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Feedback and Suggestions for a 21 Day Itinerary to Greece

My wife and I, both 68 years old, are planning out first trip to Greece. We have never gone on a full guided tour, so we are basically planning our own tour with help from others. I did contact Matt's Website & Fantasy Travel about doing the bookings for transportation and hotels for six nights on the Greek Islands. Fantasy travel suggestions are incorporated.

On all our previous trips to Europe, we have used Rick Steves Guidebooks, the only guidebook I can actually read, and he has never let us down, especially hotels and restaurants (this forum suggests many other places than those in the book). RS Greece book(2014) has been my major planning tool. I have received valuable suggestions from this forum, Matt's website and Fantasy, my AirBnB host and have refined the itinerary. We do not like one night stays, so have set up several home base destinations to do day trips.

Let me know what you think of my prospective itinerary:

Wed May 4 - Arrive in Athens (4 days, erase jet lag & we like cities.)

Thurs May 5- Athens City Walk / tour

Fri May 6- Acropolous/Agora /Museum

Sat May 7- Nat Arch Museum

Sun May 8- rent car Delphi

Mon May 9- Tour Delphi area-sleep Delphi

Tues May 10- Drive to Nafplio- sleep in Nafplio

Wed. May 11- Tour Mycenae- sleep Nafplio

Thurs May 12- Sight see Epidavros- sleep Nafplio

Fri May 13- drive to Monemvasia, then Elafonisos overnight

Sat May 14- drive to Kardamyli- sleep Kardamyli

Sun May 15- tour kardamyli & Mani P- sleep Kardamyli

Mon May 16- tour kardamyli & Mani P- sleep Kardamyli or Tolo* or near Mystras*

Tues May 17- Driive to Athens Airport- fly to Santorin
.
Wed. May 18- Santorini

Thurs May 19- Santorini

Fri May 20- Naxos

Sat May 21- Naxos

Sun May 22- Naxos

Mon May 23- ferry to Athens

Tues May 24- Airport - Athens Home

  • trying to get closer to Athens for drive to airport to catch a 1:10 PM flight to Santorini.

Any insights on this itinerary. We need to fill in actual sights to see that are in the guidebooks. Do you have suggestions for the area around Kardamyli and the Mani Peninsula? Any and all locations here, really.

Your website and comments on RS Forum have plenty of suggestions for the area around Nafplio, however, it occurred to me that it might be better to stay somewhere closer to Athens than Kardamyli on May 16th, somewhere close to Nafplio, to make it a shorter drive to the Athens Airport the following day. Your suggestions will be appreciated. Tolo? Mystras?

We were originally going to go to Hydra, however, other than being Leonard Cohen's favorite island and the donkeys, many people on this forum say skip it, especially if we are going to other islands. We also eliminated going to Olympia, because we are told it is a boring 6 hour drive from Delphi and we can see other stadia in Nemea. When we were going to do the drive to Olympia, we had thought of going to Kefalonia (a Chicago Restaurant owner I know has a family resort at Sami Bay), however, per Fantasy Travel, we think Santorini and Naxos (or other island, Paros???) will be more memorable. Do you have any additional suggestions for a six day island part of the trip? Many on this forum say to skip Santorini.

I have been communicating with both Swift Car Rental and ACR. Is there anything I should know about either company? We will want an automatic transmission sedan with a trunk and GPS. I kind of liked the idea of having someone drive us to the outskirts of Athens.

One more, question; I have been reading that there is construction and scaffolding on Monemvasia, which is why I have chosen to stay at Elafonisos. What is going on at Monemvasia and what do I need to be aware of. Maybe substitute a night in Nafplio for Monemvasia?

Your help in refining this is appreciated. Thank you.

Posted by
2891 posts

You are going to have a great time, and am glad to see that you x'd Hydra. Rick Bless his heart hasn't been to an island since forever, and Hydra is the only one in his book so all the "Rickheads" head there like lemmings... but Naxos SO much more worthwhile (I say this having been to 25+ islands). Do some research on Fodors or TA about Naxos joys.

