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Greece- general questions and itinerary


Apr 11th, 2014, 09:47 PM
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Greece- general questions and itinerary

My husband and I are trying to plan a trIp to Athens, but I am very worried about the language difference. Last year we traveled to Italy and got around with relative ease in Rome and Venice. However, when we trained down to Naples to do Pompeii on our own, it was not quite as easy to navigate the train/subway station. I think I may have enjoyed just taking the bus tour more due to how stressful it was trying to figure everything out on our own. I did learn some basic phrases in Italian, but the Greek language is so different. My original plan for Greece was to just take a fully guided tour, but after researching them, none of them seem to be quite what we want.

After doing some research, I have came up with an itinerary and would like to see if I could get some feedback/suggestions on it. We are in our 40's, enjoy scenery and historical sites, and some museums. We like to be active and moving about. Not interested in swimming, but a beach walk might be nice. Also not really interested in the party scene/night life.

I don't have anything booked yet, but I have priced everything out for Sept. 2014.

-Sun. - afternoon flight out of US
-Mon. Arrive ATH 9:05am since we will already be at the airport I thought we could start by flying to Santorini Island (3 nights) on the 1:05 pm flight. Not sure where to stay on Santorini, Nomikos Village seems to good reviews. They have an non-refundable rate of $210/nt on Hotels.com. Open for suggestions on a place to stay- less that $210 for a nice view would be great. We also like the included breakfast and internet.
-Tues. Santorini ? Not sure what to do here yet, don't plan on swimming
-Wed. Santorini ?
- Thurs. Fast Ferry back to Athens for 2 nts. at Airotel Parthenon ($362 for both nts) -- As for the ferry, can I order this in advance or should I just get it when I arrive? If I can order it in advance, I would prefer to do that and have it on hand so that I don't have to mess with when I get there. Also, what is the best way to get from the ferry terminal to a hotel in town? How much would a taxi cost?
-Fri. Acropolis / Acropolis Museum and Ctiy tour with Athens Walking Tours
-Sat. Start 4 Day 3 night Classical Greece with Meteora
-Sun - tour
-Mon. - tour
-Tues - return to Athens from tour in the evening ---last 3 nights in Athens The Hera Hotel with Acropolis ($742)
-Wed. afternoon tour to Cape Sounion Temple of Poseidon
- Thurs. Open day -
- Friday Flight home 11:20 am

Any comments and/or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance
Canon is offline  
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Apr 11th, 2014, 10:04 PM
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I just wanted to say that you don't need to worry about language in Greece. Almost everyone we ran into spoke English and the menus are translated, even road signs were in both languages where we were.

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Apr 11th, 2014, 10:14 PM
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The places you are going in Greece thrive on tourist business, and they don't expect tourists to speak Greek. The Napoli to Pompeii travel is mainly for the locals, so you expect less English spoken on this route.

It seems you are heavy on mainland especially Athens. After seeing Parthenon and presumably Delphi as a part of the 4 day tour, the Temple of Poseidon may be a repetition. You might consider reducing the mainland and add another island, Mykonos, Naxos, or Paros. From Mykonos, you can take a day trip to Delos (not on Monday) where the whole island is a historical site. Naxos offers an island without big cruise or bus tour visitors.
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Apr 12th, 2014, 12:04 AM
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Hi, I also wanted to say not to worry too much about the language. We've had about 6 trips to Greece, mostly the islands, and don't speak any Greek. We've picked up thank you, please, hello etc but not much more. We've always been fine, people in hotels, restaurants etc will speak either good English or at least some English.

You can book ferries in advance, check this website which I found quite user friendly.

Before you book tickets, check where you need to pick them up. We booked from home and picked up some tickets at a travel agent in Santorini. Other ferry companies say you have to pick up in Athens so check that. From memory I booked direct with the ferry company after checking timetables and fares.

There is a train in Athens, you can use that to get from Piraeus to your hotel. Cheaper and easier than a taxi.

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Apr 12th, 2014, 12:25 AM
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The frustrating thing for those of us trying to learn a little Greek is how little you ever need it. English is the lingua franca of the tourist trade, and I've often heard Germans, Dutch, and Swedes conversing with Greeks in English.

It's fun to learn the Greek alphabet and a few courtesy phrases, but they aren't strictly necessary. A cheery kalimera in the morning will be appreciated by most Greeks. Menus and signs that you need to read are usually written in both Greek and English alphabets.
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Apr 20th, 2014, 01:48 PM
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Thank you all for your responses. You have made me feel more confident about the language issue.

Per Greg's suggestion, I revised my itinerary. I, too, was thinking Temple of Poseidon may be too much of the same.

Sun- Leave US
Mon- Arrive in ATH at 9:05 - Flight to Santorini from ATH at 13:05
Tues - All day Santorini
Wed - Ferry to Mykonos 12:00 to 14:35
Thurs- Tour to Delos
Fri- Ferry to Athens ( Rafina) 13:30 to 15:40
Sat.- begin 4 day 3 night Classical Greece tour
Sun. tour
Mon - tour
Tues- return to Athens from tour in the evening
Wed- City-Acropolis- Acropolis Museum tour
Thurs- Athens
Friday 11:30 flight home

I am still trying to figure out what company to order my ferry tickets through so that I can pick them up in Santorini. I wish they were e-tickets like airline tickets.
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Apr 20th, 2014, 07:18 PM
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This may or may not help but we booked ferry tickets online and picked up the tickets at Dakoutros Travel in Santorini. I emailed them before I booked to check their hours and if it would all work for us. We could have picked up either in Fira or at the port.

We booked Seajets tickets but I think we may have been able to pick up any sort of tickets. They were helpful and spoke fluent English. Actually we booked direct with the different ferry companies but I guess the travel agency would book it all for you if you asked.

This is a few years old but their email address was:

[email protected]

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Apr 21st, 2014, 03:38 PM
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Thanks Kay, I will check them out.
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Apr 21st, 2014, 05:34 PM
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THe most convenient way to get ferry tickets ahead in one place, and pick them up upon arrival in Greece is to book them through a ticket agency that has a 24/7 office right at the Airport. They sell tickets of ALL ferry lines. You can just e-mail them and tell them what dates and times of day you want to travel, and have them tell you what's available. Also you can ask them what their "convenience fee" is for booking these tickets … I don't think it's per-ticket but for the entire transaction.. it's not much (because it's regulated, and also they get something from the ferry lines). The two agencies at the airport are AMPHITRION and PACIFICA TRAVEL.

I am not sure why you want to book ferries ahead in September, they are NEVER full. Greeks would laugh hearing u say this. When u arrive in Santorini, you can just go to any agency. The large conventional ferries hold from 1200 - 1800 passengers. The car-carrying catamarans carry 500 passengers. The passenger-only catamarans carry 400 passengers. These are large vessels … not ferries that put-put across a bay in america. So do not fret. I have been to Greece 11 times in May, june and September and have never bought a ferry ticket more than 2-3 days ahead.
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