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Independent Travel in Greece
Old 03-25-2016, 06:34 PM   #1
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Independent Travel in Greece

We have a trip to Europe for a Viking Cruise in Oct and decided to visit Greece before joining the river cruise in Prague.

So far, our plans are to arrive and depart from Athens. Itinerary currently is to spend 3/4 nights in Athens to see all the sights/ruins, rent a car to travel to Delphi (2 nights), visit Olypmia area (2 nights) and then spend last 2 nights at Nafplio as a base for the checking out the various towns/ruins in the area. Nothing really locked in so still a lot of flexibility.
I would appreciate all ideas and any shared experience regarding driving in Greece and if there are sites that are definite "WOW's" we should get in the plans
Many thanks in advance
Nwsteve
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Old 03-25-2016, 06:51 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nwsteve View Post
We have a trip to Europe for a Viking Cruise in Oct and decided to visit Greece before joining the river cruise in Prague.

So far, our plans are to arrive and depart from Athens. Itinerary currently is to spend 3/4 nights in Athens to see all the sights/ruins, rent a car to travel to Delphi (2 nights), visit Olypmia area (2 nights) and then spend last 2 nights at Nafplio as a base for the checking out the various towns/ruins in the area. Nothing really locked in so still a lot of flexibility.
I would appreciate all ideas and any shared experience regarding driving in Greece and if there are sites that are definite "WOW's" we should get in the plans
Many thanks in advance
Nwsteve
I have been to all the places you mentioned, but you will miss out on the beautiful Greek Islands like Santorini, Mykonos, Delos, etc. There are ferries that run from Pireus (Athen's port) to the islands.
We were married in 2007 on the island of Santorini. If you go to my profile, there is a link to our trip stories.
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Old 03-25-2016, 07:29 PM   #3
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I kinda liked Meteora:

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Old 03-25-2016, 10:02 PM   #4
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The things I remember the most are the peloponnesus and some kind of white lasagna thing with goat cheese...the best food I had the whole summer was in Greece. They had a beer called "Fix", so we had fun with that, crazy teens that we were.
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Old 03-26-2016, 12:46 AM   #5
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We have done a number of independent trips i in Greece and Turkey. It is very easy. Last fall we landed in Athens. Rented a car for the Peloponnese for 10 days and then jumped on the ferries. No issue whatsoever. We plan to do something similar again this fall.

We did a day trip to Hydra from the town south of Napfilio. It was very nice. I forget the name of the town. They have a parking lot at the ferry dock. We also very much enjoyed the Mani peninsula-great drive through to Monemvesia and on Kalamata. You might want to consider this loop and then carry on to Delphi if you so wish.

We have spent time on many of the islands. We always go one way, ie visit the islands, continue down to Crete or North to a Turkish port, and then fly somewhere else. saves backtracking to Athens.
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Old 03-26-2016, 05:51 AM   #6
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Not sure about the latest situation, just be aware some places in Greece might have lots of refugees. That might impact your preferred stopovers.

Tourists, migrants share Greek island - CNN.com
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Old 03-26-2016, 07:45 AM   #7
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The places the OP talks about likely won't have a refugee problem.

"FIX" beer is good for a big name beer. Liked it better than Alpha. (α)

Seriously consider Meteora. Seriously. It is a further trip inland from Delphi. One of my favorite places on the mainland, although Delphi is awesome too. Make sure to visit Arachova (it will be between Delphi and Athens). It is a nice ski town. Skiing? Yes. Good for lunch, but good luck parking.

Regarding the rental car. We were with a group so we didn't rent. We spoke to a couple from Athens, GEORGIA! and they detailed their experience with the car.
- 95% of the cars are manual transmission. Can't drive one? Be sure to reserve an automatic.
- Don't mess with "no parking" areas. The cops will take your license plate if you screw up. It gets messy after that. They were going through the process.
- Otherwise, you'll find driving in Greece to be pretty easy and very comparable to USA. The experienced say it is much more relaxed than Italy, for instance.

Enjoy your trip! Greece was great.
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Old 03-27-2016, 09:28 AM   #8
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We have never had a problem driving in Greece. Or in Turkey and in Italy or that matter.

For mainland Greece (and on Crete) we reserve prior to going. On the islands we do daily walk in rentals. The rate last fall was 25E /day on each of the three islands where we rented. Fortunately I can drive a standard. Not only because they cost less but they are preferable in steep terrain. Easier to downshift that constantly stand on the brakes.

