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Greece Trip Report: Sept. 2019

Forum posts helped me plan my recent trip to Greece so I offer my experience. If not useful, please ignore.
Itinerary: 2 nights Athens, 3 nights Nafplio, 2 nights each Santorini, Naxos, Mykonos.
Credit Cards: No trouble using my American Visa card. It has a chip, no pin.
Water: Despite what many say, I had lower GI distress w/in 2 days and switched to bottled water, no fresh fruits/veggies, no ice. My symptoms cleared. Locals on the islands said don't drink the water.
Language: Everyone speaks English.
Toilets: Guidebooks say put toilet paper in the nearby trash can, not in toilet. I saw only 1 sign w/this but followed it.
Buses/boats: They may be early. Be ready or you miss them. Not all buses are well marked so ask the driver. Your ferry reservation is not a ticket unless you see a barcode. Get a printed ticket at the port. Be ready when your boat approaches. The well marked boats stay at the dock only a few minutes to unload/load passengers. Be efficient with yourself, luggage, ticket.
Shoes: Day hikers are a must for slippery stones everywhere.
Safety: I am a female solo traveler and never was afraid. Just keep obvious control of your purse/wallet.
Athens: Express bus (X95) and its ticket window was right outside Exit 5. It makes stops, but ask the driver to announce the Syntagma Square stop (about an hour). 6 euros each way. The return bus to the airport leaves from this same spot regularly. I walked a short distance to the Electra Palace Hotel in the centrally located Plaka. I registered online with the hotel rewards program and used my free drink at the pool with a view of the Acropolis. The Acropolis Museum and the National Archaeological Museum are superb. Do not use a taxi in Athens near any tourist area - I was badly ripped off (wrong location, high fee).
Nafplio: Driving to the Peloponnese from Athens airport was easy. Look at a map before you start and follow well signed good roads. Pay 4 tolls with euros or credit card. The exit for Nafplio was well marked and I took that same exit to see Ancient Nemea. Nemea is north and Nafplio south. Old town Nafplio is charming. I stayed by the water in the Grand Bretagne but it was very noisy very late. Day trips to Epidavros and Mycenae were easy and must see. Nearby beaches are in Tolon and Karathona. The view from Palamidi fortress is a must see, I drove. I recommend Aiolos restaurant and Antica Gelateria di Roma.
Santorini: Flying to Santorini via Aegean Air is 45 min. I rented a car at the airport for 24 hours and returned it in Fira, then used the bus. Be prepared for driving lots of uphills & downhills with tourist buses on many hairpin curves. I stayed in lovely Oia in a studio cave dwelling at Chelidonia. Park at the public parking garage and call your hotel to meet you. The crowds are awful at sunset at the tip of town (castle ruins) but otherwise fine. I recommend eating at Candouni in their charming courtyard or Roka, and Solo Gelato is a must. I drove to Akrotiri archaeological site followed by the Pre-Historic Museum in Fira. Eat souvlaki at Lucky's in Fira near the bus station.
Naxos: The ferry leaves Santorini from the port in Athinios which is a crazy scene. Leave extra time to get there and be sure to get in the right queue for your boat. Naxos is a 1 hr, 10 min. ferry and more authentic (no big airport, cruise ships). I enjoyed Iliada Suites in the Grotto area with a balcony overlooking the Portara, the place for sunsets. I recommend eating at To Elliniko and Nostimon Hellas, away from the port. I took the public bus from the port to inland villages and hiked above the town of Chaliki. Read hiking maps online; paths not well marked. You see small Byzantine churches.
Mykonos: The ferry from Naxos is 35 min. I loved Ostraco Suites, quiet with a lovely view, pool, 10 min walk down to town, where you will get lost. The bus to inland Ano Mera is fun and has a great hike. Have fun!

Posted by
2416 posts

VERY efficient and brisk, very accurate re each location, should be quite helpful to newbies, all essential info (times, prices). Thanks!

Posted by
1930 posts

Cris, great report! Detailed, well planned and important/helpful information for those considering this wonderful Country. Glad you enjoyed two of our favorite reataurants in Naxos!

Posted by
57 posts

D - Have a great trip! Feel free to post a question before you go. There are a few experts like Janet who can be helpful.

Posted by
1 posts

Thanks for the great information, Cris! I'm headed to Greece in a couple of weeks and your tips and suggestions are really helpful.

Posted by
13930 posts

Diveloonie - me too! Where are you going to be?

Cris - thank you for the trip report. Naxos and Santorini are on my itinerary and your information is helpful. Do you remember which ferry you took to Naxos?

Posted by
57 posts

C - Yes, both ferries I took were Sea Jets. I had no complaints - plenty of seats, plenty of food/drinks to buy, fast boats, and good service. The website was easy to use from the States. Have a great trip!

Posted by
1525 posts

@Chani
We will be staying at the Acropolis Select. We arrive the day before our tour starts on October 6th in the evening and then we will have the following day to explore a bit before the tour starts that evening on October 7th. Where are you going to be? We also have to leave for home the day the tour ends. Not enough time for this one I'm afraid!

Posted by
13930 posts

Diveloonie - we will miss each other by hours. I'm starting my trip on Oct 6 on Crete and making my way to Santorini and Naxos. I fly into Athens at 11 am on Sunday the 20th. You'll probably be airborne by then, on your way home with lots of wonderful memories

Who's your tour guide?

Posted by
6146 posts

no fresh fruits/veggies

Literally none? No Greek salads? That's the highlight of Greece - fresh veggies. What did you eat instead?

Posted by
3 posts

This is helpful information, thank you for the specific details!

Posted by
11411 posts

Sounds like you enjoyed your visit very much , the water is in fact very safe - however some people ( you , and me ! ) are sensitive to the different mineral content , it didn’t make me sick ( I’ve been four times now ) but it makes my visits more frequent to the washroom - however it affects my hubby and daughter and friends we’ve traveled with no a bit - so it’s just some of us affected by it .
I do drink bottled water now - but I will NEVER give up eating the fruits and veggies as they don’t affect me at all !! I’ll eat a Greek salad of some sort everyday ( and am not affected as long as I don’t drink the water ) . I do still brush my teeth with tap water and that’s fine

Posted by
1930 posts

Cris, (This post is in addition to my previous one! Can you tell I love Greece?)
I really enjoyed your concise and helpful report. So many excellent tips for new traveler's going to Greece. It brought back fond memories of visiting some of the same locations. Good tip about the water. I tend to drink bottled water wherever we travel! Sorry you missed the wonderful Greek Salads going forward. We loved Aktrotiri on Santorini. Ooooh, glad you mentioned our two favorite restaurants in Naxos! We ate at Nostiman Hellas twice and To Ellinko. We also used the public bus to inland villages. We also used the ferry system and flew Aegean Air from Santorini to Athens.

Posted by
36 posts

Great information! I just planned a March flight to Santorini, stay in Fira, ferry to Naxos, stay in Naxos Town overlooking the Portara, flight to Athens, stay at Electra Palace.