Tips on Greece
If you have any tips on Greek hotels, B&Bs, restaurants, fun activities or creative angles on enjoying the art and culture (especially in Athens and the Peloponnesian Peninsula), wed love your help. Thanks! Rick
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We recently got back from 2 weeks in Italy, Greece, Turkey. We took two walking tours offered by Context Tours http://www.contexttravel.com . One in Athens, one in Rome. These are scholar led tours and are superb for those who want a deeper understanding. Our guides were knowledgeable, articulate, and very well prepared. On our Day in the Life of an Ancient Athenian tour, our guide even brought an iPad with accurate renditions of what the each site would have looked like at the time it was built (which made looking at the foundations of ruins come to life).
Prices were quite reasonable. We were on a Cunard cruise, so I used the Cruise Critic .com message boards to find people to fill out the tour and bring the individual price down.
virginia beach, va USA 11/13/2013
Hotels near Athens Airport
Be aware that booking site cheapoair.com has economical hotels listed as being within a couple of miles of the Athens International Airport that are in fact 25 Km away in the town of Alimos. The site also has a $50 cancellation fee.
Blackstone, MA USA 08/09/2013
See Hosio Loukas on the way to Delphi
We hired a taxi guide to take us to Delpli for the day and he recommended stopping by Hosio Loukas monastery. To be honest, we enjoyed this place more than Delphi. It's still somewhat undiscovered by the general tourist crowd but is a good example of byzantine monastery perched hing on a hillside. I'm actually surprised Rick has not mentioned it as a stop on the way to Delphi. It has a webstie that does not do it justice. If you like undiscovered places try this one out.
Fort Collins, CO USA 07/06/2013
Athens Taxi Tour & Driver Recommendation June 2013
This is related to an earlier post where I recommended using a taxi to get around Greece. We booked trips to Delphi and Nafplio with Athens Taxi Tours (Michael Sterianos). We were not sure what to expect but it turned out to be a great trip enhancer because we did not have to deal with hot buses, unreliable boat schedules, and we had a customized itinerary all for about the same cost as renting a car or taking a bus tour. Michael understands customer service and provided knowledgeable history as he drove and made sure we got where we were going safely and efficiently. He does not upsell and he provides sight options and recommendations that only a local would know about.
He impressed me as the type of tour provider Rick recommends such as Faye G. and others we met on our trip who provides above and beyond service for a flat fee. He picked us up at our hotel and was dedicated to us for the long day. Using Michael enabled us to tweak Rick's Greece itinerary to spend two days in Athens, take his taxi to Nafplio while visiting Corinth, Mycenae and Epidavros on the way which saved a day and 100 Euro hotel night. Michael drove us all day and went back to Athens. No rental car to worry about! Then spent two days in Nafplio, then taxi to port across Hydra where spent two more days. Then spent two more days in Athens of which one day we used Michael to drive us to Delphi. He recommended seeing Hosio Loukas Monastery and have running history of what we saw on the way. He waited in the car at each stop and gave advice on how to see the sights efficiently. Basically it was like having a local freind for the day. His car is new, air conditioned and has Wi-Fi which kept the kid happy. No stress for the family getting lost or wondering what stop to get off a bus and we could leave our luggage in the car while seeing the sights and not worry.
Fort Collins, CO USA 07/06/2013
Guide for the Acropolis
We recently hired Fay Georgiou as our guide at the Acropolis and at the Acropolis Museum. What a gem she is! We had a group of six and she impressed all of us with her knowledge and her ability to make the history of Greece and these beautiful ruins come alive.
Fishers, IN USA 06/16/2013
on a recent visit to Rhodes we discovered a little backstreet restaurant that was wonderful , great food , fantastic service from the owner , very reasonable prices , cozy and beautifully decorated . tavern Kostas , 62 Pythagora Str. Old Town , Rhodes , owner Ilias is delightful, a treasured find !
