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Coherent itinerary needed

My fiancee and I have picked Greece for our honeymoon this upcoming July. We have purchased flights in and out of Athens, a total of 15 nights. Ideally we would like to spend time in the following places:
-Athens (1-2 nights); Nafplio (1-2 nights); Monemvasia or Kardamyli (1-2 nights); Kythira (2-3 nights); Naxos (3-4 nights); and Santorini (2-3 nights).
We need help creating a travel plan that limits the amount of in country travel. My first idea was to start in Athens, then make way through the Peloponnese by car en route to ferry to Kythira from Neapoli. Issue there is getting from Kythira to the Cyclades. Another idea was to start in Santorini, work back to Athens through Naxos, then to go to the Peloponnese by car and on to Kythira. Any thoughts or tips would be super helpful! Thanks!

Posted by
2934 posts

Go directly to Santorini when you first arrive. Save all your time on the mainland for the end of your travels to avoid any unnecessary backtracking and to prevent any last-minute unforseen delays because of mechanical breakdowns or cancellations of flights and ferries, which can happen in July without warning due to high winds.

Posted by
951 posts

Hi abrown:

I know many people, especially first-timers want to see as much as possible on their holiday.

However, it will take several days to really see all of Athens and the same can be said for Nafplio with it's proximity to Mycenea & Epidavrous in addition to many other sites in the area. You can even do a day cruise to Hydra/Spetses for a Greek Island experience, especially Hydra. Kythira is a lovely island but one of those Greek Islands that is a little more difficult to get to but offers a lot for those who want a more "Greek" experience. Naxos is one of Greece's nicest islands, still hasn't sold out to tourism and offers a great combination of Old & New World Greece and would require several days to really enjoy. Santorini is one of the world's most popular destinations and while visually stunning will be crowded, expensive and will give you a travel agents idea of a Greek Island. The Peloponnese is one of Greece most beautiful and least known areas for non-Greeks. It would take days if not a couple weeks to really explore and see the sites.

Another thing to consider is that July is High Season in Greece when everyone in Europe and other countries travel there. It will be more crowded, more expensive, and a little more difficult to travel even though there will be more ferry services to handle the throngs of tourists.

I have been going to Greece every year and one thing I have found is that it is better to limit what you see in the time you have and let what you are experiencing soak in and appreciate what you are taking in. I would try to spend more time in less areas for a more true representation of where ever you go in Greece.

As many say . . . less is more and more is less!

Posted by
1917 posts

First, congratulations. Greece is a lovely place for a honeymoon.

Kythira, however, is logistically a difficult island to fit into an itinerary like yours. I spent about a week this spring trying to figure out a variation of your plan and finally gave up. And by the way, I read that Monemvasia is covered with scaffolding for repairs. Not sure if that still exists or has been finished??

To see if you may be able to work Kythira into your schedule, check out http://www.openseas.gr and roll it back to July 2015, to the same days of the week you'll be traveling. This will give you an idea of the usual ferry schedule. However, you will not know exactly what the 2016 schedule is until it's released later this spring so don't make any uncancellable hotel reservations based on 2015 data.

To ferry from Kythira to the Cyclades you would have to go through Crete, landing in Kissamos, then making your way to Iraklio to take a ferry to Santorini. That would likely require an overnight on Crete. Or you may be able to ferry from Kythira to Pireaus and then ferry to Naxos or Santorini. That might require an overnight too.

So it seems like the best bet would be to put Kythira at the end of your trip, as there are almost daily ferries from Neapoli to/from Kythira. Then you just have to figure out what to do with your car while you're on Kythira (not sure if you'll find a car ferry or if you can return the car in Neapoli or even just leave it parked there).

Good luck with your planning and I hope you have a wonderful trip.

Posted by
2865 posts

Unless you have a compelling reason to visit Kythira (greek forefathers from there), I would really just say skip it, for your first trip. You probably just picked it out because of a pretty picture, I'll bet. Don't twist yourself into a pretzel trying to reach/leave an island with few connections... the rest of your list is straightforward by comparison. You can't really get from Kyth to Cyclades. and you don't have enough time for a long complicated detour on a whim. If you want to see a less-visited island, try going from Naxos to Amorgos or Folegandros, much more do-able.

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks everyone for the advice and tips.

We want to visit Kythira to for a few island experiences we're not sure we'll get in just Naxos and Santorini. We heard about the island from Andrew Bostock the author of the Bradt travel guide (http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2015/sep/03/is-kythira-the-perfect-greek-island). Specifically, we are interested in the feel of a secluded island with less crowded beaches, the waterfalls at mylopotamos, and the cave structures on the island. If we could replicate those experiences on a Cyclades island, I think we'd be interested in doing that instead. One option might be to spend 3 or so nights in Kardamyli. Although not an island, it would feel just as authentic, there are waterfalls at Polylimnio near Kazarma (http://mygreecemytravels.com/2012/07/25/in-peloponnese-i-heart-these-waterfalls/), and the Diros caves. Alternatively, yesterday, referencing some of the tips brought up here, we talked about dropping one of the islands to reduce the stress of too much in country travel-we just haven't picked which one.

Based on my research, I think the daily ferry from Neapoli takes cars. If we were to keep with our current plan it'd look something like this:

Day 1: fly to Santorini
Day 4: ferry to Naxos
Day 7: fly to athens, rent car and drive to Nafplio
Day 10: drive to Neapoli, ferry to Kythira
Day 13: ferry to Neapoli, drive to Monemvasia or site closer to athens
Day 14: drive to athens
Day 16: fly back to States

If we forego Kythira this may be a possible outcome:

Day 1: fly to Santorini
Day 4: ferry to Naxos (extra day added here)
Day 8 : fly to athens, drive to Nafplio
Day 11: drive to Kardamyli
Day 14: drive to Athens
Day 16: fly back to the States.

Thanks again for the kind words and help!

Posted by
2865 posts

MR Brown, you hear but you do not listen. The Kythera thing is not going to work as you envision. Even if the ferry takes cars, that is just for cars that the drivers own. Most rental agencies will not let you take their cars on any ferries.

The Stress you experience in getting to Kythira will outweigh any supposed advantage of getting to a less touricized place. And if you want to reduce the stress, stay one night LESS in Santorini (where the docking of 3 cruise ships per DAY during the week will pour up to 10,000 cruisers on an island 12 miles long) ... add the day to Naxos, and take a rental car up into the hilltop villages, where tourists almost never go, and if they go, don't stop long. Park in Filoti, and go sit in the shady square, under the huge old plantain tree. Eavesdrop on the local priest playing backgammon with a couple of mustachio'd retirees. Then walk down the road a way, and turn on to a dirt road leading into an olive grove. Sit in the grass, where you can see the top of Mt. Zas. Keep your eyes open for a little flock of turkeys that browse among the trees. In a little while you'll hear the bells ringing from the mountaintop chapel. You may find yourself nodding off. After awhile, drive back. Slowly.

When you get to the peloponnese, if you don't go to Kardamyl, you could continue on to PYLOS, a beautiful small town laid out by the French, with a remarkable small square looking out at the sea. Stop for a drink, then continue on about 10Km til there is a little sign "Gialova"... turn off on a dirt road about 200 yards & u are on the beach. Gialova cannot get a;; that crowded because it is only about 10 football fields long. On the beachfront lane 3 hotels I think, and about 7 tavernas, and a small Grocery. U will see a HOtel Zoe, with a palm grove in front. Reserve ahead, in the front building on the sands, a sea view balcony with canvas awning. Take a nap. The sea is aquamarine. In the Palm Grove are deep wicker chairs, cushioned. Older British people sit there, reading novels by Virginia Woolf. There is a pier with no boats. At 5 pm, cars pull up & park there. Greek daddies, coming from work, get out with their children and play in the water. When the sun goes down, lanterns light up under the trees, where there are tables. Have dinner. Zoe will tell you what's on that night. She's pretty, educated, in her 20s. Her granddad named the hotel for her. The next day you can drive to the most remarkable beach in greece -- Vodakilli. Perfectly round. No sunbeds. No kiosks. No tour crowds. You will remember it. Or just walk down the beach in front of zoe for 4 miles or so.

Posted by
6 posts

Janet,

Thank you for the suggestions. Perhaps I was not as clear as I intended to be in my previous post. I understand that the first of the two itineraries I posted would be difficult and stressful, so I am looking for alternatives to Kythira. Trust me, I would be more than happy to skip Santorini all together, but I'm just one of two planning this trip. Pylos sounds wonderful, I will do some more research.

Posted by
2865 posts

I did not say Skip Santorini, I just think 2 nights is pllenty to see the View and move on. This is from experience. I have taken Newbies to Santorini at least 4 times & they love it (briefly) for the view, but they loooove Naxos.