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Interested in a charming town/village on an easy day trip near Athens

We will be in Athens at the end May and are interested in a day trip to a charming town/village. We will not be renting a car so public transportation is necessary. Transportation info would be helpful as this is our first trip to Greece. We have heard many wonderful things about Nafplio, is this a reasonable day trip? All suggestions are welcome.

Posted by
6016 posts

You would need to find a source for Bus schedules in Greece, in that is the only practical public transportation. Trains are very limited, but might offer some options to limited towns. My personal experience is that getting to and back from someplace in the same day presents issues. An overnight typically is needed, ideally two nights to do it right.

You might also look into some of the Saronic gulf islands, many Athenians do weekends there, some people do day trips.

Posted by
2898 posts

You are right about Nafplio but it isn't just charming, it is downright Gorgeous. BTW, known as "proposal capital of Greece" because its so romantic, Greek men take their sweeties there for the Big Ask. And it IS feasible as a daytrip, as long as you confine yourself to the Town, not all the (many) ancient sites in the area ... AND if you are willing to get up early. By bus here's the drill:

Kissifou KTEL (Intercity) Bus Station -- Take taxi (about 11-12€ from Plaka area), 20 minutes. KTEL Bus a/c cushioned reserved-seat bus (ask for LH side, best view of the sea). First Nafplio bus 6:15, 2nd = 8am, then 8:30 & hourly on 1/2 hour, takes 2.5 hrs, on quite scenic route, Thus, if u can make the 6:15,you'd be there before 9am; 8 Am by 10:30am. Return bus hourly on hour; last one 8pm (20:00).

Here's BEST (noncommercial) website http://www.visitnafplio.com/ Raad ALL - esp sights & WALKS (great walk around base of the peninsula to the stony but great "town beach"). BEST Old Town Map http://www.planetware.com/map/nafplion-map-gr-naf_e.htm -- print & take!! Stunning photos, reality even better http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632094108982/

Suggested day Agenda (folo on map): Arrive bus station 10:30, walk flagstoned lanes to Central Square (Paved in Marble!!). Stop at cafe for snack & read stuff (Photocopy from a guidebook before you go!). Noon - visit Naf. Archeological Museum in historic bldg right on square (Great treat! a 20min video gives complete backgrounding of area, and small & choice collection includes the world's ONLY authentic Iliad-era suit of armor. Thrill!) Takes less than 1 hr. At 12 noon Walk to end of town, up ramp to the "High Square" Take Elevator in the Rock (Yes! Real! Like a cheesy SciFi set) up to Nafplio Palace Hotel. Walk around it to the Park at the Tip of Peninsula ... you can see forever!! Photo Op! Look down Other side of peninsula to small cute town beach.

From there, walk along "Acronafplia" (by the Parapet), Past Tower Clock to inland end of high peninsula. There's a closed hotel there(don't ask). Walk down its curved drive (photo ops all the way) to large square/parking, descend steps to Town Beach (cafe, changing rooms). Don swimwear, have snacky lunch, swim & sunbathe (nap?). 3pm, leave beach, take walk around the base of the peninsula (ultimate photo op!) ... you will come out at Nafplio's best sit-and-gaze venue --- a row of canopied cafes w. cushy loveseats facing west on the seafront. Stop for a beverage, then go wandering through the wonderful flower-garlanded streets & lanes, shopping in chic boutiques. By now it's 5 pm, time to go back & sit on Sunset Row, watch the yachts come in, the people strolling by. You'll have to catch the 8pm bus, so you can't stay for the sunset, but you'll Get the idea. Back in Athens by 10:30, at hotel by 11.... and you'll feel as if you've been a world away!

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you Paul and Janet for your prompt responses. Wow, Janet, your excellent detailed info is much appreciated. We will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary and this romantic site sure fits the bill! Are there any other lovely day trip options you can recommend in the Athens area? Thanks

Posted by
1940 posts

Will you be visiting any islands while you're in Greece? If not, you might consider a day trip to either Hydra or Aegina, two lovely small islands easily accessible by ferry from Athens.

Posted by
3696 posts

Have to agree with Nafplio... although we did spend 2 nights there, I still would make the effort for a day trip if that was all I had. It was our favorite place in Greece.

Posted by
1316 posts

A couple of footnotes to Janet's excellent itinerary.

a) at the bus station on the way out the ticket office for Nafplio is separate from all the other ticket booths. The taxi will drop you at the main entrance and you then go through the booking hall, past the cafeteria on your left, out the double doors and across to your left past the taxi rank. The Nafplio office is on the opposite wall from the main building almost where the buses depart the station. The Nafplio bus goes from just outside.
b) on the return trip it is worth getting off at Eleonas metro station. This saves quite a bit of time as you are not on the coach as it wends through central traffic. It also saves a taxi ride, assuming you are staying somewhere near a metro.

Alan

Posted by
7 posts

Great info, thanks. We will definitely go to Nafplio now that I have received the travel info I needed. We don't want to waste time while in Greece planning our trip, so now I feel comfortable with the day trip. Special thanks to Janet and Alan!