MAINLAND --Your trip looks sensible, but I'd say yes, add a night to Nafplio, and maybe drop one in Kardamyl. It's nice but hey, just a nice little village. I presume you are not relying on Old Man Matt Barrett for all your sightseeing info. You should of course spend HOURs at http://www.visitnafplio.com probably BEST info website in all Greece. U will easily see that one could spend a week in the area! As for sequence & getting close to airport ... after Nafplio, why not drive straight ahead to Kardamyli and work your way BACK so u will be at Monemvasia or Elafonisi on last day before going to airport. BTW, I have heard that Elafonissi is MOBBED by day, but maybe not in mid-may. Anyway, go there after 2 pm, and busses will be leaving fairly soon. At the time you are visiting Greece, you might just "go with the Flow" on these days. I would not stay around Mystras. It all depends on if you plan to stop on the way, jump off at Isthmia to see Corinth Canal. Me, if I were coming up that "finger" from Monemvasi, I'd think about stopping in a more "greek" seaside town, on that side of the Bay of Argos -- Like Mylos, or Paralia Astros.

ISLANDS -- I always think 2 nights in SANTORINI is plenty ... stay in Firostefani (10 minute walk to Fira shops & nightlife, but SO quiet, and no tour groups). In early AM, jump on bus to go to Oia to enjoy it before the incredible cruise-crowd crams the streets... then beat it and go elsewhere (also enjoy sunsets elsewhere -- one place I Looove is top floor of STANI restaurant in Fira Town, great views, u can reserve best table by stopping by during day). On 3rd day, take that 3:30 BLUE STAR ferry to NAXOS ... open decks so u can photograph the famous view on leaving ... 2 hr "mini-cruise, sit on deck, arrive Naxos 5:30. Perfect time of year -- stay in St. George beach next to Port town -- same advantage as Firostephani ... walkable to things to see/do, but quiet at night. FERRY choices To PIRAEUS -- if you take the 9:45 AM (arr 3pm) you pretty much chop up the middle of your last day... The 6pm Ferry gives you a last afternoon at the beach ( Noon check out bu u can leave luggage w. hotelier, and arrange for a quick 4pm use of vacant bathroom to wash off the sand & change into travel clothes). U can enjoy sunset on deck, snack at onboard cafe, then nap in (reserved) indoor comfy seat until midnight arrival. This is best if you have a SANE departure time the next day. i.e, 9 am or later.

Posted by
21282 posts

I found Mystras very evocative, perhaps because it sort of tumbles down the hillside. But Mystras is really just the archaeological site. The nearby city is Sparta, which--despite the name we've all heard of--seemed to be quite modern and not very interesting. I'd definitely stay elsewhere, as Janet suggests.

Posted by
29 posts

Thank you Janet and Acreven gor the quick replies.

I really like the suggestion to go to Kardamyli right after Nafplio and then work back to Nafplio. And I can stop at the Mystras site on the way to Kardamyli. I will look at the resources and plan a route going back towards Nafplio.

Now you have me thinking, maybe a few one nighters may be the way to go. One night in Kardamyli, go drive the Mani Peninsula, and find other locations to spend nights, maybe Gytheio, Elafanisos, Monemvasia.

How long is the drive from Kardamyli, around the Mani Peninsula (excluding time for stops, meals, sight seeing) to say Gytheio?

How are the roads from Gytheio to Elafanisos and Monemvasia. The Michelin map that I am looking at has it marked as "regional road". How much time should I allow for such a drive?

Islands:
The comments on this forum really make me think that for my six days on islands, maybe two nights on Santorini is adequate to get the view experience and then go to Naxos for four nights? Does it make sense to try and add paros? Or just finish our trip with relaxing on Naxos?

Your suggestion about taking an evening ferry back to Athens is interesting, however, I am not sure that I have the stamina to do late day travel and or run the risk of last minute weather issues.

You know, 20 years ago I use to usr travel agents frequently.... then they closed shop and it was do it yourself on the internet. Do you think it makes sense to use a travel agent to book my island tour and all the connections? Recommendations? I am spending so much time on the road trip portion, it seems to me to make sense.

Thanks again.

Al

Posted by
21282 posts

I think Naxos needs more time than Santorini, so 4 nights/2 nights sounds good to me. But I'm one who is tolerant of crowds for a while, then I need to be somewhere else. I liked that Naxos was large enough that there was such a thing as "inland", and there were few other tourists there. (OK, that was 20 years ago...)

Paros is very close to Naxos and there are several ferries a day, so I'd stay on Naxos and do a day-trip to Paros. You can leave that decision till you've been on Naxos a day or two.

