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review 8 night Athens/Peloponnese itinerary please

First time to Greece. we have 8 nights, please comment on this itinerary. No islands because my travel partner isn't really a beach person and just chews up too much time, leave those for next trip. He reallllly wants to see Thermopolae in spite of warnings re not much to see. Want a fairly relaxed trip with time for exploring and relaxing.
1. arrive from US in Athens by noon, recover. sleep in Athens 4 nights
2 . tour Athens
3. tour Athens
4. tour Athens
5. shuttle or taxi to airport, rent a car, drive ~2.5 hr to Thermopolae and then on 1 hr to Delphi. Sleep Delphi
6. tour Delphi, drive ~ 3.5 hrs to Olympia, sleep Olympia
7. tour Olympia, drive ~2.5 hrs to Nafplio, sleep Nafplio
8. drive to Mycena and Epidavros, hang out in Nafplio, sleep Nafplio
9. drive ~ 3 hrs to Athens airport, drop car, board plane ~ 3:30 PM
Thanks fellow travelers for your comments!

Posted by
7494 posts

You have done an excellent job creating your itinerary. I am happy you have included the Mycenae and Epidavros while in Napflio as well as Mystras and Olympia. Many tried to talk us out of Olympia but we were so happy we went there.

Posted by
24 posts

Your itinerary seems really good to me. Maybe on your way from Olympia to Nafplio(?), you'd like to add the Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae of Phigaleia (google maps). Read more about this temple on the UNESCO site. About your visit to the Hot Gates of Thermopylae, you need to be aware of the fact that the actual pass where Spartans defeated Persians doesn’t exist any longer. The configuration of this area has changed over the years, so the sea is now at a 10km distance. The entrance is free, as the site is in the open and very close to the highway. On site you’ll find a huge bronze statue of King Leonidas. In general, there are not much to see. The whole visit shouldn’t take you more than 30 minutes.

Posted by
1645 posts

You haven’t allowed any time to actually see Nafplio. The fortress there in particular is worth seeing. It was many of our group’s favorite activities. Mycanae and Epidavros will take a full day.

We had three nights in Athens, although at the end not beginning of our trip, and found that allowed us enough time to see the main sights.

Posted by
935 posts

I understand you want to see as much as possible while in Greece. However, I think you are spending to much travel time getting from one location to another. Time is valuable on holiday especially with only 8 days.

You appear to be interested in archeological/historic sites.

If it was me I would go directly to Nafplio upon arrival. It's a wonderful base to explore World Class archeological sites including the ones you mentioned and a number of others.

Here's the best website for Nafplio which will tell you about the entire Argolis Peninsula and nearby areas.

Consider Messenia instead of Olympia. It's less commercialized, less touristed and just as impressive if not more so.

In addition most travelers recommend returning to Athens at least one day before your flight in case of any delays, either weather, strikes or flight changes. You can spend the last 3 days in Athens which is adequate to experience the city.

Posted by
3099 posts

The Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece were held in Nemea and it's not far from Nafplio - there is a nice museum there. Just another option if time is limited and Olympia seems to far for this trip.

Posted by
1688 posts

We spend a lot of time on the forum trying to persuade people to not try to include too much in their itinerary - and then try to persuade them to include too much. Lol. You have a decent plan for what you have included. Are there other things you could have included instead? Sure. Will you run out of time? Possibly. But as we all like to say, can’t see it all in one short trip.

Posted by
5 posts

Looks like a great itinerary! The only thing I'd suggest is swapping one of the days touring Athens for a trip down to Sounion, which is about 70 km south of Athens. The Temple of Poseidon there is gorgeous, especially against the setting sun.

Posted by
5221 posts

I think it's a good plan, yes a little rushed but I'm sure you'd add more time if you had it. As for the risk of driving to ATH on flight day, if the alternative is driving to Nafplio on arrival day after an overnight flight I think you've made the safer choice. Just get up real early, with the rosy-fingered dawn.

The overnight in Delphi is a good idea, it will be less crowded late and early. I suggest the museum first if the timing works out, then the site the next morning (rosy-fingered dawn again).

And you will have time to see things in Nafplio on the day you arrive, including the hilltop fortress (drive there, don't climb up)_ Just get an early start ( know) that morning in Olympia.