Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Greece or Portugal for 3-4 week fall sojourn?

Greece or Portugal for 3-4 week fall sojourn?

Old Dec 7th, 2014, 08:33 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 612
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Greece or Portugal for 3-4 week fall sojourn?

Okay, so I thought I'd throw this one out to see what people's opinions are. Which would you choose?

Planning a leisurely trip for next fall, probably close a month. I'm thinking either Portugal or Greece. We have been to both countries. We've spent time in Lisbon and northern Portugal (Porto and lo Minho), and also spent time in the Peloponnese in Greece, including Napflio, some time in Athens, and I was on Crete many years ago.

We are drawn to both places. Both are cheaper than most of the rest of Western Europe, and will be warmer, assuming mid-September to mid-October. We can rent a car in either place for parts of the trip.

Portugal:

- could rent an apartment in Lisbon for a week or two and do day trips by train, then rent a car and do perhaps the Alentejo and perhaps the south. And/or explore the area between Lisbon and Porto.

- lots of historical content, pretty villages, with excellent wine-tasting ops

- a little easier to get to from Toronto, but marginal.

Greece:

- would probably divide time among the Peloponnese, trying to go further afield than Argolis this time, and see the Mani and Monemvasia, a few days in Athens, then a couple of weeks in Crete, focussing on Minoan palaces and some time in western Crete, perhaps Chania.

- lots of ancient sites, with that lovely Greek ambience, food, drink, views of the ocean

Background:

We are older, will be 67 and 72, so no hiking the Samaria Gorge, for instance. Not beach people either, although I do enjoy a swim if it's warm enough. Love history, natural beauty, being able to walk to outdoor cafes and restaurants. We are comfortable driving either place, as long as we stay clear of driving in big cities. We like to take things slow and enjoy the local scene in places, not try to fit in as much as possible.
WWanderer is offline  
Old Dec 7th, 2014, 08:44 AM
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 612
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Oh, and feel free to offer alternative itineraries for either destination.
WWanderer is offline  
Old Dec 7th, 2014, 08:49 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I don't know how the issue can be decided except on personal inner mood for your next trip. I can't see any objective factors by which one would be more clearly the better choice. I would have as hard a time as you in picking.
sandralist is offline  
Old Dec 7th, 2014, 08:52 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
PS: If you despair of finding an answer, consider combining Sicily and Sardinia. Greek ruins, great food and wine, beautiful beaches...
sandralist is offline  
Old Dec 8th, 2014, 08:05 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 612
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thought about Italy, but hadn't thought about Sicily. I myself have not been to Italy for decades, and my husband's never been. If we did, we'd have to do the more traditional cities I think, although I'm sure Sicily would be amazing. I guess I worry about crime--pickpockets, purse snatchers, that type of thing.

It's also the case that both Greece and Portugal are familiar to us, so we know we'd have a great, but also comfortable time there. Italy seems more daunting somehow.
WWanderer is offline  
Old Dec 8th, 2014, 08:05 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 612
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
And Italy is lots more expensive too, I think.
WWanderer is offline  
Old Dec 8th, 2014, 08:55 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 18,123
Received 22 Likes on 4 Posts
In booking our upcoming trip to Sicily, we were pleased at how reasonable hotels are, similar to Portugal and Greece.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Old Dec 9th, 2014, 07:14 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 612
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Interesting. I'll have to take a look, thanks.

I lean towards Greece probably because I have a real affection for it, having been there when I was a mere 21 years old. For some reason it feels less challenging than Portugal. Although after two trips to Portugal, we have begun to "get the hang of it", when it comes to food for instance--it took a while, whereas Greek food is easy and accessible.
WWanderer is offline  
Old Dec 9th, 2014, 07:36 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You really shouldn't worry about thievery in Sicily any more than you will need to factor it in for Lisbon and Athens. The only possible outlier is Catania in Sicily.

I think you can find wonderful inexpensive accommodations in Sicily, but not quite the same attractive prices for food.