Not sure that you need a travel agent's help here. Are you concerned about ferry schedules?

Posted by
2891 posts

Al, we've taken time to provide solid experience-based advice, now it's YOUR job to research questions that don't need our experience, just YOUR time, at the computer, i.e. roads/distances. http://www.viamichelin.com/web/Routes Is almost OCD in its incredible detail: fastest route AND recommende route: distance/time/cost (In gas AND tolls), plus graphic route map AND text, giving each little twist & turn. We don't need to do that for you. And ask the car rental guy; that's what he is for. I can tell you that 2ndary road is just a small paved road with 1 lane +shoulder each way, (which u scoot over on, if speedy GReek rides your bumper). But off the biggie intercity hiway, pract. no traffic in May.

PELOPS -- I think that if a person wants to see many places, one-nighters are good (except for Nafplio which is the ONLY place that makes sense as a base). Sometimes when I see such an agenda I wonder if the person really craves to see all that or if he just likes to "notch his belt" with the longest check-off list (My list is longer than your list!!!).

ISLANDS - YES, YES YES, you should cut your time in Santorini to 2 nights, It's really just about the view, not even about GReece any more (even the waiters are Albanian). Naxos deserves at LEAST 4 nights. If you are bored after night #3, you could just take the 9:45 BLUE STAR to PAROS (arr 10:15), spend day there, stay over, THEN ferry to Mainland. But you won't feel that way I guarantee you.

The EVENING FERRY OPTION -- I am sorry if that scares you. The BLUE STAR ferries are HUGE... really actually small ocean liners... (1400 - 1800 psgrs + 250 vehicles) They are the most modern reliable vessels in Greece, and have NEVER had to cancel a sailing in 20 years, in the roughest winter weather. And June is the calmest water & weather of entire year. The sea is like GLASS. I know this because I've taken this very sailing at least 4x. As for late-day travel, I"m sorry you don't feel you have the stamina for it. That may be, as you're 68. But I'm 83.... and I just make sure I get my naps!! I put in earplugs, an eye-mask, and I SNOOZE in my reserved seat for 2-3 hours and disembark refreshed. YOu can do it!!

FERRY SCHEDULES -- the ONLY ferry line you need to know about is BLUE STAR, and its schedules to the Cyclades have been the same for DECADES. This website http://www.gtp.gr/RoutesForm.asp tells all. With the blue star schedule you can even click on "more info" and get a PHOTO of the ship + passenger capacity AND Speed!

TRAVEL AGENCY -- If you do decide to use one, you Should NOT pick a US one. You should work with a Greece-based agency -- that way, if there is a glitch, the staff is right in the country to fix it. There are several with good reviews for working online with North Americans -- Dolphin-Hellas, Aegean-Thesaurus, Fantasy Travel. You can have them book your ferries and if you spend over €300 on ferries. there will be no cost; otherwise, there's a fee (and as you say, you want to stay flexible about which ferries). They'll book hotels of course (but remember they only use hotels that charge a high enough room rate that it's worth it to pay an agency commission). FUrthermore, they may automatically recommend a hotel that they consider "typical Americans want" -- they have their stereotypes about us, which may fit you, or may NOT. And of course an agency package includes "transfers"-- that word that means a cab driver is standing at the ferry pier with a sign with your name on it... and that costs you €20. While if you have the Stamina to wave your hand, you can hail a taxi for €5. And in Naxos, almost all hotels provide a free ride from pier to hotel. it's up to you. Yes, the do-it-yourself approach takes time. But hey, you're retired! Every day is a holiday!

Posted by
29 posts

Janet, thank you so much for the straight talk reply. Your attitude is refreshing and reminding me of the reason I like to travel. Life, be prepared and ready to improvise. You really made me think about the itinerary. I really love researching and planning a trip; I just get so filled with "uncertainty" about making choices (even tho I know that once I make a choice, a whole slew of more choices appear, adding to the detail, joy and intensity). Your website suggestions are very helpful. In reality, there is not really a "craving" for sights to see, and there is no real need for a long "checklist"; at this point in the planning, there is just an enormous amount of choices!

Using that viamichelin map site, really makes locations and choices more apparent and easier to whittle down. I think I am content with staying in this one area for more days and really exploring it and relaxing in the ambience than driving all over for longer distances.

