Mainland Itinerary--14 days over Christmas
Replies: 6 - Last Post: Sep 27, 2012 9:49 AM Last Post By: aaannak
Sep 17, 2012 7:36 AM
Mainland Itinerary--14 days over ChristmasAfter a few weeks of cozying up to the search function on this and various other sites, I have finally managed to come up with an itinerary that I think satisfies both myself and my fellow (family) travelers. However, having never been to Greece, and having seen the massive number of experienced Greece travelers on this site, I figured it might make sense to offer this up for critque (or perhaps it will help someone in the future).
Background info: Four of us, arriving 20. Dec from Germany, leaving 4. Jan. My husband and I (late 20's) and my parents (both 60), all active/healthy. Looking to see plenty of historical sites but not drive ourselves crazy trying to see it all.
Other notes: Since the sites seem to close around 3pm in the winter, I've planned to leave the driving for mid/late afternoon as much as possible to maximize morning site-seeing.
20. Dec -- Arrive ATH midafternoon, pick up rental car, drive to Ancient Corinth (Sleep Corinth)
21. Dec -- Visit Ancient Corinth, possibly Nemea enroute to Nafplio (Sleep Nafplio)
22. Dec -- Mycenae, Tiryns, Argos, Epidaurus (Sleep Nafplio)
23. Dec -- Finish up any remaining sites from the day before, wander about Nafplio (Sleep Nafplio)
24. Dec -- Drive to Poulithra (Sleep Poulithra)
25. Dec -- Relax in Poulithra (all sites are closed) (Sleep Poulithra)
26. Dec -- Drive to Mystras midday (all sites are closed) (Sleep Sparta)
27. Dec -- Mystras, Sparta museums, drive to Olympia late afternoon (Sleep Olympia)
28. Dec -- Ancient Olympia & museums, drive to Galaxidi late afternoon (Sleep Galaxidi)
29. Dec -- Delphi, drive to Kalambaka late afternoon (Sleep Kalambaka)
30. Dec -- Meteora (Sleep Kalambaka)
31. Dec -- Drive to Vergina, visit sites (Sleep nearby)
1. Jan -- Leisurely drive to Athens, return car (Sleep Athens)
2. Jan -- Athens
3. Jan -- Athens
4. Jan -- Early flight from ATH
Is there anything wildly alarming with this plan? I generally prefer to stay 2-3 nights at each new place, but this seems to be a relatively good compromise, with only 3 or 4 crazy one-night stays.
Alternatively, would it be better to stay in Nafplio over the Christmas holiday (5 nights in Nafplio) and do some drives along the coast rather than relocating to Poulithra (more for a change in scenery)? I'm also considering Monemvasia--I assume there are a few restaurants open even on Chrstmas (25./26 Dec)?
Basically, we'd like to spend Christmas somewhere along the coast, since all the sites will be closed.
I'd love to hear any comments or criticisms! Thanks to everyone on this forum for all your prior contributions--the old itineraries posted on this site have been incredibly helpful!
Sep 17, 2012 9:27 AM
1Just a few thoughts;
20th December - stay in Loutraki which is only 10 minutes from Corinth. Plenty of good hotels.
22nd December - four sites is a tall order as there is a lot to see and not a lot of daylight.
Poulithra - Unless you know better, you'll be lucky to find anywhere to stay. It's a summer resort and a pretty small one. Consider Kosmas instead as there will be places open and it's only a couple of hours from Monemvasia. There will be restaurants open in Monemvasia - Christmas figures below Easter in Greece. You could drive from Monemvasia to Sparti in an hour and a half.
Sep 17, 2012 9:29 AM
2Seems like a great itinerary!
"Alternatively, would it be better to stay in Nafplio over the Christmas holiday (5 nights in Nafplio) and do some drives along the coast rather than relocating to Poulithra (more for a change in scenery)?
Yes, it would be better to stay in Nafplio. Poulithra at Christmas will be very, eh, boring. I've spend some Christmases in Nafplio, and even if it's not extremely lively, there are people out and about/open cafes/ open tavernas/open shops (except of 25/12) etc.