If you plan to do some island hopping it would be a very good ideafor you to do some research to understand the common ferry routes and the typical schedules during your travel time. I doubt very much that you will encounter even one refuge if you stick to the Cyclades.
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Old 03-27-2016, 09:45 AM   #9
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You have a fine itinerary.

I'd second the recommendations above to consider getting out to the islands (Santorini is especially spectacular).

I might also clip a day or two in Athens to make room for another destination. You can get around the mains Athens sights in about two days without rushing.

If I were going to add a stop on your driving itinerary it would probably be the medieval walled city of Monemvesia.

You could also clip a day in either Olympia or Delphi if you were pressed for time. The benefit of spending two nights in these places is that it allows you to arrive at the ruins at opening the following morning and avoid the worst of the afternoon crowds. That's probably more of an issue at Delphi. But in either place the main ruins take a couple of hours to explore so it's completely possible to do them in a single night.

Have a great trip.
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Old 03-27-2016, 10:09 AM   #10
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Many thanks to all for your comments and inputs. We have added Meteora to our schedule and cut back on our Athens time. Monemvesia is also on the itinerary as well.
Keep em coming.
Thanks again
Nwsteve
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Old 03-27-2016, 07:07 PM   #11
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We picked our rental in Athens. It was a straight run to leave
town. We decided against returning it in Pireus, or Athens for that matter. We decided to drop it at the airport and then took the direct bus to Pireus.

It was a straight run on the highway to the airport. We stayed in Corinth the night before. It took about an hour to get to the airport. We had no issues and would do this again.

We did not stay iinside Monemvisia. We stayed across the bridge and we're glad that we did.

We flew in to Athens. We flew home from Paris. We got a great $60 USD air on a direct Agean flight from Crete to Paris. It saved wasting time travelling back to Athens for a return flight. We cherry picked fares to Athens and home from Paris. The savings on air paid for our Priceline hotel win in Paris for three nights.
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Old 04-08-2016, 04:31 PM   #12
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For me, the WOW factor in Greece was the trip to Oja, Santorini and staying in a Cave flat. It's a 4 hour trip from Athens via ship.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nwsteve View Post
We have a trip to Europe for a Viking Cruise in Oct and decided to visit Greece before joining the river cruise in Prague.

So far, our plans are to arrive and depart from Athens. Itinerary currently is to spend 3/4 nights in Athens to see all the sights/ruins, rent a car to travel to Delphi (2 nights), visit Olypmia area (2 nights) and then spend last 2 nights at Nafplio as a base for the checking out the various towns/ruins in the area. Nothing really locked in so still a lot of flexibility.
I would appreciate all ideas and any shared experience regarding driving in Greece and if there are sites that are definite "WOW's" we should get in the plans
Many thanks in advance
Nwsteve
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Old 04-08-2016, 06:20 PM   #13
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Oia is very cool. We didn't have enough time there, and if I had a chance, I'd go back and explore.

Let's just hope the volcano doesn't blow anytime soon!
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Old 04-08-2016, 11:12 PM   #14
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For you guys driving in European countries, do you buy the extra insurance or just rely on the credit card insurance cover?
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Old 04-09-2016, 03:26 AM   #15
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Often when we rent from that well known auto rental broker insurance is included.

When it is not, or we rent through someone else we use our credit card coverage.
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Old 04-09-2016, 10:03 PM   #16
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For you guys driving in European countries, do you buy the extra insurance or just rely on the credit card insurance cover?

Credit card here, but make sure that you have a letter from your CC co that states that you have the insurance. I've been asked for it. Also must be primary insurance, not secondary.


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Old 04-09-2016, 10:50 PM   #17
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Our Cave house overlooked the Calderas and was like 170 steps down the main st of Oja, which was all white marble. And another 300+ steps down was access to the Aegean sea where you can see the Caldera. Went there to kayak for a short while. The volcanic rocks were amazing.

And several studies now point to Santorini as the real Atlantis base on the accurate description from Plato and the Egyptians.

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Oia is very cool. We didn't have enough time there, and if I had a chance, I'd go back and explore.

Let's just hope the volcano doesn't blow anytime soon!
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Old 04-11-2016, 03:48 PM   #18
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For you guys driving in European countries, do you buy the extra insurance or just rely on the credit card insurance cover?

I've always used the credit card coverage. I was always double-check my credit card coverage when I make the reservation.
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