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Greece Itinerary Advice

Hello Seasoned Greece Travelers,

I'm planning my first trip to Greece from May 21-June 2. Would you take a look at my rough itinerary and offer any feedback? I am solo, going by public transit.

Sunday, May 21 - Arrive in Athens

Monday, May 22 - Athens

Tuesday, May 23 - Delphi (overnight; is one night enough? Hydra seemed prettier, so I gave that more days.)

Wednesday, May 24 - Nafplio

Thursday, May 25 - Nafplio (day trip to Epidavros)

Friday, May 26 - Nafplio (day trip to Mycenae)

Saturday, May 27 - Hydra

Sunday, May 28 - Hydra

Monday, May 29 - Hydra

Tuesday, May 30 - Athens

Wednesday, May 31 - Athens

Thursday, June 1 - Athens

Friday, June 2 - Fly home

Do you spot any pitfalls? Do you think connections between the various cities on these days are doable?

Thanks in advance,

Nicole

Posted by
1172 posts

I think three days on Hydra are two too much. Most people go for a day trip. While the main town and waterfront are one of the most beautiful in Greece there really isn't a whole lot to do there. No archeological sites and no beaches to speak of. Nice hiking trails and one of the best reasons for a visit is there are no vehicles allowed on the island, just donkeys for all transportation! Most people just hang out on the waterfront, eat and have a few drinks and wonder around the town and a short walk to Kamini.

Are you renting a car to go from Athens to Delphi to Nafplio? If so you can make the schedule but if you are using public transportation it could be difficult.

You could by pass Delphi and spend more time in Nafplio, one of Greece's loveliest towns. It's a great place to base yourself for seeing the sites including Epidavrous & Mycenae, but there are many others just a short drive a way that can make up for not seeing Delphi.

It looks like you'll have a total of 4 days in Athens which will give you enough time to see everything Athens has to offer.

If you really want an island experience close to Athens then Aegina would be good, lots more to do and see than Hydra, but again it's a day trip for most people, but you could spend three days and not be bored. Or you could try an island like Paros, Sifnos or even Naxos, which are a little further away but not really so far that it eats up lots of time on a ferry.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you for the advice.

I didn't want to deal with driving, plus it is a little pricey for just one person.

I've decided not to overnight in Delphi, but to add a night in Athens and take a day tour to Delphi. It might not be quite the same experience, but it seems less of a logistical headache.

I'll add at least one more night in Nafplio, maybe two. I'm still leaning toward three nights in Hydra (or another island) because I think I might need a rest by that point and a good part of the first day will be spent just getting there.

Nothing set in stone yet, so you might see me back here asking for more advice. :)

Thanks again!

Posted by
3335 posts

HYDRA - I agree that 3 nights there is 2 too many; it attracts a lot of "rickheads" because it's the only island I think that his book covers... but it really doesn't have ANY beaches -- at a time when beach weather is IDEAL.

AEGINA - "most of a day to get there" is definitely NOT true if you listened to TommyK; Aegina only 40 minutes by hydrofoil, only 60 by the infinitely more enjoyable "regular" ferries! Sit on open deck and enjoy amazing views of the Saronic bay and the variety of water craft ... giant liners, ferries, tiny sailboats, swift cruisers... plus seagulls, even a dolphin if you're lucky.

View this great pix album https://www.flickr.com/photos/36264706@N03/sets/72157621604646139/detail/ -- of a June day trip to Aegina It's even more fun to stay a day or two. Especially on weekdays, when Athenians are scarce,y ou feel a world away from Athens! On Marathonas beach, a short bus ride (or bicycle) from the port - here are simple accommodations right on the sands. http://www.aeginagreece.com/aegina/pages/accommodation/accommodation_index_marathonas.html -

AGISTRI - If you totally want to get away from Athens in just one hour -- try the tiny island of Agistri (Angistri) right next to Aegina. You can either take a hydrofoil direct, or take ferry to Aegina, and then a 10-minute "speedboat" ride to Agistri. Its an island of pine groves & beaches; you can rent bicycles; there almost no cars. This place - http://www.rosyslittlevillage.com - is an amazing hidden gem right on its own beach. Small, friendly, important when u are traveling solo.

DELPHI - I took one of those 1-day bus tours on my FIRST trip to Greece 17 years ago... and hated the whole experience. most of the time was on the bus, 3 hours up; 10 busses arrive at same time, and groups all went first to the ruins, stepping all over each other, and then to the Museum, which became jam-packed. THEN the tour guides yank you away before you've seen everything -- to go to a taverna for a mediocre meal you DONt' want and which YOU pay for (it's a kickback to the tour), and then to souvenir and rug shops (kickbacks, again) and a long bus ride, made longer by dropping people off at hotels. This was not an unusual circumstance; it's standard practice. Finally I wised up and in 2011, went back as a D-I-Y, with a friend (but it's just as good solo. You CAN do it as a 1-day D-I-Y, but so much more relaxed as an overnight. HERE'S HOW:

