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Napflio hotel recs & quick itinerary check

Hello all, I have been trying to get to Greece for 5 years but for various reasons have not made it. 2020 is our 35th anniversary and we are finally going - flights are booked! Since I have been planning/researching this for a while, I think I'm pretty good. I just have 2 questions - first, hotel recommendations in Napflio. I have narrowed down my choices for Santorini, Naxos & Athens, but for some reason am having a heck of a time with Napflio. We will be in Napflio for 3 nights 9/19 - 9/22. Budget - 150 to 175 euro per night. Would like a balcony with a view, centrally located. A pool would be nice, but not necessary. The tentative plan is to arrive by bus from Athens, but rent a car for a day or 2 to visit Epidauros, Mycenae and Nemea if time allows.

2nd is any constructive criticism, input on our itinerary - noting that the flights are already booked and the amount of time would not have been negotiable anyway. Unfortunately, although I get 5 weeks vacation, I can only take 2 consecutive weeks at a time. At least for 3 more years until I can retire!

Arrive Santorini around 7:30pm - 3 nights
-Fira to Oia hike
-Akrotiri
-Sunset cruise
-Any other suggestions

Early Ferry to Naxos - 4 nights
-Cheese & wine tour
-Sailing day trip
-Explore island with car rental or by bus
-Possible day trip to Delos
-Any other suggestions

Morning Flight to Athens - taxi to bus station, bus to Napflio - 3 nights
-Epidauros, Mycenae
-Add Nemea, if time
-1/2 day kayak tour to sunken city (Old Epidavros Port)
-We will be celebrating our anniversary while here - any great, atmospheric restaurant suggestions?
-Any other suggestions

Bus to Athens - 3 nights
-Walking Tour - Parthenon, Acropolis, Agora, Parliament
-Food tour (open to recs)
-Acropolis Museum
-Any other suggestions

Thank you!
Joann

Posted by
59 posts

Stayed in a "cave room" at Pension Marianna Nafplio concurrent with Rick Steves tour (there at same time) 2018 (May). Really neat room with great views (not all rooms would have views). You have to climb up the steps but well recommended

Posted by
1421 posts

When we were in Nafplio in 2017, our tour group stayed at Pension Marianna. A lovely hotel with a stunning view. The rooms were comfortable, excellent breakfast and easy walk to town. I am not familiar with the nightly charge, but if it is within your budget, I would gladly recommend this property.

** Edited to note we did not stay in a "cave room." We had a view room.

Posted by
2255 posts

I, too, stayed in a "cave room" at Pension Marianna Nafplio on an RS tour. My Cave room had a wonderful view from the terrace right outside my door on which to enjoy my view, which I did. So, I, too would recommend this hotel. This is my all time favorite room. Mine was the one with the cannon ball in the wall. :)

Posted by
419 posts

We did almost exactly what you propose in Napflio and the bus and rental car worked easily. DW says - Go to the toilet before you get on the bus. If Pension Marianna is not available (it was being renovated when we visited Napflio) the Amfitriti Palazzo is right next door - with similar cave rooms. Some balconies, although we did not have one. A lovely spot. The manager at the Amafitriti arranged for a car to be delivered to us in the morning and picked up in the evening.

Posted by
242 posts

Wow, thank you all so much! It gives me great confidence a hotel is a good choice when recommended by multiple people :p) I will definitely check out both Marianna and Amafitriti tonight and let you know the results.

@NickB - tell DW not to worry - I will be sure to take her advice. :p)

Thank you,
Joann

Posted by
159 posts

The only thing I would consider, based on our trip in early October, is hiring a car at the airport and driving to Nafplio.

When I first booked our trip I had considered using the bus from Athens, but the car rental from Athens airport was considerably cheaper than from Nafplio (The 5 days rental from the airport cost us less than 2 days rental from Nafplio). The drive is really easy - motorway all the way past Corinth - I think 4 toll stops, then decent roads from there to Nafplio - Lots of parking near the town. Nemea was an easy, shortish drive from Mycenae - definitely worth seeing.

Posted by
1342 posts

Consider driving to Nafplio--it's an easy drive, just modern highway and then some rural roads--2.5 hours. That way you could stop at Nemea on the way or on the way back, possibly one of the other sites on your list (or something else--ArcoCorinth, etc.) on the other drive, freeing up one of your Nafplio days for anything you like. It would make things more efficient. We picked up and dropped off the car at the airport, then took a cab into Athens.
I also struggled with Nafplio accommodations and ended up rented an apartment. Because I wanted parking and we were doing day trips, I wanted to stay at the edge of old town. We had a big balcony with a view of the sea, fortress, a bit of old town, but it was a modern apartment so not sure if you were after something more atmospheric. It was probably about a 20 minute walk to town--the name is Sunday Apartments if anyone is interested. http://sundayapartments.gr
I came close to splurging on Nafplio Place, which is a gorgeous home.
I always use Booking.com--check the rentals page. good luck and congrats!

