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Trip report on "4 active seniors with 4 weeks in Greece"

Trip report on "4 active seniors with 4 weeks in Greece"

Old Oct 24th, 2023, 02:25 PM
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Trip report on "4 active seniors with 4 weeks in Greece"

Hello All
I want to start by thanking everyone on the forum for all the input, ideas an suggestions! This was our first trip to Greece I was a little intimidated with scheduling ferries, car rentals, inter island flights....
So first thing, I LOVED GREECE!! I didn't know what to expect and truly, my mind was blown! The people, food, culture, vistas and history are amazing! My only regret was that I didn't stay longer!
Here is what we ended up doing:
First night was spent at the Athens airport hotel. Good thing too as our flight from London was delayed almost 2 hours and it was late when we got into town. We left SFO on September 12 and returned on October 11. The weather was great. We had some hot days but most were very pleasant and warm. We had a little rain in Nafplio but it did not interfere at all and made for more dramatic photos with the clouds.
We spent
1 night in Athens airport hotel
4 nights in Paros
6 nights in Naxos
3 nights in Santorini
4 nights in Nafplio
3 nights in Kalamata
5 nights in Athens
1 night in Meteora
1 night in Athens airport hotel
Truthfully, we could have spent more time at each location. We stayed in Airbnb's which made a long trip so easy because we had a washer at each place.
Our Airbnb in Paros was in the Old Town of Parikia and a short walk into the shopping area and to the coast with restaurants lining the street with a beautiful view. Paros has a nice vibe. We did go to Naoussa for dinner one evening and it was lively and crowded. We had a memorable dinner at Mediterraneo, highly recommend it. It is away from the crowded restaurant row and we found it to be more intimate with a wonderful wait staff and very fresh sea food. We loved ordering mezze at every place we ate at. With 4 people we were able to try pretty much everything by the end of our trip. The food in Greece was so flavorful and diverse. We loved the veggies, the array of salad choices every where, the fish, lamb and pork, the various bean dishes. One favorite were the Gigantes roasted in tomato sauce. The cheese, yogurt, fruit, honey...I could go on and on and I must say that I think the food in Greece is my favorite! We rented a car for the day from Karent and we worked with Kali who quickly became our friend. the service was great and friendly. We took the day to drive around the island and our first stop was Lefkes. we visited the town, the church and cemetery and had brunch before we headed out. How can something as simple as an omelet with feta and tomatoes taste so great??? We headed out afterwards and make stops at the many beaches along the way. We had out first introduction to a "Beach Club" at Faragas Beach. It was hot and we were tired...the place was very crowded with very loud music playing. At this beach, two sun beds and and umbrella started at 35 euros, with the prices going up depending where you sat. We chilled out in the bar and had a nice cool drink before heading out. Piso Livadi, Golden beach, etc. We continued to the ferry to Antiparos and from there we drove to Soros beach. There was a beach club there but we did find a nice shady spot just off to the side away from the loud music. We were able to chill and swim in the beautiful Aegean. the color of the water is so beautiful and it is so clear! The feeling here was more remote and isolated, That night we had dinner in Paros at Apollon. Another feast! We had breakfast at a place called Yaya's one morning, very good food. We were able to catch a traditional Greek dance in town quite by accident. It was lovely!
Our last night in Paros we found a group setting up for a concert later that night in front of the Museum...I can't remember now and I didn't it down in my notes! There is so much to see and do in Paros we could have easily stayed longer. let me see if I can figure out how to post photos!








one of the many small chapels

flowers

Church of 100 doors

inside of chapel

offerings to saints




Naoussa





Beach Club



Paros Museum

Paros Museum

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Old Oct 24th, 2023, 03:14 PM
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Wow! I love your itinerary! You did a great job planning. I like that you spent a lot of time at each location. Your photos are beautiful.

