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Two Weeks in Greece

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Jul 25th, 2013, 10:20 AM
  #1
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Two Weeks in Greece

I apologize if this has been addressed elsewhere, but I don't see it. So, here goes ...

In June 2014, our family of 5 (2 adults plus 3 college-aged "kids") is traveling to Greece for 2-2.5 weeks. Our final week will be on a private sailing yacht in the Cyclades. So, we're trying to figure out our first week.

Initially, we were going to spend 3-4 nights in Athens and then rent a van and head elsewhere for another 4 nights or so. We have found a fantastic house in Athens (right near the Acropolis), so I am now considering something else ...

What if we stayed in the Athens house for 7-8 nights, spent the first 3 or so days exploring Athens, and then used the rest to do day trips (in a rental van - the house has on street parking and a pay lot nearby as a backup) from Athens?

My concerns about this are twofold: 1) Is there someplace farther away than a day trip that we will kick ourselves for not visiting? (Yes, I realize that we can't see everything on the mainland in 1 week.) 2) Will we spend too much time driving, getting to destinations (e.g., Delphi, Nafplio, Corinth, maybe places farther away from Athens) and back to Athens to appreciate them?

Opinions on whether this is a good plan? Suggestions for day trips from Athens are also appreciated, keeping in mind that we will be spending 1 week island-hopping (and, most likely including Cape Sounion one direction or the other).

Thanks!
Leslie
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Jul 25th, 2013, 11:24 AM
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I agree if you are spending a week on a yacht you should spend the other week on the mainland. Athens is great, but not necessarily as a base for day trips to other parts of Greece. Some of the sights, e.g. Delphi and Nafplio, could be done as a day trip, but would be rushed and less satisfying than had you stayed overnight. Other sights, e.g. Olympia and Meteora, are further away from Athens, and would require at least one overnight stay.

Really, though, you can't see everything in a week, so maybe those sights that are further away could be left for another trip. You won't need a car in Athens itself, as there is an excellent public transport system, and most of the important archaeological sites are in a central pedestrianised area.
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Jul 25th, 2013, 12:28 PM
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As Heimdall said there aren't really great day trips from Athens... and going to Delphi or Nafplio and return on the same day is quite tiring.

Since you will have a car, you could do a mini classical tour of Greece as per following itinerary :

Athens - Delphi - Olympia - Nafplio ( with Mycenae - Tiryns - Nemea- Epidavros)

Driving between these places can be fun, as you will see some beautiful parts of Greece.

Where in Athens is the fantastic apartment?
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Jul 25th, 2013, 09:46 PM
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Thanks to Heimdall and clausar for the quick responses. We're not fans of constantly changing hotels, but maybe we'll stay in Athens for 4 nights and maybe try Delphi as a day trip from there. Then, we can head to Nafplio for 3-4 nights and use that as a base for the Peloponnese.

The place in Athens is called Griffin House, close to the Acropolis.

Thanks again for the input, and please keep those thoughts coming.
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Jul 25th, 2013, 11:47 PM
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Are you planning to return to Greece in the future?
Here is a different way to frame the visit. Suppose you want to stay equal number of days in Athens and Napflio over all your visits. Should you allocate equal number of days for this visit? Of the cities you mentioned, Athens is a gateway city while others are not. What does it mean? If you visit Greece, you will likely to visit and have to stay in Athens over and over. In this case, if you put equal weight in Athens, over period of time, you will over visit Athens and under visit other locations. If you allocate visits over all your planned visit to Greece, you might realize you do not have to spend a lot of time in Athens on any one visit.
Another item is the number of places to stay. Is changing hotels a zero sum game to you? If this is the case, minimizing the move makes sense. If not, you can put together various scenarios to compare which combination of places to stay optimizes the hassles of moving around vs. opportunity to visit places. One of the place Heimdall mentioned, Meteora, is one awestruck place I have ever visited. If you visit one archaeological site after another, they might start to look similar (sorry). Meteora is something completely different.
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Jul 26th, 2013, 07:38 AM
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greg: I would love to go to Meteora, and I agree about overdoing the archaeological sites. As for whether we will return to Greece, it's always possible, but I am planning this trip as if it will be our only one. (There are a lot of countries still to be seen!)

Back to Meteora: I originally was planning to go there, but I thought that it might be too ambitious and at the expense of the Peloponnese. So, I feel like we need to make a choice between these 2 areas.

