What are your 'top attractions" in Greece

For the first time ever, my husband has brought up the idea of a trip that includes Greece. He had lunch with an old friend who now has a home on one of the Greek Islands (I don't yet know which one- he's going to get some specifics for me soon). She lives there 6 months of the year- roughly late May- mid Oct. She hasn't seen as much of Europe as we have, and we haven't seen Greece (or Italy, either...). He's considering us meeting her in Austria (one of our favorite place, and one she wants to see), spending some time there (probably 5-7 days- Vienna, Salzburg, and Innsbruck maybe ) then flying to Greece (unless I can talk him into adding at least Rome- his friend has traveled in Italy a good bit and could guide us). We'd stay with her and her family and tour Greece for about a week (I think- might could stretch the time a bit). We enjoy history, art, architechture, nature (though we are not into hikes, biking, etc.) and good food (but we aren't foodies at all).
He just had surgery for prostate cancer last month, and I will have bunion surgery/toe fusion next month. So we won't be looking at really LONG walks, either. His friend would be drving us, so car access is not a problem. I definietly want to see Athens (Parthenon, Accropolis, etc.). So, in addition to that, if you had to pick your top sites in Greece, which ones would you suggest I begin to learn about (ie- consider trying to see).

Posted by Keith
United Kingdom
678 posts

Personally, I didn't think that much of Athens. The Acropolis was a "must-see" (for me anyway), plus a couple of other sites (I recommend the Benaki Museum), but overall I felt one night there was enough. On the other hand, if you stay longer then Athens is a decent base for day trips to, e.g., Delphi, Sounion (Temple of Poseidon) or one of the Saronic Islands. I can especially recommend Poseidon for the views. It helps if you have a car, but not essential (and for the islands you use the ferry, of course). You didn't say which island your friend lives on, but if it is one of the Cyclades then our favourite thing in Greece is using the ferry to "island hop" around the Cyclades Islands - particularly liked Naxos. A week is a good time-scale for doing this, you could visit at least three islands. If you end up in Mykonos it's straightforward to get back to Athens. My individual favourite island is a bit further away, Crete - admittedly, it is very busy with tourists (including us, of course, so I shouldn't really grumble), and much of the north coast is a ribbon of ugly hotels. But away from the tourist centre it's better and Crete has some great sites like Knossos (busy) and Rethymo, plus inland Crete is beautiful (forests, mountains, small villages etc).

Posted by Alan
Brighton, UK
631 posts

Toni Sounds like a great trip. I'd spend more than one night in Athens. As well as the Acropolis it is really worth seeing the Keramicos, which is very central and relatively unvisited, and spending some time in the Roman Agora which has an excellent small museum. If you can manage a bit of a walk uphill it is also worth going at least some of the way up Phillopapos. This is the next hill over from the Acropolis and has great views back across. Elsewhere on the mainland I would opt for Delphi and Nafplio. Delphi is a magnificent site and the views back across to the Peloponnese are amazing. If time allows I would overnight and get onto the site early before it fills up. Nafplio is a beautiful little town in its own right and has a dramatic Venetian fortress looming above it. From there you can also get to Mycenae and Epidavrus fairly easily if your friend has a car. To avoid backtracking it is possible to do a loop of Delphi, onto the Peloponnese via the Rio-Antirio bridge, down to Nafplio taking in Mycenae on the way and then back to Athens via Epidavrus. Doing this it is possible to stop at Corinth on the way. The Roman site there is very good and so is the older upper fort. The canal is also worth a pause. The islands, of course, are also beautiful and it sounds as though you have that covered if your friend is lucky enough to live on one. Alan

Posted by TC
Atlanta
294 posts

Since you enjoy history, check out the Ancient Agorra in Athens. Very close to Parthenon and practically tourist free.
TC

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
2380 posts

With a week, you can do the circle tour mentioned above with Delphi, Olympia, Nafplio (Myceanae and Epidavros) and even a short stop in Corinth. All of those are easy stops with a night each (two for Nafplio). You'll need at least 2 nights in Athens to see the key sights, especially if your mobility is limited. Anything left over spend on an island.

Posted by VS
Palo Alto, CA, United States
556 posts

Other than the Acropolis, which is small and does not take long to visit- I suggest the Acropolis Musuem, and the Archeological Museum in Athens. The latter in particular awed me; it's really a magnificent art museum. I would give Athens at least two full days, not counting the day of arrival. The Plaka district is kind of fun, too. It is not a conventionally beautiful city, but I thought it was very worthwhile. Mykonos is nice but not I hear in the summer high season; then it is crazily crowded. We were there on a cruise stop in October 2011. Corfu city was also nice though it was pouring rain when we were there. I think it would be fantastic with better weather, and I have only seen the city part of the island. I did also research the Peloponnesian Peninsula as Rick recommends, and though we did not include the land portion on our trip, my assessment was that it is very worthwhile. We chickened out because of all the strikes, only did Athens plus cruise. I can't say I regret that given the circumstances at the time, but I do regret that the circumstances were that way.

Posted by Ray
Tigard, OR, USA
143 posts

I really enjoyed Olympia. Would definitely give Athens two full days.

Posted by Diana
West Sacramento, CA
38 posts

Hi Toni, If your in Athens for just 2 days, I recommend the hop on hop off bus because you can see Athens just by riding around and it stops at all the major sites, the ticket is good for 24 hrs I believe. Diana