May I make one suggestion? If you use paragraphs, it will be easier to read and understand your report. Press the return/enter key twice to make paragraphs.
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Old Oct 24th, 2023, 05:02 PM
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Your photos transported me back to Paros and the places I loved there. Thanks for a great report. Greece is one of my favorite countries to visit, so beautiful.
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Old Oct 24th, 2023, 06:20 PM
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Tell us more!

I can't wait to read more....thank you, I am just starting to plan a trip to Greece for the end of May. Got a slow start....
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Old Oct 24th, 2023, 06:42 PM
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Off to a great start. Love the photos.
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Old Oct 25th, 2023, 05:12 AM
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Trip report on "4 active seniors with 4 weeks in Greece" NAXOS

We said our sad goodbyes to Paros and too the ferry to Naxos. It's about a 50 minute ride and we arrived with the sea of humanity! We got our bearings and walked to our Airbnb. It was located in the Grotta area up past the beach. Of course the first site was the "Door to nowhere" Apollo's gate! It also happened to be a super windy day and the waves were huge. We were a bit worried that it would be windy the whole time but by the next morning it was calm and the sea was calm and beautiful.

Our first stop is always food, so once we were settled in our place, we took a walk to get familiar with the town. We found the restaurant lined street facing the water in no time. We found a great place and enjoyed a few mezzes and an entre. All I can say is that the food in Greece is EXCELLENT! We did not have a bad meal anywhere. We Had brunch one day at Lotto's. This is where we discovered the Gigantes, giant white beans roasted in tomato sauce, a MUST try. My husband had an omelet and it came wrapped in bacon! Boy was he happy!

Turning left off of the main drag will take you up to the Old Town. The Old Town in Naxos is divided into lower and upper. we spent the rest of that day exploring and trying to get our bearings. Naxos is a lot bigger than Paros and at the end of the night, we knew that we had a lot more to explore.

One afternoon we walked in the direction opposite the port, all the way down and found ourselves in front of an impressive building...we weren't sure what is was. in front was a replica of the winged Sphinx. We had been walking for quite a while and I needed a bathroom so my husband & I walked to the building and discovered that it was City Hall. The janitor went to find someone who spoke English and a very nice man came out and explained the history of the winged Sphinx. The original is in Delphi. Naxos artisans built the Sphinx as a "gift" to the Oracle and because it was such an impressive gift, Naxoans got a "skip the line" ticket to see the Oracle! Any way I did use the bathroom and we later found out that we were in fact talking to the Mayor of Naxos!

As we continued walking, we came upon a local beach called Ayios Gerogios and then decided to head back towards town and made it to the Portara (Doorway to Nowhere). It is on top of a hill with beautiful views of Naxos. Sunset phots are from the top are popular. We opted to take photos from the beach below...The hill was very crowded!

We rented a car on two different days. The first day, we drove to the "villages" - considered authentic Greek villages with their shops, food, buildings, etc. We stopped at Chalkio, Filoti, Apriathos, Coronos and we ended our drive in Apollon, a small little village on the north coast. It was quiet when we got there and we found out that, being the end of the season, it is mostly crowded wen the busses arrive, We missed that rush and had the place to ourselves. There are lots of restaurants along the water here.

We did take a half day tour that we found through Trip Advisor that covered the Temple of Demeter (AKA Temple of Sangri) Built in 530 BC. The next sop was Moni, short for monasteries, where we explored the old church filled with frescos. Saint George is present in many of the Frescos. Next stop was the Melanes Kouros Statue-It's huge and rests where it fell and broke in transport. The statues were partially built and completed at the destination. Since they were so big and heavy, they rested for eternity where they fell. The last stop was in Eggaies and visited an olive farm. There is a very small museum with the original olive press. I have e new understanding and appreciation for first cold pressed olive oil!

