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Two weeks Greece itenarary

Help! I am planning Greece vacation for two weeks. Priorities: Athens, Santorini, Crete, Meteora. Could be not in order. Maybe instead of Crete some other island. Main plan: more to see, less travel, very flexible. Thanks to all !!!

Posted by
746 posts

It is really impossible for us to provide any useful information until you provide us with useful information. Such as . What are your interests, cities, villages,history, ruins, beaches, when do you plan to travel, how many in your party, budget.

Posted by
53 posts

Oops, sorry. May'17, just me and my wife. We are not that young ( 47 y.o. ), but we still interested in history, architecture, beaches and great views. So ... ?

Posted by
2416 posts

Congratulations, Matthew, for planning so far in Advance, and for choosing MAY, which is one of the best months to visit Greece. The rainy season over, but the greenery is still lush, even on the drier islands, the days are loooong, and the weather is quite good. -- if you're planning for the best weather, I'd say the LAST 2 weeks are most nearly ideal. At that time, the daytime highs, in early afternoon will be about 80°F/27°C, and after sunset, gradually go down to about 64/18 ° -- ideal for sleeping. As for swimming, the water will be VERY brisk, before May 15 ... in latter half of month, the first 30 seconds the sea is chilly, then quite invigorating.

Since you have time for research, I suggest you try some guidebooks; start with the local library, see which appeal to you, and then buy one that suits you best --- you can get used copies online VERY inexpensively. You don't have to have the newest editions because you wouldn't be using them for hotel & restaurant prices; you'd be seeking information about landmarks, local history, culture, to-do highlights and those aspects don't change often. For Athens, the Rick Steves book gives very useful step-by-step DIY for the Acropolis & National Archeological Museum (In fact his website also provides FREE audio DIYs for these 2, to download). For the islands, my favorite is Rough Guide to Greece, because it's very detailed and also CANDID -- alas, many websites are designed largely to attract traffic & sell ads, so they focus on pretty pictures, no details and of course, only the plusses, not the minusses to be aware of. ( RG is a fat book but You can lighten your day-bag by just pulling out the sections you want & making duct-tape Spines, and they become little pocket "guide-ettes").

IF you are really interested in Crete, it's really like a whole country (165 miles long -- I've made 5 visits, and still have only explored half of it -- you'd do well to allocate at least 5 days to it, and plan to rent a car there. A favored strategy, to avoid backtracking, is to fly to your Farthest island on Day One, right after arrival, don't even leave the airport. Then island-hop your way back, leaving Athens to the last. Given 2 weeks, a do-able scenario might be: Day 1- Day 6 (Am), Crete -- ferry to Santorini for Day 6, 7, 8 -- ferry to another island (Paros? Naxos?) for 9-10-11. From there, fly (45 minutes) or ferry (4+ hours) back to Athens area; one option would be take a 3-day group trip to Delphi & Meteora, and then the final 2.5 - 3 days for the major Athens landmarks.

When you say 2 weeks, do you mean 3 weekends (16 days) or 14 days "on the ground" or does that include your flight time? Are you flying from Europe (3 hours), from E. Coast of N. America (12 - 15 hours), West coast of Same (waaay longer), or Australia (half a world's journey!!!). All lthis could affect your total time (14 days vs 12.5), what connections you could make on Day One, and how exhausted/ jet-lagged u would be. We helpers always appreciate key info like this, so we won't propose unworkable itineraries. We await more details, to help you put together a wonderful Greece visit!

Posted by
746 posts

Janet and I often think along the same lines and I agree to her suggestions.

Having said that you will not even come close to exploring half of Crete in two weeks. As a matter of fact over the years we have been to Crete 5 times for a total of about 50 days and have yet to do anything other than west Crete. Personally I would suggest you drop Crete from you plan and return some other time.

If you insist on keeping Crete the 5 day plan on Crete will require you to be very selective on where you want to be and concentrate on that one area.

For instance you could fly to Chania and stay in that wonderful city for the 5 days. It is perfect for day trips to Balos and Gramovossa where you get two beach and a pirate fortress on the day boat excursion. You can also visit Ancient Aptera and Falasarna perhaps Rethymnon and possibly a long day trip south to the Libyan sea.
Western Crete http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632115757899/

I would suggest you substitute Naxos for Crete. In many ways they are similar. The local people love to interact with tourists, you can discover what Greece used to be up in the mountain villages, and both have rugged terrain, mountains and sea along with beaches.

So this is what I would do. On arrival fly to Santorini. I can't think of a better place to get over jet lag.

As an aside because you are planning so far in advance you can snag seat sales early in the year. Sign up for the Aegean web site for e mail notifications.

