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Two week driving tour itinerary - your comments?

My husband and I will be spending 2 weeks in Greece in September, our first visit. I've planned a flexible driving tour on the mainland, concentrating on scenic spots. We love mountains, interesting geological features, moderate hikes and picturesque villages. We are not partyers and dislike crowds. I'm interested in seeing some places from ancient Greek history, my husband not at all because he grew up in Asia and doesn't know those stories.

With that as background, can you folks take a look and see if you can suggest any spectacular places we have overlooked and any locations in between or nearby places I've mentioned that we shouldn't miss? Thanks so much!

Athens airport, stay first night in Marathon
Mount Olympus
Meteora
Zagorohoria area
Delphi
Olympia
Pylos
Kardamyli and Mani Peninsula
Monemvasia
Nafplio
(Hydra if we have time, if not we'll leave it for an island-hopping next trip)
Athens

Thank you!

Posted by
2796 posts

If you live outside the EU be sure to bring an International Driving Permit with you. USA/Canada: AAA/CAA

Posted by
2416 posts

Since you list 12 things in 14 days most of your experience in Greece will be looking out through a car window as you speed along. You really need to be more realistic and prune your list. Some tips & observations from 12 lengthy trips to greece:

• research realistically how long it takes to get to one place from another (and don't go by US standards of Interstates & smooth terrain). Use a trip planner In ADVANCE like https://www.viamichelin.com/web/Routes shows best route on a map, Plus detailed instructions AND time + cost (petrol/tolls). Here also a fab online map of peloponnese PLUS mainland edge up to near Delphi - http://euro-map.com/karty-grecii/peloponnes/podrobnaya-turisticheskaya-karta-peloponnesa.jpg PLUS a downloadable Mainland map, showing Meteora & more - http://www.greeka.com/greece-maps/northern-greece-map.htm
• In September sun goes down earlier & you do NOT want to drive in the dark
• Be aware that even tho major sites are supposed to stay open til 5 or 7:30 until November, since the Greece budget crunch many many sites begin closing at 3 pm despite what "official" websites say. Always recheck beforehand

• Have you really LOOKED at a map? If you want to visit the Zagohoria area you will need to skip the last 5 things on your list. A friend of mine visited the Epirus area and it took her 10 days and she' LIVES in Greece and drives in Greece!! Be realistic.. I think you need to skip it if you want the Pelopponnese.
• Mt. Olympus is for climbers -- otherwise it's a view from the coastal highway en rout to Thessaloniki.
• The Marathon area has changed so drastically since ancient times there is no real indication of battlefield area ... nothing much there but a monument. And no place to stop, really.... on coastal road about 20 miles from airport.
• When u ask for critique of itinerary, you need to give ALL facts such as TIME of DAY of arrival, and also departure. For instance u say stop at Marathon for night. Why? Do you arrive at 7pm? If you arrive by noon or early afternoon, with this overly-ambitious wish-list, I say, drink espresso, and drive the 5 hours to Kalambaka, near Meteora. In that situation, my re-do of your Itinerary would be:
DAY 1 - Drive to Kalambaka for the night
DAY 2 - see 2-3 Monasteries -- SKIP Zagorochoria plan -- drive to Delphi for night
DAY 3 - AM See Dellphi ruins & Museum - noon head for Olympia (5 hr drive??) Stay in Olympia
DAY 4 - AM Olympia museum (first) then ruins, Drive down coast to near Pylos (I recommend Hotel ZOE in Gialova)
DAY 5 - explore area and Nestor's Palace. Navorino, Paleokastro castles & town of Pylos
Day 6 - Explore Nature preserves. town of Pylos
Day 7 - Kardamyl
Day 8 - Mani Peninsula
Day 9 - to Sparta, explore Mystra, down to Monemvasia for the night
Day 10 - AM Monemvasia, drive to Nafplio for afternoon &night
Day 11 - explore Nafplio, visit either Mycenae or Tiryns
Day 12 - Drive east toward coast visit Epidaurus, Stop at corinth canal, return car to Airport. Taxi, metro or x95 express bus to central athens hotel (pick one close to Acropolis)
Day 13 & 14 - Athens highlights.

If you think you can squeeze in more places, tell me how, without a Magic Carpet. As it is, you'll be on the move a lot!

Posted by
1410 posts

I like this revised itinerary, but if she skips Athens, which seems to be her intent, with those two days she could add Meteora, getting her closer to the original plan.

Also totally forgot about the corinth channel, that was actually very cool to see.

Edit: Actually I missed the second Athens, so it seems her intent was not to skip Athens. That said, don't feel guilty skipping Athens. If it were me - Athens vs Meteora, I would go to Meteora. Although the new (to me) Acropolis museum in Athens is impressive. Find two more days :)

Posted by
2416 posts

To Kaeleku -- If you will re-read the itinerary, you will see that I did NOT suggest skipping Meteora -- I simply said, go for the night to Kalambaka, which is the closest possible town to Meteora... when I said, for the next day, "see 2-3 Monasteries" I assumed everyone would realize these are the METEORA monasteries... I guess I assumed wrong.

Posted by
1410 posts

Hey Janet- sorry I skimmed your novel, I stayed in Kastraki.

Posted by
343 posts

Thank you all for your comments.

But Janet, your tone is pretty offensive.