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What do you think of my itinerary for Greece? Hotel Phaedra in Athens?

Hello- We will be going to Athens, 3-4 nights, then either Hydra,(2 days) first or Nafplio (3 nights). We want to go by bus so Is it possible to get from Hydra to Nafplio or vice versa w/o having to go back to Athens? Has anyone stayed at Hotel Phaedra in Athens? thanks

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2893 posts

Cheri, when y ou post a new thread, it's a good idea to repeat basic info, because not every responder knows key facts like When? (which you said was March 28) and How Long? (is that 10 days IN greece? if you leave US 3/28, you don't arrive until 3/29, and its only 9 days). It's also useful to say what time of day your plane arrives (9:15 AM, 2 PM, 5 PM?) This affects advice too.

Since your time is short, advice based on experience is to do Athens Last... because u have to be there before you fly home & checking in/out twice eats up precious hours. My suggestion - NAFPLIO first; go from Airport to Kifissou Bus Terminal (for KTEL inter-city busses); Nafplio busses go hourly on half hour, & take 2.5 hrs. (TIP: ask for seats on LH side, for sea view much of the way).You'll love Nafplio -- it's lively year-round because it's a favorite getaway for athenians.

HYDRA -- No there isn't an easy fast way to get to Hydra from there .... You'd have to first take a bus back to ISTHMUS (a stop on the highway that's a bus connection center for Peloponnese) ... then a bus down to Galatas (only 1 per day) then ferry to Hydra. I'd suggest a bus back to Athens terminal, then a taxi (€12-14) to Pireaus, and catch a ferry there. Actually I'd suggest instead of Hydra, going to Aegina. R Steves only promotes Hydra because that's the only isle he's visited in recent years -- but IMHO, it has a picturesque harbor, no-cars, donkeys, pistachios, period. For more than a half-day stay, Aegina has a lot more to see & do: Here's a photo album of Aegina Day trip, https://www.flickr.com/photos/36264706@N03/sets/72157621604646139/detail/ and I myself enjoyed staying over a night there -- PLUS, it's much closer/faster to reach. There are sailings at least every hour, hydrofoil or regular ferry and I STRONGLY recommend latter. Hydrofoils are enclosed, NO view.. while in regular ferry, you sit on deck and enjoy wonderful view of Ionic Gulf, all kinds of watercraft from huge liners to ferries, speedboats and sailng vessels.

HOTEL PHAEDRA -- My favorite Budget GEM! Only 20 rooms, Not fancy at all -- v. plain lobby & hallways, but sparkly clean, crisp linens, and the VIEW! Balconies on one side look up at Acropolis, on other side, down on a Church courtyard. Plus open rooftop terrace where u can bring meals, snacks, sunset beverages. 24 hr desk, free wifi etc. Just STEPS from Acrop Entrance & the new Acropolis Museum. Hadrians Arch etc. Family-owned, friendly, I've stayed there at least 5 x and hope to make it back at least one more time!

Posted by
63 posts

hi Janet- thank you for responding. I haven't made a reservation yet but we would arrive March 28 at 2:40pm coming from Seattle so getting on the bus doesn't sound appealing. I thought Athens first, then either Nafplio, Hydra or Aegina? My husband has early stage Parkinsons so we want to do easy going to start. Maybe Delphi too? Neither one of us wants to drive so bus it is and taxi. We can do around 10 days. Thanks for any suggestions! Cheri

Posted by
2893 posts

Hi Again Cheri!
Thanks SO much for added info - knowing where u are coming from (loooong trip) and your husband's physical limitations greatly changes thinking! (When people ask specific advice, why they omit vital factors, continues to baffle me!). Anyway, revised suggestions:

Coming off a trip of at least 18 hours duration (and more than that in "clock hours") and 1 person having health condition, YES, go to hotel, freshen up, do early dinner... just 100 yards away from Phaedra, behind Lysikrates Monument, Cafe Diogenes, nice for a drink -- it has "tablecloth area" for dinner if you see anything you like on menu. Early night to recover; set clock for 7!