HERE'S HOW: Do "homework" (see list below). Taxi from Central Athens hotel to Liossion Bus Terminal (about €12-14). get a noonish bus to get there late afternoon. Check into Hotel (I loved PAN, with back balconies looking down mountain to sea; €35 in May). and walk down mountain road along parapet wall to Museum; in Ma it's open until 8 and EMPTY! Very good signage. Walk further down Athena "tholos" ruin. Sunset dinner at taverna with terrace view. Enter Ruins 8am, you have 3 hours before the bus throngs arrive, then bus back to Athens. If you want an expert Licensed guide, Georgia Hasioti http://www.delphi-guide.gr can meet you at the site ... very reasonable if you share cost with 2-3 others. NOTE: if you want to do it as a 1-day, take the 7:30 AM bus -- it can sell out so ask your hotel how to order it by phone or online. The last 2 busses back to Athens are 4 PM and 6:50. If u want to make sure your choice doesn't sell out, you can either buy a round-trip ticket OR, when reaching town of Delphi, go to the final stop in town & go into the souvenir shop/ticket shop & buy your return ticket before going to the ancient site.

MAPS - Printable maps of Museum, Sacred Precinct, Wider area http://www.planetware.com/map/delphi-map-gr-del.htm
GOOD INFO - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delphihttp://www.ancient-greece.org/archaeology/delphi-archaeology.html
• Dr J's Delphi - http://people.hsc.edu/drjclassics/sites/delphi/sacredway.shtm

Posted by
4 posts

"Most of the day" refers to trying to go by public transport from either Delphi to Hydra via Athens or Nafplio to Hydra via Athens. If you know a quick way, let me know.

Posted by
3335 posts

Quickest way is not to go to Hydra, as 2 of us advised, LOL...

Posted by
45 posts

Hi Nicole - If you rework this a little, you could do a different island for 3-4 days. I haven't been to Greece but am planning my 2017 trip now. A lot of people here recommend Naxos, which is an island you could fly to immediately upon arrival in Athens. The flight only takes 40 minutes. It seems like there is a lot to do there, especially for a solo traveler - you could even get a car one day to explore the inner parts of the island.
Arrive in Athens - fly to Naxos (3-4 nights) - you could also visit Santorini instead if your budget allows (same easy flights)
Fly back to Athens - catch bus to Nafplio for 3 nights
Bus back to Athens - 4 nights there - one day for janet's DIY road trip to Delphi or spend a night there

Posted by
3335 posts

If you fly to Naxos, there's an excursion company that runs day-trips to Santorini, enabling you to see the "famous View" without the expense of staying there ... there are 2 boats, MV Alexander and Naxos Star the first is bigger, much smoother ride. goes 2x week. I find Naxos very friendly for solo travelers... AND half as expensive as Santorini.

Posted by
4535 posts

Please do not underestimate the pathetic state of Greek public transportation. Veteran European travelers are used to efficient train systems that are often high speed rail, bus systems with easy to read schedules, good websites, and lots of help getting to and fro. None of that exists in Greece. That's not to say that people can't successfully get around on busses and such; but you have to make the trips very simple and straight forward.

For example, you can easily get a bus to Delphi and catch a return. But trying to go from Delphi to Nafplio would not be easy and would require a transfer in Athens (possibly an overnight). And there's no such thing as getting a bus ticket from Delphi to Nafplio. You'd have to get a ticket in Delphi to Athens. Once back in Athens, you'd get a ticket to Nafplio.

You can get a bus from Athens to Nafplio, but the two main archeological sites are way outside town (about 40 minute trips) and not easily served by busses. Myceanae can be gotten to by bus, but be careful about the times for the return as you may spend a lot longer at the site than you need.

You can rent taxis to sites, but you'll wind up spending as much or more on bus fares, taxi fares and lots of wasted time as opposed to just renting a car.

To answer a few other questions: Delphi is fine for one night but it's a boring, ugly town (the ancient site and landscape around it is amazing). So don't plan anymore than 1 night. Nafplio would be a nicer town to spend a few nights just relaxing compared to Hydra, which is oriented for daytrippers. If you want to spend a few nights on an island, fly to a nice one with more activity options. By doing busses, you'll probably spend several stays in Athens. It's a nicer city than some give it credit for, but after you've been there, you probably won't want to spend more time there.

Posted by
3240 posts

Nicole, I keep coming back to this post and reading the comments. I haven't posted because I have not yet been to Greece (in the spring) so I didn't have specific information to add. However, I do need to give my opinion from a different angle because I don't agree with the information you are being given. As a woman who has done and will do more solo travel, I like your layout. I enjoy being in one spot for a few days, both busy or quiet spots. I enjoy getting to know a place. The travel days can be the most stressful for me, so I don't want to be changing bases and running around like some people suggest. You can not see everything, but you can thoroughly enjoy your time seeing what you do see. I've read about Hydra and I think I would love down time there. What's wrong with relaxing for a few days in various tavernas and reading some good books?! And actually, today, I was talking to my 'dresser', who I just found out is Greek, and she said Hydra is her favorite island...other than the one she calls home. In other words, I really like your plan, and it would be one that I would do. Wray