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Family Trip To Greece July 2022

We are a family of four with two older teenagers spending 18 nights (not including travel night) in Greece. This will be our first trip to Greece. We fly direct from NYC arriving on July 4th. We will take ferries to the islands. This itinerary seems to work well with the ferry schedules. Our tentative itinerary is:

Nafplio 2 nights (reserved Hotel Agamemnon 2 sea view rooms)
Mykonos 3 nights (day in Delos, kids really want to party/dance on the beach, and the water activities seem extensive—reserved a hotel near Paradise Beach)
Crete 6 nights (booked 4 nights in Chania Old Town—where to spend 2 nights?)
Santorini 1 night (ferry stops here, so we could just have coffee/lunch with the day tripping hordes)
Milos 3 nights (reserved a fishing house in Klima; also, Milos partly because daughter is a geology major)
Athens 3 nights
My main questions are:
-Any recommendations for where to spend 2 nights in Crete after Chania. A beach? We want to go to Knossos and be close to the ferry port in Heraklion for our early morning departure to Santorini/Milos.
-I’m debating whether to only have lunch/coffee in Santorini and add that night to either Milos or Crete. Any advice?
-Suggestions on where to stay in Athens?

Thank you for taking the time to help us!

Posted by
7495 posts

We spent two weeks in Chania but also went to the south coast and spent a few days in Loutro. Our friends who live in chania suggested that we go to Loutro and we were glad we did.

Posted by
964 posts

That is a very busy plan. Some of the logistics might be tweaked a bit.
Arrive Athens. How do you plan to get to Nafplio? Its a two hour drive in a rental car (driving jet lagged is not a good idea). Its an hour commute to the Athens bus terminal where there are hourly buses to Nafplio.

Nafplio to Mykonos. You now have to get back to Athens to the ferry port for a morning ferry.
Frankly thats just too much activity in too short a time.

It might be a better plan to leave Nafplio to the end of the trip and do it along with Athens before your flight home. By the way Hotel Agamemnon is in the perfect location right on the waterfront promenade. Good choice.

If it were me I would be looking for a flight or a ferry route that gets me to my first island on the day of arrival. I would choose to fly to to Crete first on the day of arrival. Believe me its way better getting over jet lag on an island.
Logistics are important when ferry hopping. If you ferry from Mykonos to Crete that is a return trip which will get you in to Heraklion about 7 in the evening. You will then have to drive or bus for 2 hours to get to Chania.

You can fly direct to Chania from Athens with flights in the early afternoon. Spend your 4 nights in the old town/harbour area. Its truly a wonderful experience.

Drive or bus to Heraklion for the two extra nights. Spend your time there enjoying central Heraklion or perhaps visiting Knossos and the archaeological museum.

Take the ferry to Santorini. Its an amazing place. Do stay at least one night. It will be crowded and expensive but its worth it.

There are direct ferries to both Milos and Mykonos from Santorini. So ferry to whichever one you want to do first and then take the daily ferry from Mykonos to Milos. I have not researched that route but there used to be a Seajets ferry that made that run. It is always late by the way.

Now return to the mainland for Nafplio and Athens.

Here is how your trip will look like.
Chania https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157632117917828
Castello Heraklion https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157686964935102
Heraklion https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157655935354556
Santorini https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157632154800782
Milos https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157634779985764
Milos 2 https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157632109429236
Mykonos https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157637922138466
Nafplio https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157632094108982
Athens https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157632121475515

Thats probably way too much information but it is a more logical logistical plan.

Posted by
38 posts

Thank you for the detailed response! Nice pictures! Our plan is to rent a car and drive to Nafplio. We are coming from NYC on a direct flight, so a relatively short trip. But I will think about the suggestion to move Nafplio to the end. My concern is that the kids will not be very patient/excited with Nafplio after visiting several islands.

It's good to hear that even 1 night in Santorini is worth it. I am considering changing Mykonos to Paros, where it seems the kids could do a little clubbing, but the stay wouldn't be centered around that. My kids are very active--cliff jumping, surfing, etc. We all enjoy beautiful cities and history. I'm also considering 4 nights in Paros (or Mykonos) and only 5 nights in Crete (4 in Chania/1 in Heraklion).

Any thoughts? Thank you!

