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13 Days Athens Nafpolio Santoroni October - Itinerary Input

Hello! Greece Itinerary planning for Oct 5-18.  My husband & I are in our mid 30s, pretty chill, just want to explore the culture, take lots of photos, watch sunsets, have great food...  Don’t plan on spending time on the beach, upscale shopping, partying/night life… We love good food, architecture, street art & sunsets. 

We had this trip planned in March but my hubs got injured so had to reschedule. My Dad & sisters still went (they have been to Greece many times prior). The used some of my travel ideas but admittedly wasted too much time on ferries & trains by not planning accordingly.
Day 1 – Friday (10/5) – getting in 9pm (15 hr travel from Chicago) so zzzzzzz
Day 2 – Saturday (10/6) - Athens
Day 3 – Sunday (10/7) - Santorini
Day 4 – Monday (10/8) - Santorini
Day 5 – Tuesday (10/9) - Santorini
Day 6 – Wednesday (10/10) - Athens
Day 7 – Thursday (10/11) – Cornith / Temple of Apollo / Mycenae / Nafpolio
Day 8 – Friday (10/12) – Nafpolio / Epiderus / back to Athens?? Or add extra night to go to Delphi next day?
Day 9 – Saturday (10/13) Nafpolio / Delphi / Athens OR skip Delphi is this too much?
Day 10 – Sunday (10/14) Athens
Day 11 – Monday (10/15) Meteora
Day 12 – Tuesday (10/16) Meteora
Day 13 – Wednesday (10/17) Athens
Day 14 – Thursday (10/18) – Athens to Chicago 10am
This can be interchangeable since nothing is booked yet (aside from flights). My father inherited a condo & car in the “medical district” (not sure name of neighborhood just that it is by medical centers on google maps) so that will be our “base” of stay and can leave luggage and pack small travel bags for overnights.

Day trips from Athens
With driving... Being from Chicago used to traffic & congestion. Worry about driving on our own since won’t be able to read signs and will get lost? Can we rely on GPS for these excursions? Weekday vs weekend traffic?

—Trip 1 - Nafpolio – Day 1 Leave early in the morning then stop Corinth, Temple of Apollo, Mycenae on the way to Nafpolio. Day 2 spend time in town maybe drive over to Epidaurus and come back. Thinking to add a 3rd day to visit Delphi from Nafplio then back to Athens. Is this too much and/or out of the way?

—Trip 2 - Drive to Cape Sounion for sunset one night and grab dinner on way back at Marida (read was good?)

—any cool reasonable driving trips from Athens?

—Santorini... looked at almanac & previous years show weather be ok for these type of activities (fira oia hike, wine tours, sunset dinner at Santos, sunset sail/catamaran, movie outdoor cinema, exploring town).

Saw cruise ships stop there wed & thurs so avoided on itinerary but if crowd not issue can rearrange. Are crowds out of control in Oct or ok?

Better to stay in Fira? Any recommendations?

—Hydra – not on itinerary would like to go here for a day but where can this make sense? Maybe if you we don’t do Delphi? Don’t want to spend 8 hours traveling for only 2-3 hours on island. Worth doing overnight there?

This is 2 days and non negotiable :) but flexible with dates if have to move itinerary around

Aside from the major and minor spots I want to go to I wanted some input on...
—The Poet Sandal Maker – mixed review, I would like to go because of my wide feet it’s hard to get cool sandals, this would be a practical buy and souvenir.  Is this too hyped up or worth?  Have time to come back and get another day for customization
—Street Art Tour - maybe through My Athens! or any recommended guided tour?
—Dining thoughts? Saita Taverna,  Couleur Locale, Little Kook, Oenotria Land Costa Lazaridi, Hitchcocktales (I’m obsessed with Alfred Hitchock), Brettos, Oikonomou, Saita Bakaliaro (if I can find!), Cafe Dioscouri????

Where can we catch sunsets??? Restaurants, accommodations, points of interest

I feel kind of ok about plans but looking for some reassurances from locals & pros! (aka not caught in tourist traps). 13 days will go by fast.

Posted by
1725 posts

I think you are going to waste a lot of time going into Athens multiple times. I would put all the days at the end.

Consider continuing into to santorini or else stay very close to airport to catch morning flight to santorini. Three of my young adult children came into Athens at 9 pm from Atlanta and then took a Ryan air flight at 11 pm to santorini. They stayed near the airport at a hotel that arranged for transportation. Then the next day the rest of us came and we all went to oia. They were just as happy to keep going and wake up on santorini rather than near the airport.

