1st time Greece- itinerary/recommendations

Hey! My boyfriend and I are going to Italy and Greece the first 2 weeks in April. I've been to Italy before but it is both of our first trips to Greece. Any advice on our itinerary or recommendations for activities/restaurants would be greatly appreciated! We will be flying from Rome to Athens on April 7th. Staying in Athens for 2 nights then taking a bus to Cape Sounion. Staying there for 1 night then taking the bus back through Athens to Delphi and staying 1 night there. We will then be taking the bus back to Athens and staying for 2 nights before flying home. I have heard that the KPEL buses are good but am still a little shaky about the schedules. Also we would love some restaurant recommendations! Thank you!

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
2372 posts

A few thoughts to consider: Why split your time in Athens? You could fly in, metro to central Athens and take the bus that day to Cape Sounion. Then spend your time in Athens at the end of your trip. You could save yourself time by renting a car. Driving outside Athens is not so bad. Pick up car at airport and drive to Sounion is easy. Stay on ring highway around Athens to Delphi and drop off at airport before heading into Athens. You MUST have an IDP to rent though. I've not taken the bus but they are the main mode of transport in Greece. You will have to connect in Athens on your way to Delphi. To Kafeneio in Athens is really good and Brettos tavern is great for sampling ouzo, mastiha and tentura. Matt Barrett's website is also a great resource.

Posted by janet
Philadelphia, PA, USA
429 posts

Here is KTEL bus timetable for LIiossion Station (for Delphi) http://www.athensguide.com/practicalinfo/busschedulesB.htm Good idea to take a noonish bus See Tholos area of ruins in late day, then see the main part from 8 - 11 am, before the tour-bus throngs arrive, catch noonish bus back to Athens. Cape Sounion is a lovely "postcard" temple ruin ... but that's it. Is it worth a 2+ hour bus ride & overnight??? A bus ride of only 2.5 hours brings you to Nafplio, called THE most beautiful "Old Town" in Greece (the "proposal capital" of Greece because so many Greeks take their girls there to pop the question!). It feels like an island because it's at the tip of a Peninsula, surrounded by the bay of Argos, (look at a map to locate) Here's A slide-show of Nafplio highlights -- http://travel.webshots.com/slideshow/551991579dJbWvh A reserved-seat KTEL bus (12€ fare) leaves Kifissou station hourly on half-hour ... scenic ride along the water much of the way. Nafplio has wonderful cafes, restaurants, shops, a favorite "getaway" spot for savvy Athenians. A 2-night stay will be perfect! Try Hotel Leto, overlooking town & bay, tell them Janet of Philly sends u and you want their nicest double with balcony (€62??) Nafplio will be your favorite memory of Greece -- I guarantee it!

Posted by janet
Philadelphia, PA, USA
429 posts

I don't agree about driving... when u have such a short time, it's much more relaxing to let KTEL do the driving. Busses are modern, upholstered lean-back reserve-seats, and inexpensive 13€ 1-way to Delphi, 12€ 1-way to Nafplio (don't forget, Int'l Driving permit will cost you $15 +photo @ $5 to get at AAA). If you were doing a week-long mainland trip, maybe. Otherwise, on bus you can relax & enjoy the view, or snooze (travel is tiring!). I'm saying this from experience, because I've done it both ways, in my 9 trips to Greece. PS: taxi (about 10-11€) easiest way to get to Kifissou OR Liossion KTEL stations... local transit too confusing. PPS: On my first trip to Greece, in 1999, I didn't know what to do for my last 2 days, from Athens, and an artist friend from Mykonos said, go to Nafplio. I said Where??? she said, Trust me, you'll thank me. I've been thanking her ever since!!

Posted by Ashleigh
Gainesville, Florida, USA
5 posts

Thank you everyone for the great responses!!! I will definitely be talking to my boyfriend about Nafplio! Is it worth it for just a day though? A friend of his who lived in Greece for a few years recommended the cape which is why we chose it. Does anyone have any restaurant recommendations in Athens?

Posted by Lee
Oregon
1635 posts

If the weather is good have a meal at the top of Lycabettus Hill at sunset at the Orizontes Restaurant. There is a funicular to take you up the hill from the Kolonaki district.

Posted by Tim
Haslett, MI, United States
26 posts

Napflio is definitely worth a day, but I'd strongly suggest giving it more than that. Honestly, while we liked Delphi, I'd drop going there and spend another night in Napflio. From there, you can take easy day trips to Epidaurus and Mycenae (which will give you a good taste of ancient ruins). Delphi is good, but an overnight stay is likely not worth it (I don't think there's much else to see in the town) and while you can do it as a day trip from Athens, it'd be a long day. We didn't go to Sounion, so I can't say if that's worth it or not. I did hear from fellow travellers that it was a nice overnight stay, so it might very well be a good choice for a night. As for restaurants in Athens, check out RS's "restaurant steps" recommendations. I don't remember the name of the ones that we went to (they're all close together), but we just stopped into the ones that didn't have a guy outside pestering us as we walked by. Both ended up being really good.

Posted by Ashleigh
Gainesville, Florida, USA
5 posts

Thank you lee for that great recommendation! We will definitely try that! Is there a restaurant up there or is it more of a picnic lunch with an amazing view? And Tim I will definitely check out RS's Restaurant Steps. While I would really like to see Nafplio I just don't think we will have the time to do it justice. We both agreed that we would rather just see a couple cities and really see them than be rushed through lots. We are both only 22 so that's a definite on next trip =) I know there isn't much in Delphi and Cape Sounion but we heard from a friend of ours that seeing Delphi at dawn with the mist still on the ground is a must. And we are definitely not morning people so we'll just stay overnight. Plus both quiet towns might be a nice change of pace from the bustle of Athens. Again thank you everyone sooo much for your responses! I cannot wait to try all of your recommendations!

Posted by Lee
Oregon
1635 posts

As already mentioned above, the restaurant on Lycabettus Hill is the Orizontes (Horizons) Restaurant.