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Extra Night

Hi everyone. (I feel like I know some of you, just from all of the posts that I've read). Our trip that we were planning for 2021 didn't happen, so we're planning another one for early June, 2022. We like seeing historical sites, museums, cool scenery, and just experiencing new cultures. Our 14 year old daughter is really interested in Greek mythology.
This is our newest itinerary:
- Fly from the US to Athens - Train to Delphi - stay one night
- Train to Athens - rent car & drive to Nafplio - stay 3 nights
- Drive to Athens, then ferry or fly to Naxos - stay 3 nights
- Ferry to Milos - stay 2 nights
- Ferry or fly to Athens - stay 3 nights

We have an extra night and can't decide where to use it. I'm not really looking for you to tell me where to use it, but I'm curious - where would you use it, and why? Thank you for all of the advice that you've already given me by answering other people's questions!

Posted by
5269 posts

Are you planning to fly overnight into Athens, then take a train to Delphi on your arrival day? I didn't think there was much train service to Delphi (via Amfikleia, then a taxi?). Most likely you'll be too tired and jet-lagged to see anything in Delphi till the next morning, and then your plan is to take the train (taxi first to Amfikleia?) back to Athens that same day, and then renting a car and driving to Nafplio. I suggest spending your first night in Athens, then renting the car the next morning, driving to Delphi, spending one night there, then driving on to Nafplio via Paros that afternoon.

That plan uses your extra night, but gives you more time in Delphi, specifically in the afternoon and then morning when the site is less crowded. The museum is worth some time, and then the site itself. You could do one on arrival day and the other on departure day. And why take the train back to Athens to get a car and then drive out again to Nafplio?

I haven't been to Naxos or Milos so I don't know how many nights those deserve. You could easily add a night in Nafplio or Athens without running out of things to see and do. But that airport-to-Athens-train-to-Delphi-train-back-to-Athens-car-to-Nafplio plan, with just the overnight in Delphi, sounds, pardon me, screwy. Forgive me if you've researched this and are sure it works best for you. But I'd be surprised. Hopefully others who know Greece better will be along soon.

Posted by
2904 posts

Susanna I'm glad you've benefitted from other folks' questions, but I think some guidebooks (get an armful from the library, free) would also help. For instance: there is no train to Delphi, never was. There IS, however, a modern, prompt intercity BUS (called KTEL busses) that takes about 3.5 hours, very useful. And instead of backtracking all the way to Athens, then off again to Nafplio -- why not rent a car & combine yr 2 Mainland adventures??

Also, Strongly advise flipping your sequence. Islands first, for several reasons, tested on many trips to your destinations:
(1) Too exhausted from flight, to focus on ancient sites; MUCH better to get over jet-lag on an isle
(2) Isles 1st reinvigorates AND orients you to GReek ways; you'll be more efficient with later sightseeing.
(3) Early June ideal for isles, lively but less crowded .. earlier the better. Doesn't matter for other stops.
(4) U avoid going in/out of Athens 2/3 times -- with only 12 nights, every HOUR is precious; don't waste any!
(5) After 6-7 days immersed in Greece, the landmarks of Delphi, Nafplio area & Athens will resonate far more.

Based on experience, here's the sequence that minimizes transit time, maximizes time at destinations, to enjoy:
• ATH Arrival: try for flights arriving AM, switch to early afternoon flight to MILOS
• After Milos stay, ferry to NAXOS. I f there isn't a ferry on your desired day, u can ferry to Santorini, & change to a ferry there -- Santorini is a "switchboard" island, with daily ferrries to most Cycladic islands. In fact you could do it the OTHER way.. domestic flight to Naxos, THEN ferry to Milos
• The morning of your ?6th? day, fly from whichever Island to ATH airport. Rental Car by Noon, drive to DELPHI; overnight.
• Next AM, backtrack partway (to Elefsina), and take big intercity highway over Corinth Canal... Stop at ANCIENT NEMEA (like Olympia but no crowds!) then on to Nafplio for 3 nights.
• Leave Nafplio early, drive to EPIDAURUS, then up coast to Corinth Canal, then back to Airport (do NOT attempt to return car in Athens traffic - taxi to Plaka area hotel is flat-fee, and stress-free)
• Final 3 nights in Athens.

Posted by
35 posts

That was just a rough draft. I didn't have the details worked out yet, but was thinking train to Amfikleia, then a taxi to Delphi. Rome2rio.com says that it's two hours faster than the bus. But it says that the bus is 6hr, 50min. We were originally going to go to Hydra first but decided to cut that out. I was avoiding driving on the first day, but I'm not sure why I thought we should go back to Athens to get the car. I did think that would be a lot of back and forth to Athens, though. Maybe we'll do the islands first. Thank you for your input!

Posted by
1801 posts

I would add extra night to Naxos. We spent four nights there and would have loved another one.