San Diego, Califo USA 05/17/2013
Best Athens Restaurant
Manh Manh Restaurant-2 short blocks from Acropolis Metro. Extraordinary flavors, reasonable & casual, but fine dining cuisine. Sounds impossible but when in Athens this is a must! Best dinner cuisine I have had anywhere in 10 yrs.
CA USA 04/04/2013
Fun hangout w/ great food specials
On Mykonos go where the locals go - Amades Restaurant and Bar.
CA USA 04/04/2013
Great B&B in Stemnitsa, Greece
The Mpelleiko B&B (pronounced Belliko) is a centuries old farm house in the small mountain village of Stemnitsa run by Nena Gkrintzia. She is English speaking, and serves a wonderful breakfast. She can give advice on hiking from her B&B as well as other sites. Close to Dimitsana on the Peloponnes Pennisula
Seattle, WA USA 03/21/2013
We spent two weeks in July 2012 at the amazing Volissos Holiday Homes on Chios, Greece. The studio apartment we rented was comfortable and clean and we had a private balcony with incredible views of the sea and the island. There's a breakfast terrace that is jaw dropping beautiful where we enjoyed morning coffee after our swim. A short walk down the hill from the terrace is a terrific beach with calm, clear water. The owner, Antigoni, was extremely helpful and accommodating. This was by far the nicest place we have ever stayed. Chios is quiet and beautiful, lots of beaches to choose from.
Greenfield, MA USA 02/03/2013
the magic of Aegean Sea
We had the most wonderful time in our recent trip to Greece and Turkey. It is quite convenient to purchase ferry ticket to the Greek islands once you arrive in Athens than booking online. Simply ask your local hotel for help, the travel agency would help you to purchase the ferry ticket without additional charge. We stayed at a wonderful hotel (Rhenia hotel and bungalows) in Mykonos, the host is so friendly and helpful. We rented a scooter going to the beaches and we had a blast on this beautiful island that we fell in love with. The cost of renting a scooter is only 15 euros per day, very reasonable. Then we took a high speed ferry to Santorini, and found out the place Oia, very beautiful town (which it is more pleasant than staying at the main town, Fira.) Fira is the main town but it can be quite crowded. Kamari black sand beach is beautiful and peacful to spend a day on the beach. The water is so clear and clean. The magic of Aegean sea. Love it.
belmont, ca USA 09/27/2012
As part of our 4 days in Athens, we (family of 6) took a one day tour to the Islands of Hydra, Poros and Aegina (following Rick's recommendation) . We did it through the hotel, they picked us up, then transferred to Pireaus, back and forth in the boat including lunch. It was beautiful. I Specially want to recommend the ice cream in Poros (I had coffee with chocolate chips) and the Pistachos in the island of Aegina (world famous as the best in Greece) and they really are delicious. MariaTB
Totowa, NJ USA 09/09/2012
When in Athens, I recommend "Marianna Exclusive Transfer Service." She can arrange any transportation needs and is a great travel guide. She can pick you up at the airport too. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Woodbury, MN USA 07/22/2012
Family of five and we left Santorini and came to Folengrandos and extended our vacation here because we fell in love with the island, especially the hotel Anemomilos. Today we had a day out on the water with a great guy from Athens who is starting a business here, diving, snorkeling-the first for the island. We went out for the day and went in caves, visited all the five beaches that are not accessable via bus and had a GREAT day. I suggest him for anyone who comes to this island, even if you just want to go out in the boat for the day and tour around. It is private and SO MUCH better than the one organized through the tour office. His name is SPIROS SAKELLARIOUS (30 22860 41624 email@example.com). He is bright, articulate, speaks English well and is trained as an instructor and is a great tour guide. The price was very reasonable. Contact him before you get here so that you have your day secured before you get here. This is also a very special, unique island and it is one of the few not destroyed by cruise boat tourism.
