We're looking at Greece for spring break next March, some combo of Athens and countryside over 7-8 days. My initial plan was 2-3 days in Athens, then out to Hydra, but after reading sections of the guidebook and this forum, I'm concerned that the island will be too chilly and too quiet to sustain us for more than a night or two. Now I'm looking at a combo of Athens/Nafpleon, which would allow us to radiate out for day trips. Two questions: would Hydra be worthwhile as day trip in March? And, second, are there any significant downsides to being in Greece for their national holiday on the 25th (crowds, closures, etc.). I'm at the early stages of my planning, so any suggestions are welcome.
I'm generally in Greece for a week or so in March and really like it as a time of year to visit. The weather can be changeable but on the plus side the sites are quieter.
I've never been to Hydra but imagine it would be very quiet. Nafplio, on the other hand, is very lively in late March. It was the first capital of Greece and therefore takes Independence Day seriously. There is a large street market in the week leading up to the 25th and a procession on the day itself - all the schoolchildren in national costume, dancing, music that kind of thing.
You're right that it makes a good base to visit some of the sites: Mycenae and Tiryns are easily reached by local bus.
I've not got round to posting any of my photos of Independence Day a couple of years ago but we have written up some thoughts on the place more generally
Have a great trip.
I agree with Alan ... Hydra in March is not worthwhile ... no greenery, no scenery really, except for a pretty port with some donkeys, and it's a long ferry ride for that. Nafplion is a MUCH better idea ... it can give you the "feel" of an island, because its on a peninsula surrounded by water. Here's the TOP website: http://www.visitnafplio.com/visitnafplio.com/Home.html -- it has videos of "Nafplio in SPring" and "Nafplio in February" showing how lovely it is even early in the year. And here is the "Visit Nafplio" photo album -- https://www.flickr.com/photos/visitnafplio/sets/72157626483407223/ -- stunning photos of Old Town & the countrysie. Here's another wonderful album by a fellow Nafplio-phile: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632094108982/
You can easily take a KTEL Intercity bus (2.5 hours, 13€) hourly, reserved-seats, lean back & enjoy scenery. Use a couple of days to just explore the town & surrounds, then if you want to check out nearby ancient sites, your hotel can quickly get you a rental car ... it gives you maximum flexibility to get around to Mycenae, Epidaurus, Tiryns (check the VisitNafplio site for overviews). If you want a hotel in old town at sea level, Pension OmorfI Poli is a good moderate choice, Aetoma Hotel is an upscale boutique place. If you like to be above it all, looking down on town and sea, I love Hotel Leto, budget with comfort & lovely views.
On my first Greece trip, in '99, near the end I was on an island talking to an artist, and I said I'm going back to Athens, and I guess I will do a couple of day trips. She said no, you'll leave your big bag in the Athens hotel checkroom, and you'll jump on a bus to Nafplio for 2-3 days. Why? I said, and what's that? Trust me, she said ... you'll thank me. Fifteen years later (and 6 trips to Nafplio later), I'm still discovering delights there, and still thanking her. At your first sunset, sitting at the seafron, you'll thank Alan & me!
My family visited Greece over spring break (last week of March) this year. We too were planning to visit Hydra but the weather made the water crossing impassible. It actually turned out to be a good thing as we turned around (from Metochi) and went back for a second night in Nafplion.
Our itinerary was arrive and stay in Athens the first night. We visited the Acropolis on the day of arrival and the Agora the next morning. We then rented a car and drove to Delphi, Thermopyle, Meteora, Olympia, Kardamylee, Monemvasia, Napflion and then ended our stay back to Athens.
The weather on the west side of the Peloponnese was sunny and high 70's. The weather on the east side was rainy and colder. Based on our experience, I would skip the islands if you are visiting that time of year. The huge benefit is that there were no crowds.
Enjoy your trip!