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Day trip from Athens

Any ideas on this beyond Nafplio and Mycenae?

We are two active seniors in our 60s and are hoping for an authentic Greek village experience.

We will be spending 4 days in Athens and time on both Santorini and Mykonos.

Posted by
5648 posts

Are you planning on visiting for part of a day, and returning to Athens to sleep that night? And will you driving a rental car? About the same 2+ hour driving time from Athens to Napflio would be Delphi, a village in the mountains with a popular, but fabulous, ancient site just outside of town. We were there for a weeknight this past April, just after Easter, and a group of loud students partying down the street made it tough to sleep well that night. Not certain if it was the time of year, or a one-time thing, or the usual Delphi nighttime

A bus is an option if you don't drive there, but you'd need to check on their timetables.

Just west of Delphi is Galaxidi, a worthwhile seaside town.

Posted by
976 posts

A quick and easy island to get to is Aegina, about 1-1/2 hours by regular ferry or under 1 hour by Flying Dolphin. It's really a nice island with a little bit of everything one goes to a Greek Island for.

You can leave early or mid-morning, spend several hours wandering around and get back late afternoon and still have time for a night out in Athens.

Posted by
228 posts

We spent a night in Delphi late April, the words very quiet come to mind. Early evening, very few people at site, museum, or restaurant. Delightful

Posted by
36 posts

Thank you for your terrific responses. This community is truly an amazing resource.

We thought about renting a car and have explored Greece's public transportation but are still on the fence. We've read many mixed things about driving in Greece. We have driven in other European cities, but are concerned about the comments re: the aggressive nature of Greek drivers. Can anyone speak to that?

If we went to Delphi could we hire a guide there? Would we need one? What about Nafplio or Aegina?

Thanks in advance for all your replies

Posted by
122 posts

HI I am a 75 year old solo budget traveler. I spent 8 weeks this spring in GREECE.
1. Nafplio is wonderful and has good bus connections to visit TOLO and ancient sites
2. Delphi was delightful and easy to do w/o a guide. I spent 2 nights there but you could do it in one overnight.
3. Andros island is close to Athens via ferry ( 2 hours) and easy to visit >>>Batsi and then bus to Hora and other areas.

HYDRA is a Rick Steves fav but I did not enjoy my 1/2 day tour there...
In Santorini I stayed at Perissa black sand beach area =a short bus ride from the touristy area of Santorini
Mykonos which I visited in 1988 was a delightful spot/ now it is said to be $$$ and filled with cruise groups+ tours so I skipped it.
I found the Greek people to be very welcoming and respectful. Hope you have a great time Bonnie.

Posted by
976 posts

I've driven on a number of Greek Islands (off-season) and for the most part traffic was light or even non-existent once you got away from urban areas (so to speak).

I would never drive in Athens where it's even risky crossing a street!

You haven't said where you are from but if you've driven in any major city whether in the US or other parts of the world then you shouldn't any problems dealing with Greek drivers.

Take your time, pull over if someone is tailgating (not that often), watch out for goats and pay attention to the road rather than gawking at all the wondrous sights all over Greece . . . otherwise you'll drive over a cliff (LOL!)

Posted by
1801 posts

I drove on santorini, Naxos, and to nafplio and then to surrounding areas.

I thought santorini was the most difficult. Drivers really were aggressive and roads narrow and windy.

Naxos had some challenging roads in the mountains but much less traffic and easy to pull off if you needed to. I thought it wasn’t that difficult.

The toll ways from Athens to nafplio are easy to drive but you need to know where to get off and watch signs carefully because they do not repeat like in us.

Roads around nafplio were easiest to drive.

My son drove to meteora and found drivers very aggressive.

Beth

Posted by
1801 posts

Ps we are from south Florida which has very aggressive drivers but not two lane roads. So I was not used to aggressive drivers on two lane roads like we encountered in santorini.

Posted by
5648 posts

We didn't experience tailgating in Greece this early April (unlike southern France, where driving the speed limit must mark one as a tourist), but turn signals were seldom used by other drivers, and Greeks seemed to drift over the centerline a lot, especially on blind curves. Maybe they thought they were saving precious seconds and gas by cutting the corners? Be alert to the possibility of someone coming towards you, in your lane. No one hit us, so they must've planned on getting out of the way, just in time, but it was a bit disconcerting. Freeway exit signs in Greek can require some advance planning and careful attention, so that you ensure you're in the right lane for your exit.

A rental car in downtown Athens is not recommended on any level.

It was nice to hear that Delphi town isn't always boisterous at night. While we hired a guide at the ancient site of Olympia, our Rick Steves guidebook served us well for our visit to the "main" Delphi site, and the separate temple site just down the road. .

Posted by
111 posts

I would cut liberally from Athens. Spend your last two days there so you're near the airport but otherwise any of the other places mentioned above would be preferable to Athens for the extra time.

Delphi would be an obvious choice. Corinth is worth seeing.

I would get a car at your port of entry into Athens (airport or ferry port, depending on your plans) and drive to Delphi. You need about 4 to 5 hours to tour both the archaeological site and the museum. You can do one late on one day and early the next if necessary. Delphi is a very enjoyable place to stay. Nearby Arachova is great, too. Or, you could stay by the sea in Galaxidi.

Next day, drive around the Gulf of Corinth towards Nafpaktos. Visit the castle and old town harbor. Cross incredible Rio Bridge, drive along coast (on high-speed freeway) towards Corinth. Get to Acrocorinth before 2pm (since it closes at 3pm) and then visit Ancient Corinth. Stop at the Corinth Canal afterwards and stay at a hotel on the coast of the Saronic Gulf (I would recommend Hotel Cokkinnis in Kineta).

This leaves you less than one hour away from Athens. You could return your car to Piraeus and then go into Athens.

Or, if you visited Athens already you could just drive the car to the airport and fly home.

Do not fear the driving. I have rented cars in Greece probably about 15 times and it's fine. All these places are easy to find and easy to drive in. Driving in Athens is difficult, though.

Posted by
8 posts

What would you think of doing a flight from Athens to santorini just for a day trip? I am staying in Athens but didn't see santorini listed in the itinerary for 14 day Greece tour. Any tips on Santorini for the day?

Posted by
36 posts

These are INCREDIBLY helpful suggestions. I can't begin to express how grateful I am...Our trip to Greece will be so much better because of you!

Posted by
2905 posts

Note to Cshortz. Best tip on Santorini for the day: No can do.

Posted by
8 posts

Can you tell me why. I know it’s posdible with flight and bus schedules but maybe you mean it’s too rushed!

Posted by
3261 posts

A day trip to Santorini would be torture-it's hard enough to leave when you've been there a few days!