I would not drive in Athens at all. You can rent a car from the airport and bypass the Athens traffic.

I think going to Corinth and Mycenae on way to Nafplion is a bit much. Also, check closing times for October.

Why go back to Athens after Delphi if you want to continue to Meteora?


Posted by
21 posts

Hey @Goodorf thanks for 411

I have read on this forum about people going to Santorini directly upon arrival to Athens... something I considered but was second guessing. Thanks

Posted by
989 posts

My comments will basically reflect Beths thoughts. Most experienced visitors do not want to get over jet lag in Athens. Get over it on an island. There will be at least one late night flight to Santorini and two hours is sufficient time to make the connection. You will not regret waking up in Santorini the next night.

When you fly back to Athens renting a car at the airport means you don't have to drive in Athens which is a good thing. Traffic is chaotic and Greek drives in close quarters are no fun at all. This would be a good time to head to Nafplio. We generally stop in Corinth either on the way to Nafplio or on the way back to Athens. Ancient Corinth is a great site its small and easily done in an hour or so. The second site at Corinth is Ancient Nemia. It had sister games to Olympia and still has its stadium. It too only takes an hour or so but it is well worth the stop.
There is lots to do at Nafplio so you might want to add a day there. Perhaps a long day trip to Sparti to visit Mystras the last city of the Byzantines.

Since you already have the car you could consider crossing the gulf of Corinth at Patras and visit Delphi. This will require an overnight stay but that means you will have the site basically to yourselves and won't be bothered by the tour bus crowds. Depart Delphi around noon and drive to Meteora. Plan to arrive a half hour before sunset. Drive up to the Monasteries. The setting is magnificent and the bonus is the tour buses will have departed for the day. You will have the place virtually to yourselves. Take you photos now because the next day the good viewing vantage points will be swarming with tour buses. Stay in the village of Kastraki. Its nestled at the foot of the mountains which will give you a head start over all the people who stay at Kalambeka. Get an early start and visit the monasteries that are open this day.
Stay overnight and drive back to Athens.
Spend the rest of the trip in Athens enjoying all it has to offer.
You can do Sounion by local bus but I believe there are sunset tours you can take. That will be better than doing it yourself by car.

Olympia Delphi Meteora

Nafplio and Peloponnese

Posted by
989 posts

Sorry I forgot to comment on driving in Greece. GPS works but it is a very good idea to have a map too. Just so you can get spelling correct and to check the route that the GPS is taking you on. We learned that the hard way when we discovered there are 7 places in Greece called Meteora. It was only when the GPS took us past a sign for Albania that we realized that important piece of information.

Road Sighs are in Greek and then a few hundred meters further on in English. If you get deep into the countryside on secondary routes English signage gets spotty. On the major highways you are expected to drive way over on the right often straddling the line on the shoulder. This allows faster cars to pass you. The local in their big cars are doing about 150 km per hour. Little rental cars just can't do that. Greeks also tend to pass on blind curves. Its all exciting but after a while you get the hang of it. Just keep over to the right. The driver has to concentrate on driving. Passenger has to navigate and look for signs.

Posted by
2864 posts

TOTALLY listen to Stanbr, and also godorf ... we both counselled her and their trip worked out Great. My add-ons:
• IF by any chance you cannot get that late-nite flight to Santorini, there's a hotel about 30 mins away that (By advance notice) gives you free shuttle to their place, has a late-open restaurant if you havent eaten, and next morning has EARLY free shuttle (again, IF you notify ahead) to return to airport for the first available Santorini flight, i.e. 7 am or so. -- this is near the site of those sad wildfires, but Hotel is in business & you'd just need nice bed for night and a ride both ways.
• I Agree with others to skip that Wednesday in Athens (or with straight-to-Santo Stratgy, we mean Tuesday); 3 full days (Sat-Sun-mon) is Ample time in Santorini, so I'd advise to take earliest convenient flight on Oct 9 (theres 1 @8:40 arr 9:25), leave Airport w rental car by 10:30. IMPORTANT to Remember: in OCT many sites revert to offseason closing = 3 pm (1500).

