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Getting to Nafplio from Athens airport, and then to Crete

I'm trying to finalize our upcoming trip to Greece -- we have 4 weeks, from May 11 to June 7. Originally we were just going to island hop through the Cyclades. But in seven trips to Greece we have not yet visited the Peloponnese. So we are considering starting our trip (by bus) in Nafplio, then bussing to Gythio or Neapoli, catching a ferry to Crete (first time there too), then up into the Cyclades for a couple of weeks.

Our plane arrives in Athens at 5:20 pm on a Wednesday, so the first question is: do we try to get to Nafplio that evening? We'd be pretty tired, as we're arriving from Denver. Is there a recommended hotel near the KTEL bus station in Athens? Or even better, is there a bus or train from the airport that would get us part-way to Nafplio? Then we could finish the trip in the morning and enjoy the scenery along the way.

Once in Nafplio, can anyone recommend a hotel that would be convenient to the bus station at arrival and for day trips? We're thinking 3 or 4 nights for Nafplio.

Regarding Gythio or Neapoli, does anyone have preferences for either place? From what I've read, Gythio sounds nicer but Neapoli has more frequent ferries. I can't find any ferry schedules yet (too early). Is GTP.gr still the best ferry website, or should I try another? I'm finding its new format harder to use.

And then Crete. Ideally, depending on ferries,, we'll transit the northern coast from Kastelli Kissamos to Agios Nikolaos to catch the ferry to Milos. We'd like to spend a couple of days somewhere, probably Chania or Rethimno. Any preferences? Not sure about Knossos ... I've heard that the reconstruction detracts from the site??

I would appreciate any suggestions or recommendations. Thanks.

Posted by
3334 posts

ARRIVAL STRATEGY: No, I don't think it makes sense to try for Nafplio upon arrival. my Reasons:
• As a vet of this journey you know you WILL be tired, from Denver, with a Europe layover (which often is delayed-- I'll bet your plane will be 30 minutes late getting to the gate).
• With late-day Crowds, you need an hour-plus to get through -- deplaning 15 minutes, then passport control, luggage carousel & using ATMS... 6:30-6:45 by the time you reach the curb.

• That's late for the intercity bus, To reach the KTEL Bus Kissifou Ave station, you take X93 (board at Building exit door 5); it takes about 70 minutes. Nafplio bus goes 6:30pm 8 pm, 9:30 & takes 2 1/2 hrs. Thus even 8 PM bus may be a rush, and you'd do trip in the dark, no fun.

• There are NO hotels near KTEL Station; it's super-grungy area (auto junkyards) -- and no half-way destinations that make sense (halfway point is a HIGHWAYstop outside Corinth).

BEST OPTION: there are 3 hotels right near Airport within 10-15 minutes -- 2 have pools. Why not go there, change, have dinner, collapse, get up early & get to KTEL station for an AM Bus (8 or 9:30) to enjoy views in morning sunshine? Here are the choices (all have websites, also check TA reviews):
• HOLIDAY INN ATTIKI (about €`130); the x95 bus from airport makes a stop there. in AM, u can either get the x93 bus to KTEL Station or see if a Taxi does it at the Airport flat-fee rate (€35). The inn also has a free shuttle to/from Airport; when reserving, inquire about its schedule.
• ST THOMAS B & B (abut €80-90); 4 lovely rooms, in olive grove, w. pool. W. Advance order, can provide dinner by pool. Room rate includes buffet breakfast. Taxi from airport about 10 mins., €10-15.•
• PERIS HOTEL (about €75). Free shuttle to/from airport; continental breakfast. No dinner, but it's about 1 km from beachside tavernas that serve pizza & the like.
NOTE: - Nafplio ticket booth is not in regular ticket room-- it's at the station's exit door, right BY the bus. Tix are resrve seat, ask for LH side of bus, for best view of water en route.

NAFPLIO HOTEL -- My current favorite choice is Hotel Agamemnon, very good rates, sea view rooms from an open plaza area right in Center of Old City. Another choice, Omorfo Poli. You can take taxi when u arrive, (3-4E) and easily walk back to bus station.

FERRY PUZZLES -- I never heard of a ferry from Ag. Nikolaos to anywhere but maybe a weekly looooong ride to Rhodes. You may be able to get a ferry from Heraklion to Milos about 1 - 2 x per week, takes forever. Santorini is really the "switchboard" island; take the AM fast-ferrythere, then switch to a Milos ferry (not every day in May).

FERRY SITES - For GTP-GR don't try new format; click "Not Now"; old format easier. To get a ROUGH idea of May ferries use Open Seas http://www.openseas.gr/en/index.html And use the little calendar feature to roll it back to May 2015, to see what days the ferries ran then from Gythio to Kythira to Chania-Kissamos. Be aware that May is the MOST unstable schedule month; it's when the switchover from winter/summer takes place, and often an old ferry is taken off for repairs that month. I travel in May and it's always a crapshoot. In 2011 we were trying to get from Serifos to Santorini, and we had THREE last-minute ferry changes. Good Luck!

Posted by
1396 posts

Charlene

Janet may be right that you don't want to travel on immediately, that's obviously a personal decision.

If you do want to push on the best option is to take the train direct from the airport to Corinth. There's an hourly train and the journey takes about an hour and twenty minutes. For comparison the metro to central Athens is every half hour and takes forty minutes.