We rented a car for a second day and headed to the beach! We spent the day at Agios Prokopios known as the most beautiful beach in Naxos. We rented sunbeds far from the crowds and for a much lower price. Fifteen euros for 2 chairs and an umbrella and no loud music or crowds. I got a massage on the beach and it was great! There is also a man selling fresh donuts and I am very sorry now that I did not get one! We swam and relaxed, napped and just had a great rest day.

We took a day tour to Delos and Mykonos. If you are thinking about this tour, just know that the Museum on Delos is closed until 2024 or beyond. While we enjoyed the tour, we were disappointed that it was closed. Also it was very hot, not a tree in site...
It is an amazing place and the history is wild. I hope to return when the museum is open. Our guide was Antonio and he was great!
We then went to Mykonos for a few hours and by this time, the sun was killing us all. We ditched the short tour of Mykonos to find a shady spot to have a drink and to eat (of course LOL)

We loved Naxos. There is a lot to see so be sure to plan your time. Like I said, we could have easily spent more time at each location. N

Next: Santorini....

First view of Grotta beach

Gret place to eat

Typical street Naxos

Fresh baked bread...Intoxicating!


Our vary handsome waiter at Lotto's. I am in pink, my husband is across from me.

View from Upper Old Town

Sphinx

Door to Nowhere

View from hill

More views from hill

Sunset from beach below hill




Olive oil press

Special guest for lunch

YES! Sun beds

Beach day

Delos

Delos

Delos


Lotto's salad...YUM!!!

Gigantes Lotto's

Bacon wrapped omelet





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Old Oct 25th, 2023, 05:47 AM
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What beautiful pictures and fantastic information!
This is a great resource for future travelers. I like your style of travel, it seems like you really slowed down and savored the experience.
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Old Oct 25th, 2023, 01:08 PM
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I feel like I am missing your impressions on Paros. Did they get posted?

I'm thinking of Paros as a daytrip from Naxos next May and was flip flopping between the two as my "base" but would love to hear more on your time in Paros.
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Old Oct 25th, 2023, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Travel_Nerd
I feel like I am missing your impressions on Paros. Did they get posted?

I'm thinking of Paros as a daytrip from Naxos next May and was flip flopping between the two as my "base" but would love to hear more on your time in Paros.
Travel_Nerd, the OP has a separate post for Paros.
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Old Oct 25th, 2023, 04:27 PM
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mztish, Your report and photos of Naxos bring back so many lovely memories we have of our stay on Naxos. You were wise to rent a car for 2 days to explore the island. We rented a car for a day and saw many of the villages you saw including Temple of Demeter. We stayed at a lovely hotel at the beginning of Agios Georgios.

Especially appreciate your photos of Delos since we didn't go there. Love the photo of the lions!

We loved the Greek food, too! Especially the fresh fish and seafood and the fresh Greek salads. I had a Greek salad almost every day for lunch. We had a few disappointing meat dishes, but everything else made up for it.

Last edited by KarenWoo; Oct 25th, 2023 at 04:55 PM.
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Old Oct 25th, 2023, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by KarenWoo
Wow! I love your itinerary! You did a great job planning. I like that you spent a lot of time at each location. Your photos are beautiful.

May I make one suggestion? If you use paragraphs, it will be easier to read and understand your report. Press the return/enter key twice to make paragraphs.
Hi KarenWoo and thank you for the tip! I think it is impossible to take a bad photo in Greece! It's so beautiful!
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Old Oct 25th, 2023, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by coral22
What beautiful pictures and fantastic information!
This is a great resource for future travelers. I like your style of travel, it seems like you really slowed down and savored the experience.
Thanks Coral22. It was nice to have 4 weeks yet I think we could have added at least a few more days. Towards the end of our trip we wanted one more (maybe 2) more beach days. And the weather was so nice that we could have easily swam while in the Peloponnese like some of the locals.
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Old Oct 25th, 2023, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Travel_Nerd
I feel like I am missing your impressions on Paros. Did they get posted?