Posted by
1645 posts

In 2018 we went to Greece with our young adult children (20-30). We went to Santorini and Naxos before Nafplio. Everyone loved Nafplio. In fact, the fortress there was some of our group's favorite activity.

So do what makes sense logistically.

Posted by
935 posts

Nafplio is one of the nicest towns in Greece. The children (kids) should love it. Lovely waterfront, narrow lanes with beautiful architecture, shops, markets, tavernas and the New Town isn't that bad. It's where locals do most of their shopping and has lots of more "modern" shops to check out.

There is or was anyway a great Farmer's Market, museums, Palamidi and Bourtzi Castles to explore. It really has something for everyone.

I would add more time to Nafplio by dropping maybe Milos or the 1 night in Santorini.

Here's the best website for Nafplio with everything you need to know about the town and surrounding area:

https://www.visitnafplio.com/

I've flown from Boston with a layover at JFK then off to Athens. It's a minimum of 9+ hours from JFK to Athens. In addition you have to take into account the time you need to get to the airport to check in and go through security then wait for the flight.

I would be hesitant about driving directly to Nafplio in another country on unfamiliar roads.

One easy and cost effective way (divided by the number of your family) is to go straight from the airport to Nafplio is by hired transfer. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride and not worry about jet lag, being tired and driving somewhere you haven't driven before.

Posted by
964 posts

This is just my perspective. Mykonos is considered to be a high end jet set party central island. While it is pretty and the archaeological site at Delos is a major attraction, all that means is Mykonos is very expensive. Since you are now wavering between Mykonos and Paros I am going to go with Beth and suggest you consider Naxos. It is similar to Paros in many ways but Naxos town is a much more interesting with its old market and Venetian era Kastro. There are lots of waterfront bars and tavernas to keep the young adults busy and there are great beaches and mountain villages to explore and hike around.

I suspect your whole family is going to enjoy Nafplio. Visiting the Fortress will take up a half day and everyone's imagination will be stimulated. Nafplio old town is a great place to wander around.

At the risk of too many images here is why I am suggesting you consider Naxos. It has everything you are looking for at half the price of Mykonos.
Naxos town https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157632094558042
Trip around Naxos https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157634605629689
Naxos sunsets https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157700728046481

Posted by
2812 posts

dab, the gentlemen are giving you Excellent advice based on itineraries they have taken on actual trips to your very destination, and in Stanbr's case, with teens exactlly the age of yours. I know you think you know better, but this is your first trip -- Stanbr has done 11 or 12, tommy k about the same... and Beth had a terrifically successful trip in 2018 WITH young adult children, following the sequence they suggest. Iv'e also followed much the same sequence numerous times, taking newcomers along. I hope you can be persuaded to benefit from their experience. It might require re-booking a few hotels... but among us old vets, the hard-learned wisdom is -- make sure you have the right itinerary BEFORE you lock in lodgings. However, I'm guessing/hoping that you've smartly reserved at the Free cancellation/alteration rate.

Here's what their advised sequence would be, Starting with arrival by noon July 4:
- CRETE (6 nights) -- Flight to Chania, 2-3 nights around there, then drive S, then NE to spend last night in Heraklion
- SANTORINI (1 night- for ferry connection) ferry arrives noon, FIRA room for just 1 night, enjoy caldera view & sunset
- MILOS - Day 8 (Early ferry) -9 ... ?? Klima?? ... BEST adventure = (catamaran) boat trip half-around island... Geological wonders!
-- NAXOS -- 10-11-12-13 Ferry connection is trickier... BUt I'll bet you a steak dinner that both you AND your kids will find this THE most rewarding/exciting island of the entire list -- swims, hikes, mountains, fascinating port "maze" .. great food, culture, ruins.
-- NAFPLIO (area) -- Early AM flight to ATH, rental car -- drive to Nafplio, stop 1 hr @ Ancient NEMEA (a runner-up "sacred games" to Olympia) - FAB ancient stadium! Nafplio Old Town & area has THREE forts/castles to explore, cute Town Beach and more history per squ foot than any place but Athens. (3 nights)
-- ATHENS --3 nights
.... if doing this requires finding new hotel bookings, all of us have tested recs for affordable places w great views.

