Guidebook Updates for Rick Steves Mediterranean Cruise Ports

When we learn of critical changes to the information in our Mediterranean Cruise Ports guidebook, we post them here. (Of course, it’s still smart to reconfirm critical transportation and sightseeing details locally.) Armed with a Rick Steves guidebook and these late-breaking updates, you’re set for a great trip!

Barcelona

For books printed before August 2015, the following may apply:

  • The Picasso Museum has a new timed-entry system, with only a certain number of spaces available per time slot. It's smart to get tickets online in advance. Note that the ticketing website can be temperamental; if you can’t get it to work, try it on another device.
  • The Sagrada Família ticket and entrance procedure has changed. The ticket windows remain on the west side of the church, at the Passion Facade, but entry lines for individuals are now at the Nativity Facade. If you have advance tickets, go straight to the Nativity Facade. If you buy tickets on site, walk to Nativity Facade after buying your ticket.

For books printed before October 2014, the following may also apply:

  • Bus routes that go to Barcelona’s beaches have changed. Bus #41 no longer runs to the farther beaches, but new routes #V15 and #D20 are helpful. See tmb.cat for details.

For books printed before September 2014, the following may also apply:

  • The Picasso Museum has new hours: Tue–Sun 9:00–19:00, until 21:30 on Thu, closed Mon.
  • The Articket BCN combo-ticket no longer covers La Pedrera (Casa Milà).
  • It’s no longer possible to pick up or purchase advance tickets for Sagrada Família from ServiCaixa ATM machines (the best advance-ticket source is the church’s own site).
  • The Church of Santa Maria del Mar is open daily with free admission 9:00–13:30 & 16:30–20:00; the church is also open 13:30–16:30 but costs €3 during those hours.
  • Elipsos TrenHotel night trains on the Barcelona–Paris, Barcelona–Milan, and Barcelona–Zürich routes are no longer running.
  • Hostal Campi, in Barcelona’s Old City, has closed.

For books printed before November 2013, the following may also apply:

  • Visitors to Park Güell are now charged €8 to visit the Monumental Zone, the area of the park with the famous Gaudi structures, such as the grand stairway, ceramic dragon fountain, and "Hall of 100 Columns." Because admission is limited, it’s smart to reserve tickets in advance (doing so also saves you €1). Also at Park Güell, the blue Tourist Bus no longer drops visitors at the side entrance — you’ll now get off about two blocks below the main entrance and walk about 10 minutes uphill.
  • In some printings of the second edition of Rick Steves’ Mediterranean Cruise Ports, the map titled "Barcelona’s Cathedral Neighborhood" was printed incorrectly. The correct version of the map is here.
  • Hotel Ginebra is under new management; prices and other details may have changed.

Marseille

For books printed before January 2014, the following may apply:

  • The Marseille History Museum has reopened after a lengthy renovation with new prices, hours, and contact information: €5, Tue–Sun 10:00–18:00, closed Mon, 2 Rue Henri-Barbusse, tel. 04 91 55 36 00.

Aix-en-Provence

For books printed before November 2015, the following may apply:

  • Hotel le Manoir has closed.

For books printed before September 2014, the following may also apply:

  • Pasta Cosy restaurant has closed.

Nice

For books printed before November 2015, the following may apply:

  • The city's municipal museums, which have long been free, began charging admission in 2015. They're now covered by a €20 seven-day pass (covers the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum, Fine Arts Museum, Archaeological Museum, and Masséna Museum). This pass is not worthwhile for most travelers.

For books printed before June 2015, the following may also apply:

  • Local bus #23 between Nice and the airport has been discontinued.

For books printed before December 2014, the following may also apply:

For books printed before September 2014, the following may also apply:

  • The all-day bus and tram pass no longer covers express buses #98 or #99 to the airport. You must buy the €6 Aéro ticket if you are going to the airport.

Villefranche-sur-Mer

Across Italy

For books printed before September 2014, the following may apply:

  • In all Italian state-run museums, photos are now allowed (without flash), including at the Accademia and Uffizi Gallery in Florence, and at the Accademia in Venice (this change, however, may be temporary).
  • In all Italian state-run museums, admission is now free on the first Sunday of each month.