I'm thinking of Paros as a daytrip from Naxos next May and was flip flopping between the two as my "base" but would love to hear more on your time in Paros.
Hi travel_nerd yes I did post the Paros photos on the first post about this trip. Depending on how much time you have, I would spend a few days in Paros if possible. There is a wonderful museum in town with some very impressive ancient sculptures that were found on the grounds where the museum is now . Also we did get to experience two very local, free concerts. One with the local people dressed in traditional Greek clothing dancing and another night we went to a free concert in one of the squares. It was packed with locals and the "group" started to play at nine and at 11:30 they were still going strong without stop! We stayed in Parikiri which is more mellow that Naoussa. Both are worth a visit. A ferry to Antiparos is also very nice.
I hope tis is helpful...
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Old Oct 25th, 2023, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by mztish
Hi travel_nerd yes I did post the Paros photos on the first post about this trip.
Thanks. It's hard to follow, imho, making a separate report for each leg of your itinerary. But, its how you want to present it, your decision. I only see a portion of your title "4 Active Seniors in Greece" as I use the mobile site. It does not fit additions with city, so it all looks like the same report...

Last edited by Travel_Nerd; Oct 25th, 2023 at 06:08 PM.
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Old Oct 25th, 2023, 06:18 PM
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Trip report on "4 active seniors with 4 weeks in Greece" SANTORINI

Our next stop was Santorini. We arrived by ferry and I was blown away by the beauty of the island as we approached. The caldera is jaw dropping and from a distance, the white buildings along the top look like snow!

Our Airbnb host arranged for a Taxi to pick us up at the port which was great! There were s many people disembarking, the buses taxis and cars waiting, the hoards of people, the heat...well, getting into a nice airconditioned taxi was a treat. There was quite a traffic jam getting from the port to the top.

Our place was outside of Fira, which we didn't realize when we booked. The house itself was beautiful and our host made all taxi and any other arrangements we needed. He also arranged our sunset catamaran tour for the following day. We got settled and then took a taxi into town about a 10 minute drive. After mellow Paros and Naxos we were a bit overwhelmed by the amount of traffic and people in Fira. We found a place for dinner and then took a walk to explore more. We didn't realize that just a little further up the road was the caldera view with many beautiful places to enjoy a meal.

We visited the church and just walked along the caldera enjoying the view at night. It is beautiful with all the lights. There were a lot of people and the narrow streets were filled with shops and clubs.

We eventually made it back to our place and the next day we went on a sunset Catamaran tour. If you have time, I highly recommend this. It's a beautiful, relaxing to view all of Santorini from the sea. We were picked up around 2 pm and taken to the port. There were 15 of us with 3 crew members. The catamaran was comfortable and we all had room to sit and enjoy the views. There were a fleet of catamarans leaving at the same time and we sailed away!

We stopped and swam off the boat at Red beach but because of a strong current, we were not able to swim at Black beach. The water was divine!!! We also went to the hot springs to swim and finally, we stopped at one location (sorry I can't remember the name but I do have a photo of a chapel at the waters edge) where we stopped for a little more than an hour to enjoy a delicious meal prepared by the crew, to visit with our fellow travelers from all over the world, and to swim again. The tour included towels and floaties if desired.

We were warned that the trip back would be choppy until we passed the light house so I sat looking at the horizon and did not get sea sick. Every one fared well and when we passed the light house the going was calm.
None of this was a problem because by now we were all mesmerized by the sunset. It was so beautiful. we finally made it back to port and out ride was waiting to take us back to our places.

