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14 days in Greece! Itinerary advice requested

Hello all - We are traveling at the end of June and would like some advice regarding our very tentative itinerary. I am the only of of my group that has been there before. So basically we are a group of newbies, and would be happy to see just about anything. In a perfect world our trip would include Corfu, but I think that might be add too much traveling time

Day 1: Overnight travel to Athens
Day 2: Travel/ Athens
Day 3: Athens
Day 4: Athens
Day 5: Ferry to Naxos
Day 6: Naxos
Day 7: Ferry to Santorini
Day 8: Santorini
Day 9: Santorini
Day 10: Ferry to Crete
Day 11: Crete
Day 12: Travel to Athens
Day 13: Day trip to Sounion or Delphi
Day 14: Fly home

Or possibly:

Day 1: Overnight travel to Athens
Day 2: Travel/ Athens
Day 3: Athens
Day 4: Athens
Day 5: Travel to Delphi
Day 6: Travel back from Delphi to Athens/ Fly to Corfu
Day 7: Corfu
Day 8: Corfu/Fly to Santorini
Day 9: Santorini
Day 10: Santorini
Day 11: Santorini/Travel to Naxos
Day 12: Naxos
Day 13: Naxos/Ferry to Athens
Day 14: Flight home

Additionally, is there an efficient way to add in Nafplio and/or Hydra instead of Corfu & Delphi.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Posted by
950 posts

Im not understanding the overnight travel to Athens on Day 1 - does this mean you start your time there on Day 2? Do you have plans for all the days you will be in Athens? I ask bc it seems like more than you may 'need' to see some of the highlights, and you could spread some of those days into other places where you are spending less time than I would suggest. Your plans both look like a skim of the places. Crete is huge and 2 days, well, I don't see the point. I think you give Santorini adequate time. Naxos not enough. So if I had to choose, I would pick #2, and take a day off Athens and move it to Naxos, or 2 days off Athens and move 1 to Corfu and one to Naxos.

Nafplio is a 2 hour drive from Athens, so it is possible to rent a car and do that instead of Corfu/Delphi, and then do day trips from Nafplio by car, return the car to the airport and fly to Santorini...

Posted by
16727 posts

Basically, I think you've got at least one too many destinations on each itinerary. I've been to both Crete and Corfu and I like both, but they need to go. You're spending too much time flying to places in order to be there for less than two days and then fly right back out again. Add the Crete/Corfu time to your Naxos stop.

One other thought: If there's any way to get to one of the islands on the same day you fly into Athens, it will improve your itinerary by eliminate the rush back to Athens on Day 13 and the extra hotel stay. Whether this is doable depends on the flight schedules to Naxos and Santorini and your tolerance for risk, because if your inbound transatlantic flight is really late, you might miss the connection in Athens.

Posted by
10 posts

So per the advice I was given we revised the itinerary:

Day 1: Overnight travel to Athens
Day 2: Athens arrival
Day 3: Athens
Day 4: Athens, possible afternoon trip to Sounion
Day 5: Travel to Delphi
Day 6: Travel back from Delphi/ Athens
Day 7: Fly to Santorini
Day 8: Santorini
Day 9: Santorini
Day 10: Travel to Naxos
Day 11: Naxos
Day 12: Naxos
Day 13: Naxos/Ferry to Athens
Day 14: Flight home

any suggestions for comfortable, CLEAN, safe hotels would be appreciated. We would like to stay within the 100 - 120 euro range. We don't need a view. Thank you!

Posted by
2418 posts

Just reacting .... I have some good recommendations for moderate-rate hotels in convenient and attractive locations but before I list suggestions, I just have a question:

I've been on many forums for other European capitals, and cannot figure out why people never seem to be nervous about hygiene when inquiring about hotels in London, Paris Amsterdam Vienna and the like -- but SO many newbies to Greece on these forums seem to be fixated on worries about cleanliness.... as this person, who even uses all caps for CLEAN. Why no worries about the major capitals listed above, but so many worries about possible unsanitary conditions in Athens? Do people think this is a 3rd World country? I am really interested in this question because this concern seems to come up so often.

I've been to Greece 12 times, and on those trips have stayed in Athens at least 18 times... and in VERY modest small hotels in/near Plaka (i.e. never paid more than €75 in May-June). I've always encountered fine cleanliness (along with friendly hosts). Some of the places have modest lobbies, and lack uniformed bellboys, but the service is good, the linens are crisp and snowy white, the water is hot, the beds are comfy and views from balconies or roof terraces are lovely.

Posted by
16727 posts

I've wondered about this, too, because Greece used to have the reputation (per guide books) of being very clean. I've actually seen people whitewashing the grout between slabs of slate on sidewalks, which is a level of house-proud few Americans would aspire to. Every accommodation I stayed in (over the course of three trips) was squeaky clean, and I stayed in the cheapest places I could find that had private baths.

In over 700 nights in Europe, I've had precisely two rooms that were sub-par from a cleanliness standpoint, and those were extremely budget-level places I stayed in over 20 years ago (and not in Greece).

The only issue I've observed in Greece that some might consider related to "cleanliness" was highway litter, and that was back in 1995 or 1996. I hope that situation has improved.

Posted by
2418 posts

If you want to get helpful advice you need to give key info not shared so far:
(1) PEOPLE - how many are in your "group" and do you need to find rooms for them all, and is it a case of 2 adults/1 room, or are there kids and needs for triples or whatever? Advice might differ a lot, depending on whether there are 4 of you ... or 10! And do they all arrive at roughly the same time n Day 2, and what time of day IS that?

