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Greece 3-week itinerary - please comment :)

Warsaw, Poland
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Greece 3-week itinerary - please comment :)

Hi,

we're planning to spend three weeks in Greece early next autumn (second half of September). After some research we've decided that it would not be enough to see everything on the mainland + Crete, so we'll postpone the northern Greece to a later trip (Meteora, Thessaloniki, Vergina, Pella)

We want to do as much sightseeing as possible, but also spend a day or two relaxing at the seaside. We plan to use public transport (we don't drive). That's why we also would like to have bases for day trips rather than move all the stuff around every day.

I'd like your thoughts about the planned itinerary. Thanks in advance :)

day 1 - arrival in Athens in the morning, walk around the city (Plaka, Temple of Zeus, National Gardens)

day 2 - Athens: Acropolis, Acropolis museum

day 3 - Athens:National Archaeology Museum, Museum of Greek Folk Art

day 4 - Athens:some further museums (possibly: Benaki, musical instruments) + Sounion

day 5 - Athens: some further museums (possibly: byzantine theatrical museum) or Planetarium (if it's good for non-Greek speakers) and bus ride to Delphi (*as the sites might still be open till just 3PM, it seems best to arrive in the evening and start at 8AM before the day trips arrive from Athens :)

day 6 - Delphi and bus ride back to Athens

day 7 - transfer to Nafplio, sightseeing in Nafplio

day 8 - day trip to Corinth and maybe also Nemea

day 9 - day trip to Mycenae and Argos

day 10 - day trip to Epidauros, Tiryns on the way

day 11 - day trip to Sparta and Mystra

day 12 - day trip to Olympia

day 13 - transfer to Crete (probably by plane), walk around Heraklion

day 14 - Knossos, Archaeological Museum in Heraklion

day 15 - Phaistos day trip +Ayia Triadha

day 16 - day trip to Dhiktean cave(?)

day 17 - transfer to Paleohora & time to relax

day 18 - day trip Samaria gorge

day 19 - relaxing in Paleohora

day 20 - day trip to Hania

day 21 - transfer to Athens and flight out of Greece

my specific questions:

1. could the trip to Epidauros be sensibly combined with any other day trip?

2. do you know a good way of getting from Nafplio to Olympia using the public transport?

3. do you see a way to include a trip to Arcadia and Lousios Gorge in our itinerary? is it worth it? We could spend one day more in Greece.

4. do we miss any "highlight" of the Peloponnese, except for Arcadia?

5. would you recommend to take any of the organised bus/coach trips rather than KTEL?

thanks for your help! :)

Devizes, United...
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1. Re: Greece 3-week itinerary - please comment :)

Hi there

I'll leave the mainland to those who know it way better than I do. As far as Crete is concerned, where do you intend to make your first base when you arrive on the island? I assume you will fly Athens to Iraklion and if you are depending upon public transport, then you need to stay in or close to the city as it has two of the main bus stations that serve various places around the island.

As you intend ending up in Chania, then I would fly back to Athens from there, rather than having to backtrack all the way to Iraklion. As far as individual days are concerned, Knossos is easily reached from Iraklion via the #2 bus from the main bus station down by the harbour. Buses run every 20-30 minutes and take about 25 minutes to reach Knossos, depending upon the traffic. You buy the bus ticket for this service at a small, separate kiosk adjacent to the main ticket office..

flickr.com/photos/…set-72157635508590381

I would advise that you go to Knossos either early in the day ( it opens at 8am) or later in the afternoon, this avoids much of the crowds and is better for photography as you won't have the blinding sunlight of the middle of the day.

There are buses to Faistos from Iraklion, this year they departed at 0730, 0900, 1030, 1130 and 1400 Monday to Saturday, and 0900, 1030, 1400 and 1530 on Sunday with buses back at 0945, 1145, 1345 and 1515 Monday to saturday and just one on Sunday at 1730. Agia Triada is just a few kilometers along the road from Faistos so you might want to grab a taxi to there once finished at Faistos, then come back to Faistos for the bus back to Iraklion.