Posted by
2812 posts

I realized that I had completed that whole suggested itinerary re-work without dissing Mykonos -- although I totally agree with Beth and Stan about Naxos. OK, let's look at Naxos vs. Mykonos. In July Naxos has numerous clubs that are lively, and a lot of teens having fun on the beaches. the Port town is buzzing every night in July, and a Place like Flamingo Club is a real "get up and dance" place even for teens below drinking age. The beaches have an array of water sports like Wind-surfing, kayaking etc. And there are a lot of places (such as Waffle House in Naxos town)that are totally teen-hangouts, from every country.

As for Mykonos -- The dancing on tables business at Paradise beach is part of a major drinking scene... is that what you really want for your teens? In addition, Mykonos may give you not only sticker shock but sticker paralysis... whereas Naxos sunbeds/sun umbrella rentals have gone up from €8 for 2 beds/and an umbrella all day --- In the bigger Mykonos beaches, 1 bed can be €25 - 30 or more. The price of casual meals will be roughly double that of Naxos.... and let's not even talk about upscale restaurants. To the MOOON! If u as parent want to wander around the streets, you'll soon feel as if you are on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, or upper 5th avenue or Miami Beach. over 200 shops like Cartier, Hugo Boss, Hermes, Calvin Klein, Prada, Gucci, Armani etc etc. This is for the cruise crowd -- it is NOT Greece. U can do that in the US and save the airfare.

Posted by
38 posts

Thank you all for taking the time to respond and share your knowledge and passion! A lot to think about. I am dropping Mykonos, and now considering either Naxos, which does sound wonderful, or Paros, for 4 nights. Any thoughts on Paros? It too sounds wonderful.

Also, any suggestions for places to stay in Athens?

Posted by
2812 posts

I love Paros as well ... but in my experience, the bus network in Naxos is better for getting around... I knowyou will have a car for at least a day there or maybe more, but y our teens also like to be independent. The best beaches in Naxos are all in a row ... about 12 miles golden sand ... so one bus gets you to all of them. These beaches run down the SW coastline, somewhat sheltered from the Meltemi winds that start up in July & run thru august. BTW, in JUly, my recommended place for staying would be PLAKA beach, which is long enough & wide enough so even a lot of visitors won't crowd it up that much. Places to stay that friends have liked, that are right ON the beach, inlude 3 Brothers, and Aegean Land. Bus stops right at each.... runs to port town in about 25 minutes. And in July, they run until v. late. The Port town, Naxos Town, has fascinating "stairstep maze" leading up to medieval fortress at the top.

In Paros it's different. Think of Paros as a left hand, and the port town is at the base of the thumb. Beaches and villages are out on the fingers and at the other side of the hand... and all the buses go out from the port town ... so, most places require going back to the base & getting another bus. A lot of their beaches are on the East side of Paros, which gets a lot mor wind... good for windsurfing, but not so good for swimming. Paros port of Parikia also has a "maze" layout you'll get lost in, but is flat, rather than hilly. I've stayed in Paros about 4-5 times, but my favorite place to stay is Antiparos ... beutiful beaches walkable from tiny port.

Posted by
2812 posts

Athens places?? My basic advice is to stay within close walking distance of the Acropolis ... many other "landmark sites" are also clustered there. It will be HOT in July, so it's good to be near your rooms, if you suddenly want to collapse in the a/c. I have a GOOD online central Athens Map I like for browsing... http://www.orangesmile.com/destinations/img/athens-map-big.jpg Click & it gets huuuge -to get oriented, find Acropolis & put it in the Center, & use side-slides to navigate). Map clearly shows which streets are little lanes, and which are wide thorofares with 6 lanes of traffic rumbling by all day long. I like staying just to the Immediate RIGHT of the Acropolis, in the lower part of the PLAKA district (all those blue-checked streets are no-cars lanes) or, even more, just SOUTH of the Acropolis, (Makrigiani), just below that loong pedestrianized promenade that runs alongside the ruins site. YOu can enter the Acropolis Grounds right from that walk. Both these areas have low-rise buildings, lots of trees, NO big roaring avenues, quieter & restful. On the map you can see Akropoli Metro station. the purple block adjoining is the Acropolis Museum. Several nice mid-range hotels in Makrigiani are Hotel Hera, Hotel Herodion, its sister hotel Phillipos and Airotel Parthenon... ask for high floor rooms, with balcony if possible.

