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Greece Itinerary - End of August 2017

Hi, here's what we are planning. Please let us know your thoughts. Thanks!

Day 1 (we land at 9:20 AM - traveling from USA): Immigration, customs, rent car, drive to Nafplio (2.5 hours) via Mycenae (18 miles north of Nafplio). Night in Nafplio
Day 2: Tour Nafplio (Palamidi fortress, Old Town) and go to Epidavros (23 miles east of Nafplio). Drive half way to Olympia. Night somewhere in between Nafplio and Olympia.
Day 3: Drive to Olympia, spend the whole day there. Night in Miraka.
Day 4: Drive to Ioannina (4.5 hrs from Olympia). Night in Ioannina.
Day 5: Spend the day in Meteora. Night in Kalabaka or better to drive towards Delphi?
Day 6: Drive to Delphi (3.5 hrs). Tour Delphi. Night in Delphi.
Day 7: Drive to Athens airport and catch flight to Santorini. Night in Santorini
Day 8: Fira-Oia hike (4 hrs), chill. Night in Santorini
Day 9: Fly back to Athens. Tour Athens. Night in Athens.
Day 10: Tour Athens. Night in Athens.
Day 11: Flight out early AM to USA

Posted by
10526 posts

Looks like you have researched your plan in detail.

Why not go to Santorini 1st, while you are at the airport, on arrival day? Having an extra airport trip in the middle seems to eat up time unnecessarily. Ending in Athens is ideal to have you positioned for your flight home

Where did you come up with the driving times? If its something like google or mapquest, I have found they are "optimistic". A lot of the roads in Greece are winding 2 lane roads, through the never ending mountains. Not saying you are wrong, just be sure to give yourself a bit of a fudge factor.

Have a Greek salad for me!

Posted by
25606 posts

That looks like a lot of driving on Day 1 unless you're that rare traveler who doesn't land in Europe sleep-deprived and jetlagged.

Posted by
6 posts

The reason why we don't want to fly to Santorini on the day we land is because we want to factor in time for US-Athens flight delays, lost baggage etc. I guess I am being ambitious about driving on Day 1, given jet lag. Maybe a day in Athens to recover would not be a bad idea. It will also help stay in Athens for a day, if bags or flight is late. Thanks.

Posted by
6 posts

The time/distances between Greek towns is from Google maps. I guess I have to add a buffer to all of them. Thanks

Posted by
1274 posts

We did essentially this trip (excluding Santorini) in 10 days a few years ago. The reason we did it in 10 days was because we gave ourselves two nights in Nafplio to get over jet lag. You do not appear to be taking into consideration the effects of a transatlantic flight and your ability to recover.

We arrived Athens drank a bunch of coffee, rented the car and headed off to Nafplio. Its a two hour drive. We had to stop twice to refuel on strong coffee. When we arrived Nafplio we were totally exhausted and just wandered around the old town on day two nothing strenuous.
Your plan is to do Epidavros then drive half way to Olympia.

I said all that so I could suggest that you can do your plan but you should reconsider your logistics. There are several flights a day from Athens to Santorini. As long as you have 2 hours for a connecting flight thats enough time. The 9:30 am arrival time suggests you are flying east coast to Athens direct. Thats a good thing. Even if flights get off late because its such a long flight they normally can make up for a late departure. We have departed an hour late and still arrived on time.
Lost baggage. If its lost the earliest its going to get there is the next day. No need to wait for hours to get your bag. They will hold it for you when you return tot he airport after Santorini.

Thee3rr is probably no better place than Santorini to get over jet lag. The views are so spectacular you can just sit on your balcony and take in the views for hours. Before you know it you are over jet lag.

Now fly to Athens and rent your car. Drive to Nafplio. You will enjoy it much more.

