Book Greece on my Own?

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May 30th, 2011, 08:40 AM
  #1
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Book Greece on my Own?

I'm planning our honeymoon to Greece (Athens/Mykonos/Santorini) for this September. I'm debating whether to use an agent or not, and if so, to book through a Greek agency or an American one. I just booked our flight last night...
I seem to finding great deals all over on my own... We prefer some of the smaller, boutique hotels that don't seem to be on too many travel agents' radars.

Is it doable (and recommended) to go it alone or use a pro? I've traveled internationally before and have also lived out of country, so I can handle minor hiccups. That said, it's also our honeymoon

Is it easy enough to find and book ferries and transfers once you're in Greece? Or, is that something that's better done through an agent?

I truly appreciate the help -- and love reading others' posts about their upcoming trips to Greece!
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May 30th, 2011, 09:08 AM
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ira
 
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Hi N,

FWIW, we use TA's only for cruises.

We recently visited Athens and arranged it all by ourselves.

We were pleased with our stay at The Adrian
http://www.douros-hotels.com/view_hotels.asp?hotel_id=2

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May 30th, 2011, 12:18 PM
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We just returned from our honeymoon in Greece (Athens, Mykonos, Naxos and Santorini). We did not use a travel agent and it was fine. We booked the hotels in advance using a lot of the recs on the forums here but didn't book any connecting ferries until we got to each place. It wasn't peak season since it was May but we didn't have any problems with doing it once we were in Greece.
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May 30th, 2011, 12:40 PM
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Only time we 've used a TA in recent years was in Greece, coordinating ferry schedules which often haven't been released when you are booking hotels that require deposits and inter island flights. We were always in wonderful local small hotels. And the hotels always referred to our Athens based travel agent when we checked in.
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May 30th, 2011, 12:41 PM
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If I weren't doing island hopping I would book it all myself.
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May 30th, 2011, 05:20 PM
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Crayon, I'd love to pick your brain!!
Happy, Minor island hopping... only 2. Who did you go through? Was it a Greek agency?
I really appreciate the feedback.

Since you've all done Greece, let me throw one more at you... Does it matter where you stay in Mykonos? We found a great deal at Rocabella Hotel in Aiges Stefanos, which is a bit north of Mykonos Town. Too far? Just right?
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May 30th, 2011, 11:32 PM
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It's not always true that you get the best deals when you book directly with the hotels, as this is depending on the season... ( during peak season you will get a higher rate , while during off season rate will get much lower, as hotelier doesn't want to lose business)
I would ask a recommended Incoming Tour operator in Greece
for an offer and would compare prices with the hotel directly......
The Rocabella Hotel is a good choice,it is located near Agios Stefanos beach , a nice beach 4 km away from Mykonos town... it is not far away, there are busses offering a good connection, and late at night you can take a taxi from Mykonos town to your hotel. However the hotel is not in walking distance.....
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May 31st, 2011, 07:33 AM
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Great info and great to hear, Clausar. Thanks so much! Any recs for Santorini??
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May 31st, 2011, 08:16 AM
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I don't know what your budget is but we stayed at this moderate priced cave house and we really loved it. http://www.oia-strogili-houses.gr/ We find staying at a more moderate priced place allows us extra cash to do things like rent a catamaran yacht (with crew) to cruse around the Mediterranean for the day. I highly recommend it! We weren't on our honeymoon but it sure felt like it! They kept the wine flowing and lots of tasty snacks and meals. The cave house is just a short walk from the main part of town in Oia, (5 minutes maybe?) which was perfect to enjoy the peaceful evenings sitting out on our large veranda at night enjoying the stars and moonlight with a glass of wine. We also spent some time in the sun there as well, and also used their pool. They served a nice breakfast out on our veranda for us each morning as well. I know many of the hotels there will do the same thing, and there are plenty to choose from, but this was perfect for us. It had a little kitchenette which allowed us to buy some food at the market right at the top of the stairs. This worked great for packing lunches for our day trips we took with the rented smart car, very fun! The owner was friendly and available when we needed her, but we had plenty of privacy as well. I had read on TA where some people thought she was rude, but I can only imagine that they must have been the rude ones because she was perfectly nice. I guess you get what you give

By all means, book the trip yourselves. There is a wealth of knowledge on here and you will be happier with the results of doing it on your own.
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May 31st, 2011, 01:46 PM
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@NewsForMaggie - anytime! We just got back a couple of days ago and wish we were still there.