Times to Corinth are here

http://www.trainose.gr/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/%CE%94%CF%81%CE%BF%CE%BC%CE%BF%CE%BB%CF%8C%CE%B3%CE%B9%CE%B1-%CE%91%CE%B5%CF%81%CE%BF%CE%B4%CF%81%CF%8C%CE%BC%CE%B9%CE%BF-%CE%9A%CE%B9%CE%AC%CF%84%CE%BF.pdf?fb871d

And metro times here

http://www.stasy.gr/index.php?id=70&L=1

The advantage is that you would save yourself a fifteen minute taxi journey from central Athens to the bus station and around 75 minutes of the bus journey in the morning.

The disadvantage is that you would need to get a taxi from Corinth Station and to the Corinth bus station in the morning. Both are outside the town.

One possibility would be to stay at the Istmia Prime Hotel right by the canal. This is just over 5 minutes by taxi from the railway station and within sight of the bus station. I've never stayed there and, because it's on a major road, wouldn't pick it as a long stay base, but it looks OK to crash out for a night.

http://www.isthmus.gr/en/

If you're staying in Nafplio you might like to look at our write up of some of our favourite restaurants and trips from there. We literally got back from another trip there yesterday so will be updating a bit when we get round to it.

http://www.greekramblings.org.uk/Nafplio_restaurants.html

http://www.greekramblings.org.uk/Nafplio_walks.html

It's a beautiful place and I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

Alan

Posted by
2144 posts

Thank you both for the great information. One of the hotels near the airport seems the best bet for that first night. An alternative might be a private transfer. Has anyone ever priced that?

The ferry from Gythia to Crete seems to be the weak link in my plans but we'll leave some slack in the schedule and have a back-up plan just in case. .Thanks for the Open Seas link -- I'd forgotten about that. Being able to look back to this May's schedule will be helpful.

Posted by
3334 posts

RE: ATHENS to NAFPLIO --A "private transfer" essentially means hiring a taxi to drive 2.5 hours there & then drive back empty, so you are hiring him for the day --- I would not expect therefore to get one for under 400 Euros. I didn not get the impression that was your budget level.

Re - PELOPONNESE to CRETE ... you cannot look at a map and think, Oh, its cheaper/faster to go from a port on the peninsula straight to Crete. NOT. The actual fastest way and maybe even cheapest would be

• KTEL Bus from NAFPLIO toward Athens. They go hourly on the hour. but not all the way to Athens station: buy a ticket instead to LEONAS, which is the one stop at the edge of the city. Lots of savvy traveller get off there. The bus stops and the driver gets their luggage from the under-bus compartment. They got straight down the stept to the BLUE LINE Metro platform and get the AIRPORT Metro from t here in less than 1 hour. Then catch a flight to Chania --- if you sign up for the Aegean Air "newsletter" (actually an elecronic e-mail alert), you will get notice early in 2016 of "promotional-price" tickets for May ... sign up QUICKLY when these go on sale & you may get a ticket for under €50.
Elapse time: 2 hours on KTEL bus: 1 hour Metro to Airport (layover time: allow 90 mins to be safe). FLight: 50 minutes.

.... by contrast, it would take you most of the day to get from Nafplio to Neopolis, and catch a ferry to Kythira ... and then yo have to time it so there is a ferry the next day to Kissamos. NOT efficient.

... a non-fllight option would be: KTEL BUS from NAFPLIO to Kifissou KTEL station, Athens.(2.5 hours, 13E). Then Taxi to Piraeus -- no there is not bus connection -- stupid, huh? ( 30+ minutes about €15). You can catch a 9PM ferry from Piraeus to CHANIA or HERAKLION... arrives about 7 AM. Travel while you sleep! Pref. is to arrive in WEST (Chania) rather than East, if you want to explore both areas. As for Ferry tickets -- the most economical overnight depends on what "we" means. You do not share whether you are a couple or you are 2 women or 2 men or 4, assorted. I have done a ferry with another woman, and took 2 berths in a 4-berth all female cabin with its own ensuite bathroom. Quite economical when one considers the price covers both transport AND hotel for night. Cost I think was about €60 per ticket.

Posted by
2144 posts

You're right, Janet, a 400 euro taxi ride to Nafplio is not in my budget. So we'll stick with an airport hotels. (The "we" is my husband and myself.)

That Open Seas ferry site is really helpful. I learned that last May there was exactly one ferry per week that would fit our schedule -- departing Neapoli at 8 am, arriving Kythira 9:15 am. We'd spend the day there, then leave on another ferry at 22:20, arriving in Rethymno at 3:20 am.

So now we need to (a) wait for 2016 ferry schedules and (b) decide if it's worth all that effort to get to Crete via the Peloponnese! That would be a really long travel day. And of course, there could always be the chance of last minute changes once we arrived in Neapoli and/or Kythira.

We didn't start looking at this journey as a money or time saver, but because it seemed like an interesting adventure. I try to avoid back-tracking whenever possible, and continuing on through Nafplio looked logical. But I appreciate the options you gave us, and we will mull those over. The airport will probably win.

It's so nice to have a forum like this, with knowledgeable people, to help us plan our trips. Thanks Janet and Alan!

Posted by
3334 posts

Yes, alas, as the old saying goes, often "The longest way round is the shortest way home." I've been working out itineraries since '99, and just about that time, they stopped doing a ferry from Nafplio to Piraeus. What a pity!! Of course, from the seafront cafes on the Nafplio promenade, you can see DIVINE yachts slipping silently in for the evening ... once I saw a giant white VISION of a yacht, named Alexandros ... found out later it was named for Onassis' son (who died). Perhaps one of these would be going your way!!!