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Itinerary help

Hi,

I am traveling to Greece from Dubai for 2 weeks for the first time in April 2017 with mom and I need help with my itinerary, mainly with transportation. I want to take advantage of domestic flights and public transportation as much as possible but it is quite difficult with the limited flights and public transportation options. Is there any other way I can re-route my trip to reduce the travel time?

Places I would like to visit:

Kefallinia to cover both Navagio Beach and Melissani Lake Cave
Meteora
Arachova/Delphi
Santorini
Athens

My flights lands in Athens at 15:30 and leave Athens at 15:25. Ideally I wanted to start in Kefallinia, make my way up to Meteora and back to Athens. Relax in the islands before heading to Jordan connecting via Athens. However, I don't think this is possible with the flight/ferry/bus schedules.

A possible alternative (to minimize time in Athens in the early part of the trip) is to go straight to Mykonos/Santorini (flight time is better to Mykonos, shorter layover) and then Kefallinia (Zakynthos seems a bit far to go to the places I want) connecting via Athens and then back to Athens, rent a car and drive up to Meteora and back. (how's the drive to Meterora?)

Just thinking about the traveling time makes me tired already. I really want to end the trip in Santorini so I can relax and perhaps even extend my stay a day or two before heading back to Athens. Should I just cut out Kefallinia completely? If I do, what other places can I go that is along the way?

Thanks!
Christina

Posted by
3323 posts

A lot of people look at a beautiful calendar picture of Famous Shipwreck Beach, and twist themselves into pretzels to get there, using up days of their Greek stay ... and then are somewhat disappointed. Be sure that you read some CANDID reports of this beach. All photos of course are taken at dawn, when no one's there. Actually, to get there, you mainly only can go in party boats, with hundreds of people jamming the decks ... ... the beach itself is stony & hurts the feet to go in the water, so if you plan to swim, wear "water shoes". Also be aware that depending on weather & boat traffic, the expedition can take you much of the day, but you only have 1 hour on site. Trip Adviser Reviewers uniformly praise the deep blue color of the water, but many deplore the large crowds (even in Spring & Fall) ... some say it's best to see it from above... but car rental is required. Those who are most pleased appear to be people who are at the island anyway, for most of their vacation (UK offers many package-holiday deals there), rather than those who make a time-consuming trip to the island specifically to see this beach.

Posted by
3 posts

After researching more on getting there and around, I think I have to agree with you. The seasons does not start till May (I am going in April). I think I will be more relaxed (and happier) island hopping in the Cyclades for those extra days.

Posted by
3323 posts

Wise decision, Chris. That's why I'm such a Johnny-One-Note -- homework, homework, homework! I started my Greece-a-thon way back in '99 when there was practically NO Internet (to mislead you)... so I went to the library & got a bunch of guidebooks. It became obvious which ones were "eye candy" (beautiful photos, rave captions, little text), and which ones actually were written by people who'd been there, done that (Let's Go Greece, Rough Guide, Lonely Planet). LP has gone the pretty-picture path lately, and I don't think Let's Go is being updated, but RG soldiers on. Why not check it out? LP copies used are cheep on Amazon which I assume delivers in Dubai. If you want to stick with Online, the matt barrett website - http://www.greektravel.com -- is wider-ranging than most -- as long as you stay skeptical about his raves (i.e., one particular taxi service, one travel agency, etc). The sections on Greek FOOD should interest you and your mother.

As long as Meteora is a must, look into the (newly-established) TRAIN trip; people have posted Good reviews for it on Trip Advisor - https://www.visitmeteora.travel/en/things-to-do/tours-to-meteora-by-train/two-days-rail-tour-to-meteora-from-athens Renting a car may save money; it's up to you... and of course the car takes you onward to Delphi.

That reminds me -- there is no law on this forum against being Specific, LOL -- Exact Dates help us to help YOU better. Major example = Where you are on April 15-16-17 will make a BIG DIFFERENCE!! EASTER (April 16) will greatly impact transport & reservations -- it's really GReece's Biggest Holiday. On Easter Day, transportation will be NIL, everything will be CLOSED. And on Sat., April 15 many sites will be closed or on short hours ditto Monday Ap. 17 -- plan accordingly. Either have a situation on Easter Day where you'll be able to take part in festivities, OR plan some kind of outdoor activity, hiking etc. BTW, Wildflowers should be at their peak in Mid-April.

Posted by
3 posts

Oh I am so glad I escaped Easter then. It took me the longest time to iron out the flights as I am going to Jordan as well. It worked out better for me to end my vacation in Jordan. In fact, I have been reading a lot lately, Matt Barrett being one. I honestly don't know how to plan a trip without the Internet anymore. So here's the plan, with dates ;) Any recommendation will be greatly appreciated. A friend of mine is now joining us too after hearing my plan. Yay~

3/30-4/1 Visit a vineyard or 2. Try 1-2 nice restaurants. Do the Fira to Oia hike. Watch sunset at Oia. Go on the sunset cruise.

My only concern is it will be too cold and we all get sick from the cruise. I don't think we could do any swimming or snorkeling but sunset from the boat should be nice. Hopefully, the hot springs and mud bath will still be possible. (http://sailing-santorini.com/itineraries/ocean-voyager-74-sunset-tour/)

4/2-3 Naxos - not sure what to do yet but seems more appealing to us compared to Paros.

4/4-5 Mykonos - nothing specific in mind other than taking our time to explore the town at our own pace as swimming will be out of the question. Nice food is a must. I love food.

4/6 fly back to Athens. Explore Acropolis and the surrounding area. My mom and my friend is limiting me to only one museum this time... T_T I am once again debating between the Acropolis Museum and the National Archaeological Museum.

4/7-9 do the Meteora 3 day train tour. Actually debating whether I should join the 2-day or 3-day trip (with Delphi). If I pass Delphi this time, I am not sure when I will be back to Greece again. The other option would be heading down to the Pireas area and go on a day trip to Hydra, since everyone here seems to be raving about this place. (But then again, I would have just spent a week in the Cyclades.)

4/10 Last full day in Athens. Most likely will be doing last minute souvenir shopping and what not.

4/11 Breakfast then on to Jordan.