Please sign in to post.

Santorini - 3 Nights - Before or After our tour?

Hello. My wife and I just booked the Athens & the Heart of Greece 14 Day trip for next May 6-19. We also want to visit Santorini, staying there 3 nights, either right before or right after our tour. Our first thought was that it would be nice to have those 3 nights at the end as a way to relax after the tour. But we also thought it could be an advantage to take those 3 days before the tour as a way to get over the jet lag we’ll have after flying to Athens from the U.S. What does the Rick Steve’s Forum think – Before OR After? Please also let me know if a similar inquiry was already covered in a previous Forum topic. Thanks.

Posted by
11176 posts

But we also thought it could be an advantage to take those 3 days before the tour as a way to get over the jet lag

I like that idea. Getting your body clock in sync with the locale makes the tour so much more enjoyable.

Posted by
230 posts

I found Santorini to be a let down after visiting other Greek islands. You may be able to see through the tourist centric activities and seek uncrowded corners. It is a beautiful island. I'd suggest you visit the island before the tour and think of it as Greece Lite.

Posted by
83 posts

We spent 3 nights in Santorini and 3 nights in Naxos, before our Athens and the Heart of Greece tour this past April. We loved both of the islands and were well over jet lag before the tour started.

Posted by
1113 posts

We were exhausted after our RS Athens/Heart of Greece tour a few weeks ago. Be warned that it is a very active and strenuous tour as you are doing alot of uphill walks and navigating lots of steps so be prepared for that. We actually booked 4 nights in Mykonos and 4 nights in Santorini after. In Mykonos, we just relaxed, shopped, ate good food and got a couple of massages to rejuvenate after our RS tour. When we arrived in Santorini, we were glad to have had our rest time because again, we had to deal with lots of steps and uphill walks.

We loved Santorini and it was all worth it. I would recommend doing it at the end of the tour so you will have something else to look forward to. If you want some jetlag recovery time, do it in Athens. The tour only covers one evening and then a day at the Acropolis and the museum in the beginning of the tour and then a visit to the Archeological Museum at the end of the tour. There’s a few more sites in Athens you may want to check out, including the Changing of the Guards which was a favorite activity of mine. You could even spend the time to do a daytrip to Meteora before the tour starts if you’re wondering what to do with the extra time.

Inspite needing a “vacation from our vacation” at the end of our tour, we loved every minute of it. It is a wonderful tour.

Posted by
11 posts

Appreciate the thoughts and suggestions from everyone. All excellent points to consider. We're still undecided but just wanted to say "thanks" to those of you who took the time to reply.

Posted by
3 posts

Just wanted to offer that we had a similar dilemma for our upcoming Oct. visit. Unfortunately we won't have as much time as you so we chose Athens first and Santorini second. It made sense to us to start in Athens where I can 1. get over my jet lag and 2. avoid tacking on additional travel so soon after making the long journey from California. My husband will also need a break from airports and cars as he is doing a lot of work travel before Greece and will be meeting me there.

When booking my airport transfer, I simply had the return transfer be on the date and time that we wil be flying to Santorini. Then after 3 days in Santorini, we fly to Athens the night before our flight home and are staying at a hotel near the airport. Kind of mucks up our final evening in Greece but it seemed to be the smoothest way to do it. Our length of stay is shorter than yours, so I was trying to make things as efficient as possible. Hope this helps.

Posted by
4363 posts

To me the deciding factor would be the logistics when it comes to scheduling flights. To do it prior, you'll have to book a flight to Santorini on arrival (which means having to hang out in the airport a few hours ) and if you do it after, you'll have to be back in ATH the night before your flight out. If you are cutting it close annual leave-wise, it might be tough to swing the extra nights to have sufficient time for it all.

Posted by
1370 posts

TinaB. For that last night before your trip home take a look at Avra hotel. It a very nice one in the port of Rafina. They have a shuttle bus to the hotel and back to the airport that runs. Avra is close to the central square so you can h ave a relaxing last night with one more Greek experience. The rooms have sea views of the port and lots of airplanes flying over the building. Not noisy though.

There is a beach about 300 meters from the hotel. Its actually a gritty sand but the water is nice.

Posted by
11 posts

Again, thanks to all the latest Forum Members (Tina...., Vala...., Stan.... for providing well-thought out suggestions and ideas to our Santorini - Before or After question. I'm continuously amazed by everyone's candor and helpfulness. We are leaning toward visiting Santorini first and then continuing on with the tour, but we definitely see the very real benefit to using the 3 days in Santorini afterwards as a way to relax. Thank you to all for the great ideas.

Posted by
2252 posts

Hi. We stayed on Santorini (in Firostani) for 3 nights before joining our October tour in Athens and enjoyed every minute of it. We were so tired after the tour, I don’t think we could have done the lovely island justice. It was so relaxing to just “be” there for that relatively brief time. By the way, we loved that tour and it remains one of our top 3 favorites.