Three years ago we did as Janet is suggesting and visited the islands first and it really works well. We are planning the same sequence of islands and mainland on a return trip this coming May. Three years ago we did a separate unconnected flight from Athens airport to Santorini as she is suggesting but I have recently seen flights including United and Aegean air on goggle flights for the same price as two unconnected flights. When I looked three years ago, the price was astronomical. The prices, of course, depend on your airport but worth checking out. The major advantage is you could check all the way through and not have to deal with your luggage in Athens. Even if you do carry on to Athens, you have to check to the islands because the planes are small.

We rented a car at the airport in Athens after flying back from Naxos and returned the car at the airport after visiting Nafplio. We took a bus into Athens. We had intended to take the metro but there was a strike when we arrived.

Posted by
2904 posts

Glad that is just a first draft. Learning from experience of others can avoid pitfalls and wasted time/effort, maximize time spent enjoying. Also, u have good lesson in not just depending on online sources. I use Rome2Rio also, but not solely. I can tell you from personal experience the express bus from Athens Lission KTEL station to Delphi is 3 1/2 hours.

Glad your teenager is interested in Greek Mythology but hope it isnt solely thru those percy ?jackson? books ... too many kids reading fun fiction expect to see statues of Olympic God heroes everywhere, and it's just not so. For Athens & Delphi u may want to check out options for guided tours (€25-30 per person) or, pricier, indiv. guides (€60 per hour for groups up to 4). In addition, on Steves own website, get acquainted with his Wonderful FREEEE audio downloads, that provide step-by-step DIY guiding for (1) Acropolis, (2) Ancient Agora ... the info can transform the latter from a field of fallen stones into a walk thru an Ancient Marketplace. Steves also offers, FREE, a download D-I-Y guide to the Nat Arch Museum ... the 10 "must-see" treasures... keeps u from getting lost in that huge place. Finally a terrific fun-history "tabloid" find, the "Greek Gazette" is an amusing AND accurate dash thru Ancient History... it's available on Amazon, used copies for $2-4. Written by 2 smart (& Smart-Alec) Oxfordians, it scampers thru Greek highlights with great illustrations. All ages love it... I always take it along on trips with newcomers.

Finally, if you want to get the most out of Delphi, guide-less, here is my tested list:
MY DELPHI LINKS for ADVANCE PREP & PRINT to TAKE:
• Printable Maps! (Museum, Sacred Precinct, Wider area) – http://www.planetware.com/map/delphi-map-gr-del.htm
• Sacred Destinations - http://www.sacred-destinations.com/greece/delphi Ads, but good info; see menu on side
http://www.ancient-greece.org/archaeology/delphi-archaeology.html
• Dr J's Delphi – http://people.hsc.edu/drjclassics/sites/delphi/sacredway.shtm
NOTE: click items in SIDE MENU for complete photos & explanatory text. SUPER!
• Wikipedia entry, succinct & surprisingly good --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delphi

Posted by
21334 posts

Rome2Rio can be helpful in identifying transportation options (though it misses some, and of course the day of travel makes a difference), but I have found it often wildly incorrect about fares, travel times and frequencies. It's important to keep drilling down through the website until you find the name of the company operating the buses you're interested in, then go to its website for accurate information. Rome2Rio usually provides a link.

Posted by
35 posts

Thank you all again. This information is very helpful. I do have several guide books but haven't read through them all yet.

Janet - yes, the Percy Jackson books are how it all started, but she has since read a couple of nonfiction books about Greek mythology. They also studied Ancient Greece in Social Studies last year. I am planning to get her one or two more books about Greece/Greek history for Christmas, and maybe her birthday in March, but haven't looked for them yet. Thank you for the reading suggestions. And I do want to get guides, as much as our budget allows. I definitely want one for Delphi, but haven't decided what other places we need them. I want to keep my daughter interested, and don't want it to feel like we're just looking at a bunch of rocks. :-)

Posted by
5269 posts

Here's a good resource for all things Greece travel related. Matt Barrett obviously must get income from companies he plugs, but the information is good and he offers a lot besides endorsements.

Posted by
35 posts

This is what I'm thinking now:
- Fly from the US to Athens, then fly to Milos or Nafplio (depending on price & times)
- Stay 3 nights Naxos, 2 nights Milos
- Fly to Athens, rent car and drive to Delphi - stay 1 night
- Drive to Nafplio - stay 3 nights
- Drive to Athens - stay 3 nights

That still leaves one night that I have to decide where to use...

Posted by
35 posts

Thank you Dick. I've read everything on his site about the places we'll be going, as well as Santorini Dave's. I'm also in Matt Barrett's facebook group, although I don't get on FB very often these days so I don't see everything posted there.

Posted by
5269 posts

Well then, coals to Newcastle I guess re Matt Barrett. I think your new plan makes much more sense and will be easier to do. So here you are again, your itinerary has been flipped over, and you still have that extra night to figure out! Good problem to have, vs. having to cut out a night. I suggest Athens. Or you could overnight in Nemea or Corinth on the way from Delphi to Nafplio. Again, I can't speak to the islands.

