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Last minute help! Dull itinerary?

I am only a few weeks away from a long trip to Greece and am re-thinking everything! Because I have so many relatives in Athens I allocated 6 days to see them all and all the sights. 5 days in Spetses with friends. 2 nights in Nafplio, then about 3-4 in Astros with another cousin and my family's former village between Astros and Sparta. I dont know what to do with the remaining days. Also, is this itinerary too dull? My kids are young (9 & 12) and I felt that seeing family was important. But since they have never been to Greece, perhaps I should plan something more "glamorous"? Who knows how longbit might be before we return.

Posted by
1117 posts

How wonderful for you that you get to spend so much time in Greece!

I take it that you live far away from your family and don't get to see them often. So I'd say: Don't cut back on time with your family. A bit of sightseeing is great, and I am sure your children will enjoy it, so do add some nearby attractions for the remaining days. Ask your family what they would recommend - they will know best what is within easy reach!

But in general, I do feel that people are so much more important to children that age than spectacular sights. Do your children maybe have cousins that are approximately the same age? Let them get to meet and spend time together! Do your children speak Greek? If not, that way they'll quickly pick up some Greek!

And if you want to do more sightseeing, maybe you can even take those cousins along for day trips and make the experience so much more memorable and enjoyable for your children, being able to have fun with other children at the same time.

I am not worried at all that your trip will be dull. Most people try to cram way too much sightseeing into a trip and then rush from place to place, and when they get back home, they are so stressed out they basically need a vacation. You will have time and leisure to take it easy and enjoy your trip. That's what a vacation is for, isn't it?

Posted by
21301 posts

If there will be other children around, it should be fine. If not, I'd try to plan a lot of beach/lake/pool breaks. Sitting around with a bunch of adults talking about the old days was one of my least favorite activities as a child. But I would have loved the chance go travel to Greece at your children's ages. I think I was reading things like "Europe on $5 a Day" by the time I was 12, and the "National Geographic" before that.

Posted by
440 posts

Maybe take flight to one of the Islands such as Santorini which is beautiful

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you, all, for your help. To respond to some of your questions. Yes, we do not get overseas often at all. This is our first trip to Europe as a family. I used to go to Greece quite a bit as a child, so having to plan a trip is all new to me. We would basically land in Greece and then go to the village. Those days are long, long gone! My children speak no Greek (despite 7 years of Greek School, Sunday school, etc.) so, they are a large part of my consideration. I love that they will be immersed in a truly Greek experience by staying with my cousins (who stayed with us in Chicago last summer) but you all are correct in noting it will be hard for them to not have kids around their own ages (and potentially hard for us, lol). My other cousins' kids are much younger ... and much older. We will be with kids their ages in Spetses who are also traveling from Chicago. We chose Spetses for its "Greek-ness," being a destination for Athenians, its pools, horseback riding, outdoor movies, accessibility on foot (no cars) and other kid-friendly but still quintessentially Greek activities) for 5 days, but that is it for kids.

And, yes. By "more glamorous," I mean Santorini, Mykonos, etc. My fellow Chicago friends are flying to France for a week, going to another island, etc. My kids have never been to Europe at all, and I worry we should have added another leg of the trip. I guess my hope is we can return within 5 years. But, finances being what they are (we purchased airfare on miles and are obviously staying with family for quite a bit of the time), who knows?

Everyone who hears we are going to Greece asks if we will see Santorini, Mykonos, etc. II feel like we are not going to "glamorous" destinations. But more important, since we're already there, are we wasting an opportunity? I know Astros is not the "be all, end all," but my cousin lives there. And Spetses is NOT Santorini. And in Athens we obviously won't have a pool or anything kids enjoy (we live in the heart of our city, so living in an urban environment I worry a vacation should be in a different environment).

I am sorry for rambling. But I thank you all for your input.

Posted by
975 posts

It doesn't sound that dull to me! Since you'll be visiting relatives in Greece I'm sure they can recommend places most tourists never go to, let alone hear about that may give you a more true Greek Experience rather than a tourist experience.