Greenwood Village, co USA 06/22/2012
Two wonderful afternoons in Athens with guide and archaeologist Faye Georgiou
My wife and I have just returned from a tour of Turkey and Greece. Because our time in Athens was limited we decided to engage the services of a private guide, Faye Georgiou, who was recommeded by Rick. This was the best decision we could have made as Faye gave us exactly what we were looking for. She is extremely knowlegeable, articulate and charming; both of us took to her right away. At the outset she took the time to understand us and what we wanted and clearly outlined what she proposed to do. As a result, we spent two very productive and informative afternoons with Faye exploring the Acropolis Hill and Museum and The National Archaeological Museum. We highly recommend Faye as a private guide.
Oakville, ON Canada 10/14/2011
The Peloponnese and sailing in the Ionian Sea
My sister and I recently went on a fabulous trip to Greece and before going we got a lot of help from online travel forums so this is an attempt to give back!
We flew into Athens (Delta's non-stop from JFK) and landed in Athens on September 2, 2011. Because of all of the talk about strikes, protests, etc. we rented a car from a non-Greek company that we hoped would keep us mobile in case of problems with taxis, airlines, ferries, etc. After doing a LOT of searching we ended up renting from autoUnion. We chose them based in large part on price specifically the fact that we wanted to rent the car in Athens and drop it off in Lefkas, on Lefkada Island. Their drop-off fee was lower than all of their competitors and they seemed to have their online customer service together which was confidence inducing. They were a good choice got a Hyundai 4 door in good condition, easy to get it from the airport and the drop-off involved a call to a guy who got it at the marina in Lefkas without us even needing to be there. I would definitely use them again.
That first day we drove to Nafplion. My sister had been there in the distant past (not saying how distant) and always wanted to revisit it. It was not a bad drive at all to do on a first day and with jet lag. As always we had pre-printed directions and, as always, got off them totally but somehow ended up in Nafplion more or less when we had expected to and it was an easy drive (less than 3 hours including a lunch pit stop and getting lost).
We stayed about 8km outside of town at the wonderful Hotel Perivoli. It's only about 15 minutes from the heart of Nafplion and is a lovely oasis of quiet and beauty. We booked it well in advance using booking.com. Find out what their sign looks like and then watch VERY closely for it as you head out of town. We also had dinner there the first night and it was very good. Great pool too which helped revive us a little on that first day. You don't want to be finding them for the first time at night there are some quick turns and it isn't in a town.
The next place we stayed was the Westin Costa Navarinos. It took us about 6 or 7 hours to get there but should have taken maybe 4 or 5! We got lost and went to or around the town of Argos so many times we finally gave up and had lunch there at an excellent little restaurant Retro. It truly took a village to even get us out of that village and then it took more like a small city to finally direct us to our destination! We took a very twisty mountain road with many little memorials to people who had died on said road.
Once you get within a reasonable distance of the Westin there start to be a fair number of small brown signs to help land you. We were there for 6 nights for free on points. Bottom line is that it was lovely with a wonderful sand beach and good pools but very expensive to eat there. If you have a car learn your way to Marathopoli right away and go there for your dinners. We took the Westin's Messinian cooking class and I'd skip that if you aren't a huge fan of fat-laden lukewarm food! It was funny that that was our worst meal in Greece! That region has a very different diet than the Mediterranean diet that we associated with Greece. The place where they hold the class is lovely and the women teaching it are very friendly and nice but go to the Souvlakateria at the Westin or to a nearby town for a cheaper and better meal.
When our stay at the Westin was over we drove to Lefkas to meet two friends and go sailing for a week. The whole trip was wonderful but the week of sailing was one of my most (favorably) memorable trips ever and I have traveled a lot (check credit card statements for verification).
We chartered our boat from a Bulgarian- owned company Beyond Yachting. We met the daughter of the owners at a travel show in Boston (where I live) and one thing had somehow led to another. They were absolutely wonderful no caveats!
We did a lot of research before signing on with them. Here are some of the reasons I recommend them so highly: no hidden fees (pay for the boat, the skipper and to replace fuel used), English speaking, highly knowledgeable non-smoking skipper and a support base in Lefkas. We learned when looking for information that some companies in Greece quote you one price but when you get there they ask if you want a Zodiac and if so, that's more money, as is a motor for it, etc. Also they often don't have someone on land who can respond promptly if there's any problem. This company has a man who has worked for the boat's owners (in Bulgaria) for many years and is very conscientious and available basically 24/7 (in Greece) if needed which, luckily, he wasn't!
