Please sign in to post.

Help needed with honeymoon itinerary in Greece this summer

My last post disappeared for some reason, I'm sorry for the double post if it reappears! https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/greece/thoughts-on-itinerary-for-honeymoon-in-mid-july-to-august

Our flight is at 5pm on July 17th from NYC and we're landing at 10am in Athens on the 18th. Some of our interests are beaches, good food, history, romantic spots, etc. The places that we definitely want to go to are Athens and Santorini. Looking for suggestions and I hope that what I have so far is doable.

Itinerary:

  • July 17-18: NYC -> Athens -> Milos (Flight)
  • July 19: Milos
  • July 20: Milos
  • July 21: Milos -> Santorini (Ferry)
  • July 22: Santorini
  • July 23: Santorini
  • July 24: Santorini -> Paros (Ferry)
  • July 25: Paros
  • July 26: Paros
  • July 27: Paros -> Athens -> Nafplion (Either rental car, bus or taxi, not sure. If we have a car, will stop by Corinth Canal for pictures)
  • July 28: Nafplion
  • July 29: Nafplion (Mycenae, Epidaurus)
  • July 30: Nafplion -> Athens
  • July 31: Athens
  • Aug 1: Athens
  • Aug 2: Athens (Day trip to Hydra)
  • Aug 3: Athens -> NYC (Flight)

  • We originally wanted to come back on Aug 2nd but I ended up adding a day to fit everything in. Might have to remove the day trip to Hydra.

  • Trying to decide to go straight to Nafplion from the islands or do Athens first, then take a car to Athens for our flight home.

  • Also trying to decide between Milos and Naxos but leaning Milos since it is smaller (guessing Naxos may require more time than Milos)

    • If Naxos is picked over Milos, order of islands changes from Milos -> Santorini -> Paros to Naxos -> Paros -> Santorini.
Posted by
5664 posts

Hydra: I don’t know whether this is only an April thing, or maybe occurs in early August as well, but on our April 2018 trip, we’d planned to take the ferry from Athens’ Piraeus port to Hydra. The first ferry of the morning got cancelled, due to rough seas. We waited an hour for the second ferry, which they also canceled. We weren’t just doing it as a daytrip, as we had reservations to stay the night, so we found another couple to share a taxi, and rode across the Corinth canal (no photo stop), then farther south, to another port closer to Hydra, with a shorter ferry and calmer waters. We made it, but turbulence ferry cancellations might potentially interfere with your plans, if Hydra was just a quickie visit for a few hours. Again, that might not even be an issue on your summer honeymoon trip, but just so you know…

And if you do wind up with a rental car, after your canal photo op, on your way to Napflio, be sure to stop at Nemea. It’s got Greek Temple ruins, a small but excellent museum, and best of all, an ancient stadium, used for Olympic-type games, and in much better shape than the site at Olympia. It also has a unique tunnel where athletes entered the stadium, with athlete graffiti scratched into the walls, declaring their victories. We were there on that 2018 trip, after Hydra, and had the place totally to ourselves. Nemea may just be a prime spot, hiding in plain sight.

Posted by
5 posts

Oh wow, that story with the Hydra ferry sucks. I can't find any instances of that online for the summer so I think we're safe there. I was advised to try a winery in Nemea, didn't know there was such interesting history there. Thanks for the suggestion!

As for the rest of the itinerary, do you think it's good or is there too much travel/not enough time spent at some places?

Posted by
470 posts

We opted for 3 nights in Naxos (which we loved) instead of Milos of Paros, so I can't speak to either of those places. Another vote for a trip to Nemea while you are in Nafplion. Our tour and tasting at Palivou Estate Winery was very worthwhile as were the historical sites in the area. As mentioned by the previous poster, we too had the ancient games site and tunnel to ourselves. Three nights in Santorini is just the right amount of time IMO. Our stay at Lithies Traditional Homes on the caldera in Firostefani was incredible. Gorgeous views, terrific accommodations and Maria will pamper you during your stay. Truly magical! You may want to consider a catamaran tour in Santorini. There are options for both day and sunset cruises. Ours included snorkeling and lunch. Venetsanos Winery in Santorini offers an excellent tasting and light lunch while overlooking the caldera. My recommendation is to have a rental car for the Nafplion portion of your trip. It will provide you with flexibility for day trips. I always register our overseas trips with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. It came in very handy while we were in Greece, as they alerted us to a ferry strike which impacted our travel allowing us to pivot and find alternative transportation.