IMPORTANT - Booking dot com used to provide only hotels, but now it also carries private apartments -- and some of these can be VERY well located places near the acropolis -- at prices jst as good or better than many hotels. If u want an apt, I have favored using this agency rather than VRBO or AirBnB, -- those other sites may require more advancd $$ or less reliable provisions for free cancellations or refunds. To browse for availability & rates this "tiny URL -- http://tinyurl.com/heq6edp -- is a Booking dot com website, with the filter " Acropolis" Each listing will say ".2 mi" or ".5 miles from Acropolis" etc. To see EXACT location of all at once, click the "show on Map" box in upper RH Corner. U see blue balloons clustered on a map. Click on one & it gives name of place & rate for your length of stay. TIP: when you enlarge map, it adds more balloons (!). With a quick look, i found quite a number of apts right near the Metro station, that offer 3 rm apt with beds for 4, anwhere between $380 - 800 for 3 nights. Lots of choice!

Posted by
3140 posts

We loved Santorini and Nauplio. We took a snorkeling trip from Nauplio and saw an octopus. The water was cold though so we had to wet suits were provided.

Posted by
38 posts

Wow! This is amazing advice. I just sent a request to 3 Brothers in Naxos, and now I'm going to study the Athens links. Thank you!!

Posted by
1645 posts

We stayed just south of the Acropolis in an air bnb (there were six of us) and thought the location was superb. We had a roof deck and ate take out our last night looking at the Acropolis lit up with an orchestra playing (not sure why but we enjoyed it). The only disadvantage is we found we had to walk a couple blocks south to get better prices as right around the Acropolis was comparatively more expensive.

We stayed in St. George area in Naxos which was walking distance from the town. I would guess Janet is suggesting Plaka beach because area will be less crowded in July. But realize there is not a real town there-just some hotels and restaurants. We did go there for an afternoon and had a great lunch on the beach. If you think that beach will be your focus, it is a good choice. The beach at Naxos town is more shallow and probably not as good for swimming for teens. We did not swim there but actually we found so many things to do on Naxos that we only swam one afternoon! And this was after choosing Naxos for its beaches!

Posted by
2812 posts

Great tips, Beth ... I too stay at St. George but I go in late May- early June as you did, and July IS more crowded alas. Yes, Plaka isn't a town... that's why I stress the frequent easy bus service. That's another reason Plaka is good... it's almost at the start of the beach-end of the bus service, so you can always get a seat going to town... The outbound busses ru n until after midnight, you board them at the Bus turnaround at the foot of the ferry pier. Key thing re bus travel - no tickets sold on bus. You buy a bunch at the kiosk by the pier.... and also i think each beach town has a shop that sells tickets also.

Many beach stayers thus choose to go to port town several evenings ... and on other evenings, enjoy the great food at Petrino's, and the kind of "shirley Valentine" experience of sunset dinner at Mike & Marias, where the chairlegs literally sink into the sand, right by the waterline. I think Stanbr's "Naxos Sunset" album has photos of these...

Posted by
2812 posts

A PS to Dab -- we've been happy to give you detailed advice from our experience, on the logistics of a Greece visit... how to reach a destination, where to stay, how to get around. But I hope this does not deter you from doing some real "homework" to greatly enhance your experience. I don't mean just the eating & sport activity -- I'm talking about the culture, the ancient sites, the stunning landmarks, the museum treasures... and one cannot get it all by flipping thru links on your computer or phone. There's nothing like a good guidebook --- and you have plenty of time to go to the library and bring home an armful. Go thru them, photocopy a few pages, then buy the one that speaks to you the most. If you're spending $10K on this Big Trip, it's worth 10-15 bucks for a guide. No need to buy the v. latest edition -- because you already use these forums & internet sites to get the most up-to-date info on hotels & transit ... and the info on culture, history, ancient sites etc, doesn't change that much. And here's an idea: Assign each of your teens a destination (I suggest Nafplio & Naxos) and challenge them to come up with a must-see, must-do list & say why!