For instance, the idea of staying in Kardamyli as a base, really came from reading the RS book. Since I am not going to drive to Olympia, it really makes more sense to stay in Gytheio for a couple of nights, as it is more central to Kardamyli and Monemvasia and Elafanisos. Do you have suggestions for Gytheio?

From what I am learning, it seems that at this time in the month of May in the Peloponese, I do not have to book every night of hotels and have more options and flexibility. Is that pretty accurate? Any exceptions to be aware of?

I would appreciate your opinion on a few choices of the most recent itinerary:

1) Since I am not planning the 4.5 hour drive to Meteora from Delphi, if we leave Athens early on a Sunday, we can get to Dephi and see the museum and the Sanctuary of Apollo, spend the night and drive to Nafplio the next day. This would give us an extra day in the Pelops. Am I on the right track here?

2) After a few nights in Nafplio, drive to Gytheio, stopping in Mystras on the way. Stay 2 -3 nights in Gytheio, doing day trips to mani peninsula, Kardamyli, caves, and other places that I learn about.

3) I still have to choose whether to just spend an afternoon at Elafanisos or spend a night there.

4) I want to spend a night at Monemvasia, then drive the coastal road back towards Nafplio. I still need to research the last night in the Peloponese ( I want to be no more than 2 - 2.5 hours from Athens airport, where we will get a flight to Santorini.) Suggestions?

5) Two nights in Santorini. Ferry to Naxos. (I will book the flight to Santorini in advance; do I need to book ferry tickets in advance for this time in May?)

6) Four nights in Naxos. I will take your suggestion about the 6:00 pm ferry from Naxos to Piraeus. My air BnB host from Athens can arrange for a friend's mother to pick us up and have us stay at their place 15 minutes from the airport and then drive us to the airport in the morning.

Any additional suggestions and comments are appreciated, as well as any other websites that you recommend for research. I do have a couple of guide books and may get some others.

Thanks,
Al

Posted by
2891 posts

Al, I'm a "straight talker' simply because I don't have enough time to pussyfoot. and keyboarding is SO tedious. I just wrote long reply, hit wrong key, lost whole damn thing. TERSE replay to Queries 1-5:
(1) YES, good to go to Nafp early monday.
(2) I am not drawn to Gythio (ordinary fishing village) nor a big fan of Byzantine era Thus Mystras & Monemvasa do nothing for me, I also yawn at Mani towers of feuding famlies, and Kardymyli is another nice village but meh??
(3) IMHO skip Elafonissi; oversold, famous for being famous. Me, I'd rather experience Gialove (see below) before it's discovered and tour-bussed to death.
(4) Because I get tired of typing same thing over/over, I paste here my advice from a January thread:
"If you don't go to Kardamyl, you can continue to PYLOS, beautiful small town \with a remarkable small square looking out at the sea(designed by the FRench, n'est pas?). Stop for a drink, then continue on 10Km. There is a little sign "Gialova"... turn left on a dirt road about 200 yards & u are on a glorious beach. Gialova is only about 10 football fields long. On the beachfront lane 3 hotels I think, about 7 tavernas, a small Grocery. U will see a HOtel Zoe, with a palm grove in front. http://www.zoeresort.com (don't be scared; it is NOT a resort, some web-designer must have talked them into adding that word; it's a lovely family-run hotel).
"Reserve ahead, in the front (original) building, for a room facing the sands, with sea view balcony with canvas awning. Take a nap. The sea is aquamarine. In the Palm Grove are deep wicker chairs, cushioned. Older British people sit there, reading novels by Virginia Woolf. There is a pier with no boats. At 5 pm, cars pull up & park there. Greek daddies, coming from work, get out with their children and play in the water. When the sun goes down, lanterns light up under the trees, where there are tables. Have dinner. Zoe will tell you what's on that night. She's pretty, college-educated, in her 20s, fluent in 3 languages. Her granddad named the hotel for her. The next day you can drive to the most remarkable beach in greece -- Vodakilli. Perfectly round. No sunbeds. No kiosks. No tour crowds. You will remember it. Or just walk down the beach in front of zoe for 4 miles or so.... " The Zoe website tells all about the amazing wildlife refuge, the castle ruins, the Battles of the Bay of Navarone (both the Ancient and the Independence War). All this is more interesting than those wacky Mani castles the RS book loves.
(4 - A) ON WAY BACK -- Stop at Ancient MESSINE ... right off highway. These were the oppressed people who finally revolted against the awful SPartan opressors, then to defend themselves built the Biggest wall in world next to Great Wall of China. U don't need to walk it; just look it up on Wikipedia... go to most picturesque part, go to taverna right in the site &have a cold Mythos &l look at the view and move on.