Interestingly, I found it real challenge to get food I loved in Greece -- although I love Greece so much I kiss the ground when I am there. Might help if I liked feta more. It is disappointing to me that good seafood is so hard to come by in Greece. I just ate up a storm in Lisbon for pennies, and loved all the wine.

Greece to me is an incredibly compelling place. The light and the history just goes right to the soul for me. But I greatly enjoy Portugal as well. It has such a seductive rhythm and soft edges, and a prettier urban scene. (Greece is rocky and hard!)

Sicily are Sardinia are just incomparable, really, despite having some cultural relationships with the others. But you need to be in the mood.
sandralist is offline  
Old Dec 9th, 2014, 07:11 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 4,205
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
There is nothing lovelier than Chania in September ... you can easily spend the first few days just browsing around the city before you even rent a car. Then you can take some easy day trips around ... I have at least 4-5 to recommend ... and then decide on North Coast or South then north. NORTH -- a stop at Rethymnon, drive thru Amari Valley loop & spend the night... see Melidoni Cave on north short .. SOUTH wind down along a gorge rim, get to Paleohora, stay the night. You can drive to see Phaistos, then meander eastward eventually, how about going through the vineyard region, around Dafne, stay a night there... For swims, the water will be warmer in Mid September than all summer long ... o.

You knew Crete years ago but if you stay away from the "Package Holiday" strip east of Heraklion (and a short beach-town strip west of Chania), you'll find Crete blessedly familiar, especially in the fringe season. The food is still as good as you remember. I've been to Crete 5x, for 5-6 days each time, and still have so much to discover! Here are some wonderful pix from Fodors regular Stanbr (his photos are so much better than mine that I just provide his links) : Chania town - https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr...7632117917828/ western Crete - https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr...7632115757899/
travelerjan is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2014, 05:13 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2,672
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We have found Italy, including Sicily, a lot less challenging than Greece. The public transportation systems are far superior. We plan our own trips and planning resources, especially the internet are far superior for Italy. While we enjoyed our time in Portugal, I'm not sure what we would have done for a month.

A month in Italy or Greece would be excellent but only you can decide whether to go back to someplace familiar or to try someplace at least as wonderful that is newer to you.
mamcalice is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2014, 06:04 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 7,160
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I favor Greece. Places on my wanna-see list are Delphi and the island of Delos, which is strictly an archeological site, easiest seen from Mykonos. And maybe Rhodes with a nip over to Turkey and Ephesus. Plus the southern Peloponnese that you're interested in.

But do consider Italy. There's so much to see there, you need to get started! It is easier to get around in Italy than Greece, more trains, hotels, etc. but also more people and more tourists. And, yes, Italy will probably be more expensive than Greece or Portugal. But it does offer a great range of accommodation, great inexpensive food, lots of wine.

Another cheaper, less traveled destination is Croatia. The Dalmatian coast is very beautiful, and it's an easy going country with lots to see. You could even add in Slovenia. But I'm not sure about the ease of travel in mid-October. Like Greece, there will be fewer ferries, restaurants and bars closing after the season, so on.
Mimar is offline  
Old Dec 12th, 2014, 01:58 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 89
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
To help you cross one thing off your mind: Southern Portugal has tons of lovely scenic beaches and with a few exceptions not too many cultural things that would be worth spending half a month. Alentejo and the rest of the windy lower West coast would be worth 2-5 nights max, depending on your pace. You'd surely love the food and probably the wine, too. Great views, lots of green, some nice churches, a few museums, lovely villages coming with a fresh and mild breeze of the Atlantic.
MaloBalo is offline  
Old Dec 12th, 2014, 06:21 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,419
Likes: 0
Received 11 Likes on 4 Posts
No wrong answers here. It all sounds wonderful.
Nikki is offline  
Old Dec 20th, 2014, 10:45 AM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 612
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Oh boy, thanks for all the great advice!

"Greece to me is an incredibly compelling place. The light and the history just goes right to the soul for me. But I greatly enjoy Portugal as well. It has such a seductive rhythm and soft edges, and a prettier urban scene. (Greece is rocky and hard!) "

You are right about Portugal having a nicer urban scene, and more urban choices as well. Even in the north, we didn't see all the small cities we wanted.

