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(Revised) Itinerary Check and Rental Car Company Recommendation

We're a mature couple planning for travels in Greece in May. We will rent a car as we leave Athens and drop it off as we arrive in Thessaloniki. We're interested in the historical sights, Greek food and wine. We initially wanted to include Crete and Santorini but for this trip, we decided that it would take more time than we want to spend so will leave them for another. Each sight has day trip possibilities - we want to move at a relaxed pace but will try to experience as much as we can. Our flights are already booked.

1) Does this plan seem reasonable?

2) Are there any rental car companies that you've had a good experience with and could recommend?

Thanks!

(Revised) Working Itinerary:

Athens--4 nts. (Hermes Hotel)

Nafplio--4 nts. (Hotel Aetoma)

Monemvasia--3 nts. (New Monemvasia Hotel)

Kardamyli--2 nts. (Kastro-Zoi)

Olympia--2 nts. (Hotel Pelops)

Galaxidi--3 nts. (Ganimede)

Meteora/Kastraki--2 nts. (Hotel Tsikeli)

Thessaloniki--3 nts. (Electra Palace)

Fly Thessaloniki to Amsterdam--3 nts.

Posted by
2556 posts

Sharon, I've had good experience with Budget-Athens (the hyphen is important... it's greek-owned). However, I think you may have to do some intensive searching, and look at YOUR budget ... because car rental is different in Greece. Here are not nation-wide networks of fleet cars constantly moving back & forth between major cities. Therefore, an agency may have to send another car, with 2 drivers in it, to pick up your car in Thessaloniki. Therefore, at least in my past researches, on the mainland there can be a HUGE fee for drop-off in another city. One time I was trying to help someone do a trip like yours; she was able to rent a car for about $210 for 7 days offseason --- but the drop-off fee was $200!! You might try googling Athens Car Rental NO-FEE drop-off in Thessaloniki -- your best best may be one of the "biggies" -- Hertz, Avis, Economycar ... good luck!

Posted by
2980 posts

Thank you Janet! We will have to take the drop-off fee into consideration. We'll look at all of the options. I appreciate the recommendation for Budget-Athens--we will check it out!

Posted by
1193 posts

Regarding your itinerary - we've been to the first five locations and would have to say that 4 nights in Kardamyli might be too much. We spent 2 nights there and thought it was enough. From there we drove to Olympia, visited the site and spent only 1 night there and we then drove to Delphi for 2 nights. Should mention that these stops were part of a 13 day driving trip of the Peloponnese. We were coming from Hydra and our nights were organized as follows: 3 Loutraki (to visit Corinth); 3 Nafplio; 3 Gefyra; 2 Kardamyli; 1 Olympia; 2 Delphi, then on to Athens. We generally spend 3 nights minimum but felt there was not enough in those towns to keep us occupied. You might want to check into spending 2-3 nights in Monemvasia (or Gefyra which is the town just off the island with a great view of the rock) between Nafplio and Kardamyli. This is a good town for day trips and seaside dining as well as relaxing in between.

Don't remember the name of the rental car company. We got it through economycarrentals.com and were happy with the company.

Posted by
4522 posts

A couple of good ideas already so I'll add my vote for Monemvasia for a couple of nights. Mystras is a great daytrip from Nafplio and just outside of Sparta. I also think Olympia only needs 1 night - the site is great but the town is pretty bland. GREAT restaurant nearby at the Bachus Tavern (listed in the RS book). Or if you did stay 2 nights, you could spend a day driving east into the mountains - very scenic. 3 Nights in Delphi is also quite lengthy. The town has great views and the site is amazing, but the town is pretty bland to say the least. Or consider a nearby town along the coast, like Galixidi - which is much more charming. 2 nights is about right. I do recommend the short drive to Hosias Loukas, a Byzantine monastery nearby that is beautiful. A bit tricky to find, so be sure to map it out before you go.

I've used Avanti-Swift Car Rental and they are great, but like the other person warned, there may be significant drop off fees for Thessaloniki as they are a small local agency.

Be aware that Greece requires the International Drivers Permit to legally drive and most agencies do ask for it. Driving in Greece is not too bad once you are away from Athens. Be alert to animals, cars and people around curves (of which there are many) and that the middle of the road is a passing lane (stay far to the right).

Posted by
2980 posts

How does this revision look? We have a day or two unscheduled that could be added anywhere needed.

Athens (4 nts.)

Nafplio (4 nts.)

Monemvasia or Gefyra (2 nts.)

Kardamili (2 nts.)

Olympia (1 nt.)

Galixidi (3 nts.--daytrip to Delphi or stay in Delphi 1 nt.)

Meteora (2 nts.)

Thessaloniki (3 nts.)

Does is seem reasonable to daytrip to Delphi from Galixidi or should we spend a night in Delphi?

Thanks!

It's a work in progress!

Posted by
2858 posts

Be sure to go to your local AAA office to pick up an International Driving Permit, no test or membership required. Bring 2 passport photos with you to save a few dollars.

Posted by
4522 posts

Galixidi is only 30 minutes from Delphi and it's a beautiful drive up/down the mountainside and through the oil groves. No need to stay in Delphi. Parking was not an issue for the site or in town.

Posted by
2980 posts

Thanks Douglas!

We've just booked a hotel in Galaxidi!

It does seem like a more interesting option compared to staying in Delphi--a daytrip from Galaxidi to Delphi seems ideal!

Everyone's suggestions have been very helpful! It's shaping up to be a fun itinerary.

Posted by
1 posts

We are visiting Greece again this summer and have visited some of the places on your list on our previous trips. The only place I would stay one less night is Monemvasia b/c I personally think 2 nights is plenty. I agree with the comment about reducing Kardamyli to 2 nights, also. This year we will be using the same car rental company that we used in 2012 & 2014. It's called Avance (website avance.gr) Our experience with them in the past was excellent, the car was newer and well maintained and the price was lower than any other company I researched online.... and I spend hours & hours on this! This will be our 7th trip to Greece and we have used 3 other companies - this one is by far the best we've used. I did a test on their website indicating a pick up at Athens airport and a drop off at Thessaloniki airport and they give an instant quote. I couldn't see anything that indicated a surcharge for a different drop off location. Hope you might find this helpful.