Posted by
1878 posts

So if I count right you have

3 nights Milos
3 nights Santorini
3 nights Paros
3 nights Nafplio
4 nights Athens with day trip to Hydra

That is doable but fast paced. You will feel like you are always moving but perhaps that is OK. Realize that you lose at least 1/2 day every time you move. I would consider deleting the day trip to Hydra and adding that day to somewhere else as you will have already visited three islands and spending more time would be preferable at that point. It is also a jaunt to go from central Athens to the port.

Of the places you are considering going I have been to Santorini, Naxos, Nafplio, and Athens.

Santorini: If you like hiking the hike from Fira to Oia is the most beautiful, I have ever done. You would want to start early in July. We spent 3 nights there like you are proposing and felt like that was a good amount. There certainly were things we didn't see however.

Naxos was probably our favorite place. It had charming villages, historical sites, mountains and the best beaches. We actually chose it for the beaches but ended up spending little time on the beach because there was so much to see. We spent four nights there and would have loved to have one more. So you are right that there is probably more to see here than Milos.

For Nafplio, I would fly back to Athens and rent a car at the airport to drive. We used Athens Car Rental. Then return the car to the airport and take the metro, bus or taxi into Athens. We took the bus because there was a metro strike and the taxi line was very long.

It was hot when we were in Nafplio and Athens in early June and I am sure it will be for you in July/August. We stayed four nights in Nafplio and went sight seeing for only part of the day. We visited different beaches in the afternoon. The town beach (Arvanitia) is rocky but has a fun cafe. Tolos is the one Rick Steves says he likes best in his guidebook but we didn't like it at all. No facilities and litter on the beach. Our favorite was Karathona which you can walk to from Arvanitia. It doesn't have much shade though. My husband drove with his brother and then walked back. It was one of his favorite activities. It was beautiful but hot when I walked so not as enjoyable.

We went to Nemea which everyone loved (there were 7 of us). There is a lovely air conditioned museum (you will understand why I mention the air conditioning!) which I wish we had had more time for. We also visited a winery which is why we didn't . And walked up the 999 steps to the Palamidi Fortress a different day.

We visited the Acropolis in the late afternoon which worked out very well. It was far less crowded than in the morning (we saw the crowds from the distance the next day) and it still wasn't as hot.

You will have a great time. We are going back to Greece this year!

Posted by
2816 posts

I think it looks pretty good, but I would consider consolidating for two islands instead of three, and perhaps would add a day to Nafplio.
If you are worried it is too much moving, it probably is.

Order of Nafplio and Athens will depend on flight times. I think it's probably best as is--I'd rather be in Athens last than have a stressful drive to ATH on the day of departure (though that is possible if flight is late in the day given the drive time).

Posted by
2934 posts

I have just finished giving you all kinds of detail on TRip Advisor under your alternatte name of Nissan, so I'm exhausted. People here have given y ou LOADs of good advice. My advice is make up your mind TODAY ^ start booking some accoms, Mainly in Santorini -o- AND rental cars (they are very hard to come by, and I do hope you can drive stick-shift much easier to book).

Also, PLEASE, skip Hydra. you already have at least 3 islands... Hydra is hyped by RIck Steves & the "Steve-heads" follow him like lemmings. I think it may be because his tours are all on mainland, and his tour-folks want to say they've been on an island, so he touts it as a possible day-trip. IMHO, it can be a disappointment for several reasons (1)  most ferries there are enclosed, no deck, no view the whole trip (2) a day experience is just all about the harborside, no busses or cars to get out ino countryside (3) ifyou've already been to an island why bother? For those with NO island portion of their trip, I often recommend Aegina... much closer, accessible via conventionial open-deck ferry where psgrs can sit out & enjoy seascape for an hour.

... besides -- athens has been waiting for you for 2500 years; surely you can devote 3 days to its glories!

Posted by
2934 posts

A PS on swims around Nafplio ...

