Seattle to Santorini

My daughter (23)and I (never mind) are in the very beginning stages of planning a Greece - Italy ( + maybe So. France) adventure in Sept '12. We are planning to start off by flying from Seattle to Athens for a day or 2 then to Santorini for several days (Io?) What is the fastest route/transportation to Santorini from Athens? Then on to the Amalfi coast (how to get there from Santorini?) and then Venice (train thru Tuscany?) We would love to "swing by" Cannes and St Tropez too and fly home from there. Maximum time limit is 21 days. Any suggestions/routes/ transportation/ ideas? Time is of the essence. We are very "green" and would appreciate any feedback. This "Helpline" gave us very good advice in '08 when we planned our 1st trip to France/ Italy which turned out to be WONDERFUL and were hoping for more good advice from all of you experts!

Posted by Lee
1925 posts

Flying from Athens Airport to Santorini is fastest, 30 minutes vs. 5-8 hours by ferry. Check Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air. Flying is the fastest way to get to Italy but from Santorini you'll have to fly back to Athens for a connecting flight.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
12675 posts

You are planning A LOT with some huge distances involved. With hugh distances comes high travel expense and time. Other than a whirlwind, drive trip it would impossible to see all of those places if you want to see anything in detail. Stand suggestion is guidebooks, a map, and DVDs to get a feel for what you would like to see and in what order.

Posted by David
Bellevue, WA, USA
754 posts

yes fly from athens to santorini is great if you can get a deal. if you take a ferry from santorini to crete, you'll find more flights from iraklio to italy or france. i'd look up iraklio to nice or rome depending on where you want to go, but that way you get to see crete and not have to fly back to athens.

Posted by David
Seattle, WA, USA
1482 posts

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but your proposed trip is madness. 21 days, eh? First, let's be honest with ourselves: how many full days do you really have, not including your date of arrival from the US or your departure date (no matter what time you arrive/depart)? We'll give you a mulligan for the day AFTER you arrive, even though I think most people are wasted from the jetlag/excitement and often don't get much out of that day. OK, so take that number of full days. If your target countries are Greece, Italy and (southern) France, I suggest you face reality and pick one, or maybe two of those countries maximum. You can not reasonably do all of them. Honestly, you should probably focus on one (probably Italy, since it's geographically in between the other two, and has much more to see than you could possibly cover in 21 days if you spent them all there), and if you want you could add a short side-trip to one more. All three? I don't think so. Remember these iron rules: Every time you move from one place to another, you lose a good portion of a day. If you're an experienced traveler, moving very efficiently and directly from one location to another with good connections, you may only lose half a day, but if you are going far (i.e. if you're flying) or trying something inefficient, write off pretty much the whole day. With the time you have available, you need to be brutally realistic, or you will come home with nothing but memories of airports and train stations, and maybe some postcards of things you never got to see and experience.

Posted by Jim
New Berlin, WI, US
156 posts

OMG! 21 days? Stop and smell the roses. A couple days for Athens seems OK and I agree the fastest way to Santorini is by air. If you're pressed for time, grab a sunrise & sunset in Oia, and maybe a visit to Akrotiri (it should be open by then), but 2 days should be all you need. (IMO it's a shame to fly all the way to Greece and give it only 4-5 days, tho. You might want to consider starting in Chania, Crete and visit Santorini on the way back to Athens. You could spend your entire 21 in Greece and not be bored.) Try getting a flight from Athens to Rome or Naples. From Naples you can try to find a tour of the Amalfi area, or grab a bus from the Naples airport to Sorento (charming town). You can get a commercial bus from Sor to either Positano or Amalfi, and return either by boat (great view of coastline) or by bus. You can also take a boat out to Capri. Sorrento/Naples to Venice is a long train ride and I don't recall if it goes thru the Tuscan region. You might want to consider breaking up the trip to Venice by going from Rome to Florence. You could spend a day there, see "David", the Cathedral, Uffizi and enjoy the town square. Then on to Venice...maybe 3 days there, max. Visit Murano and see the glass-blowing tradesmen. Haven't been to the south coast of France so I can't help you there. You've got an ambitious travel plan, tho. I'd recommend limiting it to Greece and Italy at most, but do them as well as you can in 3 weeks. There's SO much to see and do in each area and you'd miss a lot by rushing through and trying to cover too much area.

Posted by Debbie
Sammamish, WA, USA
38 posts

These posts are all great advice...exactly what I need. No France (this time) We've never been to Greece, but spent 8 of the most memorable days of our lives in Italy (sigh). We missed Venice last time because we went down the Italian Riviera, and to Rome via Florence . So this trip we want to see the Amalfi coast area and of course Venice. After spending 8 days in Greece, I'm thinking of flying into Naples and finding transportation (a bus?) to Positano and making that our home base, daytripping to Capri, Sorrento, Ravello and Amalfi. Here's a breakdown: Is this "do-able"? - ( ) lose a travel day
Greece: Santorini: days (1) - 6 Athens: days 7,8 Athens-Naples-Positano: days (9) 10,11,12,13,14 Venice: days (15) 16,17,18, fly home 19 get home 20 . I appreciate your help and ideas!

Posted by Will
Columbia, SC
335 posts

I would suggest Sorrento as a better base- a lot easier to get to/from Naples, better for Capri- plus, though you didn't mention it, I would hate to miss Pompeii if I were in the Bay of Naples area. I didn't go to Ravello, but Positano and Amalfi made an easy day trip from Sorrento.

Posted by Jim
New Berlin, WI, US
156 posts

Good decision to forget France this time. If you want to devote a few more days to Greece this time, consider Chania (Crete) or Naxos. I agree with Will regarding Sorrento as a base. Charming, good access to Pompeii and Capri, and a good jumping off point to visiting Amalfi and Positano. Couldn't agree more with the comment regarding memories of airports and train stations. As I said above, "stop and smell the roses".

Posted by Eric
Pasadena, Ca, USA
29 posts

Hi there! congrats on your first trip. regarding the southern italy portion...once you get there whether by plane or train (from santorini i'd go plane) you can get a bus or train from naples to sorrento...i highly recommend making sorrento your base and then doing day excursions to amalfi, positano, capri...and if time permits ischia and procido. if your (never mind) will allow and your not bothered by navigating the streets yourself...i would HIGHLY recommend renting scooters from sorrento to amalfi and positano. its by far one of the coolest things i've ever done. its pretty easy to navigate..(one direction on the amalfitana towards amalfi and the same in reverse towards sorrento...its a simple two lane highway..narrow at times but so fun to manage) you're on your own to stop when you please for panoramic views and photos as well as stopping at all the cliffside towns along then way if you choose. find a safe spot to park your scooters with the rest of them upon arrival and enjoy your road trip. you can rent the scooters anywhere in the town of sorrento really..i usually stop at this little scooter place at the bottom of the del capo right at the start of the hotel loop. ask someone local where that is if you decide. of course..dont miss the ferry to capri. ride the funicular to ana capri atop the hill to shop and eat. lastly, when on capri, make sure you visit monte solare via the chair lift from the town center. breathing taking views you will never forget!! i promise you'll enjoy your southern italy experience. its funny i found your question just now...i'll be there myself from the 28 of sept thru the 12 of oct. i know italy quite well if you have any further questions.. enjoy!! eric k