My husband and I are in our late 20's and going to be taking a three week trip to greece. We are mostly planning on doing some of the islands. Crete, Naxos, and santorini. We dont plan on staying more than two nights in athens. I would like to take a trip up to delphi or meteora. Do we need to do both? Can we easily train to these places? Where do you reccomend staying in Meteora. We have never driven in europe on all the countries we have been to we have always used train or bus. Also I may be like 4-5 months pregnant when this trip happens and Im in pretty good shap will i still be able to see and do in Meteora or is it all stairs? Also if we do get rental car is the best place to pick up and drop off from athens airport? Any advice will help. Thanks!
Greece is beautiful. I would pick less crowded islands of the Ionian Sea such as Zakynthos (Navagio Beach) and Kefalonia (Myrtos). I also love Peloponnese and the beaches in areas like Voidokilia...
There is a train from Athens that will take you to Kalambaka, the gateway to the Meteora. No train options to Delphi. Greece has a very minimal train system, but compensates for that in an efficient Bus system. For Delphi, you could also look at a day tour from Athens.
Rental car would be fine, the Airport is as easy a place to pick up a car, I would avoid picking up a car in central Athens or even Piraeus.
I would probably plan on finishing up in Athens, maybe do Delphi/Meteora before two final days in Athens. Doing both would require 3 nights if you rent a car (two in Kalambaka, one in Delphi) for fewer nights, pick one.
So If i were to stay one night in central athens and then train to meteora we could either rent a car there just to drive to monasteries or do a tour. stay one or two night. Then we can train back. Best way to train back straight to airport to catch flight to islands?
I would not consider using trains for your itineraries. How much time are you giving Crete? Naxos? Santorini? Why are you short changing Athens?
When exactly is your planned trip?
Sorry to bring up unpleasant realities, but many people seem to have very optimistic (some would say completely unrealistic) expectations for when the virus crisis will subside and travel gets back to anything like what we know. Anyone planning a trip anytime soon* needs to factor that in.
*What's "anytime soon"? Nobody knows for sure, but I'm hearing more and more public health officials talking about a very long patch ahead (from 6 to 18 months). Personally, I'm not even thinking about any trips for at least 12 months ahead.
We have been to Meteora and Delphi. Your best bet is to pick up a rental car at the Athens airport. Driving is easy in Greece. If you take the train to Kalampaka you will still need a car to drive around to see the monasteries. My suggestion would be at least two/three nights in Meteora as it is a long drive to get there from Athens and then one or two nights in Delphi. Again it is a bit of a drive from Meteora to Athens and involves quite a bit of driving on narrow mountain roads to get there and away. It can be slow going with big semis on the road and braking for goats in the road.
We enjoyed Guesthouse Arsenis near Kalabaka. It was convenient to the monasteries. You had to climb many steps to get to most of them. Rented the car at the airport and returned it intown. Suggest returning it to the airport. Driving wasn't bad Outside of Athens.
David, I'm sure you mean well, but some people come here to plan or read about Europe as an escape from current reality. Some are planning for 2021 or beyond. People who come to this site certainly already know about the risks of travel in this time, and if they wanted to know more, they would ask about it. Please focus your answer on the question and not on advice that is surely not needed and perhaps unwelcome.
Vballrains, driving is definitely the way to go to Meteora, and rental options once in Kalambaka will be limited. There is only one (or is it two) trains from Athens to Kalambaka, so you have much more schedule flexibility if you drive from Athens. Plus as stated there is no train to Delphi.
There IS a lot of stairs and walking to the monasteries, so make sure you are up for that.
As others have mentioned, the train system in Greece is not as extensive as it is in other parts of Europe. Here's my suggestion: after a few days in Athens, pick up a car at the airport and drive to Meteora, staying in the town of Kastraki, just a few km closer to the monasteries than Kalambaka. I'd stay at least 2 nights, giving you one full day to see the monasteries. Then drive south to Delphi for 1 night, then back to the Athens airport to drop the car and take an afternoon flight to one of the islands, such as Naxos. You can take boats between the various islands Naxos-Santorini-Heraklion (Crete). The two main ferry companies are Sea Jets and Hellenic Seaways. After your time in islands, you can often fly from Heraklion or Santorini directly to a major European hub such as Frankfurt, Paris or London, to catch your return flight home (although most flights will go through Athens). See skyscanner.com for options.
I went to Delphi when I went to Greece in October 2018. I took the bus. I spent a night in a hotel there. The modern town of Delphi near the hotels and restaurants and stores has one main street and two semi-main streets. The town was pleasantly very quiet, no partying or noise at night, almost no traffic. Everything can be walked to from the hotels. I did not go to Meteora. You just need to decide what your interests are, and/or which parts of history you like most: Scenery only, in which case you will be happy if you see one, both or neither; Greek Orthodox Christianity, or Ancient Greek monuments. Meteora’s attraction is Greek Orthodox Christian monasteries on the tops of mountains. Delphi has the former Ancient Greek site of the Delphi Oracle, the charade or getting questions vaguely, barely answered by the Oracle, the remain of monuments pilgrims walked by as they waited in line to have a session with the oracle, and so on. I am happy I went to Delphi. the second half of the day you arrive and the first half of the day you leave is enough time. I bought a bus ticket to leave at 6 pm on my second day there. I was mentally done with the place by 1 to 2 pm on my second day there, but I had to wait around until 6 pm.
Meteora is more stunning, imho. This is what we have done during our trips: rent a car at the airport or near your hotel in Athens, drive to Meteora during mid-day. Stay in Kalambaka (booking.com, etc., will have your options). Have dinner and relax your evening of arrival. Wake up early and beat the crowds visiting the sites. You can spend as much as or as little time doing this at all of the beautiful places, both religious and natural, for one long day, then drive back to Athens, or spend two medium length days sight seeing and then drive back the end of the second day. If you are in pretty good shape, then you will be fine with the walks and stairs involved. Nothing too intense. And of course, you can always pace yourself with more days/shorter hours.
Best thing is to arrive Meteora in the early evening and drive up to the Monasteries. There will be virtually no one up there and you opportunities for fantastic photos. Next morning visit the monasteries you want to get into early. You will have time for one or two before the bus hoards arrive. Then get out of there and drive to Delphi. Use the same tactic there arrive late afternoon early evening and see the museum, get a walk up hotel and admire the view down to the gulf of Corinth. Next morning get to the site at opening. You will have the place to yourselves for about three hours before the tour bus crowds arrive.
When I went to Meteora 5 years ago, one could visit only 3 or 4 in a day- not every monastery was open every day. Does anyone know if this is still the case?
Yes, sorry to pick on you David, but the webmaster has requested that we answer the question asked by the poster and refrain from Covid advice or information.
I wanted to suggest to the OP to search for more answers to this topic by using the search bar on the top left of the forum. Also, I seem to remember that Valerie ( a regular forum poster) did Meterora by private vehicle tour. I think it was called Private Greece tours ( I just looked it up).