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Short Greece road trip along with Corfu and Italy (Lake Maggiore)

Short Greece road trip along with Corfu and Italy (Lake Maggiore)

Old Nov 2nd, 2021, 12:49 PM
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Short Greece road trip along with Corfu and Italy (Lake Maggiore)

We just returned from a trip to Greece (9/21 to 10/5) and Italy (10/5-10/9) and thought I’d write up a quick report. My husband has mobility issues so that affected quite a bit of what we did and where we went. We traveled with another couple and I could not have done it without them! Our itinerary was a six night road trip through Greece, then on to Corfu and finally flying to Milan for three nights in Stresa on Lake Maggiore. Here was our itinerary:

Greece:
Athens – 2 nights
Delphi – 1 night
Nafpaktos – 1 night
Parga – 2 nights
Ionian Coast – 2 nights
Paleokastritsa, Corfu – 3 nights
Corfu Town – 2 nights

Italy:
Stresa (Lake Maggiore) Italy – 3 nights
Milan Airport – 1 night

Athens 9/22-9/24
Started in Athens for two nights, we’ve all been there before so we just sort of recovered from the long flight – we had drinks at “A is for Athens” lovely rooftop bar the first day (with a great view to the Acropolis and Monastiraki Square) and did the hop on/hop off bus the next. We stayed at the Radisson Blu hotel (we had points) and it was fine maybe not in the best location as not so close to a lot of tourist sites (although just a few blocks from one of the hop on- hop off bus sites) but for us it worked out. Our room there was nice and breakfast was good.

Here is a picture of our view from “A is for Athens” rooftop bar:



We reserved a car through Auto Union in Athens. They allowed us to pick up the car in Athens and drop it off 6 days later at the Igoumentitsa Port. It was expensive at approximately 700 euros (a lot of that was the drop off fee) but worth it so we didn’t have to backtrack to Athens.

Delphi 9/24-9/25
Our first stop was Delphi where we stayed one night at Kastalia Boutique Hotel https://www.kastaliahotel.gr(approx. $105 per night). The hotel was very nice and the staff couldn’t have been more friendly or helpful. My husband and I have been before and with his mobility issues he wasn’t planning to hike around. It’s a beautiful spot and lovely views from our hotel. Our friends had never been so they did the museum and the oracle, etc.

Nafpaktos – 9/25-9/26
Next day we drove to Nafpaktos for one night. My husband’s grandfather is from a small village just a few kilometers away and we met up with a distant cousin of his who took us all around. It’s really a nice seaside town – there’s an old venetian castle with beautiful views and a nice port area. Its touristy but mostly with Greeks I think. It’s definitely worth a stop. We stayed at Flisvos Hotel https://www.flisvoshotel-nafpaktos.com/en/ (approx. $90 per night). It’s an older hotel, feels a little dated but the rooms are big and people are nice and its close to many restaurants.

View of Nafpaktos from the castle ruins:




Parga 9/26-9/28
Next stop was beautiful Parga for two nights where we stayed at Villa Rossa https://www.villarossa.gr ($520 for two nights). Nice hotel – it’s in a lovely spot right on the bay and close to everything but I did think it was a little pricey. We had a small apartment so that was nice having some extra room but the rooms felt a little dark and the patio was not exactly inviting. The people there were wonderful and the breakfasts were very yummy and the location can’t be beat so I do recommend.

We had a day and a half in Parga so we hung out, did some shopping and took the little Parga train up to Ali Pasha castle. It was fun and kind of surprising that that little train could chug all the way up that big hill. We stopped at a small village on the way back and the guide (maybe the owner/operator?) bought ice creams for all the kids on the train – it was very sweet.

Picture of Parga by the castle:





Ionian Coast 9/28-9/30
After Parga we headed north opting for a little luxury at the Marbella Elix a new five star hotel. https://www.marbella.gr/marbella-elix/. We paid approx. $550 for two nights (9/28-9/30) which also included breakfast and dinner. The hotel definitely delivered – it was in a beautiful spot, beautiful view and the food was really good. I had a couple of small complaints which might not bother most people - the biggest was that they advertised a funicular directly down to the beach which I thought would be perfect in our situation – unfortunately, it stopped two long steep flights of stairs above the beach. My husband made it down but we had to ask them to send the hotel van as we didn’t want to deal with the stairs back up. The second annoyance was the freezing cold swimming pool – maybe that’s a Greek thing I guess they like it to be refreshing but for us getting used to it was kind of a pain!

