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Athens/Island Advice please

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Athens/Island Advice please

My husband and I have been seriously considering our first summer vacation together (we always take fall or winter trips) and would really love to visit Greece. I have done some searching on TA and the web about when the best time to visit Greece is. I have read that Greece is very hot, crowded, and expensive during the summer. I also read that early June is a preferred time to visit, b/c the season is starting to kick in. If we did go, we would take up to two weeks for the trip.

We have dreamed of going to Athens as we are very interested in ruins and the antiquities. (Last year we went to Florence, Rome, and Venice and LOVED it!) Obviously, Athens is the perfect place for us! Can fellow posters please provide me with some general direction of when the best time to visit Athens and some preferred islands to visit that are not terribly crowded with people, restaurants, and nightlife? We are concerned about the cost to island hop, but realize that if we go to Greece we cant limit ourselves to Athens only.

We love to hike, explore, swim, and see ruins. I know I have thrown a lot of questions out, but any suggestions/feedback provided would be most appreciated.


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1. Re: Athens/Island Advice please

Welcome TravelingThruEurope:-) With 2 weeks you can certainly hit at least one isle..Since you're into exploring/hiking/ruins, you can do a wonderful combo of Athens and some mainland down to the Peloponesse.. Nauplion is close enough to get to and makes a great base for some fantastic sites to include the famed Epidavros threatre, Mycenae, Old Corinth..Early June is indeed a wonderful time..for swimming, I'd say Sept is about best since the waters have been warmed up all Summer long with that brilliant sun:-) So time-wise, I'd say either early June or early Sept..You can plan out a wonderful itinerary and recommend a bit of research to see what catches YOUR eye..many isles to choose from as well..Rhodes would make a good option considering your prefs....Let us know how it goes! Enjoy!

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2. Re: Athens/Island Advice please

I agree with Litsa- June and September are both great months to visit.

Many of the islands are much less expensive than Athens- you could end up saving money by going to one of them. I like Naxos myself, but I'm sure there will be plenty of ideas thrown out here.

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3. Re: Athens/Island Advice please

Joining in this thread to ask more..

Planning to go right after or soon after the wedding and am looking at early april for 2 weeks.

I read that April-May is also a good time to visit as well. However what I'm reading also seem to contradict. Some say its warm with mild rain, and others I've read says its still cool. Hotel rates are apparently at low season and it seems that not all hotels are open? So how is it a good time to go?

We really just want good warm sun to walkabout.

Can anyone help to straighten this out? What sort of weather should we expect during that time.


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4. Re: Athens/Island Advice please

Hi there trav/Europe!

If you visited Venice, Florence & Rome last year, have you ever got a TREAT in store in Greece!! Not just for the sights (althought they are of course magnificent) but the COSTS will be so much more moderate ... I would say Outside of Athens, Santorini and Mykonos, costs are about half that of Italy. And even Athens, if you scout out good moderate-price Plaka hotels, is much less than Rome. And June is Greece's perfect month.

GIven your interests (antiquities,hiking,swimming, exploring) you might consider the following strategy we recommend to those with limited time -- it avoids backtracking, and you experience Athens at the end, when it will resonate more -- and it gives you a little flexibility if any hitch develops.

Book a flight that arrives in Athens before noon; these are usually the flights that go nonstop from NY, Phila or Newark(yes they will cost a little more but early arrival saves you a precious day!! Then walk down the hall at the airport and immediately fly (hopefully on a "bargain" Aegean Air ticket) to your furthest island, then "hop" your way back. My suggestion for your interests (since you are wise enough not to be a Santorini-Mykonos lemming):

-Western CRETE 4-5 days -- Ruins! Hikes! Ocean!

villages! food!.... then ferry from Heraklion to

- MILOS 3 days... a gorgeous Cycladic island with

no crowds! Ruins! A day sail around the island!

....ferry to Athens, drive 2.5 hrs to Argolid to

- NAFPLIO 3 days (ruins! beaches! architecture!

.... then drive back to the Queen City

- ATHENS 3 days, all the big sights! You've now been

in Greece awhile and they'll mean more.

Other people will doubtless paint enticing pictures of assorted isles and mainland places, but seldom address the key factor -- TRANSPORT. Can you get from one place to another? Will you waste a lot of time?

The above scenario is time-efficient. The one tricky segment is the ferry from Crete to Milos -- Last june the Big evening Minoan line stopped at Milos on Fridays. If in 2009 MIlos is not scheduled (those schedules won't be announced until March or so), you could readily substitute Naxos.

5. Re: Athens/Island Advice please

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