Thank you to everyone for your posts that I have already read!
My wife and I are heading to Greece for a month long trip 30 days +/- depending actual flights I can book with United reward miles. We are leaving in June most likely the last week no exact date as of yet. We are budget travelers. We are both 50 years old and enjoy exploring new areas. We prefer to stay in one spot to get to know the local area then move on. We went to Costa Rica for 21 days and enjoyed four locations as we were driving the drives were an enjoyable part of the adventure. We enjoy the outdoors, beaches, seeing old towns, hiking, being on the water/boating, drinking wine and eating all types of food. Not into party scenes but don't mind being out late with good conversation.
We are departing out of Boston Massachusetts. My initial foray to look at booking reward miles is that it is quickest/easiest to fly into Athens THEN fly to our next destination vs. Flying into Crete and returning from Athens. Has this been the experience of others using United or United partner airlines to fly? I saw 14 or 15 hours of travel time into Athens. When I looked at flying directly into Crete it was 27-30 hours. OR am I looking too early? I want to book the flights for the trip so I can start to look at the traveling between for flights/ferries and once this is deteremined finally book our lodging.
Second question is Itinerary based...
1st day Arrive Athens and transfer to a plane to Crete (then per Stanbr and Janet's advice leave to first stop)
9 travel to Cyclades Islands
10-16 (undecided which Island)
17 travel to (stay in Cyclades or travel to Dodecanese Islands or the island of Lesvos)
18-24 (undecided which island)
25 Travel to Athens
26 -29 Athens
30 Return Flight
YES lots to unpack there...
Crete is on our must do list. It seems to have a little bit of everything we want. We are considering adding a day or two to Crete and reducing others. I am thinking the flight out of Athens to Chania is the way to go... thoughts on this?
For our second stop we are looking to explore the Cyclades let me say we will not be going to Santorini or Mykonos on this trip. We are looking for less crowds (ok so I know it will be July and it will be crowded but we would like to minimize this aspect). The island of Naxos/Paros/Ios/Sifnos ALL seem to be a favorite among many... We are open to suggestions for this second stage! staying in one or one island would be great Thoughts....?
I realize staying in the same island chain maximizes our time in each location BUT since we are here for a month and not traveling to 15 spots -- What is the advice of going to a different island chain for a week?? The island of Lesvos seems to be another great option as well. THE issue is getting there and time... I am thinking of this as almost 4 vacations linked together. Am I being too ambitious in my thoughts of getting to a different chain or a different spot... IF this is too ambitious... should we shake it up a bit. A different route perhaps? Flying from Athens to Lesvos to start... working our way south (flying as ferry would be too long?) ending in Crete. Then flying back to Athens for the last stop??
4 days in Athens seems to be right for us. We prefer to go at our own pace and see things... if we don't see it "all" we are ok with that. The travel days we see as bonus evenings in our locations and are part of the adventure. ANY and ALL thoughts/comments are greatly appreciated... I will post individual questions on islands etc... once we get the rough outline figured out.