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Masterphil Feb 11th, 2014 09:32 AM

August or September Euro Trip
Previously looked into Scandinavia in August, but I am now leaning towards Greece in early September.

My wife and I will be flying from west coast and spending 17 days in Europe.

Some of the interesting places I haven't been to that interest me are:

Greece (definitely Santorini - not sure where else), Budapest, Krakow, Amalfi Coast, Serbia/Croatia/Montenegro?, less popular parts of Italy (maybe Puglia, Sicily, etc.).

We are mid 50s (very immature for our age!), no kids, love the beach, love great food, like to hike (as long as there is great food and wine after it), people watching, seeing all of this beautiful Earth as possible.

We live modestly and splurge on vacations (stay in some some 3 star hotels and throw in a few nights in 5 star luxury (if worth it)).

I have to assume that September is a better time to travel to Southern Europe rather than August.

This board has been great to me in the past, with some creative thinking...

I will get some books, etc. and do some research, but there is no research better than hearing from those who have preceded me!

Thanks for any thoughts, suggestions, comments!

We have 17 days (in the past we have done the blitzkrieg vacations where we spend 2-3 nights in lots of different places. This time I think 3-4 places for 4 nights might be better). Willing to fly between destinations.

Any fun ideas?

greg Feb 11th, 2014 11:17 AM

If you are interested in Greek islands, probe the accommodation availability and prices after Sept 15 vs. before. For islands other than Santorini, there are big differences between the first half and the last half of September. Santorini is an exception. The entire September is still a high season.

However, there is a trade-off in that inter-island high season ferry boats and direct flights into Santorini from Europe other than Athens also end around this time.

Because of the uncertainty with ferry boat schedules, it is difficult to execute a tight schedule reliably. You would quickly realize that you would need to plan on staying at least three nights on a given island to deal with boat issues. On islands outside the main BlueStar ferry routes, you need to be able to tolerate even wider range in the number of nights you stay.

Additionally, think about how you reach and exit Greek islands. You can book flights into and out of Greek islands using Athens simply as a layover point. Your connection in Athens is then the airline's responsibility. This route is easier if you use Staralliance into islands with big airports, Mykonos, Santorini, or Crete using the Aegean airline. Skyteam flights would use less frequent Olympic airlines. I had to combine Skyteam flights with Aegean flights last year. They had to be purchased separately, but I had more than one day buffer between the flights from different code-share groups.

If you want to spend time in Athens, you would not want to schedule a ferry boat back to Athens just before your flight out of Athens. So it is usually recommended to fly into an island first, then make your self back to Athens a few days before for flight so a one day foul up in returning to Athens will not make you miss the return flight.

You will also find that practically all the flights originate and end in Athens and not between islands.

dulciusexasperis Feb 11th, 2014 02:21 PM

Pick no more than 3 places to visit. Otherwise you will be losing too much time to moving from A to B. As it is with only 3 places you will still lose 4 out of your 17 days to travel, leaving you only 13 days IN places.

Bamaman Feb 11th, 2014 09:05 PM

I regret that I've not taken time to visit Scandanavia. My parents went on a North Sea cruise many years ago, and the cities they went to were highlights of their travel lives.

And September is a perfect time to go.

I tend to avoid The South until later in Fall or in the Spring.

sssteve Feb 11th, 2014 09:27 PM


("We live modestly and splurge on vacations")
I can definitely identify with that.

1. You haven't mentioned how much you have been to Europe in the past. It's hard to suggest places without knowing a little about where you've been in the past.
2. If you can avoid August (except for Scandinavia) do it. September is much better.
3. You have decided on Greece, and that's fine. As for Italy, have you considered the Piedmont? If you like wine and good food, Piedmont (Piemonte) is fabulous. Lots of great wine, great food, hiking, nice small towns, and did I mention great wine?

There are hundreds of threads here on the forum about this beatiful rovince of northern Italy. Check out the towns of Alba and Asti. Puglia is nice too.

Masterphil Feb 12th, 2014 08:56 AM

sssteve...sorry! I have been to Europe 7 times. Ireland (SW)London, probably all of France, Switzerland (B.O., Zermatt, Luzern, Montreux), most of Austria, Prague, Ukraine, Italy (CT, SML, Rome, Florence, Venice, Ortisei, Como), Germany (Koln, Koblenz, Frankfurt, Munich, Fussen), Amsterdam. I think that is it.

Looking to find the places I have possibly missed!

The photos of Santorini, seem to do it for me! My wife works hard and part of the trip I just want her to relax with a glass of champagne in her hands enjoying the sun with a wonderful view of the water.

I have a number of trip reports on here (click my name). We usually bounce around and then spend the last week kind of chilling out before flying back to work.

greg...Thanks for the great info!!! I was unaware of the ferry issues.

Bama...there is a part of me that might want to incorporate something I know we love (like Switzerland, Paris or London) to offset something we might wish we did differently. Scandinavia is really a question mark for me. One comment that resonated with me was that the "ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki was the highlight of our Scandinavian trip"

dulcius....thanks! My new self agrees with you! The old me would definitely disagree! My first trip to Europe in my 20s was 2 days here (overnight train) 2 days here (overnight train)..we bounced all over the place! My wife will not let me do that anymore! haha

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