Florence

  • The €72 Firenze Card no longer covers transportation, though it does now cover several additional sights, including the Ferragamo shoe museum.
  • The Duomo Museum is now open daily, including Sunday, 9:00–19:00 (last entry at 18:00).
  • The Bargello, in addition to its regular Tue–Sat hours, is open the first, third, and fifth Monday, and second and fourth Sunday, of each month (Monday/Sunday were switched in some printings).
  • The first printing of Rick Steves Italy 2016 includes a version of the Florence Restaurants map (pp 540–541) that lacks several recommended eateries; here's a downloadable PDF of the corrected Florence Restaurants map.

For books printed before September 2015, the following may apply:

  • The Uffizi Gallery has temporarily moved its most famous Botticelli works (including Birth of Venus, Adoration of the Magi, and Allegory of Spring) to Hall 41 while the Botticelli Room (10–14) undergoes renovation; it's scheduled to reopen in 2016.
  • The Bargello Museum and Medici-Riccardi Palace no longer take credit cards — be sure to bring cash (or the Firenze Card, which covers both sights).
  • The Bargello Museum is now open Tue–Sat 8:15–17:00 — or until 13:50 if no special exhibits; also open these times on the second and fourth Monday and first, third, and fifth Sunday of each month.
  • The Medici-Riccardi Palace is now open Thu–Tue 8:30–19:00, closed Wed.
  • The Galileo Science Museum now accepts credit cards, but no longer has audioguides.
  • The Basilica of San Lorenzo is now covered by the Firenze Card.
  • B & M Books & Fine Art has closed.

For books printed before December 2014, the following may also apply:

For books printed before September 2014, the following may also apply:

  • At the Uffizi Gallery, where renovation work is underway, several works mentioned in Rick’s Uffizi Tour have been temporarily moved:

Rooms 19–23 (Northern Renaissance) are closed. While Baldiung Grien’s Adam and Eve are MIA, Lucas Cranach’s Adam and Eve, Martin Luther, and Katharina von Bora are in room 45, farther down the main hall (after the Michelangelo rooms).

Rooms 25–34 (High Renaissance) are also closed; some of its works are currently downstairs on the first floor, on the way to the exit: Parmigiano’s Madonna with the Long Neck is in room 74, while Titian’s Venus of Urbino is in room 83.

For books printed before August 2013, the following may also apply:

  • Medical Service Firenze has moved its clinic to Via Roma 4, between the Duomo and Piazza della Repubblica. The clinic on Via Porta Rossa has closed.
  • The Firenze Card now costs €72. In addition to the sights already listed as covered by the card, it now covers several Duomo-related sights (dome climb, Campanile, Duomo Museum, and Baptistery), the Church of Santa Maria Novella, the Santa Croce Church, Casa Buonarroti, and Casa di Dante.
  • To see the Duomo sights, you need to buy a €10 combo-ticket, which covers the Baptistery, Campanile, dome, crypt, and Duomo Museum (no individual tickets or other combo-tickets will be available). Combo-tickets can be purchased on-site or online at www.operaduomo.firenze.it (online buyers will exchange an emailed voucher for a ticket on-site).
  • Also at the Duomo, the "Terraces of the Cathedral and Dome" tour is no longer offered.
  • At the Brancacci Chapel, reservations are recommended (and free), but on weekdays and any day in the off-season, it’s usually possible to walk right in if you arrive before 15:30. Tickets are cash-only.
  • At the Uffizi Gallery, Michelangelo’s Holy Family has been permanently relocated from Room 25 to a new gallery, Room 35.
  • Soggiorno Magliani hotel has closed.
  • Arti e Hotel has changed owners, and has been renamed Beato Angelico Hotel.
  • The correct address for Trattoria Nerone Pizzeria is Via Faenza 95–97 red.
  • The Metà Supermarket in Oltrarno has closed.

Pisa

For books printed before September 2015, the following may apply:

  • Ristorante Bagus has closed.

For books printed before September 2014, the following may also apply:

  • Online bookings for the Leaning Tower are accepted no earlier than 20 days and no later than one day in advance. Print out the voucher and bring it to the Tower 15 minutes before your entry time.
  • The Duomo Museum will likely be closed for renovation through 2016.
  • La Lupa Ghiotta Tavola Calda restaurant has closed.
  • The direct bus from Pisa’s Field of Miracles to Lucca’s Piazzale Giusseppe now takes about 50 minutes (up from 30 minutes). You can also catch this bus at Pisa’s airport, the Pisa Centrale train station, and around the corner from Pisa’s tourist information office.

