We (mom/dad, daughter 14, son 12) arrive in Athens from Anchorage, Alaska at 17:20, after about a 14 hour journey on May 25 and an 11 hour time change. We have reserved a room at St Thomas B&B near the Athens airport for our first night, just to relax and adjust. We then have sketched out the following: Wake in the morning, go to the Acropolis for the day (the excitement of such a sight will keep us awake!). Catch a ferry to Crete at 9pm that night. Sleep on the boat (getting a cabin w/ showers), arrive in Crete at 7am. Not sure where to stay in Crete, but idea is to settle into a spot (prefer B&B where it's very authentic greek and not westernized) and do a day excursion each day to a historical site, followed by a trip to a beautiful beach. I'd like to spend 3-4 nights in Crete and then fly to the Peloponnese area (if possible) and rent a car where we would spend 2 nights in Kardymyli, and 2 nights in Nafplio, followed by 2 nights in Athens (1 in Plaka, and 1 near airport - same spot St Thomas BB for our 8am flight on June 7). The extra time in Athens gives us the space for any transportation problems so we don't miss our flight and if all goes well, extra time to wander around old Athens (Plaka).
Is it a mistake to not visit Santorini? I love the beautiful pictures, but it seems so touristy. It's reminds me of Venice (which we didn't care for because of the crowds and it felt dirty and non-authentic, but of course, glad we went to at least see it!). We want culture, beauty, and to FEEL the Greek experience. I love the idea of Hydros, for the lack of cars and the donkeys on the street. But is it tailored towards tourists? I want natural Greece, but hate to miss out on something that maybe I've overlooked. Son loves Greek mythology, daugher loves a good beach. Husband and I love the combination of culture, relaxing, and Greek cuisine. None of us like the crazy crowds. We enjoy things like an authentic cooking class, absorbing ourselves in with the locals, etc. Although, none of us want to go somewhere that is difficult to get a good meal or activity.
Is our time better spent sticking with a few stops on Santorini, Myklonos, Hydras etc and skipping the long haul to Crete?