Beyond Yachting has a fleet of new (2 years old at most I think) Beneteau sailboats. We were on the 50' Genesis (after the rock band not a biblical reference). The skipper they got for us was also Bulgarian Pavo. The boat was in perfect condition, very nicely outfitted, had some luxury touches such as high thread count Egyptian cotton for sheet snobs like me and more sensible things for people with the right priorities! We didn't get a cook but our friends had stocked the boat with lots of provisions (wine, beer and ingredients to make Greek salads) so we were good to go.
Beyond Yachting had picked our friends up at the airport in Iaonnina the day before and recommended a marine-side hotel for them in Lefkas and that had all worked out beautifully. The first night we left port and went to Spartochori. We tied up at a restaurant there in exchange for free water and electric (and weak wi-fi if you ask for the password) if you eat at their place.
This will turn into a book if I detail everywhere we went. The main point is that you go where you want to go which is great. Pavo knew every place and didn't hesitate to tell us where was nice and where was "stupid" and he always turned out to be right! In addition to being a terrific, amazingly competent skipper he is also in a rock band in Bulgaria and sings and plays his guitar in the evenings. To be honest we knew that ahead of time and were worried that it might be bad and either cringe or giggle inducing, but it was beyond wonderful! He's very talented, a lot of fun and has a good repertoire. One night we anchored in a cove and other boats were shouting over suggestions and singing along. In between songs we heard goats bleating (or whatever they do) on the hills and it was magical (probably even without wine).
We also went to the islands of Ithaca, Keffalonia, and Lefkada. Most nights we stayed in a town harbor and two we spent at anchor. Personally I preferred the nights at anchor quiet and nice breezes. Pavo knew wonderful places to swim and eat. Part of the "deal" is that you buy dinner for the skipper every evening and that was a delight. He's also one of the last people I know who can really tell a joke well and he has an impressive inventory. Plus they're all even funnier with a Bulgarian accent! (Be sure to ask about the skinhead and the bus conductor...)
I would be happy to provide more info about places we went on the boat or other questions. I just realized that I may have written a longer document than War and Peace so am trying to curb my enthusiasm! We really hope to come up with a way (read: the money) to go back next year and do at least another week sailing with Beyond Yachting with Pavo as our skipper. Not only did we go "beyond yachting" but the entire trip went "beyond wildest hopes"!
Boston, MA USA 10/08/2011
Tour Guide - Delphi - Penny Kolomvotsou
My family toured Delphi with Tourguide - Penny Kolomvotsou (firstname.lastname@example.org) - Recommended in Rick's Guidebook on the Peloponese. I can honestly say she may have been the best tourguide we have ever had - and we have had some very excellent guides, particularly in Italy. Her enthusiasm was matched only by her excellent knowledge of the sites which was remarkable - and I thought I had detailed knowledge of Delphi. She was excellent with my kids and engaged them far more than most tours we have taken. And interestingly enough, her family is from Delphi - her grandmother having been evicted from the site when they began excavation in the early 20th Century. Her rates are very reasonable, so I would suggest booking early.
Washington, DC USA 08/05/2011
My wife and I just returned from a month's stay in Greece. Our ninth trip there. For the traveller all is well. Spent two weeks on Paxos and two on Corfu and a little time in Athens. Paxos is extraordinary even by Greek island standards. As always, an excellent trip made even better by traditional Greek hospitality. Xenia in Hellas is alive and well. Don't be scared off by alarmist media reports. What else do they have to sell? Your support of our Greek brothers and sisters will be reciprocated many times over.
