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Jan 11th, 2014, 12:18 PM
  #1
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Best way to travel Barcelona-Greece

Our family is planning a 3 week trip to Europe and the places that we want to visit are Barcelona , South of France, Italy and Greece (Santorini). The question is what is the best way to do this? Is it okay to rent a car in Barcelona and drive all the way to Italy and then take a ferry to Greece? Can we return the car in greece and fly out of there back to the USA.
Is train a better option? We would like to see the countryside too.

Any help and information will be great. We're traveling with a 18 and 22 yr old.

What are good places to stay along the way?
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Jan 11th, 2014, 12:42 PM
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Barcelona is a city, South of France a wide area, Italy a whole country and Santorini an island in the Aegean Sea.

Having only 3 weeks at disposal you can't see all of it with a rental car, even if you could return it in Greece.

If you want to go to Greece just to see Santorini, i would drop Greece and save it for another trip.
Taking a ferry from Italy to Greece would take almost 2 days of your travel time, as you would have to go to either Venice, Ancona or Bari to take the ship to Greece, go to Igoumenitsa or Patras take a bus to Athens/Piraeus and fly or ferry to Santorini....

Renting a car in one country and dropping it off in another one is connected with high one way fees, as the car would have to return to it's country of origin, so i am not sure if this makes sense.

Using trains or even flying instead would be a much better alternative. You can always rent a car in each country.
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Jan 11th, 2014, 01:15 PM
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Some rental cars won't allow you to take them on ferries. Your age might be an issue also.

If budget matters, gas/tolls/parking would be expensive as would a ferry from Italy to Greece. You aren't allowed to drive in many Italian cities so you would have to pay to leave it parked (30-40€ a day). Which cities did you plan to visit in Italy?
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Jan 11th, 2014, 07:25 PM
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I want to clarify that that the 18 and 21 yr old are my children, so it won't be a problem for us to drive if needed. We really want to visit Barcelona and surrounding areas and I also thought that it will be nice to visit some of. The French countryside since it is close to Barcelona. My children really want to visit Greece, so it might be better to fly there and then rent a car to drive around. We want to visit Athens and Santorini and other coastal towns, just kind of wander and stop wherever we like. What would be good places to go? also, do we need to make reservations in advance or can we find places to stay easily as we go.
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Jan 11th, 2014, 09:38 PM
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What time of year?

A car would be useless in Barcelona. If you want to drive around southern France, you might want to train from Barcelona and pick up a car at the French border (to avoid the fee of dropping off in another country). You could look for flights from Marseille or Nice (depending on which area you visit) to Athens.

If you haven't booked flights yet, I would look at flying into Athens and home from Barcelona. You could visit Athens, take a ferry to Santorini (or other islands), fly from Athens to Rome if you want to visit Italy (check Aegean airlines for this) before heading to Barcelona for the end of your trip. You don't have as much time for places as you think when you factor in all this travel.
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Jan 12th, 2014, 05:32 AM
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We're traveling in June. I haven't bought tickets yet, checking to see what wil be the cheapest route. From Athens to the Islands is it better to rent a car and drive or use local transportation. My daughters really want to see Santorini, but I think there are places that go under the radar that wil be more beautiful. Any suggestions?
I agree with you, when you travel to different places you loose a lot of time and don't get to see much of one place.
Any recommendations for places to stay in Barcelona and Athens?
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Jan 12th, 2014, 05:12 PM
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Wandering --
First order of business ... get out a calendar with BOXES for each day ... figure out how many days for each area... and Realistically, how long for transportation between destinations.

Minimum:
• If you leave USA in afternoon, your arrival in Barcelona & getting to your hotel will be at least HALF DAY of your first day of 3-week holiday.
•Moving on to France, count a FULL DAY to transfer from Barcelona to say, Marseilles, if you fly.. 2 days if you go by train/car.
•Then a FULL DAY to your next destination (in Greece) , if you can find a flight from the South of France --NOTE/tip: If you MUST see Santorini, stay in Athens airport on arrival & catch a domestic flight immediately. (Allow AT LEAST 2 hours between landing from France). The flight from ATH airport to Santorini will take 50 minutes (vs. 8-9 hrs via ferry), but in June is likely to cost at least $150 per person.
• Next, mimimum of HALF DAY and again $150 per person, if you Fly back from Santorini to ATHENS & Reach central Athens hotel (a FULL DAY if you take the ferry back
• And of Course, your flight back to US will take another FULL DAY.
That's minimum of 4 full days from your 3 weeks, if there are no hitches ... just be aware, and not indulge in wishful thinking that one can be whisked swiftly from one country to another. (I call this the Magic Carpet Mentality, lol). If you truly want to hit all 3 targets, I suggest a shorter time in Barcelona, 4-5 days in S. of France, and at least 8-9 days for the Greece portion, since the island aspect adds more time, unless you have Magic Carpet (see above) .... and all this assumes u can afford flying between countries & can find suitable flights.

Car rental will need to be separate in each country. And in Greece any car rental would be only ON an island, after you get there.

Regarding Santorini -- YOur daughters may nominally be adults, but they sound like teenagers who once read "sisterhood of traveling pants" Tell them that movies do not really reflect today's reality, just be prepared. Not saying that the famous Santorini "caldera view" is not spectacular -- only that each island has its own special beauty, and one should learn more before locking in one's choice.