Anyway, all of my petty complaints shouldn’t stop anyone from staying there – it’s a lovely hotel in a beautiful spot and we thought it was great value for what you get. On our one full day there we drove to Syvota – a nice small seaside town about a half hour away. Looked like lots of boat trips took off from there. The rest of the time we just chilled and hung out at their beautiful (and kind of freezing!) pool.

Paleokastrirsa, Corfu 9/30 – 10/3
Off to Corfu for five nights. We drove to the Igoumentitsa port where we dropped off the car and took ferry to Corfu town. We stayed the first three nights in Paleokastritsa at the Akrotiri Beach Hotel https://www.akrotiri-beach.com (approx. $645 for three nights in upgraded rooms which included breakfast and dinner). The hotel was nice and in a beautiful spot – we had lovely views from our room and the area is just gorgeous. The hotel itself seems a little old and faded and in need of some updates but that might be due a little coming from the fancy, sleek five star Marbella but the staff was really friendly and such a beautiful spot I would still recommend. Breakfast there was good but the dinners were marginal at best – we ended up ditching the dinner after the first night and went out – much better decision.

We rented a car for two days from a company our hotel recommended. We thought it was a good deal for 100 euros – they brought the car to our hotel and at the end we left the car parked in hotel parking lot and gave the reception the key – very easy. We made good use of the car – some places we visited were Paleokastritsa Monastery (beautiful views!), Achilleion Palace, over to Kalami and Kassiopi (our friends are big Durrell’s fans).

View from our hotel:




Corfu Town, Corfu 10/3 – 10/5
Our last two nights in Greece we stayed in Corfu Town at the Bella Venezia https://www.bellaveneziahotel.com ($307 for two nights). Lovely hotel, comfortable room, great location and excellent breakfast. Spent our couple of days there (well really a day and a half) wandering around the charming streets of the old town, went up to the fortress and took the little tourist train to get an overview.

On to Italy!
We flew on Ryan Air from Corfu Town to Milan. We were a bit nervous about adding another country while traveling in Covid times but it turned out just fine. We could have flown back to Athens but seemed to make more sense to try somewhere new and we were so glad we did! We all had to get tested and fill out a Person Locator Form which we found very confusing but in hindsight we probably made it out to be more difficult then it was.

Stresa, Lake Maggiore. 10/5 – 10/8
What a lovely spot! We stayed three nights at Regina Palace Hotel https://reginapalace.it ($600 for three nights). Very nice old world charm kind of hotel in a great location.

We had arrived at MXP to pouring cold rain, picked up a rental car from Avis (which kind of turned out to be a rip off….sigh!) and drove the 45 minutes or so to Stresa. Lake Maggiore and surroundings are beautiful and luckily the next day and the rest of our stay we were blessed with beautiful weather. We bought ferry tickets for the hop on hop off three island tour but realized when we arrived at Isola Madre that three islands with lots of steps and walking wasn’t going to work out for my husband so we cut it down to two islands and stayed on the boat and headed over to Isola dei Pescatori - walked around the small island ad had a drink. Lots of restaurants but we weren’t hungry yet then to Isola Bella to tour the palace and the gardens. Very beautiful! The next day we headed over to Lake Orta – so pretty over there. We never actually went into the town as we couldn’t find parking close enough for my husband. We drove up to the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Sasso – stunning views! Then back to Stresa to the Sky Bar at Hotel La Palma for drinks and yet again beautiful views over Lake Maggiore. Drinks were a bit expensive but those views….so worth it!

View of Lake Maggiore from the Sky Bar:




Milan Airport 10/8 – 10/9
Last stop Milan (MXP) airport where we stayed at the Sheraton ($197) located right at Terminal 1 as we had and early morning flight to EWR. It was nice and comfortable and so worth it for the convenience. We had a very nice dinner nearby at a restaurant (don’t remember the name) that provided transport to and from. Worked out perfectly!




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Old Nov 2nd, 2021, 01:32 PM
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Thanks for the detailed TR and lovely photos. Some of my favorite places....
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Old Nov 2nd, 2021, 05:44 PM
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Your pictures are beautiful! Some of your hotel views were really magical. Thank you for posting them. What a great experience to have a relative show you around.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2021, 06:04 PM
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Thanks for sharing your visit to some less reported on locations in Greece.
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