Posted by
2904 posts

Add the night o NAXOS ... it has the MOST to offer, both for young people and for people interested in hiking, history, scenery etc. It's the largest Cycladic island, and inland just a couple of miles from the beach, you're in mountains, hill villages, farm country, amazing scenery (mountains made of marble!), ruins in orchard etc etc. You should stay at St. George Beach, directly adjacent to Naxos' port town... lovely, for sunsets & swims & water sports & just a 10-15 ;minute stroll along the seafront to all attractions of town. Naxos is also a family place, where it's safe for teens to have some independence, find others her age & "hang out." You can take a bus to outer beaches llike PLaka.... u onl need rent a c ar to swoop all around the island (or u can take a small-bus tour for same). Naxos will reward the time... and 4 nights just gives you 3 or 3.5 days... little enough, for this. Here are some pix of highlight, by another Naxophile, frequent contributor here, and supreme photographer, "stanbr" :
• Trip Around Naxos - http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157634605629689/
• Naxos Town - http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632094558042/
• Naxos Sunsets - https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157700728046481
• Naxos Mountains & Villages - https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632110674306/

And after that here's a "stanbr" album of gorgeous Nafplio, with a few glimpses of surrounding sights like Mycenae, Tiryns, Nemea and Epidaurus - http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632094108982/

Posted by
492 posts

We have travelled with two well behaved teenage daughters throughout most of Europe. I would definitely add the night to Naxos. The ferry from Athens to Naxos is enjoyable but by the time you settle you would only have two full days in Naxos. Its a nice place to relax a bit and the sea is fun

Posted by
1117 posts

You'll be spending two travel days going to and from Milos, and that will give you only one full day there. Sure, you can do that, but it doesn't seem like a sensible ratio to me. Is there anything on Milos you are particularly interested in? I have been to Milos, and we certainly enjoyed our stay (of about a week), but given your time frame, I am not sure if that is worth the trouble. In case you are going for the Venus (or Aphrodite), the original is in the Louvre. Milos has a small museum with a copy of it.

Let me make a suggestion: Leave out Milos altogether and add all your remaining nights on to Naxos. Then, do day trips to neighboring islands from there. With your interests, I'd recommend going to Delos for instance. Paros, Mykonos, and Tinos are within day trip reach too.

Posted by
2904 posts

Anna speaks my mind... and this brings up something about giving advice. It is SO helpful if an inquirer can say WHY they were drawn to a particular destination -- is it because of a specific site or activity that's unique to that place? Or is it just because you were enthralled by some internet pictures of the place? It would help us know whether its really worth your time, or going way out of y our way (a la Milos) in a short (10-14day) visit. Please share more, and we can give u our experiences with a place.

Posted by
35 posts

We picked Milos mostly because of the natural beauty. And we want to take a boat through Kleftiko’s rock formations and natural caves.

Posted by
1117 posts

O.k., thanks for explaining!

I can't speak to the caves since I haven't been there. The weather during our stay was not such that I, with my tendency to seasickness, would have voluntarily taken any unnecessary boat trips. :D

As far as the natural beauty goes, yes, Milos certainly has that, but IMHO no more or less than most other Greek islands. I would gladly go to Milos and spend a week there again, but I would certainly not cut my stay on any other island short by three days to spend one day on Milos.

Posted by
1801 posts

If you want natural beauty, I think Santorini has it hands down. It is closer to Naxos than Milos and it has more flights. You could fly there from Athens and then ferry to Naxos. Then fly back to Athens. That is what we did but we had a bit more time. We had three nights on Santorini and then four on Naxos.

Anna’s idea is even simpler and you certainly could easily spend 5-6 nights on Naxos. My young adult children loved Santorini but after one day on Naxos, told me that Naxos was even better!

Posted by
35 posts

We ruled out Santorini because it's expensive and crowded and some people say that it doesn't really feel like Greece anymore because of all of the tourists.
I'll have to think about the positives and negatives of not going to Milos. And I'll have to look at the islands within day trip range of Naxos. I've only looked at Paros so far.
Thank you all for your input! It's all very helpful.

Posted by
1117 posts

We ruled out Santorini because it's expensive and crowded and some
people say that it doesn't really feel like Greece anymore because of
all of the tourists.

That is all true, but Santorini is crowded and expensive and all that for a reason: It is simply spectacular. If you are looking for natural beauty, no other island can get even close. As an extra, it has two significant archaeological sites, so you've got history and mythology and all that too.

I've only looked at Paros so far.

We have stayed on Paros for several longer vacations and loved it, but in your case, with your limited time frame, it would not be my first choice as a day trip from Naxos, for the simple reason that it is somewhat similar to Naxos.

With an interest in history, archaeology, and mythology, I would go to Delos first. Mykonos is next door; it's a bit of a partying island, but it does have a very picturesque and charming harbor town. Tinos is a destination for Greek orthodox pilgrimage.