My wife and I are traveling to Greece in mid February - a surprise gift from our adult children :). We have 5 full days, and are wondering if it would be best to stay each night in Athens and day trip from there, and what would the suggestions be for that? Or would you all suggest one or two nights elsewhere. We fly into and out of Athens.
In FEbruary, yes, I'd advise staying in Athens ... there's a lot of activity, and if the weather is rainy or very chilly, there are plenty of indoor things to enjoy. I would NOT advise venturing to an island unless it's a sunny balmy day, and you want a full-day outing that will not take more than 1 hour on a ferry to reach.
BTW, when you have SUCH a short time, you need to give us the exacts dates of arrival and departure AND times of day -- this may seem odd, but it does affect your options. For example, certain day tours are only on limited days per week. See? Also, I HOPE you have not booked a departure flight any earlier than 9 AM, because you'll need to be in the line 2 hours ahead, and it takes 1 hour to airport... and if you have to get up at 3 or 4 am, it will hamper your final-evening enjoyment in Athens.
Since Athens will be your base, do you have a choice of hotels? (or does the package dictate your hotel?). I hope you can get a hotel walkable to major sites, and within Plaka, on the no-cars lanes or nearby. I prefer places on the SOUTH side of the Acropolis -- Much more peaceful. Give more details and we can help more. We are experienced but we are not mind-readers!!!
It would also help for advising , if you'd say clearly if you have any interest in ancient sites or if they strike you as just piles of rocks. Some people have no historical interest and just want to eat and shop. It would help if you shared more about your interests.
This day bus trip http://www.chatours.gr/tours.php?exc=5&exccat=1 gives an idea of the landscape/seascape and TWO major sites (Mycenae & EPidaurus), plus lunch in the place that Greeks consider the most Beautiful Old Town in Greece -- Nafplio. It goes only Tuesday & Saturday.
If it's sunny & not windy, you could do an impromptu island visit to a nearby island. How? Have your hotel show you where to take the "Green Line Metro" to the port of Piraeus (about 35 minutes, €1.2 fare). Or, if you don't want to do Metro, a taxi is about €15. Once there, go to any ticket agency on the street facing the piers, and buy the soonest ticket to AEGINA (pronounced EGG-ina). There are hydrofoils that take 45 minutes (not advised; closed in & no view), and regular LARGE ferries that take 1 hour -- these have sheltered open decks where you can watch all the fascinating water t raffic -- from huge cruise ships, to large ferries to tiny private craft. Once you land, the port town is very interesting, but I'd advise you to pay a taxi to the island center to see a STUNNING ancient Temple of Aphaia, (brief stop) and then go on to beach village of San Marino? U can take bus back ... have a cocktail at a seaside cafe (if it's cold, they'll have plastic "walls") then take a sunset ride back to the mainland. A lovely refreshing day at sea & by the sea -- here's a photo album of a day visit -- in May, but it gives you a good idea of highlights: http://www.flickr.com/photos/36264706@N03/sets/72157621604646139/detail/