HELP! First Trip to Greece

Old Aug 1st, 2004, 07:28 AM
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HELP! First Trip to Greece

Hi All,
I'm planning a trip to Greece for July 2005. and already I'm getting overwhelmed with choices. So, I figured I'd ask your suggestion as to where are the key places to visit in order to feel as if I really experienced the country. Athens and Santorini/Mykonos are definites. Also, Lymnos, where my boyfriend's father came from -- small island in the north. Where else should I go, and what's the best way to travel around the country if you don't speak the language? Are there tour operators that offer great tours of the country, or do you recommend traveling without assistance? I'm planning to go for about 2 weeks. Any suggested itineraries are very much appreciated.
Many thanks,
Christina
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Old Aug 1st, 2004, 07:41 AM
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If you're interested in the classical ruins -- Corinth, Mycenae, Epidaurus, Olympia, Delphi -- there are four-day classical tours by bus run by CHAT Tours and Key Tours; both are reputable tour operators. Getting to the ruins by traveling independently is almost impossible, unless you are driving. But the roads on the Peloponnese can be narrow and full of curves.

Crete is worthwhile, as long as you avoid the northeastern coast (I think that's the one) that has been taken over totally by the rowdier kind of British tourist.

Traveling between the islands by local ferry is relatively easy but can be quite time-consuming. But I understand that since my last trip to Greece, faster, non-ferry type boats have been put into service.

There is another current thread on travel in Greece. If you type Greece into the search box, it should come up.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2004, 04:02 PM
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All of those classical sites can be reached using greek buses, no problem. English is widely understood. The faster catamarans are ferries 2x the speed 2x the price of conventional ferries. If you intend going to Athens, Lemnos, Mykonos, Santorini in 2 weeks this would be time consuming, hardly worth it for such atypical islands (apart from Lemnos).
 
Old Aug 2nd, 2004, 05:46 PM
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Ouzo,
What do you mean that a 2 week trip to Greeece is not worth it? I feel that I have to go to Lymnos because my boyfriend's father, who passed away over 10 years ago, came from there. I, really don't want to go there, but I feel it's the right thing to do. Please advise, because I definitely want to see Athens and Santorini. I don't have to go to Mykonos.
Thanks.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2004, 06:07 PM
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2 weeks is fine for a trip to Greece, but if you spread things out too much you will spend quite a bit of time ferrying. You might want to look into flights between some of the islands (it seems to be advised that you not use Olympic Airlines, but Aegean instead).

We will be going from Athens to Santorini in early September on a Flying Dolphin - a 4 hour trip. On the regular (car) ferry it would take about twice that. Our cost for business class is 100 euros apiece.

We will be on the holiday part of our Greece trip for 2 weeks: 2 days sightseeing in Athens, 7 days on Santorini and 4 on Mykonos, then 1 last night in Athens before returning home. Lots of people go to Santorini for 3-4 days.

English is widely spoken so no troubles there.
Here is a thread that's going on about organized tours/tour guides in Greece.
http://www.fodors.com/forums_reg/threadselect.jsp?fid=2

Also try a search on this forum for Greece - there's lots of info!
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Old Aug 3rd, 2004, 12:04 PM
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What I meant was it would be a lot easier to go to islands such as Lesbos, Chios, Samos from Lemnos due to the ferry routes, I have recently returned from Samos and it is far more attractive island than Santorini, you will also get to experience a much better flavour of greece rather than just following millions of tourists flocking to the same old islands. The less well known islands are well worth a random shot, go on give em a go.
 
Old Aug 10th, 2004, 06:01 PM
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Two weeks is great for a first trip to Greece, but I think you may need to make a choice of islands versus mainland. The first time my wife and I went, we were gone for maybe around 16 days. We started out in Athens, then did Santorini (only about two nights: cool island, don't miss it, but so small you can see things quickly), and then moved along to Crete and ultimately Rhodes. Crete is fantastic -- all the Minoan stuff, and then the Venetian fortress cities, especially the incredibly charming Chania, which is Greece's answer to Santa Fe (history, arts & crafts, good eating, and a terrific base for all sorts of day trips).

On our second trip, again in the 14-16 day range, we did cheat by going back to Chania for a few days. After that, we concentrated on the Peloponnese and central Greece and Athens. Key recommendations for the mainland: don't miss the Acrocorinth above the ruins of ancient Corinth; spend some time hanging out in Nauplia, enjoying the town, the Venetian castles and all the great stuff (Mycenae, Tiryns, Epidauros) that's within a short hop nearby; the Byzantine ghost town of Mistra, near Sparta; unique, unforgettable, end-of-the-world Monemvasia; the Mani with its tower houses, dramatic scenery and legacy of blood feuds (this is Greece's version of Hatfield-McCoy country); the Venetian fortress at Methoni; and the ruins of Nestor's Palace near Pylos.

We always just rented a car and did it on our own. Tour companies are generally designed to move at the pace of the slowest tourist in the bunch. In the islands, there are always people who speak English. There are some pockets in the Peloponnese where you may run into problems, but having German or French as a back-up will get you through.
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