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nspotz Jan 29th, 2013 09:22 AM

Santorini, Athens and More Island Time or Mainland?
Hi all, my husband and I will be in Greece for 11 days, arriving June 27th and flying home on July 8th. We've already gotten alot of great advice on this forum but I've decided to start a new post since we've changed our desired itinerary a little bit. We have booked tickets from the Athens airport straight to Santorini and will be arriving around 12:00 on Jun 27th. We would like to spend 4 nights/3 whole days on the island before going elsewhere. We were thinking about taking the ferry to another island (either Milos, Paros, or Naxos) for another 4 nights before spending our last 3 nights in Athens and taking a day trip to Delphi. Our other option would be to see some more of the mainland, particularly the Peloponnese. I've heard Nafplio is a great base. We like to mix in sightseeing with time spent relaxing and enjoying the scenery, but we rarely spend a full day on the beach which is why I am considering foregoing a second island for some more time on the mainland. What would you all suggest? My tentative itineraries are below:

Option 1: Cyclades and Athens
June 27: Arrive in Santorini around noon
June 28: Santorini
June 29: Santorini
June 30: Santorini
July 1: Ferry to Milos, Naxos or Paros
July 2: Milos, Naxos or Paros
July 3 : Milos, Naxos or Paros
July 4: Milos, Naxos or Paros
July 5: Ferry to Athens
July 6: Athens
July 7: Day trip to Delphi
July 8: Fly Home

Option 2: Santorini, Athens and More of the Mainland
June 27: Arrive in Santorini around noon
June 28: Santorini
June 29: Santorini
June 30: Santorini
July 1: Ferry to Athens
July 2: Athens
July 3 : Rent car and drive to Delphi, overnight in Delphi
July 4: Drive to Nafplio
July 5: Nafplio (as a base for seeing the area)
July 6: Nafplio
July 7: Nafplio, spend the night near the airport
July 8: Fly Home

Is Nafplio a good base for the Pelopponese or should we split up our time in this region? Does this route make sense or is it too much?
I also like the idea of going to Crete instead of another island in the Cyclades but I am worried 4 nights wouldn't be enough time.

Thanks in advance!

HappyTrvlr Jan 29th, 2013 09:31 AM

Crete which is a wonderful place to visit but deserves more time.
Napflion would be a nice contrast to Santorini and is the perfect base for exploring that area of the Peloponessean.It's a charming small city with a lot to offer. I wish you had a few more days for Paros or Naxos which I really enjoyed. Santorini is not known for it's beaches.
Why don't you fly to Athens from Santorini to save time?

Heimdall Jan 29th, 2013 10:05 AM

I think you answered your own question. I love Naxos and Paros, and spend nearly every day on the beach when on those islands. If you want to sightsee instead of veg out on the beach, then go to Nafplio for the many outstanding attractions of that area. :-)

nspotz Jan 29th, 2013 11:22 AM

Ha ha, Heimdall you have a point. But, when I think having to rent a car, the driving and all the planning involved with this second itinerary it just seems like visiting another island would be much simpler. I am wondering if it would be too much given our limited amount of time.

Heimdall Jan 29th, 2013 11:50 AM

True, much simpler to go to another island, and I don't like renting a car myself. If you fly back from Santorini, though, you could rent a car right at the airport, drive to Nafplio on some good roads, and return it to the airport before going into Athens for a finale. I usually take the easy way out myself, which is why I haven't seen nearly as much as I would like on the mainland. :-)

mariha2912 Jan 30th, 2013 01:20 AM

Mainly the tricky part of itinerary 2 is that you have to backtrack back from Delphi to Athens on public transport. Otherwise although a car is great to keep flexible, both Delphi and Nafplion are very easy bus rides from Athens. Nafplion surrounding sites are accesible on bus or combo of bus and a bit of walking or sort taxi rides away. I do not see not wanting to hire a car so much of an issue :)

ParisAmsterdam Jan 30th, 2013 05:09 AM

I'm the opposite of Heimdall...I have no interest in beaches and would definitely rent a car so would choose option 2.

Maybe cut a day from Santorini for another island. Return to Athens the day before your flight... I love the city and think too many people overlook it.

