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8 Days In Greece - early September

Hello there…

We’re planning to visit Greece from 9/2 - 9/10 with our 19 yr old daughter. This is not our first time to Europe, but first time to Greece. We like charming small villages but will probably spend a little time in Athens as well. How should our itinerary be? We love exploring, love trying new food & wine, and pretty active…. Walking/ biking…. LOVE music …. Like off the beaten path kind of things …. Will probably rent a car and drive…

How about 2 days in Athens & the rest on a couple of islands?

Is ferry the most efficient way to get to the other islands?

Which island should we stay overnight on? Which are better as day trips?

Any advice from the seasoned travelers would truly be appreciated.

Many thanks.
L

Posted by
8356 posts

You have described the Peloponnesean Peninsula.! Look at charming Napflion as a start.
Can you add more time? Athens needs two full days at a minimum. Choose Naxos or Paros for a good Greek island experience.

Posted by
2808 posts

I found travel to Greece so overwhelming that I actually put it off for years--so many choices! But, when I finally made it, it was one of my most favorite trips (primarily explored the Peloponnese by car). I strongly suggest perusing a guidebook because, as daunting as the task is, you have to narrow it down a bit. Sometimes just one place will call to you and help form a trip. I did notice you talked about renting a car, charming villages, and liking getting off the beaten path--that to me screams mainland, not necessarily an island trip. To me, you really get more "bang for your buck" with the mainland.
If it does end up that you want the island experience, flying is probably the best way to make the most of your limited time. A guidebook is going to organize the transit details for you better than any one person can. Maybe it's just me, but when there are so many choices, I really need to do a deep dive into choices before I scale back into reality. good luck!

Posted by
9030 posts

I would plan Athens at the end of the trip, to simplify departure, especially if you plan to do island(s)

Posted by
458 posts

In 8 days, your plan to see Athens, rent a car to visit "charming small villages", and also go to 2 islands is completely unrealistic even if you do not include arrival and departure days in these 8 days. At least that's not what people who love exploring do.
.

Either you spend a few days in Athens and rent a car to visit inland.
Either you don't rent a car, take a flight to an island when you arrive at Athens airport, have a too short stay on an island and end up with a too short stay in Athens.

Posted by
925 posts

I agree with the poster who suggests buying a good guidebook so you can narrow down your choices. 8 days is not a lot of time. And exactly how many nights do you have on the ground? That's important because 2 nights give you one full day, 3 nights give you 2 full days, and so on and so forth.

I would spend a minimum of 2 full days in Athens, so that's 3 nights. And yes, put Athens at the end of your trip since you will have to fly home from Athens.

We loved the Pelopponese Peninsula, We spent 5 nights there, but 4 nights would be sufficient. There are tons of ruins near Nafplion, and Nafplion is a lovely small city to visit, located right on the water, with beautiful architecture and lots of gorgeous flowers.

If you want an island, you would probably have to exclude the Pelopponese. Santorini is beautiful with stunning views of the caldera. Yes, it is crowded and touristy, but well worth seeing at least once in your lifetime. Naxos is quieter, less crowded, and more laidback. Only you can decide what appeals to you.

For comparison purposes, this was our itinerary for a 16-night trip: Santorini (3 nights); Naxos (4 nights); Nafplion (5 nights); and Athens (4 nights).

Posted by
2934 posts

IF 9/2 is your arrival day, you can only count it as a Half-day... and only that, if you arrive by mid-morning... and if 9/10 is your departure day that does not count at all. THat means either 7 days or 7.5 days. So... your choice are:
(A) ONE island + ATHENS -- and I hope u arrive before noon & can FLY to the island (Paros? Naxos?)and spend 4 days... then fly BACK to Athens, taxi (flat rate) to a central athens hotel.

(B) PELOPONNESE (Mainland) + ATHENS -- Which comes first depends on how long your journey is... 12 hrs? 19? 23? IF you are not too tired, Rent car immediately, drive over Corinth Canal to Greece's MOST beautiful Old Town, NAFPLIO, on a peninsula. Area is perfect for walking, ancient sites, vineyards (u r there at harvest-festival time), beaches, using Nafplio as base. After 4 nights drive back to Airport (do NOT drive in Athens), taxi to Central Atens hotel... sightsee for 3 days.

I'm not going to attempt to provide background & details etc, no time for Greece 101 --- as others have said you need to get a GOOD guidebook FAST (your local library has half a dozen), and read up. Do not make all your decisions by flipping thru photos on the phone. If you don't feel able to prepare, then I suggest trying out 3 excellent Athens-based travel agencies, all of which are expert at making arrangements for N. Americans working strictly online... and then if there's a hitch, they're right on the spot to fix it. THey all have excellent reviews. Dolphin-Hellas, Aegeana Thesaurus, and Fantasy travel. Email all 3 at once, giving EXACT arrival & dep times, where you want to go, your desired budget-range per night (Athens will be more than your 2nd Destination), car-rental etc -- and see which one answers first & compare what they offer.

