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Santorini, Naxos & Athens Timing & Itinerary

We are planning a Greece/Italy trip June 22–July 9th 2017 - family of four (two teenage girls). We are trying to coordinate using FF miles to save $$ and have a couple of itinerary options. 1. LAX to London, then 8-9 days in Greece with the remaining time in Italy based in Rome. 2. LAX to ATH (connecting through FCO) then 9-10 days in Greece, then to Rome. I have read many posts and feel I may be over analyzing the Greece itinerary and would like some advice/opinions from others. Note – none of us have been to Greece. My wife and I have been to Europe, but our girls have never been so a stop in London could be a fun start.

Options

  1. Thursday June 22: LAX-LHR arrives 12:00 noon Friday June 23rd. Spend a quick 1 ½ days in London then Sunday June 25th fly nonstop LHR-JTR arrives 17:45 just in time for dinner/sunset. 3 nights (2 ½ days) in Santorini. Wednesday June 28th 15:30 ferry to Naxos. 3 nights Naxos then Saturday July 1st 18:00 Ferry to Piraeus, 2-3 nights Athens then fly to Rome. Is the metro running at 23:15-30 when the ferry arrives, or is it best to take a taxi to a hotel near Monastiraki? Do we take a night from Santorini and add to Naxos?

  2. (Skip London=more time in Greece)
    Thursday June 22: LAX-ATH arrives 17:55 Friday June 23rd. I have read to go directly to the farthest island upon arrival. Maybe that is in reference to flying back to the states from Athens. We will be flying to Rome next.
    Is it possible to catch a 19:30 Aegean Air flight to JTR (1hr 35min connection)? Or is it better to wait for the 21:50 flight (4hr connection)? There is a Ryanair flight at 23:15 with a long 5hr+ connection ugh! I do not know the flight schedules for next year. I can only go by the current schedules.

2a. More realistic option, (because of our 17:55 arrival jetlag & possible long connections) is to stay in Athens first for 2-3 nights then fly to Santorini the afternoon/evening of Sunday June 25th or Monday morning the 26th. Follow a similar plan 3-4 nights Santorini, then 15:30 ferry to Naxos. 3-4 nights Naxos, then 9:30 Ferry to Piraeus arrive 14:45 - bus to airport fly to Rome. Or skip the long ferry and fly JNX to Rome (ATH connection) 14:00 JNX – 16:40 FCO – more expensive flight.

Final “over analyzing” thought – the island itinerary could be reversed. Ferry to Naxos and fly from JTR - Rome instead of doing a full circle back to Athens. I suppose it depends on flight availability and best prices.
We are leaning toward option 1- London and straight to Santorini. Any advice or opinions are welcomed. Are we missing/forgetting anything? Thanks in advance for comments/suggestions. I hope my queries will help others with their plans as well.

We have an additional which “Ruins” question but I will ask in another post.

Posted by
2860 posts

I'm not sure 1 ½ days in London is worth the effort, but if you 'must see' then option #1 gets my vote. Otherwise I'd go straight to Santorini, spend that extra day there then go to Naxos and on to Athens/Piraeus at the end to explore the sights before your flight to Rome.

Posted by
17 posts

Thanks for such a quick response Lee.

Agreed the short London stop hardly seems worth it. My girls are looking forward to it though. Free hotel using reward points and the FF flight is only $5.60 each LAX-LHR, another $27 each LHR-JTR. The British Airways connecting flight is only available Sat. Sun. Wed & Thur. Saturday is way too quick and Wednesday is too long and cuts into Greece time. We could connect LHR-ATH any day for the same $27, but then would have to pay to fly / ferry from ATH-JTR. I wonder if others have the same dilemma costs vs. efficient travel. In our case we are trying to decide the appropriate order & time to go to each destination. Nothing is final yet.

Do you happen to know how late the metro runs in Athens? Can we catch the green line in Piraeus when we arrive at 23:15?

I appreciate everyone's insights and hope others learn from our plans too.

Posted by
2860 posts

It will be tight but doable if you get there on time. The last metro leaves arouns 12:15. Otherwise there's a bus to Syntagma Square for, I think, €1pp twice each hour 24/7.

Posted by
828 posts

The bus from the airport is the X95. It runs 24 hours a day. It is more like 5 or 6 euros per person. The bonus is there are no pickpockets on this bus versus the metro.