After Olympia take the northern Nartional road to Patras and cross the Gulf of Corinth and drive to Delphi not Meteora. arrive late afternoon and take in the museum and perhaps the lower site. Next morning get to the site early and you will have it to yourselves for about 2 hours. It will take the bus crowds an hour to catch up to you so that's the time to leave. Drive to Meteora arrive late afternoon or early evening. Visit the Monasteries then. It will be virtually deserted. Take your photos now because the next day there will be tourists and buses everywhere. Visit the Monasteries you want and either drive back to Athens that night or stay over a second night and drive back to Athens when you are fresh next morning.

Do your visit to Athens and away you go.
This plan allows you to do everything you wanted but allows you to do it with enough energy to actually enjoy it.

If it were me I would skip Olympia because of how long a drive it is. I would substitute Ancient Corinth and Ancient Nemia ( sister games to Olympia) and add that extra day to Nafplio but thats just me.
Olympia Delphi Meteora

Nafplio and Peloponnese

Posted by
10526 posts

You list as one of your reasons for not going to Santorini directly as being concerned about lost luggage. Now the plug for the RS 'pack light' philosophy. In August it will be hot , so no need for bulky heavy clothes. I have done 3 and 4 week trips to Greece and Italy with a rolling carry on and small backpack style bag. Having just carry on eliminates the lost baggage issue

If you have not done so, take a look at this-- -

Check you airline's performance history for your flight(s). Is it really that bad, that scheduling an afternoon flight looks too risky?
There are at least 6 flights to Santorini that leave 2PM or later

It is not my intent to tell you what to do with your vacation, but Greece is such a nice place to 'be', I hate to see you spending more time than absolutely necessary going in/out of airports.

Posted by
1274 posts

I second Joes thoughts on traveling light. We do carry on sized bags with a smaller backpack as a personal item. Just get off the flight and go to passport control. You do not need a pile of clothes in Greece. Just pack light with mix and match outfits.

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks all. We do travel light, but my husband is a glutenfree-lacto-vegetarian and I am vegan (ha! talk about complicated diets!), so we carry some emergency food with us, in case we are in a bind. The food has come in handy in remote areas in several countries, but adds weight to our bags. We don't want to fly to Santorini the day we land because I would like 2 full days there and we have free hotel nights that we can use in Athens. I have revised our plan based on feedback. Comments welcome.

Sun 27-Aug - Land at 9:30 AM. Check into hotel near airport, go into Athens (Acropolis and Acropolis Museum open until 8 pm). Night in Athens (near airport)
Mon 28-Aug-Take early flight to Santorini (backpack only), spend day in Santorini (Oia sunset, Amoudi Bay, Museum of Prehistoric Thira). Night in Oia
Tue 29-Aug- Spend day in Santorini (Oia-Fira Hike, visit Artemis Winery or Santo Winery). Take last flight to Athens. Night in Athens (near airport)
Wed 30-Aug-Rent car, drive to Delphi - 3 hours, tour Delphi (ruins open until 8 pm). Night in Delphi
Thu 31-Aug - Drive to Olympia - 4 hrs, tour Olympia (Archeological Museum, The Sanctuary open until 8 pm). Night in Olympia
Fri 1-Sep - Drive to Kardamyli (Do Rick Steves' guided walk) 2.5 hrs drive. Night in Kardamyli
Sat 2-Sep - Mani Peninsula loop drive: Kardamyli-Stoupa-Kastania-Areopoli-Pyrgos Dirou-Mezapos-Gerolimenas-Vathia-Cape Matapan-Githio (?). 5 hrs drive. Night in Githio or close to highway
Sun 3-Sep - Drive to Nafplio. See Mycenae on way to Nafplio. Walking tour of Nafplio Old Town. 2.5 hrs drive. Night in Nafplio
Mon 4-Sep - Nafplio - climb Palamidi Fortress, side-trip to Epidavros. 30 mins drive. Nigh in Nafplio
Tue 5-Sep - Leave early to Athens, return car, spend day in Athens (Plaka, National Archeological Museum and Ancient Agora open until 8 pm). 2 hrs Nafplio-Athens drive. Night in Athens
Wed 6-Sep - Leave for USA