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Greece-Information Overload - Advice Appreciated

Greece-Information Overload - Advice Appreciated

Apr 9th, 2011, 06:55 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Apr 2011
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Greece-Information Overload - Advice Appreciated

I am travelling to Greece for the first time from June 14th - 27th. The 14th - 20th will be spent with family in Santorini for a wedding.

The second week of the trip has yet to be planned. I will be travelling alone and am considering the ferry from Santorini to Athens on the 20th, leaving on the 21st for a 3 day "Classical" tour, then spending the weekend (3 days) before I leave exploring Athens. I definitely want to visit Delphi and Olympia, but have been told Meteora is a 'must see.' Any thoughts on extending the 3 day to a 4 day trip to include Meteora with less time in Athens at the end? I want to get a 'feel' for Athens, and am concerned that two days might not be enough time.

All the tours I have seen appear to be essentially the same (CHAT, KEY, G.O., Hop In.) Are any companies better than others?

Would spending the night in or near Piraeus be a better option then heading in to Athens for the night of the 20th if I am able to get picked up at the hotel on the coast for the tour?

I am also trying to determine a hotel in Athens. I would prefer to be in the 70 euro a night range, but will go a little higher for the right place. I would prefer something with a little ambience instead of a 'chain.' I have checked TripAdvisor, and every place in my price range seems to have a balance of excellent and horrible reviews, which is making the decision difficult for me.

Thank you for any suggestions or advice you can provide!
PolarBabs is offline  
Apr 9th, 2011, 09:32 PM
  #2  
 
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I would not go simply by "I have been told" when you decide about Meteora. Go look at some photos on line... Get a video from the library; look at some guide books. I've seen several greek travelogues of these monasteries on top of lofty pillars ... but for some reason it does not speak to me. But that's just me. That's my point. A "must-see" for other may not be, for you.

CHAT, KEY and GO are the main 3 companies doing out-of-athens bus tours.THey go to the same places, use the same or similar hotels. Satisfaction will largely depend on the quality of your Guide. I have heard praise for CHAT guides more often than for the others... but there could be a "lemon" in any tour. One tip: if possible, best to choose a tour that is all English-speaking. I like diversity, but a guide who must repeat everything in 3 languages doesn't have time to give much detail at all. Here is another Tour agency that gets less attention but has some very good feedback -- in business a long time http://www.toursingreece.info/

Spending the night at Piraeus is never a good idea if you can avoid it. If you arrive before midnight on the 20th, just head for the Metro with all the others.... or make friends on the ferry with others, to share a cab to Syntagma Square.

In June, in the Plaka area, for €70 you can get clean, you can get convenient, but ambience is a little harder. Have you tried Hotel Myrto? And how about Hotel PHidias? Great location, on the pedestrianized walk south of the Acropolis http://www.phidias.gr/ they've got rooms at €69 for your dates -- I hear the beds are hard, but you could ask for extra pillows, and the view is good; u can ask for a front balcony & it's near Chocolat, and good restaurant Filistron.
travelerjan is offline  
Apr 10th, 2011, 03:18 AM
  #3  
 
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It depends what you want to do in Athens. If you are interested in just the main sights, two days should be enough. If you want to explore in more depth, you might want more time. I loved Athens and spent several days there, but many people say two days is enough for them.

I also thought Meteora was spectacular. I took the four day classical tour that included Meteora, with G.O. Tours, and loved every minute of it.
Nikki is offline  
Apr 10th, 2011, 05:51 AM
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Two days will not be enough to get a feel for Athens. There is a lot to see if you are interested in the history as well as taking in the ambience of a new city. If you want to make the most of this visit to Athens, give yourself an extra day. That's not to say Meteora wouldn't be interesting, but you'll have to decide on your personal interests, how you like to pace your travel, and how much time you like to be on your own vs. with a group. I also advise spending your time in Athens rather than Piraeus.
parosblue is offline  
Apr 10th, 2011, 09:25 PM
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The Meteora is breathtaking and spetacular but it needs a full day plus the travel time there and back. Your best bet is to switch your tour to include the Meteora which will save on the travel time. However you wouldn't be visiting all the monasteries since those tour groups only choose a couple because of the time constraints. It is really a decision between how stong your interest is. My first time to Greece, I spent a full 8 days just in Athens but my interest was strong in archaeology. Some people can only spend 2 days in Athens and thats enough. Personally, I like combining my Greece trips with a balanced archaeology, beach, and natural beauty such as the Meteora and Pelion and within in that some touristy and completley non-touristy places. You'll have to decide since you are doing Santorini, Delphi, Olympia and Athens if you want to do somthing different like Meteora with Thermopyle stop. Plan you Athens trip first and if you can't do what you want within the 2 days, you'll know better.
Nadia is offline  
Apr 14th, 2011, 06:50 PM
  #6  
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Thank you all for the replies!

travelerjan, the travel agency you suggested has been absolutely wonderful to work with. Kosta has been full of recommendations and responds very quickly to emails.

I decided to book a 3 day tour to Olympia and Delphi, but have chosen to leave Meteora for another time so I can spend more time in Athens.
PolarBabs is offline  
Apr 14th, 2011, 08:09 PM
  #7  
 
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I think that is very wise tour choice ... you will have time to appreciate the two sites without rushing. Astoria is a family-run agency founded by his father 50+ years ago, now his daughters run the office and Kostas concentrates on the internet and English-speaking customers, (he went to college in So. Africa so he's completely fluent inEnglish ... He actually conducts some of the tours himself.
travelerjan is offline  

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