Greece for a month in June 2013!
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Nov 15, 2012 7:08 PM Last Post By: mariha2912
Nov 13, 2012 4:55 PM
Greece for a month in June 2013!Hi - I am new to the forum and need some travel advice. My wife and I have talked for years about just quitting our jobs and pursuing our dream of travel. Now that we have enough money saved up, we are doing just that! We are starting in SE Asia and making our way back west. We are visiting Greece for a month (out of a 6 month journey) and wanted to know what you guys think of the following itinerary. We've done some research but was curious to know "how long to stay" in each place or if there is something "we simply can't miss" on our first visit to Greece
1) Arriving in Athens from Rome by plane
2) Athens for 3 days (based on research and other forums saying it's sort of "boring"
3) Ferry from Rafina to Mykonos
4) Mykonos for 6 days
5) Ferry to Naxos, Naxos for 4 days
6) Ferry to Paros, Paros for 4 days
7) Ferry to Ios, Ios for 3 days
8) Ferry to Santorini, Santorini for 10 days
We are trying to minimize travel time on ferries, but want to catch at least some decent beaches and food. We will be travelling Greece the entire month of June. Any suggestions?
Is Crete, Corfu, or Rhodes worth the extra travel?
Nov 13, 2012 7:11 PM
1If you've got a whole month, I'd try to get off the cliched tourist trail.
Spend time in the Peloponnese (hire a car) - stay in the likes of Nafplio and a village in the Mani, and take trips to ancient sites such as Mycenae, Tyrens, Olympia, Epidavros. Messene. Get up into the mountains. Explore the tower houses of the Mani.
The only good reason to visit Mykonos is so you can do a day trip to Delos. Mykonos is a party island (though it won't be full on in early June) - personally, I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole. Similarly Ios. And 10 days is a hell of a long time on Santorini.
Investigate Sifnos, Serifos and Milos, which are all on the same ferry route so easy to get to & from. These islands all have the traditional Cycladic white-cube houses, so you are not missing out on that. Just quieter, more Greek, nice beaches, and plenty of opportunity to relax without being kept awake by a disco at 3am.
Or you could look at other lesser known islands - Amorgos, Folegandros for eg. Or Syros (the capital of the Cyclades - so a proper, working town, but with marble streets, two cathedrals, and lots of neo-classical houses.
I'm sure other regulars on here can also come up with lots of other ideas, too! (the Pelion peninsula is one that comes to mind... one of the regulars was talking about this just the other day (nicolapicola?).
You ask if Crete, Corfu or Rhodes are "worth the extra travel"? Of course they are! However, Corfu is off your route, so not so convenient, unless you dramatically altered your focus.
I could spend one whole month on Crete & never get bored.
Rhodes, too, is rich in history (just avoid the package-tourist places like Faliraki).
Greece is your oyster - be a bit more adventurous! Don't get caught up in the syndrome of ticking famous places off a list. So - your friends at home won't have heard of Sifnos and wonder why you didn't go to Mykonos (just tell them that Mykonos is passe... it is, and was 25 years ago!)
Nov 14, 2012 12:53 AM
Advice depends on your interests, traveling style and specifics.... Please talk a bit about your self and what your aim is on this trip.... Who "you" are? I hope you understand that advice for a 70years' old couple of schlolars interested on ancient sites while having walking difficulties varies for a 25 yo couple on a budget looking on a fast paced trip with main interest on beaches and nightlife or for a middle aged couple on a medium budget looking for a bit of beach, a bit of sites, a bit of shopping and fine dinning while moving slowly....
Nov 14, 2012 2:32 AM
3I'm with saikunger on this (and, yes, saikunger, it is me that bangs on about the Pelion!). I imagine since you want to spend a month in Greece that you want to really soak up the Greek experience and not the tourist resort experience. As, Mariha says,, let us know what you like doing/are interested in and we can help you more. Also, don't plan an itinerary that is inflexible - you need to be able to alter your plans if you find you really like a place and want to stay longer or hate a place and want to leave earlier. As long as you aren't visiting in the high summer season, there is probably no need to book rooms ahead (except in Athens as you would probably not like to get off the 'plane and have to not have a room to head to).
Nov 14, 2012 10:42 AM
4"Is Crete, Corfu, or Rhodes worth the extra travel?"
Corfu is just between Rome and Athens, if you travel by train, ferry and bus. You may also take a plane from Rome to Bari or Brindisi, then a ferry to Corfu (about 6 hrs) and fly from Corfu to Athens.
There is much more to do and to see in Crete and Rhodos than at all other Islands you mentioned. Just avoid the tourist traps like Chersonissos-Malia-Aghios Nikolaos resp. Faliraki-Afandou (and of course the West Coast of Rhodos).
There are ferries from Santorini to Crete - Rhodos and planes from Crete to Rhodos.
Nov 14, 2012 2:03 PM
5Thanks for the replies! It sounds like the current list I have is immersed in tourist attractions and thats exactly what we are trying to avoid! As for my wife and I, we are both 28 years old and not too much into partying. Our typical day in Greece would be relaxing in the sun on a not so crowded beach, taking in some local cuisine, watching the sunset, and having a drink at night before doing it all over again the next day. We are also looking for places in Greece that offer hiking/walking trails (sounds like Crete is ideal for that). We were not looking to rent a car, but would you guys highly recommend it for the islands and mainland?
The Peloponnese looks absolutely amazing, is it easy to reach by public transport or is a car needed? As for the islands, we are willing to drop Ios and either Naxos or Paros, but definitely want to at least experience Mykonos for a few days and will turn down the notch on Santorini for 10 days. Is 5 days in Santorini sufficient?
I greatly appreciate the thoughtful responses and these have drastically changed our list of things to do in Greece!