There are many sites and sights close to Nafplio or even in Nafplio worth exploring: http://www.visitnafplio.com
Also, if that's your thing, maybe go for a "Nature walk" in the beautiful surroundings of Nafplio? Here is a free pdf/book giving you many ideas: http://hikingingreece.com - go to Download the book. You'll have something to do for the day, Nafplio's tavernas and bars will welcome you in the evening.
Sep 17, 2012 11:19 AM
The main problem with the tight planning is that you're assuming it will all go smoothly. Poor weather can shoot the whole thing down. It would thus be advisable to have a backup strategy.
With that in mind I'd probably aim for the furthest Peloponese destination first (Olympia), then work my way back to Nafplio. This would also give you a taste for what's in store with the resting of the driving.
Nafplio itself is the better base over Christmas. There's a great deal in and around to keep you busy for a few days. I'd park myself there, keep an eye on the 3-5 day weather forecasts, and make my day-by-day plans accordingly.
Already being in Nafplio, you're that much closer to the move up north, if that's something you must do. Corinth as a day-trip from Nafplio, or as a stop on the way north.
I've observed on a couple of occasions that while Greeks go out in the afternoon for Christmas dinner, evenings are very quiet. It might be useful, wherever you find yourself, to inquire ahead of time (day before) what places might be open and when.
Sep 19, 2012 1:22 AM
4Thanks for the quick responses!
Grecophile, the plan would be to spend two days with the sites near Nafplio. I think I wasn't clear in my post. Definitely agree that 4 in one day is too many, though.
Humbla and BthDth, thanks for the input on where to spend Christmas. Looks like we'll plan on Nafplio and spend a couple days relaxing and enjoying the scenery. The ebook mentioned looks great and I've already spent some time on the Napflio site.
BthDth--I agree that the Meteora leg is a bit of an add-on, but the Meteora region just looks too lovely to skip. We'll definitely keep our eye on the weather and plan to take the better reviewd E75 route from Delphi to Kalambaka rather than the shorter, more direct route suggested by google. If the area ends up covered in snow and bad storms, obviously we'll sort something else out.
I did like your suggestion of visiting Olympia first. Possible revised itinerary? This seems a little less nuts and doesn't have us driving to Meteora directly after visiting Delphi. Would love any feedback, thanks for taking the time to look!
20 Dec -- Arrive, drive to Olympia (sleep Olympia)
21 Dec -- Visit site & museum, drive to Mystras/Sparta (sleep Sparta)
22 Dec -- Visit Mystras & museums, drive to Napflio (sleep Nafplio)
23 Dec -- Visit some combination of Mycenae, Nemea, Argos, Tiryns, Epidauros (sleep Nafplio)
24 Dec -- Visit remaining above sites (suggestion for the best order of visiting?) (sleep Nafplio)
25 Dec -- Nafplio (sleep Nafpio)
26 Dec -- Nafplio, possibly Kalavryta railway (sleep near Corinth/Loutraki)
27 Dec -- Ancient Corinth, drive to Galaxidi (sleep Galaxidi)
28 Dec -- Delphi site (sleep Galaxidi)
29 Dec -- possibly visit Hosios Loukas enroute to Kalambaka (sleep Kalambaka)
30 Dec -- Meteora (sleep Kalambaka)
31 Dec -- Vergina sites (sleep nearby)
1 Jan -- Leisurely drive to Athens (return car) (sleep Athens)
2 Jan -- Athens
3 Jan -- Athens
4 Jan -- Early flight to Frankfurt
Sep 20, 2012 12:41 AM
5The route allows more flexibility. As long as you're prepared to adjust the specifics, depending on what the day brings, then you really can't go wrong.
Argos, Mycenae and Tiryns are easy to combine. Tiryns is just on the outskirts of Nafplio, and in that sense can be combined with anything else. Double-check the opening times over the holiday period when there. The archaeological museums in both Nafplio and Argos are small but with interesting local finds -- some of the geometric period pottery is at least as good as anything on display in the National museum in Athens.
Nemea .. I'd almost be tempted to combine that with the drive up to Corinth. Perhaps it depends on how much time you generally spend at these archeological sites, and how easy/time consuming the driving is.
Sep 27, 2012 9:49 AM
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