My older teenagers would like to see some sights relating to the Greek Myths they read about but they don't want to spend alot of time driving around or changing rooms. They are also interested in relaxing on a beach and maybe snorkeling? We have a low tolerance for crowds. We need things like food and bathrooms to be easy to find. I would love suggestions for Myth-related sites that are easy to get to, and a beach/island to relax on that won't be filled with cruise passengers. Help greatly appreciated!
Are there specific myths that are of particular interest?
What you are after is going to be very difficult-if not impossible-to find. All the myth-related sites are popular, especially if they're easy to get to, so there will be crowds at all of them if you're going during the summer months. It's the unavoidable reality of going to Greece.
The logical way to avoid cruise ship passengers is to avoid the islands where the ships stop: Mykonos, Crete, Santorini, Rhodes, Samos and Corfu.
Thank you for the reality check re crowds. Islands noted. It is difficult to get specifics from the teenagers, but they do enjoy things to do with strong women. (My lack of knowledge about the myths does not help.)
My one strategic thought is to pick one of the cities on Rick's tour as one home base, and then choose one of the islands that have been recommended in previous posts.
Well perhaps you might consider Delphi which can be done on a day trip from Athens by bus or better do an overnight so you will have the site basically to yourselves in the morning. The oracle was a woman.
We took our two teen to Naxos and they loved it. June is still not high season and Naxos can absorb lots of tourists and still seem uncrowded.
Naphlio has Venetian era kastros and ancient sites including Ancient Tiryns the birthplace of Hercules
Naxos 2016 https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157671589993576
Olympia Delphi Meteora https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157645469717811/
Nafplio and Peloponnese http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632094108982/
At least this gives you things to consider.
It sounds like the kids need to do a little more specific research. This website on Greek Mythology might help pin things down. There is a clickable list of heroes and legends with decent descriptions of the characters.
Of course, Athens is named for Athena and the Parthenon was a temple to her. The enormous statue of her is lost to history but the article linked describes it with pictures, all based on historical sources.
On my first trip to Greece, I went to Crete specifically see the Palace of Knossos. I went again in 2014. There's a good myth about Theseus and the Minotaur that is related to Knossos. You can fly to Heraklion from Athens. The Heraklion Archeological Museum is fantastic and there are great beaches and hikes on the island.
About the bathrooms: You all need to know that in Greece used toilet paper is not flushed but rather put in the trash receptacle that will be close to the toilet. This may be TMI, but you definitely do not want to clog the pipes! I have encountered squat toilets there, along with ones whose toilet seats were missing. And carrying your own toilet paper may be advisable.
Paros might work. From the village of Naoussa you can take a daytrip excursion to the island of Delos, the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo.
Thank you Stan, I was thinking about the Oracle and Naxos, and the pictures will be helpful with teenagers! Thanks Lo, for the references, I will read up and check out Heraklion. And Lee, Paros had been recommended to me, knowing myth-related sites are accessible from there is helpful. This project feels much more manageable with the benefit of your experiences. What a great resource you and this site are.
The same excursion to Delos Lee mentioned, starts in Naxos and picks up passengers in Paros before heading to Delos and then Mykonos. No need to change locations to Paros to take the same boat that just came from Naxos.
Barb, this site is indeed a great resource especially with knowledgeable folks like Lee, and Stanbr with his fab photo albums!! BTW, you can have your cake & eat it too, regarding excursions. On Naxos, that daytrip company ALSO does Delos/Mykonos. It starts at Naxos Town, picks up folks at Paros, then to Delos-Mykonos & back. I think Naxos is your best bet, especially if you choose a hotel on St. George (Ag. Giorgios) beach directly adjacent to Naxos Town ... this SKYMAP illustrates exactly what i mean: http://www.skymap.gr/apps/site/viewmap/?mapid=29&cid=305 (use yr mouse to move the map to the right, to beach). Why? Several reasons pertinent to your family:
• TEEN FREEDOM - Naxos, like all greek isles, is safe, PLUS St. G is walkable to town, and teens can be on their own, to explore; you can relax in a beach chair and just phone or text them when it's time to get together.
• CAR NOT VITAL - frequent busses to outer beaches (and even to the very tippy-top of isle), so car only needed maybe for 1-day zoom around island highlights: hillside villages, ancient statues in orchards, marble mountains!
• Those daytrips - not only to Delos-Mykonos, but to Santorini (IF you can bear cruise crowds for a few hours!).
