Feedback on Greek itinerary requested

Old Mar 15th, 2021, 02:58 PM
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Feedback on Greek itinerary requested

Hello,
I have a Greek itinerary planned out for June. Who knows if it will happen (this year or next), but it is possible to dream...We are a family of 6 with kids aged 13,13,7,3. Our kids are not that into the beach. Indeed, noone in the family is into relaxing and we do best with more adventurous travel. We are fine at historical sites but are best at doing them in a pottering way later in the evening with no guide. Museums do not go well.

Days 1-3: Santiorini (Oia)
Days 4-5: Naxos (Naxos town)
Days 6-7: Paros (Naousa)
Day 8: Athens
Day 9-10: Nafplio
Day 11: Delphi
Days 12-13: Meteora (Kalabaka)
Days 14: Vikos National Park (Papingo)
Days 15-17: Corfu (Paleokastritsa)

Anyway - let me know if you have any feedback. To state the obvious, I realize we have only one night in Athens but big cities are not our thing and we will just to the Parthenon in the evening and then get out.

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Old Mar 15th, 2021, 03:15 PM
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You clearly best know your family and the pace at which they can travel, but as part of a couple I'd move much more slowly. Are you using public transport? Have you determined the path from Meteora to Papingo to Corfu?
I'd consider maybe consolidating two of the island stops and adding more time to Nafplio. We spent three nights, visiting Epidaurus one day and Mycenae the other, and we appreciated having the rest of the days in town, getting gelato, scrambling up to the tower, etc. You could double your time there and still not run out of things to do.
Are you flying to Santorini and out of Corfu, or do you have to pass through Athens?
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Old Mar 15th, 2021, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by yorkshire View Post
You clearly best know your family and the pace at which they can travel, but as part of a couple I'd move much more slowly. Are you using public transport? Have you determined the path from Meteora to Papingo to Corfu?
I'd consider maybe consolidating two of the island stops and adding more time to Nafplio. We spent three nights, visiting Epidaurus one day and Mycenae the other, and we appreciated having the rest of the days in town, getting gelato, scrambling up to the tower, etc. You could double your time there and still not run out of things to do.
Are you flying to Santorini and out of Corfu, or do you have to pass through Athens?
I apologize - I should have mentioned transportation plans. The idea would be to fly from the USA via LHR to Santorini and then back via LHR directly from Corfu and therefore not going through Athens. Between the Cyclades islands we are planning to take blue star ferries and be carless mainly (perhaps renting a car for the day in Naxos). When we hit the mainland the plan was to pick up a rental car in Athens and then drop it off in Corfu (which would necessitate taking the car ferry to Corfu).

It is so good to ear you loved Nafplio - it was posts like yours which inspired me to not go straight from Athens to Delphi, and put in a stop there.
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Old Mar 15th, 2021, 04:16 PM
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You need three days in Athens as a start.
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Old Mar 15th, 2021, 04:18 PM
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I should have also asked some more pertinent questions rather than general feedback:
1) Most importantly is there anything on the itinerary that you would nix? In particular are there any places on the itinerary that are rather generic, and not things that you can only experience if you visit Greece?
2) Does it make sense to stay in Paleokastritsa in Corfu? I picked it as it looked the most strikingly different of the places to stay there. I want to have somewhere with plenty of little restaurants and cafes to eat in close by. The other option is Glyfada but that struck me as a little less unique.
3) Are there any activities that are family-friendly for kids to do in Meteora? I worry they will get bored.
4) The big things I know we are missing out on potentially are Olympus, Rhodes and Crete. I think Rhodes and Crete are another holiday completely. And I couldn't see a way of doing Olympus with out adding a lot of driving. That and evidently more time in our existing destinations!

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Old Mar 15th, 2021, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by HappyTrvlr View Post
You need three days in Athens as a start.
What would you nix and replace with 2 more nights in Athens and why would you nix it? Thank you!
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Old Mar 15th, 2021, 09:50 PM
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It's faster than I would like, with little time in each place but certainly possible. I would be tempted to combine your stays in Naxos and Paros, especially with a family. I like Athens, although I haven't been there for a long time, but I don't think you should feel compelled to spend more time there if it's not your thing.

What are your plans for Vikos Gorge? It seemed to us a place for serious hikers but the surrounding villages are beautiful.

For Meteora, most kids aren't going to be that interested in the religious and historical aspect (they will need to be respectful) but the setting is spectacular and every kid I know loves climbing stairs (of which there are plenty) The whole unusualness is appealing in itself. Isn't there a James Bond movie set there - if there is it might be worth seeking out and watching? I might steal some time from Meteora to give to Delphi (maybe visit Delphi's ancient site in the early morning before driving to Meteora. Depends on which you think your family would enjoy more. I would look to see if it's possible to hire bikes between the monasteries. I've never done that but it might add an element of fun. Others might know whether that's a practical option.

Overall, I think you've chosen some beautiful places but I would personally slow it down a little bit.
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Old Mar 16th, 2021, 05:22 AM
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Looks like a good itinerary to me, although I would plan in terms of nights rather than days (three nights = two full days, for example). I’m a US citizen but live in England, so try to keep a handle on both countries.

Are you aware that most flights to Santorini and Corfu leave from other airports (Gatwick, Stansted, etc) rather than LHR? That means a transfer between airports, which may be difficult if England is in lockdown or quarantine when you arrive.

At the moment US citizens aren’t allowed entry into Greece, and U.K. residents aren’t allowed international travel as tourists at all. Right now I am hearing of easyJet flights from U.K. airports to Greece being cancelled even for late May. The rules could change between now and June, but if you plan to travel in 2021 consider flights directly to and from Greece.

One website to monitor is from the US Embassy In Athens, which keeps up to date the Entry and Exit Requirements on its Covid-19 page.
https://gr.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/

I hope your trip goes well, even if you have to wait until 2022. Your itinerary includes some amazing sights. My special interest is Paros/Antiparos and Naxos, and I can assure you it’s worth spending time on both islands (Paros and Naxos). Your kids would love the Antiparos round island boat trip, which also leaves from Pounta port on Paros:
https://captainbenantiparos.com/

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Old Mar 16th, 2021, 06:47 AM
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[[ooks like a good itinerary to me, although I would plan in terms of nights rather than days (three nights = two full days, for example). I’m a US citizen but live in England, so try to keep a handle on both countries.

Are you aware that most flights to Santorini and Corfu leave from other airports (Gatwick, Stansted, etc) rather than LHR? That means a transfer between airports, which may be difficult if England is in lockdown or quarantine when you arrive.

At the moment US citizens aren’t allowed entry into Greece, and U.K. residents aren’t allowed international travel as tourists at all. Right now I am hearing of easyJet flights from U.K. airports to Greece being cancelled even for late May. The rules could change between now and June, but if you plan to travel in 2021 consider flights directly to and from Greece.

One website to monitor is from the US Embassy In Athens, which keeps up to date the Entry and Exit Requirements on its Covid-19 page.

I hope your trip goes well, even if you have to wait until 2022. Your itinerary includes some amazing sights. My special interest is Paros/Antiparos and Naxos, and I can assure you it’s worth spending time on both islands (Paros and Naxos). Your kids would love the Antiparos round island boat trip, which also leaves from Pounta port on Paros:]]


Thank you! We are dual-citizens of the UK and the US too. I doubt that will help with much in terms of this happening in 2021. Though we will be vaccinated, our kids can't be as they are too young which is another consideration. This itinerary was planned the moment that the Greek minister indicated they might allow Americans in this summer, because I had visions of every single American trying to go to Santorini and there being no accommodation! It has also been huge fun to plan, and if we go in 2022, then it will still be fine. Our backup plan if they don't allow people from the US in, and our UK passport is no help is to change the flights from Heathrow to go to Bodrum (directly flight from LHR) and do a driving tour of turkey as Turkey is pretty likely to let people from the US. However, we have been to Turkey a few times before (already seen Istanbul, Troy, Cappadocia, Ephesus, and Turquoise coast) and haven't be to Greece yet hence the preference, I think the Turkey trip is slightly easier to do spontaneously, Or Albania. They let in US people right now. And direct flights from LHR. Who knows!

