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(Still) rethinking Greece itinerary - drop Meteora?

The trip is March 11 - 25. We've got Naxos and Santorini covered. I've hired Private Greece Tours for our Napflio, Olympia, Delphi, Meteora loop. I hear you all on the mileage and pacing. But I'm not sure what to change.

Delphi to Meteora to Athens in 36 hours is a lot of time in the car. I'm willing to do it but only if there's no reasonable alternative...

I have a couple of ideas. I would appreciate any thoughts.

1) If I cut Meteora-area monasteries, I could replace them with some that I see near Delphi - like Housios Loukas. But they don't really look as spectacular. Any thoughts?

2) I really want 2 nights in Napflio, not 1. Are there any monasteries close enough that I could add that second night and a monastery there? I see Aghia Moni nearby. I see also St. Demetrious Agyou but can't tell how far it is from Napflio

3) Private Greece Tours recommends a hotel in Delphi for the night there. I'm interested in staying in Arachova instead. It looks much nicer and is only 10km from Delphi.

Thanks!

Posted by
2217 posts

Hi Valerie,
I guess no one has responded to this, so I will help bump to the top of the thread again!
We are going to Greece in 2019 as well, so just want to request a trip report when you get back!
Have a great trip!

Posted by
2163 posts

Well, I've corresponded more with our tour company. I shared my hesitation and he stated that he feels Meteora is worth the drive. I've mapped out our daily mileage for this part. Athens>Napflio>Olympia>Delphi is not bad. And it looks like 4 hours from Delphi to Meteora and then 4 or 5 hours from Meteora to Athens the next day.

The trip, after that, is all unscheduled relaxation time on Naxos and Santorini so that's a nice contrast.

We've decided to leave it as it is for now.

Posted by
2054 posts

Hi Valerie...I'm sorry I can't answer most of your questions but will say I absolutely agree with your tour rep in saying I think Meteora is worth just about any drive. I have never seen anything like this collective site anywhere I have been. It's awesome. I have been to Delphi and Napflio but not visited any monasteries nearby so can offer no comparisons. I would also recommend adding that second night in Napflio if you can swing it. I enjoyed every minute we spent there but again, don't know anything about any nearby monasteries. I realize this reply isn't really much help but really want to encourage you to not miss the amazing site of Meteora if you can help it.

Posted by
366 posts

It's been years since our trip. I drove a rental car from Athens to Meteora and visited monasteries that afternoon and the next day. Then drove to Delphi and visited the next day. That is 3 days for Meteora and Delphi. That speed was about right for me.

Nafplio was pretty and I'm glad we stayed there two nights.
I don't know of much to see there. We did day trips and spent nights there.
Again, pretty

Posted by
2899 posts

As I keep saying to inquirers like yourself who have so many destinations and cannot give up any ... you're trying to pour a quart into a pint bottle. My recommendation is

  1. (1) look at a map and realize what the "outliers" are -- off by
    themselves, not on the way to anything, involve looong driving
    time... especially important when it's still winter & dark comes
    early. Your 2 are Meteora and Olympia.

    (2) Ponder which has the deepest attraction for you and why, which
    you've studied & know enough about so that the experience will be
    important, vs. having just heard about it being important.

In my case, this process has led to my not going to Meteora despite 12 trips to Greece since '99 (don't mistake me for a luxe world traveler, I'm on a tiny pension, so Greece is almost my only trip). I enjoy the occasional church visit, particularly to ones important in Greek independence history, but am not a monastery buff. I've enjoyed seeing various DVDs with aerial views of the pinnacles with buildings perched on top, and admire the feat of hauling all those bricks etc up in baskets, but can't figure out why.

On other hand, I'd taken multiple upper-level and graduate courses in CLassical history, art & architecture, so the treasures of the Olympia museum attracted me greatly. Nonetheless, I didn't make it there until my 5th trip (solo) because travel pals on prior trips were "newbies" and not interested. I took intercity bus (V. good BTW) and from Athens Airport - Olympia took from 10 am-5 pm. My best tip was from my hotelier next AM : go to Museum FIRST, while bus tour groups are in the ruins area. I did & had a precious 90 minutes or so almost alone... left as crowds invaded. The ruins & stadium were OK, not as impressive as elsewhere IMHO, and harder to interpret despite prior prep. I've enjoyed the stadium in Nemea more -- and SO handy.. just 10 minutes off the highway en route to Nafplio.

Your interest in finding monasteries indicates the religious or Byzantine-art aspect is of more interest to you than Ancient stuff ... so perhaps you could trim your travel by omitting Olympia, at least on this trip.

Posted by
8003 posts

We loved staying overnight in Delphi. The views of the olive groves flowing from the mountains down to the sea are beautiful. Book a hotel with rooms overlooking the sea in the distance, such a beautiful area.

Posted by
8003 posts

I would so at least three nights in Napflion , so much to see and enjoy there and nearby.

Posted by
29 posts

Heya Valerie, just wanted to add a rookie’s perspective. My wife and I just returned from Greece, (my first time) and our 2 nights in Meteora were one of the highlights of an exceptional 2 week vacation!

We did not visit Delphi/Olympia/Nafplio, so I can not compare the experiences, but Meteora was a beautiful fusion of unique natural surroundings and rock formations, with other-worldly buildings, physical testimonies to human faith and determination. Our tours gave me a much deeper understanding of Greek religious and cultural development, through the past Millennium, and allowed me to appreciate better what we saw in Santorini and Naxos.
I noticed you have a tour booked, so hopefully the driving itself will not be an issue. (Although we did it, and had no problems)
Have you considered making Meteora your first destination, then working your way back south to Delphi, then to the west? I ask this because ATH is already well outside the city, and easy access to the fantastic highways that take you north.

We followed the advice of many experienced travellers on here, and made the farthest destination our first stop (in our case, Crete), then worked our way back. It worked out great!