Greece with the "Princess"-March 2007

Feb 9th, 2007, 06:24 PM
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Greece with the "Princess"-March 2007

Okay, the 22 year old wants to go with "old mom" on one last spring break (read I am paying for it!) before she graduates. I went to Greece over 33 years ago and due to major aging and two children-cannot remember much of the trip. So I am asking my dear Fodor friends to help me with designing the perfect mother-daughter trip.
We will be going in the middle of March around the 16th for about 9-10 days. We love eating,shopping,sightseeing,museums and ruins AND a good glass of wine at the end of the day.Daughter loves the water,volcanoes(marine geologist major),historical ruins,etc.We love walking the beach but she is a redhead and I am a blonde so do not enjoy sunbathing.(She lived in Sicily last spring semester and LOVED it!)
Questions-after reading everyone's wonderful posts I want to go to Santorini and possibly one other island,Naxos? Would these be the two that you would pick? Then I want to go back to Athens but also try and see Delphi or Corinth. Is this too much for our short time? I want to spend at least 2/3 days in Athens so how would you split the other time?
Thanks for taking the time to help me.
dutyfree is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 06:53 PM
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March is far from the best time to visit the islands for a few reasons: the air is cold and damp, the water is freezing, the wind blows a lot and almost all the tourist businesses including the majority of hotels, restaurants and shops are closed. There's a good chance the sun will still be shining, but it won't be very warm at all. Also, I'm fairly sure there will not be an excursion out to the new volcano then because of lack of tourist demand.

What will be available to you are the beaches, the views, hikes, great food&wine (where you can find it), the beautiful blue Aegean, peace and quiet.

All that being said, Santorini and Naxos are a good combination because they're close to each other and easy to reach from Athens/Piraeus, either by plane or ferry. Naxos has excellent beaches. So does Paros, for that matter, and it's also on the same ferry route and accessible by plane as well.

Crete would be another good choice by itself because it's large enough that you can spend a couple of weeks exploring it if you had the time and still not see it all. In March it would require a return to Athens coupled with a plane or ferry ride to combine it with Santorini, but instead you could take a ferry from Crete to Rhodes and then fly back to Athens from there, if you were so inclined.

Other islands to consider would be the Saronic Islands close to Athens, Spetses, Aegina, Poros and Hydra. These can be reached easily and quickly by ferry.

Since you want to spend 2/3 days in Athens you will have about 7 days for island hopping. Two islands is all you can manage realistically in a week without feeling rushed, so consider the options, choose and enjoy!
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 08:11 PM
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I took my daughter on a spring break trip to Greece in March when she was in college. We decided not to go to the islands after reading that it was not the best season for them, as brotherleelove says above. In fact, it was probably his posts that made me decide that the mainland was a better option in March.

We loved our trip, which included a few days in Athens and a three night classical tour to Mycenae, Epidaurus, Olympia, Delphi and the Meteora, as well as a day trip to Aegina.

You might be interested in my trip report:


Nikki is online now  
Feb 10th, 2007, 07:05 AM
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Thanks for the replies! Nikki-where or how did you get you 3 day classical tour out of?(from Athens and a travel agent or did you book before you left the states?) Also, where/what did your daughter like the best? Brotherleelove2004-your are a plethora of info on Greece. I have enjoyed all your thoughts and comments on previous postings. Let me ask you to be honest-would you include the islands or just forget them then? Thanks for all the help!
dutyfree is offline  
Feb 10th, 2007, 07:10 AM
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Sorry Nikki-I just reread your report and saw that you booked through Fantasy Travel in Athens. Do you remember how much it cost back then? Did you think that it was well worth it? Would you prebook at that time of the year? I am also trying to get reservations at the Attalos hotel-did you and your daughter think that the area was decent for meals and peoplewatching? I appreciate your help!
dutyfree is offline  
Feb 10th, 2007, 07:22 AM
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Dutyfree, I went to Greece with a friend a few years ago and we did a tour like Nikki's out of Athens. It was quite affordable and you have a choice of accommodation levels. We took the higher level. A friend we met on the trip took the lower level and actually had a more interesting trip, staying in small family run places where she mingled with locals. Our Kalambaka hotel particularly was a huge place loaded with tons of tourists.

I agree that there is plenty to see on the mainland in March. If you want to get to an island, you can check out Hydra or Aegina by fast boat from Athens.

Have a great trip with daughter. I love these mother daughter trips.
Catbert is offline  
Feb 10th, 2007, 07:33 AM
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I agree on the desirability of the mainland trip, especially if you take the 'lower-level' version -- which will get you into the small family hotels that are the essence of friendly lodgings in Greece travel. Be very specific with Fantasy that this is the level you want, and try to see that you go to Aegina.

In Athens you can have a wonderful time ramblling thru the ancient agora -- it's like a little "farm' in the middle of the roaring traffic of Athens -- very peaceful. The temple of Hephaistos is magical... and then you can compare it with the stunning temple of Aphaia on an Aegina hilltop -- where you have a 360 view of the Saronic Gulf... as realtors say, location-location-location.

If you can't get Attalos, try Hotel Phaedra, same price level BETTER location, right in Plaka, also has rooftop terrace view of Acropolis, much closer. Your Fantasy Travel won't have hotels like this, no commission, but you can Google & book direct.

Have a wonderful Greek adventure!
travelerjan is offline  
Feb 10th, 2007, 08:26 AM
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Well it appears that Fantasy Travel only operates those tours beginning in April-now I am thinking that perhaps we should change to another place? Any ideas on any other agency that might operate in March for those inland tours? Thanks!
dutyfree is offline  
Feb 10th, 2007, 08:40 AM
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The absolutely best thing about the Attalos was its location. Couldn't be better, as far as we were concerned, for meals and people watching. The Psirri neighborhood is just behind the hotel, lots of people in the streets at night, lots of restaurants to choose from.

A block down the street is Monastiraki, with the best street food I've ever had at the dueling souvlaki restaurants and a lively crowd at all times, as well as the flea market on Sunday. The metro is within a block of the hotel.

The Plaka is just down the street in one direction, the central market in the other. The street (Athinas) is a busy Athens street, not scenic or touristy, so if you wanted a more "charming" atmosphere or if you wanted to be even closer to the Acropolis you might prefer to be in the Plaka, but we thought it was perfect.

I don't remember the cost of the package I purchased through Fantasy Travel; it included the hotel, transfers to and from the airport, and the three night (four day) tour. So I can't really tell you what any of the components cost, and it wasn't broken down in any event. I did try to price everything separately and it was about the same to do it through Fantasy Travel as it would have been on my own, if I remember correctly. If there was a difference in one direction or the other, I don't think it was a big one.

I don't know whether pre-booking was necessary, but I did it because I booked it all together as a package. There were flyers for the tours at the hotel, and our tour was not filled, so it is possible you can schedule the tours on the fly.

As to what my daughter liked best, I'm not sure. I'll ask her and get back to you on that. But she has been interested in Greek mythology since she was a small child and has the well worn picture books to prove it, so I know she enjoyed seeing the sites of the stories come to life. Me too.
Nikki is online now  
Feb 10th, 2007, 09:36 AM
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The tour was run by GO Tours. I couldn't find a website for them. Several other agencies run the same types of tour. Here's one from Chat Tours that appears to have March departures every Monday:

Nikki is online now  
Feb 10th, 2007, 10:10 AM
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I just spoke to my daughter. She said her favorite things from the trip were seeing all the classical sites, taking the boat to Aegina, and going to a late night performance of rembetika at the Stoa Athanaton in the central market building.
Nikki is online now  
Feb 13th, 2007, 08:53 PM
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2 adult kids are accompanying this mom to Greece for spring break also. Nikki has been very helpful - great trip report & photos.
Very limited time. Aside from Athens, we want to go to Delphi & Meteora - no islands this trip. We haven't been able to find winter tours from Fantasy that combine both. But Chat Tours that Nikki mentioned has a 2- day tour to Meteora as well as a single day tour to Delphi. Has anyone used Chat?
Also, we normally book our own hotels. Is there an advantage to having a tour company do the booking - better rates/rooms? Thanks!
institcher is offline  
Feb 15th, 2007, 06:33 AM
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Nikki-got a confirmed reservation with Attalos hotel in Athens last night. I have gone out and purchased a few new guidebooks on Greece too. I am concerned with the Frommers Guidebook which stated that the Attalos was nice and budget but that the street Athina is filled with prostitution and drug dealing-WHAT???? I have never seen something like that mentioned under CAUTION under a hotel listing. Any thoughts? I fly to Europe for work everyweek and see quite a few different things going on wherever I am so I am not worried but was just wondering.
dutyfree is offline  
Feb 15th, 2007, 07:18 AM
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I read something like that before I went too, but I read enough good things that I went ahead anyway. Didn't see any signs of anything like that when I was there. I think I might have read that it might be the end of the street near Ommonia Square that is more problematic, but I can't say as I never went that far.

Between Monastiraki and the Central Market, Athinas was fine, at least during the times we were out (which ranged from 7 AM to 2 AM).

It is a very urban street, not fancified in any way, but I did feel perfectly safe.

I am really hoping you write a trip report.
Nikki is online now  
Feb 15th, 2007, 11:29 AM
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I am also going with my 22 year old daughter on spring break and we are leaving March 16, we are going into Athens and then we plan on taking a ship with Louis cruiselines to a few islands, cold or not it is warmer than where we live so I think it is a nice option to see a few places and possibly return to my favorite in the future. After the cruise we will go up to Delphi and then back to Athens. Hope you have a wonderful time with your daughter
plbtravel is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 09:36 AM
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PLBTRAVEL-are you leaving out of JFK on Delta nonstop to Athens on the 16th? Maybe we will see you. Quick question-are you doing Delphi on your own or doing a tour? If a tour-who are you using? The Chatours seem very expensive to me for what they are offering.Anyone else have a suggestion on whom to use for tours or should we try and rent a car and do it by ourselves? What rental car agency have you used in Greece? We would pick it up at the airport and drive OUT and away from Athens. Thanks!
dutyfree is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 10:39 AM
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You could rent a car and drive to Delphi on your own, but, in my opinion, you need a guide to see the ruins. Otherwise, you aren't going to know what you are looking at. You definitely want to see the Archaeological Museum at Delphi to see the spectacular One-Armed Charioteer.
marginal_margiela is offline  

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