We have three weeks in Greece (1st trip) with all but five days committed to sailing and Crete. We are considering 4 days on Naxos or 4 days driving the Peloponesses (One day reserved for transit) At the end of this period, we need to either have driven to Lefkada or we will fly to Lefkada to start our sail. Would appreciate advice on which will be the richest experience considering that Crete and Lefkada sailing are the rest of the trip. Our group contains "young and fit" middle agers and our 20ish children. We are interested in history, culture, beaches, beautiful scenery, hiking, and "non touristy" experiences. Fewer crowds is better than crowds. Night life is not a priority. Old ruins that are mostly "gone" are not of interest. Unless there is something to see, just visiting the site is not on our list. Hanging out in Greek towns where there is old architecture but real Greek soul and spirit as opposed to Cruise ship T shirt shops is more our style. Thanks for your advice and help.
We cannot help until you give the missing information that could affect our advice:
• exact dates (i.e. July 4 - 7) -- July-Aug Advice may differ greatly from June or Sept.
• Is this at the very Start of your visit? if so, does it include arrival day??
• If so, what is exact arrival time, and where coming from? (LA people will be FAR wearier than DC people)
• "Group" ?? How many? (This affects driving/car rental - vehicles for more than 5 are a challenge)
I'd tend to say Pelopponnese if you only have 4 days, unless you can fly both ways for Naxos ... but your answers to above could change that opinion.
Given the location of Lefkada, I would focus on Athens and the Peloponnese, Maybe tossing in Delphi. Naxos is just out of the way and I imagine you will get a dose of the islands on your trip.
Trip is for 4 people, 2nd of June, 2016. We would fly both directions to Naxos and then on to Lefkata. Don't mind going out of the way for a better experience. More about quality than convenience. Thanks
This leg is start of of trip. We are coming from Colorado and arrive in Athens at 10:30 AM
Naxos is our favourite place in Greece and it has pretty much everything you are asking for I think your comment that you have no interest in old ruins that are mostly gone would suggest the the Peloponnese will give you what you are looking for. Consider Nafplio. It is two hours from Athens by car. It has two Venetian era fortresses completely intact has a seaside location and a wonderful old town with a central square where the locals come out each evening to just hang out.
Next drive to Sparti and visit Mystras. It was the last city of Byzantium and has many Cathedrals spread down the side of a mountain.
From Mystras head south and west to Monimivassia. It is a 13th century walled town where you can stay in period rooms. You really can step back int the past here.
Or you could scoot over to Koroni where there are Venetian era castles at Methoni, Pylos and Koroni.
Here is what I am talking about
Nafplio and Peloponnese http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632094108982/
Peloponnese Battle Castles https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157645468134284/
Just because I love Naxos here is what it is like
Naxos Town http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632094558042/
Trip around Naxos http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157634605629689/
I agree with stanbr. Naxos is very nice, but with other island experiences on your trip, I'd definitely opt for the Pelop.
My suggestion would also be the Pelopponese. Depending on how much driving you want to do, you could visit Delphi, Olympus, Monemavasia and especially Nafplion. In Monemvasia there are some good hotels in Gefira, which is the small town across the causeway on the mainland.
Note that each driver will require the compulsory International Driver's Permit for driving in Greece. You may never be asked for it, but if you're ever involved in any kind of "motor vehicle incident" and can't produce one, you may find yourself in a world of misery very quickly. It won't be a pleasant holiday experience.