As for moving around a lot, we find checking out of and into hotels constantly to be too rushed, and it doesn't give you an opportunity to enjoy where you are. As a general rule, I like a minimum of 3 nights and 2 full days.

I have an American cousin who lived in Meligalas (Southern Peloponnese) for 2 years in the 1980s. I'm checking with him to see if it's worthwhile to visit that town (especially if he still knows people who live there).

If you have a suggestion for how to see Athens, Meteora and the Peloponnese (or convince me that we shouldnt' do the latter), in 8 or so days, I'm all ears (well, eyes, I guess)!

Thanks again!

Leslie
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Jul 26th, 2013, 08:09 AM
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Meteora is a very interesting place to visit, but located too far away from Athens and even further away from the Peloponnese.

Given the fact that you don't like changing hotels, your idea of staying in Nafplio and doing day trips from there is quite good.

Meligalas has a place in Greek history, but is definitely not a place i would visit. The Southern Peloponnese instead is very beautiful and worth a visit with the Messinian and Laconian Mani, the castles of Pylos, Methoni, Koroni and Kalamata, the archaeological site of Ancient Messini, the Temple of Vasses, the medieval Mystras and the unique Monemvasia.

You could see most of that while based in either Kalamata or in one of the beautiful nearby villages of Kardamili and Stoupa.

June is actually a good month to travel because all these places won't be crowded and the weather won't be too warm !
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Jul 26th, 2013, 09:45 AM
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clausar - Thanks for the helpful information. We are now leaning towards 3-4 nights in Athens and 4 nights in Nafplio. Hopefully, we can use Nafplio as a base even for the Southern Peloponnese. Otherwise, it's 2 nights in Nafplio and 2 in the South, and, as you know, we're trying to avoid that. (But, if we need to, we can. It's just a preference.)

I am looking at houses/apartments in Nafplio, which works well for our family of 5 (vs. cramming into 2 hotel rooms). But, if you recommend a hotel in Nafplio, please let me know.

Thanks again for all the suggestions. I look forward to many more!

Leslie
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Jul 26th, 2013, 10:09 AM
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Another question: since it now seems that we are focusing on Athens and the Peloponnese, is going to Delphi worth it?

If so, I guess we could have one hellacious day of early start from Athens, tour Delphi, then continue on to Nafplio for our multi-night stay there.

So, is Delphi worth it? (Yes, I know it's subjective, but I'm askin' anyway!)

Thanks again!

Leslie
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Aug 21st, 2013, 09:32 PM
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I just wanted to report back with our itinerary. We booked our flights, and due to frequent flyer availability, we were "forced" to extend the trip by a few days. We'll cope somehow! Here goes:

- 4 nights in Athens
- 5 nights using Nafplio as a base to explore the Peloponnese
- 7 nights island-hopping on a private-chartered yacht
- 2 nights in Delphi

Thanks again for the input.

Leslie
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Aug 22nd, 2013, 08:48 AM
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FRom Nafplio, you can enjoy exploring ( not necessarily in this order)
• The Old Town, plus Palamidi Fortress, Plus Arch Museum and/or Folklore Museum
• Mycenae (go EARLY) and/or Tiryns (my preference)
• NEMEA!! (Olympia without the Crowds or the long 4 hr drive! -- plus a vineyard visit!) ... suggest u do this in car enroute to Nafplio or on way back to Athens area, just off main hiway below corinth a few miles
* EPIDAURUS -- go in AM, find a beach in afernoon
• BEACH + Ruin .. coming back from Ep, try ASINE/KASTRAKI or TOLO..

-- These are the places u can explore while staying in Nafplio ... if u want to do Monemvasia & Mystras, or Olympia, you are going to have to overnight in another place.