• Naxos abounds in "Self-catering units" on/near beach = 1 BR (for parents) main room w. 2 daybed (for teens), small kitchenette niche or ell, + balcony -- so u can do breakfast, sandwich lunch, snacks if u wish, instead of all meals out.
Now, I'm going to suggest an even greater resource than this wonderful site (pardon me while i mount my hobby-horse!) -- your Local LIBRARY, for an armful of GUIDEBOOKS. Instead of having to get mythology piecemeal from us -- u can get it in minutes from a useful guide!! Amazing!! Also, Guides, tend to be more candid than photo-filled websites, which often only carry raves, not about any drawbacks (such as cruise mobs, or crummy beaches). In fact, if you have $8 or so to spare, you can get a fact-jammed ROUGH GUIDE used, on Amazon; older editions OK, because u are not consulting them for latest restaurant prices. U can carefully pull relevant sections (Athens, Cyclades, Mythology, HIstory, Phrases, Food etc) off the backing, then use DUCT tape to make a "spine" for each and Presto! Little pocket guide-ettes! Good as plane, beach, ferry reading. I've visited Greece 12x, and still find my mini-guides super-useful.
Forgot to mention of course that R Steves' guide is wonderful regarding ATHENS and NAFPLIO& surounds in the Peloponnese, if you include these in your trip itinerary (RS mainly doesn't cover islands). His guide is VERY efficient for newcomers covering Athens in a short stay, and has Great D-I-Y step-by-step guidance for Acropolis, both in print, and as FREE download to phone or MP3 player.
One "small" advantage to staying on Paros is that if you're prone to seasickness that excursion boat, which is fairly small, spends less time at sea on the way to Delos if you leave from Naoussa instead of from Naxos Town.
Athens has so much history that you can match many myths with.
Crete the same as mentioned above.
Sparti too, like the 300 s.
Delphi as well.
However they are a lot of myths that are connected generally with the greek culture, such as the 12 gods, the olive trees, the olympic games that some story telling before arriving will make the whole experience way more interesting for them. Our friend that we have traveled with do that with their children all the time to keep them focused and excited.
Beaches generally are organised one , paid entrance and free one. Paid one have the amenities ( food and toilets ) close buy. Free ones not.
To find a quite place with amenities during summer in Athens it is more like try and error. Tram can take you along the coast line and stop after stop you can find out the beach that meets your needs.
Generally though week days and early in the morning would be the most quiet times of the day.
Our favourite island is crete. Combines a little bit for everyone and has many beaches to find the write for you along with great history and myths.
At the far southeastern tip of the Peloponnese is the island of Kythera. This is (one of) the birthplace of Aphrodite.
Easily worth three nights or more with absolutely fantastic beaches! Chalki is my favorite but the island has many great ones.
I would stay in or near Kapsali and the kids will love having the whole village and its fun beach scene at their disposal.
Right now I am looking at 6/15-6/30. I am looking at a flight that arrives in ATH from AMS at 430pm. Will I be able to get the 530 flight to Naxos or do I need to stay over night in Athens?
I was able to get a reservation at Kymata for a week plus. Hope to take advice given here and take an excursion to Delos/Mykanos (both in one day?) and possibly Santorini as well. Also hope to explore some beaches, kids are interested in snorkeling. (Would love recommendations for this.)
Then plan to head back to Athens, thinking to rent a car and drive to Delphi for two nights spending the day seeing Temple/Oracle then driving to Napflio for two nights spending the day at Mycenae, then driving back to Athens for a couple of days before heading home.
Which day do I fly back to Athens?
Which tickets other than flights do I want to purchase before we leave?
SO glad you've gotten rooms at Kymata,you'll be pleased; not fancy but friendly, family-run place just yards from the sand.
• FLIGHTS & OPTIONS - No I wouldn't chance getting the 5:30 -- Aegean wants u checking in 45 mins before departure & u won't even have your luggage yet. Plus you'll be exhausted coming from Oregon... but you don't need to go all the way iinto Athens (a 1-hour trip) & come back out. Why not stay at a quiet place near airport, & grab the 8:15 or 10:40 flight next morning @ same price?? Three options (1) St. Thomas B & B - http://www.stay-in-athens.com 10 mins away (€10 taxi), in olive grove, with pool. Are you 3 ? book the triple, if 4, a 2-br Garden Suite (€150). Pre-order dinner or walk to a taverna (2) Peris Hotel - http://www.perishotelapt.gr also 10 mins away (used to have free shuttle, ask if still do, maybe in June Yes!). Rates about €75 dble. Easy walk to pizzaria, 1 km (.6 mile) to sandy beach. (3) Holiday Inn Attika Ave - http://www.hiathens.com -- 30 mins away; more expensive($130 double); free shuttle; indoor pool, If you've booked Kymata for 6/15, easy to "tweak" booking to a day later, just explain transport issue -- island hotels are used to this.
