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Athens, Chania for 3 couples - Furnished villa or apartment?

Athens, Chania for 3 couples - Furnished villa or apartment?

Old Jan 16th, 2008, 05:50 PM
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Athens, Chania for 3 couples - Furnished villa or apartment?

We are three couples (mid 40's to mid 50's) traveling to Greece in May. We plan on spending 5 nights in Athens and then 5 nights in Crete. We're moderate to higher end travelers, figuring to spend around $200-$225 in couple per night in Athens, but it seems that doesn't really get luxury in Athens. With the dollar so pathetic, we started wondering about trying to rent a furnished apartment in Athens - I found one that looks like it might fit us, but I'd like to compare. In many cities we have traveled to, there has been alot to choose from, but I don't find this as an option much talked about for Athens.
I don't know we'll have to spend as much in Crete. We like the looks of Chania but are wondering if we'll be able to find an actual villa or house there and if that is a good place for us to spend 5 days. We are active travelers, like archeology, hiking (we want to go to Samaria), and good food. We aren't interested in laying on the beach for days on end, but we do like to swim, so it would be nice to be near a nice beach. Also, we'll be renting a car, is it unrealistic to think about doing a circle trip around the island on one of our 5 days.

Any suggestions?
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Old Jan 16th, 2008, 06:32 PM
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To your last question -- yes it is unrealistic.

Crete is about 125 miles long, 80% mountains. There is one modern road, all along the North Coast, and 2 fairly good ones going south -- one from Heraklion, and one from Rethymnon thru Spili. On smaller roads you will do no more than 35 mph.

THere are at least 3 major mountain ranges going north/south. In some places on the south you cannot drive east-west, you must take a boat.

In WEstern Crete, you CAN drive down along the rim of the Topolian Gorge and continue down to Paleohora, stay there & drive back along the West coast and stay in Falassarna (there's a great little pension hotel above the beach called Hotel Petalida.

Do look at a good map. Here is a good online source:
http://www.explorecrete.com/crete-maps/crete-maps.html
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Old Jan 16th, 2008, 07:39 PM
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I do not know of many major cities in Europe where $200 a night gets you luxury lodgings. Maybe in some places in low season. Would recommend less time in Athens and more time in Crete or another island. Crete is quite large and there is much to do. I also do not think you can circle the island in one day.
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Old Jan 16th, 2008, 07:43 PM
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Thank you - would it be possible to down along the rim of the Topolian Gorge and continue down to Paleohora, & drive back along the West coast and get back near Chania in one day? We really aren't keen to pack and repack and would prefer to find someplace central to where we will be exploring. We've found that staying in one location gives us a much better flavor than changing domiciles every night. I know that 5 days isn't long enough to REALLY get to know anywhere, but at least by the second or third day we will know our way "home".
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Old Jan 16th, 2008, 08:10 PM
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I'm sorry, our budget is 200 - 225 in EURO, not dollars .... And we travel throughout the US and find accomodations in this price range in 5 star hotels ($300 - $350 USD). But the prices I am finding for the Athens Hilton and the Grand Britagne seem way over the top to me (especially in comparison to the luxury apartments we are looking at).
Do you think 5 days is too much for Athens? Will we get bored? Here s how we thought we'd spend our time based on our readings of this forum and reading other sites on the internet - Evenings are devoted to finding good food and wine:
Day 1 - Arrive, settle in, eat and sleep - if we feel up to it, maybe a walk up to Lycabettus Hill or Philloppappou Hill (based on where we are staying)
Day 2 - Acropolis and Ancient Agora, Plaka, Keramikos, Technolopolis, Gazi & the Synagogue
Day 3 - Day trip to Corinth/Nafplion - nearby arch. sites
Day 4 - Syntagma, the Jewish museum, the changing of the guard and Kolonaki area, the Benaki museum and Cycladic museum
Day 5 - Open for anything we may have missed or what to revisit - departing in the afternoon for Crete.

Maybe we are wrong - but when we write it out it seems like our days will be filled, and we actually crossed off a number of things we'd like to have added, thinking we'd be running too much without time to really enjoy Athens.

Do you think this is too many days?
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Old Jan 17th, 2008, 04:12 AM
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I know what you want to hear but I can't say it. No, in order to see the beauties of Western Crete would really require moving at least once.

If you want to do that drive, it would mean spending the entire day in your car (really-- your mini-van -- if all 3 couples want to drive together). If you really are "active" travelers, that is not what you want to do.

