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Final Trip Questions

Hello All,

Thank you very much for the tips you've given me to help me plan my trip. We're headed out in a few days and I wanted to clarify a few last things:

Am I understanding the following things correctly?
1) To avoid the twisty mountain route when driving from Olympia to Nafplio, I drive south to Kalo Nero and then head east? The Michelin website shows three routes but doesn't say which one goes through the mountains.
2) No sites need or benefit from advance tickets (like, say, when you visit the Vatican does in Rome if you want to avoid insane lines).
3) It would be too much to do the following in one day: check out of hotel in Nafplio, drive east to Epidavros, then Mycenae, then Ancient Corinth, then on to Athens. (The only reason I ask is to preserve what could be an uninterruped day in Nafplio...otherwise will probably see Epidavros separately).
4) There are not really many shared transfer shuttles to get from our Athens hotel to the airport (I've only found a few and they all seem to be more expensive than a taxi).
5) If we have a 5:55 AM flight to Rome, we should get there 2 hours in advance. The airport bus (x90-something) takes 45 minutes.

I also wanted to quickly ask:
- Any safety concerns for being at the bus station/taking the express bus to the airport in the middle of the night (around 3 AM)? (Didn't think through the implications of booking a 6 AM flight very well...yikes!)
- Have you had any special experiences in Greece that you might not find in a guidebook but that were especially memorable (e.g. a taverna with traditional music/dance/etc)? We'd love to find ways to connect with the authentic Greek culture more when we visit Naxos, Santorini, Athens, Delphi, Olympia, and Nafplio.

Thank you again, we are looking forward to our trip. Still wary of the travel warnings out there but hoping for the best. Will try to come back and post a trip report as soon as we get settled back in.

Posted by
6670 posts

As to #3, I'd say you could visit all those places in one day between Nafplio and Athens, but it would be a busy day. Get an early start.

Posted by
3362 posts

#1 - See this fab online map http://euro-map.com/karty-grecii/peloponnes/podrobnaya-turisticheskaya-karta-peloponnesa.jpg (click and it gets huuuuge & you use side sliders to move around ) -- it shows TERRAIN. Yes, Kalo Nero is much less "curlicue".... but nicely scenic too, orchards, farms, olive groves. Real Greece.
#2 - that's right, no buy-ahead as in Rome, but if you go early, not mobs, either. Be at Acropolis ticket office 8 or 8:15 u have 90 minutes before tour throngs. OR .. go after 5, people gone, at 7, the lower sun turns columns to gold.
#3 -- Yes, too much for 1 day. Drop Mycenae. Frankly, unless a huge buff of Mycenae civ & MUST see museum, y ou can get an idea of Iliad-era fort 2 mi. outside Nafplio -- TIRYNS... not as restored, no "beehive Tomb" but the same "Cyclopean" structure (huge rocks the size of Volkwagens, piled 100 feet high). For drive back to Athens, I suggest starting by driving up the back of Palamidi (instead of CLIMBING the 999 steps up the front), stop 20 minutes for the view +FAB photo op. Then back to the Big Red Road (see Map) , go east to Epidaurus. Keep eyes peeled about halfway, on the left is the Oldest Bridge in the WORLD in Continuous Use -- Mycenean Stone arch. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arkadiko_Bridge -- a 5 minute stop, great Photo Op. At Epidaurus, don't spend much time trying to figure out higgledy-piggledy ruins, or Museum (mainly copies) -- just head straight for the AMAZING theatre... a thrill. Stand in center and SING!! Then drive coast road to ISTHMIA, exit is before you hit big Intercity Highway. Jump off, & walk across the small Original bridge over the Canal (SO deep, SO skinny!!). For the best route from there to Ancient Corinth (big road? small ?) force your car-rental guy to Mark your Map ... dont just depend on GPS. Remember, the Hellenic-era ruins of Corinth are all below -- the High (Acrocorinth) is just Medieval fort ruins.

#4) you are right; it's the X95 for €6 each or a taxi of about €60
# 5 -- first thing I advise no flight before 9 AM. Safety?? you don't say where your hotel is .... if it is deep in the questionable neighborhood of Omonia that is one thing .... but if it is anywhere in "plaka", perfectly safe to walk to X 95 on Syntagma; I have done it alone at 3:30 in the morning, and I'm ancient ... walked straight up wide Amalias Avenue (6 lanes of traffic) which is busy even at that insane hour.

SPECIAL EXPERIENCES ---
ATHENS MUSIC -- Most Music moves out to shore clubs in Summer and the stuff for tourists is really fakey, dancing "skirt-men" and plate-breaking. HOWEVER (if it's open), One FOR-REAL place with real greeks, singing local ballads, is a discovery reported on another forum: A taverna in Psirri District, Η ΩΡΑΙΑ ΠΕΝΤΕΛΗ, (Orea Penteli)... corner of Aristophanes and Aeschylus come together. (actually Αισχύλου & Αριστοφάνους, or Eschilou and Aristofanous) tinyurl.com/z6sdcuz for Google map. "Good traditional food - just a few people when we arrived at ~2030, almost full when we left at midnight." He described groups coming in,middle-age & 20ish couples buying musicians drinks, people sang along to ballads, men & women got up and danced, solo or with each other. "Guitarist introduced us as American - everyone else was Greek" (this is a place I want to go... genuine, people making their own music). Your schedule is fly out early Sat Sept 10 -- so if your hotel confirms this place is open sept 9, why not stay there til 3 AM then go to the plane?? (ha ha ha).
NAXOS -- Village wine festivals are Early to Mid-September; to find out where, stop at store right on seafront promenade that sells ALL Naxos Products; the young women clerking there know all about the doings.
NAFPLIO - If there on weekend (9/4-5?) you'll be in midst of MODERN Greeks' culture; it's a favorite weekend getaway u will be surrounded by Athenian families!

Posted by
195 posts

Many thanks for sharing your insights. Yes, Janet, I don't know what we were thinking booking a 5:55 AM flight! It was cheaper by a few hundred dollars between two people, so that probably swayed us, but I don't think I thought through the fact that this would mean leaving at 3 AM! Yikes! Luckily we knew to avoid Omonia. Our hotel is a block north of the west end of the Pedion Areos park (along the metro line but not within quick walking distance of the main tourist center). Too far to walk to Syntagma (34 min), but wanted to make sure that it wouldn't be sketchy to be hanging around the bus station at 3 AM. Sounds like it would be ok from what you are saying Janet.

The old bridge wasn't on our radar, so that's great to know since we'll be passing right by it. Also excited to check out some of the special experiences you mention. Thank you very much for being willing to pass along your tips!

Posted by
195 posts

Back from Greece...it was a wonderful trip! Just wanted to thank everyone again for their suggestions. They were very helpful. Will try to come back and post a trip report at some point to share what we learned. Thanks!

Posted by
3362 posts

PLEASE ... DO come back and give us a report ... need not be detailed as to ingredients of every meal eaten (the way some people write), but just what you thought of your various destinations, the transport & driving plans that worked, and those that didn't, and any hotels that y ou liked/disliked. Plus -- favorite moments. It will enable us to help others in future.

Posted by
195 posts

Sounds good. I'm not sure I will have huge amounts that would be helpful to seasoned veterans, but can definitely post some feedback about those things you mentioned, and some tips that might be helpful for newbies (like we were) who don't know a thing about Greece but would like to go. Lots to juggle right now (pictures! journaling memories! catching up on real life!) but will work on pulling some thoughts together as soon as I get a chance!