Please sign in to post.

Time in Greece, 1st visit.

My daughter and I will be planning a trip to Greece for Sept next year. Neither of us have been to Greece and she is mainly wanting to visit Athens and Santorini. I'm thinking maybe we should do one other island? We are planning 2 weeks (we could do a bit longer) and neither of us want to spend the whole time in Greece. My current thoughts are:

Athens 3 nights
Santorini 2 nights
Another island for 1-2 nights
(We may want to do the beach one day but we really aren't much for water activities and hanging at the beach)

Then over to Istanbul, but I don't think we'd want to stay a whole week in Istanbul.
Any input would be appreciated!

Posted by
2458 posts

I think moving to another location for only 1 night would be way too much hassle. 3 nights in Athens is the minimum, there’s a lot there. I’d go with 3-4 Athens, 2 Santorini and 3...elsewhere. That gets you 9 nights in Greece.

I haven’t been everywhere but I’ll suggest Nafplio for your third place. It’s not an island but is on the waterfront, beautiful town for walking around, beaches nearby, interesting castles in town, and some of the best ancient sights within a short drive - places like Mycenae and Epidavros. Also not too far from Athens, which helps with your timing.

Posted by
2513 posts

You might want to re-think Turkey .... given the recent tumult & back & forth... and who knows what the situation will be by next September??

Posted by
823 posts

Have been to both Athens and Santorini and would recommend 3-4 nights in Athens and 3 in Santorini. We didn't visit either Rhodes (close to Turkey) or Crete but would if we ever go back.

Posted by
57 posts

I would suggest 4 nights in Athens, then fly down to Crete. Do about 5 or 6 on Crete then a couple on Santorini and 3 maybe on Naxos. (Sound good, Janet?? ;-))
We just booked an RS tour to Turkey for September next year and now all hell seems to be breaking loose. Istanbul is wonderful but I agree that it could be dicey, given recent turn of events. (Thanks, Don.)

Posted by
14235 posts

I agree with the others, Athens needs at least 2 full days (3 nights), more is better. I just spent a week on Crete, 3 nights on Santorini and arrived in Naxos this afternoon. I'm not sure what you're looking for. IMO Santorini is highly overrated, very expensive, with mediocre (for Greece) food and way too many tourists - and now is the tail end of the season. It's true, I spent all my time in the towns of Fira and Oia, didn't venture out to the "boonies" which is said to be much better, but I didn't want to rent a car. I spent my time on Crete in the 2 largest cities, Chania and Heraklion. Chania is charming, Heraklion has a very good archaeology musuem and it's a short bus ride out to the ruins of Knossos. I've only seen a tiny bit of Naxos that's right around my room, on the beach and maybe a kilometer from the historic center. Quiet, peaceful, wonderful food and service.

Keep in mind that it's about haf a day to get to or from an island. You have to fly or take a ferry. For instance the fast ferry from Athens to Santorini takes about 5 hours, add another hour to get to/from the pier, maybe more in Santorini.

Posted by
14235 posts

I forgot to add -

I love Istanbul, was there for a 2nd visit a year ago June. I plan to fly Turkish Air to the US in May and expect to spend 3-4 days there on the way.

Posted by
33 posts

Thanks for all of the replies!! I think I'll do Athens 4 days and one island for 4 days then hoping Istanbul for 5 or 6 if it will not be a safety issue once the time comes.

Posted by
2513 posts

Sherry, to Istanbul I think you have to fly from ATH airport .... so I would suggest you reverse your Greece itinerary. I m guessing u are flying from USA (why why why can't people just say where they are from?)... so when you land, immediately take a domestic flight to your chosen island (allow 2 hrs layover between flights, that's plenty; ATH airport is just one big building for most airlines). Spend yr 4 island days, fly BACK to ATH and do your city sightseeing. THEN take your flight to Istanbul. Eliiminates backtracking.

Posted by
786 posts

Experienced travelers to Greece often suggest that you get out to your first island the day of arrival. I suspect you will have to fly from Arizona to the east coast. There are a few transatlantic flights from the coast to Athens that arrive in the morning others arrive around 5PM but in either case there is sufficient time to make a connection out to your island. As Jan says this eliminates backtracking and gives you more time at your destinations. I might even be so bold as to suggest you add one of your Athens days to your first island. Athens can be done well with three days.