Yountville, CA USA 07/31/2011
Art Gallery Hotel, Athens
Just back from a wonderful trip to Greece. The taxis were on strike as well as the private cars, but we traveld via ferry, train and best of all by foot. Ricks book always in hand and what a beautiful friendly country it is. 8 islands via a crusie ship and then...We stayed at two of Ricks picks for hotels/pensions and were pleased with our Hydra housing Alkionides Pension it was a lovely room with a nice private patio as well as a patio for the other guests a fridge and cook top, lovely decor well cared for and the owners were so kind. The TAVERNA LEONIDAS WAS so so good,and the conversation was pure joy, we were the only ones eating at the resturant that night, what a treat..fabulous food too.We are a family of 4 so trying to stay on a budget can be a challange, but with Ricks books we can't go wrong. The Art Gallery Hotel in Athens looks great on the web site and they were very easy to deal with via email. The room we were given was on the 5th floor (the lift stops at 4).. and looked like it was saved for people they didn't like. (give them a crappy room and they won't stay long) The cigarette smoke came up the stair case and hung in our room all night, the beds were, well they weren't worth talking about. We did have a private bathroom, but the place was just in need of some tlc.... broken remote control that was taped, broken dresser pulls, stained carpet, "art" that was stained from roof leaks that ran down the wall, the toilet was crooked and the seat was broken. It was close to everything and we were able to walk everywhere...they only take cash..
Ca USA 07/29/2011
Athens-Natl. Archaeol. Museum
The Natl. Archaeological Museum in Athens does not close at 20:00 on Saturday but at 16:00as we found out to our utter misery after spending 45 minutes in the gold rooms, believing we had hours to luxuriate at the museum, and then being chased out around 15:50. Pure misery. Always double-check the info in Steve's books (I'm tattooing this to my wrist as we speak), especially when it relates to one of your main reasons for visiting a location. We did, however, get to witness beautiful Athens city center, and the doings in Syntagma Square, with about 1500 protestors showing up each night to make their statements and keep democracy alive in its cradle. One may have a variety of thoughts on how Greece got into its present mess, but the protestors are incredibly inspiring. The scene brought me to tears both there and later on, remembering those faces, people bringing their grandparents, a singer performing "Working Class Hero" and other protest songs in English, Spanish, and Greek. All while groups of 4-5 cops hung out on nearby street corners, joking and waiting. We felt little to zero threat, even with our two kids along. Definitely not a reason to stay away, and, for us anyway, a great reason to visit.
Flagstaff, AZ USA 07/23/2011
We have been to many of the world's best beach destinations but have never been able to compare them with the beaches in Greece. These are some of the best I have experienced with white sand and the clear water is really amazing. The only problem is that the typical tourist destinations like Santorini can get crowded. Then a Greek friend let us in on Halkidiki in the north. We went in June and can say that we are definitely going back. The same beautiful beaches but no people. We were practically the only ones on a vast beach all to yourself. Of course that was June, so I imagine it picks up in the summer. We tried to find info about the second finger, Sithonia, but little to be found. One site, http://sithoniagreece.com, has all the beaches listed with google maps which is really helpful. Anyways I thought I would let this out as a tip for ones who are trying to beat the crowds in Greece.
Toronto, ON Canada 07/21/2011
Skiathos - Nostos Village Resort Timeshare
We have a timeshare condo on Skiathos, Greece at Nostos Village from September 17th through 24th, 2011 that we can't use. We paid $1200 for it but are only asking $900 OBO. You'll get a formal email confirmation from RCI with all the resort details. Please contact Erin or Vince if you are interested at 206.999.3411.
Seattle, WA USA 07/15/2011
We are just finishing a two month vacation in Greece, Turkey and Eqypt. We visited several islands but stayed for one month on the island of Lesvos at Vatera Beach. We wanted a relaxed experience after our hectic travel schedule so we decided to stay at the Aphrodite Hotel on the beach. This is a family run hotel on a wonderful beach without being overrun by tourists. The owners treated us like family invited us to their Easter celebration with roast lamb, the traditional sweet breads and dyed eggs. We found a more authentic Greek experience on the island, met many people and overall enjoyed a great relaxing experience. But the best was the warm treatment by the family which I understand they extend to all their guests. The rooms vary from suites to simple kitchenettes at reasonable prices. The food is home made and most of the vegetables come from the family garden The island is large enough for sightseeing with ancient ruins, various, museums, fishing, olive groves, sheep and goat farms. The owner can provide rental cars at modest prices, plus provide other travel services.
