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Help with travel days logistics with seniors

Hello, I got some good advice on my previous post and am now trying to nail down some logistics. It will be my husband and I and my senior parents (70s) in Greece for two weeks in mid-September. My mom is diabetic (does not need insulin). While she always has emergency snacks to keep her blood sugar up, it’s not really feasible to push through and eat very late or skip meals like we might do if it was just the two of us. I would like to try to keep our mealtimes as consistent as possible, say lunch around 11-12 and dinner around 6-7 with cafe/snack breaks as needed throughout the day. We would eat breakfast at the apartment. She does tire a little more easily nowadays, and I have scheduled our main itinerary with this in mind but need help on a few of the travel days.

Santorini to Athens to Nafplio (Tuesday): flying in, arriving ATH at 9:15. Retrieve our luggage and pickup our rental car from Athens Car Rental at the airport. I would guess it’ll be anywhere between 10-11am before we are on our way to Nafplio. If we leave closer to 10, we might be able to wait until we are in Nafplio to have lunch but that’s pushing it a little. Where to stop for a quick, decent lunch (like gyros) that is easy access from the highway? And perhaps we could stop to see the Corinth Canal as well? We should be able to fit all our luggage in the trunk, but I’m a bit wary of being too far away from the car for very long (grew up in a city where it is advised to not leave anything in a rental car at all - I have heard this is less likely in Greece if everything is hidden away). Check in is 3pm, and I need to message the host to see if we can check in earlier or at least drop our bags off, but would like to figure out what we’re doing on the way there before giving him an ETA.

Nafplio to Delphi (Saturday): I am not sure if we are going to do any sightseeing on the way to Delphi. From the feedback I’ve gotten here, Ancient Nemea would be a short and easy stop but it’s possible that we will go there on our Mycenae day if we have the energy. Would love to know what the regulars would do in our situation. Do we leave early to try to get to Delphi in time for lunch? Leave later and stop somewhere for a quick lunch (where)? Schedule Nemea for our departure day and have quick lunch somewhere nearby (where)? Stow the bags in the car and have lunch in Nafplio? The latest we can check out is noon. We would like to visit the Tholos of Athena Pronaia in the late afternoon prior to dinner. We have a private tour the following day. We have two nights in Delphi and planning to visit Hosias Loukas monastery while there as well.

Delphi to Athens (Monday): we will need to return the car by around 11am to avoid an extra days charge, then take a taxi to our apartment near Plaka and have lunch there. What time should we leave Delphi and what is the traffic like that time of day?

Thank you!

Posted by
191 posts

I can only speak of the leg from Athens to Nafplio. I drove that in June 2022. It is VERY nice roadway, not difficult to trvel on at all.
I stopped at Corinth Canal, and while I was hungry, I pushed through and waited until arrival in Nafplio.
BUT there were a couple places to eat adjacent to the Corinth Canal. There's a souvlaki joint right next to it on the western side (side away from Athens), and a Goody's burger place across the street.

I cannot vouch for the quality of either, but they ARE places to get a meal on the way to Nafplio

Posted by
2285 posts

We drove from Athens Airport to Nafplio after the same flight. We stopped to see the Corinth Canal on the way. There was a big cafeteria/restaurant there that we ate at. Nothing fabulous as obviously set up to handle bus crowds but did the job. We didn't worry about our bags.

We went to Nemea when we went to Mycenae. The staff at Nemea recommended a fabulous restaurant to us but it was more like 1 pm or so before we went there so the 11-12 pm window you are discussing may be challenging. I am not sure even if lunch generally is served at 11 in Greece. Could she make it to 1 pm if she carried snacks?

It took us about 2.5 hours to drive from Athens Airport to Delphi. So I would probably leave before 8:30 to be safe. There isn't much traffic until you get near Athens but you should miss rush hour.

Posted by
6379 posts

In general, to address your mealtime concerns, I'd suggest that you shift your daily schedule by 1-2 hours to align better with local mealtimes. Wake up 1 hour later, have breakfast 1 hour later, etc.
If you're thinking "but I go to bed at 9", remember that clock time is a convention and does not reflect solar time the same way all over the world. Just treat it as additional jet lag!
A typical example is Spain: Spain and France share the same time zone, but in actuality, Spain is just about 1-1.5 hours behind France in terms of habits. They just don't change the clocks.

Posted by
10504 posts

Delphi to Athens (Monday): we will need to return the car by around 11am to avoid an extra days charge, then take a taxi to our apartment near Plaka and have lunch there. What time should we leave Delphi and what is the traffic like that time of day?

Are you returning the car to the airport or some other drop off point? Affects how much time you would need.
Is the 'apartment' somewhere you can drop the parents before dropping off the car?

google shows the trip from Delphi to Athens around 2.5 hrs ( I have found google to be unduly optimistic). Add time to refuel the car and then get to the apartment and I would guess you are close to 5 hours from when you leave Delphi.

For an 11AM turn in, I would be moving by 730AM, to not be on edge the entire trip

No personal experience, so no $0.02 fee.

Posted by
159 posts

After leaving the airport and stopping at the Corinth Canal (where you could get food, inspiring or otherwise) I would suggest turning south and traveling via Palaia Epidavros. Stop and have lunch there; it's a delightful seaside town, only adds 30 minutes to your drive and the drive is even more gorgeous than the other route to Nafplio, by far.
Plus, if you want to economize your time, leaving lunch from there and heading to Nafplio will take you directly past the ancient theater that is sure to be on your list of sites to see anyway.

Posted by
5 posts

Beth, 11-12 is a general timeframe for when we’d actually sit down for lunch. So it could be closer to 12, although at least the places I’ve got bookmarked all seem to open by 11-11:30 according to google maps. We might be able to push it out to later on our travel days if we have a hearty breakfast since there won’t be a ton of sightseeing involved as we’re getting from point A to B. Generally I know that my mom can only have snacks for so long before she needs an actual meal. But we will just have to see how she acclimates when we’re actually there! I know when we were in Paris my parents could only make it to about 7pm before they wanted to go to dinner. We were more on the go on that trip though and our itinerary is a bit more relaxed on this trip so it could be different. Other than a couple of caldera side restaurants in Santorini and a birthday dinner in Athens I’m not tied down to any reservations so trying to be very flexible and would just like to know what our options are.