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My 16-day itinerary on Greece Mainland- Opinions?

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My 16-day itinerary on Greece Mainland- Opinions?

My husband and I (40’s/50’s) are planning on a 16-night “road trip” on mainland Greece in mid-October. We like to travel independently and tend to take our time at museums and sites… reading information and contemplating art, history and life. We also like taking long walks and lingering in nature. We don’t like to be constantly on the move or changing locations… yet we want to see it all! We rarely spend only 1 night in a location, preferring 3-5 nights to explore an area more thoroughly. This will be our first trip to Greece and we wish to focus on the major archeological sites, the Meteora (bucket-list!) and enjoying nature. We will be renting a car, and although I am a bit nervous about the mountainous roads on some parts of our trip, I have driven extensively in Portugal and Italy. Here is my itinerary so far… thoughts? Thank you in advance!

2 nights: ATHENS - Including arrival day, realistically, 18 “tourist” hours total. We will stay in Plaka, visit a couple of museums and the Acropolis. I know this isn't enough time to fully enjoy Athens, but our last several trips were to cities, and we are looking to minimize city-time this trip. Also, we intend another trip to the Islands another time, so will have added time in Athens, then.

4 nights: NAFPLIO - Homebase to see Corinth, Nemea, Mycenae, Tiryn, Epidaurus Theater, Palamidi Castle. I don’t think I can shorten this segment… in fact, I reduced our time in Nafplio from 5 nights in order to add Kalavryta.

2 nights: KALAVRYTA - Kapsia Cave (enroute from Nafplio), Kastria Cave Lakes, Vouraikos Canyon Railway (and hike) and Museum of the Kalavryta Holocaust. After reading about the massacre which occurred here at the hands of the Nazis, we feel compelled to stop here to pay our respects, as well as to enjoy the unique natural features of the area.

4 nights: KASTRAKI (or maybe KALABAKA?)- The Meteora, lots of hiking and photography, and Theopetra Cave. I know some may think this is too much time, but it’s a long drive and one of the places I have wanted to see for such a long time… I really don’t want to rush this segment. Also, my husband is a photographer, so we are hoping for changing weather and light, and don’t mind spending time revisiting some beautiful spots we find. `

4 nights: DELPHI - Museum and archeological sites, hike ancient Mt. Parnassos trail (all day, Corycean Grotto to Delphi), exploring nearby villages and relaxing on final day.

Drive directly from Delphi to Athens Airport.

ALTERNATIVELY, I could change the order to: Athens > Nafplio > Kalavryta > Delphi > Kastraki…. and depart from Thessaloniki airport, with a stop in Dion.

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1. Re: My 16-day itinerary on Greece Mainland- Opinions?

It sounds like you will be fine with the driving, since you have experience in Portugal and Italy. Most of your route is over fairly decent roads with shoulders. Side-trip adventures into the hills may encounter some more adventurous driving, but nothing too crazy. My only suggestion would be if you're on a really narrow road, with blind corners… keep your driver's window cracked a little, and your stereo on low volume. Often, truck and bus drivers will honk their horns before they round a tight corner; corners where they might very well take up the whole road.

The weather will mostly be pleasant, though you may experience some rainy days.

Not that I want to add to your itinerary, and I feel a bit guilty even mentioning it, but… have you considered the Zagorohoria? It sounds like the kind of place you would enjoy. The scenery is beautiful, and all the little villages with their stone houses in the mountains. So gorgeous and peaceful! It will be beautiful in the fall weather/colours. Since you're going to the Meteora, it's not that much further to the Zagorohoria. You could skip something on the Peloponnese and slip it in right before the Meteora.

In the same area as the Zagorohoria, you could visit the theatre at Dodoni instead of Epidaurus. In my opinion, it is as good, if not better. It is about the same size. Both times I've been there, I was the only person visiting the site. That is an experience you are unlikely to have at Epidaurus.

Edited: 08 January 2018, 02:12
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2. Re: My 16-day itinerary on Greece Mainland- Opinions?

<< We like to travel independently and tend to take our time at museums and sites… reading information and contemplating art, history and life. We don’t like to be constantly on the move or changing locations… yet we want to see it all! We rarely spend only 1 night in a location, preferring 3-5 nights to explore an area more thoroughly. >>

That pretty much exactly describes my own travel style and I think your plan is a good one. There is so much to see in mainland Greece and it's very tempting to try and pack in more places but you will have the luxury of time to get to know each place and fully enjoy it rather than rushing around ticking things off as so many do.

I would be inclined to go Kalavryta - Delphi - Kastraki - Thessaloniki. If you can fit in Dion it is lovely site with a great view of Mt Olympus if the weather is clear. Also just off your route is Vergina with the Macedonian Royal Tombs (of Alexander the Great's family). This is one of the most memorable sites I have ever visited with an excellent small museum displaying the stunning golden treasures found in the tombs. It would only be a short detour if you have time that day. If I had to choose I would pick Vergina over Dion.

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3. Re: My 16-day itinerary on Greece Mainland- Opinions?

YYCFly- Thank you so much for the suggestions! I will keep your driving tip in mind, for sure. I hadn't been aware of either Zagorohoria or the theatre at Dodoni... you are right... sounds right up our alley. THANK YOU!!

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4. Re: My 16-day itinerary on Greece Mainland- Opinions?

2bristolians- We were thinking about just what you suggest! Rather than back-tracking, flying out of Thessaloniki. I think I need to give this more consideration... it make a lot of sense. We knew about Dion, but not about the site at Vergina. Between your and YYCFly's suggestions, I think I need to rework things so we spend more time up north. So many amazing things to experience! Thank you very much for your advice.

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5. Re: My 16-day itinerary on Greece Mainland- Opinions?

We are definitely including the Zagorohoria are in our trip... thank you again for introducing it to me!

Sydney, Australia
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6. Re: My 16-day itinerary on Greece Mainland- Opinions?

Consider Monemvasia Fortress

Massachusetts
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7. Re: My 16-day itinerary on Greece Mainland- Opinions?

I wish I could see everything, @cruiserSydney! I think I will need to take another trip to focus on the entire Peloponnese... so much to see!

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8. Re: My 16-day itinerary on Greece Mainland- Opinions?

I’m very happy you are considering the Zagorohoria. It really is a special place. It really has the feeling of being trapped in time. A beautiful time, of course. ;)

As to the Peloponisos… that’s my next plan, for this spring! We will tour the Peloponisos, in detail. :) I have been to at least two islands in each island group, and I’ve seen much of the mainland, but Thraki (Thrace?) and the Peloponisos remain.

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9. Re: My 16-day itinerary on Greece Mainland- Opinions?

I hope you will be posting a trip report when you return from your next trip, YYCFly. I will be looking forward it!

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