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Dec Greece itinerary advice: Santorini, Nafplio, Delphi, Meteora, Athens

Family of 5 (parents + children ages 18, 16, 12). Travelling Dec 24, 2023 to Jan 6, 2024. First trip to Greece. We enjoy beautiful scenery, history, hiking. Kids are seasoned travellers and used to long days while travelling. Will have car except during Athens stay.

Here is my itinerary:

  1. Dec 25 (Holiday) 13:25 Arrive Athens airport. 17:00 flight to Santorini (1h). Pick up car rental from Santorini airport. Overnight Fira.
  2. Dec 26 (Holiday) Santorini Fira to Oia hike, explore Caldera villages FIra and OIa, Sunset in Oia. Overnight Fira.
  3. Dec 27 Santorini Pyrgos town, Akrotiri Archeological site OR Boat to Nea Kameni with volcano crater hike if I can find water transport. 18:25 Flight to Athens (1h). Pick up rental car from Athens airport. Drive to Nafplio.
  4. Dec 28 Nafplio old town, Mycennaean bridge of Arkadiko, afternoon in Epidaurus (because photos better in late afternoon light), sunset and dinner Nafplio.
  5. Dec 29 Nafplio Palamidi fortress, Mycenae. Drive partway to Delphi. (Need advice on whether to drive east through Corinth isthmus or drive west through Rion-Antirion Bridge)
  6. Dec 30 Delphi. Overnight Delphi (Need input on whether to say in Delphi town vs Itea vs Arachova)
  7. Dec 31 Delph/Meteora. Drive to Meteora with stop at Thermopylae. Sunset in Meteora. Overnight Meteora (Kastraki).
  8. Jan 1 (Holiday) Meteora. Monasteries are open (Should we hike or drive to monasteries? Will parking at the monasteries be an issue during the holidays?). Meteora hiking and bus tours not running on Dec 31 and Jan 1 so DIY (Where do I get hiking map to monastery and caves?). Psaropetra sunset view point. Overnight Kastraki.
  9. Jan 2 Meteora sunrise. Drive to Athens with stops at:. Stone bridge and waterfall of Palaiokarya, Thiva (Lion of Chaeronea, Oedipus fountain). Return car to Athens airport by 22:00. Taxi to Athens hotel.
  10. Jan 3 Athens
  11. Jan 4 Athens
  12. Jan 5 Athens
  13. Jan 6 08:00 Flight back to Toronto

My Athens must sees include Acropolis, Acropolis museum, Areopagus, Ancient Agora, Plaka and Anafiotika, National Archaeological Museum, Lycebattus Hill, Philopappou Hill, Panathenaic stadium, Syntagma Square changing of the guard.

Posted by
11175 posts

18:25 Flight to Athens (1h). Pick up rental car from Athens airport. Drive to Nafplio

Your lodging has late check-in?

Posted by
11153 posts

Add to your Athen’s must see: the very unique Museum of Cycladic Art and Benaki Museum. Both are small and near Sygmata Sq area. I would place them at the top of your list.

Posted by
1388 posts

With regard to the Nafplio to Delphi trip my first thought was that the route west via the Rio - Antirio bridge is the best bet. Either way takes around four hours but Rio-Antirio avoids retracing your steps.

It’s worth though checking weather conditions. Snow is common above Delphi at that time of year but some years it also affects the main road. In that case the road from the Athens side is likely to be clearer.

With only one night I’d opt for staying in Delphi rather than Arachova. In either case it’s worth booking accommodation early as both are popular ski resorts.


Posted by
2 posts

Joe32F, I requested late check in at my Nafplio hotel.
Suki, I will add those two museums to my list.
Alan, I was leaning towards taking the Rio-Antirio bridge route as well, since I already drove the eastern route on the way into Nafplio and will be doing another part of it driving from Meteora back to Athens. Is one of the Nafplio to Delphi route more windy than the other? And is one of them more difficult (eg. darker) to drive on at night? We will break our Nafplio to Delphi drive in half, start at night, stay somewhere in between, and complete the drive in the morning when it's light outside.

Posted by
2494 posts

I would be concerned about driving at night especially in winter. The road to Corinth is an easy toll road but then you get on secondary ones. It wasn’t particularly well marked either.

We drove to some of the monasteries in Meteora and didn’t have trouble with parking. We had taken a tour that included the most popular ones. I would plan to be at those early or late. I would think you would be fine. We were there in early June.