Here are some worthwhile Guide options:
• RICK STEVES GUIDE -- Terrific on Athens -- PLUS this website has FREE downloadable audio step-by-step guides to Acropolis, Ancient Agora, the Natl. Arch. Museum -- & same info is also in print, in his guide. THIS enables u to D-I-Y your landmarks instead if in a huge tour. Good on Nafplio & surrounding area... For the Islands, look at other sources. SUPER-useful - his "Survival Phrase List" ... not for conversations (most Greeks speak at least some English), but to express yourself a bit, greet & thank people, etc. Many guides have such lists but his list shows clearly how to pronounce and (vital) what syllables to STRESS. Print out a copy for each family member to carry, and you'll be surprised how many successful connections you'll enjoy!

• ROUGH GUIDE -- I like this for indepth historical sites, maps, background, understanding of culture ... older editions again, are better than new ones, which overload on photos & travel directions. Ditto on LONELY PLANET. If any of your party wants a "deep dive" into ancient sites, the Blue Guides are the "Gold Standard."

On the internet, very worthwhile info sources are:
VISIT NAFPLIO -- http://www.visitnafplio.com/ NONcommercial, absolutely Gold -- don't miss links on Walks (like the water-edge one around the Peninsula point) and beaches/swims (my fave, Kastraki-Assine cove, plus the "plunge" just past the point)
GREEK FOOD & DRINK - https://www.greecetravel.com/greek-food/index.html - a great! illustrated compendium of Yummm

Posted by
38 posts

These guides look great. I obsessively do my "homework." I just reserved an apartment on Booking that is on Makrigiani--looks beautiful. Again, thank you.

Posted by
1767 posts

You can take a bus from the Athens airport to the central bus station and transfer there to get to Nafplio (2h from the central station). After a good night’s sleep, rent a car in Nafplio for the day and visit Mycenae (45-minutes) and Epidavros (45-minutes from Nafplio) for the day. If that interests you add a night in Nafplio.

Posted by
2812 posts

IF you are still hooked on Nafplio first, Mary Pat's suggestion is wise... but it should be 3 nights... that way you can explore the town the AM of day 1, enjoy swims in afternoon, then NEXT am do the 2 ruins. In fact one year, 3 friends & I did a 1-day "ruin-a-thon" drive: @ 9am were at Mycenae for 2 hrs... then 45 min stop @ Tiryns fortress-ruin, right on the road, ate our picnic ... Next, Epidaurus (mainly for the amazing theatre), then at 5pm, returning toward Nafplio, we stopped at ASINE, an overlooked little ruin with a tiny Cove beach, with just ONE taverna. We used their facility to don swim suits & had a plunge to cool off, then sat on their terrace for a fish dinner & sunset. (Of course this was late May -- longer days, cooler temps) ... But u could try it, whatever point in yr journey you go to Nafplio.

Posted by
274 posts

Full disclosure-I did not read the other respondents' posts, so not sure if this was mentioned. Consider a catamaran tour while on Milos. This past summer we took an all day tour with Polco sailing: around Milos and over to Polyaigos (see link below). The tour stopped at several beaches with options to swim/snorkel. It was an amazing tour, especially when we got to Polyaigos, which has turquoise water, it's almost indescribable.
The tour offered all the water and food we needed. All you have to bring is a swimsuit, towel, sunscreen, hat and camera. It's that easy.
https://www.polco-sailing.com/semiprivate-round-milos-poliegos.html
Edit: I went through and read the suggestions. Janet is a wealth of knowledge and has given us so much good advice for our two trips to Greece. This past summer we went to Milos, Naxos, and Mykonos. I'm with the opinion that Mykonos is just not worth it. The sunbeds were renting for 50 each versus 10 for two on Naxos. The food was more than double the price, and the vibe is just not one of relaxation or fun-it's frenetic and exhausting. Plus, the cruise ships go to Mykonos and not to Naxos, which makes it worth choosing one island over the other.

Posted by
769 posts

I took overnight ferries from Minoan lines to and from Crete, in October 2018. I spent a night in Heraklion, at a hotel called El Greco. 2 nights in Heraklion would be the most obvious place to spend your other 2 nights in Crete. 4 nights in Chania seems like a lot of time to spend in Chania, unless you are going take some day trips.

My ferry did not stop at Santorini. I don't understand stopping at Santorini for just one night. Skip Santorini. Save it for another trip.

I spent 3 nights in Nafplio.