Renton, WA USA 04/27/2011
Tips for Greece
I used Matt Barrett's website for a lot of my info, including for the car rental. They drove us in and out of Athens, no small feat! Some tips for driving through Greece: The castle at Acrokorinthoes is huge! Take a day! The big theater of Epidavrios is actually in Asklepion. In Lagkadia, women traveling alone are suspected by the older generation (men - never see the women), but most people were warm and friendly. Stemnitsa, Moni Aghiou Ioannou Prodromou outside Dimitsana is worth the road. Archea Olympia, town and site are lovely and comfortable. Ioaninnia, a beautiful start for Vikos Gorge, a destination in and of itself. Meteora, wow! And the monasteries do provide wraps if you are not wearing a skirt. Delphi. Amazing. Bring water and sunscreen. Speed limits seem to be only a suggestion, but don't speed. Stay right to let others pass (even on the shoulder). I did not need an IDP, they accepted my US license. You may get flagged to the side of the road by police, they are just checking papers. Keep the passport handy! Blue signs with a big "P" on it are NOT parking. It means permit! Yes I got a ticket. Go carefully around corners and watch for rocks (and goats and dogs). The national road can be shut down without warning, and traffic diverted. I wound up on a muddy rutted track (for those goats), before I got back on the main road to Lavrio again. Dogs lying by the roadside have not necessarily been hit by a car; they may just be guarding those goats. Any road that is not the national road can be a little (ok, a lot) scary. Go slow! Give yourself plenty of time to get lost, and use a Michelin map. Signs may not give your destination. Just go straight until they do. When in doubt, follow the tour buses! Stop often and chat with the locals, even if you don't speak any of the same language. Efkarastoh is thank you, parakalo is you are welcome. Men are not shy. I had three propositions in one day alone, and one guy yelled "I love you" as he drove by. Made me laugh, been years since I elicited that kind of response. There are many stray dogs. In Athens, friendly, fat and happy. But in the country some may not be in the best condition. There are rescues for those in need, and you can adopt stray, if you fall in love with them (even the Athens dogs). Check Matt Barrett's website for more info, or go to the local vet.
Greek Island Ferry Bookings
I had a heck of time trying to figure out how to book ferry trips for Greek Islands from a reliable source. I found one. Her email is email@example.com
She will book it all for you. Paleologos S.A
Shipping - Travel & Advertising Enterprises.
5, 25th August Str.
712 02 Heraklion - Crete - Greece.
TEL: (+30) 2810 346185 - (+30) 2810 346551 - (+30) 2810 330598
FAX: (+30) 2810 346208
Tlx: 262642 PAL GR
Operating hours: daily at 09:00 a.m. - 20:30 p.m.
Saturdays: 09:00 a.m. - 16:00 p.m.
Bellevue, Wa USA 04/02/2011
My wife and I enjoyed 24 hours in Athens before cruising from Piraeus in late October. We avoided 50 euro taxi cost by rolling our luggage onto the Metro at Athens airport (cost 10 euros for 2) and rolling off at 30 minutes later at Syntagma Square, about 10 minutes from Central Athens Hotel at 21 Apollonos. St. (print your map from your hotel website). Our "superior" room (small but clean) was available at our noon arrival, and faced the Acropolis. We could actually lie in bed and see the Parthenon lit up at night, or go up to the the rooftop garden for an all-around view of the Plaka area. We enjoyed a good Greek dinner around the corner at Tzitzikas kai Mermigas restaurant ("the cricket and the ant", an Aesop fable), 12-14 Mitropoleos St. (English menu available). The next morning, after a filling hotel breakfast (included) it was an easy walk to the Acropolis. In the afternoon, our original plan was to roll to the nearby Monastiraki metro station for the 1 euro metro ride to Piraeus, but instead had the hotel clerk call a taxi, which cost 20 euros (fare agreed in advance). This was not enough time in Athens, of course, but we had a good introduction to the city. It does help to have a good map and a good sense of direction, unless you can read Greek!
