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English and public transportation

Toronto
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English and public transportation

Hello,

I'm intested in going to the Meteora and Delphi in 2 days starting in Athens. I've never been to Greece and I don't speak Greek. Reading the forums, I understand that I can take a bus from Athens to Delphi, then to Trikala, then to Meteora. My questions are:

1. Is the bus system difficult to use for foreigners who only speak English? Is it easy to get lost(my worst fear)?

2. Is this a feasible schedule?

Apr 28th - land in Athens at 11:40am, stay in Athens for the rest of the day to roam around the Acropolis and Plaka

Apr 29th - 7:30am leave for Delphi early in the morning via Bus terminal. Take the bus from Delphi to Trikala, then Meteora in the late afternoon. Overnight stay at meteora.

Apr 30th - Spend day in Meteora. Take bus back to Athens in late afternoon, so that I return to Athens late at night.

3. How close is the actual site from the Delphi and Meteora's bus stations? Is it difficult to find once I get off the bus? Will I get lost?

4. When I get to Meteora, are there trails to walk up to the Monasteries? Are they clearly marked with signs or will a bumbling traveler get lost in the wilderness?

5. Apr 27 is the Easter weekend. Does that pose any limitations to my travel plans?

Sorry for being so long winded....I'm just really scared that I'll get lost. I've considered a guided tour, but that seems to be too expensive. Thanks for your help!!

Ontario, Canada
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1. Re: English and public transportation

I can't answer all of your questions, but will try with some.

Firstly, if you could give yourself at least one more day it would be better. Have you thought about overnighting in Delphi? I've taken the public bus to Delphi, and don't remember where it set us down, but don't remember it being far from the site. This was a long time ago though. The Delphi site is enormous, so you need to give yourself several hours or even a whole day there.

Meteora: the bus sets you down in the middle of town (Kalambaka). There is a road leading out of town to the various monasteries. If you're planning to walk to them all, it's a bad idea unless you're superfit and have more time. They're set atop mountains and to get to them you have to hike up the winding roads and then hike up the stairs to each monastery. They're also set apart from each other by several km's. Best advise would be to hire a cab to get you around, or rent a car for the day. There is a public bus but because you don't have much time, you may not be able to see many monasteries.

YOu can buy a map of the area showing all the monasteries at any of the souvenir shops in the town.

I don't think you'll get lost, just not have enough time to enjoy and savour the sites as they should be enjoyed. Maybe for this trip you should choose one or the other, not both.

Old Forge, New York
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2. Re: English and public transportation

This is one of those trips that you might be better on a guided tour (and I usually never suggest them)..

It is alot of bus travel on a weekend where everyone goes back to their villages, and many stay for extended holidays, so public transportation might be a nightmare. You will spend plenty of taxi money in Kalambaka/Kastraki going to the "rocks"..it is not something that is easily walkable on a short visit, and there is quite a distance between the monasteries..recheck the prices for tours..it may be your only sane option.

Toronto
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3. Re: English and public transportation

Thanks!!

I'm reconsidering the 2 day tour, but can't find one that starts on Apr 28th(Tuesday). Can you recommend one?

What about renting a car?

Is that a good option?

Rhodes Town, Greece
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4. Re: English and public transportation

You should be fine renting a car especially around Meteora. We stopped by on our way from London to Rhodes last year and drove as far as we could towards the top of the monastaries. It left us with breathaking views and less steps to get along side the monastaries. However you get there you will be amazed it takes your breath away, its hard to put your finger on why, but there is just an aura around the place.

If you hire a car from Athens make sure you pick it up from the airport and go straight on the motorway, as driving in the City is crazy.

Old Forge, New York
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5. Re: English and public transportation

I always think renting a car is the best solution. Taking the car from the airport always is the best way to avoid city traffic. The ride to Delphi is lovely, the road to Meteora/Kalambaka is National Highway, except a bit of mountain crossing from Delphi to the National Road, nothing to difficult.

Leave as early as you can, arrive at Delphi, see the site, and blast to Kalambaka, the sight of Meteora lit up at night is very special. Have fun!

Toronto
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6. Re: English and public transportation

ROAD TRIP!!! Thanks!! I think I'll drive!

Are the road signs all in Greek?

Would it be easy to get lost from the Airport to Delphi, then from Delphi to Meteora?

Where can I buy a Greek road map in Canada to prepare for the road trip?

It's probably best if I book a car in advance, right? Which car rental companies do you recommend?

Toronto
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7. Re: English and public transportation

Are most cars in Greece manual transmission?

What are the chances of finding an automatic transmission?

Athens, Greece
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8. Re: English and public transportation

You can find some initial info regarding the Delphi route and the Airport -> National Road drive here:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g189398-i192-k1813…

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Most cars are a manual. Automatic transmission are available though. A general advice is to make some kind of arrangement or so to have it right there waiting for you.

Car rental companies in Athens airport are here:

www.aia.gr/pages.asp?pageid=2416&langid=2

General network / highways signs are marked in both Greek names and English transliterations. Side roads / countryside roads may be marked only in Greek.

Drive map sites like viamichelin.com

Keep in mind that most of these sites consider as start of the route Athens downtown. Still departing from airport it is a by far easier drive :)

So use: "Greece / Athens Airport" and "Greece/Delphi".

Drive is around 200km / appx. 125 mi / around 2hrs 30 mins.

Old Forge, New York
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9. Re: English and public transportation

The signs are in Greek and English, if you cannot drive standard, automatic is available at an extra charge..think about a crash (no pun intended)course in standard transmission before you leave..just in case.

London, Ontario
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10. Re: English and public transportation

I did exactly this trip last October. All the above posted advice is first class. I rented my car at the airport and spent the first night in a place called Mati at the Hotel Mati (You can find it on the net).

I did NOT drive in the city of Athens. But I used all the highways around Athens (like the Attiki Odus). Believe me, after driving around Greece, once home on the 401 by Pearson, I though I was going to getkilled. The drivers in Toronto are far worse than any I encountered in Greece. I strongly recommend buying a good road map which has the names of the towns in both Greek and English. On the major highways in and around Athens, the signs are in both languages, either on the same sign or on separate signs one following the other. However, out in the Meteora area as well as the Delphi area, English signs were sometimes non-existent. I found English spoken everywhere except in small villages off the beaten track. One thing I did find is that Greece is mountainous and what looks like a short journey on the map, turns out to be a long one. In one week, I nowhere near covered as much as I had planned to. It takes a long time to drive places. Also, there is a LOT of road construction as EU money is flowing in to upgrade roads to become superhighways. I did drive Athens to Kalambaka in one day. It was a long drive. The best way to see the monasteries is in your own car. It is a painless day out to see them all. It took me one day to drive from Kalambaka over to Mt Olympus and one day to drive from Mt Olympus to Delphi. If you stay in Delphi stay on the lowest road as the views are superb and you don't have the main street noise to contend with. Try the Akropole which I used.Other help, fee free to e-mail me.