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meteora, nafpoli or ??? to add to my itinerary?

I am near finishing up my trip planning for myself, my 3 daughters - 15 and 7 (so a large age gap for interests), and my 70 year old mother.

We will be arriving in Greece on June 26 from London - I'm open to suggestions on other places to fly into.
My days I don't have planned are June 26 (travel day), June 27, 28, and then at 5pm on the 29th, we will depart for a 7 night cruise on celestyal, where we travel at night and then have full days to explore each of these locations:
Heraklion (crete)
We return to Athens at 7am on July 6, and we will spend the 6th, 7th in Athens, and depart for Canada on the 8th mid day.

So - I'd love thoughts on how and where we should spend June 26, 27, 28? The cruise will be pretty jam packed everyday seeing as we arrive at a new place and have all day to explore (late into the evenings for the santorini and mykonos stops). Also - flagging that I've never cruised before, but after alot of discussion and research, we settled on this as an easy if we want it, or more action packed if we want it option, that allows us to see alot in a short time and not having to deal with the hassles of ferries and check ins/outs w kids and my mom. Normally, I prefer to spend more time in fewer places, and i've never done a whirlwind europe tour. So this type of travel will be a first for me.

My 15 yo is quite interested in greek mythology thanks to Percy Jackson, and is also studying classics and philosophy in highschool, so she's very interested in the historical components. my 7 yo is generally super happy and easy going, but I can imagine day after day of ruins wouldn't be her thing and she'd be happy to just be at a beach or pool. My mother is extremely well traveled, but crazily enough, hasn't been to Greece yet!

I had originally wanted to do a 2 day tour of Delphi (i've always been fascinated by it, and remember writing a university paper on it! lol), and Meteora which looks incredible. However, I'm thinking that may be alot of driving for everyone especially heading into a cruise, and right after a travel day and spending 5 days in London which will be pretty packed.

I've since thought about perhaps visiting Nafpoli for these 3 nights - possibly renting a car?

I'd love folks suggestions on how to balance this out - knowing that the cruise will be quite busy and seeing many places for a short amount of time - how would others suggest we balance this out and begin our trip? We will end it with the days in Athens.

thank you!

Posted by
2943 posts

London Heathrow (LHR) is London’s second closest airport being 14 miles away and has nonstop flights to Athens, Corfu and Chania (the latter is on the island Crete). London City airport which is eight miles from London only has a nonstop flight to Mykonos so fly out of LHR to GR.

Posted by
3317 posts

II strongly support going to Nafplio (not Nafpoili, which sounds italilan)... because it will meet the needs of ALL your group. Since you are coming from London, not N America, you won't be jet-lagged, so come in the Morning (i hope), rent a comfortable car (most sedans are Mercedes) and set off on a great 3 day/night experience (BTW, you only mention 2 daughters -- but the 3some should take the back seat, with Mom in front!). You enjoy the drive there, and wonderful interlude in a beautiful setting!

Greeks consider Nafplio their MOST beautiful Old Town in. Oa peninsula, surrounded by sea, it feels like an island as well. These pix - - by Naplio fan & ace photog "stanbr" show why. And this superb website - - has ALL info; have your family members clilck every link -- for sights, swims, castles, etc etc.

Search for an Airbnb in Old town near the seafront, to be close to all the in-town attractions -- and also swimming ops lilsted here (2 right in town, and Kastraki just 15 mins by car). You can take an elevator IN a cliiffside to Castle atop the town! Drive up backway to Palamidi fortress & girls can walk DOWN the 999 steps (while u and mom awaitt them, drinking coffee at cafe at bottom). For your ancient-tales child, the superb small museum has the world's only exisitng authentic Greek armor of Iliad era (!). As bonus after sunset, in marble-paved square, kids play soccer uner the moonlight.

Try this swell map - - (clilck & its huuuge ; navigate with side-slides). Shows modern highway skirts Athens AND how to do brief awesome stops on both Outbound & Inbound drives.
(1) Get past Corinth Canal without a single turn or stop.. then 20 Km (12 Miles?) beyond, on RH side, stop at ANCIENT NEMEA. Its a "runner-up" Ancient Games Site with a stunning stadium -- and you'd see it just 2 days before the 2024 Revived Nemean Games -- that attracts thousands from around the world to compete! A history thrill for All
(2) AM on "return day" don't retrace - instead drive EAST Across "Thumb" of Peloponnese to ANCIENT EPIDAURUS. Zip thru the acres of ruins, just gasp at world-famous Theatre (seats 15,000!), have girls climb to top.
(3) Proceed to Coast Road, drive N to ISthmus, & stop to see & photo Corinth Canal, grab lunch, then Drive back to Airport. If your cruise begins that afternoon, yuur easiest transfer is to advance book a car service (we recommend Welcome Pickups or City Cab) to take you right to your ship.

Posted by
985 posts

Janet is right. I spent 3 nights in Nafplio, including a day trip by bus to Epidavros and Mykines (old ruins in the Peloponnese on the mainland). I spent a night in Delphi but I took the bus. I spend a night in Heraklion too. I spent 5 nights in Athens, arriving in the evening, 4 whole days. I never perceived the appeal of a cruise, riding around on a boat and only having part of a day to a day to see parts of certain cities on the coast.

Posted by
20 posts

When in Nafplio, look for an olive oil and wine tasting tour. Mycenae, Ancient Epidaurus and perhaps Ancient Corinth (which is on your way in any case) are not to be missed.

Delfi is an easy day trip from Athens. It's 2 hours driving (one way) in highway, then you can spend the day there and 2 hours back.

You can plan to visit Delfi in the 1st day, then drive and sleep in Meteora (this would be a full day) and then head back the next day. Though, I would not recommend it, too much driving as you said.

You can either try to have a day trip to Delfi and then a one day trip to Nafplio and the rest.

OR, visit Meteora for 2 days/ 1 night.

They are all must see but in 3 days, I am afraid you have to make some compromise ;(

Posted by
2427 posts

Meteora is wonderful but it is a long drive to get there. You should really have two full days there. The other consideration is that a lot of the monasteries require a hike uphill if you want to visit them. Is your mother able to do that? My vote is for Nafplio as well. It is closer to Athens and there is a lot to see in the area. Plus it’s nice to sit on the waterfront at sunset, relax and enjoy a beverage of your choice.

Posted by
2 posts

A belated thank you to everyone for their thoughts! our plans have taken a bit of a turn, and we are now looking at adding an island to our itinerary instead of meteora or nafpoli. There are just so many wonderful options in Greece it seems, and I can't seem to choose!

Posted by
1366 posts

Visiting Greece on a cruise ship is actually a good way to give yourselves an opportunity to experience what Greece is like. We did that in 1996, discovered we love Greece and have returned many times since. Only cruised once though.

I see you may have changed your plan. I can say that Nafplio is a seaside city with amazing fortresses and old town area. You feel like you are on an island.

If you do change your plan what Island are you thinking to visit.

Oops I just noticed Jan posted the Nafplio album already.