Lakewood, OH USA 11/14/2010
Some Greek Tips
I'm a little slow on posting this but we had a wonderful two week vacation in Greece this past July (2010) and we wanted to share a few tips. First, in Athens, get a pair of Greek sandals from the Poet Sandalmaker (http://www.melissinos-poet.com/eng/index.html). The store is right around the corner from Monastiraki. Yes it is a little cheesy but the sandals are so cute and super comfortable and keep you cool and, most importantly, they have rubber gripper soles which are super important if you don't want to slip on your butt on the marble streets of Greece. I was very happy to trade the sandals I brought for these for the entire two weeks. Best 20 I spent. Second, I ordered our ferry tickets from http://www.greekferries.gr/ and had them shipped to our first hotel in Athens. This was a lifesaver for a number of reasons - first was that I waited too long to order them and second it cost a lot less to ship them to a place in Greece as opposed to outside of Greece. Also, the people at Greek Ferries were very helpful with scheduling etc. Third, we stayed at Old Oia Houses on Santorini. (http://www.oldoiahouses.gr/) Beautiful and affordable. We stayed there for 6 days for 720 in a gorgeous one room apartment with a small kitchen and a small deck that overlooked the Caldera. There was also a rooftop deck with sunchairs and umbrellas. We would go buy food at the local grocery stores and make ourselves greek salads for dinner overlooking the Caldera. Much better than eating out every night. In Crete, first of all, skip the Knossos palace outside of Heraklion. It is a farce. The majority of the stuff there was built from the pure fantasy of the archeologist who decided the original ruins weren't interesting enough. Second, if you go to Chania you must eat at Doloma restaurant. It is a true backdoor restaurant. It seems like only the locals eat there. It is tucked off the street so you really have to look for it when you are walking down Kalergon - go east from Archoleon it is tucked behind the building on your right, next to the parking lot. They have a sign on the road with the letters in Greek but if you don't know your Greek alphabet you might just walk right past it. It was recommended to us by my uncle who moved to Chania recently and we adored it. We had dinner there twice and lunch once within 4 days. You can sit outside on their little patio and order from the menu or you can walk a little bit inside and check out the day's options in the glass case. I highly recommend their stuffed zucchini flowers with yogurt. I think dinner for two cost 20 with their retsina. Only people eating there our first night were a little old Greek couple who were feeding the local cats some of their fish of their plates. Adorable. Finally, there is a great restaurant on Theotokopoulou which serves Vegan food as well as adjusts their menu to accommodate any food allergy you might have. We can't for the life of us remember the name of it, but the restaurant is actually run by a Finnish couple. They offer a wide assortment of ethnic food from Greek to Scandinavian. We only had the Greek food but it was as delicious as any other local restaurant we frequented. If you are going North on the street it is a very tiny little place on your right - there is a small Finnish flag over the door and you will see signs that indicate Vegan and Gluten Free foods are available.
Stockholm, Sweden 10/11/2010
Caution re: Athens taxis
Ditto the previous poster's warning re: taxis in Athens. We took a taxi to the Plaka neighborhood from the airport, expecting around 40E...meter read 47E, so I was preparing 50E, rounding up. Before I knew it, the driver hit a button, making the fare 59.71E. When I asked, he sais, "taxes!!!" I remained calm and nicely told him I needed to get more money from the hotel...(I just really wanted to run this by the hotel for a second opinion)....he quickly said 50E was fine, but I nicely insisted on going in for more $. When I asked the front desk, I was told the initial fare was too high and there are no taxes. The driver was nervously pacing out front and could not wait to get away. We later read in an Athens paper about dishonest taxi drivers and the financial strains they are facing, as there is an oversupply of taxis right now, coupled with economic struggles and a shortage of tourists. Our hotel (AVA Hotel in Plaka...wonderful) arranged a later taxi for us to the cruise port at a flat 20E, and that driver actually under-charged us only 18E, so we kindly rounded up. Short version, have your hotel arrange a driver or take the Metro, if practical.