• If you do the above, you could see ancient Corinth, do a quickie snack & photo stop at Corinth Canal, & Nemea by 1 pm or so. Mycenae supposedly is open until 6pm (1800) in October, but it would be prudent to check by phone from Santorini or from the airport that morning. If you find it closes 3 pm, you'd have a decision on which to skip. My vote wd be ancient Corinth, since you'd have an oppty for Delphi (see below). Last time I was at delphi loved Hotel Pan, balcony at back; hawks circled BELOW me (!).
• Agree with Stanbr's Delphi-Meteora strategy since latter is a must-see for u.

• OIA - Try to sightsee either 8 - 10 am or 4 -6 pm -- otherwise, even offseason, even on days with few cruise ships, crowds are major (bus-tour groups) -- sunsets along Oia rim path are packed standing-room-only even offseason and restaurants w. view are Very pricey; consider sunsets (the view's the same) at Firostephani, or from a high restaurant terrace in fira town, like STANI.
• ATHENS - yes, sandalmaker is over-hyped. Look around Nafplio: I find it has BEST shopping, v. chic, Athenians go there year-round as weekend getaway. DINING: Look at Mani-Mani ... v. good food, now being "discovered" by tourist, so reserve. Splurge dinner-with-view IF you can get a roof-garden table (call from Nafplio?) Attiki Greek House and a place with Music, which attracts locals not just tourists --

Posted by
21 posts

Thank you for responding! I will definitely be making adjustments per recommendations.

The reason for the back and forth to Athens was just since we have the condo and car there at our disposal already I would want to utilize it vs paying for rental. I was originally thinking we would get picked up from airport and go to our condo and stay there and then have car to get OUT of city for Peloponnese. Not to drive in city. However if getting in and out of the city from airport is that bad then will change it up.

Don’t really want to do self guided tours in Meteora, feel insecure about it. I just wanted to do package train hotel and tours through Visitmeteora. That is what I had my family do in March and they said it was perfect. But will see if we can figure it out.

Day 1 – Friday (10/5) – land Athens 9pm , flight to Santorini 11pm
Maybe Hotel Galini or Ilioperato

Day 2 – Saturday (10/6) - Santorini
hang out, sunset dinner reservation (maybe at Venetsasanos winery)

Day 3 – Sunday (10/7) - Santorini
Winery crawl day, dinner sunset Santos Winery

Day 4 – Monday (10/8) - Santorini
Sight seeing, sunset catamaran sail (Barbarossa or Caldera Yachting)

Day 5 – Tuesday (10/9) - fly into Athens 8am, rent car drive to Nafpolio get to town & hang out
Amymone suites?

Day 6 – Wednesday (10/10) - Nafplio
Skip over to Epidavros (stop at Arkadiko bridge) for a bit (45 min drive?)

Day 7 – Thursday (10/11) – Nafpolio to Delphi
Drive to Delphi, see museum
Stay at Pan Hotel

Day 8 – Friday (10/12) – Delphi to Meteora

Delphi site tour then drive to catch Sunset will (just do a package tour with with some connections my family met in March for hotel & private tour)

Day 9 – Saturday (10/13) - Meteora

Do both day tour & another Sunset tour (I know sounds overkill but family said was worth it).

Day 10 – Sunday (10/14) - Meteora to Athens

Drive to Athens drop off car at airport - go to condo

Day 11 – Monday (10/15) - Athens

Day 12 – Tuesday (10/16) - Athens
Street Art Tour

Day 13 – Wednesday (10/17) Athens

Day 14 – Thursday (10/18) – time to leave :( Athens - Chicago 10am

I feel like (I know!) I am over researching and should chill out! I did read Lonely Planet in Feb, finished the 2018 Rick Steves book and and Rough Guide coming tomorrow.

Thanks for feedback (and any further feedback welcomed :)

Posted by
1725 posts

I would spend more time in Nafplio. I would cut a day off Santorini (but do the hike between Fira and Oia). The town is lovely and you will want to climb up the 999 steps to the fortress. There also are a lot of interesting things around there like Mycenae, Nemea, and wineries.


Posted by
2864 posts

I agree --- Nafplio is waaay more interesting than Santorini, unless all you want to do is sit on pricey Oia balcony, look at caldera and drink wine... that's what a lot of honeymooners recommend, but for me that just means I'm snockered by lunchtime! Better to get to a place like Nafplio where its not totally mobbed with cruise & package tour groups, and has so many ancient sites to explore.