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Athens/Monemvasia Itinerary

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Athens/Monemvasia Itinerary

As a surprise for my fiancee's birthday I am planning a trip to Greece. Neither of us have been before, and we have 5 days/4 nights at the end of October. We are flying in and out of Athens, but I thought it would be nice to see one (or two) other areas/things. A friend of mind raved about Monemvasia, and I thought it sounded like a nice change from the city of Athens. I've roughed out an itenerary below... does this seem to be cramming too much in or is this feasable? (We are the type of travelers who like to see a few things well, rather than feel like we have to be rushed from place to place to fit everything in.) Also, would there be good places along the way between Athens and Monemvasia to stop for an hour or two of sightseeing to break up the 5 hour drive? Is the driving mainly motorways or is it scenic? Any suggestions or ideas would be much appreciated!!

Day 1 – Arrive in Athens 2:50pm; Afternoon/evening in Athens

Day 2 – Full day in Athens sight seeing

Day 3 – Morning in Athens, mid-day rent car and drive to Monemvasia (plan one “sightseeing” stop along the way?)

Day 4 – Full day in Monemvasia

Day 5 – Drive from Monemvasia to Athens (with stops along the way?) Return rental car; Depart from Athens 11:10pm

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1. Re: Athens/Monemvasia Itinerary

Monemvasia is lovely, but with only four nights in Athens, I'm not sure it's such a great idea. There's plenty of equally lovely places closer to Athens - not that you couldn't spend all five days in Athens and still have things to see.

The drive from Athens to Monemvasia (without stops) will easily take you 4.5 hours. Keeping in mind that sunset at the end of October is at 6:30 PM, your morning in Athens on day 3 shrinks to nothing, especially if you have a sightseeing stop along the way. Similarly, your afternoon in Athens on day 1 will most likely never materialise - by the time you leave the airport and make your way to your hotel, check in and go out again, at best you'll be seeing Athens by dusk, if not by night.

I think you need to rethink your itinerary, keeping in mind that October 28th is a national holiday which means that if the weather's nice the roads in/out of Athens on the 27th and the 31st will be fairly busy - and if the weather's not nice, the long drive to Monemvasia will be the last thing you'll want to do.

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2. Re: Athens/Monemvasia Itinerary

>>Also, would there be good places along the way between Athens and Monemvasia to stop for an hour or two of sightseeing to break up the 5 hour drive? Is the driving mainly motorways or is it scenic?<<

The driving is motorway until Tripoli, then a fairly good but windy road to Sparti and onwards to Monemvasia via Gytheio. It's pretty scenic, even the motorway bits, as you'll be climbing up a set of mountains and down again towards Sparti, past Taygetos (one of the largest Greek mountains). There's a very slight risk that you will come across snow, if not on the road, certainly on the mountains, so make sure you have your woollies with you, and an umbrella in case of rain.

However, as I said in my previous post, there is no need to go all the way to Monemvasia to see something different - if you like sea & castles, you can head to Nafplio, if you like mountains, go to Vytina. Both are much closer than Monemvasia. All are likely to be busy between 27-31 October because of the national holiday on the 28th, unless the weather doesn't behave.

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3. Re: Athens/Monemvasia Itinerary

Hi Tinsey,

Thank you so much for your reply! It's really helpful. I was worreid it may be too much, and after hearing your thoughts am really re-thinking our plan.

Nafplion was another area of interest, and as it is closer I think may be the way to go for this trip. It just means we will have to come back another time to see Monemvasia!

Would the same rough plan work with the frist two nights in Athens (and perhaps a bit more of day 3... then driving to Nafplion in the late afternoon/evening of Day 3), and spending Day 4 and 5 in Nafplion (until we needed to drive to the airport)?

Also, thanks for mentioning the holiday. "Day 3" which is the day we were thinking of renting a car and driving out of Athens actually falls on the 28th. Will car hire companies be open that day?

Many thanks again for your advice and reccommendations.

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4. Re: Athens/Monemvasia Itinerary

Yes, it would work just fine - you could even depart for Nafplio early on day 4 instead, as it's such a short drive (by comparison to Monemvasia) and you don't need more than two days to see it properly.

You can stop at Isthmos (Corinth Canal) along the way. If you're lucky, you may see a ship crossing.

The rental companies will be open on the 28th, no problem. Depending on what time you want to leave Athens, you may have to rent from the airport, as many of the streets in central Athens will be temporarily blocked off around midday for the military parade. Not a huge problem though, it will probably be cheaper to rent from and return to the airport.

Make sure you've booked your Nafplio accommodation in advance. It's a very popular destination for Athenians in autumn and that weekend is likely to be extra busy.

toledo, ohio
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5. Re: Athens/Monemvasia Itinerary

My husband and I spent a good bit of time in Athens and Nafplio in May. Some ideas of ancient architectural sites you can visit on the way to /from Nafplio that we really enjoyed were Nemea ( a stadium and separate ancient site w/ nice museum) plan to spend about 2 hours; Mycenae (again about 2 hours). While you are in Nafplio be sure to visit Palamidi - the fortress at the top of the hill. You can walk or drive up. It is lovely in the evening when you can view the sunsets. We had planned an hour at Palamidi and ended up spending 3 hours there. Also, take the little ferry out to Bourtzi - it will take you about 40 minutes total and it is a neat little site. There is a wonderful creperie in Nafplio for delectable desserts (I forget the name of the street, but ask and you'll be pointed in the right direction). Also, I would stay off the front street along the water for dining. We found the restaurants that were back a street or two to have better food. The restaurant right next to the Grande Bretagne hotel has good food and a nice view of the water. Take your time to just wander around Nafplio in the evening. It has a great vibe - lots of activity, nice shops, etc. and is very safe. Have a wonderful trip. We loved Nafplio (and Greece generally) so much that we are bringing our kids back next year.

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6. Re: Athens/Monemvasia Itinerary


The distance from Athens to Monemvasia without stop is about 3 and 1/2 hours.

The road that you must take is Athens>Korinthos>Tripolis>Sparti>Monemvasia. The road Athens to Tripolis is a hight way road , from Tripolis to Sparti is not highway road but is very good and the distance from Sparti to Monemvasia is about 1hour.

There is not any risk and is very safe. You dont must pass from Taygetos mountai and in end of October there is not snow.

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7. Re: Athens/Monemvasia Itinerary

I love your romantic spirit.

Having said that I think you are hoping to do too much in way too little time. Nauplion is a perfect romantic getaway. There is so much to see an do there and on a romantic vacation you are unlikely to even scratch the surface there. It is very romantic. I have to admit to being a big fan of Mponemvassia however on our last trip from Nauplion we averaged 23 km per hour with so many sites to visit on the way. It is a full day trip

My suggestion is to head for Nauplion relax there explore and only if you get bored than head off to explore other sites. On the way from Athens consider one or two hour stops at Ancient Corinth Ancient Nemia and Mycenae.

Here are our pictures of a similar trip




have fun planning

8. Re: Athens/Monemvasia Itinerary

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