DAY 2 - Just 200 yards or so to Acropolis South Entrance (by theatres) by 8 AM - blissfully uncrowded until 10. NOTE: R Steves website has GREAT step-by-step audio guide for download to I-pod or phone; also can photocopy from his book. Next? Depends on energy level... if still peppy, walk down thru Agora. If ready for a rest, head to Acropolis Museum, sit in glassed-in terrace cafe for brunch before doing walk-thru. after that, nap-time; also walk to Hadrian's arch, Temple of Zeus. Save rest of Athens sights till end of trip.

DAY 3-4-5 - NAFPLIO Taxi (12-13€) to Kifissou Bus terminal for 9:30 bus (or later, on half-hour). Given spouse limitations, choose Hotel Agamemnon - ONLY hotel in Old Town that's right on the seafront. NOTE: Book this one NOW!!!! Currently on booking.com for Mar 30-thru Ap 1, 3 nites/$183 dbl -- this vacancy won't last! and NO-RISK (free cancellation before 3/23). This is top-rated by the best online NONcommercial Nafplio guide - http://www.visitnafplio.com

DAY6 - 7 - AEGINA - As previously suggested, Bus (hourly, on the hour) back to ATHENS, easy 2.5 hr ride. Taxi (14€) to Piraeus, buy tix to first available CONVENTIONAL ferry to AEGINA ... have lunch at seafront or on ferry. and NO I do NOT recommend Hydra, given husband's physical limitations. THere are No cars, no busses, no wheels; you would be limited to waterfront. By contrast In Aegina, you can take bus or Taxi to center-island FAB temple (see the photo-album link, above). Advantage of taxi is u can have it wait, then take you onward to your chosen hotel. Here's a comprehensive site about Aegina as a whole. http://www.aeginagreece.com/aegina-island/ -- it has info about Aegina Town itself, which I didn't have time to explore thoroughly in my 2 nite stay Here's My RS post re AEgina - https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/greece/aegina-9a59ebda-4ac7-48ce-b975-780801943053

DAYs 8 - 9 - Athens -- I do NOT recommend Delphi as a day-tour. Tour busses take forever picking up people at hotels, then 3.5 hours on the road, arrive 10:45 or so, all busses arrive at once, crowds in the ruins, then cramming museum and (insult to injury) many tours rush you off for taverna lunch YOU pay for ( kickback?) then souvenir-store (kickback?). Not enough time on site!! A d-i-y visit is possible w. early start (7 AM bus, return 5pm bus). However Delphi is a MOUNTAIN! Steep climbs involved. Re parkinsons (which a relative has), even if early stage, I know stamina is affected. PLENTY to do in ATHENS... then if either of u tire, a cafe sit-down is delightful. This link - http://www.athensinfoguide.com/open.htm - is waay outdated re hours/admit fees, but a GREAT idea list. Interested in Jewelry? Judaism? Musical Instruments? Children's Art? Melina Mercouri? There are small specialty museums on each!!! I've stayed in Athens 20 times in my 12 trips, and on every visit I discover something new!

Posted by
63 posts

Hi Janet- thank you for your wonderful tips and recommendations. We have traveled a lot but PD is a whole new ball game. The easier and less stressful for him the better. I make all the plans so this is very helpful. If I have any other questions I will post them.

Posted by
63 posts

Hi Janet= I was just looking at the ferry website and it does not have a ferry to Aegina on April 3-5? Is it possible that it is not running that time of year? thanks Cheri

Posted by
2893 posts

cheri, what do you mean about "the" ferry website. There are 2 main ferry websites that all of us Old Hands use, because they give the most information.

1 = http://www.gtp.gr/RoutesForm.asp This is the MOST comprehensive, and my first choice... When I plug in the 2 ports -- Pireaus and Aegina (spelled EGINA) and a sample date April 3, it shows 7 hydrofoil sailings starting 7:50 AM. However... it is early to show the "regular" ferry schedules, they usually show up about 2 months ahead. However , you can find the "usual Pattern of Service" by using website #2, and making it roll back to LAST April --
2 = http://www.openseas.gr/en/index.html -- on this website, click one-way, Put in Piraeus & Aegina. On the Departure box, click the little Calendar to enlarge. Click the LEFT hand arrow on the calendar and you can roll it back to April 2016. Choose the FIRST monday in April, the 4th (equiv to Apr 3 in '17) and Voila! EIGHTEEN sailings , about every half-hour from 6:50am - 1800 (6pm) -- and about every other saiilng is a regular ferry (open decks) vs hydrofoil. This won't change -- this is a "commuter island" so they MUST have frequent schedules. BTW, bookmark both of these, theyll answer many questions re ferries.

