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Short November trip with young teens - Athens or Costa del Sol?

Short November trip with young teens - Athens or Costa del Sol?

Aug 16th, 2007, 08:22 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 276
Short November trip with young teens - Athens or Costa del Sol?


My family often spends the November Thanksgiving holidays in Europe because of great winter rates. Normally, my stepdaughter and niece miss a few days of school; I am a firm believer that travel is an important part of one's education and the girls are excellent students. They are starting high school now, and I don't want them to miss more than a day of school this year.

We'll arrive in Europe on Thursday morning, and depart on Monday morning. My girls are fast-paced champion travelers. We do tend to take some organized group tours or use private taxi tours in order to maxmize our time.

I have 2 set of travel awards on hold that I need to purchase by tomorrow; both destinations are new to me, and I'd love some advice between the two.

Itinerary 1: Athens -
Day 1: Visit the Plaka and roam with an early evening.
Day 2: Athens morning sightseeing tour; afternoon tour of Sounion/Temple of Poseidon
Day 3 - Cruise to Hydra
Day 4 - Day trip to Delphi

Itinerary 2: Costa del Sol (Marbella)
Day 1 - Visit Puerto Banos for tapas; early night
Day 2 - Drive to Granada for the day
Day 3 - Gibraltar or Tangiers day tour
Day 4 - Drive to Ronda

In Athens, we'd use group tours or someone like George, the taxi tour driver; in Spain, we would rent a car, and do much of the driving ourselves (which doesn't bother us).

Any thoughts between the 2? We could easily spend weeks in either destination (Greek islands will have to wait!), but that is not possible on this trip; also, these locations were the ones in which award travel was available - only options for us!

Thanks in advance,
Chels is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 09:09 AM
Join Date: Jun 2007
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I'm assuming you are American (?) because you mentioned Thanksgiving...

I, as an American, HATED the Cosa del Sol!!! I HATED it, HATED it SO much that I left my pre-paid hotel/food package and took off for Morocco (where I had a fascinating time!)!!!

You could not pay me to return. (although the daytrips I took were nice...to Seville, Granada Ronda, etc.)

the "costa" was FILLED with elderly English (I was off-season...May) and fish and chips shops, McDonalds, and CHEESY bars and nighclubs filled with DRUNK, sunburnt, English people.

It was not my thing at all. I was not impressed with the beaches either...they were fine...but nothing I would fly over for.

others, I'm sure, will disagree...but I have travelled quite a lot in Euope and elsewhere...and that is not somewhere I will return. I'm sure there are more fabulous places to visit in Spain if that's what you're looking for.

I REALLY don't mean to come off TOO harsh...but it is what it is...and I was unprepared as to what to expect (!) so I wanted to be honest here.

I have not been to Athens yet.
CasaDelCipresso is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 10:05 AM
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Yes, CasaDelCipresso, we are from the US (originally from the Caribbean)... Wow, you have strong feelings about the Costa del Sol! However, what struck me about your post is that you speak highly of the daytrips you took, which is really what our focus would be on. I don't think November is beach weather there, so the Costa is really just our base because we have a free stay at the Marriott there. I'm still torn!
Chels is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 10:18 AM
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CasaDelCipresso does appear to have very strong feelings regarding the Costa del Sol, and in some things may be rightfully justified, as the area around Marbella is probably the least “Spanish” area along the Costa del Sol. But that being said, Andalucia has a lot to offer and if you can use Marbella as a base, then by all means go and enjoy yourselves.

Personally, I would suggest using Sevilla as a base to explore the area.

Robert2533 is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 10:30 AM
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Well..as a spaniard, I don't like Marbella at all That said, if you have a free lodging like the Marriot, I wouldn't hesitate...for free it is even good
I think it would be better for such a short trip Spain..even if it is also worth more than a week, three hours less of flights look interesting in a short trip.
I wouldn't do Gibraltar or Tangiers...when you can do Seville (yes, it is a bit far for a day trip but it is doable).
kenderina is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 10:54 AM
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Wow, Marbella is really not too popular today! Yes, the free hotel stay is a big incentive for us, so Marbella would be it. Spain is more cost-effective for us due to the fact that we would do most of the sightseeing on our own. I'm leaning towards Spain, but I still am intrigued about seeing some of the ruins of Athens.