I know u don't like to change hotels, but in Greece you have to choose between staying put, vs. seeing everything you want. A lot of people come from Italian vacations with the "base" concept but it doesn't work in Greece the way it does in Tuscany. Enjoy your trip!
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Aug 22nd, 2013, 11:54 AM
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I think you have a great plan and are taking enough time to relax and take it all in. There is lots of good day trips around Nafplion but you might consider doing one overnight and take in Mystras the last home of the Byzantines and then head down to Monemvassia a 15th century town where you can spend the night in a period room inside the city walls. Our room had a gunport in the bathroom.
Here are images of
Nafplio and Peloponnese http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7632094108982/
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Aug 23rd, 2013, 12:23 AM
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Although your time in Delphi area is limited, assuming you have your own transport, you may consider a visit here http://www.osiosloukas.gr/en/ on your way from/to Athens. Itea or even better Galaxidi might serve as a quick swimming break http://www.galaxidigreece.com/
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Aug 23rd, 2013, 04:59 AM
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I would strongly suggest another day trip from Nafplio, without cultural interest, but with lovely landscape and beaches, almost unknown by the crowds -a bit off the beaten track. You drive south close to the coast: Nafplio-Astros-Tyros-Leonidio-Plaka-Poulithra. From Nafplio to Poulithra is about 85km and the route, especially south of Astros, is very, very scenic (I would suggest to do this in a working day instead of weekend). Places of interest: (You will pass a lot of nice places but you have to skip them as your time will be limited.)So: Leonidio is one of the best preserved small towns in Greece, just have a quick look. Its little port -Plaka, some 4 km away- is picturesque, but avoid the tavernas. There are 2 nice beaches here. To my opinion, next village Poulithra is a little gem. The upper part of the village has lovely old traditional houses, there is a good beach, and a very good taverna "Zavalis" on the beach road. A lovely secluded beach is Agios Georgios about 3 km away(I was there on June and I saw a seal at 10 m). The area has crystal clear waters and behind is the green mass of Mt.Parnonas Worth it if you have some time to drive from Poulithra up to Peleta -its a beautiful tiny village of Parnonas (about 15 km)and from there to Fokiano bay (a remote lovely beach with 2 tavernas and 4 rooms to rent -that's all -like being at the end of the world). Another option is to drive from Leonidio to Kosmas village (also mount. Parnonas), its a bigger one and more developped than Peleta, and the route is breathtaking. Of course to do the hole in one day is impossible, but make your own choice. I can send you some photos if you are interested. Have a nice time
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Aug 23rd, 2013, 05:22 AM
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kastellina
i couldn't agree more, this is a very beautiful and lesser known area
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Aug 23rd, 2013, 06:10 AM
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What a fantastic itinerary. We loved the area around Nafplion and I agree with the others who suggested an overnight trip further south to beautiful Monemvasia. We did that, driving through Kosmas on the way down (and past the stunning Elona monastery). The scenery is jaw-droppingly beautiful and Kosmas was a very nice spot for lunch. You could take the coastal route kastellina recommended on your way back to Athens (it's a slower drive than the highway but worth it). I also think you'll love spending two nights in Delphi after your sailing adventure.
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Aug 27th, 2013, 11:05 AM
  #17
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Wow! Thanks for all the additional feedback and suggestions!

Here are the things I was hoping to do as day trips (not necessarily in this order, except Day 1 and Day 6, since they’re travel days from and to Athens). I know that this is probably too ambitious, but this is the distilled version It's OK to tell me I'm crazy ...

Day 1: Ancient Corinth and Nemea ruins and vineyard, on drive from Athens to Nafplio.

Day 2: Nafplio

Day 3: Monemvasia, hugging the coast, per kastellina’s recommended route. Consider staying over, but most places are already booked for June 18, 2014!? And, if we do this as an overnight, we lose a day?

Day 4: Day trip to Olympia. I know some say that, if you see Nemea, you don't have to go to Olympia. But, it's the birthplace of the Olympic flame, and it seems extra special. Convince me otherwise?

Day 5: Vouraikos Gorge: Diakofto–Kalavryta Railway. This looks amazing, and it also seems like a great change of pace. There are only so many ruins you can visit!

Day 6: Epidaurus, Mycenae, on drive from Nafplio back to Athens.

Fire away! And, thanks again.
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Aug 27th, 2013, 11:08 AM
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Oh, and mariha2912, we are planning to stop at Osios Loukas Monastery on the way to Delph.
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Aug 28th, 2013, 07:31 AM
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My only thought - it's A LOT of driving to do all that as separate day trips from Nafplion, and in so many different directions. I would cut Olympia - that is like a full day in the car. I am also surprised that the places in Monemvasia are already booked for mid-week in mid-June. Did you look at Monopati Apartments? We didn't stay there but we stumbled upon the apartments while wandering - they were super charming.
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Aug 28th, 2013, 08:00 AM
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Day 3: Monemvasia, hugging the coast, per kastellina’s recommended route. Consider staying over, but most places are already booked for June 18, 2014!? And, if we do this as an overnight, we lose a day?

Where did you get the idea hotels are already fully booked for June 2014? They probably haven't even started taking reservations for next summer yet. ;-)
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