Greece: how to finish off our trip

Hi! My husband and I have the following itinerary and are wondering how to use the last 3 days of the trip. We spend 3 nights in Athens. Rent car. 1 night in Galaxidi to see Delphi. 3 nights in Nafplio to see Mycenae, Epidarus, chill. 1 night in Mystras to see ruins there, 2 nights in Kardymili (enjoy the Mani), 1 night on Monemvasia rock. After that we have Tues. Wed. Thurs. free and we fly home Friday morning really early. We sorta wish we could go to an island but is there time? also wonder if the east coast of the Peloponese would be a fun "off the beaten path" choice? Thanks for your thoughts! Ruth

Posted by janet
Philadelphia, PA, USA
429 posts

I trust you have not locked in reservations for all these dates after all you have 3 months; most hotels in greece take cancellations if far ahead. YES you can fit in an island if you reverse your sequence, and are willing to fly there & back. Here's the idea: if you arrive at decent time of day at airport don't go into ATH at all; immediately fly to your island for 3 days, then fly back, pick up car at airport and zip OFF to your mainland adventures. Athens comes LAST; it's always easiest to cope with a busy big city after you've been immersed in the country awhile... this strategy is what we "old hands" always favor. PS: this far in advance u may get bargain domestic air fares. PPS: always wise to figure out your sequence and transport logistics BEFORE you book hotels... the other way lies frustration & changes. Without knowing more, hard to suggest specific islands but given your choices on Pelops, isles w. airports that you'd enjoy include: Milos, Samos, Paros, Naxos (latter 2 have fewer flights tho).

Posted by Timi
Sebastopol
5 posts

What you say makes a lot of sense. ANYWAY, this is an intriguing suggest and we'll look into a rearrangement. And I'll check out your island suggestions! Thanks.

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
2372 posts

While the above advice is reasonable, it is not necessary. You can easily fly to an island at the end of your trip, spend a few days, then fly back early and connect to your return home flight in Athens. Staying in Athens on your initial arrival also gives you a little time to adjust to the time changes before rushing off to another place. If you don't wish to fly to an island, Hydra is a quick, easy ferry from Athens and many people do it as a daytrip. But you can spend a couple of nights there. You might also want to add a night to Galixidi and/or stop for a night in Olympia. The rest of your trip sounds wonderful.

Posted by Timi
Sebastopol
5 posts

Yes, we have decided that after a long trip from California, we sure don't want to get on another plane or boat. We will go to Athens and chill and see the beautiful ancient sights and keep our trip as planned. As for the tail end: I have narrowed my question down to this: has anyone driven up the east coast of the Peloponese? I know the driving is tough and rather precarious but are the beaches and scenery and "road less traveled" worth the difficult drive? Has anyone ferried over to Kythira from southern Pelops? I hear it is a rough ride? But deserted and beautiful? We love old villages by the sea.
If not, we are hoping to drop off our rental car in Nafplion, take a ferry to Hydra, stay 2 nights and back to Athena and home. So appreciate your input!!!

Posted by janet
Philadelphia, PA, USA
429 posts

(Sigh). Timi, u r perfect example of why give full info at the start. If u had said up front that u were from CA, I wd not have suggested immediate isle flight. Re "east coast" do u mean from Epidaurus to Corinth Canal? We'll drive it in June ... a bit curvy but no mountains, only an hour. If u want more fun stops in Argolid, consider Ancient Nemea (#2 games site to Olympia!) and the Nemea Vineyard Trail -- Nemea Red is BEST, will delight californians. Here's a link to best online map: http://www.esperides.gr/images/peloponissos_esperides.jpg (click and it gets huge) RE Car: Alas Greece is not USA. If u "drop car" in Nafplio u will probably pay a €250 fee. Therefore suggest u use your full time in Pelops, and drop car at airport. Since u have early-early flight u can bunk at (costly) Sofitel, only hotel AT airport, or go 10 minutes away to St Thomas B & B (3 rms, pool, olive grove) http://www.stay-in-athens.com/ PS: did I miss something or did you not say when you are coming? It makes a big difference wether it's may or august. Fuller info = better advice!

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
2372 posts

If you mean by "east coast of the Peloponnese" the costal route between Nafplio and Corinth, that is an easy and scenic drive. Driving in rural Greece is actually quite easy and low-hassle. Roads are lightly traveled and well marked in English. Always stay near the right side as the middle is for passing. Epidavrous is a good stop on the way between Nafplio and Corinth and only takes 1-2 hours at most. I suggest driving back to Athens and dropping the rental car off at the airport before catching a flight or stying overnight nearby.

Posted by Timi
Sebastopol
5 posts

Thanks for all the info about the area around Nafplion. Can't wait! All your input has been so helpful. We will be there late May/early June. By "east coast" I meant the east coast of the lower half of the Peloponese. Driving up from Monemvasia, north along the Aegean coastline, passing through Leonido, continuing along Argolikos Gulf towards Argos. I can find very little written about that coastline and those villages.

Posted by janet
Philadelphia, PA, USA
429 posts

Timi, there may be several reasons why you don't see much about that drive. Many people combine a stay at Monemvasia with a visit to Mystra, so they bomb straight north to Sparta ... or even if not, they do that to get to Tripoli and back to the corinth canal. The drive To Leonidio is challenging, over some mountainous roads -- the stretch up to Lerna is along the coast ... perhaps nothing is described because this area is mainly visited by Greek vacationers, so yes, it would be 'off the beaten track' for AMericans. Your call. BTW, this route takes you past one of the VERY oldest settlements not only In greece but in the Near East. The Lerna houses (parts, anyway) date to 3,500 BC. With tiled roofs!