Thanks so much for the comments, they are extremely helpful. I appreciate any input.
Chels is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 12:39 PM
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yes...my point was that I went with expectations of just relaxing and enjoying the Costa del Sol...and that did not happen (I had kind of expected more of a riviera or Amalfi coast experience...and not simmilar at all)...I think if you go with expectations that you will be using it as a nice, free base ;-) then you will be fine. If I had a choice though of places to stay in Spain, it would not be it.
CasaDelCipresso is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 01:29 PM
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Oh, the drawbacks of free travel! It seems as if Marbella may be the place for us to be in November.

Thanks for the comments.
Chels is offline  
Aug 16th, 2007, 01:55 PM
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DH and I visited Athens in late April and early May of 2006 and stayed for 5 nights (about 3.5 days of sightseeing). We also saw Delphi during a different part of our trip. While Athens will be a longer flight, and you'll have another hour of time difference to adjust, I think it would be ideal for your trips. The ruins in Athens, and at Delphi, are spectacular. We spent 6 hours in the National Museum of Archaeology and could return for another long visit. If you search for "TexasAggie", my trip report will come up with details about the sights we saw (emphasis on historical sights).

TexasAggie is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 12:17 PM
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Great to hear from you - your advice last year on Wurzburg really worked out great on our World Cup trip!

My husband and I took time over the weekend to study your Athens trip report; unfortunately, it has had the opposite effect. We are not going to go to Athens for Thanksgiving with the kids - we are going alone! Your report just sounded so nice for a couple - even more so because I don't think you set out to make it "romantic". So, I believe that it will be the Costa del Sol in November. (It may change -I was able to extend my miles reservation!)

Thanks again to everyone for the advice,

Chels is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 12:52 PM
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Hi Chels!

You and your husband will have a wonderful time in Greece! Hopefully you will be able to stay for more than a few nights since it is a bit of a journey to get there from the US. I really do need to finish that trip report eventually... eek... it's been 15 months since the trip!

I hope you and the girls have a great time in Spain over Thanksgiving!
TexasAggie is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 01:06 PM
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Chels, I took both son and daughter on seperate occasions to southern Spain when they were about the age of yours. Looking through their eyes, they loved Gibralter, particularly the apes and St. Michael's cave. Although they did not care for the "modern city" of Tangiers, they thought the Casbah was terrific and totally enjoyed the day. Granada, Cordoba and Seville were big hits too.
basingstoke2 is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 08:33 AM
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TexasAggie: Yes, please finish that Athens trip report - I really, really enjoyed what you already wrote. I printed it out, and it made the long commute home much more enjoyable!

Basingstoke2: Thanks for the comments. I've decided to take my nephew with us as well, so the diversity of activities should be good for my little group.

Thanks again to you all,
Chels is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 09:48 AM
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Anybody that tells you that they HATED Costa del Sol is in serious need of a guidebook or at a minimum, on nice lessons on How to Research a Travel Destination.

I Hated Torremolinos; I Hated Fuengirola; I hated Benalmadena, which is exactly what I thought it would be after reading about them. That's why I spent my time in Ronda, Casares, Ubrique, Mijas, and Granada; wonderful, amazing mountain towns within minutes of gorgeous beaches.
Viajero2 is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 12:39 PM
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I agree with you about the benefits of good research prior to taking a trip. I am one of those people who does almost too much research prior to going away -not much is left to the imagination when I am finished. It annoys me to no end when some of my fellow travel companions (ok - my husband and my sister) do literally no research and then question the itinerary upon arrival! That's why I'm in charge...

Thanks for the input,
Chels is offline  

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