Posted by
3932 posts

We liked the Amphytron Hotel, at the west end of the waterfront, about five mnutes' walk from the center. Great views of the bay and fortress, and very good breakfast.

Posted by
242 posts

Thank you for all your suggestions. They all have great reviews. I have submitted my request to Pension Marianna and am hoping for positive results. Right now it shows 1 room available on Booking.com, but I prefer to book directly. Booking.com also doesn't specify whether the room has a balcony so I am guessing not.

@ TimW and Valadelphia - I originally planned on driving from Athens, but was under the impression it was a very mountainous, windy drive. Is this correct? I do most of the driving and have no problem, but I don't like to do windy, narrow roads. For example here in the Northeast, I have driven on the Kancamagus highway in New Hampshire and plan never to do so again. :)

Thanks again!
Joann

Posted by
59 posts

We did not specify a room at Marianna, but were given a room (cave) with a terrace - great view of the city. Parking is located close by above the hotel as noted in Rick's guide.

The drive from Athens airport to Nafplio is very straightforward and gives you a lot of options. Just make sure to go around Athens!

Dinner in Nafplio we ate at one of the seafood restaurants recommended by rick, either Savouras or
Arapakos (don't have my notes; think Arapakos). We went by early and the staff showed us all of the whole fish on ice, went back later and picked our fish. We spent 15 days in Greece, Athens, the peloponnese and Santorini - every meal was superb even at the seaside "family joints" we favored.

Posted by
2322 posts

I used to stay up at the Top of the Stairs, in a place near Marianna's.... but this year I took the advice of the fab noncommercial website Visitnafplio.com ... and tried a place I'd looked at before, thought it would be too expensive. But it was LESS than Marianna, and is the ONLY hotel right on the seafront, with unobstructed balcony views (others have tavernas righat in front). Hotel Agamemmnon. The 1st week in june the FRONT balcony double we had was €73 per night ... bulding has elevator, wonderful buffet breakfast, great service. Perfect. We went "Up top" of course, to walk the Acronafplia walls to the clock tower, to the peninsula point park of course ... but I did not miss climbing all those steps up to a hotel, after dinner every night.

Posted by
159 posts

" I originally planned on driving from Athens, but was under the impression it was a very mountainous, windy drive. Is this correct?"

Far from it - The freeway is excellent, and once you get off it is pretty much straight, flat, wide roads all the way to Nafplio. The only part of the driving that I would class as winding was on our trip from Mycenae up to Nemea where the road goes up through the Dervenakia pass, but this section was only a few miles long. We had a small Fiat Panda as a rental car, and the road never got steep enough that it struggled.

Posted by
1342 posts

There are some windy and steep drives in the Peloponnese to be sure, but from Athens to Nafplio is an unremarkable drive--modern highway, then some rural roads. I don't recall anything notable about the drives from Nafplio to Mycenae or Epidaurus either (though if you try to drive between those two without backtracking, you do go over a mountain, but nothing sketchy). I am a nervous passenger and choose public transport myself when it is easier, but having the car for this bit would help tremendously!

Posted by
656 posts

Perhaps this is nothing more than a too late suggestion but we too have stayed at Hotel Agamemnon. It has been nicely spruced up. You really can't beat the views as it is directly on the waterfront and best of all it is a very good price. No stairs is a bonus.

I also support the advice you have received on renting the car from Athens airport. The drive is on the National highway until Corinth. Renting the car also allows you to plan a stop in Corinth on the way to Nafplio. You can easily spend a half day in Corinth visiting ancient Corinth and nearby the fortress of Acrocorinth. What a view from up there. Ancient Nemia is a good stop and of course you can park and walk on the bridge over the Canal.

We did that drive last month.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157711755443483

Posted by
965 posts

I had heard from my brother-in-law how difficult driving in Greece was and almost didn’t rent a car to drive to Nafplio because of that. I was convinced by people on this forum to do so and they were right. Parts of Greece are difficult to drive but not this route.

Also, we rented an air Bnb without parking in the old town and easily found free parking a 10 minute walk away. So I would not let parking drive your hotel choices.

Posted by
242 posts

Thank you all so much. You’ve convinced me – back to my original plan of renting a car to drive from Athens. I do like being able to stop along the way. Are there any car rental agencies you were particularly happy with? The only one I have bookmarked (from earlier research) is Swift.

Both Amfitriti Palazzo and Hotel Agamemnon look great too and are definitely within budget and available for our dates. I will give Marianna another day or 2 to respond and if I don’t hear back will just go forward with one of these.