(4- B) O'NIGHT STAY -- Coming via Tripoli to Corinth, BEST option is LOUTRAKI .. it's ON the "Isthmus" (see Google Map) https://www.google.com/maps/@37.8682637,22.8138037,10z?hl=en On LH side, above word "Corinth" seaside resort, tons of hotels,no need to book ahead.

(5). FERRY. BLUE STAR to NAXOS = 1500-1800 passangers. NO need to book until Day u leave for the dock. Sailing is 3:30. Get "economy" unreserved, u will just sit on deck for the short 2+ hour trip. But BEWARE: you are funneled into a "Pen" (airplane hanger look), and guards let u out the other end when boarding it permitted. Choice deck seats are 1st Come- 1st Served, and throngs of Asian tourist groups push/shove old Grannies aside (think Tokyo subways) to garner best seats. NO Manners. Thus, get to pier by 2:30 and hustle thru "pen" to seats by exit door. Then 1 of you stashes your heavy bags on the NAXOS rack at Car level, while the other scampers up to economy deck to secure best spots. This strategy has developed from at least 6 trips on this route.

Posted by
29 posts

Janet, thanks for the tip aboutt Gialova.

I am taking your advice to heart about Monemvasia, Elafanisos, Kardamyli. Still reading. After 3 nights in Nafplio, I may drive from Nafplio to Sparta and see Mystras, then drive to Monemvasia for one night (skip Elafanisos) and then head to Gialova for a few nights and make day trips around the area. Then head back to Loutraki and then the airport to go to the islands.

Posted by
2891 posts

Glad I could help you firm up your itinerary ideas. Hope it all works out splendidly. And would you do us a favor??? Come back afterwards and tell us how it went, your highpoint, the missteps. On other forums, people do this regularly, but on the Steves Forum, inquirers haven't yet got the habit. Let's start a trend!
PS: I have soft spot for Chi; spent a year commuting there, for a job that kinda blew up, but it was a treat -- I stayed at that Grande Olde Hotel (Belden Stratford?) up by the Lincoln Park Conservatory? Fun! And I became a fan of Hubbard St. Dancers!

Posted by
1015 posts

Hi Al. Janet seems to have taken good care of you and you are going to have a pretty special trip.
The only thing that Janet said that made me blink, was not enjoying Mystras, Mani and Monemvassia. The ruins at these sites plus Nafplio are Venetian/Turkish dating from the 1300 to 1500's. They are all essentially intact For me these sites are one of the best features of Greece.
The ancient stuff are part of myths and legends but one needs to have lots of imagination to figure out what was there.

I am happy to see you are including the Mani and its tower houses, (see if you can find Patrick Leigh Fermor's book on the Mani. It brought that trip alive for us.

We used ACR. They met us at the airport gave us a map signed some papers and walked around the car and we were on our way within 15 minutes. Insurance seemed to be good however we never had a need to use it. I can recommend them. Driving in Greece now is not nearly as hectic as it used to be. Most people can't afford the gas any more. Just have two people paying attention. One driving and one looking for signs and looking at the map. Keep way over to the right and be aware of what is happening behind you as the rental cars can't keep up with the BMW's and Mercedes which routinely travel around 150km per hour and pass you extremely quickly. We always rent from the airport so we don't have to drive in Athens.

If you do get toe Pylos area there are several Venetian era Castles including two at Pylos, and others at Koroni, and Mythoni. All worth a visit.
Here are images of your trip
Naxos Town http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632094558042/
Trip around Naxos http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157634605629689/
Olympia Delphi Meteora https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157645469717811/
Peloponnese Battle Castles https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157645468134284/
Nafplio and Peloponnese http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632094108982/
Santorini http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632154800782/

Posted by
4535 posts

I'm a big fan of Mystras. Partly because I like Byzantine architecture and history, and partly because it is so scenic. I liken it to the Pompeii of Byzantium. Sparta itself isn't all that interesting. Monemvasia is the Byzantine version of Mount Ste. Michelle.

Epidavros is a fairly quick stop on the way to or from Nafplio and Athens. Otherwise it's kind of a far drive and waste to go there and back.

