I’m hoping to visit Greece for 2 - 3 weeks (depending on how far I can stretch my budget) sometime in the spring of this year. Early April is the most convenient time, but I might be able to manage early May as well. My interests are archaeological sites (primarily from the classical Greek period), local culture, and natural landscapes. I loathe sites or attractions recently built to look old. I’d rather see a genuine pile of rubble than a reconstructed palace. I’m not interested in nightlife or beaches—I prefer a nice stroll on an isolated stretch to basking. I don’t like hopping from place to place, but like to settle down and explore, wandering local streets and alleys. This means I’ll see less, but I’m going into this accepting I can’t possibly see all of Greece that I would like.
My very rough draft itinerary is:
-Fly into Athens and immediately to Chaina where I’ll stay for several days, exploring Western Crete, with a possible day trip to the Samaria Gorge.
-Bus to Iraklio where I’ll spend a day or two taking in the museum (if it’s open) and the sites near Phaestos
-Fly to Athens and KTEL to Delphi where I’ll overnight
-Hit Delphi at the crack of dawn then bus back to Athens
-Spend three days exploring Athens.
-Bus to Nafplio where I rent a car and settle in for three to four days to visit the nearby sites: Nemea, Tiryns, Epidaurus, Mycenae, and possibly Corinth.
-Back to Athens and fly home.
I have some specific questions, but would also be glad of any general advice or recommendations for my particular style of travel. Tear this itinerary to shreds if it needs it.
1) Given my interests, does Crete seem the best choice if I can do only one island? If not, what would you suggest?
2) If I can swing more time, which island would you recommend I add for local culture and historic sites? I had my heart set on visiting Delos, but from what I’ve read of Mykonos, it doesn’t seem to be the island for me
3) Will early April be a fine time to visit, or if possible, would you recommend I hold off to May? I’m particularly interested in catching the wildflowers in Crete.
4) If I am uncomfortable driving on winding, narrow roads, with little or no guardrails, would it be unwise for me to consider renting a car in Crete?
5) Will I see any locals in Nafplio plying anything other than the tourist trade? If not, are there local villages you’d recommend I visit.
6) I’ve read that Greece is a very safe country. As a woman, would I be fine on secluded walks on my own in Crete?