I have been spending hours and hours planning our family's trip to Greece and Italy this August. I'm trying to get all the details down now so I can relax and enjoy the trip once I get there! We are a family of five, with three teenage boys. Greece is our first destination, and after a week there we will be heading to Italy for two more weeks. We love history and mythology (the boys too!) and of course enjoy good food and some fun shopping :)
I have put together what I hope will be a workable itinerary for our family, trying to hit as many of the highlights as we can, but still giving us time to relax, explore, and enjoy. My preference is to plan a pretty detailed itinerary, but we have no problem changing things up as needed. I just don't like to waste time on vacation trying to decide what to do next!
That said, here's what I've come up with. I've included the amount of time I think we'll need in each place (not because I'm trying to be so strict with our schedule, but so I can tell if I have too much or too little on a day), if I'm way off let me know! Please advise on anything else as necessary :)
Monday, July 22:
- Arrive in Athens at 1:05 pm (coming from Frankfurt, so will have passed customs/immigration there). We will have carry-ons only, so hope to be out of the airport quickly. Take metro to Monastiraki and find our hotel (Plaka Hotel).
- Afternoon: National Archaeological Museum (open until 8pm), then explore Exarcheia area.
- Evening: wander around Plaka or Monastiraki, take the Happy Train (how late does it run?)
Tuesday, July 23:
- Acropolis first thing in the morning. Rick Steves walking tour. 2-3 hours total.
- Lunch: Strofi or Attikos Greek House or God's Restaurant
- Filopappos Hill (Pnyx, Socrates Prison). 1-2 hours total.
- New Acropolis Museum. 2 hours.
- Temple of Olympian Zeus & Hadrian's Arch. 1 hour.
- Evening & Dinner: Plaka area or Anafiotika. Shopping as shops are open later.
Wednesday, July 24:
- Hadrian's Library. 30 min.
- Roman Forum & Tower of the Winds. 1 hour.
- Agora. Rick Steves walking tour. 3 hours total.
- Lunch: Filistron or To Kouti perhaps.
- Anafiotika area. 1 hour.
- Areopagus Rock. 30 min.
- Karameikos Cemetery. 1 hour.
- Walk back along Ermou street to Monastiraki.
- Evening & Dinner: Plaka/Anafiotika/Monastiraki
Thursday, July 25:
- Walk to Syntagma Square.
- Parliament building, Tomb of Unknown Soldier, changing of the guard. 1 hour.
- Benaki Museum (free day, open until midnight). 2 hours.
- Lunch: Benaki museum.
- Metro to airport to pick up rental car, drive to Sounion to see Temple of Poseidon. 1 hour drive there, however we want to stop in Vouliagmeni or Varkiza along the way to swim and snorkel.
- Arrive at Sounion in the early evening to spend some time there before the sunset.
- Dinner: either at a Taverna around Sounion or on the drive back, or back in the Plaka area.
- Park the car outside of the city and take the Metro back to our hotel.
Friday, July 26:
- check out of hotel, retrieve car, and drive to Delphi. Hopefully arrive by 1pm.
- Lunch: perhaps in Arachova on our way to Delphi.
- Spend afternoon viewing the sights in Delphi (we will only have the afternoon).
- Pitho Hotel for the night.
- Dinner: Epikouros restaurant or Taverna Vakhos.
Saturday, July 27--Monday, July 29:
- drive from Delphi to Nafplio. Check out Corinth and the canal along the way. 3 1/2 hour drive.
- check into Hotel Marianna for 3 nights.
- explore Nafplio, Mycenae, the beaches, and Epidauros.
Tuesday, July 30:
- drive to Athens airport. 2 hour drive ?? Our flight to Rome leaves at 4:15pm so we should have plenty of time to get there, return the car, and check in.
1.) would it be worth it for us to do the Walking Tour of the Acropolis, or can we do it on our own with a guidebook and Rick Steves audio tour?
2.) should we rent a car from the airport, or try and use Swift Rentals. They can bring us the car and help us get out of the city. We will be driving to the airport at the end of our time in Greece, so perhaps renting at the airport is our best bet.
3.) where is the best place to park the car rental overnight? We will be coming back from Sounion and leaving the next day for Delphi, so perhaps a Metro stop on the west side of Athens, but as far outside the city as possible, with a good parking lot. The airport doesn't seem terribly convenient for this, but we could do that if necessary.
4.) on our drive to Sounion, we will be looking for the beaches around Vouliagmeni and Varkiza; will these be marked well? I think the public beach run by EOT sounds nice, or the coves at Varkiza. Will this be difficult to find?
5.) if we stay for the sunset and possibly dinner in Sounion, how difficult will it be for us to drive back towards Athens at night, find the Metro station (or airport) to park, and get back into the city? I'm mainly concerned about trying to do all this in the dark (getting lost, etc.).
6.) we would love to see an evening show at Epidauros while in Nafplio. Can/should I buy tickets ahead of time? If so, when do they go on sale? I've also seen mention that hotels and the tourist office in Nafplio will sell tickets, as well as the Theater of Herodes Atticus in Athens. Is this true and should we just wait and buy tickets once we are in Greece?
7.) would it best best for us to take the bus to/from Epidauros for the evening performance, even though we have a car, because of the traffic?
Thank you everyone for looking this (long) itinerary over and giving suggestions!! We are soooo looking forward to our trip to Greece and the more I read the messages on the boards, the more excited we get :) Any suggestions or ideas will be appreciated.