I recommend Hosios Loukas, another Byzantine monastery on the way to Delphi. Very beautiful and not a ruin like Mystras. Get good directions as the turn-off is hard to find. But it is a short distance off the highway.

Posted by
2891 posts

Al, as others have figured out alredy, on some of these forums, Stanbr and I are sort of a "tag team" (was that in TV wrestling?" EIther I come in with some flashy moves, and then he comes in and polishes it off ... or vice versa! What I forget, he adds or corrects. Between us, we get 'er done. DOug has such good metaphors *The Pompeii of Byzantium" (!!) maybe he'd like to join the team!! Al, we all wish you a happy trip!

Posted by
29 posts

Stanbr, Janet, Doug,
Thanks again for all your advice and preferences. Great tag Team! I feel a whole lot better about this trip after doing research about all of your suggestions. I realize that for the 8 or 9 days of driving in the Peloponese, I am really only a few hours from each destination, kind of like driving from Chicago to Milwaukee or Denver to Aspen. The language may be Greek, but I'll follow the map. With a whole lot of ancient sights to experience.

I am down to the point of booking some of my crucial transportation and a few hotels. I would like your opinions about the following choice.

After 3 nights in Nafplio, I will drive to Monemvasia (via Sparta and Mystra) and spend the night (if I can get a room on the rock).

Here is the key choice situations:

1) After leaving Monemvasia, I can go direct to Gialova and spend three nights. Or stay a night somewhere near the Mani Peninsula and spend some time driving that loop and seeing other sights (Are the caves worth it or just a tourist trap?), and then go to Gialova the next day. If you were to spend a night near the Mani Peninsula, where would you stay?

2) Since Gialova seems to be kind of a beach area (with a good amount of places to visit in the area), I am inclined to spend an extra day in this area and one less day in Naxos (Island trip is 2 nights in Santorini and 4 nights on Naxos (on 5th day I will take the 18:30 ferry to Piraeus.) So one additional day in Peloponese and one less day on Naxos? Your opinion on that choice would be appreciated, and I realize that I may get three different opinions.

Thanks folks,
Al G

Posted by
2891 posts

I'm not sure how this divides, i cannot keep your calendar in my head, but as for caves, in your limited trip I would not spend a day on same. As for cutting days elsewhere Gialova is so peaceful that 3 nights there feels like 4 anywhere else -- so don't take a day from Naxos, please.

Here's what yo could do if you arrive Gialova early afternoon:
• Day one (1/2 day) -- have late-day swim and loooong walk down unpeopled beach. Dinner & starlight
• Day two -- drive car N. to jump-off point to Voidokilli beach, and walk to Castles on ?peninsula? -- late day, drive to Pylos for
cocktails at beautiful square & nice dinner out.
• Day three -- whatever appeals! Nestor's Palace ruin is closed, so that's out. Wildlife refuge? trip to Messine & back?? (round trip less than 2 hrs) or just beach time ...

About your driving comparison, no not really. In GReece, 100 miles (160 KM) is not really like 100 miles in US. Our country is entirely covred with modern highways, at least 2 lanes each side, and mostly FLAT (chi to Milwaukee). Once you get off that Biggie Intercity road into Pelops (Ithink it goes as far as Tripoli), then things change. some flat areas, more hills than not, and 2-lanes period (plus shoulder). Also, driving in midwest you do not often slow down to look at stuff. A cow is a cow is a cow, a cornfield is a cornfield (I grew up in Indiana). Greece is different. Just sayin'. Many more looks to the gallon. Newbies seldom exceed 40 mi per hour. The Michelin drive planner is for people who've seen it all before and Just Want to Get There. That's not us, right?

Posted by
29 posts

I really am looking forward to 3 nights in Gialova, however, the choice that I need to make is whether to ADD ANOTHER NIGHT (not even considering dropping a night from Gialova) to stay somewhere near the Mani Peninsula between a night in Monemvasia and Gialova and spend 3 nights in Naxos instead of 4. Janet, I realize that you are not particularly fond of the Mani, so I am trying to decide to just drive thru the area on the way to Gialova or actually spend a night and drive slower with some stops. I like the rest of the Peloponese road trip and am trying to decide whether to drop one day on Naxos (I will still have 2 nights on Santorini and 3 nights, 4 days on Naxos.)