The next day we decided to do the walk from Fira to Ia. Our plan was to leave early (7:30) and get going. we forgot to arrange for a taxi the night before and we called to be picked up we needed to wait 30 minutes...OK 8 am start...Not too bad? we got to town and we didn't have any water. So another stop. not great. We finally began the walk around 8:30ish maybe a little later. Well, the beginning of the walk went well. We were in Fira and there was lots of shade. The views were beautiful. As we left Fira and approached Firostefani, we were still doing ok. The distance was not too far and it was still relatively early. By the time we were leaving Imerovigli and heading to Ia, it was getting late and there is literally nothing between these two towns. I mean not one tree and on our way we found a chapel with everyone looking for a small slice of shade. The sun and heat were brutal and I could feel myself melting...We continued on and up ahead...And then...what is that? A small tree with a small truck parked selling fruit -bananas, figs etc. This little snack helped but we still had no shade and a way to go. We made it to Ia and it was beautiful but super crowded. The people were everywhere and we felt like beggars rolling into town, sweaty and exhausted, surrounded by at the very well dressed touirsts. We walked to a restaurant called Roka, which is at the far end of Ia...There was a lovely shaded patio in back and on the other side was a beautiful caldera view. We sat on the patio just happy to be n the shade and sitting! This is a wonderful place and if you're in Santorini, make a reservation for the caldera view tables. Our meal was delicious.

Our original plan was to spend the afternoon exploring Ia after lunch but we were so drained from the walk we really didn't do it justice. There was a long line waiting for a bus back to Fira so we took a taxi. I am not kidding when I say that if I had put my head down on the table I would have fallen asleep!

My advise is to leave at dawn and enjoy the walk without killing yourself. Also lots of water, sunscreen, hat and a few snacks.

We were leaving Santorini the next day so we didn't have more time to return to Ia or the other towns.

We were flying back to Athens the next day to pick up a car and drive to Nafplio. Here is a heads up that I failed to mention in an earlier post. Flights within Greece on airlines like Olympus, Aegean and Sky Jet allow passengers to check in 48 hours in advance. They overbook so if you wait to check in, you can and will get bumped. This happened to us when we left Athens for Paros and while it was only 1 1/2 hour delay, when on vacation every delay matters. So be sure to check in as soon as you can. This rule applies even if you paid ahead for a seat!!

Next: The Peloponnese


Santorini

Church in Fira

Caldera view at night

Along our hike

Hike views





little chapel at waters edge where we swam and enjoyed a delicious meal

Is that snow?

Church

On the water

Red Beach


Dinner on the catamaran








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Old Oct 25th, 2023, 07:22 PM
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Are you planning to start a new thread for every stop on your trip? Maybe ask the moderators to merge all your threads into one Trip Report.
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Old Oct 25th, 2023, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Travel_Nerd
Thanks. It's hard to follow, imho, making a separate report for each leg of your itinerary. But, its how you want to present it, your decision. I only see a portion of your title "4 Active Seniors in Greece" as I use the mobile site. It does not fit additions with city, so it all looks like the same report...
Thanks Travel_Nerd! I am new to posting and did not realize that I should just continue on the thread! I will going forward!
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Old Oct 25th, 2023, 08:22 PM
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You just need to do what you did here and reply to it with your additions.

And perhaps do ask moderators to combine all of your TR threads. You can use the exclamation point with the triangle (should be on left side of page/screen to do so).

With island hopping, it may be a good idea to have all of your thoughts in one thread - allows for readers to have a full picture since you hit the biggies so far in your reports.
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Old Oct 26th, 2023, 04:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Travel_Nerd
You just need to do what you did here and reply to it with your additions.

And perhaps do ask moderators to combine all of your TR threads. You can use the exclamation point with the triangle (should be on left side of page/screen to do so).

With island hopping, it may be a good idea to have all of your thoughts in one thread - allows for readers to have a full picture since you hit the biggies so far in your reports.
Thank you! I did ask the moderators to combine the TRs. Your help is greatly appreciated!
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Old Oct 26th, 2023, 06:04 AM
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Greece continued...On to the mainland

We left Santorini and flew to Athens. Our original flight was cancelled and I was never notified! So luckily I was trying to check in 48 hours before my flight and had enough time to get rebooked and confirmed on another flight, but it was 3 hours earlier...7am. I was just happy that I got a flight and that I would not have to deal with the local airlines for the rest of the trip.