As for Mykonos, one thing that we loved was being able to leave the hotel and just walk around the town, so it was important for us to be right there. We stayed at the Rochari and really liked it.
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May 31st, 2011, 10:42 PM
  #11
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You all rock -- and make this all the more fun Checking out Santorini hotels -- and that cave house, loves2sing -- right now!
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Jun 1st, 2011, 02:18 AM
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We've had about 5 trips to Greece, mainly to the islands and, apart from the first trip a long time ago, we always book it ourselves. It does take more work, especially with the ferries, but I love doing all the research and planning.

In Mykonos we stayed in Mykonos Town and loved being able to walk around town after dinner, poking into all the small touristy shops and then wander back to our hotel. Personally, I wouldn't want to be 4km out of town.

We've stayed on Santorini twice, last August was in Oia at http://www.filoteravillas.gr/home.html
We really liked this place and it was central to shops and restaurants without being noisy.

I've booked ferries direct with the ferry companies and it's been fine but make sure you find out where you can pick up your ferry tickets. It should say this on the websites. It's not like a plane where you can use an e-ticket/printout of booking. You have to exchange your voucher for a ticket. I found this ferry website pretty useful and easy to use (didn't book through them though):
http://www.goferry.gr/

You can also fly to Santorini and Mykonos from Athens but you do get fabulous views if you arrive on Santorinii by ferry. My big tip for travelling to the islands - travel light.

Have a great trip.
Kay
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Jun 1st, 2011, 10:15 AM
  #13
 
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Kay, that Oia place looks really lovely as well! I vaguely remember seeing it. All this Greece talk really makes me want to go back....but for now I'm back to planning my trip to Spain and Morocco, ha!
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Jun 2nd, 2011, 09:05 PM
  #14
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Ooh I lived and studied in Spain, loves2sing, in college! I miss it terribly sometimes. What amazing experiences..

Kay, thank you for the tips and the ferry website! Filotera is stunnnnning! I am HOPING to find something a bit more affordable, but it's incredible!
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Jun 8th, 2011, 12:44 PM
  #15
 
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love2sing...can you please provide rates for the Strogili House?
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Jun 8th, 2011, 03:20 PM
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I booked our two weeks in Greece - Santorini/Mykonos/Naxos/Athens myself. There is a wealth of knowledge on the boards that allowed me to pick the places I wanted and that came recommended. The ferry schedule was easy and the boats ran on time and for the first of June we bought the tickets the day before at the ticket office. I waited until the day before we moved to the next island for the first of June but not sure what the experts will say for Sept.

We flew from Athens to Santorini, then visited the other islands and flying back to Athens from Naxos. I'm very happy we chose this instead of ferries back and forth. Purchased one-way online at Olympic and the return one-way on Expedia.

>>My big tip for travelling to the islands - travel light.<<

So very true!! LOTS and LOTS of stairs everywhere. And, getting on and off the ferry is much easier when you can carry your luggage up the ramp which has speed bumps. Rolling suitcases are of no help in a lot of areas due to the cobblestone paths.
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Jun 9th, 2011, 10:21 AM
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scootr29 - We paid 165 Euros for our room at Strogili but that was in 2008. It isn't "luxury" but it was clean and charming.

We did the same things as Beachgirl247...we flew from Athens to Santorini, ferried to Naxos, and then flew Naxos back to Athens.

I followed a lot of advice on here about our stay in Athens, although I could have added another day. I really loved Athens, whereas some people don't. We were quite pleased with our hotel choice there as well. It was http://www.attaloshotel.com/. The roof top bar made it perfect and a great way to end each night. We paid 94 Euros.

On Naxos we stayed at a little place right on the beach. http://www.studioskalergis.com/ Location was really important to us (always is!) but I hadn't found a lot of info on it previously but we were very pleased. Best part was it was very reasonable, we only paid 55 Euros! We could wake up each morning and just walk down to the water. Again, it wasn't luxury, but clean and sufficient and we had a nice little patio. I still remember our first night there, being exhausted from the ferry trip, and just walking over to the little beach bar, having a drink while digging our toes into the sound and saying to my honey...."ahhh, we're on a Greek island...how cool is that?" Naxos was very calm, very relaxing...just what we needed after Santorini and before Athens.

Hope this info helps....someone.
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