Lucca

For books printed before September 2014, the following may apply:

  • Hotel Rex no longer offers a 10 percent discount; instead ask for the best Rick Steves reader price when you call or email to inquire about a room. Prices include a buffet breakfast; the hotel also offers an elevator and free parking.

Rome

For books printed before September 2015, the following may apply:

  • The Museum of Roman Civilization is closed for renovation.
  • The Ciccia Bomba restaurant near Piazza Navona has changed owners and is no longer recommended by Rick Steves.
  • Hop-on, hop-off bus services 110open Bus and Archeobus have gone out of business. If you've pre-purchased tickets, you can apply for a refund though info@trambusopen.com.
  • Visitors are no longer required to check cameras at the Borghese Gallery; photos are now allowed at the Borghese and most other state-run museums in Italy.
  • Hotel Casa San Giuseppe in Trastevere has closed after all.
  • Gaudeo sandwich shop in Monti has closed.

For books printed before October 2014, the following may also apply:

  • A cheaper version of the Roma Pass (€28) is valid for 48 hours, and offers similar coverage to the 3-day version, but provides free entry only at the first sight you visit with it.

For books printed before August 2014, the following may also apply:

  • If booking online for a Walks of Italy tour, enter the code “10ricksteves” to receive the 10 percent Rick Steves discount.
  • Colosseum tickets are now available online through CoopCulture (€2 service fee).
  • The Archeobus from Termini Station to sights along the Appian Way only runs Friday–Sunday. There is no service Monday–Thursday.
  • The city’s elettrico minibuses may not be operating this year, thanks to budget cuts.
  • The night train between Rome and Paris is no longer running.
  • Hotel Cisterna has closed.

Pompeii and Herculaneum

  • From Naples the Circumvesuviana train takes about 20 minutes (not 50 minutes, as printed in some editions of Rick Steves Italy) to reach Ercolano Scavi (for the Herculaneum ruins, €1.80 one way) and 40 minutes to reach Pompei Scavi–Villa Misteri (for the Pompeii ruins, €2.60 one way).
  • Mondo Guide's Naples-based guided tours of Pompeii for Rick Steves readers now begin at 11:00 every day (not 10:30).

For books printed before February 2015, the following may apply:

  • The “info point” kiosk at the train station does not sell tickets to Pompeii; the staff there have been misleading tourists by selling €12 tours and taking groups to a guide at the entrance, where they are then charged for the actual admission ticket.

For books printed before September 2014, the following may also apply:

Sorrento

For books printed before October 2015, the following may apply:

  • Hotel Elios has reopened as the substantially more expensive (and four-star) Hotel Helios.

Amalfi Coast

For books printed before October 2014, the following may apply:

Paestum

Venice

For books printed before October 2015, the following may apply:

  • In the first printing of Rick Steves Venice 2015, the full-color Rialto Area map was printed incorrectly; here's a downloadable PDF of the corrected Rialto Area map.
  • Travelers should purchase airport shuttle bus tickets prior to boarding the bus to Venice — not from the driver. Buy tickets from the tourist information office, the ticket desk in the terminal, the kiosk near baggage claim, or machines.
  • Villa Dolcetti, a hotel on the mainland near Mestre, has closed.

For books printed before August 2015, the following may also apply:

  • The Naval Museum is closed for renovation. Historic ships (including military vessels and ancient ceremonial gondolas) are viewable at the Ship Pavillion across the Arsenale Bridge (daily 10:00–17:00).
  • Osteria al Bacco restaurant in the Cannaregio district has closed.

For books printed before March 2015, the following may also apply:

  • ACTV no longer offers 12-hour or 36-hour transit passes. Also, pass prices have increased for 72-hour passes (now €40) and 7-day passes (now €60).

For books printed before October 2014, the following may also apply:

  • Vaporetto passes are no longer valid on ACTV’s mainland bus #5 to the airport. Passholders must purchase a supplement (€4 one-way, €8 round-trip) for all ACTV buses that originate or terminate at Marco Polo Airport.

