day.
We took a very long day trip out to Delphi and it was magical. We used a private driver and that day was one of the best parts of the trip.
If I had another "extra" day, I would have taken an overnight trip from Athens to Meteora with a stop in Delphi.
I've not been to Nafplio, but everything I've read about it here sounds wonderful.
In summer, I may offer a different opinion, another island.
But in early April? I'd definitely spend 2 days exploring places on the mainland.
I definitely don't think you have time for Crete.


Here's my TR if it might be helpful -
A (too) short late October visit to Greece
We only had a week. I knew I was flying in a day early but didn't realize how late in the second day my friend was arriving. I took a day trip to Corinth (LOVED it) on the first day. Second day was her arrival. It was mostly a relaxing day for me. Third day was Athens, but we needed more time. Fourth day we flew to Santorini for 2 nights. Sixth day we spent a full day taking the ferry back (not sure I would repeat that) and spent the night in Athens. Seventh day - long day trip to Delphi, with a stop at the monastery. LOVED it. Eighth day, flew out. (As it turned out, I had an "extra" day in Paris, thanks to Delta. Very short trip to Greece but magical. Lots of photos at the link.

Last edited by starrs; Jan 13th, 2020 at 07:56 PM.
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Old Jan 14th, 2020, 01:00 AM
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Just a couple of points about ferries:

Daily service between Crete and Santorini doesn’t begin until mid April. There is a new service this year three times per week from Rethymnon, and the once per week ferry from Heraklion.

There are daily Blue Star ferries all year round between the Athens port of Piraeus and Santorini. These ferries are modern and well appointed, but take about 8 hours for the full trip. They stop at Paros and Naxos each way, so Blue Star would be a good choice if you wish to combine Santorini with either Paros or Naxos.

Frankly with only 8 days you would be better off just doing Santorini and Athens, maybe taking a day trip from Athens to somewhere like Corinth. Does your 8 days mean 9 nights with 8 full days, or only 7 nights? If the latter you will have only 6 full days and 2 travel days.
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Old Jan 14th, 2020, 01:57 AM
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You could easily spend 4 days in Athens, may be with day trips to Delphi or Mycenae - Nafplion - Epidavros.
The Santorini - Naxos - Paros - Piraeus slow ferry runs all the year round.
I suppose your flight from Santorini via ATH to your final destination is on the same ticket.
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Old Jan 14th, 2020, 04:22 AM
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You've got a lot of good advice here and I'll just reiterate what others have said, you don't have a lot of time! I would encourage you to think of flying/traveling to Santorini (if you ultimately decide this is where you want to go) and end your trip in Athens. It's not clear whether you're flying home from Santorini on the same airline ticket, but if you're not, flying out from the island and then catching another flight could be risky. I prefer to be in the city I'm flying out of the night before no matter where I am.

If you choose another island...Crete is huge - it warrants more than 1-2 days to visit. Naxos is lovely, but I've no idea what it would be like in early April. I would recommend staying on the mainland - visit Delphi or Nafplion, where you'll have the chance to visit some of the important ancient ruins in the region. And then end your trip in Athens.



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Old Jan 14th, 2020, 04:57 AM
  #8  
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Thank you for all the advice! We've read that Naxos has beautiful wildflowers in April and also has quite a bit of nice hiking, which was appealing to us even in off-season, but Nafplio and some of the other sites outside of Athens are now seeming to be potentially a better fit this time of year.

Here is what we've narrowed down to:

Itinerary 1:
Fri PM through Sunday AM: Athens
Sun AM till Wed AM: drive/bus to Nafplio and potentially more of the Peloponnese region for 3 nights
Wed AM: Bus/drive back to Athens, ferry to Santorini
Wed PM-Sat AM: Santorini
Sat AM: fly back to Athens before evening flight back to US

Itinerary 2:
Itinerary 1:
Fri PM through Sunday AM: Athens
Sun AM till Wed AM: ferry to Naxos -- 3 nights in Naxos Town
Wed AM: Ferry to Santorini
Wed PM-Sat AM: Santorini
Sat AM: fly back to Athens before evening flight back to US
jeff_in_brooklyn is offline  
Old Jan 14th, 2020, 09:29 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2013
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May be you will have a look at timetables. Then you will get:

Itinerary 1:
Tuesday PM: Nauplia dp by bus 18.30 - Athens ar 20.30, taxi to your hotel at Piraeus. Dinner at the hotel. Nauplia - Athens buses leave Nauplia actually every 90 min until 20.00.
Wednesday AM: Piraeus dp by FERRY 7.25 - Santorini ar 14.55 or Piraeus dp by CATAMARAN 7.00 - Santorini ar 12.00
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Old Jan 14th, 2020, 07:06 PM
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kja
 
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Both Naxos and Nafplio have hiking / walking options. I think Naxos more similar to Santorini than Nafplio, and think that Nafplio would give you a wider range of sites (ancient ruins, medieval castles), etc. Each is wonderful!
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