You may want consider staying on a nearby Island like Naxos (half as costly) and do a day-excursion from there to Santorini, just to take in the view, take photos and see where the movie was made. Here's a wonderful recent photo/blog link showing what Naxos has to offer
http://mygreecetravelblog.com/2014/0...o-visit-naxos/
http://mygreecetravelblog.com/2014/0...visit-naxos/2/

About Lodgings: FIRST get your itinerary sequence and transportation set up, THEN zero in on places to stay. Nothing worse than having a reservation & not being able to get there. And for the convenience of people wishing to help -- please tell us your desired price range (in EUROS) per night for accommodations for 4, and what kind of set-up you want ... 2 doubles, a BR + main room (called a 2-rm studio in Greece), or what. Here's a great online currency conversion site for changing into Euros http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/

Good luck in planning -- what better way to spend these bitter-cold evenings?!?
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Jan 13th, 2014, 03:31 AM
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I just want to say that there's nothing more beautiful than Santorini. Some of the views in Oia, I was standing there and repeating "wow" out loud. I don't know how it would fit in your current trip or if you could save it for a future trip, but Santorini is not overrated.
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Jan 13th, 2014, 06:37 AM
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Greece is not just Santorini...

I just discovered an amazing ( in my opinion) website that is promoting Greece, based on the beauty of the country.

Have a look at : http://tinyurl.com/mf4dkuc
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Jan 13th, 2014, 07:00 AM
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>>>I haven't bought tickets yet, checking to see what wil be the cheapest route.<<<

I always try to fly to my furthest point to start my trip. You will be jet-lagged on arrival day so you may as well use it for traveling the longest distance. Also, departing flights from Athens to go back to the US require a very early departure.
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Jan 13th, 2014, 07:28 AM
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Clausar, that website looks very promising, but may be accessible to very few Fodorites because it's in Greek, and the opening screen doesn't seem to offer an English version ... if I've overlooked it, please direct me to the right menu.
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Jan 13th, 2014, 07:52 AM
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you doesn't need Greek, just look at the photos.. each one has the name of the place in English.
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Jan 13th, 2014, 07:54 AM
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argh.... you don't need Greek*
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Jan 13th, 2014, 08:29 AM
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Here is the website in English: http://tinyurl.com/na2scsd

;-)
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Jan 13th, 2014, 09:47 AM
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Correction

The link was given for the particular web page and not the website....
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Jan 13th, 2014, 09:58 AM
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Okay, so here is the main page of the website in English:
http://translate.google.com/translat...ure.gr&act=url

Run your mouse pointer along the black line below the title "Thessaloniki Arts and Culture", and the individual page titles will appear in English, e.g. Theatre, Cinema, Music, Events, etc. Click on each word to go to the individual pages.

Google Translate isn't perfect, but it's amazing what you can do with it.
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Jan 13th, 2014, 10:14 AM
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To clarify what has been said above. It does NOT take two days to get from Barcelona to Marseilles by rail; you can do it in about 6.5 hours with one change (the fastest timing)

If you are looking for cheap flights within Europe you might want to go to www.whichbudget.com or www,skyscanner.com

Be aware of the possible drop charges if you rent a car in one country and drop it in another.

Yes, your return flight will take a "full day" but you'll gain time on the return and it is the return, the vacation is OVER, so really, who cares?

Re Greece and the islands..I wouldn't even THINK about having a car and even in Athens where traffic can be an absolute nightmare I would rely on taxis/public transport whenever possible. You can see a lot of Santorini simply by walking but be aware that certain islands such AS Santorini can be almost overwhelmed with visitors should you visit on a cruise ship day.
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Jan 15th, 2014, 04:50 AM
  #18
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Thank you for all the information. There have been some changes since my husband now wants to go to Italy instead of France. We're 4 and everybody wants to go to a different place, so we'll have to compromise. Also working on the budget to try to keep it reasonable. This is the itinerary so far.
Usa-Athens
Athens 3 full days
Santorini 4 full days
Rome 3 days
Venice 2 days
Barcelona & surrounding areas 5
BCN-USA

Is it possible? Are we giving more to one place and less to others?
Regarding accommodations we would like to stay in a suite type room or 2 rooms if possible between US$200-US$250/night total.

In Santorini I would love to have views of the Caldera, but what I have seen those are much more expensive. I looked Anassa Suites and that is what we're looking for room wise and the place seems nice and has good reviews. Any opinions about it or any other options?
Also, how is the ferry ride (fast ferry) between Athens & Santorini ? Is it worth the time or is it better to Fly. Tickets for 4 will run around Euro $ 550 and Ferry around Euro $ 400.
Also is it possible to keep the budget for meals (4 people) for US$150-$200?
Please can I have recommendations for hotels in the other Cities.

I think we're ditching the car ide and will rent in the City if we want to do side trips or use public transportation and a lot of walking.

So excited for our trip. Planning is part of the trip experience.

Thanks a lot for all your help.
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Jan 15th, 2014, 07:49 AM
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What about Reverie Apartments? Any comments. The prices are within our budget
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Jan 15th, 2014, 08:27 AM
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Remember, Wandering, what I advised when you ask for counsel on accommodations within your budget. Many experienced contributors here are from Europe or Britain and don't "think in dollars." So it's thoughtful to use that converter site and express your budget range in Euros ... http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/
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