(2) MONEY- are you trying for a "shoestring trip" or are you on a comfortable budget? I can't figure out the mixed message of your plans -- you outline a trip that involves a lot of costly (and time-consuming) travel, At the same time, traveling "at the end of June" (which must mean it goes into July), you request rooms at $100-$120 tops -- High Season begins July 1, Santorini is one of the costliest destinations, and Athens in convenient areas is also pricey. Also, if you have to rent a car for some reason, more than 5 people will require a van, costly and hard to book.

(3) SEQUENCE - what's the reason for your itinerary Sequence? Is it because your group is coming from many places and will only rendezvous on arrival at ATH airport? Will you arrive late in Day 1, too late to get transport to your first destination besides Athens? We Greece "vets" usually advise going straight to your FARTHEST destination FIRST, if possible, then work your way back. Athens is hard to negotiate for travel-weary newbies at first, if not on a tour with a leader. If you start elsewhere, it's lower-key, you get "the lay of the land," and when you get to Athens at the end, you're very savvy about how to make the most of that sight-filled bustling capital city.

(4) CHOICES - You don't share WHY you are doing Corfu (maybe you saw that TV series the Durrells in Corfu??) Or Grandma came from there?? I really think it can screw up a 2-week trip cost & time-wise... and you really only have 12 days, not 14. You cannot fly from Corfu to Santorini, you must return to ATH airport and take another plane. Also Crete needs at least 4 days and probably a car rental. Crete is not really an island -- it's a COUNTRY, huge. Unless you are going there just to see Palace of Knossos then jump back on a boat. And, in a short 2 weeks, I'd think hard about a day for Sounion... you don't have all that time to spare. it's OK to be newbies, but newbies need to do some of their own research -- and in a GOOD guide book, such as Rough GUide to GReece (free at any library), not just clicking on wonderful photos on the internet -- or you'll end up with unworkable scenarios.

(5) INTERESTS - No indication of whether you are all retired teachers and avid ruins-buffs, or young couples out for sun and swims, or hikers or wine-fanciers, or just scenery-viewers. No point in aiming your group at ancient sites if they scorn old stones, or at landscapes if they'd rather sunbathe; we help better when you share your interests.

POSSIBLE OPTIONS -- But cannot figure how do-able they'd be, depending on the not-disclosed facts about arrival times, # of people, budget limits etc. Here are a couple ideas:
• Fly direct on arrival day to CHANIA Crete (2 days in area, 2 days driving) - Ferry from Heraklion to SANTORINI (2 - 3 days) - ferry NAXOS (3 nights) - ferry to ATHENS (2-3 days)
• Fly direct on arrival day to SANTORINI (3 nights 2 days) - Ferry to NAXOS (3 days) - Fly to ATH Airport - drive to NAFPLIO (3 nights) - Drive to DELPHI, (1 night) then Return to ATHENS ( 3 days). NOTE: you could take intercity bus to NAFPLIO, but wouldn't be able to see as much in the area in a short stay.

Those kinds of trips are do-able, I've done them myself, taking along newbies, and on a budget (tho earlier in the season). If these interest you, share your group info, and RS regulars can help you lock in your logistics. With the itineraries you outline you could end up spending 40% of your time in transit, and at high cost.

Posted by
10 posts

Wow - I am floored by the sarcasm in the response I have received. I did not come here to be lectured or belittled. I'm just looking for some friendly advice.

You will note that I replied with a revised itinerary upon the suggestion of others. It no longer includes Corfu or Crete.

Why do you assume that I don't always look for recommendations of clean hotels when traveling? I ALWAYS do, whether I'm abroad or in country.

Just FYI, we are not travel newbies, we are city dwellers very comfortable in new environments, we are veteran travelers. Just haven't made it to Greece yet.

Over and out.

Posted by
186 posts

I hope you have a wonderful trip in Greece. Just a recommendation for staying at the airport Sofitel hotel on your way home in Athens--it is above the budget you mention, but:
1) it is the height of luxury and relaxation after a hectic trip
2) it is across the drop off lane from the airport, so you can get there on foot in 2 mins and not stress about getting to the airport
3) there is a great pool, salon and spa, etc., which some in your group may appreciate after 2 weeks in the hot, dry sun.
4) room service for maximum relaxation
For all these reasons, we have always thought it worth the extra $ to stay there when on our way home (figure you will save on cab fare at least).

Posted by
10 posts

Thank you Stephb, for your great advice and thoughtful message. I will look at Sofitel today, we've never stayed in one before but I understand that they are lovely. We have the one day back in Athens to get our bearings, before heading back to the US. This hotel would be ideal.

Posted by
6100 posts

Why would you suspect the forum members would recommend DIRTY dangerous hotels?

I think you group of 'newbies' will enjoy Greece. Most places I felt treated more special than just a 'customer'.

Posted by
85 posts

I would suggest that you leave all days in Athens for the last days of your trip. The airport is far from the city center so doing so will prevent two additional unneeded trips between the airport and center.

My advice would be to fly in to your most-distant spot which appears now to be Santorini. From there it's an easy ferry to Naxos and an easy ferry to Piraeus. Rent a car in Piraeus, drive to Nafplio. Depending on time of day (dictated by ferry) visit either Ancient Mycenae or Epidarus.

3 nights each. Then, drive to Delphi, 1 night, also visit Hosios Loukas monastery, mountain village of Arachova on way in or out. Drive to Piraeus, return car. Then can take subway to Athens hotel - 2 nights in Athens, fly home. That's 12 nights which looks like what you have. Big wild card is the time of the ferries.

Then, you're in Athens which is the only sensible place from which to approach the airport on departure day.