For books printed before September 2014, the following may also apply:

  • Walks Inside Venice’s English-only walking tours no longer run on Sundays (but do still run Mon–Sat at 14:30).
  • The Vaporetto dell’Arte service on the Grand Canal is no longer running.
  • Hotel Riva is closed for renovation.
  • Pension la Calcina is now Hotel la Calcina.
  • The recently renovated Ca’ San Trovaso has new phone numbers (tel. 041-241-2215, mobile 349-125-3890), a new manager (Anna), and slightly higher prices: Sb-€100, Db-€150, bigger canal-view Db-€170, Tb-€195.
  • If your train to “Venice” terminates at Venezia Mestre (on the mainland), you now need to buy a €1.25 Mestre—Santa Lucia ticket at a machine and validate it before hopping any non-express, regional train for the 10-minute ride across the causeway to Venice.

For books printed before September 2013, the following may also apply:

  • Several of Venice’s tourist information offices have changed their hours: The two convenient branches near St. Mark’s Square (one in the far-left corner with your back to the basilica, the other next to the Giardinetti Reali park near the San Marco vaporetto stop) are open daily 9:00–19:00. There’s also a TI desk at the airport (daily 9:00–20:00). At the train station, in the summer (from Carnevale through October), you’ll find TI staffers in a big, white kiosk out front near the vaporetto #2 stop (daily 9:00–14:30, closed off-season; as this kiosk is shared with the private Alilaguna boat company, be sure to seek out a TI representative). The TI inside the station is open on summer afternoons (daily 13:00–19:00) and all day long in winter (daily 9:00–19:00; likely near track 1, though this may change with station renovation).
  • Venicescapes has a new phone number: 041-850-5742.
  • San Giorgio Maggiore now has somewhat longer hours: The church and tower are both open April–Oct Mon–Sat 9:00–19:00, Sun 9:00–11:00 & 12:00–19:00; Nov–March daily 9:00–17:30. The last ascent in the tower elevator is still 30 minutes before closing time.
  • Trattoria alla Madonna is now closed on Wednesdays (and open on Tuesdays).
  • Rizzo sandwich shop has closed.
  • Pensione Accademia offers a 5 percent discount on the balance due at check-out. To receive the discount, request it when you book in advance, show the current edition of Rick Steves Venice at check-in, and pay in cash.

Across Croatia

  • Jadrolinija has cancelled the big, slow, coastal car ferries that connected Rijeka, Split, Hvar, Korčula, and Dubrovnik. Other connections between many of these places, however, are still operating (check Jadrolinija’s online schedules).
  • Some catamaran connections have also changed substantially. Most notably, the Krilo catamaran now runs an exceptionally tourist-friendly route, heading south from Split in the morning and connecting the islands of Brač, Hvar, Korčula, and Mljet before ending at Dubrovnik. A few hours later, it does the reverse trip, allowing travelers to day-trip from any of these stops to any stops to the south (daily June–Sept, 3–4/week May and Oct, no service Nov–April). Given all of the schedule changes, it's especially smart to double-check schedules online when planning any boat journey on the Dalmatian Coast, whether for Jadrolinija boats, the Krilo, or the Nona Ana catamaran (connecting Dubrovnik, Mljet, and Korčula).

  • Krilo tickets are now available in advance online — when possible, book a few days ahead.

Split

  • The Split Apartment Croatia agency is now managed by the Memento Travel Agency (but has kept the same contact info).
  • The Zlatna Vrata pizzaria in the Old Town has closed.
  • Schedules for many coastal ferries have changed; check the updates under "Across Croatia" for more info and links to ferry schedules.

For books printed before May 2014, the following may also apply:

  • Villa Art has closed.
  • If using a GPS to find Villa Ana, enter the address "Kralja Zvonimira 14."

Dubrovnik

  • Schedules for many coastal ferries have changed; check the updates under "Across Croatia" for more info and links to ferry schedules.
  • Many of Dubrovnik's museums — including the Rector's Palace, Rupe Museum, and Maritime Museum — no longer sell single admission tickets. Visitors need to get either a "nine museum ticket" (100 kn, good for a week) or a Dubrovnik Card (which also covers the city walls and public transit).
  • The Icon Museum at the Serbian Orthodox Church is closed for restoration, with no definite date for reopening.
  • Old Town Garden Cottage and Studio has a new name, website, and email address: Dubrovnik Gardens, dubrovnikgardens@gmail.com.
  • Fresh Sheets Hostel has a new name, website, and email address: City Walls Hostel, citywallshostel@gmail.com.

