two weeks in Greece!

Old Jun 28th, 2022, 02:35 PM
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two weeks in Greece!

Hi!

I am planning my first ever solo international trip for this fall to GREECE! I am beyond excited to have this experience and am hoping for some advice/tips.

I originally thought of using group travel but budget wise planning myself seems to be the better option plus more freedom.

end of September/ October 2022.

16 days (overnight flights from NY/ferry time)

Athens - 3 days
Peloponnese - 2 days
Kythiria - 1 day
Paros - 3 days
Crete - 6/7 days

For Crete especially and other places, do you advise a rental car? Or i thought to stay at two diff ends of the islands and just take tours or lifts where I wanted to go. Viator has many options to choose from.

I would prefer to only fly direct which is limited to Athens. I am wondering if I should either:

NY >Athens
Athens/Peloponnese
Ferry to Paros
Ferry to Crete
Ferry back to Athens overnight to be back for my flight

or

NY > Athens
immediately ferry to Paros
Ferry to Crete
Ferry to Kythirios
Ferry to Peloponnese
Finish trip in Athens

I guess iím concerned to rely heavily on the Ferry back to Athens and potentially missing my flight?.. Or I could fly out of Crete back home with a connecting to Munich but am nervous about layovers in different countries.

Please let me know if you think this is reasonable and manageable itinerary or any suggestions to improve logistics/timing. Plus any recommendations on restaurants/activities in the areas or hotels/ airbnbís youíve had good experiences with.

I have a budget of about 3k.

Thank you so much!
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Old Jun 29th, 2022, 01:52 AM
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Strongly recommend you fly directly to/from Greece. Connecting flights from other countries to the islands are mostly summer only, and your options will be limited by the end of September. Second bit of advice is to save your time for the Peloponnese and Athens for the end of the trip, then you don’t have to worry about missing your flight due to ferry connections, and will save a day of travel time by not having to stay in Athens twice.

For your itinerary suggest you fly to Crete and rent a car for your travel around the islands. Ferries from Piraeus to Crete take a long time, while a flight will get there in an hour. You could consider an overnight ferry, but that would mean waiting until late afternoon for the ferry departure. To get from Crete to Paros by ferry you must go through Santorini. That would be worth a night or two if you want to see Santorini caldera. Otherwise, pick a ferry from Heraklion that stops at Paros, as some stop at Naxos instead, and some stop at both.

From Paros to Athens Blue Star ferries take only four hours, and end in Piraeus which is closer to the center of Athens. There are also flights from Paros to Athens Airport, about an hour outside the city. You will probably want to rent a car for your trip through the Peloponnese, and Athens Airport has several rental agencies. It’s also easier to get on the road to the Peloponnese from the airport.
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Old Jun 29th, 2022, 02:36 AM
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If you want to include Kythira, there are not tons of solutions.

Solution 1:
Fly with Delta/Virgin to Athens and change there to the Olympic flight dp 14.15 to Kythira.
After Kyhira, you will have 2 choices:
ferry to Neapolis and bus to Sparta/Mistras - Argos - Nauplia etc. - Athens
or
ferry to Kissamos (Crete) and travel over Crete
both ferries are NOT daily.

Solution 2:
Ferry from Piraeus (Athens) to Kythira (twice weekly: Tuesday at 10am and Friday at 3pm) and then as above.....

Solution 3:
RT from Kissmos (Crete) dp Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday to Kythira and back on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday

All solutioins can be combined or done the other way round.
Crete - Paros is easy: direct catamaran
Athens - Paros: you will have the choice between flights, ferrries from Piraeus or from Rafina, a smaller port closer to the airport.

Do your Athens sightseeing at the end in order to avoid trouble with cancelled ferries (due to rough sea) or local flights.


Last edited by neckervd; Jun 29th, 2022 at 02:39 AM.
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Old Jun 29th, 2022, 05:59 PM
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Heimdall neckervd thank you both for the suggestions! I am very new to this platform and wish i could edit my original post or delete to start over. i just found some incredible threads and am amazed by the community on here with such valuable information!