Nashville, TN USA 09/18/2010
Be careful with taxis in Athens!
Rick's book states that Athens is a great taxi city. Keep your guard up! Wife and I walked up to taxi queue across from Archeological Museum for ride to Monastiriki station (about 1.0 miles). The meter was installed inside a box on the dashboard which had a cover. After telling us how Athens is now back to life after 2 weeks of people vacating the city, he delivered us to our destination. He then opened the dashboard glove-box containing the meter and it showed 19. I asked... "Nineteen, what?" and the driver answered "Euros" My wife and I countered with No. And we stated repeatedly that our hotel is in the area and fare should be 4EUR between the sights (we made that bit up based on Rick's suggestion). After tense arguing, I offered 5EUR and he finally accepted. This was the third bizarre taxi experience in Athens that week, so either have a taxi company recommended by your hotel or know what the rates should be to avoid getting burned. 19 euros.. really?
Seattle, WA USA 08/26/2010
X93 Bus to 260 Liosion Station (Terminal B)
My wife and I went to Athens in early July, and we found out the hard way that when taking the express bus (X93) from the airport to Liosion Station (Terminal B), you should make sure you use the "stop bell/signal" on the bus. Bus drivers do not announce the stop, and if you don't use the bell/signal, they continue on their route; they assume you know where you are going.
Birmingham, AL USA 07/14/2010
Strikes and Sites
For the most part, the current strikes have not affected visiting major sites in Athens. Last week, during a major transportation strike, my wife and I were in the city and it didn't effect anything in the Plaka (Acropolis, Agora, etc.); however, the Benaki Museum was closed for the protest rallies.
Also, if possible, when visiting the National Museum take Rick's advice. Use the Victoria subway stop north of the museum, and walk south. Avoid the Omonia Square subway station at all costs. If you can imagine Times Square in the 1970s, you'll understand -- lots of drug-dealers, pick-pockets, and vagrants.
Birmingham, AL USA 07/14/2010
Subway and Bus Tip
Do not buy the $15.00 3-day pass for the Metro. The pass supposedly includes the #400 tourist bus, but the city of Athens has discontinued this line. My wife and I could have traveled with a day pass (fairly cheap) for the most part.
Also, if you have an early flight out of Athens, you may want to use a taxi. The subway line that runs to the airport takes 45-60 minutes starting from Syntagma station. Even more frustrating, you have to get off the subway line at the suburban switch at Doukissis Plakendias, and then re-board a subway car designated for the airport (10-15 minute wait for second car).
If you have a 8AM or earlier flight, forget it.
Birmingham, AL USA 07/14/2010
Delphi Summer Hours
The Delphi summer hours for Mondays have been changed. As of last week, the archaeological site opens at 8AM and the adjacent museum opens at 1:30PM.
Birmingham, AL USA 07/14/2010
Hydra beaches and footwear
If you decide to visit the beach while in Hydra, make sure you take a pair of flip-flops or beach shoes. Hydra's beaches have no sand, but lots of slippery rocks.
Beautiful, clear water!
Birmingham, AL USA 07/14/2010
Where to stay on Meteora (Kastraki village)
Pyrgos Adrachti www.hotel-adrachti.gr We spent 2 nights in July 2010. Super super clean and reasonable prices. Quiet. Close to sites. Beautiful sites. +++
QC CA 07/14/2010
Where to stay on Santorini
Great hotel in Imerovigli, Santorini, Greece: Merovigla Studios! It's a small, family-run place with incredible views from one of the highest points on the island and away from the noise of the main city of Fira. their website is www.meroviglastudios.gr
hewitt, tx USA 07/05/2010