Heimdall Jan 30th, 2013 10:05 AM

<i>vive la différence</i> ;-)

I agree with ParisAmsterdam that for the OP option 2 would be the better choice. I am getting a bit tired of beaches myself, and last trip to Greece had a wonderful time in the Peloponnese. As a solo traveller I don't find renting a car economical, so would follow mariha's advice. For a family, renting a car would be a good choice. :-)

Mimar Jan 30th, 2013 10:11 AM

Have you been to Athens before? There's lots to see and do there. I'd give it at least 2 full days.

nspotz Jan 30th, 2013 10:33 AM

This is our first trip to Greece! Our main priorities are to spend some relaxing time in Santorini (we booked a nice cave house in Oia) and then to sight-see and explore. We rented a car in Ireland, so I am not too concerned about the driving, but more about keeping the costs down and keeping the trip from getting too complicated. Upon arriving back on the mainland from Santorini it sounds like we have a few options: stick with the itinerary in option 2 that I posted or get a rental car and head straight for the Peloponnese or Delphi. Which one should we do first? How far is the drive from Delphi to Nafplio? Has anyone done this drive before? We could also do the Peloponnese and then go back to Athens, taking a day trip to Delphi, which would give us another night in Athens, but I figured if we are going to all that hassle to get a rental car we should use it to visit Delphi as well.

clausar Jan 30th, 2013 10:54 AM

From Athens to Delphi it takes approximately 2.5 - 3 hours.

From Delphi to Nafplio you could either drive to Rio / Antirrio via the same named bridge, and from there take the national road to Corinth and the highway to Nafplio ( all together 3 hours)
Or you could drive back to the highway Thessaloniki - Athens and drive throughout on the highway till you see the exit to Nafplio ) it is 30 km from there)

nspotz Jan 31st, 2013 10:02 AM

My current proposed itinerary is:
June 27: Arrive in Santorini around noon
June 28: Santorini
June 29: Santorini
June 30: Santorini
July 1: Ferry to Athens
July 2: Athens
July 3 : Rent car and drive to Delphi, overnight in Delphi
July 4: See Delphi sights in the morning, drive to Nafplio
July 5: Nafplio (as a base for seeing the area)
July 6: Nafplio
July 7: Nafplio
July 8: Drive to airport in the morning, flight leaves at 11:30.

Is it ok to plan on driving to the airport the last morning before out flight leaves? It is a monday. We don't mind the fact that we would have to leave early.

Also, would you take a day from Nafplio and give it to Athens or spend the night somewhere else in the Peloponnese?

Thanks for all of the advice!!

Heimdall Jan 31st, 2013 10:24 AM

Personally I think there is so much to see in Athens you would be wise to spend your last day there. It would also eliminate any potential last minute problems with traffic etc on your way to the airport. If you've already seen the major sights you could do something different, like the food tour offered by!athens-food-tour. :-)

nspotz Jan 31st, 2013 10:37 AM

The other thing we could do, is rent a car straight from the port and drive to Nafplio, then to Delphi and then spend our last two full days in Athens. But, since the ferry schedules aren't up yet I don't know what time we would be arriving back on the mainland and if it would be too late to drive to Nafplion.

cathies Jan 31st, 2013 10:52 AM

The ferry from santorini to Athens takes forever, about 6 hours from memory which means losing the best part of a full day sitting on a boat. It's a very boring trip. I would fly back to Athens on the morning of July 2 so that you have extra time in Athens which is definitely worth more than one day.

I would also make sure that I was back near the airport the night before the flight. Because its a morning flight I'd be anxious about something stopping me from getting to the airport in time, car breaking down, massive traffic problem, getting lost etc, but that's just me.

clausar Jan 31st, 2013 12:07 PM

Driving back to the airport from nafplio is easy, but since your flight is early, and you should calculate 3 hours of driving time, plus enough time to give back the car, having it inspected, then going to the counter for the check in.... you should leave Nafplio at 6 AM....

There won't be any traffic problems, but should something happen you won't have time to catch your flight

Spending the last night in Athens would be much better :)

Heimdall Jan 31st, 2013 12:33 PM

My plan would be to fly back to Athens from Santorini on an early flight, rent a car at the airport, and drive directly either to Delphi or Nafplio. Then return the car to the airport and spend the last two days in Athens. You will gain nearly a full day by flying instead of taking the ferry, and not have to split your time in Athens between two separate stays. :-)

nspotz Jan 31st, 2013 01:32 PM

The flights from santorini to Athens are really expensive right now- around$150 per person... Do they do saver fares this time of year?

cathies Jan 31st, 2013 03:04 PM

I don't know about cheaper fares but I'd pay the air fare rather than waste a day on a ferry. In the scheme of things it will be worth the expense.

Heimdall Feb 1st, 2013 03:55 AM

If there are saver fares they are usually on the early morning and late afternoon flights. Check both Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air. And I agree with cathies — fares on highspeed ferries are also high, sometimes even more than the airline saver fares. Blue Star Ferries, my favourite option, takes about 8 hrs and gets you to Piraeus at 11:30 pm. :-)

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