Some people think islands like Santorini & Mykonos are what Greek Islands are all about, but I feel there are more options that can give you a more traditional and laid back time.

Lots of islands and the mainland that are overlooked and I feel missed out on because of the hype of the Big Name Islands.

You are fortunate to have relatives in Greece . . . they'll know what to see and do I'm sure once your kids get there it will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

My grandparents immigrated from Greece in the early 1900s so I have an understanding of Greece and the Greek People. Any time in Greece will be great and give you a sense of where you come from and the Greek Tradition.

Posted by
1117 posts

it will be hard for them to not have kids around their own ages (and
potentially hard for us, lol)

Ask your relatives to invite some neighbors' kids over then! Your children will enjoy their stay so much more if they feel they have made some friends. And so will you, knowing your kids are having a good time, and being able to spend time with your adult cousins without constantly feeling you have to entertain your kids.

We will be with kids their ages in Spetses who are also traveling from
Chicago.

That will be fun I am sure. Though obviously it won't help with learning to speak Greek. :-)

We chose Spetses for its "Greek-ness"

I think that's a great idea.

By "more glamorous," I mean Santorini, Mykonos, etc.

If you are looking for a "glamorous" island to go to with kids, I wouldn't choose Mykonos. If you can make it, go to Santorini for a couple of days. The boat tour to the volcanoes and to Thirasia should be great for kids.

My fellow Chicago friends are flying to France for a week, going to
another island, etc.

So what? You don't need to compare yourselves to them. Friends of mine will go to Paris for the weekend, to Hawaii (from Germany!) during Easter break, and to Australia for the summer. I can't do that. So what?

Everyone who hears we are going to Greece asks if we will see
Santorini, Mykonos, etc.

Because that's what they know. None of those people have ever even heard of Spetses. And they won't have the faintest idea of what a wonderful and much more authentic Greek experience YOUR kids will be having.

DON'T go to Santorini to make anyone else jealous. If you go there, do so only because YOU want to go there.

And in Athens we obviously won't have a pool or anything kids enjoy

You have your relatives in Athens. They will know where to take children so they can enjoy themselves.

And you have LOTS of glamor in Athens. Is there anything more glamorous than the Acropolis?

Posted by
1016 posts

Sounds like a great holiday. If you want a get away for those extra days why not consider Naxos. Yes Santorini is spectacular but Naxos will be a much better island than Santoirni for the kids. The st George beach area is part of Naxos town and is absolutely full of kids. You children will have new friends within minutes of hitting the beach.
Aegean has 2 or three flights a day and Sky Express has one.

St George Beach Naxos http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632113170279/
Naxos Mountains and Villages http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632110674306/
Naxos Town http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632094558042/
Trip around Naxos http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157634605629689/

Posted by
2898 posts

Totally agree w Stanbr about Naxos ... I'm on that beach (st. George) regularly, and u always see kids the age of yours having fun -- there are fun water-sports items to rent (water-slides etc). Also, you see kids of diff. nationalities seemingly communicating fine -- English, German, Swedes ... They don't seem to get hung up on limited language skills as adults may.

One observation passed on by someone else w. Greek relatives -- If you have reservations at the next place on your itinerary, then that is an acceptable reason to have to move on (sometimes the relatives want u to spend the entire time in "their village"... and u don't want to ruffle any feathers.

Another thought -- you seem influenced by other (non-Greek) visitors who are booked into Santorini/Mykonos. That's because these are the most (over)promoted destinations to Americans. If u book Naxos for 5 days or so, you can have a "taste" of Santorini without the expense. Naxos has an excursion company that makes day-trips to Santorini at about $55 per person. has 2 dedicated vessels (MV Alexander is best choice) ... it goes every Tuesday; includes a bus that picks u up at port, takes you to the 2 main areas (Oia & Fira Town), you are free to explore, take pix etc, then bus returns u to boat, you're back in Naxos by dinner time.

Posted by
1117 posts

I would generally agree with the two of you about Naxos, but in this case, with her already spending some time on another quiet and family friendly island (Spetses), Santorini might be more of a contrast - if that's what she is looking for.

