I previously posted some ideas about which places we think we'd like to see in Greece. We've done some more research and have moved on the the next step of our planning. We're now ready to start finalizing our hotels, and before doing so, were wondering if we could run our itinerary past you guys to see if there are any red flags.
We are a couple in our early 30s with only a little bit of travel experience (Paris, all around Italy). We most enjoy relaxing on the beach, ancient/Biblical history, food/authentic culture, and - for lack of a better way to put it - seeing famous things in real life (the things you always see in pictures, books, movies, etc...love having those "I can't believe I'm seeing this in real life!" moments). We travel on a budget. Given our finances/life circumstances, we're not counting on being able to return to Greece for certain in the future. So far, we've committed to our plane tickets in/out of Athens, a one-way flight to Santorini, and a hotel in Athens (though for 3 nights only...may add 4th night so we can come in from Nafplio the night before, on the 6th).
August 27: Arrive in Athens, fly to Santorini, recover from jetlag
August 28: Santorini (Meander around Oia, perhaps hit Kamari beach)
August 29: Santorini (Akrotiri excavations? Volcano tour? Sunset boat ride? Just more meandering?)
August 30: AM boat to Naxos, then strolling and beach
August 31: Naxos (day trip to Mykonos?)
Sept 1: Naxos (strolling and beach)
Sept 2: Long travel day (ferry to Athens, bus to Kifissou station, bus to Nafplio)
Sept 3: Nafplio (rent car, see Corinth and Mycenae)
Sept 4: Nafplio (drive to Olympia as day trip? Then return rental car. Alternative = stay in Olympia overnight then drive back to Nafplio first thing in the morning on the 5th, also trying to see Epidavros on the 5th before returning rental car)
Sept 5: Nafplio (Epidavros by bus, as it is cheaper than keeping rental car)
Sept 6: Nafplio (just strolling around, then bus to Athens in PM so we can have the whole day on the 7th?)
Sept 7: Athens (Acropolis and surrounding ruins, Acropolis Museum, Rick Steves' walks in tour book)
Sept 8: Day trip to Delphi
Sept 9: Athens (National Archeological Museum, any missed odds and ends)
Sept 10: Fly out of Athens very early in the morning
My main concern about this itinerary is the amount of moving around, as I know that can make for a very tiring trip, though it is always difficult to balance this with wanting to see everything there is to see. The most obviously expendable things would be the day trip to Mykonos (just keep reading about how beautiful it is) and the loooong trip out to Olympia (though this is definitely a biggie in the "I can't believe I'm seeing this in real life" category...would be hard to go all the way to Greece to miss it. Would highly prefer to see Olympia over the closer games sight near Nafplio) We know that it would be more efficient to drive the mainland in a big loop from Athens to Delphi to Olympia to Nafplio to Corinth/Epidavros/Mycenae to Athens. However, not only are we slightly wary of the stories we've heard about driving in Greece, but also we find driving to be very tiring and enjoy being driven around by someone else much more, and we also dislike having to switch hotels a million times, so the bus plan sounds much more appealing to us (though it adds several more hours of transportation to our trip). To my knowledge, we cannot easily use public transportation to make the loop, so that's why we were thinking of just basing ourselves in Athens/Nafplio and making trips out from there.