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Pelopponese and northern Greece itinerary - thoughts?

Pelopponese and northern Greece itinerary - thoughts?

Old Nov 21st, 2023, 06:29 AM
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Pelopponese and northern Greece itinerary - thoughts?

We are planning a trip to the Pelopponese and northern Greece for this spring. Thanks to the promo with La Compagnie, we’ll be flying in and out of Milan. Those tickets are already purchased.

We’re now in our 70s (!) and much prefer to go at a slower pace. We will be renting a car for this trip but I’m trying to keep distances between stops to under 3 hours or at least have a good place to stop for a few hours. We also go sightseeing at a relaxed pace and day trips are generally up to an hour away from whichever base we’re staying in. I prefer to avoid 1 night stops as much as possible but do it when it’s most appropriate.

Our interests are ancient sites, charming and quaint smaller cities and towns, local traditions, good food, good walks (but not real hiking) and any beautiful views and vistas we can have.

We’ve been to Greece before and stayed in a few islands as well as Athens so am not looking to spend a long time in Athens on this trip.

Any thoughts about the current plan? Milan is set but the rest is up in the air. We are going over 1) May 1 and 2) Orthodox Easter, so trying to nail down the itinerary as soon as possible.

Milan -3
Athens-3 (Revisit the Acropolis, Benaki museum)
(Pick up car)
Nafplio -5
Mani (stay in Aeropoli, Gythio or Limeni) - 4
Pylos - 4
Olympia - 1
Nafpaktos-3 (this is included because it looks charming and a good way to break up the stop between Olympia and Arachova)
Arachova/Delphi -2
Meteora-2
(drop car in Thessaloniki - there’s a drop off charge, but it’s ok with me)
Thessaloniki -2
Fly to Milan
Milan -1

Last edited by progol; Nov 21st, 2023 at 06:40 AM.
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Old Nov 21st, 2023, 09:53 AM
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This looks so interesting! One small addition. In Athens you mention a return to the Benaki. It is near the Cycladic Museum and if you haven’t been there, I highly recommend that you include it. It is close to the Benaki.
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Old Nov 21st, 2023, 10:48 AM
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Thanks, HappyTrvlr,
On the list! I don’t need to do a lot of museums, but we’ll add that the Cycladic museum as it sounds excellent.
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Old Nov 21st, 2023, 12:40 PM
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I can't comment on entire itinerary, as I haven't been to most of those places, but we were just in Nafplio and loved it. We rented a car from here: https://www.athens-carrental.com/. I had priced others (comparing prices on kayak, etc). ACR was recommended in this forum. It was less than 1/2 the price of the usual Hertz/Avis/etc and was so convenient. We booked through their website. Picked up and drop off at the airport. They arrange to meet up with you on either end (don't have space at airport), at baggage claim exit area or in short term parking lot. Access to the airport to and from Nafplio was very straight forward, and driving around Nafplio, very easy.

This time in Athens we went to Ancient Agora. Hadn't been before (had been a acropolis year before so skipped that). We used the free Rick Steves guide on our phones. It worked well.

Last edited by MFNYC; Nov 21st, 2023 at 12:43 PM.
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Old Nov 21st, 2023, 01:07 PM
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Thanks, MFNYC! I’ve just booked my accommodation in Nafplio! So excited! I’ll check out the rates from Athens car rental and see how that will work. I think the fact that we end in Thessaloniki may be an issue with them. I’ve tried them in the past and I think there was a reason we couldn’t use them. But I’ll try again.
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Old Nov 21st, 2023, 02:27 PM
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Hi Progol,
Sounds like you have a wonderful itinerary planned. I love Greece, and I would love to return to spend more time on the Peloponnese and to visit Meteora. Not sure if we will. We are in our 70's, too, and our first priority is to visit countries we haven't been to yet.

