I'm very seriously contemplating a trip to Greece this winter, leaving the US on Dec 26 (arriving 27) and staying until Jan 8 or 9. It would be a first-time trip to Greece, with a focus on history (I was a classics major undergrad and am presently an academic librarian). My potential itinerary is:
Arrive Dec 27 and take a plane straight to Santorini. As I mostly want to see the Akrotiri excavations, I was thinking stay at an Air B&B in Akrotiri for two nights, then fly back to Athens the 29th.
- Athens Dec 29-Jan 1, do the Akropolis, Akropolis museum, Agora, Keirameikos, Archaeological Museum, Filopappou Hill, Lyceum, Areopogus, Temple of Zeus, and several churches. Since Jan 1 is a holiday and I am an Orthodox Christian myself, I intend to attend the liturgy of St. Basil at an Athens church (any recommendations which one?).
- Jan 2 take a private tour to Delphi and the Monastery of Hosios Loukas, and I'm hoping to have the tour drop me off at the Livadia train station so that I can spend:
- Jan 3-4 at Meteora doing the Monasteries there (unfortunately missing Varlaam since those are its closed days)
- Take the train to Thessaloniki early Jan 5 and spend the rest of my time there, possibly taking a tour to King Philip's tomb in Vergina. At Thessaloniki I'd like to see Eptapyrgio, Vlatádon, St. Demetrios, Galerian Rotunda, Roman Agora, Museum of Byzantine Culture, White Tower, and several of the other churches. Jan 6, I know, is Theophany and I'd love to attend liturgy at St. Demetrios then.
I'd love if anyone had any comments on this itinerary, especially if they see glaring flaws or have recommendations. Specifically:
- if anyone has done the Akrotiri excavations, how long would you say they take and is there a museum near the excavations or only in Fira? Has anyone been to Exo Gonia and would you recommend it? It's really only a day for Santorini due to flight times, should I stay longer?
- what is public transportation like in winter? (I'm not renting a car, I have no faith in my driving abilities.) Are trains fairly reliable?
- if, as is very possible, it ends up snowing during the trip, how would you recommend I wing it? (i.e. if it snows while I'm there, should I just cancel the northern part of my trip and head over to the Peloponnese and hope I can find hotels there?)
Thanks for your help!