Posted by
975 posts

I agree that Naxos would be an ideal family vaction on an lovely Greek Island. A wonderful combination of Old & New World Greece.

As far as a contrast between Spetses and Santorini . . . I'd say! Spetses, quiet, laid back, a bit of a touristy waterfront but overall very nice. Santorini? Over-the-top Tourism, expensive but some of the most spectacular vistas in the world. Still you can get great vistas just about on any Greek Island and the mainland without the extra costs & crowds.

Posted by
2898 posts

Ydice, it would help us to advise you best if you would be specific about dates and sequence (i.e. July 7 - 12, Spetses, July 13 - 15 Nafplio) etc, instead of what you've done. Then we can see whether you're asking for an Additional island at the end or a substitution in the middle. Logistics are important when your total time is fixed, and it's high season. Details please.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you all. I feel like I've taken up too much of everyone's time already and cannot tell you all how much I appreciate this advice. It is all great advice and I am taking it all to heart.

Here is the current itinerary, but please do not take up any more of your time. I am already very grateful. My cousin literally emailed yesterday to suggest Monemvasia. Maybe that will work at the end and we can call it a day! LOL. : )

July 10: Arrive in Athens
July 10-15: Athens
July 16-21: Spetses
July 21-22 or 23: Nafplio (My husband and I fell in love with this town when we were there in 2001)
July 22 or 23- 24 or 25: Astros for 3 days (with side trips to ruins and the village - also in ruins, lol)
We are welcome to stay in Astros as long as we like and use it as a base for Peloponnesian travels as my cousin has an apartment there. But, much as I love him and am grateful for the offer, I think that is too much time.
July 24 or 25-30: ??????? But Monemvasia was just also suggested?
July 30: I should be back in Athens as we leave on the 31st

But, please. Do not put any more time on this. You have all helped me tremendously. Thank you! I wish I had asked, oh, 6 months ago! Thank you!!

  • Eurydice
Posted by
1117 posts

Wow, what a lovely classical name, Eurydice! Never would have come up with that from the short form Ydice! :-)

Posted by
4 posts

My name is both a blessing and a curse. But there's never a doubt I am Greek, lol. Thank you!

Posted by
1117 posts

Sounds like music to me (Gluck opera!). But I am sure you have to spell it for people every single time! :-)

Posted by
2898 posts

Thanks, it makes your sequence and available time very clear, at last. I DO agree too much time for Astro -- and I still think Naxos would be the 'sweet spot' for u and family after a couple of days in Astros. Think about 5 nights (Jul 25 - check out July 30) ...

July 21-22- am 23 NAFPLIO (so much to do! boys can climb Palimidi (or climb down), acronafplio, great cute town beach!
pm 23 - AM 25 - ASTROS
AM Jul 25 - drive back to Piraeus (about 3 hrs) 1500 (3pm) Blue Star ferry to NAXOS ... arr 20:30 (NOTE: book ahead -- its in demand)
... Naxos Accoms: best way to quick-chek - Booking.com Ag.Giorgios beach Naxos. there still are good places on/near beach like this one, Antony Apartments (tiny url is http://tinyurl.com/yadpw5cu ) -- family suite (1 br + main room w 2 sofa beds) - @ about $1300 5 nights not bad for HIGH season. If you BOOK a place like this perfect rationale for leaving Pelops after a few days.

JULY 30 - to ATHENS: Conventional ferry (cheapest fare) 9:30 - 1500(3pm) or 1800(6pm) - 23:15 (11:15)= NOTE: book ahead tese on Sunday in hgh demand. Book "reserved economy" ("aircraft seating") ... this means numbered leanback seats indoors tho u can sit on deck as long as u like. No point in styaing in Central athens for 1 night ... for either ferry, you can taxi straight to airport area ... there are 3 small B & Bs nearby; will supply links if this scenario is of interest.

Posted by
1117 posts

too much time for Astro

If you think in terms of sightseeing, you're probably right.

But she said she has a cousin living there, and for family visits, it would depend on your degree of closeness what's "too much" or "not enough" time, and that's not for us to say.

And of course the question is if this is about spending time with the cousin, or if it is just about convenient use of their apartment.