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Greece itinerary review - Naxos, Santorini, Chania, Nafplio, Meteora

Two of us are traveling to Greece for the first time at the beginning of May for 24 days. I have done a lot of research through this forum, other websites and travel guides to come up with an itinerary. I would appreciate any feedback on my travel plans. Here is what I have:
Day 1. Arrive at Athen from NYC at 4 PM (Emirates flight)
Depart to Naxos at 5:45 PM. (Sky express flight)
Naxos - 4 nts
Santorini - stay in Firostefani - 3 nts
Ferry to Heraklion, rent a car, drive to Chania, maybe visit Kronos
Chania - 4 nts
Drive back to Heraklion airport, fly to Athen at 11:35 AM (I know, would be better to fly out of Chania)
Rent a car at Athen airport drive to Nafplio
Nafplio - 4 nts (Is it too long for Nafplio?)
Drive 6 hours to Kastraki, Meteora (can be broken down?)
Stay 2 nts in Meteora
Drive to Delphi - 1 nts there
Back to Athens - 3 nts
Depart to NYC at 5:45 PM

I am still deciding between doing a loop on Peloponnese or driving to see Meteora. Driving to Meteora is long, is there a nice place to break it into 2 parts?
Thanks very much in advance!!

Posted by
1687 posts

Others will comment on the rest of your itinerary (and have many opinions), but I broke down the drive from Nafplio to Meteora with a stop at Delphi (reversing your order).

It was a very manageable drive, with a couple of hours extra detour time for lunch, from Kastraki back to the Athens airport to return the car. After getting to lodging in Athens, there was plenty of time for a long walk and dinner.

There is a lot around Nafplio - I would have been more than happy to have had 4 nights!

Posted by
1581 posts

My suggestion would be to pick up the rental car in Athens and drive directly to Meteora. I know it’s a long drive. From Meteora drive to Delphi. From Delphi drive to Napfio. From Napflio drive to Athens. Flying from Athens to Naxos with that short layover may be a problem. Also be aware that the meltemes winds can kick up that time of year and cause flight issues to and from the islands.

Posted by
1581 posts

I agree with Travelmom. Napflio is a delight and a good base to see ancient Corinth and Agro Corinth, Mycenae and Epidaurus.

Posted by
36 posts

Thank you for the suggestion to reverse the order. This way I will have only 4h drive legs max according to Google maps.

Posted by
964 posts

You have chosen highlight destinations.

Logistics are important so I am going to suggest a few tweaks to the plan.
While it is likely that you will make that connection from Athens to Naxos most experienced travellers suggest you should have 2 hours to make connections in Athens.

The ferry routes depart Crete in the morning go to Santorini late morning and on to Naxos early afternoon. When they finish their routes the turn around and make the same stops in reverse getting back to Heraklion at 7 pm. You pretty much loose a minimum of a half day for every ferry hop.

I said all that to say, I would fly to Chania immediately on arrival in Athens. Find a hotel in Chania old town Venetian harbour. It is an amazing destination. You actually feel as if you have stepped into the past.

Drive to Heraklion Departing very early morning (its a good 2 hour drive) or go to Heraklion the night before. Perhaps visit Knossos, maybe the harbour fortress and wander around the central part of Heraklion.

Next morning take the ferry to Santorini. Spend your three nights there.

Ferry to Naxos, you will be on the beach by 2pm. I suggest you find a hotel at St George beach Agios Georgios. Its a good beach and is part of Naxos town. You get a beach experience with the town just a stroll along the sea headland.

Fly Naxos to Athens rent the car. Drive to Delphi. Plan to arrive late afternoon. Get a hotel and enjoy the village, visit the museum, perhaps visit the lower site which is open 24 hours. Next morning get up early and be at the gate at opening. You and a few others will have the site virtually alone. By the time the bus crowds arrive you will be in the upper part of the site and will have at least an hour before the crowds overrun the place. Now is a good time to leave.

Drive to Meteora. Its a long drive. You will likely arrive early evening. Take the opportunity to drive up to the Monasteries. Get your photos. Get up early next morning and beat the bus crowds. Visit one or two monasteries. Once the buses arrive it gets very busy. We counted 30 buses in one parking lot. Stay overnight and next morning get up early and do one more drive through and see if you can visit one or 2 more monasteries.

Drive to Nafplio. Enjoy the area. Nafplio is lovely. Be sure to take some time on your way back to Athens to stop in Coritnth. There is ancient Nemia with sister games with Olympia. The stadium is still there. Also near Ancient Corinth you will discover Acro Corinth. Its a mountain top fortress with 360 degree views.

You can do the land portion any way you want but the important logistical thing is to do Delphi first when you plan the Meteora portion of the trip. I put Nafplio last simply because it is so beautiful and you will be able to refresh yourselves before your time in Athens.
Here is your trip

Castello Heraklion


Naxos town
Trip around Naxos
Naxos sunsets

Delphi and Meteora
Corinth Area.


Have a great time.

Posted by
36 posts

stanbr, thanks. Is there a specific reason to do a Delphi first before Meteora? That leaves me with a long, 6h drive from Meteora to Nafplio. If I do Delphi last, on the way back from Meteora to Nafplio, the longest segment I have is 4h between Athens and Meteora.
Google Map

Posted by
1644 posts

This looks like a fabulous trip.

We spent four nights in Nafplio in 2018 and found that to be a good amount. Still, we didn’t see all we wanted to see. Nafplio is well located for day trips. Nemea was one of our favorite day trips (We paired with Mycanae and most of our group liked visiting Nemea better even though it isn’t as historically significant.)

And I agree with others to put Delphi in the middle rather your last stop. You could go to Nafplio, then Delphi, and then Meteora.

Posted by
36 posts

I see.
Question is:
1. Meteora
2. Deplhi
3. Nafplio

1. Delphi
2. Meteora
3. Nafplio

Posted by
964 posts

Give the option as you have outlined, I think the Meteora Delphi Nafplio would probably be the better option. It just a short hop from Delphi across the gulf at Patras and then down to Nafplio.

Posted by
7488 posts

Four nights is not too long for Napflio! That gives you three full days. Ancient Mycenae, Tiryns, Epidavros and Napflio itself easily fill three days.