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8 Days in Greece - Can We Do These 5 Stops?

I thought this would be a perfect way get someone's advice and tell us if were crazy for wanting to make all of these stops possible in 8 days! We are visiting greece for the first time from September 18th - 25th (Full days in Greece). We will arrive in Athens at 9am on the 18th and flying out of Athens on the 26th.

Athens - Meteora - Delphi - Santorini - Rhodes

My question is the logisitcs of this and how many days do we spend in one place.

My thinking was take off for Delphi and Meteora the 18th on a train or by car. Is a tour worth it or not? After that keep going North to Thessaloniki. From Thessaloniki Flying down to Santorini spend time there, then onto Rhodes. From Rhodes back to Athens. What is the best way to get to all of these places?

One last question - Rhodes or Mykanos? We are not a beach couple, we enjoy hiking and exploring much better than sitting on the beach, and we don't go out and party all night either! =)

Posted by
4483 posts

This looks like a rushed itinerary to me. I would skip Rhodes. I haven't been to Rhodes so don't know what you're missing, but you can hike to a volcano on Santorini and Santorini is just as beautiful as its photos. The 18th really isn't a full day in Greece by the time you get from airport to hotel and are jetlagged if you flew from the States. So you basically have 7 days-not much time in each location if you go to 2 places other than Athens and travel to each will eat up 1/2 day.

Posted by
11535 posts

With the number of days you have I suggest limiting yourself to one island. Otherwise you seem to be spending too much time 'in transit' rather than 'being there'. Alternatively 2 islands and Athens.

The 18th is not a 'day touring Athens'. If your flight arrives on time it will be noon before you get to your hotel, put your bags in storage as you may not be able to check in. Then go to have lunch, return to get into your room and ,if like me, shower get fresh clothes and maybe a 30 minute power nap, and then explore your neighborhood, get dinner and get ready for an early start on the 19th to actually 'do serious tourist stuff'

8 Days in Greece - Can We Do These 5 Stops?

Its really 7 days, and if you are content with just "checking off the boxes" you can go to all 5. Is that what you want? If so, have at it and good luck

Posted by
3364 posts

Short answer -- no y ou cannot do 5 stops and y es u are crazy to try. A perfect place to get some sound knowledge is not to expect an internet forum to give you a complete background on a country and how to travel within it. At some point, you really need to maybe read a guide (gasp!).

For example, you need to Drop Meteora AND Thessalonika .... you cannot just "keep going" ... via what? car? train? magic carpet? in Most of Greece you cannot rent a car one place, drop at another. There is only basically ONE train in Greece -- Athens to Thessaloniki. Plus, in most cases you cannot fly from island to island ... most flights are just from Athens to a given island and back. Greece is Not the USA.

Look at a Map ... here is one on the internet Click to enlarge. See how far apart your destinations are??? I think you'd need to limit yourself to 3 places. I'd say RHODES - SANTORINI - ATHENS (and MAYBE delphi)... and do NOT put athens first. If you can immediately FLY to your farthest point ASAP upon arrival, don't even leave the airport,you will gain a half-day of your cruelly short stay. Therefore:

• SEPT 18- arrive 9 am - thru passport control/baggage etch by 11 AM ... There are flights to RHODES at about 3 pm and 5 pm, takes 60 mins, costs €61. Why not go across street, have long relaxed winey lunch at Sofitel hotel, doze in lobby, then check in to Aegean at 2 pm. (Flights to Santorini cost about 2-3x as much -- pricing by demand)
• RHODES -- stay 3? days -- There's a ferry M - W - F leaves RHO 3 pm arrives SANTORINI 1 Am. SAT.
• SANTORINI = Sat - Sun - fly Sun Nite to ATH
• ATHENS - Monday - Tuesday sightseeing Wed 9/26 outbound flight
.... Note: Why Rhodes? Are u a Crusader History Buff? Tell us what you know about it, and why it appeals to you.

re: Rhodes vs Mykonos: WHY Mykonos? (Parties are irrelevant, they are only hi season). Is that the only other Island u have heard of??? How about NAXOS??? Very Close to Santorini, totally different -- a hiking/exploring paradise ... lots of ruins, mountains made of Marble, hillside villages, amazing landscapes ... in 2016, Trip Advisors list of the 10 best islands in the WORLD named it as the ONE isle in the Mediterranean... do some research, find out why it's so acclaimed. Your itinerary then could be:
• SEP 18 - Fly to SANTORINI 11:55 (yes it will be expensive - but ferry is 7 - 9 hours)
• SANTORINI 9/18 19 on 9/20 - 2 hr ferry to NAXOS 9/20 - 21 - 22
• 9/23 - 11:40 AM flight to ATHENS (45 minutes Athen sightseeing 9/23 - 24 -25.

Anything more ambitious can only involve constant travel, minimal time to enjoy. This would give you Some chance to experience Greece. Remember, Magic Carpets haven't been seen in this area for at least 2,000 years.

Posted by
16894 posts

There's no direct flight from Santorini to Rhodes; only via Athens. The two ferry companies connecting them are Blue Star, 3x/week, 8 hours, referenced by Janet; and Anek Lines, 2x/week, 15.5 hours, usually 2nd choice. There are a number of ferry search engines that usually work but is the one most recently recommended to me by one of our Greek tour guides.

Posted by
15686 posts

I went to Greece for the first time last spring. Greece needs to be experienced, not just seen. Sure, there are some wonderful sights, but my best memories are hours on the beach with a drink and the myriad colors of the sea, narrow flower-lined lanes with charming houses, chatting with locals - shopkeepers, waitresses . . .

Instead of rushing around, choose 2-3 places and take time to BE in Greece. You won't be sorry.

Posted by
186 posts

You do not mention if you have been to Athens already or if this will be a first time visit there? If it's your first time, then I agree with the previous comments that the 5 places you have listed are too many for a one week trip. Try to decide if you want to focus on either Athens and a couple of islands (Janet's suggestion of Santorini and Naxos would be great) or mostly mainland/Athens and one island.

I have rented cars and used different pick up and drop off locations all over Greece for decades--it is costly and you can do it with American/international companies like Hertz or Alamo with no problem. Check their websites for availability. Just a matter of how much you are willing to spend.

If you rent a car and leave Athens airport as soon as you arrive, you can drive to Meteora in time for a late afternoon check in and dinner, spending the whole next day touring and hiking the area in a well rested state. You do not need guides and if you just want to see the main tourist areas, you can easily do this in a day and drive back to Athens that night. Cover your shoulders and wear a long skirt; there is some strictness about dress, but as long as you don't show up in multi-colored spandex, you should be fine.

After your time touring Athens, you will be in place for a quick flight to the island that best suits your interests.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you all for your responses, we are still in the beginning of planning this trip and those places were our first thoughts. I wanted to hear your criticism if we were crazy for trying too many places. But we really want to see Meteora even though it's going to add alot to the trip. We decided to do ATHENS - METEROA AND SANTORINI. Yes we have a cruelly short time there, Janet and we know how to read a map. I thank you for all the advice you gave, it was helpful. But you didn't have to be an ass about it. =)