Interestingly BA this year has a few select flights that are leaving from Terminal 5 to Europe and that they even allow you to connect up with a US to LHR flight. Santorini is one. Corfu is another. Generally (unsurprisingly) it is the posher destinations and the others are going from LGW. I agree with you - I would not like to do a transfer from LHR to LGW under pressure.

I have the Antiparos round trip boat trip in my sights. Though I was hoping to do do a private version if such a one exists. I am glad you like it so much - I replaced Mykonos with Paros because of posters like you on this forum.
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Old Mar 16th, 2021, 08:05 AM
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I would also not feel pressured to visit Athens if that is not best for your family. My favorite part was seeing the Acropolis from the taxi really--it brought tears to my eyes. But museums and a bustling city with four kids could be challenging--totally get that!
I have not been to the islands, but I would want a longer stay somewhere at some point--sounds like your kids are troopers if they have traveled through Turkey, but it's a lot of moving.
I had planned a trip to Meteora for 2020 that was of course cancelled. I was looking into hiking so I love the idea of northern Greece, I just think more time may be needed--won't the little one need naps, will that one be up for climbing at Meteora? I think your destinations all look fabulous and well thought out, just maybe more time needed.
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Old Mar 16th, 2021, 10:03 AM
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Having UK passports will help if travel restrictions for US citizens are still in effect. For a start, the UK is obliged to allow entry to its own citizens. If you are dual national US/UK you should enter England with your UK passports, and travelling around Europe should be easier with a British passport even though the UK has left the EU.

Yes, I know there have been a few BA flights to Santorini from LHR, but wasn’t sure they will be offered for this summer. I normally fly to Athens from LHR, preferring to use the wonderful Aegean Airlines. It’s easy to connect with an island flight at ATH as long as you allow about 3 hours for transfer. The reason I fly to Athens is there are far more flights from London than to any one Greek Island, and the terminal at Athens is much better than most island terminals. That said, Santorini Airport has a brand new terminal this year, and feedback from island residents say it is very nice.

As for Paros and Antiparos, I have settled on them as my “home islands”. Naoussa is where I would stay on Paros, but once I set foot on Antiparos decided that was the island for me. The pedestrian only street from harbour to castle has bougainvillea hanging from nearly every building, and the street is lined with shops, cafes and restaurants. I try not to promote Antiparos too much, but if you want to see what it’s like in the summer there is a 13 minute video on YouTube entitled “Short Documentary about Antiparos” made by the islanders themselves. Look out for my friend Yorgis who runs a very popular taverna. It’s several years old now, but Antiparos doesn’t change much from year to year.
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Old Mar 16th, 2021, 10:52 AM
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Full set of plans

<!--td {border: 1px solid #ccc;}br {mso-data-placementame-cell;}-->[[Posting using a very old account. Fodors doesn't allow new accounts to post more than 5 times in 24 hours]]

I should have probably given the more detailed itinerary that I set up. It is wonderful you are all so interested - I haven't posted for so many years and I wasn't sure how active things were now. Apologies.