(1) Yes, the "town beach" (Arvanitia) is all stones, but you can get into the water from a cement platform, where there are also sunbeds/sunbrellas & a cafe.. it's fun. ALSO, a town swim area.... walk at waterlevel arond th point, and area couple of piers into the water, w. chained-off area.. used to be a "swim club" ... a great place that's a quicklevel walk from Old Town... and water is clear, pure, wonderful -- this is closer than Karathona, too much of a hike in hot weather

(2) Tolo beach I agree, hard to like... crammed with high-season package-tour crowds, no changing-rooms or restrooms & yes, litter on sands (unusual for greece) -- if u are driving, just continue on past the S. end of Tolo beach on windy shore road til you get to ASINE (fortress/castle) ruins on Left.. and on RIGHT, a tiny cove, and ONE Taverna -- this jr. beach is either called Asine or Kastraki & seemingly unknown to others, it's my secret swim! U Can change in the tiny restroom of the taverna, order a beverage & use its sunbeds,, and later climb up to its terrace and have a snack or even sunset dinner! I found this on my own and have shared it with delighted trip-companions on 2 other summers.

A PS on Swims -- traveling to greece: instead of flip-flops, pack cheap "water shoes" iu can get for $6-7 at Walmart etc... that way you can enjoy ANY beach, not just sandy..

Posted by
5664 posts

Although you’re planning on covering a lot of miles on land and at sea, super, at least you’re not doing one-day/one-night stands, before scurrying on to the next destination. If that pace works for you, it doesn’t sound like too much.

In Athens, we closed down the Parthenon, at the end of the day. The guards were herding the last of us down the steps at closing time, but it gave us maximum time with less of a packed crowd. Just smile as you get batched out of there! 😊

And, if having an additional option helps, we rented from Pop’s Rental Car. They have several offices in Greece.

Posted by
1204 posts

Looks like a fun itinerary to me! You could take a night from Paros and add it to Milos to allow you to relax and settle in a little more before touring. BTW - I've only been to Santorini and Athens.

Posted by
2934 posts

It looks as if you've sorted out the sequence & length of stay at each destination ...and I'll just chime in with recommendations on transport choices, location possibilities. and booking priorities.

• PAROS - ATHENS - ONWARD I'm guessing, though you don't include (flight), that you DO plan to fly from PAROS ... because a ferry will take u from 11am - 3:15 pm and eat up the entire day. If you DID want to ferry, you could take the 7 pm Blue star the evening of July 26, & land in Piraeus near midnight (of course then AM Of 27th would need to choose rental car or KTEL bus to go to Nafplio; if U choose bus, you'd need to rent a car in Nafplio to get to 2 ancient sites in 1 day)

• MILOS - To explore as u seem to want, you'll need car; bus service is limited compared to other isles. U do have dilemma - the choice of restaurants & nightlife is limited outside of Port town (ADamas), but the beach there is, meh. If u stay at beach area, & drive in to ADamas for evening and/or clubbing, u face drive back on winding unlit roads after a winey dinner. No easy answer; we stayed in POllonia & did that, but luckily our driver was teetotal.

• SANTORINI - OF course all honeymooners are set on staying in OIA, I'll just put in my recommend for FIROSTEFANI, also right on the cliffside, but unknown to cruise-ship mobs & package-tour crowds, therefore serene by night AND Day, also an easy 20-minute walk to/from Fira along rimside path - also its caldera-view rooms usually 40% lower than OIA. BUt that's just a recommendation.

• BOOKING PRIORITIES: #1 - DOMESTIC FLIGHTS! If a hotel is fully booked, you can always find another. But if the flight you need is fully booked, you cannot locate another plane... and it could bollix your whole itinerary #2 - CAR RENTALS - the pandemic has upended supplies & agencies are v short on cars -- and if you need an automatic, even shorter supply since they aren't plentiful in best of times. ANd of course, don't forget Intl Driving Permit, get at AAA in 20 mins, costs $20-25.

Posted by
5 posts

Our flights/accommodations are now all booked. I'm grateful for everyone's help, tips and suggestions, thank you!

Posted by
303 posts

For activities on Santorini we often used the bus between Oia, Imerovilgi, Fira, and Akrotiri. The cliffside walking path downhill from Imerovigli to FiroStephani and Fira has spectacular views. If you like history the Archaeological site of Akrotiri is well worth it. We loved having dinner at Oia Gefsis on their upper rooftop terrace in Oia for great sunset views and excellent food. Make reservations in advance.