Here's an excellent noncommercial website of NAFPLIO and the entire "Argolid" area - http://www.visitnafplio.com -- if this destination interests you, click EVERY Link... hotels, sights beaches where to eat, walks etc.
... and here are 3 fab Photo albums courtesy of top R Steves contributor "stanbr"
NAFPLIO --- https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632094108982/
A Trip Around NAXOS -- https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157634605629689/
ATHENS, ACROPOLIS AREA - https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632121475515/

Posted by
12 posts

Thank you everyone for your input. I’ve ordered a couple of books and will start reading them tomorrow. I agree with putting Athens at the end since we’ll fly home from there. The P Peninsula sounds like a great place to spend a few days, and we’ll just have to do the islands on another trip.

Any recommendations on non-tourist restaurants in the PPeninsula, and Athens?? :)

And are there many interests for 19 year olds on the PPeninsula?

Thanks,
L

Posted by
458 posts

Any recommendations on non-tourist restaurants in the PPeninsula, and
Athens??

There are no non-tourist restaurants in Greek tourist places.
This does not mean that all tourist restaurants are not good.
The restaurants to avoid are those where the staff stops you in the street with a nice commercial smile and waving a splendid glossy menu translated into half a dozen languages

Posted by
2934 posts

nian, we cannot tell what will interest your 19-yr-old daughter unless we know something about her... is she an alert academic? is she a shopaholic? Does she like cllimbing high stuff, or following back trails & lanes? Does she want to dance the night away? 19yr olds can be very different. I suggest you send her that NAFPLIO website -- and tell her to click on EVERY link. IT's a lively town year-round, because its a favorite quick getaway for savvy athenians.... for that reason, its clothing shops are not all tourist tat... they have some very chic leisure things. Likewise, its small shops with jewelry, or craftware. A friend of mine found an outstanding multi-strand amber necklace that became her "statement jewelry" for all special events (keynot speaker, press interviews etc). In addition, Nafplio has an abundance of cool bars attracting the college set ... there is a university nearby. And did I mention beaches?

Posted by
12 posts

I apologize for not giving enough details as I’m trying to multi-task.. :). Our daughter plays volleyball & Badminton, loves to surf, loves music & musicals, loves animals & art, a foodie, and quite cultured. As long as there are different things that interest young people, she’ll be fine. :).

I’ve already asked her to check out the links ….

Many thanks…

Posted by
12 posts

Thank you everyone for the inputs.. I keep forgetting how large Greece is and it takes some thinking & reading to narrow it down. We’ve taken your recommendations and will spend about 4/5 days on the Peloponesse Peninsula, with 3 nights in Athens, simply because we have to fly out from there anyway. We’ll pick up a car upon arriving in Athens and drive directly to our rental on the peninsula, about 4 hours away. :)

We plan to explore the peninsula various towns & beaches, and may be some ruins if it’s not too crazy hot. We’ll do some kayaking & maybe a sailing/snorkeling day tour. With that in mind, is it worth spending a day & drive to Corfu, or take a ferry to the nearest island? Or perhaps flying to Santorini for 1 or 2 day(s) and skip Athens altogether?

Thanks,
Lan

Posted by
2934 posts

Skip Corfu & Santorini wiwth only 7 days ... do NOT skip Athens. Hope u are staying near Nafplio ... you only say rental on the peninsula. Nafplio will appeal most to 19yr old .. music, nightlife, a university near by... plus lots of beaches.

Posted by
2808 posts

Plus, Nafplio is an easy drive from the airport--I would not embark on a four-hour drive after an overnight flight, if that is your situation.
You don't need to go to an island from the Peloponnese--it is surrounded by the sea and ringed by gorgeous beaches!

Posted by
12 posts

Great. Then we’ll stick to our plans. 6 nights on the Peloponesse Peninsula & 3 nights in Athens. Our guesthouse rental is in Monemvasia, which is 4 hours from Athens airport. We’re actually flying in from Budapest so it’s not a long flight, but I’ll keep looking for another guest house.

There’s a sailing & snorkeling tour on the West side of the peninsula. Has anyone tried that? Would you recommend it? How is the snorkeling in Greece? I can’t wait for the beautiful water but just wondering about snorkeling. And can we rent a speed boat to drive ourselves?

Thanks. Lan

Posted by
1871 posts

I was in Greece with my adult children including my then 20 year old son. We stayed four nights in Nafplio and favorite activities include
Climbing 999 steps to Palamidi fortress in Nafplio.
Visiting Nemea which was one of sites for ancient games along with Olympia. Lovely air conditioned museum too. It was hot when we were there so much appreciated.
Epidaurus- the theater is magnificent and the view amazing. It is fun to sit up high and watch people come in as well.
The town beach-pebbles so need water shoes but enjoyable.
Mycenae was less popular. I think because it was harder to envision what it used to look. We went to Nemea the same day and my crew all preferred it, even though less important historically.

Posted by
12 posts

Since the peninsula is fairly big, I’d thought I split up our stays to make the most of our time.. I was able to book a stay near Nafplio for 3 nights to explore areas closest to Nafplio, and may be the other 3 nights on the other side of the peninsula. What are your thoughts? and which town should we stay close to?

Thanks,
L

Posted by
1274 posts

I’d consider Kardamyli. I loved the Mani, but if your 19 year old is outgoing she’d find a lot of it too quiet.