To answer a question asked of me about other islands, yes, we will be spending 3 days in Santorini. We only have 8 days in Greece so I don't want to jam-pack it with too much travelling time here and there but want to see a variety of places.

Are any of you familiar with Corfu? We heard it was a nice island too.

Posted by
2898 posts

Oh Marion. Corfu. We were talking day trips, right? Do you have a map of Greece? Here's a good online one (click to enlarge) . http://www.explorecrete.com/crete-maps/images/greece.gif OK, find Athens, near the tip of the mainland. Now look over at the Peloponnese "hand" -- Nafplio is at the base of the thumb.... 2.5 hour bus ride along coast & thru a lovely valley. Now look to the tippy tippy top of the map, barely in the picture. Kerkyra (Corfu). Cannot go there by ferry OR bus, must do a combo, or fly. Save it for your next trip!

Posted by
2898 posts

I just now saw that you posted a separate query about flying to corfu for a day. It will be a blur of planes-trains-automobiles. One cannot experience anything in such a rush. Save the funds for a return trip when u can do it justice!

Posted by
7 posts

Thanks for the Corfu advice. I understand that it would require a flight there from Athens. My husband was told by a friend that Corfu was a must see even if for a short visit. Paleokastritsa! and the quaint monastery. He was there many years ago and has very fond memories of Corfu.

It would definitely be a busy day, but I'm wondering since it will be a once in a lifetime trip, we may want to give it some serious thought. Please tell me your opinion about this:

It is an hour flight to Corfu from Athens. We are staying about 30 min from the airport by taxi. The flights that would work for us would depart Athens at 09:50 and leave Corfu at 19:25. We heard about a great tour/taxi service that will pick us up from the airport. They offer 4 hour tours in a nice, air conditioned car along with a fun, chatty guide for 120 euros. Our time would be in Paleokastritsa and Kanoni so we can visit the monastery, admire the views and have photo op's at the Bella Vista view point. We would end up in Corfu town for a stroll then a taxi back to the airport. Is this unreasonable? We are energetic 50 somethings that love to explore and enjoy an adventure. I guess the biggest unknown for us, is the time we would have to spend at the airports.

Opinions please :-)

Posted by
2898 posts

You have to be at an airport 1 hour ahead of time .... Are you staying at the Holiday Inn Attiki?? That is about the only one 30 mins from the airport except for a couple in Marco Polo and I doubt you will be staying there. and do take into consideration that planes may be delayed. Once in mid-may our flight from Athens to Santorini was delayed 3 hours because of high winds. Well, supposing you are staying at Holiday Inn, and there is no delay, it works like this; Leave hotel at 8:20, Arrive at Airport 8:40, in line by 8:50. Liftoff - 9:50, land 10:50am, connect with guide & into car, leaving Airport 11: 20. Tour ends approximately 1520 (3:20) --- about 2+ hours for center of town stroll and a bite to eat ... 5:45 or 6, get taxi, in line at airport 6:25, take-off 7:25. land 8:25, back at hotel 9:15 pm.

Well, of course it certainly IS do-able. But sounds more like the schedule for one of our presidential campaigners. I am always leery of doing something strictly on the strength of "was told by a friend." Did husband inquire how long the friend was able to stay in Corfu, to have those fond memories? In my own experience, I can only say that during my first Greece trip I had a rushed day-trip to Delphi, and all I could remember was the long ride and the waiting and the hassle... and the 2nd time I did an overnight with a friend, and all the difference in the world. There are a lot of people who get satisfaction by checking something off a list of Must-sees, but I am not one.

How many days do you have in Athens? Have you visited the stunning Ilas Lalounis Jewelry Museum just 2 blocks from the Acropolis museum? An entire mansion filled with JEWELRY by the Tiffany/Cartier designer-genius of Greece? Or the Melina Mercouri Foundation (another gorgeous mansion filled with wall-side photorama of her awesome career). I assume u are planning to take in the Nat. Arch. Museum .... but what about the Cycladic Museum? Probably you are going to stroll through the Ancient Agora ... but I also recommend going to the Pnyx, a high hill with a stunning view of Acropolis, where the "congress" would gather for speeches (You can stand where Aristophanes stood for his famous Speech). Have you checked out the Dora Stratou Dance theatre?? You walk through a beautiful park to an open-air amphitheatre where a dance troupe does at least 20 different distinct local folk dances (WITH costume changes!). So much to see ... and a lot of it almost free. Twice I've been in the National Gardens and stumbled upon concerts. Once in late may, on my way down that broad avenue in front of Athn Univ, I happened upon the Athens Chamber Orchestra playing a program of Strauss, while a couple in Evening dress waltzed all around. It's an amazing city.

Posted by
7 posts

I couldn't have asked for a better response, Janet, thanks. You bring up many good points and we will take these into account for our final decision. Doubting this day trip now...