We picked up a car from Alamo. I originally reserved a sedan but when we got to the airport early, we were given a small diesel SUV with GPS. I decided to get GPS and not rely only on my phone GPS in case we lost signal, and we did loose signal in a few areas, plus the car GPS was really good and had better directions.

Leaving the airport and getting on the road to Nafplio was so easy! The ride is about 2 hours but we made a few stops along the way. First stop was in Loutraki to check out the Corinth canal. This is a shorth stop, just have a look, take a few photos and done. There was only one mall boat going through. The color of the water is amazing!

After being on the arid islands for almost 2 weeks, arriving on the peninsula with is green mountains, trees, high clouds and cooler weather was wonderful!

Our second stop was Acro Corinth, built about 2,500 years ago. On first look, we realized we needed a full day here so we looked around, admired the incredible views and headed on.

We arrived in Nafplio about 50 minutes later. We arrived on the mainland the end of September and so there were no crowds and parking was readily available.
Nafplio is a beautiful town where people live all year round. Parents drop their children off to school, the older teenagers hang out at the local corner shop to get coffee and something to eat on the way to school, people going to work, etc. It had a different vibe than the islands and we liked being "in it"

The caretakers of our place met us and helped us get settled in. we were just outside of Old Town and close to he water and all the restaurants lined up there. Our view was the Palamidi Fortress right out our window.
So the drill? Get settled and look for a place to eat! We found a local restaurant across from the park. Fried zucchini balls, salad, pork chops, pork souvlaki and fries. Fries seem to be a part of every meal and while I normally don't eat fries, the fries in Greece are addicting!

After we ate we took a walk along the port and explored more. Nafplio is lovely and I recommend it if you have time.

From Nafplio we had a day trip to Mycenae in the AM and Epidarvos in the PM. this is an easy day trip. In Mycenae we entered through the Lions gate (1300 BC) and explored every inch of the place including the Museum. In its heyday, the walls were 40 feet high, 20 feet thick and 3,000 feet long. There is a grave circle, and the remans of the palace. It is a very impressive site. The museum has lots of artifacts from the area including a copy of the famed "Mask of Agamemmon" (1600 BC). The original is in Athens. Besides the site, the views from here are so beautiful!
We spent a few hours in Mycenae and stopped to have lunch on our way to Epidarvos. We found place in the town of Mycenae called Melinas where we enjoyed an excellent meal. Fava bean dip, fresh bread, dolmas, Greek salad and thensome shares Soulvaki.
We continued on to Epidarvos and were not disappointed. This site began as a Temple Apollo...there is a lot of history here and many altars, sanctuaries, etc built for the son of Apollo. Epidarvos is the best preserved of all ancient Greek theatres. The museum here is small but full of interesting pieces. It's a lovely site and it's easy to spend a few hours there.

We did another day trip to Acro Corinth and wow! (Built before 5 BC) That is an impressive site! Be ready to climb, have good walking shoes. We ended up hiking up what looked like a trail and when it became apparent that it was NOT a trail but maybe a goat path, we could not turn back! The view -amazing! We actually saw the goats below us! This is a must see site.

We spent more time in Nafplio walking on a path along the sea that is actually closed due to falling rocks. Luckily, we passed without a problem. We also walked up to the top of the Palamidi Fortress (999 steps). Greece is beautiful!
We had 4 nights in Nafplio and we could have easily stayed longer...Next ti

Palamidi Fortress at night

Corinth canal

First views from Acro Corinth

Acro Corinth

More views

Views from Acro Corinth

Breathtaking!

Restaurants along water in Nafplio

Nafolio

Lions Gate

View with Lions Gate

Mycenae

Cistern


Artifacts fond in Grave Circle

Copy of Mask of Argammon



Epidarvos



View of Nafplio






me!

Next: Kalamata
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