Honestly, I was always fascinated with Greece for a long time but donít know much of anythingÖ I have a lot to think about what and where is important to me. In the past I was always ďwaiting for everything to be perfectĒ before doing something cool like solo to Greece! Iím not waiting and am happy to live my life as it is now. this will be my belated 28th birthday trip.

with that being said, i am absolutely going to spend the next 3 months reading all the threads on here and look into guidebooks to prepare for my trip!

after some thought, I believe these two itinerary ideas make me the most comfortable logistically, my budget and overall peace of mind:

1.
Fly New York to Crete(short layover in different country, makes me nervous) spend 6-7 days exploring all that Crete has to offer.
Ferry to Paros, 2 full days
Ferry to Athens or Hydra
spend 7 days Peloponnese, Nafpioli, Olympia, Athens, Meteora, Delphi, Thessaloniki (logical order of course)
Fly Athens to New York

OR

2.
save Crete for future visit

Round trip direct flight New York to Athens
car/train throughout 14-15 full days to:
Peloponnese, Nafpioli, Olympia, Athens, Meteora, Delphi, Thessaloniki (logical order of course)
somewhere in the middle plan 2-3 days trip to Paros and ferry to Hydra?

iím not sure why iím hooked on Paros. is it worth for the amount of time i have? or spend the full 15 days on ďmainlandĒ

I have to say, I feel the second option may be the smartest in terms of logistics and first time anxiety!
But Crete seems to be highly recommendedÖ so many decisions!

i understand having a car in Crete/mainland may be necessary. If I choose the 1. option, do i keep the same car or a new one in each region? I know I can take the car on the ferries but with a higher costa and worrying about a car.

I rarely use public transit here in the states and prefer to have control with a car. Do I be adventurous (give up this control) and only rely on public transport(donít mind, trying to use it more during these times) or have the security of a car but pay the high costs? Decisions decisions!

Viator has some incredible tours. Would you think tours/guides are the way to go always or after selecting specifics locations and researching going alone would be fine? I have a budget of 3k and these tours seem to add up. I prefer boutique hotels/air bnbs.

Thank you in advance
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Old Jun 30th, 2022, 12:23 AM
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Sunnyxx, I’m hooked on Paros too, and always stay on Antiparos, a short 7 minutes ferry ride from Pounta on Paros.

In option #1 I’m not sure what you mean by “Fly New York to Crete”, as there are no direct flights from the USA, and you will have to fly to Athens and layover there. Then you write from Paros “Ferry to Athens or Hydra”. There are no direct ferries from Paros to Hydra — you would have to take a ferry to Piraeus and switch to another ferry to Hydra there.

Actually there is another option to get to Hydra from the Peloponnese: near Nafplio, which you plan to visit anyway, are two little ports called Porto Heli and Ermioni. Hydra is a short ferry ride from there, and you will use the same ferries that come from Piraeus.

I love your ideas of places to visit on the mainland, but feel you wouldn’t have time to do justice to Crete with such an ambitious mainland itinerary. Greece is addictive and you will be back there again, perhaps many times in fact.

