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Greece in April 2020

Running sample itinerary....we are 2 families (4 adults in our 40s and 4 kids ages 8 through 12) planning to visit Greece in April 2020. I havent made any reservations yet, so any suggestions in tweaking the below would be very helpful. We are interested in covering historic sites as well as cover some beaches.

Day 1 - Landing at 1am in Athens. Checkin hotel, sleepin until Noon. Have lunch and hopefully cover Hadrian's arch/Temple of Zeus/ Hadrian's library/ Ancient Agora etc )
Day 2 - Athens (Parthenon/Acropolis Museum and possibly cover Cape Sounion PM)
Day 3 - Athens (Pelopponese - cover Epidavros, Nemea and Corinth)
Day 4 - Athens (Day trip to Aegina)
Day 5 - Flight to Santorini. check into hotel and explore Oia/Fira
Day 6 - Day trip to Nea Kamini.
Day 7 - Check out Oia/Fira
Day 8 - Early AM ferry to Naxos, check in and explore naxos/beaches
Day 9 - Day trip to Delos
Day 10 - explore naxos
Day 11 - Flight to Athens AM, explore NAM as per energy levels at that point.
Day 12 - 6am flight to US.


Posted by
3175 posts

We visited Greece in April 2018, arriving about 8pm on the night before “our” Easter, and staying past Greek Orthodox Easter. I see that Orthodox Easter in 2020 is on April 20. Do your plans include that day, and the week preceding it, including Good Friday, when some things might be closed?

We spent 2 weeks on the Peloponnese, staying 1 or at most 2 nights per place. We stayed in Napflio, and needed 2 days for sights in the area, including Epidavros and Nemea. Maybe you’ll be moving fast that one day, coming from, and returning to Athens.

Are you driving from Athens, or taking a guided tour? If driving, 2 cars, or the 8 of you in one van?

Posted by
7 posts

Thanks Cyn...our travel dates are 11April through yes, we will be island hopping on 20? Would this impact ferry schedule? For Aegina and Cape Sounion, I am thinking we should be able to manage with bus/ferry....however, for pelopponese I am thinking of private tours, that start early AM.

Posted by
3175 posts

Not having been to any Greek island this decade, except for Hydra in 2018 and Crete 3 months ago, I can’t offer definite advice about ferry schedules. Maybe transportation isn't affected on Easter like stores and some restaurants might be, but I’m not certain. Hopefully ferry operators can clarify that for you, right now.

Posted by
742 posts

Experienced travelers to Greece recommend that you get out to your first island immediately on Arrival in Greece. Getting over jet lag on an island is way better than doing it in Athens. Athens is very busy and is a culture shock for first timers.

If I were doing your trip I would tough it out at Athens airport. We have done that on late arrivals. Here is some info.

Amenities at Athens Airport are simple and to the point. Several restaurants are open 24-hours, and there are art installations and a museum to keep you entertained briefly at least. WiFi is available to pass the time. For those looking for a little added comfort, there are first class lounges that economy class passengers can pay to access.

There are early morning flight to Santorini I believe around 6am. Crashing in Santorini and waking up in the afternoon to stunning caldera views is magical. Spend you three nights in Santorini. Ferry to Naxos. I believe there is an early morning ferry the Blue Star which leaves around 6am. I can't actually find that on the Greek ferry schedule but there are two fast ferries that do the Naxos run golden Star and seajets which depart between 9 and 10 am. Both will get you into Naxos in less than 2 hours.

Three nights in Naxos is the bare minimum and you will basically have time to explore Naxos town and perhaps a bus ride up to one of the lovely mountain villages.

Stay at St George beach. It is part of Naxos town so if the sun is out you can get some beach time and still be in Naxos town after a 10 minute stroll along the seaside.

Now ferry or fly back to Athens. Rent a couple of cars at the airport or a van and drive to Corinth. Renting at the airport means you do not have to drive through Athens. Use the toll road National Highway.

I doubt you will be able to visit Corinth area including Nemia, ancient Corinth, Acrocorinth and still have time and energy to do Nafplio and Epidavros. Drop Aegina you will already have had your island experience in Naxos and Santorini. Use that day to stay overnight in Nafplio. You won't regret missing Aegina, you will regret missing Nafplio.

By now you will be acclimatized to Greece and will be prepared for your Athens experience. Do Athens last.

Here is what you will see.

Naxos Town

Trip around Naxos

Nafplio and Peloponnese

Corinth area sights

Other thoughts The day trip from Naxos to Delos and Mykonos may not be running in April. stop in at one of the travel agencies on the Naxos waterfront Promenade and see if the boats are running. This early in the season they may be taking names of people interested in the excursion and when they have enough people on the waiting list they might put a ship on that run. I expect this trip might not work for you. Besides there is more than enough for you to do on Naxos for a week.

Have a great time.

Posted by
7 posts

Thankyou! I tweaked in the itinerary, hopefully this is more better.