And active travelers usually don't mind packing & unpacking -- in fact, they travel "light" so they don't carry a lot of dressy clothes that need fussing over. People who talk about not wanting to unpack usually go for cruises.

You also mention swimming; you do not say WHEN in may your Crete segment will be -- and you should know that the water can be 'brisk' if you are accustomed to Florida waters. I have swum in Southern crete in mid-May, but I also swim in LI Sound May 30.
And if u are thinking of a resort with a pool as an alternative, be aware that in Greece there are no heated pools.

Reading your wish list, it does seem that you want a luxury villa that is near Chania, and be able to access lovely mountain/seaside scenery and hikes and ruins within 2 hrs drive. I do not think any agent could find this because they cannot rearrange the landscape. Good luck in your planning!
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Old Jan 17th, 2008, 06:17 AM
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200-250 euros is not going to get you true "luxury" accommodations in ANY European capital city that I know of. That's moderate at best and even "budget" in the most expensive cities (London, Venice).

But Athens is still relatively affordable, as capital cities go. If the GB and the Hilton are too much, have you checked out prices at the Intercontinental, the Marriott or the King George Palace?

The Electra Palace is in your budget (210 euros in May), but it may not be up to your "luxury" requirements.
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Old Jan 17th, 2008, 06:51 AM
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We rented a lovely house near Chania from Maria @
www.diktynna-travel.gr
She is extremely helpful, is a Crete specialist and will respond to your emails quickly.
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Old Jan 17th, 2008, 03:22 PM
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Thanks for your reply, Jan, actually, we do travel light but it still involves repacking what we have in order to change locations. We prefer to have time to get to know our surroundings, relax with a glass of wine at the end of the day. I'm not sure that everyone who likes to hike, bike, and explore believes that moving from hotel to hotel is the way to go. If that is the meaning of active traveler, then I mispoke, we aren't active travelers, we are SLOW travelers. We certainly don't bring fancy clothes and lots of toys along. We stay in higher end accommodations when we can because we like good beds, hot showers and internet access.
We did, by the way, stay at the Hyatt in Paris for 225 euro last year and we go to Chicago often and find rooms there in the $275 - $325 range in 5 star hotels - so it is/was possible elsewhere, but perhaps not today and not in Athens.
Interestingly I did find a couple of beautiful apartments listed on some vacation rental websites. I have spoken with the owners, and I have sent emails to some of their previous guests. These places look beautiful in the photos, and the price is right: 300 and 350 euro for 6 of us with 3 bedrooms and 3 baths. One is in the historical center (Thissio) and the other is near the stadium and the National gallery. From the map it looks like both are in the downtown area and would be good bases for our stay in Athens.
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Old Jan 18th, 2008, 06:18 AM
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Try Pure Crete and Simply Crete for an apartment. We (3 couples) rented an apartment (2 units) in the village of Megala Horafia near Chania. Beautiful views of Souda Bay, great location for exploring western Crete, the best part of the island, IMO.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 02:48 PM
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Thanks everyone - I appreciate all the feedback I have gotten. I am still working on Crete, but with the feedback we've gotten we are pretty confident that if we want to visit the southwestern part of the island as a day trip from Chania, we should be able to do this, so now we just have to look at our options for Chania.

I have looked at several hotels in Athens, mostly considering the Electra and Hera (210 e or 230 euro for the Hera's junior suite). But since I was able to check references for the Athens vacation rental apartment (a penthouse I found on vrbo.com and at www.greekvacationrentals.com thanks to someone on another travel forum) and I was actually able to speak with 2 of their past guests, I am pretty confident the we've found what is apparently a terrific secret in Athens - a large 3 bedroom 3 bath with Acropolis views, and all of the other amenities I could want (the owner did say we could have an option for daily housekeeping, but that isn't big in our book) for 350 euro per night. The junior suites at the Hera are 230 euro per room for our dates, and even the regular rooms at 143 euro per night come up more expensive - so for 3 couples a hotel is a lot more expensive.

I'll be happy if it is half of what we are imagining, (i'm thinking about wine and cheese on the private roof terrace looking at the acropolis.

If anyone is interested, I will post a followup about my Chania search as well.
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Old Jan 27th, 2008, 04:16 AM
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I think, on the Crete end, it's a good decision.

To get a house, you'll probably have to be slightly out of town. Are either of these of any interest?

http://www.crete-hotels-rooms.com/Re...mas_Villas.htm

http://www.prettygreekvillas.com/vil...archontiko.htm
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