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Limited time in Greece (Late March 2024)

Group of 4 Adults Traveling to Athens/Surrounding Area Late March 2024. The vibe of this trip is to experience Greece and hit some of the famous sights along the way. We are hoping to have a nice blend of activity (walking and sightseeing) with downtime to relax and de-stress.

We have 8 days in Greece (6 days to visit and 2 days for arrival & departure). We are considering spending 3 days in Athens and 3 days visiting the surrounding areas. Here is what is made the list of the surrounding areas. Please note, that my times are just approximations. We will be renting a car and the time at each sight can be adjusted.

With only 3 days to spend which of the following itineraries would you recommend and why? Thank you in advance for your feedback!!

Option #1 Athens - Corinth - Nafplio - Delphi - Athens
Day 1:
Athens - Corinth ( 1.25 hour drive)
Visit Corinth sights ( 4-5 hours)
Corinth - Olive Grove??? (.5 hour drive??)
Visit Olive Grove (1.5 hours)
Drive to Nafplio (1 hour drive)
Spend the Night in Nafplio
Day 2:
See Nafplio sights (full day)
Drive to Delphi
Spend the Night in Delphi
Day 3:
Visit Delphi Sights (6-8 hours)
Drive back to Athens Airport ( 2.5 Hours)
Dinner near the Hotel
Spend the Night at the Airport Area Hotel

Option #2 Athens - Corinth - Delphi - Meteora - Athens
Day 1:
Athens - Corinth (1.25 hour drive)
Visit Corinth sights ( 4-5 hours)
Drive to Delphi (3 hour Drive)
Spend the Night at Delphi Hotel
Day 2:
Visit Delphi sights ( 6 - 7 Hours)
Drive to Kalampaka (3.25 hour drive)
View the Meteora Monasteries at sunset (if we are lucky - we will probably arrive too late)
Spend the Night at Kalampaka Hotel
Day 3:
Visit 2 Meteora Monasteries ( 4-5 hours)
Drive back to Athens Airport ( 4.5 hours)
Dinner near the Hotel
Spend the Night at the Airport Area Hotel

Option #3
The Forum's Recommendation :-)

Posted by
11269 posts

4-5 hours in Corinth? Please explain how you plan to spend so much time there. Driving a little farther you will have the Mycenae, Tiryns, etc

Posted by
172 posts

I vote for option #2. We have visited all these sights. Nafplio is a pretty city. Meteora is world class unique!

Posted by
11 posts

Suki - Not sure how much time Corinth would take, just a rough guess. So you are saying only a couple of hours are needed in Corinth?

3lovetotravel - Thanks for the vote! This is the feedback I am looking for as we are split between these two options.

Would LOVE to hear more feedback. Keep it coming and Thanks AGAIN!!

Posted by
11269 posts

Yes, reduce the time for Corinth to maybe an hour? It is much more important to visit the ancient Mycenae and Tiryns.
Olive Grove?? You will drive through many groves on the way to Nafplion. You will be surrounded by them! Ubiquitous!
Delphi. We loved Delphi but 6-7 hours is a bit much. Staying overnight there was wonderful.
Our hotel had views all the way to the sea.

Posted by
172 posts

Ok. Here is more feedback. Your option 2 is good as is. Don’t overplan. Everyone has their own pace for exploring archeological sites. If you happen to find you have extra time just start driving then stop somewhere you have never heard of along the way. This is GREECE. Beauty and history and good food are everywhere. Now about driving. Greek roads can change from wide and fast to narrow and slow and back again. Even one lane as you pass through some cities. Expect driving to take longer than planned. Be prepared for inadequate road signs. DONT DRIVE IN ATHENS!!! Take a taxi from the airport into the city and walk or use taxis around Athens. There are plenty of rental companies that will let you pick up a car in Athens on your last day and let you return it at the airport. Enjoy.

Posted by
11 posts

Suki - If we take option #1, I think a reduction in time spent in Corinth for sure, and will add your suggestions of Mycenae and Tiryns. as I think it would fit perfectly into our travels south to Nafplio. Still torn between Options #1 and #2...

3lovetotravel - Thanks for the insight on driving. We are not planning on driving at all in Athens as everything I have read supports your statement of "DON'T DRIVE IN ATHENS!!!". I did some preliminary research and found that quite a few rental agencies in central Athens so that is totally doable. I like the uniqueness of visiting the Meteora monasteries and it is high on my list but want to make sure it is worth the time in the car.

Thanks again for the feedback and any additional insights you have are greatly appreciated.

Posted by
210 posts

Where will you get your car? Where will you be dropping it off?

The city center of Athens is a 45-minute drive from the airport.

I usually advise that people get directly into their car at the airport and drive away from there. Then, at departure time you just waltz into the terminal after dropping off. I always advise spending your last night as close to the airport as possible. If that is Corinth or the Acropolis doesn't matter which.

When in Meteora stay in Kastraki, a quaint village in a stunning setting as opposed to the city of Kalambaka.

Delphi: I always try to plan my time there (I lead tours around Greece) to allow an 1800h visit to the ancient site (the tour buses will be long gone and you'll have it mostly to yourself - consider finding a guide). It closes at 2000h. Then, first thing in the AM you can hit the museum and be on your way before the buses arrive.

Meteora: Each day one monastery is closed on a rotating basis so you cannot see them all in one day. Regardless, by staying in Kastraki you can visit the most popular (Gran Meteora) first before the buses arrive (every time I do this, every time, I walk right up to the entrance upon arrival and fight through crowds of people waiting to enter on my way out).
And check the hours of the monasteries. They are not open late, though I know I've snuck in a visit to my favorite one (St. Nikolas) before the 1700h closing.

Corinth: Doesn't get touted much but I find it worthy. There is the castle which is good for an hour-and-a-half as well as the ancient site and museum which is good for another couple of hours.

This is a lot of driving. Understand that this short time is going to allow you the most elementary view of Greece so don't exhaust yourself trying to get to everything.