Day 1:Arrive. Collapse. Overnight Oia.
Day 2: Walking tour to Fiore/Beach by OIE/Ammoudi Bay (Fish Tavern for lunch). Overnight Oia.
Day 3: Brama Yachts afternoon boat trip. Overnight Oia.
Day 4 Take blue star ferry to Naxos at 3pm. Sunset at Porta. Overnight Hora
Day 5: Driving tour of Naxos. Perhaps to top of mountain. Wander around historic town in evening. Overnight Hora
Day 6 Take Naxos star to Paros (Narousa) at 8:45am. (or private transfer?) . Water taxi to Kolympethres Beach. Overnight Narousa.
Day 7: Perhaps independently try and take ferry to antiparos and see what happens. Overnight Narousa
Day 8: Ferry to Athens and see Acropolis at sunset (last entry 7pm). Overnight Athens.
Day 9:: Pick up rental car See Corinth on the way (perhaps Mycenae too,).Overnight Nafplio
Day 10: See Mycenae and Fortress of Palamidi. Sail trip in afternoon. Overnight Nafplio
Day 11: Drive to Delphi. Have late lunch Galaxidi. See Delphi in the evening. Overnight Delphi town.
Day 12: Drive to Monasteries. Perhaps see one that is closed the next day. Overnight Kalabaka
Day 13: See Monasteries on private ebike tour. Overnight Kalabaka
Day 14: 3pm Rafting trip with Papigo Rafting". Overnight Papigo
Day 15: Get car ferry to Corfu. Overnight Paleokastrisa.
Day 16: Explore local area by private hire boat. Overnight Paleokastrisa.
Day 17: Need to book yacht to see Paxi. Or do a tour to the north and go to Sidari and the gorge. . Overnight Paleokastrisa.
Day 18: Trip back.
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Old Mar 16th, 2021, 01:27 PM
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Note: Because of covid many BA flights that normally fly in/out of LGW were moved to LHR and schedules greatly reduced/consolidated. If things get back to a semblance of 'normal', BA will likely reopen their LGW operations and move the flights back.
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Old Mar 16th, 2021, 02:47 PM
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I wouldn’t count on Naxos Star to take you from Naxos to Naoussa. Naxos Star is an excursion boat, not a scheduled ferry, and its entire season was cancelled last year due to the pandemic. Sources on Paros and Naxos haven’t updated the program for 2021 yet, so I have no idea whether they will be running again this year.

The normal way to get from Naxos to Paros, of course, is by scheduled ferry to Parikia, the main Paros port. Blue Star takes an hour from Naxos to Parikia, and Naoussa is only about 10 minutes by taxi from there.
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Old Mar 16th, 2021, 04:40 PM
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I agree with others that you need more time in Athens. We were there in 2017 and loved it. You can do Meteora as a day trip from Athens on an organized tour. And probably Delphi, too. That would save you from moving around so much. Each time you change locations you lose precious time.

Have you ever driven in Greece? It’s not for the faint of heart, and I would never drive in Athens. No way, no how.
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Old Mar 16th, 2021, 07:29 PM
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Meteora as a day trip from Athens is crazy - and even crazier with four kids. According to google maps it's 4hrs+ each way from Athens. Delphi is also worth staying overnight.

Most kids want to be active so cycling, boating and hiking are going to appeal much more than city sightseeing. They can come back when they're older on their own if they want to and check out Athens as adults.

Tucker, I think your plan sounds very busy but also very good. Of course, somethings may not go to plan but, for the most part, that's okay. I'm not certain about the 3year old on a rafting trip but that will depend on the river.
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Old Mar 17th, 2021, 08:12 AM
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A day trip from Athens to Meteora and back would even be a nonsense if you wouldn't go to Ioannina afterwards!
Paxi can easily be reached by regular ferry mfrom Corfu (Lefkimmi). Other ferry connections via Igoumenitsa.
Nauplia - Delphi is a long drive: either via Rion (close to Patras) or via the Western suburbs of Athens.
During the season, there are many boats between Naxos city and Parikia and many buses between Parikia and Naoussa.
Antiparos is reached from Parikia via Pounda (frequent passenger and car ferries).
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Old Mar 17th, 2021, 08:36 AM
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Thank you and some replies.

Thank you for all your replies.

@Heimdall. The Naxos star allows passengers on it from Naxos town to Narousa as a side way of making money on its daily trip to Mykonos. The alternative is the Blue Star ferry but I thought the Naxos Star made more sense as something different and because it is smaller and it goes directly to Narousa. As you say the Blue star is a useful backup though!

@halfapair. I have never been to Greece hence my excitement! On the topic of driving, well I learned to drive on a stick shift in the UK a long time ago. I have driven in quite a few European and South American cites and places like Malaysia/Oman/Turkey etc so I am not too daunted at the prospect. I wish though we could find a 6-seater automatic gear car but that is impossible it appears. So it will be mainly me driving as I am better with manuals and my partner more used to automatics.

@janisj I agree that many of the flights you wouldn't expect to see going out of Terminal 5 are at the moment. In 2022 this precise itinerary may be less possible indeed. The flight which is key to go from Terminal 5 is LHR to Santiorini. I am crossing my fingers it sticks in Terminal 5! Or doesn't get cancelled.That is assuming of course that this trip is even possible given travel restrictions.