We generally spend 4 nights on Santorini. This is the place where you need to be prepared to blow your budget. Get a room with the caldera view. This is what Santorini is all about.
Santorini http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632154800782/

Next take the ferry to Naxos. Naxos is lovely and has good tourist infrastructure with great beaches, a main town with a waterfront promenade twisting back alleys all topped with a Venetian era Kastro. There is a smattering of Antiquities and a mountainous interior that you can explore by bus or better yet a rental car. Naxos deserves a full week.

Here is why
Naxos Town http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632094558042/
Trip around Naxos http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157634605629689/

Oh I forgot, Naxos will cost less than half of Santorini for hotels and dining.

Then fly or ferry back to Athens for your Delphi/Meteora/Athens portion of the trip. Always plan to be back in Athens at least a day before your return flight home.

Olympia Delphi Meteora https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157645469717811/
Athens http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632121475515/

Posted by
53 posts

Thank you, Janet and Stanbr! Dates of my vacation are from 05.13.17 to 05.28.17
Flying on May 12 to, May 28 from.
I was planning to stay in Santorini for 6 days. I have feeling that you gonna tell me it's too long. Why?

Posted by
2416 posts

Matthew, how long to stay somewhere depends on knowing its size, the number of interesting things to see/do, and what things in particular interest you. Knowing the first 2 will depend on doing a bit of research -- in sources that will be detailed and candid -- not just "eye candy" from commercial internet sites. And the 3rd means examining yourself ... what kind of vacation YOU enjoy, are you sit-with-headphones on the beach type, or are you actively exploring, hiking, swimming, discovering ancient OR modern places, getting a taste of a country's culture, food and customs.

When asked what they would do with 6 days, there's a segment of Santorini buffs who say, well I just like to have a room with a balcony on the caldera, and just sit there for hours sipping a glass of wine, admiring the view. Well, I know me, and if I stuck to sipping, I'd be blotto before lunch!! Honeymooners of course have other distractions --- but for the rest of us, there's looking at the view, taking photos of houses on the cliff, maybe touring the Akrotiri dig, possibly visiting the beaches (tho since they're black & gritty, more likely swimming in the hotel pool). There's a winery tour, or a half-day sailboat tour. Still, do all that, and its still just 3 days. Stanbr stretches it to 4 .... but what he didn't say is that he goes to Greece every year, for 30 days or so -- and you are talking about 1 trip, for 12-14 days. Crete is 165 miles long, Naxos is the largest Isle in the entire Cyclades. Santorini is 12 miles long. When you only have 12-14 days, does it merit half?

Look at stanbr's pix of santorini, beautiful!! and then Naxos - beautiful!!! AND so much more to explore. The good thing is, you have plenty of time to learn, and make up your minds.

Posted by
746 posts

Six days in Santorini allows you the opportunity to dig a little deeper. You can visit the old village of Finikia just a kilometer from Oia. This is what Santorini used to be like. Also visit Pyrgos the medieval town and former capital. It has wonderful views over the island interior. Images of both are in the album.
On length of stay here is a thought. Book you Santorini hotel for say three or 4 days and at the end of that period decide if you want to stay longer. You are traveling in May so the hotels even on Santorini won't be full. This gives you max flexibility. You could decide to spend your whole two weeks on Santorini. Or you might decide we have had enough and want to move on.
There will be no need to book a hotel in advance in Naxos just go when you feel like it. Best thing though is to do some research to determine where you want to stay so when the ferry arrives and you meet the hotel owners on the dock you at least have a filter to allow you to concentrate on the owners who have hotels where you want to be.
I recall one poster several years ago say she planned 4 days on Naxos and ended up staying 4 months. Now that is flexibility.

Posted by
2796 posts

For another look at "the old Santorini" I suggest you take the 8am morning boat from Amoudi Bay across to Thirassia and the community bus up into the village. It hasn't changed in forever and feels like it must have 60 years ago. Walk down the steps to the little bay below the village to have lunch and to catch the boat back to Amoudi around 1pm.

Posted by
53 posts

Thank you, Ребята! You, guys, gave me lot info to think about. What part of Naxos is the best, if not the whole island?

Posted by
746 posts

I think the combination of Naxos town and St George beach is unbeatable. You get the benefits of lounging on a good beach but quiet at night for sleeping but since St George is part of Naxos town just a 10 minute stroll takes you right onto the waterfront promenade and all the activities of town. Those are the two albums I provided for Naxos.

Posted by
53 posts

Hello, Fellow Travelers! So, after all, my final ( I think ) decision for two weeks is: Santorini, Nafplio, Delphi, Meteora and Athens. Question: when we get back from Santorini, where it is better to rent a car: in airport or in Athens? After Meteora, I think is not very smart to drive to airport to return car and then back to Athens to hotel. I know we can return car in Athens, but isn't gonna be much more expensive? What is the best way?

Posted by
2895 posts

We decided that we didn't want to drive in Athens so we rented our car at the airport. Public transportation from the airport into the city is excellent so even if you drop your car off at the airport at the end of your trip, it's inexpensive and easy to get into Athens using the Athens Metro.