For books printed before May 2014, the following may also apply:

  • The World Center of Croatian Naive Art has closed.
  • The Institute for the Restoration of Dubrovnik has closed its wartime photo gallery.
  • Paulina Čumbelić's rented rooms (in the Pile neighborhood) are no longer available.
  • The Sugar and Spice dessert shop has closed.

Athens

  • The main collection of the Museum of Greek Folk Art is closed through 2016; its ceramics collection (near Monastiraki) is also closed, as the mosque that houses it is under renovation.
  • The Acropolis Museum is now open seven days a week (Mon 8:00–16:00, Tue–Sun 8:00–20:00, Fri until 22:00). Also worth noting: You no longer need a museum entry ticket to shop at the museum store or to visit the restaurant on the upper floor.
  • The rooftop terrace at Filistron (Φίλιστρο) restaurant in Thissio has closed, but its indoor space still welcomes diners.
  • The Olympic Traveller tour service is now part of Greek Travelling, and offers tours of Athens as well as sites beyond Athens, including shore excursions and multiple-day tours to Meteora and the Peloponnese.
  • The nice guys at Avanti/Swift car rental have moved to 13 Dimitrakopoulou, and have new contact information: tel. +30 210- 933-8252, mobile +30 693-667-4476, and elimano95@gmail.com.
  • Ivis Travel no longer has public Internet terminals; instead you can visit Bits and Bytes, just off Agora Square at Kapnikareas 19.
  • The Canadian embassy has relocated to Ethnikis Antistaseos street 48, and is open Mon–Fri 9:00–12:00.

For books printed before April 2014, the following may also apply:

  • Taverna O Thespis restaurant has closed.

For books printed before April 2013, the following may also apply:

  • Public-transit tickets have new prices: Basic metro ticket-€1.40, bus/tram ticket-€1.20, Metro ticket to airport-€8, express bus to airport-€5, 24-hour metro/bus pass-€4, seven-day metro/bus pass-€14.
  • The city’s main tourist information office has moved to a convenient new spot on the pedestrian street leading to the Acropolis Museum, and has slightly longer hours (April–Oct Mon–Fri 8:00–20:00, Sat–Sun 10:00–16:00; Nov–March Mon–Fri 9:00–19:00, Sat–Sun 10:00–16:00; on pedestrian street leading to Acropolis Museum at Dionysiou Areopagitou 18–20, Metro line 2/red: Akropoli; tel. 210-331-0392, info@gnto.gr).
  • The airport branch of Athens’ tourist information office has closed.
  • Public bus #200 is no longer running. (However, bus #035 can get you from Athinas street, near Monastiraki, to a stop near the National Archeological Museum, and taxis are fairly cheap).
  • Compendium Bookstore has moved to a spot far outside the city center. The smaller branch of the Eleftheroudakis bookstore has closed (the main branch on Panepistimiou/Eleftheriou Venizelou still very much open, though it has moved a few doors down to #11).
  • Local guide: Faye Georgiou is another good Athens guide who really knows her archeology (€50/hour, tel. 210/674-5837, mobile 697-768-5503, fayegeorgiou@yahoo.gr).
  • The hours for sights in Greece are constantly prone to change, so make sure to check online or with the tourist information office for current opening times before you head out for the day.
  • Hotel Kimon has a new email address: info@kimonhotelathens.com.
  • Hotel Grande Bretagne has a new email address: info.gb@starwoodhotels.com.
  • Ouzou Melathron, in Monastiraki, has closed.
  • The rail line between Kiato and Patra, en route between Athens and Patra, is closed for construction as a faster standard-gauge line is being built. In the meantime, travelers have two options: 1. ride the regular replacement bus (operated by the Greek rail system) between Patra and Kiato, and the train between Kiato and Athens (covered by railpasses), or 2. take Superfast Ferries’ direct bus between Athens and Patra (takes about 4 hours, not covered by railpasses; customers headed to Athens can buy tickets on board ferry — bus departs soon after ferry arrives in Patras; buses from Athens leave from the Superfast Ferries office).
  • Ferries: There may no longer be high-speed catamaran service between Piraeus (Athens) and either Mykonos or Santorini; it’s also possible that the other ferries are running a bit slower than the times cited in the guidebook (e.g. ferries between Athens and Mykonos are more likely to take 6 hours, rather than 4.5).