Sounds like Athens is worth more than 3 days too. Would you guys recommend a day trip to Hydra?
And what about Delphi and Meteora? We have a month to play with so I want to get the absolute best Greek experience. I've seen tours online for these 2 places, but want to move at our own pace.
I'd love to hear some more input and then I will update the list accordingly. I am so excited to visit Greece!
Edited by: chrizninja83
Edited by: chrizninja83
Nov 14, 2012 2:12 PM
6Athens for 3 days (based on research and other forums saying it's sort of "boring")
Personally I found Athens anything but, there's heaps to do and see and the locals are much friendlier than on the islands. Naxos I'd miss out completely, except to fly into or catch a boat from. Santorini, agree with earlier post, 10 days is a long time, but Akrotiri archaeological site is a must-see, and Oia as well.
Nov 15, 2012 1:11 AM
7You're in danger of over-planning. There is really no need to allocate time in advance. You might have had enough of Santorini after a couple of days (IMO that's as much as you need) in which case hop on a ferry and go somewhere else and repeat as necessary.
The Peloponnese is amazing and is perfectly doable by public transport if you plan carefully and don't expect to find a bus between Nafplio and Olympia. A car would be preferable as you would fit in so much more. It would also enable you to fit in Delphi and Meteora much more easily as Meteora especially is out on a limb.
Incidentally, I couldn't disagree more with the previous poster about Naxos. It's a wonderful island with lots to see and do. I'd take a day in Naxos over a week in Mykonos anytime.
Nov 15, 2012 2:11 AM
8Well, the Pelion peninsula offers the experience you are looking for and has great sunsets. It has lovely scenery, sea, excellent walking/hiking (groups of walkers visit Pelion from Athens/Thessaloniki and also the Ramblers' Association) , very nice locals and excellent cuisine (if you are going to go there, I will give some recommendations of where to eat). The tourists, when they are there, are mainly Greek (though some Dutch in the coastal villages). If you go up the mountain (Mount Pelion) to the mountain villages, you will not meet many/any tourists (unless you go to the "tourist villages" - Milies, Vizitsa, Tsangarada, etc). The nearest city is Volos - not exciting so you won't want to stop there. If I were you, I would base myself in a village on the Gulf side - perhaps Kala Nera which has plenty of rooms and a few things going on and plenty of buses to go elsewhere or link with Volos.
You should spend a few days in Athens and see the sights. Yes, DO go to Delphi - it is worthwhile. I prefer to spend at least one night there so you can enjoy it when all the tour coaches have gone for the day (or before they arrive). If you do, the place to eat is a restaurant in the upper of the two main streets and don't bother eating until about 9.00 pm - you will notice it because lots of Greeks are heading for it and it is in a basement area. Anywhere else I have tried for dinner in Delphi has been extremely disappointing.
Nov 15, 2012 2:48 AM
9"Is 5 days in Santorini sufficient?"
Sufficient for what? The most stunning view of Santorini is that from the sea water filled caldera, if you arrive by boat. The view from the town down to the caldera is fine too (may be from a restaurant or from your hotel). The visit of Akrotiri is interesting (although there are similar and more interesting places in Crete) and takes not more than half a day. Beaches are nothing to write home about and rather crowded. The rest of the Island is not more interesting than almost any other Greek Island.
Nov 15, 2012 3:04 AM
It's possible to visit the Acropolis in half a day. If you add the Acropolis Museum, the Roman Agora and the Thission temple, you need a full day. The visit of the Greek National Museum (one of the best archeological museums of the world), the Cycladic Museum, the Byzantine Museum, the Theatre of Herodes Atticus and some fine orthodox churches would take another day. If you visit the stunning Poseidon Temple at Cape Sounion (sandy beach below) and may be the Dafini Monastery, you need a third day.
Athens can alos be used as a base for day trips to Korinthos, Mycenae, Argos, Nauplia and Epidauros, although it would be nicer to stay at Nauplia for that.
Nov 15, 2012 3:25 PM
11Naxos offers a great deal of what you say you would like. There are many walking trails (and a couple of books detailing these), sandy beaches, interesting harbour area and some history. The main town will be busy enough for interest in June but, if you stay near the Kastra, you are in an area where lots of Greeks live and opportunities for wonderful sunsets. The area near the beaches tends to be row upon row of holiday accommodation.
I also suggest Naplion is an interesting place and would make a great centre from which to visit Epidaurus and Mycenae and, if it is not too hot, places further afield. Just down the coast in Tolon which has sandy beaches.
By the way, travelling on ferries can be relaxing and enjoyable. If you are on the deck its not too hot and it's interesting to see all the activity as the ferry arrives in port.
I agree don't plan too much and go with the flow. Until you are on your travels you won't know if you would enjoy spending a week in a few places or a few days in many places. But, if you are coming back to Athens for an onward flight, then it is advisable to arrive the day before just in case there is some delay because of wind or some other reason. Return ferries are often late.
Nov 15, 2012 7:08 PM
12I just realized that this is one month in Greece out of a 6 month's itinerary taking in SE Asia and rather towards the end of the trip... I can not predict for sure, but usually people start to slow down a bit after such a long journey... They tend to fit less in a day and need at least an "off" day every few days packed with activities...Which would lead me to advice on trying not to overload it with sight-seen etc... But then on your second post I read that your typical Greek day would be beach, food, a couple of drinks...So where the sight-seen goes and what for example Meteora has to do with beach holidays? Also although I haven't make it to SE Asia my self, I understand that a large attraction of this area is its beaches... If you've been there, why coming to Greece to be on the beach? I am not very sure I get what your focus in Greece is? Then you mention hiking which is a different thing all together?
(By the way it seems like Cyclades is in your itinerary one way or another, so you may want to have a look on this site for hiking: http://www.cycladen.be/ )
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