I am fully cognizant that I am truly blessed to have something like this as a choice to struggle with.

Al G

Posted by
2891 posts

Al if you've already been to Naxos before perhaps 3 would be enough, I would say add a day to Naxos, certainly not subtract a day from it.

Posted by
29 posts

janet, I just read a really long post that you wrote about a Naxos Itinerary from about a years ago. Very helpful.

Posted by
1102 posts

I have to ditto the poster that said she loved Mystras, Monemvasia, and the tower houses. I loved them too. The first tower house they did into a museum site is in Old Kardamyli and was really great, especially for how small it was. Then we just followed the path upwards to take in a hike above Kardamyli. Make sure you get a map from your hotel. I know others simply enjoyed walking to Old Kardamyli and then relaxing on the beach in the afternoon. Depends on how active you want to be.

Have a great time!

Posted by
29 posts

janet, stanbr, douglas,
I think I figured out how to add an extra day to stay in the Mani area and also an extra day in Naxos.

I will take the hint (ok, the really overt advice) and skip the two nights in Santorini. You all say it is crowded and expensive. I am not sure I want to climb stairs with my wheely bag to get a room with a view.

What do you think?

We will now have Athens (4 nights,) Delphi (1 night), Nafplio (3), Monemvasia (1), Mani area (1), Gialova (3), Loutraki (1), Naxos (5), then back to Athens and fly home.

Al G

Posted by
29 posts

Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions. I need to make a crucial choice before I start booking island flights and hotels. Sorry if I am sounding repetitive.

One consideration is that we will not be spending hours sunning at the beaches (we will be reading books in the shade, looking at the sea, taking walks, etc). Also, after reading all the comparisons of Naxos and Santorini, I am thinking of skipping Santorini altogether.)

I would like to get a comment from some of you who like the Mani Peninsula. If I delete two nights in Santorini from my itinerary, does it make sense to add them to seeing the Mani area?

Where is a good town to stay in to explore the Mani? Kardamyli? Areopoli? We will be coming from a night in Monemvasia. Then going to chill for 3 nights in Gialova.

Current itinerary:
Athens (4 nights), Delphi (1), Nafplio (3), Monemvasia (1), Mani area ( 1 or 2), Gialova (3), Loutraka (1), airport to Naxos (4), back to Athens to fly home (1).

What are your opinions as to my choices: two nights in Mani area or one night in Mani area and an extra day in Naxos?

Thanks,

Posted by
5997 posts

Just a thought, as a way to mitigate some risk seen with Ferries (Depending on weather and wind they may not run) rather than spending 4 whole days in Athens at the beginning, spend a couple nights at the beginning and add a night or two on the end, spending your last 2-3 days in Athens. That way if things go according to plan, great; if not, then the worst thing will be an extra day in Naxos. You are at least spending the last night in Athens, some try to plan to get to the part the morning their flight leaves, but I like more of a buffer.

Posted by
2891 posts

About Santorini, you may be able to have your cake and eat it too, if your time on naxos is right. 2x a week there is a Day-excursion ... in fact there are TWO day excursions... to Santorini from Naxos. Tues & Wed is MV Alexander, the other Is NAXOS STAR. Experienced people prefer the former, it is a larger, much more stable boat with a smooth ride. http://visit-cyclades.com/day-cruises/naxos-cruises Leaves about 8:30 arrives about 10:30... a bus takes excursionists up to the Top, and to the town of OIA, for about 2+ hours of free time to stroll, take pix, enjoy. Then bus takes them back tothe main town, FIra, for remainder of stay. TIme for lunch, shopping, visit the museum. Bus takes them back to vessel at port about 4:30 or 5, back in Naxos a bit after 7. €54 per person. U can sign up at any portside agency.

Posted by
29 posts

Janet, That is a great idea about the day trip to Santorini, however, we are arriving on Naxos on a Wednesday and there are no more trips in the week.

But it looks like there is a day trip from Naxos to Delos and Mykonos that we could take.

Posted by
1015 posts

That day trip to Delos Mykonos is special. It gives you a wonderful ancient site and a glimpse of Mykonos. That time in Mykonoos will demonstrate to you just how pretty it is but also how very expensive. On our last trip two drinks cost about the same as a dinner in Naxos.
Here are images of the trip
Day trip Delos and Mykonos http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157637922138466/