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Our First Trip to Greece, Itinerary work?

We are excited to be heading for Greece in less than two weeks. We had planned this trip 1 1/2 years ago and cancelled due to Covid and fires. We have been catching up on travel this year . . . Mexico and Portugal, so far. Here is our itinerary, we don't want to hop around too much, after all it is a vacation.
The small island of Paros for 5 days - we have rented a car through Aegean Airlines, great price BTW. We have a long trip to get there so want to relax and catch up for a few days. No tours planned but bebopping around the island, Lefkes, Naoussa, Parikia.
We are staying in a little villa in Alyki. We will have a pool and will be close to beaches and restaurants
Next we will be in Chania, Crete for 7 days. No car, I cancelled and thought we would take the bus. We have an all day tour planned to go to Heraklion, visit Knossos Palace, the Archeology Museum, etc. We think a walking food tour or walking tour of Chania would work well. We are foodies so will be looking for wonderful cafes and restaurants. Suggestions?
Athens next for 5 days. We scheduled a tour of the Acropolis, then visiting the Acropolis Museum and have lunch at their restaurant. It looks scrumptious.
Suggestions? I think a food tour of the Plaka? Not crazy about riding a bus for hours to Delphi, etc. But if you think it is worth it.
That's it, so far. Open to suggestions.
Cheerio,
Kathy

Posted by
529 posts

I imagine that stanbr and others will be able to give you lots of information and good advice about Crete.

As for me, Paros being a bit like my "second home" in the Cyclades where I have been going regularly for the past 20 years, I could give you some usefull information.

By the way, Paros is not a small island and since you have rented a car you will be able to visit it easily (you are talking about Aegean Airline as a car rental company, are you not confusing it with Aegean Sunrise which is a car rental company in Paros ?)
Aliki, where you are going to stay, is a good choice.

If you need information or specific advice about Paros (villages and hidden places to see, good restaurants, walks and quiet beaches) do not hesitate to ask

Posted by
828 posts

When I went to Crete I was there for only 2 nights/3 days. Which is not enough time to see Crete well. I spent a night in Heraklion and a night n Chania.

"We have an all day tour planned to go to Heraklion, visit Knossos Palace, the Archeology Museum, etc."
That would be a tight squeeze. The bus ride from Chania to Heraklion or Heraklion to Chania is approximately 3 hours one way. The distance one way is approximately 88 miles but because Greece is full of mountains, traveling 88 miles in Greece takes at least twice as long as in Michigan. I saw Knossos and 3/4 of the Archaeology museum in one day but then I spent the night in Heraklion. Consider subtracting at least 2 nights from Chania and spending at least 2 nights in Heraklion. 3 hours on a bus is exhausting even though it is just sitting. And then another 3 hours back to Chania. That's 6 hours total + waiting for the bus.

5 nights in Athens would be a good amount of time. That gives you enough time for the Acropolis and most of the major museums.

I spent a night in Delphi. The modern town next to the ruins is small and pleasantly quiet after the day tripers leave. After you see the main ruins, make sure you walk through the second area of ruins which you get to by walking a small fraction of a mile along the paved road that the bus drives on just before dropping you off.

Posted by
1063 posts

You say you have an all day tour planned for Heraklion. Is this an organized tour with transportation included? That will be much more efficient than doing the visit by the local KTEL bus which makes stops all the way to Heraklion.

Chania is lovely. You don't actually need a tour. The central area including Chania old town and the Venetian harbour is fairly small. It is fun just to wander around the maze of back alleys, walk out to the lighthouse, enjoy drinks by the harbour, going to a harbourside bar to watch the sunset in the evening then having a late night dinner.

Excursions from Chania:
Ancient Aptera. 5,000 years of history strewn around the mountain. Most of the ruins are from the Roman era. You will need to take a taxi there and arrange for a pick up 2 or three hours later.

Balos Lagoon and Gramvousa. This can be done by purchasing a package from any travel agency. It will include bus transportation with drop off at Kissamos harbour where you purchase tickets for the ferry. Gramvousa is an island with a 14 th century pirate fortress the walls are intact but the interior is pretty much gone. There is a nice beach there as well. The ferry then takes you to Balos lagoon. It is a beautiful shallow lagoon with beaches all framed by mountains the sea and a distant view of Gramvousa.