•WHAT DATE FLY BACK to AIRPORT? Figure it out; look at a calendar. Depart June 30. You want at least 2 days in ATHens = June 29-28, you want 2 days (3 nights?) in Nafplio, x those off and work your way back (as Teach would say, now class, each of you has to do his or her own math assignment). Find target date and BOOK; these small planes (40 psgr) fill up FAST>
NAXOS EXCURSIONS -- Very good adventures, with planning. Here's the link: http://visit-cyclades.com/day-cruises/naxos-cruises they use 2 boats, I recommend MV Alexander, larger & smoother ride. Its Santorini run is on Tuesdays, Its Delos-Mykonos runs (which is a single trip 3 hrs at each) are Mon-Wed. NOTE: just buy tix day before, when u know the weather forecast.
BEACHES - St. George 50 feet from Kymata, OR just walk along Port Crescent to pier for bus to outer beaches Plaka & Prokopios. Not much to see snorkeling at beaches (no coral, not many fish). but Flisvos SportClub does snorkeling tours to better spots also kayaks, beach games etc http://www.flisvos-sportclub.com/sports/windsurfing/
DELPHI -- you don't need entire day if you plan it right. If you do 11:40 flight, arr 12:25, you'll be on your way to Delphi by 1 pm -- 3.5 hours = arrive 4:30. Check in hotel (I loved PAN hotel, back rooms look DOWN mountain to sea), walk along mountain parapet to MUSEUM (open late in summer) and EMPTY after 5! Then walk down to Tholos (round) tomb... open 24/7. Sunset dinner (your gang will like terrace at Cafe Astra overlooking mountainside ; indoors has pool table). In AM get to ruins by 8am , in 2 hours+ you can see it all & beat tour busses (did you ever get a guidebook as I recommended??).
NAFPLIO ETC - Head for the Peloponnese by 11. (see this map: http://euro-map.com/karty-grecii/peloponnes/podrobnaya-turisticheskaya-karta-peloponnesa.jpg -- click & it gets huuuge) U need to backtrack to highway "fork" at Elefsina and take the other branch, across Corinth Canal. About 15 km after canal, fab Opportunity to see "Olympia Games runner-up" -- ANCIENT NEMEA (see map). Lovely ruins + Superbly excavated Stadium, best ancient Athlete's Tunnel in existence. Teens can race from 3500-old starting blox! This stop takes only 45 mins. a greeat driving break, then on to NAFPLIO. DO look at ALL links in the superb noncommercial website- http://www.visitnafplio.com -- if you really STUDY this, you won't have to ask Nafplio questions. TIP: Returning to b ATHENS area, leave in AM, drive across Pelops "Thumb" to Epidaurus Theatre, then up Coastal Road to Isthmia. You can stop to stand on Old Canal Bridge & take pix, then on to Athens. This route avoids backtracking.
ADVANCE BOOKING -- !!! ATHENS + NAFPLIO HOTELS!!
Thank you Janet. I did start at the library and bookstores, but I find working with them overwhelming. The advice for the drives is just what I need to decide on the days. I also appreciate knowing what to expect for snorkeling. And I love the idea of staying at that B&B our first night in Athens. Now that I have plane tickets I will work on the rest of the hotels and excursions, and I will read up on the places we're going to see. Thank you for the great advice.
A final planning tip, from experience -- when planning complicated itinerary don't use a "list" format -- it makes it look SOOO easy to magically transport from one place to another ... use a format that recognizes how much time logistics take: I use these free printable calendars with BOXES for each day:
• http://printfree.com/show_calendar/monthly/062017rwb • http://printfree.com/show_calendar/monthly/072017rwb
then fill in TIMES (i.e., Delphi to Nemea, Nemea to Nafplio) ... useful reality check.
Now that you've got your arms around an itinerary, maybe those books won't be so overwhelming -- and they ARE good for activities & events both adults & teens would like.
we found a B&B in Athens for $42/night and he has a driver who will take us to the airport for $38 in the middle of the night for a 6 am flight :). There are lots of inexpensive B&Bs in this area - Koukaki.