Leave some leeway to make last minute changes to your itinerary. The nice thing about travelling in Greece in late September/October is that you don’t need to book ahead for accommodation or ferries, so you can refine your plan as you go along.
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Old Jun 30th, 2022, 06:08 AM
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You get a new rental car in each location. I donít think you are allowed to take them on ferries.
We loved Paros; youíve made a good choice!
On Crete, give most of your time to Chania and western Crete.
We have been to Greece twice and want to return, itís addictive.
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Old Jun 30th, 2022, 06:15 AM
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Another point: actually, most big European airports are the pure hell: not enough staff after the dismissals in the Covid years creating huge delays, tons of canceled flights and lots of misrouted luggage.
If ever possible, fly directly from your homeland to Greece.
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Old Jun 30th, 2022, 06:49 AM
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You
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Old Jun 30th, 2022, 11:57 AM
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Crete is large with lots to see, so I would forego until another trip. I would also skip Paros and do that with a trip to other islands. The Peloponnese has tons to see and do. I have a TR that cover our 2 weeks there. Also Delphi and Meteora which is incredible. It might give you some ideas. Have a great time! Definitely try and fly direct with the chaos in airports these days.
29 Days in Glorious Greece
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Old Jun 30th, 2022, 01:25 PM
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As for renting a car: I can't respond specifically about Greece, not having been there for decades -- and even then it was just a few days in Athens, albeit very enjoyable ones. But I've travelled solo to many other countries where the driving may be as tricky, if not more so, that I've heard (but not verified) it may be in Greece, and I usually will not rent a car except as an absolute last option. I realize, or at least assume, that most car-renting tourists have no problems, but then, many of them travel as couples, or groups. As a solo traveller, with no recent experience in Greece, you will have no one to share the driving or "navigation" with.
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Old Jul 1st, 2022, 06:51 AM
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Heimdall HappyTrvlr thank you for the info on Ferries and car rental! I will keep an open mind and adjust when necessary but for my sanity, I'd prefer to have all accommodations booked in advance. Yes, I agree Greece would become addictive and I’d return again soon. I will save Crete for next time.


neckervd , I appreciate this insight! I absolutely will be booking a direct roundtrip flight from NY to Athens. I was able to find a $720 flight with Emirates. I have only flown domestically with United and have $350 in credits that I'd really like to use but can’t be transferred :/, but United flights are $1500! Do you know if this pricing is normal on the low and high end? Either way, flying for $720 is much better for my budget and get to explore a new airline.

Faedus thank you, after some thought I will only rent a car if it’s the last option. I am a very confident driver however do tend to get overwhelmed/have anxiety so I’m very much looking forward to experiencing all public transit has to offer. Plus automatic trans car rentals seem very very pricey.. trains and buses and ubers will be my new friends.

yestravel , Thank you for these tips and mentioning your thread. I have read some of it already and cant wait to dive into all the info in the TR to help plan! While I’m not ready to give up on Paros, I am leaning more towards keeping my first trip just in to the mainland. I have 15 full days to work with so Athens/Hydra/Nafpilo/Pilos/Corinth/Meteora/Delphi/Thessaloniki are on my list.

I am happy I now have a rough idea and can move forward confidently with planning. I definitely needed to ask myself some serious questions on my why and finding what speaks to me travel style wise. My top priority is definitely some leisure beach time, scenic views, historical tours, delicious foods, organic markets and farms, music, art and hiking. Having 3-5 home bases throughout is ideal. Is staying in Hotels that offer breakfast really that cost saving? I do like to cook but would rather be out eating locally than retreat inside where I stay if you know what I mean. I think choosing the first two weeks of October seems to be the perfect time to visit and enjoy the beauty. Any idea if there are cool events during this time?

I also need to look into these air tracker devices that weirdos can attach to your belongings.

I am so grateful to have found this site and will be spending hours on end digesting all the valuable information from these incredible threads. I have 90 days till takeoff : )

Last edited by sunnyxx; Jul 1st, 2022 at 07:24 AM.
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Old Jul 1st, 2022, 11:02 PM
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Looks like you have yr itinerary planned now but to answer one of your first questions re: connecting somewhere like Munich or Zurich etc to get to or from one the islands is a good idea. If the timings work with the rest of your itinerary then I would go for it, avoiding Athens on the way out or back.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2022, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by balthy View Post
Looks like you have yr itinerary planned now but to answer one of your first questions re: connecting somewhere like Munich or Zurich etc to get to or from one the islands is a good idea. If the timings work with the rest of your itinerary then I would go for it, avoiding Athens on the way out or back.
I would say if you can avoid a connection on your way over, you should. Airports are a mess. Athens airport was one that hasn't been mentioned as so chaotic and we found that to be true on our 4 flights using it as a connection. OTOH Frankfurt on the way to Greece was a nightmare. Maybe by the time you are flying airports will be better.