We have done this twice and plan to do it again on our next visit.

I think there is a local KTEL bus that does drop offs at the Botanical Gardens about 20 minutes from Chania. They are lovely a huge area in the mountains filed with flowers and trees and an occasional peacock.

Lastly there is a KTEL bus that goes to Elafonissi beach in South Crete. Its quite a famous location with pink tinted sand.

If you are a photographer the Chania portion of this trip will be a delight.
Return to Chania 2022 https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72177720299646015

Gramvousa,Balos and Elafonissi https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157698932695812

Ancient Aptera near Chania and Meladoni Cave in Rethymnon area.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157672118379637

Chania https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157632117917828

Have a great time.

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you all so much for your generous information.

Yes, we booked the car rental through Aegean Airlines, less than $200 for the 5 days. We thought that a good price.
Yes, the Heraklion/Knossos all day tour is a small bus with up to 8p and the reviews were quite wonderful in that much of the history was shared by the guide while traveling there and back. They also stopped at Rythmno (sic) on the way back for a tasting of a dessert liqueur? which a number of those reviewing were delighted with. We experienced an all day tour in Portugal's Douro Valley that took 2.5 hours each way (7 of us in the SUV). Our guide was such a delight all day that it was a joy and we bonded with our little group.

We will think about some of the suggestions for Chania area. Love the idea of walking around the Old Town and Venetian Harbor, riding city buses is nothing new for us.

Would love ideas for Paros since we haven't made any real plans. Any restaurant suggestions for Paros, Chania and Athens?1

Again, thank you all very much for such terrific suggestions.

Cheerio!

Kathy

Posted by
529 posts

Kathy,

€40 per day in Paros is a reasonable price for a category C car although by renting directly with the local rental companies you could have paid a little less at the end of September (€30 to €35).
If you arrive by plane in Paros, your accommodation in Aliki will be very close (less than 10 minutes by car). It's a bit longer from the port of Parikia if you arrive by ferry.

In Aliki, on the port, you will find several good restaurants, I don't have any particular ones to report. Vassilis, To Balcony, etc, they are all good. And at dinner time you will have the sunset while eating your grilled squid on the terrace (not the squid hanging on the restaurant wall)

In Paros, it is on the east coast that you will find the best beaches. The best known is Golden Beach.
Near Aliki, taking the road that goes east to Dryos, there are some beaches where you will hardly see anyone in September. Tripiti beach, Glifa beach. There are also several other beautiful beaches north of Golden beach.

In Dryos (we also say Drios) you will find the restaurant "Anna" which is one of the best on the island (if not the best). Anna is in the kitchen and is also a friend that you will hug from me. Don't be surprised, there is no menu, you choose all the dishes in the kitchen before going to your table

https://www.facebook.com/Restaurant-Anna-Drios-Paros-287024411335310/

Going up to the north, shortly after Dryos you will find on your right the path that leads to the beach of Golden Beah. There is no sign indicating the beach, but a large sign marked "REBEL" (which is a hotel/beach bar/windsurf club)

Naoussa in the north is the best known and most "chic" place of Paros, with its luxury boutiques and international restaurants. In fact it's not really Greek anymore but it's still a pretty village and port, go for it. Next to Naoussa, in the west, at the extreme north of the island, there is a lighthouse which can be the destination of a beautiful walk (there are also some small hidden beaches near the path to the lighthouse)

In an opposite style, the most authentic villages are Lefkes in the center of the island and especially Prodomos, Marpissa and Marmara.
In Prodomos, on the village square where you park your car, you will find an excellent family tavern "Ο ΤΣΙΤΣΑΝΗΣ"

https://www.facebook.com/tavernatsitsanis?rf=837422876328875

Don't forget to taste the wine that is produced in Paros: Moraitis. it's one of the best in the Cyclades
You can visit the winery in the afternoon

https://moraitiswines.gr/en/mainpage/

Or pick up aromatic herbs and olive oil from the Kamarantho organic farm

https://kamarantho.gr/en/

I forgot Parikia, the port, with its Church of the Holy Virgin and its Hundred Doors and I also forgot The Mad Hatters bistro for a drink or a cocktail in the evening in Parikia....

You will find it on your own. LOL