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Help with Greece Itinerary

To support a local animal charity, I bid and won a trip to Greece. The itinerary is 3 nights in Athens, 3 in Santorini, and 3 in Mykonos. We have two weeks and are trying to decide where else we would like to spend our time in Greece and hope to get feedback from folks in the Forum.

A bit about us: we are active, 61 and 73 year old couple. I love history and art. My husband and I both love to explore the culture through food, usually taking a cooking class in the countries we visit. We love to hike as well. We will not be driving.

We have read the RS guide book and read ideas on the Forum. Based on that, we have a couple of options for your feedback.

Option 1: Start the trip in the islands, ending in Athens

  • 3 days in Santorini
  • 3 days in Mykonos
  • 3 days in Athens with day trip to Delphi
  • 3 days in Nafpilo with day trip to Epidavros or Mycenae
  • Last night in Athens before going home -

Option 2: More Islands

  • 3 days in Santorini
  • 3 days in Mykonos
  • 3 days in another island (maybe Rhodes)
  • 4 days in Athens with day trip to Delphi

Option 3: Start in Athens

  • 3 days in Athens, day trip to Delphi\
  • 3 days in Nafpilo with day trip to Epidavros or Mycenae
  • 3 days in Santorini
  • 3 days in Mykonos

Thanks in advance.

Posted by
3296 posts

OPtion one... But I would suggest putting Athens & Delphi at the END of trip... instead, on Return from Mykonos (ferry? flight?) take Express bus either from PIreaus or Airport to Kissifou KTEL BUs terminal and catcj excellent intercity express bus to Nafplio -- goes every couple of hours, takes 2.5 hour including rest-stop.. view of sea much of way. Reserved seats, comfy upholstred, A/C modern vehicles, very pleasant scenic ride. Ditto going back.

YOu will Looove Nafplio - here's fab noncommercial website: http://www.visitnafplio.com/ click EVERY link -- has all thing you say u love ... museums history, venetian architecture, great food in small family-owned tavernas, better sunsets than Santorini IMHO ... toown is stunning & walkable, AND swims available there, or quick bus ride to several beachs (Tip: don't do that Santorini walk; save your hikes for around Nafplio, much pleasanter ... and when u get tired u can always phone a taxi to return to Old Town). Here are some pix by another Nafplio fan - http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632094108982/ NOTE: There MAY be a 2-site daytour from Nafplio to both Mycenae & Epidaurus; otherwise consider 1-day car rental, or 1-day pvt car hire.

I do NOT recommend the 1-day bus excursion to Delphi -- a nightmare, surrounded by crowds, dragged away from museum & ruins to unwanted souvenir stops etc ... On return from Pelops, u might consider KTEL Bus straight to Delphi arr afternoon (the tour mobs leave by 1-2), enjoy in lat afternoon, stay o'night, return to ATH next am... and then do your major ATH sightseeing.

Posted by
922 posts

Thank you so much for the detailed information. Really appreciate all the thought you put into helping make this a special trip.

Posted by
67 posts

Honestly? I would seriously consider other islands in the Cyclades rather than Santorini and Mykonos. They have become so completely saturated with wall to wall tourists, including those dumped for the day by the many cruise ships, that the thrill is gone. I would suggest islands like Milos, Naxos and Paros that are beautiful with plenty to see and do while not nearly so overwhelmed.

Posted by
1611 posts

I agree with janet: option 1

And agree (partially) with Scott too.

Is Mykonos a mandatory destination?

Because if Santorini can be a place to see once in your life despite being a tourist factory, Mykonos will be a real nightmare for you as lovers of art, history, nice hikes and authenticity .

Mykonos unfortunately no longer has anything to do with Greece. It's an overpriced place destination for nightlife, nightclubs, and beach bars lovers where they can drink 40€ cocktails and being sprayed by foam cannons.

This is the main reason why people who know why they are going to Mykonos go there.

Posted by
922 posts

@Scott and @JoLui, thank you both for your feedback. Unfortunately, the package I won at auction has Santorini and Mykonos and those destinations cannot be changed. I know about the challenges of cruise ship passengers overwhelming these small islands. I am hoping it will be like when we stayed in the Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast where we got up early before the crowds and stayed into the evening after the crowds to find a lot to love in these over touristed places.

Posted by
1524 posts

I agree with everyone who suggests Option 1 and put all of your Athens nights at the end. This way you don't waste time by having to return to Athens for one night before your departure home. It takes a long time to get into and out of the city. And staying at an airport hotel would not be enjoyable unless that was your only choice. But it isn't your only choice. We basically had a similar itinerary (with Athens at the end) in 2022 except we visited Naxos after Santorini, not Mykonos.

Posted by
70 posts

Hi, we recently spent 4 days in Santorini and Mykonos each, and have similar interests as yours. You will get a lot of negative feedback on Mykonos here and elsewhere. Some if it is well-deserved, but we still had a wonderful experience. If you love history, it's a short boat ride to Delos, which was one of the coolest historical sites I've visited. We took a cooking class with a local chef in her home kitchen, which was a great way to connect with local culture and food. We also took a mosaic workshop from someone who formerly helped excavate Delos. And this would be difficult without a car, but we explored remote beaches with gorgeous water.

I realize everything I just described could be experienced on other, more authentic islands. But for those of us who opt for the more touristed islands, it just takes a little bit of research to create a richer experience.

Posted by
10838 posts

We had much better experiences on Mykonos than on Santorini. Lots to see and do on both islands. If you want another island, I recommend Paros. Our favorite area was Nafplion and the surrounding antiquities.

Posted by
3296 posts

Concerned Local -- if you carefully read the original post, they do not have a choice -- the prize they won specified Santorini and Mykonos, so there's no point in badmouthing those and suggesting 2 different islands ... I have spent a lot of time in the Argolid area, and believe they can find wonderful and authentic experiences there. In addition, did you note that they will not be driving? One of your islands, Tinos, is not easy to explore without renting a car.

Posted by
922 posts

@TexasTravelmom: thank you for your advice.
@kmkwoo: appreciate the feedback from your recent trip. I hope you had a great time.
@Jake: I have looked at Delos and think I will really enjoy visiting this historic site. I love the idea of taking a cooking class and the mosaic workshops. I usually take a cooking class in each country I visit. It is such a wonderful way to connect to the people, traditions, and culture.
@Suki: you have helped me many times in the past on travel advice. Thank you again.
@Concernedlocal: I do understand that Santorini and Mykonos are touristy, but they are part of the package. I live in a very touristy area myself (not far from Fisherman’s Wharf) and there are still hidden gems even in touristy areas. I appreciate your input on trying to discover some of the lesser known (to tourists at least) islands.
@Janet: appreciate you continuing to provide insights beyond your first excellent post.

I truly appreciate all the feedback and help from all of you.