I have visited Greece before (Corfu, Olympia, Nafplio) as port stops on a cruise in 2010, my husband has never been there. I'm just starting to ideate a trip for 2024 and would love some advice and feedback. It is just the two of us.
About us and our travel style:
We love history and context, one of the reasons for selecting Greece as our next destination. We also like to soak in the culture, we do not like one-night stays or quick "just take a photo" stops or cramming a ton of things into a single day, we prefer to take our time. We enjoy hiking and exploring our destinations, and we're big time foodies enjoying great food, wine, and cooking. We also need to build in down time on our destination, I'm not a lay on the beach with a book all day kind of girl, but I do like some time to relax in the sand and float in the sea. While we want to see major sites and attractions, we both hate tourist hordes (crowds make me cranky) so prefer to use places that are not as touristy for a home base whenever possible.
We have 3 weeks for our trip. We are from the Pacific NW and used to a cooler climate. When I had the cruise in 2010, it was in the 90s in Olympia in mid-September which was too much for me. So I'm thinking of starting this trip in mid-October, like arriving around October 18, 2024. This means we would be there the first week of November. Are we going to run into issues with storms coming in or things shutting down? Would it be better to go earlier? We just returned from a trip to Corsica and while the weather was still warm there (for us) it was off-season for the locals and many, many restaurants, tours, and boat excursions were closed for the season. I don't want a repeat of that.
I've been reading the RS Greece guidebook and so far have the following itinerary pieced together:
- Fly into Athens
- Spend 4 nights in Athens -- Day 1 arrival we'll be tired so will just orient maybe attempt the Athens City Walk. Day 2 Ancient Agora and hike up to the Acropolis. Day 3 Acropolis Museum in the morning then lunch through Psyrri and Central Market Walk then National Archeological Museum in the afternoon. Day 4 day trip to Delphi through an organized tour
- Ferry to Hydra and spend 3 nights to just relax. (Rick is very high on Hydra in the book. Thoughts on this location? And is 3 nights too much?)
- Ferry to Ermione where we'll pick up a car and drive to Nafplio, stopping at Epidavros on the way. We'll spend 4 nights in Nafplio and use the time to explore the town, relax on the beach, and 1 day for a day trip to Mycenae. Question: I know Nafplio is a cruise stop so I'm worried about it being a bit overrun. While, I really enjoyed this town on our cruise in 2010 that was 13 years ago. Thoughts on using this location as a home base?
- Drive to Kardamyli stopping at Sparta and Mystras on the way. Spend 3 nights in Kardamyli just relaxing and exploring the town.
- Drive from Kardamyli to Agios Nikolaos to Oitylo to Areopoli to Monemvasia, stopping for lunch along the way. Spend 3 nights in Monemvasia exploring, doing some hiking.
- Here is where I'm unsure of what to do next. We will have 4-5 nights left for the trip. I'm thinking of driving to Athens, dropping the car, and catching a flight to one of the islands. Rick is big on Mykonos and Santorini in his book. I'm worried that these will be a little too tourist heavy for us and won't give us the local culture soak time that we like. However, from Mykonos we could day trip to Delos which has a lot of historic value. Maybe Crete would be a better option, although I'm not sure 4 or 5 nights is enough there. I would like a good ending to the trip before we return to the wet, gray that is the PNW in October and November. What would you recommend?
Thanks so much for the help!