Mykonos

  • The archaeological site and museum on Delos is now open Mondays (and the rest of the week). In the middle of the season, extra afternoon sailings make late-afternoon visits a possibility.

For books printed before April 2014, the following may apply:

  • Ferries: There may no longer be high-speed catamaran service between Piraeus (Athens) and either Mykonos or Santorini; it's also possible that the other ferries are running a bit slower than the times cited in the guidebook (e.g. ferries between Athens and Mykonos are more likely to take 6 hours, rather than 4.5).

For books printed before April 2013, the following may also apply:

  • Several of the tavernas on St. Monis Square have closed. (Fortunately countless charming restaurants are tucked in the town's winding back lanes.)

Santorini

  • Maria is no longer renting rooms in Fira.
  • The restaurant Naoussa has moved from Fira's old town to a spot just down the path from the Atlantis Hotel, with caldera views.
  • Filotera Suites in Oia has undergone a major renovation, and prices have gone up significantly from what’s printed in our guidebooks.
  • Youth Hostel Oia has closed.

For books printed before April 2014, the following may apply:

  • Ferries: There may no longer be high-speed catamaran service between Piraeus (Athens) and either Mykonos or Santorini; it’s also possible that the other ferries are running a bit slower than the times cited in the guidebook (e.g. ferries between Athens and Mykonos are more likely to take 6 hours, rather than 4.5).
  • The youth hostel in Oia has closed.

For books printed before April 2013, the following may also apply:

Fira

  • The replica frescoes from the Petros Nomikos Conference Center have moved into the new Santozeum (€5, May–Oct daily 10:00–18:00, closed Nov–April, on Gold Street near the cable-car station — look for bright orange lettering, tel. 22860-21722).
  • The beautiful Kamares Apartments were wildly misplaced on the map on page 429 of the second edition of Rick Steves Greece; instead they’re on the very south end of town.

Oia

  • Lauda Traditional Rooms and Apartments has closed.

Other Sights on Santorini

  • The archaeological site at Akrotiri has reopened, with more than 30 buildings now excavated and viewable in a new structure that makes it easy to explore the ruins. Ramps let you climb around and through the streets of the prehistoric city, where careful observers can pick out sidewalks, underground sewage systems, and some ceramic vases left behind. However, the most interesting items discovered here — wonderful wall frescoes, fancy furniture, painted ceramics — are on display elsewhere, mainly at Fira’s Museum of Prehistoric Thira and the National Archaeological Museum in Athens (€5, one-hour guided tours-€10, open Tue–Sun 8:00–17:00, closed Mon, last entry 30 minutes before closing, tel. 22860-81939. Akrotiri is reachable by frequent buses from Fira (roughly hourly, €1.80; from the bus stop, backtrack up the road a minute or two) or taxi (€18–20).

Olympia

  • Recommended tour company Olympic Traveller now charges €45/person for their Katakolo-based tours of Olympia (includes round-trip transportation and two-hour guided tour of the site and museum), and €25 for their narrated rides from the port to Olympia and back.

For books printed before April 2014, the following may apply:

For books printed before April 2013, the following may also apply:

  • Local guide Niki Vlachou now has a website and email address: www.olympictours.gr, niki@olympictours.gr.
  • Parking: Contrary to the "P" parking icon on the map on page 278 of the second edition of Rick Steves Greece, there is no public parking immediately south of the Archeological Museum at the Sanctuary of Olympia.
  • As of our most recent visit, the sanctuary of Olympia is open mid-April–mid-Sept Mon–Sat 9:00–19:00, Sun 8:00–15:00; may be open one hour later mid-April–Aug; off-season hours generally daily 9:00–15:00 — though most likely at least a little longer, especially in early fall and late spring. Last entry is generally 45 minutes before closing.
  • As of our most recent visit, the Archaeological Museum is open mid-April–mid-Sept Tue–Sat 8:00–19:00, