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Cyclades/Delphi/Athens transportation Qs + itinerary feedback?

Thanks to the itinerary planning posts I’ve been reading here, the itinerary for our May trip is starting to come together. This will be our first trip to Greece, and I would love an overall gut check, plus I have a few specific questions about flights & rental car dropoff.

Here is my plan so far:

Day 0-1: Fly into Athens; fly straight on to Naxos OR Paros (haven’t decided which island yet; it’s tough to choose!)

Days 2-5: spend 4 days in Naxos or Paros, including the day trip to Delos/Mykonos

Day 6: Fly back to Athens; pick up rental car & drive to Delphi

Days 7-8: Delphi (one day at Ancient Delphi; one day exploring surrounding villages – maybe Galaxidi?)

Days 9-11: Drive back to Athens (return rental car); spend 2.5 days in Athens

Day 12: Fly back to US

Based on the advice posted here, I’m thinking we’ll immediately continue on from Athens to Naxos/Paros. A couple of questions:

  • We need to fly United to Athens, and I thought an itinerary on to Naxos/Paros would be super easy because Aegean is a StarAlliance partner… but flight searches for Newark—Athens—Naxos/Paros don’t show any itineraries that include United to Athens (only Emirates)... which I’m very confused about, so if anyone has any tips there, I’d appreciate them!

  • So, I could book NYC—Athens (on United) on one ticket and then book a separate flight from Athens—Naxos/Paros (on Aegean) on the same day… Is it risky to do that? Should this make us reconsider flying straight on?

  • For those familiar with the Athens airport, how much time between flights would you recommend we allow to go through Passport Control and re-check our bags/go through security again for our Aegean flight?

For returning the rental car after Delphi, are there easy locations to drop it off coming into Athens from the north? Or should I plan to return it to the airport, even though that’s a bit out of the way? I have not started to look at hotels yet, so I don’t know what neighborhood we’ll need to end up in. (And if it matters, we do need an automatic; and because of that, I will plan to book it well in advance.)

I’m also open to any other thoughts or recos about our general plan. Thanks in advance for any guidance you have to offer!

Posted by
1781 posts

“Newark—Athens—Naxos/Paros don’t show any itineraries that include
United to Athens’

Although Aegean and United are Star Alliance members, there may not have codeshare flights on Newark→Ath flights.

Find out more by contacting United

You can book separate tickets without problem but allow 3 hours or a little more with checked baggage in order to have a safety margin in the event of a delay in your Newark-ATH flight.

With Aegean you can pre-check in 48 hours before flight departure and have your boarding pass on your smartphone. (install the app)

Note that if you also have cabin baggage, as ATH-Naxos/Paros flights are operated on small ATR turboprops, the carry-on bag cannot exceed 55cm x 40cm x 23cm and 8 kg. If it exceeds these limits it will be necessary to put it in checked baggage

Baggage check-in at Athens airport is now mainly self-service with the assistance of airport staff.

Regarding returning the rental car in town, the majority of car rental companies are located on Leoforos Andrea Siggrou Avenue which is relatively close to the Plaka district where many tourists book a hotel So you will probably be less than 15 minutes from your hotel by taxi if you drop off the car in town. Maybe even less than a 15 minute walk, who knows...

There are gas stations on the avenue so you can refuel just before returning the car.

Driving in town is not particularly difficult if you know how to drive in a big city with its heavy traffic traffic lights, multiple lanes, etc . If not, it can be a little stressful :))

If you return the car to the airport it's around 1 hour by taxi (40€ flat rate) or metro /bus to reach your hotel

It's up to you

Posted by
318 posts

We did a similar trip and I think you've got a great plan. Can't comment specifically about your islands as we did Santorini. (and loved it!)
Our flight was a pain as we landed very late at night and had to stay at a hotel by the airport, then took a Ryanair flight the next morning to Santorini. If you can't get a same ticket connection with United, I'd allow maybe 4 hrs between connections? We've done that with flights and then a train and it's worked ok.
We also returned out car on SYGGROU AVENUE in Athens, and it was no big deal. I see you don't have a lot of time in Athens but it was our least favorite part of the trip anyway.

ps, just in case you are wondering, we stayed in Nafplio as well as Delphi and preferred Nafplio. It's also closer to Athens. You may want to check into that area as well early in your planning. (see nearby Epidavros and Mycenae nearby and a quick look in Corinth)

Posted by
70 posts

Thank you, JoLui and Amanda, for your detailed and helpful replies!

Thanks to your insight, it sounds like we can probably handle the rental car dropoff on Siggrou Avenue. And Nafplio sounds lovely, but my husband has his heart set on Delphi -- so I'm already making an "overflow" list for the next time.