I am taking my 18-year old son to Italy and Greece this summer, and we have about four days to spend outside of Athens. He is interested in Sparta and Thermopylae. I am interested in Corinth, Mycenae and possibly Meteora. Any advice for best use of our time in the area, and travel to these places?
Four days is a little limiting. The Meteora by itself is a half day of travel each way plus time to see the area and a minimum overnight. Good news is that it can be done easily by train from Athens. Meteora is also far North, so you would come back to Athens to see the Peloponnese. Thermopylae is also North, but not along the rail line, so it is at least a most of the day trip from Athens. Corinth and Mycenae are very convienent to Athens and on the way to the Sparta sites. I could see getting on the bus, hopping off at the Corinth Canal, then the Corinth Ancient site, then on to Mycenae. Stay overnight near Mycenae, then on to the Sparta area. You could easily spend a couple nights there before a bus ride back to Athens. Depending on the rest of your schedule, figure out a separate arrangement for either Thermopylae or Meteora. This assumes using public transport, you might be more efficient with a rental car, if you are brave enough to drive with the Greeks.