Do you mean the Diktaean Cave up on Lassithi? If so, then there are no bus services to Lassithi and your only option would be to book an organised excursion which would include the Lassithi villages as well.

The ride to Paleohora will be a long one, firstly a close to 3 hour bus ride west to Chania, then change there for a bus to Paleohora. Buses to Chania depart hourly from Iraklion, earliest at 0530 then every hour on the half hour until 1830, then 2000, 2100 and 2230. Buses to Paleohora depart Chania at 0515, 0830, 1030, 1245 and 1600, 7 days a week so one of those should slot in with your expected arrival time from Iraklion, give or take a short wait.

It's a good idea to have a "day of rest" after walking the gorge, unless you are very, very fit you probably won't feel like doing much. Then, to get back to Chania, buses leave Paleohora at 0715, 1200, 1530 and 1815, 7 days a week. From Chania if you have bags, then I would bite the bullet and grab a taxi to the airport, there are buses but they aren't that frequent and a taxi gives you door to door service.

Warsaw, Poland
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2. Re: Greece 3-week itinerary - please comment :)

Hi GBfromDevizes,

many thanks for all the tips, it's all really helpful!

Yes, I was thinking about making our first base on Crete in Heraklion and then moving to Paleochora - I was considering Chania, but I figure that the southern coast will be warmer, which might be important during the first week of October. Or maybe I'm wrong and the diference in sea temperature isn't too significant?

And yup, I was thinking about flying to Athens from Chania - thanks for the info about the taxi v bus!

Warsaw, Poland
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3. Re: Greece 3-week itinerary - please comment :)

GBfromDevizes - sorry for the double post, but one further question to you: would you recommend going to the eastern part of Crete on this trip, or should we focus on the central and western parts?

Devizes, United...
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4. Re: Greece 3-week itinerary - please comment :)

Hi again

I would stick with what you already have in place, it's always tempting to fit in as much as possible but with 8-9 days for Crete, you already have a good agenda. There are of course some great sights in the east of Crete but I really don't think you have the time to see any. If you manage to fit in everything already on your itinerary, you will have maximised your time and will have had a great introduction to the island. Leave the east for next time as you will almost certainly return.

The weather in early October is "usually" good, we've been as late as the end of October and had temps in the high 30s Centigrade, very hot indeed but of course, you can never predict what you will get and the weather generally starts to change during October.

The sea should still be lovely for swimming in October and the south coast is usually a few degrees warmer so I would stick with Paleohora.

Windsor, United...
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5. Re: Greece 3-week itinerary - please comment :)

Hi and regarding the mainland,

While possible the journey to/from Delphi equates to a lot of travelling in one day. If at all possible I suggest that you take the last bus from Athens to Delphi, spend the night there, visit the ancient site early in the morning and then head back to Athens. I would stop off at Corinth on your way to/on your way back to Nafplion. It should be possible to visit Mycanae and Argos using public transport. The likes of Sparta/Mystras and most certainly Olympia are way too far for a one-day visit from Nafplion using public transport. You could reduce the amount of time you intend to spend in Nafplion and stay in/near Mystras or Olympia. However, it may be possible to join a tour in Nafplion and visit Mystras and Olympia.

Link to buses to/from Nafplion and surrounding areas:

www.ktel-argolidas.gr/…

Edited: 17 November 2013, 16:08
Warsaw, Poland
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6. Re: Greece 3-week itinerary - please comment :)

AjarnAndy, thanks! it seems I will have to think a bit more about the logistics on the Peloponeese. I was considering stopping at Corinth on the way to Nafplio, but what would you recommend to do with the luggage? I'm not sure there would be a place to leave them and I can't imagine dragging them around :)

as for Delphi, that's exactly the plan :)

Windsor, United...
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7. Re: Greece 3-week itinerary - please comment :)

Hi,

If at all possible can you leave most of your luggage at the hotel in Athens and pick it up before heading on to Crete ? Bus schedule to/from Delphi can be found on the link below:

www.ktel-fokidas.gr/index.php/en/routes

8. Re: Greece 3-week itinerary - please comment :)

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