Anyways, the only places we have visited that's on your itinerary is Athens and Nafplio in 2022, and I visited Delphi in the 70's so can't give you advice there; it was so long ago. Like you, we also spent 5 nights in Nafplio. and absolutely enjoyed our stay there. It's such a lovely town on the water with gorgeous architecture and overflowing with bougainvillea in May!!! I hope you are planning on visiting the Byzantine ruins of Mystras. We visited from Nafplio; a long day but well worth it. I assume for you it would make more sense to visit Mystras on the way from Nafplio to Mani. My advice would be to make sure you have enough time to visit both the Upper Town and Lower Town. Mystras is outstanding, and my favorite of all the ruins we visited. We drove our car to the Upper Town and parked there. After spending time there, we drove down to the Lower Town where we parked our car. My husband at this point was tired, I guess from the climb to the castle ruins at Upper Town. So he found some shade to sit in and relax, which I admit annoyed me. So I only spent about an hour exploring Lower Town because I was concerned he would get antsy waiting for me. I absolutely love Lower Town, and wish I had time to explore all of it. An hour wasn't enough. When you think of Mystras, think of ancient wall paintings, ancient mosaic floors, churches, flowers, etc. So beautiful and so interesting!

When you visited Athens on your last trip, did you visit the Athens Central Market? If not, that would be a fun thing to do. The market is fascinating with its meat market and fish market. Wear closed shoes while in the fish market. The fish are laid out on ice but of course the ice is melting, and the vendors hose down their fish. So the floor is covered in fishy water! There are also restaurants in the Central Market where we had a delicious lunch of fresh fish, mussels, and calamari.

Where are you staying in Nafplio?
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Old Nov 21st, 2023, 03:37 PM
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The Bradt guide to the Peloponnese was invaluable. Based on that and on advice in this and other forums, we dropped Olympia from our itinerary, which was much shorter than yours, and spent a night in Mystras and a night in Mavrommati to visit Ancient Messene. That site is large enough to constitute a hike in itself. I can strongly recommend the guest house Messana, and it might be possible to do a day trip from there to Kalamata for its archeological museum, justifying a second night and a second divine Greek breakfast buffet.

Not sure what to recommend dropping in order to include Messene, other than Olympia. Again as an alternative to Olympia, we visited the stadium in Nemea on our way from Athens to Messene, and had the whole excellent little museum and archeological site almost to ourselves. It’s a reasonable stopover for you en route to Nafplio.
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Old Nov 21st, 2023, 05:24 PM
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Thanks, KarenWoo and FTOttawa,

KarenWoo, I’ve booked one of the small apartments at Omorfi Poli, the lovely place you stayed in! As it turns out, we’ll be in Nafplio over May 1/Labor Day as well as the Greek Easter, so I wanted to solidify that reservation. It looks lovely! And we’re now there for 6 nights to cover both holidays,

Thank you, too, for the suggestion for Mystras. It’s in my plan, though I think it’s more likely we’ll go there from our stay in the Mani since it’s much closer than Nafplio. It looks wonderful - as long as we are able to manage it, we will!

Oh, we did go to Central Market many years ago so probably won’t go back again - but you never know! If we do, I’ll wear closed-toe shoes, though - I promise!

FTOttawa, thank you! As you see, I do plan on visiting Mystras, but decided not to add an extra stay there. I had thought about it but decided to keep the number of stops limited. And Messene is a definite! We’ll probably see it from the stop around Pylos as we’ll have the time. Funnily enough, in a plan several years ago, I had decided to eliminate Olympia as it is so spread out, but it’s such a significant site that we decided to keep it in after all.

And thanks to the fact that I had already planned this trip pre-pandemic, I have the Bradt book (and several others) already.
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Old Nov 21st, 2023, 05:45 PM
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Sounds like it is all well in hand. I agree, you don’t need to stay in Mystras.