Posted by
63 posts

fabulous! thanks again for the info Janet..much appreciated.

Posted by
1204 posts

Back in April 2016 we stayed at the Hotel Attalos (www.attaloshotel.com), had a good experience, and would stay there again. Conveniently located in the tourist zone with great roof top bar/view and the price was right!

Posted by
63 posts

Hello again- does anyone know if we should purchase ferry tickets now for Aegina or what till the day of which would be April 3rd returning April 5th? I see where the conventional ferry is available now but the Flying Dolphin says unavailable??? thanks

Posted by
2893 posts

Cheri, don't piggyback on unrelated thread ... people won't see your query. Asked & answered on your own thread.

Posted by
63 posts

Another question? From Nafplio taking the bus to Kifissou bus terminal is it best to catch a bus #420 (shows this bus # on RS little map on page 197) to the ferry Piraeus rather than going into Athens and changing there?

Posted by
2893 posts

If what you are asking is .... coming from Nafplio, you want to catch a ferry at Pireaus. There SHOULD be a a local city bus that stops at Kissifou KTEL terminal and then goes to Piraeus. Alas, there is not ... there may be a city bus some blocks away in a Very grimy and dodgy neighborhood (the KTEL terminal is surrounded by auto repair garages and junkyards). However, nobody on a local city bus speaks a lick of English. Take a taxi. Before you leave Athens, ask your hotel about this, and what the estimated taxi fare should be now. I've done it several times in either direction, it was about €13 - 15, but the most recent time was 5 years ago

Posted by
63 posts

thanks Janet- I wonder why RS has a little map in his book, which I just bought brand new, showing a bus from the bus station to the ferry. But sounds like taxi is the safest and quickest way to go.

Posted by
2893 posts

This may be a new bus service, cheri. Why not wait & see?? If there's a bus, it will be a couple of Euros? for each. And if you missed it and it's a long wait, there's the taxi option.

Posted by
1313 posts

Cheri

The bus back from Nafplio now stops at the Eleonas metro station on the outskirts of town. It's best to get off here anyway, as it avoids the traffic jam coming in to Athens.

It's useful for you as you can take the metro to Monastiraki (3 or 4 stops) and then change on to the Metro green line direct to Piraeus (Around 25 minutes).

Alan

Posted by
63 posts

Thanks Alan- I will check that out! Would it be easier to get a taxi from that drop off point than the Metro to the port?

Posted by
2893 posts

No cheri, to that question. The Leonas Metro station is on a busy multi-lane highway with vehicles streaming into Athens -- no taxi. If you get out there, u are committed to Metro. Things to remember if you do this:
(1) Get seat by the door! Metro will be nearly empty but by the Monastiraki stop, cars will be JAMPACKED, and you'd have to struggle to get out, with your rolling suitcse, and will be distracted, and a target for pickpockets, so
(2) PLEASE stow your valuables - money, CC, passport phone -- SAFELY... not in ANY clothing pocket or Backpack, I don't care how much velcro you have. They laugh at velcro. either • money belt • Neck pouch (which I like better) hangs down inside shirt or • inside a ZIPPER pocket inside of a ZIPPERED Day bag, which you wear crosswise on body with hand on outsid zipper. another thing...
(3) when u get out at Monastiraki, to transfer to the GREEN LINE platform, keep alert; pickpockets prowl the crowded stations too.

OR -- you cn take that bus #120? that you say Rick Steves shows in his new editon. OR -- taxi.

Posted by
63 posts

hi- it looks like there is a bus #420 from Kifissou bus area to Pireaus port. I found the info on Rome to rio after typing in what I was looking for...somehow I think we will get there!!! haha

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63 posts

one last (maybe) question about money. Should I get euros beforehand to Greece or wait till the Athens airport? We will have a layover in London but don't know if the atm exchange will be there for euros? thanks Cheri