Greece: Athens & the Peloponnese Guidebook
Favorite discoveries or tips:
Bella Helena restaurant in Olympia was suggested by the proprietor of the Pelops Hotel and we had a great homecooked dinner.
Ellie Stratton in Malvern, PA USA 09/28/2012
We had a fabulous dinner at Strofi restaurant on the rooftop looking up at the lighted Parthenon in Athens! Unforgettable,
Cheryl Foote in Albuquerque, NM USA 06/14/2012
We rented a car in Santorini through our hotel, and were able to see many sites on the island within a half day, including the Akrotiri excavation and red sand beaches, the black sand beaches in Kamari, and a winery near Megalochiri. The cost (60 euro for the day) was comparable to trying to do this by taxi, and we saw more in a day than we would have if traveling by bus, and with more freedom. Driving wasn't too much of an issue here.
Russ in Westminster, MD USA 05/28/2012
The restaurant "Thalami," between the main square where one enters the main pedestrian walk and the restaurant "Flora'" is excellent. The staff was friendly and generous. The place was very well appointed and the fried calamari was the best we encountered in our 2 week stay here.
Robert Teagardin in Vashon, WA USA 10/28/2011
As advised, we went to a travel agent to arrange ferry tickets to the islands when in Athens and ran into George at Academy travel. in the Plaka. tel (30) 213 0056374-5. We were in Athens during the general strikes, which included taxis, metro and buses. He had taken our phone number, and called us to tell us about the transportation problem He also came by private car to give us rides to the airport, ferry station etc. Once arriving at our hotel before 6 a.m. to make sure we got to the airport. He also had very good hotl tips and connections for lodgings in the islands, and there was always some one at the docks to meet us. He wasn't cheap, but it was worth not having to deal with a lot of hassles.
Jerry Mills in toledo, oh USA 09/29/2011
The small town of Monemvassia, on the Peloponnese peninsula, is a great place! The water is clear, and a "harbor turtle" (the local equivalent of the mayor) greets you when your tender docks. the climb to the old fortress atop the hill is memorable. The Starfish Restaurant, on the beach across the road from the dock, has excellent food, great local wine (by the pitcher), and good prices.
Nancy Adams in Cary, NC USA 09/08/2011
Include information about the Sofitel Hotel at the airport. We did not want to return to the Niki Hotel for our last night after returning from the islands. It had wonderful accomodations and the buffet breakfast was outstanding.
Cheryl Weir in Vancouver, WA USA 08/19/2011
We had dinner in Arachova on our way to Delphi. It was cool, full of kids on bikes, the Greek salad was good and the waitress a jewel. We stopped on the way to Nafplio from Monemvasia at a wonderful salvage yard that spread out on both sides of the road with hundreds, no thousands of wrought iron gates, pots, old toys, antiques of all sorts.
Jan Grantham in Redding, CA USA 07/26/2011
Brenda Compton - contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Brenda Compton in Kingston, On Canada 06/23/2011
1) supermarket locations would help those of us who wanted to intersperse self-cooked or prepped meals with eating out. 2) page 5 – major holidays: unfortunately, no one's guide book indicated that May 1st, Labor Day, was a day when nothing was open. Tourists galore flocked to all the sites in Athens looking bewildered that on this day, all sites were closed. 3) new archeological site hours all over Greece not listed in any guide book, nor advertised anywhere for tourists, nor do hotels inform guests that with the lousy economy, the public tourist sites are now limited in hours. 4) Thursday is a popular day for public workers to strike in Greece. 5) page 52 – Laundry: Athens's backpacker's self service is next door to Sports Bar, also operated by them, and can get free laundry soap and change. Also, need to run dryer twice to dry clothes, so 4EU for drying. 6) page 222 - Delphi Restaurant selection isn't broad, most offer similar menus, so the best places to eat are the ones w/views towards the Bay or mountains. We actually enjoyed a little local “hole-in-the-wall” right across from our hotel, patronized by our hotel's staff & lots of locals. It served reasonably priced local dishes. We tried Taverna Vakchos, which had excellent views and great Baklava, but the spinach & cheese pies, heavy & slightly greasy, & the Greek Salad, bland and too oily, were very disappointing. 7) page 351 – Harilaos: delicious Mousaka & stuffed peppers, very generous ouzo portion, lovely view of the tiny “port”. Beer – 2.50 EU, Wine – 6EU, Ouzo – 2EU, fresh seafood – 28-35 EU. 8) page 359 – Pyrgos Dirou Caves: tour is entirely in Greek, life jackets are floating in water, no helmets provided, and speed is rapid so no time to get good photos, guide never stops. After buying tickets, must drive down to entrance where there is parking. 9) Hotel Tony: page 168 - 1) We stayed at this hotel 3 separate times, 2 1-night stays, 1 3-night. The 3 stays were interesting, & we got different impressions from each. Positives: thick drapes for night; fridges; newer, unstained sheets & towels; large unfitted bottom sheets; slightly firm, flatter pillows; 2 sets of complimentary toiletries; newer, firm single mattresses w/wooden slat support underneath. Negatives: no bathroom fan; no shower curtain or door to block spray from getting everything wet; not enough towel racks for 2 people; marble-tile stairs & floors in new building that echo: key card used for entry & electricity. Overall, would recommend this hotel w/caveat of advising newer building room w/a balcony, on the upper floors.