Last edited by yestravel; Jul 2nd, 2022 at 07:32 AM.
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Old Jul 15th, 2022, 05:21 PM
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Hi Fodorites!!!



Iíve come along with my plans and decided to extend the trip to 21 nights, first 3 weeks of October.



I am struggling with deciding on
  1. public transport only (unable to research ktel schedules due to their site, bus could make me feel nauseas, pay for taxis, not easy to be off the beaten path) i donít mind the train but itís limited.
  2. vs getting a rental car (i am a confident driver however feel like all the driving will be exhausting and will stress me out being unfamiliar with narrow roads and hills, the risk, aggressive drivers? itís always good to be cautious however itís unclear which is the better option )
  3. or go on a tour / private driver $$$$$$


Any feedback or thoughts on driving please!



My top priority is definitely some leisure beach time, scenic views, historical tours, delicious foods, organic markets and farms, music, art and hiking. Having 3-5 home bases throughout is ideal. Is staying in Hotels that offer breakfast really that cost saving? I do like to cook but would rather be out eating locally than retreat inside where I stay if you know what I mean. I think choosing the first 3 weeks of October seems to be the perfect time to visit and enjoy the beauty. Any idea if there are cool events during this time?



My tentative plan is -



1.

NY > Athens

Athens > Crete (buying one ways are much cheaper than the multi city flight. is self transfer booking advised?)

6 nights in Crete

Crete > Thessaloniki

6 nights Vergina, Meteora, Zagori, Delphi

9 nights Nafpaktos, Olympia, drive down the coast, Pylos, Methoni, Kalamata, Sparta, Mani, Monemvasia, Nafpilo, Athens.



2.

NY > Athens

Athens > Thessaloniki

10 nights north/ central + Pelion

11 Nights Peloponnese/Athens + Hydra



Thank you for your hopeful replies!
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Old Jul 15th, 2022, 05:45 PM
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I think public transportation might not be so easy with option 1 which I love. Its very similar to our trip. There are mountain roads but i dont recall aggressive drivers. Maybe you could do a mixture?
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Old Jul 22nd, 2022, 11:00 AM
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Preliminary itinerary

7 nights Crete
4 chania, 2 nights central / south, 1 night Heraklion

7 nights Northern/Mainland Greece

6am flight from Heraklion to Thessaloniki
1 night Thessaloniki
3 nights Ioannina/Zagori
2 nights Meteora
1 night Delphi

9 nights Peloponnese end with one full day/ night in Athens
pending home bases

Advice please**

my initial thought process is to save time, fly to Thessaloniki and eat the rental car return location fees by following the above plan.

VS, skipping Thessaloniki and flying from Crete to Athens and begin in Delphi still do 5 nights Zagori/Meteora then drive down to Nafpaktos and begin the Peloponnese trek.

perhaps the extra few hours driving is more wise than early flying and rental return fee cost? I suppose Iím battling with the thought of being exhausted with driving in general so I am becoming apprehensive in choosing all these different locations. I have read and consumed so many of the threads on here and other blogs and my brain is starting to become fuzzy. Being an indecisive person also isnít helping. Am I completely over complicating this?

any thoughts on which route to take would be massively appreciated.

thank you in advance.

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Old Jul 23rd, 2022, 01:14 AM
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I’m out of my depth when it comes to advice on northern Greece, but am envious of your proposed itinerary. All I can say is that no itinerary is a wrong one, but obviously some are more convenient than others. Sometimes on a detour you discover hidden treasures. My best ever trip to Greece was when I arrived in Piraeus with a preliminary plan for the Cyclades, but no reservations for ferries or rooms. I hopped on the first ferry out, which happened to go to Mykonos, and from there went on to Paros where I discovered my favourite small island, Antiparos.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2022, 12:37 PM
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Nit been to Thessalonki but from what I have seen and read looks nice. It really depends on how much you enjoy driving. As I said driving is not frenetic or crazy. Just some mountain roads. As said, any choice will be great. You’ve got so e great choices.
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