Hey and welcome Sandhya66:-) Consider flying directly out to an isle upon arrival.. it's a huge timesaver and it'll save you loads of time with no backtracking;-) You're at the airport anyway.. coming the long haul.. no better place to de-lag and get your land legs back than an isle;-) Sign up now for emails alerts with both www.olympicair.com/ www.aegeanair.com/ They both fly to/from Santorini and Mykonos.. consider starting out in Santorini which would be your furthest isle.. ferrying over to Mykonos (keep an eye out at www.gtp.gr/ www.openseas.gr/ as time approaches for current schedules) then you can opt fo either fly or ferry back to Athens for the mainland portion.. saving Athens as a finale also ensures that return flight home! You'll be about ready to take on all the magnificent sites in this vibrant metropolis;-)
You can certainly do day trips.. to Nauplion.. Delphi.. take a look at www.chatours.gr/ www.keytours.gr/ www.gotours.com.gr/ who are the top 3 tour operators in Greece.. if you opt to do it yourselves, you can always rent a car.. possibly straight from the airport when if you decide to fly from the isles.. and maybe do a run to include Nauplion (from where you can visit the infamous Epidauros theater, Old Mycenae, Old Corinth.. loads in area... then you can drive to Delphi for a visit.. large, spread out, magnificent site.. a night at each place would give you a better feel, IMO, than a day tour.. with the advantage of moving about as you see fit and not stuck to a schedule;-)
You can drop the car off back at the airport and spend the finale in Athens.. depending on your interests, would not give this City any less than 3 days (which basically comes down to 4 nights;) If Museums are a priority, you can just keep adding;-) It's all up to you.. your travel style, prefs, etc.. You can certainly come up with a great itinerary for 2 weeks;-) Happy planning.. and EnjOY!Edited: 14 December 2012, 18:49
A very American choice of destinations :-)
Would you feel out of place if you went somewhere which doesn't really feature in the US guides? Are you really interested enough in classical Greece to go to Delphi as well as Athens?
A few days in the Pelleponnes would be great. It's worth including Mystras which is a Byzantine hill town. Napflio is great. You might like to look at Rhodes as a second island, this is a different age of history, the knights of St John and also a great place to visit. add a day trip to Lindos and to Symi island.
I would say let your kids spend a few days researching Greece on the internet, see if they find something they really like the idea of. Add to this some classical Greece, but not too much, add beaches, some Byzantine or Knights history and a boat trip. You have a great cross section then.
Have a great trip
Well, unfortunately, skitandoori.. we're not blessed to be able to hop on a plane and get there in about 4 hours;-) It takes me 9+ hours just to get to Athens from NYC..and that's on a direct.. which choices are down to 1 now!. OP is coming from California, which is an addt'l 5 hours just to get to NYC! They're looking at a minimum of a 16-18 hour travel day/night!
FWIW and IMO, Santorini and Mykonos are beautiful isles.. chances are, many repeaters have included one or both of these isles somewhere down the line;-) I don't think it's a bad call for a first-timer regardless of where they're traveling from, especially if it is what they're looking for.. and fits the bill for their expectations;-) Keep enjoyin' all!
I think your choice of Santorini is good. While it's my least favorite Greek Island, it is the most beautiful that I've been on. You don't have to spend more than 3 nights to appreciate its appeal.
But I'd suggest Naxos for your second island. It's an easy ferry trip and there's enough to do to keep you busy for at least 4 days. The town is great with a choice of excellent entertainment. A concert at the Castle will be a memorable experience and my last visit I wandered into a more informal place that alternates rock and traditional Greek bands. Driving is easy, so you can rent a car and visit some of the traditional villages and out-of-the-way little beach towns. Also a few classical sites and the kouros to give you a sense of culture.
The one activity I would advise to avoid is a day trip to Delphi from Athens. I found it exhausting and unrewarding.
Agree with zakrosian choice of islands. They get top ratings on TA.
IMHO a day trip to Delphi might prove to be tiring, what with getting there, sightseeing and back. Give it 2 days and stop on the way in Arahova village for lunch and beautiful scenery.
A huge advantage to a 2 day trip to Delphi is that you get to choose when to visit the site. Might just be my idiosyncrasy, but I find it much more enjoyable to wander among the ruins when there are very few others around, like first thing in the morning or after all the tour buses have left.
I agree with the suggestion of pairing Santorini with Naxos. Naxos is easy to get to from Santorini, is much more relaxed and laid back than Santorini or Mykonos, has lots of interesting places to explore and some of the best beaches in Greece. The main port town, Chora, is lovely and a fun place to explore. If you stay at St. George Beach, which is right next to Chora (5 minute walk), you can enjoy the beach during the day and explore the town in the evenings (seems like your kids are the perfect age for this). Also, be aware that the mega cruise ships stop at Santorina and Mykonos so these islands are perpetually busy and touristy in the summer. To me, Santorini is worth the visit if only because of its breathtaking beauty! I would suggest staying in Oia to get a little further away from the daily cruise crowds. Have fun!
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