Kip Freytag in Shingle Springs, CA USA 06/06/2011
As a Greek-American who travels regularly to many parts of Greece, I was disappointed that my pick for one of the top 5 tavernas in all of Greece was not included in your recent guide. It is O Pseiras in Nafplio. In fact, you take people there on tours very regularly which made the deletion even more mystifying. I strongly recommend including them in your updates. Thank you! http://www.pseiras.gr/
Sindri Anderson in El Cerrito, CA USA 06/05/2011
Our trip was unforgettable. We arrived in Athens on the 20th of March, and then "sort a" followed Rick's recomended driving tour.
The best part of the trip was the drive from Olympia to Kardamyli, and our stay in Kardamyli, on the Mani penninsula. We arrived there on the 22nd of March, just in time to catch the local celebration of the start of the fight for Greek independance from the Ottomans. Drank beer and played chess with locals that night in a taberna, puncuated by occasional celebratory gun fire (blanks). We stayed at Gorgones, a great inexpensive inn there, that you recommended (it's a gem), and I'll always remember drinking the cheap plastic bottled wine on our balcaney over the Ionian Sea. The churches in Kastania are amazing, especially the little one at the enterance to town. There's a little taberna in Kastania that serves cheap beer after you've exhausted yourself climbing around town. They had their wood burning stove (a converted propane tank) fired up on the damp day we visited.
Late March was the perfect time for us. Very few tourists, infact we were the only guests in most places we stayed. The countryside around Kardamyli looked like something out of a fairy tale, with an unending carpet of wild flowers on our way to Kastania.
We stayed in Gythio after we left Kardamyli, and enjoyed it there too. The garbage problem you mentioned in your book must have been solved by the time we got there. Great scenery with snow capped mountains behind the town towards the center of the penninsula (don't know their name). It was a nice change from the smaller towns we had stayed in until then.
We finnished our trip with visits to Mycenae and the Acropolis. You're in Greece, so you have to see them right? On our way from Mycenae we stopped at a roadside fruit stand, and ate juicy oranges and grapefruit to quench our thirst on a warm sunny day. Why did they taste so good?
Things I'll remember most about Greece: -Kastania -Kardamyli -Wild Flowers -Being asked if we had reservations (which we never did) even though there was no one else staying at the inns we stayed at, then having the proprietors look in their book, and quickly saying, "yes, it will be okay". We almost had to laugh at this by the end of the trip. The people are just great. -Olive Groves -Driving in the mountains, especially between Olympia and Kalamata (you need a healthy heart and a steady hand on the wheel in Greece). -Trying to decypher Greek road signs. -Me and my wife trying to read Rick's book on a Kindle, it doesn't work very well, I'll get the hard copy next time.
History and ancient ruins are great, but in the end it's the people, their culture, and the amazing scenery that made the trip for us.
If you're driving, a GPS is invaluable, and don't forget to wave at the guys in suit coats herding their sheep down the road, or that old lady with the donkey loaded up with fire wood.
Many thanks to Rick Steves, you've never let us down yet.
Dave Kendle in Lincoln, NE USA 04/14/2011
Just wanted to comment on how concise and helpful this book was on my week visit to Athens and Peleponisos in March. Off season, I was able to stay at Hotel Tempi in Monastiraki...great location. And at one other low budget hotels in Naplio, a couple blocks up from the town square. Naphlio Saturday market was great! Raisins, nuts, wine in plastic liter bottles all recommended. Thanks again Rick for pointing the way to a low-key, stress-free vacation. Your books are always right on target, and so entertaining!
Gary Gretencort in Lynnwood, WA USA 04/04/2011
We felt your guidebook overlooks one of the more significant archeological sites by not mentioning Corinth. In addition to the remaining agora, there is an amazing fortress high above the city.
Joan Barnes in Portland, OR USA 04/01/2011