Day 1 - Landing at 1am in Athens. Flight to Santorini. check into hotel and explore Oia/Fira
Day 2 - Day trip to Nea Kamini.
Day 3 - Check out Oia/Fira
Day 4 - Early AM ferry to Naxos, check in and explore naxos/beaches
Day 5 - Day trip to Delos (check ferry schedule/register the names)
Day 6 - explore naxos
Day 7 - Flight to Athens AM, rent a car at the airport and drive/checkin/explore Nafplio.
Day 8 - Peloponnese - cover Epidavros, Nemea and back to Athens, return the car.
Day 9 - Have lunch and hopefully cover Hadrian's arch/Temple of Zeus/ Hadrian's library/ Ancient Agora etc.
Day 10 - Athens (Parthenon/Acropolis Museum and possibly cover Cape Sounion PM)
Day 11 - explore NAM and surrounding areas.
Day 12 - 6am flight to US.

Posted by
742 posts

I think this is a much better plan. Same places as before but this one is more logistically sound.

Posted by
4801 posts

Transportation can be affected for Orthodox Easter, it is family focused, so many travel back to home or ancestral towns, bit like our Thanksgiving.

It is also more than just Sunday, things start to ramp up on Thursday and continue through Monday, both Friday and Monday are National Holidays.

I would figure out where you will be and what days you will be traveling. Ferry tickets might be best bought for those days when you arrive. If Delos or other sites fall on that weekend, I would verify that it will be open.

Posted by
2418 posts

On your lightning trip to the Peloponnese, if you are strategic, you can avoid backtracking. I always urge to study a map in advance, not just be a google-guy. Here's a great online one: Click & it gets huge then u navigate using side-slides. It makes it evident the best sequence. Here are some thoughts:

• If u have to skip a ruins site on your list, I'd suggest Corinth, unless you are devoted to New Testament, many people go there just to see the bema (platform) where St Paul spoke. Corinth ruins are less easy than other places to understand without a guide. Acrocorinth I hear has great views from top, but I'd save my "peak" experience for Palamidi at Nafplio.

• The MUST on your list if you have kids, is NEMEA -- it's the "runner-up" Sacred Games Site to Olympia and has NO crowds, but great temple ruins and a swell Stadium, authentically uncovered/restored... where your kids can race from the same starting blocks used 2300 years ago!! It's just a few miles off the highway after the corinth Canal, you can enjoy it in an hour or so, then just cross the big highway (underpass?) for the road leading south to Nafplio.

• By skipping Corinth you have more time in Nafplio; DO try to get to the small but good Arch. museum right in the central marble-paved square. Just one floor, 3 rooms -- AND the ONLY existing Iliad-era Suit of Armor in the entire world. A walk around the peninsula-point at water level gives stunning views -- goes thru a natural arch. Then to the Nafplio seafront to enjoy what I consider the best sunset in Greece -- cushioned loveseats for the view, clear plastic side-curtains on the cafes for cooler days. Snacks & pizza will keep kids happy, grown-ups can enjoy cocktail hour.

• A good & efficient sequence on y our 2nd day: start early, drive up the back entry of PALAMIDI, to take those amazing photos that look as if they're from a plane. Then hit the road for EPIDAURUS ... Note: don't spend overmuch time on its acres of higgledy-piggeldy ruins - the Main deal is the Theatre -- totally Awesome! Then don't backtrack; take the seaside road to "Isthmus" where u can hop off & see the Corinth Canal on the Old Bridge & stop for a snack lunch, then get back on the Biggie Highway to ATHENS. Note; Be SURE to turn LEFT at Elefsina toward airport -- the R H turn gets you into a Hell of Industry trucks etc. Best to drop car @airport & do 2 flat-rate taxis to your Athens hotel.

Posted by
7 posts

one more question, if I am flying in the day of arrival into Santorini, would the hotel allow early check-in ard 9,10am on day 1, or would I have to reserve for the day before as well?

Posted by
2418 posts

Before answering your question about Check-in, I must confess I am very surprised at your supposed arrival in Athens at 1 AM. Is this because of a layover in Europe, that somehow saves you tons of Money? Or is it to use "miles" that you cannot use on more convenient flights? You say that you have not yet made reservations, so perhaps you could share the reasons for that challenging wee-hours arrival.... because it does screw up sleep-cycles AND transport, and either necessitate staying up with help of 5-hr Energy overdosing, or booking a hotel by airport. It's harder for us to help when key factors aren't explained.

As for 9am check-in I doubt most hotels would allow check-in unless you pay for the night before -- OR it's a week when there is not much tourist activity, or you've chosen a place that's less-known, and may have half its rooms empty. Often official check-in is 2 pm, but sometimes if you arrive at 12, they'll accommodate you, or at least have one of the rooms open. Another accommodation I have seen is they'll stash your bags in a luggage room, and you can have a vacant bathroom briefly, to wash faces & maybe change shirts.

If sleep is what u really want, and you are dealing direct with the hotel (not thru an online booking agency), and are still doing this 1am Athens-arrival thing -- you might write the hotel saying you want to book x rooms for x days. If they write back that they have such rooms available at Xprice and invite you to book, THEN (as our Leader would say) "I hope you can do us a favor though." If the rooms have been occcupied & need cleaning in the AM, they cannot accomodate u even if they wish to. But if they're ready, they may cut u a break, such as half the room price. (you might even suggest that if u think that works better).

Posted by
7 posts

Thanks Janet!
Yes, the schedule is due to miles redemption and 10hr layover in Europe. That was the only option I was given on the website. I liked your suggestion of contacting the hotel directly, and see if they can accommodate us with half the price. I will check and see my options.