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20 days in Greece

Hey, I'm delighted to see so many seasoned travelers around here!
I'm a solo women traveler, have 20 days in Greece, end Sept. beg Oct
Traveled solo India, Spain, Germany, Czech. Drove car through Israel only – had a partner with me.
Is reluctant to rent a car being alone and driving only an auto. Count on buses. Am taking 7 days group tour. Have a week before that and 5 days after.
Love to do just about everything. Culture, architecture, archaeological sites, strenuous hiking, kayaking, swimming. Love off the beaten path places, wild beaches, can stand crowds if unavoidable only.
1 st day land ATH at 9.15, non-stop from US EC (PHL), try to catch 10.40/10.35 flight to Naxos or Paros; undecided yet. If I'm late –then 16.15 flight (I know I'll loose $100). If there aren't any tickets for 16.15 flight (wouldn't book both flights in advance, right?) then...Rafina, 16.10 Ferry. Will do my best to wake up next day on an island....Will on-line check-in and paying 4 euros for fast lane help me?Olympic Air has 48 hrs online check-in. I can do it before leaving US. I wrote to customer support of airline, also to tourist agency at Naxos. No response 1 week later.
2nd - 6th Naxos vs Paros, nurturing jet lag, trips to Delos & Small Cyclades. NO Santorini for me!
7 th – fly to Athens: likely from Paros, it has AM flight; from Naxos PM only
7th -8th Athens
Next 7 days bus tour w/group from Athens: 1 night in Olympia, 2 in Delphi, 1 in Kalambaka, 2 in Thesaloniki and all the tourists' sites around. Return to Athens, I guess very late & stay a night there.
Have 5 more days left. Would love to visit Hydra/aegina for a day or two, take a bus to Nauplio, stay there, visit Nemea vs go to Monemvasia. Our tour bus makes only a short stop at Nauplio, though visits Epidaurus & Mycenae.
Vs... rent a car from airport & drive through Attica's peninsula: Cape Sounion, Sanctuary of Artemis ...Hope it's easy drive. Hope nothing's burning over there by that time. Want to visit mineral lake Limni Vouligamenis, though its' upscale, too touristy & pricey....Maybe not at the end of a season... Any thoughts, tips & tricks from experts would be highly appreciated. Question about lodging. Is is safe to get a room from locals (Domatia) at Ferry/bus/etc. terminals for solo women traveler? Will a host be honest about location? Naxos's pretty big, for example, wouldn't' stay on outskirts somewhere.... Or a hotel is just safer/easier?

Posted by
5889 posts

Sounds like a good trip. I hope Janet from Philadelphia sees this post, she'll have lots of ideas to share.

All I can contribute is the suggestion to spend some time toward the end in Nafplio, even though you'll have been there briefly on the tour. It's a beautiful interesting city with much to do and explore, and a good base for Nemea and Tiryns as well as Mycenae and Epidavros. There's also an all day boat ride from nearby Tolo that visits Hydra, Poros, and Spetses (a long day) if you're interested.

And of course there's plenty more to do in Athens than you'll do in just the 1+ day in your plan above.

Posted by
3141 posts

Hi Ann, where in Philly are you? I'm in Art Museum area, perhaps we can chat by phone, save a lot of keyboarding;; PM me. I've been to Greece 12 x ; 4x goinng solo, 8x taking along 3-4 travel pals who were eager newcomers. Now planning "grand Finale" trip June 2019. based on this, and 12-14 years on various travel forums etc etc, can provide some quick feedback here:

• CROWDS - In Sept, nowhere (except Santorini on cruise days)... no long "shoulder season" like italy, esp in Islands. Safety not an issue; it's that you don't want to be where cafes are closing, shops are shuttering. Staying at/near port town's best.

•The 10:35/10:40 FLIGHT - probably no can do... it will take til 9:30 just to exit the plane, & passport control lines another 20+ minutes, Then getting bag from carousel 10-15 minutes & then humping it to other end of building (at least it's in same building), is another 15 minutes -- and now it's 10:05 if you have NO hold-ups. Aegean requires check-in 1 hour ahead (45 minutes is absolute minimum -- and if there are standby they'd be allowed to give your seat away). Only chance I see to make a 10:35- 10:40 would be to sweet-talk the AA flight attendant with tale of impossible connection so that she'd come & fetch you from economy seat & let you crouch in front for last 15 minute... then RUN to passport control knocking over old people, pregnant mothers etc. In addition printing an Online boarding pass before leaving US would help; I haven't heard of this €4 bypass-the-peasants deal. And as you say, if there's room on 16:15 flight, you could presumably could switch at last minute w.o. much penalty if you have the "flex" ticket. I would not count on getting any response from airline re this. ***NOTE; it would help US to help YOU, if you gave exact arrival day; I don't see a 16:15 flight all days, only some.

• NAXOS vs PAROS - In my experience (multiple visits both places), NAXOS much better for a woman traveling solo. Many options; an island bus tour great for making connections for following days. It's also best for archeology, hiking, & checking out inland villages (there are Fall Vineyard Festivals up in hills). On NAxos u can stay in St. GEorge beach directly adjacent to port town, best of both worlds. Rooms? the signs-at-port days are over; now, with internet & smart-phones there are better ways to get good choices at short notice. These days, those sign-holders usually have places w.very inconvenient locations. You could easily ferry to Paros (1 hr) last day to stay o'nite for that early AM flight.

• 7 DAY TOUR -- what company? When you say "all tourist sights" is this a r steves tour...

• NAFPLIO!! -- YES!! easy to Bus there, (SO much to see/do - check this great NONcommercial site: Town is worth 2 days. and local busses as I've done-- Asine, Tiryns both great treats. 3 days will fly by ...
• HYDRA vs AEGINA -- Hydra imho over-hyped, rich folk hideaways, no beaches, not so much ancient History. AEGINA an ideal day-trip: pictured in detail here:

Posted by
9631 posts

Yes, yes, yes to staying in Napflion!! We did a day trip to pretty Spetses, not far from Napflion, hopped on a water taxi, no schedule to worry about. Much greener than the Cycladic islands.
And congratulations on skipping Santorini, a really good idea.