Thank you for the apartment suggestions as well. We like apartments when we travel with our daughters or are staying in one place for a week at a time, but usually stay at hotels for short stays with just the 2 of us.

All your suggestions are appreciated.

Posted by
3112 posts

Nafplio is a resort town and this is off-season, so responses can be slower than usual. Your trip is still 10 months away, so you have time for a follow-up contact before giving up. Many of the rooms at Marianna surround a tranquil courtyard, and I think it's worth a little persistance to book a room there. I really enjoyed my stay.

Hotels don't usually list all of their rooms with booking sights like Booking.com because of the high commission they're charged (often 18%-23%). Even when there's a RS tour at the hotel (there was when I stayed there), tour members don't fill all the rooms.

Posted by
242 posts

Thank you Frank. Patience is not one of my virtues, but I will try to practice it here :p) I will content myself with booking the remainder of my hotels this week and will try to contact them again in a few days if I do not hear back. With so many recommendations, I would hate to miss a good thing!

Joann

Posted by
1539 posts

We loved our stay at the Hotel Aetoma in Nafplio. Large room, gigantic breakfast and the kindest hosts one could hope for. Our room had a balcony overlooking a street, no grand vistas but quiet. Highly recommended. Safe travels.

Posted by
242 posts

Hi lmurphyfoster. For lodging, I have confirmed reservations at Studios Kalergis in Naxos and Pension Marianna in Napflio. I have emailed Agnadema Apartments in Firostefani, Santorini with some questions before booking as that one is nonrefundable. I haven't booked Athens yet, but I am looking at Attalos Hotel.

Posted by
656 posts

You asked about car rental companies. We used ACR Athens Car Rental. We have rented from them three different times and we were always happy. They meet you at the arrivals door of the airport. Walk you to the car right outside arrivals. Do the paperwork right there inspect the car with you. Its probably a good idea to video the car because I missed two small dents on my inspection. The video showed them clearly. On return they meet you at departures level, inspect the car and away you go. They take cash or credit card. They include insurance but with a 500 euro deductible. That deductable sems to be standard on Athens rentals these days.

Attalos is a tourist class hotel, nothing fancy however several rooms have Acropolis view and they have a wonderful rooftop bar with a direct view of the Acropolis. We have spent many hours up there relaxing and marveling at the view.

I do not book 'no cancellation' rooms. You are 10 months out and a lot of stuff could happen to change your plans. Just this month we had to cancel a trip two hours before flight due to illness. There are lots of hotels that will charge a bit more to allow you to cancel up to a week or so before your arrival.

Posted by
242 posts

Hi stanbr. Thank you for the car rental recommendation. I was having trouble finding recent reviews of Swift and some that I am finding are not very positive. I will definitely look into ACR.

As far as booking nonrefundable, I usually try to avoid that as well, but Agnadema checks all of our wish list boxes at a price within our budget - Caldera view, with balcony & a pool all for 250€ euro p/night for a studio (less if we go with the std dbl). While I did budget more for Santorini, most of the accommodations I have looked at are at least 300€ to 400€ p/night. Do you have other recommendations we could look at?

Posted by
2322 posts

Joann, does Agnadema give a "cancellation without penalty" option on that room for about €15 per night more? I can't believe that place doesn't give such an option, a full 10 months ahead... and in the past when I've recommended that place, it always did have that option .... maybe the unprecedented tourism avalanche has given them "Oia-fever" . If that amount would put u over the budget line, still, it would protect you against a cancel-calamity.

Posted by
242 posts

No it doesn’t. I checked both their website and Booking.com and both only offer non refundable options. I can go up to 275/300 euro tops for Santorini.

Posted by
2322 posts

Well then you have to figure, what's at stake? When I've had to put a deposit in advance I think it was for one night's stay ... if that's the case, then just consider if that risk is OK.

Posted by
242 posts

I ended up booking Lithies Traditional Houses. While the rate was over budget, it includes breakfast and transfers which Agnadema did not. We will also be making up some of the shortfall with our stays in Napflio & Naxos where the hotels were under budget.

Thank you all for your input. I am very happy now and comfortable with my choices. I am so looking forward to this trip!

Joann

Posted by
291 posts

You made a fabulous choice with Litihies Traditional Homes! We just spent four nights in the "Eros" home and it was a highlight of our three weeks in Greece. Maria will ensure that you have a memorable anniversary trip while in Santorini; you will be pampered and at the end of your time at Litihes you will have made a friend. The sunsets there are beautiful and you are not mired in the crowds at Oia. Ask Maria for her suggestions on restaurants and activities and you will not be disappointed. Enjoy your time in Greece!

Posted by
242 posts

Thank you Travelbug69. We are really looking forward to it! We have Iris as Eros was booked.