Very, very much looking forward to your eventual report.
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Old Nov 21st, 2023, 08:50 PM
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When in Olympia look into renting Virtual Reality. I had forgotten to do that but the other couple exploring when we were there had one and lent it to me for a bit. It was really cool. Also our hostel recommended going later in the day and catching the evening light and said there would be less people. Wise advice--we did that and it was lovely and only a couple others around. When we left in the am the parking lot was filled with tour buses.
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Old Nov 21st, 2023, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by yestravel
When in Olympia look into renting Virtual Reality. I had forgotten to do that but the other couple exploring when we were there had one and lent it to me for a bit. It was really cool. Also our hostel recommended going later in the day and catching the evening light and said there would be less people. Wise advice--we did that and it was lovely and only a couple others around. When we left in the am the parking lot was filled with tour buses.
Great suggestions! Is the VR available at the entry? It sounds like a very cool idea.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2023, 12:27 AM
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I love FTOttawa’s suggestion to visit Ancient Messene, which you can easily do from your base in Pylos.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2023, 03:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Heimdall
I love FTOttawa’s suggestion to visit Ancient Messene, which you can easily do from your base in Pylos.
Thank you! That has been my plan all along! Ancient Messene has been a must-see since I first read about it. It looks wonderful and still not as busy as many of the other sites.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2023, 05:09 AM
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Originally Posted by progol
Great suggestions! Is the VR available at the entry? It sounds like a very cool idea.
No, there was a store in town that rents it. It's a short walk from the town to the site. I don't think I still have my notes from that trip, but maybe its mentioned in my TR. You could probably google or ask the place where you are staying where you can rent the VR.

Last edited by yestravel; Nov 22nd, 2023 at 05:15 AM.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2023, 05:14 AM
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Originally Posted by yestravel
No, there was a store in town that rents it. It's a short walk from the town to the site. I don't think I still have my notes from but maybe its mentioned in my TR. You could probably google or ask the place where you are staying where you can rent the VR.
Thanks, good to know. Sounds like an interesting way to see the site.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2023, 07:52 AM
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I spent 13 days in the Peloponnese late Sept/early Oct 2023.

I split my time between Nafplio (3 days), Gythio (5 days) and Petalidi (5 days)

The Peloponnese is a large area and would take weeks to fully explore.

Driving around the Peloponnese will take you longer than you think, not because the roads are not in good condition but due to the terrain, mountains, curving coastline, small villages, etc.

I would recommend some type of navigation system rather than a paper map. I used Google Maps and for the most part got me where I wanted to go albeit with a few hiccups here and there.

The best guide for the Peloponnese is the Cadogan Guide (purchase from used book website). While it was last published in 2010 it is still relevant and has more detailed info including maps than any other guide.

The Bradt Guide is fine but will do if you can't find a copy of the Cadogan Guide.

If interested you can read my trip report from another travel forum which may help with where to go and what to do.

Photos, click on first or any photo to get a caption. Not all photos have captions however.:

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1Q...lsOEFpMkNNTm9n
Attached Files
File Type: pdf
Peloponnese Trip.pdf (34.1 KB, 29 views)

Last edited by crazyh; Nov 23rd, 2023 at 08:07 AM.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2023, 08:53 AM
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Thanks so much, crazyh! I’ve followed you over the years and have been enjoying your photos. Thank your for your trip report notes a - that’s very helpful.

We are staying in our Pelopponese bases for enough time that we should see most of what we want. I have both the Cadogan and Bradt guides from several years ago when I’d planned a trip, so, except for rates, the recommendations should be the same. I’m excited that we will finally be getting there!
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Old Nov 24th, 2023, 06:15 AM
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progol: Glad you've done your research and have the proper guide books.

Research is your most important tool to use but it's also important to get info from experienced travelers who can answer specific questions and give advice and make suggestions.

You'll love the Peloponnese as it's often overlooked by people who think of only islands which is understandable as many of them are wonderful but the Peloponnese is just as "Greek" as any island and maybe more so in some of the more out of the way areas where there is still some places that hold on to their traditions.
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Old Nov 24th, 2023, 08:28 AM
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If you drive from Meteora to Thessaloniki anyway, you could kake a small detour to Vergina,(museum of the tombs of the Macedonian kings and a lot of other archeologic stuff) and may be Pella.


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Old Nov 24th, 2023, 08:31 AM
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