"There is nothing lovelier than Chania in September ... you can easily spend the first few days just browsing around the city before you even rent a car. Then you can take some easy day trips around..."

Now you've got me thinking more about Crete! And if we decide in that direction, I'll ask for details! I do remember a beautiful sand beach with palm trees right on the very northeast tip--I wonder if this is still unspoiled.

And Delphi, yes. I saw it years ago (44?), and I would hate to see that it's been spoiled--husband's never seen it.

And thanks for the advice about the Alentejo and southern Portugal--it would be a nice place to unwind I suspect.

Oh boy, choices! I have time to decide, I'm going to continue to see which way the wind blows!
WWanderer is offline  
Old Dec 20th, 2014, 07:04 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 847
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Part of the fun of the trip is the planning. We have been to Portugl twice & Greece twice. We are going back to Greece in September but for just 2 weeks this time. A month in a country is glorious.
Don't be put off by hiking the Samaria Gorge. When we were there 10 years ago(my husband 70 & I 58) the boat ride there was wonderful. You can just hike as far as you want over bridges. You can just do what you can
If you havn't been to Delphi thats a must.
Matt Barrett has a very helpful site on Greece.
This time we are spending a week in Naxos & then 5 nights in The Plaka. I got a lovely apartment in the Plaka on airbnb
September is perfect for Greece Enjoy
BeniciaChris is offline  
Old Dec 23rd, 2014, 08:46 AM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 612
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes, I follow Matt quite closely. I'd like to get my husband to Delphi, if we choose Greece.

Sounds like you have your planning done! I wonder how soon I have to make up my mind--I'm not in a hurry, kind of like the idea of last minute. For me, that would be spring or early summer for September/October, since I'm a real planner.

This all depends on whether we might do Japan instead--that's a big ticket item, and with the Canadian dollar so low right now, big tickets are huger for us. Have to make up our minds about this fairly soon, too bad I don't have a crystal ball!
WWanderer is offline  
Old Dec 26th, 2014, 11:48 AM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 612
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
BeniciaChris, are you saying you can get to the Samaria Gorge by boat without hiking at all, and get back to where you came from in one day? Sounds intriguing.

As does the airbnb in Athens! Last time I was there we had just two overnights there, and stay in Monastiraki, near Psiri (in Matt's favourite hotel, the Attalos.) We'd definitely want to spend more time in Athens if we go again, since David has never even been to the Acropolis, only seen it from the roof of our hotel!
WWanderer is offline  
Old Dec 27th, 2014, 07:25 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 847
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
WWanderer
Oh please go to Delphi. We had a tour planned the the first time we went but I felt I needed 2 nights. We hiked the back way in & got to see it all over as the tour felt rushed. I think that was in the 90's
The reason I planned so far in advance was I wanted to use air miles. I was able to get most of the flights on americans code share(BA) and my BA miles. Thrilled as 2 legs are business
Yes we took a boat trip to the Samaria Gorge. They stopped in one port that looked so cute I said I'd love to go back there some day & stay. We were at a timeshare in Rethymno & they could have planned it for us. Loved Crete & a week was really not enough time.
I had read on fodors to not do a few days at beginning(as we have done before) and a few days at end but to go right to an island & spend more time in Athens.
We met a couple from England when we were in Crete & have met up with them on holidays. they joined us this year in England & are planning to join us in Naxos & Athens.
We got th Pousada Passports & spent 5 days in the Altenjo area of Portugal
Lived in Japan when I was 3-4 years old. My dad was a Dr in Army whaen we occupied Japan. I sure wish I could remember more.
Have fun planning
PS My grandsons name is Davis & my Paternal grandparents were Canadians
BeniciaChris is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2015, 09:18 AM
  #20  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 612
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well, we've made our choice for this fall, and it's neither place! We're going to Egypt and cruise the Nile! Now seems to be the time, and it's been a must-do of ours for decades. So Greece and Portugal are going to have to wait!
WWanderer is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -