I've just joined this site and i'm hoping to get some advice about a trip i'm planning for Greece first half of July this year, roughly from 2 to 17 July.
I'm considering doing a tour so that i'm not always alone, and to make things easier, but if I could arrange to meet up with anyone who may be there at the same time I would change my mind about the tour.
I'm thinking of going to Athens, Santorini, maybe Paros, Hydra and Napflion. Also considering a trip to Delphi and maybe Meteora, if I can fit all of that in.
I'd also be interested in advice about places where it may be more easy to meet up with others.
A tour on the Greek islands makes no sense simply because they use the ferry system as anyone else and they offer no real convenience. Piraeus-Paros-Naxos-Santorini is a year around daily ferry and easy as pie, no complicated travel logistics involved. Piraeus - Hydra ditto. And I can not think of a more relaxing place where you may meet people than the Greek islands.
For mainland it is easy to visit each of Meteora, Delphi and Nafplio from Athens, but it is time consuming to combine all of them in one trip unless you have several days available. So this is where you should consider a tour if you need to visit all of those places. Google Chat, G.O. and Key Tours, three Athens-based tour companies that run identical bus tours on those destinations since decades ago.
In a two weeks time frame I would plan for a mainland tour, Athens and 2 islands at the very most though. You have to prioritise here. If it was me, actually I would forget about the bus tours, check Athens + one mainland destination and oen or two islands. Do note that the longer you stay in a destination, the better you get to understand what this is all about but also the more you increase the chances to familiarise your self and socialise with people.
thank you for your help, great advice that's been very helpful.
I've pretty much worked out an itinerary now, but would love your advice/opinion about my middle 4 days.
I'm going straight to Santorini where i'm spending 4 days in a small pension, then I have four days free.
After that i've arranged to stay with an airbnb couple on Naphlion for 3 days and i've arranged something similar for Athens for the last four days, with the hope of doing a day or overnight trip from there.
I was considering 2 days on an island near Santorini and then 2 days on Hydra. What do you think, is that doing too much?
thanks again for your help!
If you have time, I recommend visiting Corinth, which is just a couple of hours by bus from Athens. The Acro-Corinth (a fortress on a mountain above the ruins of Old Corinth) is an amazing site, with great views all around. It's also the place where I met some wonderful fellow-travellers. We got a bit lost trying to find the bus back to the new city of Corinth, but we had a great talk as we walked half way back to the city. When we returned separately to Athens we discovered we were staying in the same hotel!
If you include traveling time and by days you mean nights, you will see that your time available on each spot is much more limited that you think. For example say you have 2 nights for a second island after Santorini. You could get the Blue Star ferry departing Santorini at 15.30 and arrive Paros around 18.45 . Till you find your hotel and check in, you have time only for a walk and a dinner, so only next day is a full day on Paros. On departure day maybe you have part of a morning before you pack and check out and make it to the port, but does this makes sense? No, not on an island like Paros. Say that some of the seasonal ferries operate a schedule departing Santorini earlier in the morning and you are on Paros around noon. Does this make a great difference? Not so much, maybe possible to add one more activity or spot and that's it. Hydra is a tiny island with only one small town on it, so I guess 2 nights there are somehow justicied... Paros is the second largest island on Cyclades with tons of towns/villages to explore both inland and sea side, tons of diverse beaches and scenic spots, sights and activities. In one day you will get a glimpse of Parikia, the port town and maybe one more spot. Such a sort stay simply doesn't make justice to the island.
You could consider Antiparos for a couple of days' stay, although this complicates travel logistics a bit. Antiparos is a one town island with many nice sandy beaches and a nice cave to explore in the middle of the island. I guess you could make this island your chill out stay. There are some boat trips taking in the surrounding islets and making swim stops along the Antiparos side that is not accesible by road, where interesting sea caves are located while there are 4-5 different sandy beaches on walking distance from Antiparos harbour. The town is a pleasant one, traditional Cycladic and unpretentious although it is a hot spot for some celebrities, for example Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson own a house and visit every summer while Madonna has been spotted often among the regular visitors. Early July the town will not be jam-packed but there is interesting night-life, definately an island with a character!
You have to get on Paros first and then get a bus to Pounta port and a 7 minutes ferry to Antiparos or on July there will be ferries departing straight away from Parikia port, ride lasting about 30 minutes. You have to connect to Paros again to head on mainland.
I guess you will have to check if arriving from Cyclades to Piraeus you may get a latter ferry departure to Hydra or an overnight in Piraeus is necessary. From Hydra do investigate your options to head on Nafplion. On summer there are ferry connections to various port towns on Argolis, not all of them offer bus connections to Nafplion though. Maybe your AirB&B hosts can help you on this, and if you are not aware of it, have a look on this site about everything Nafplio and surroundings: