Athens – Peloponnese & Cyclades, Greece



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TRAVEL GENERAL INFORMATION

Period of this trip: August – September 2015
Country: Greece
Currency used: Euro
Duration: 2 weeks
Number of travelers: 3
Budget: ca. 1800 GBP (ca. £900 pp)
Best Period: Summer
Guide used: National Geographic
VISA: No
General Info: Greece is a very interesting destination both from the naturalistic and historical point of view. The current economic crisis has left intact the charm of the islands and also the wild Peloponnese. Booking in advance is necessary for hotels in the high season. Transports are pretty well-organized: we rent our car without previously booking (it was necessary for the Peloponnese) and we moved between islands using ferries…easy!

TRAVEL PLAN

Day Area What to Do
1 From Milan to Athens We landed in the Athens in the evening. We spend the night at Best Western Candia Hotel.
2 Athens The hotel is quite nice and just next to the tube station Metaxourgio. However the surrounding area is nothing special. The near Omonia square was full of homeless people. 🙁

Things we did in Athens:

  • Acropolis (2 hours visit)
  • Temple of Olympian Zeus
  • Syntagma square (for the changing of the guards)
  • Monastiraki area, perfect for a nice downtown walk and to have dinner in one of the many restaurants (we tried Styl Cafe)
3 Athens to Neapolis The third day we decided to head toward Neapolis. We hired a car with Hertz from the city centre.

Along the way there are very interesting sites to visit: Corinth (the channel is very nice as well as the old town), Mycenae (that we visited on the way back) and Sparta (we couldn’t actually visit because of the massive work on the motorway delaying our journey).

Once we reached Neapolis we stayed at Limira Mare Hotel. Excellent value for money (3 stars hotel, with less than 60 euro per night, free wifi, breakfast and private beach included!!!).

Neapolis is the perfect starting point to reach Elafonisos island (distant ca 5/10 km).

The town of Neapolis is quite nice, full of front sea restaurants and bars. The main food specialities are of course meat and sea food!!

4 Elafonisos to Mycenae We took the ferry to Elafonisos island soon after breakfast (10 mins to reach the pear and 15 mins of ferry (3 euro each + 5 for the car). At 10.40am we were already by Simos Beach. This is a private beach and they charge 7 euro (compulsory) for 2 sunbed and umbrella, but there are also free beaches.

This was the best beach we ever seen in our trip in Greece. The water is crystal clear, the beach is huge and sand is super clean and thin. The panorama is breath-taking. For some strange reason, this island is not very touristic, so we shared this paradise with only few other people. We loved this beach and definitively recommend.

After having lunch by the beach (actually by our sunbeds), at around 4pm, we returned back to the main land to then heading to Mycenae.

We decided to stay in Argo, a city not far from Mycenae. The town (ca. 30.000 habitants) has a very dynamic old town, with many bars and clubs. We stayed in a very nice hotel (Morfeas).

5 Mycenae, Corinth, Athens, Naxos In the morning of the 5th day we visited the ancient ruins of Mycenae (where you can see the ancient walls of the city, the famous Lion’s gate, the Royal circle, the tomb of Clytaemnestra, Treasury of Atreus and the Royal graves where the famous “death mask of Agamemnon” was found.

On the way back to Athens, we stopped for a visit of the Acrocorinth (the acropolis of Corinth). This place is worth few hours visit; once you reach the top of the hill of the acropolis, the view is breathtaking. Someone says that this is one of the most impressive acropolis of the continental Greece.

In the afternoon we reached Athens main port (Pireo), we left the car and took the ferry to Naxos (3-4 hours journey, ca € 45 each).

6-9 Naxos Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades island group. We stayed at hotel Golden Sun (recommended!! 4 stars, shuttle service to the beach and to the main city, nice pool, wifi and super breakfast for only 60 euro a day). It’s located in the most beautiful beaches of the island: Agios Prokopios (1,5 km far from the hotel). The main city (Naxos) is only few km distant and merit a visit.

The Apollo gate is very nice (near the peer) as well as Old Market Street are, with its narrow streets and full of restaurants, stones and souvenir shops.

We had a romantic dinner with sunset view by the marina in a restaurant called Flamingo, having also a internal garden all decorated with small lanterns and live greek music (sooo nice!).
We also did few boat excursions around the island and visited Koufonisia island (very nice for the colors of the nature and beaches – a must see is the “devil’s eye”).

10-14 Santorini We reached Santorini by ferry again. From Naxos it was circa 2h, €25 each.

The first hotel we stayed was Hotel Olympia in the Karterados, 1.5km far from Thira, the main city. The hotel has free wifi and pool and very good value for money.
Santorini is the most touristic of the Cyclades islands, but you can easily understand why. The volcanic scenery of the caldera is stunning and unique.

We went to the Red Beach (in the southern part of the island) where we visited also an ancient archaeological site of Akrotiri (a Minoan site of the bronze age -4500 BC).
But the most touristic “attraction” of Santorini is to watch the sunset. We admired the panorama from 2 different places. 1) Rastoni: a la carte restaurant (bit expensive, but you get the most stunning view in Thira); 2) Franco’s bar: pre-dinner cocktail bar with a spectacular view by the cliff of the caldera.

We really like the one day trip to the Santorini Archipelagos island. We visited Nea Kameni island with a small hike to the top of the volcano (still alive); we had a nice bath in the warm water of Palia Kameni, a hot spring with mud and 30 degree water; and we stopped for lunch in the island of Thirasia. At the end of the tour we did the famous 1000 steps from the port to the city of Oia (or, if you feel lazy, you can hire a donkey!). From here, the best place to see the sunset is near the old castle.

The last day we decided to change hotel and go luxury for once!! 🙂
We stayed at SkyFall Suites (near Pyrgos). The cost was high (€290 per night), but we enjoyed every minutes!! We had our own private pool with panoramic view, impeccable room service  (including a welcome bottle of wine) and a huge breakfast (obviously served in the room), a kind of 1 meter tray super full with local sweets. Panorama and room decor impossible to describe…check our pics!

Just next to the hotel there is a famous wine bar, Santo Winery with stunning sunset views. We tried the 12 wines testing menu. The only way to get a table is to book well in advance.

The very last few hours before heading to the airport, we visited Pyrgos, a very traditional and typical greek village with the blue roof churches, little souvenir shops and narrow white streets. In the afternoon we took our flight back to Italy!! 🙁

 

TRAVEL COST LIST

Athens
– 1 night –
Best Western Candia
Address: Theodorou Diligianni 40 , Zip Code: 10438, Athens – Greece
Tel.: +30 210 5246112-7
Email: candia@candia-hotel.gr
Website: http://www.candia-hotel.gr
 

Including breakfast, roof terrace with pool and free wifi.

€65
Neapolis
– 1 night –
Limira Mare Hotel
Address: Neapolis – Laconia – Peloponnese – Greece
Tel.: +30 27340 22236, +30 27340 22957, +30 27340 22208
Email: info@limiramare.gr
Website: www.limiramare.gr
 

Including breakfast and private beach!!!

€60
Argos
– 1 night –
Morfeas Hotel
Address: 2 Danaou Street Argos, Argolida – Greece
Tel.: +30 27510-68317
Email: info@hotel-morfeas.gr
Website: http://hotel-morfeas.gr/
 

 

€35
Naxos
– 3 nights –
Golden Sun Hotel
Address: Stelida, Stelida, 84300, Greece
Tel.: +30 697 848 2520
Email: info@naxosgoldensun.com
Website: http://www.naxosgoldensun.com/
 

Super recommended!! 4 stars, shuttle service to the beach and to the main city, nice pool, wifi and super breakfast – €60 per night!

€180
Santorini 1
– 3 nights –
Hotel Olympia
Address: Karterados, Thiras – Greece
Tel.: +30-22860-22213
Email: olympia5@otenet.gr
Website: www.olympiahotelsantorini.com/
 

€55 per night, excluding breakfast!

€165
Santorini 2
– 1 night –
Hotel Olympia
Address: Pyrgos Kallistis, Santorini – Greece
Tel.:
+30 2286033377
Email: info@skyfallsuites.com
Website: http://www.skyfallsuites.com
 

For a luxury experiece, with a super room service breakfast, private pool and spectacular view. Worth every minutes of staying!

€290
Transports Car Hire in Athens 3 days  € 120
Athens tube tickets (€1.5 pp)  € 6
Elafonis Ferry boat (€3 pp + €5 car)  € 22
From Pireo to Naxos Ferry boat (€45 pp)  € 90
Naxos bus tickets (€4 pp)  € 16
From Naxos to Santorini Ferry boat (€25 pp)  € 50
Santorini bus tickets (€2 pp)  € 12
Santorini – hotel shuttle from peer to Hotel  € 10
Santorini – taxi from hotel to airport  € 15
Trips & Other 1 day trip around Naxos e Koufonisia (€40 pp) € 80
1 day trip Santorini archipelagos (€45 pp) € 90
Meal Average Meal Price € 15-20 pp
Drinks Price € 1-3 pp
Total Holiday Cost Range per 2 people (2 weeks)
(inclusive of meals, souvenirs etc, excluding international flights)
ca. €1.800 (£1.300)
International flights Milan to Athens / Santorini to Rome 350 €
Total Holiday Cost Range per 2 people (2 weeks) ca. € 2.500
ca. £ 1.800

 

TRAVEL PICS

About Andrea Gatti

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” ― Marcel Proust

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