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Old Mar 17th, 2021, 01:37 PM
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Hi Tucker,

I was aware of Naxos Star taking passengers from Naxos Town to NAOUSSA, not Narousa. The reason I suggested not relying on it is that it didnít run at all last year, and the schedule hasnít been published yet for this year. If it does run, it will probably be only three days/week to Naoussa, as the other days it stops at Piso Livadi, another small port on Paros.

Naxos Star stops at Naoussa on the days it does the excursion to Mykonos/Delos. On the days it does excursions to Santorini or Iraklia/Koufonisi it stops at Piso Livadi.

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Old Mar 19th, 2021, 07:19 PM
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A couple of thoughts/suggestions.

When you visit Santorini, do you plan on seeing the ruins at Akrotiri? It's a small, Minoan version of Pompeii, preserved by volcanic ash, but some 1500 years older. You can wander the streets, look into the houses, see the cracked stairs and pots that were left behind when the residents fled. There's a wonderful book about it and the volcanology of Santorini called "Unearthing Atlantis" by Charles Pellegrino. Also, I bet your teenagers, at least, would enjoy a boat trip out to the caldera in the middle of the crater, where you can swim in water that's heated (in places) by the still active volcano below.


If you're going to be on the Acropolis late in the day, try to give yourself enough time so that you can walk across the street to Filopappou Hill to the west of the Acropolis (it has a distinctive ruined monument on top) and see the Parthenon and its buildings from there by late afternoon light and sunset. That is where you get the money shot of the Acropolis and its buildings. Also, the spot where the Athenian Assembly met (the Pynx), with its well-preserved stone speaker's rostrum, is in the same park.


Day 9:: Pick up rental car See Corinth on the way (perhaps Mycenae too,).Overnight Nafplio
Day 10: See Mycenae and Fortress of Palamidi. Sail trip in afternoon. Overnight Nafplio

As for driving, my wife and I have driven in Greece twice and had no major issues with it once you get out of Athens, which is very crowded and full of people who seem to be late for something of vital importance.

Om the way to Corinth, you might make a brief stop to see the Byzantine church at Dafni (it's just before you start down the long hill to Elevsis) to see the amazing Byzantine mosaic of Jesus in the central dome. There's also a surviving, battered Ionic column in the portico from the Temple of Apollo that once stood there. It is on the opposite side of the road, but I recall that there is a long wall along the opposite side of the road that precedes the entrance as you approach it, and the turn into it is just at the crest of the ridge.




The ruins of the ancient city of Corinth are worth a stop, but it would be a shame to go there and not take the road uphill to the AcroCorinth, the historic and massive ancient/medieval fortress that looks down on it from above, and which offers panoramic views of the isthmus and the northeastern Peloponnese. The walk up from the parking area to the walls and gates is pretty short, but to reach the summit beyond is at least a 30 minute hike, and perhaps a little longer. Still, it's a To-Die-For view.

https://www.kastra.eu/castleen.php?kastro=acrocorinth

Mycenae is definitely worth a stop. Your kids will be amazed by the famous "beehive tomb." With a good guidebook, you can find the location of the bathroom and tub where Agamemnon, the leader of the Greek expedition against Troy, was murdered by his estranged wife in Greek mythology. There is another Mycenaean citadel at Tiryns, just off to the left of the road a few miles out of Nafplio. The massive size of the boulders used in constructing its huge walls are unbelievable. In Greek mythology, it was the birthplace and home of Hercules.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiryns

I just love Nafplio. It's so lovely, with so much charm. The views from Palamidi are amazing. Your 13-year-olds, and perhaps your 7-year-old, might enjoy the challenge of the climb up from the town; your 3 year old won't. There's a remarkable suit of well-preserved Bronze Age armor in the museum on the town square. And the theater at Epidauros, which I'm thinking is about twenty-miles away, is beautiful and elegant and has been fully restored. Your kids would love checking out its acoustics. They would also love going out to the little castle (Bourtzi) on an island in the harbor.

Last edited by jeffergray; Mar 19th, 2021 at 07:23 PM.
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