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Need some advice on itinerary

My husband and I have decided to take a 10th wedding anniversary trip to Greece in late September 2018. We will most likely have a total of 9 days, excluding the days spent flying into and out of the country. We will spend 2 days at the end of our trip in Athens but we are having some trouble deciding how to spend the other 7 days.

We are considering the Peloponnese or the Cyclades. Am I right in assuming that we would not have time for both? Which would you choose and why? Recommendations for hotels and restaurants?

We want a romantic anniversary and we enjoy exploring, seeing nature, history, art, great food and drinks, and unique experiences. Historical sites are a BIG draw for us. We are happy to do touristy things but also want to see some authentic Greece and maybe even get off the beaten path here and there. We are not really looking for night clubs or crazy night life at all. I really want at least 1 day somewhere on a gorgeous beach. I am drawn to Santorini because it's supposed to be so beautiful and romantic and I don't mind crowds, but am not sure I want to sacrifice the Peloponnese for it either.

I have been to Greece once before many years ago on a college trip (Kalavryta, Patras, Athens) but my husband has never been.

All thoughts and advice are welcome!

Posted by
2893 posts

Because of your timetable, I would strongly vote for the Peloponnese .... and I say this as a HUGE fan of the Cyclades: those are the 2 areas I have never missed on any of my 12 visits -- but then, I'm retired, usually go May-june or Sept, at least 3 weeks and on 9 trips have taken along 3-4 'travel pals' who are newcomers, so I need to show them my fave places in each area. Some plusses & minuses to consider in making your decision (you have plenty of time, don't rush)

• CYCLADES - Plusses: yes, so many gorgeous romantic venues, beaches, sunsets, no denying! Possible minuses: (1) in my sept. experience, there's an end-of-season feeling, some beach areas closing up, Greeks getting ready to live their own lives (3) after 4 rainless months, dry islands look more "brownish" (2) less ferry service (3) fewer historic sites/ ruins (4) island-hopping, tho fun, takes more time than Pelops self-driving & is less flexible; changing even to a nearby island can take most of a day.
• PELOPONNESE - Plusses: (1) Unlike islands, not as much season-end feeling, in fact beautiful Nafplio absolutely buzzes in Sept. w. Greeks & Europeans who love a quick fall getaway..
(2) Romantic views -- NAFPLIO!! Greeks consider it most beautiful Old Town in All of Greece with stunning site -- on tip of peninsula, surrounded by water, heritage-worthy golden venetian architecture. In fact known as Proposal capital of Greece because so many men take sweethearts there for the Big Ask. Check this wonderful NONcommercial website for town & entire area - check ALL links including up-top for directions, must-sees, where stay/dine/shop etc. PLUS, i consider Nafplio sunsets, seen from comfy loveseats in seafront cafes, to outdo much-promoted Santorini's any time. For a Quick sample of Nafplio plus famous area sites:
(3) History -- The Winner!! Argolid area has more history per square foot than anywhere else in Greece, even in a quick swim in a little cove, I discovered Iliad history, all on my own! That's just the start -- think Mystras, Messine, Olympia .. and more.
(4) Beaches -- around Nafplio area, at least 4-5 fine beaches -- and since u have 7 days, I can pass on my own Secret Eden on West Coast, n. of Pylos... Hotel Zoe in Gialova... tiny beach haven, amazing setting, great nature hikes & history in area.
Possible Minus -- No Island/Ferry experience .. That's easily fixed! On Return to Athens, just get to Piraeus and do a day-trip (or an overnight) on a weekday, to nearby island - Aegina. The 1-hour voyage (on a "regular" ferry w. open decks, rather than closed-in no-view hydrofoil) gives you a "mini-cruise" experience of lovely Saronic bay & all its watercraft, ranging from huge liners to tiny sailboats ... check this lovely album

Posted by
2893 posts

Almost forgot -- I could do a similar thing regarding the wonders of Crete, whic I also love -- have visited I think 5 x, about 5 days each time, and STILL oonly have seen West & Central & some of South ... A scenario would involve flying to Chania in Western Crete, spending 2-3 days around there, then car rental driving South then N-East to Heraklion area. One option would involve limiting to 5 days crete, then ferry to Santorini for (1? 2?) night there, then fly back to Athens ... but it would be rushed just so you could say you'd been there.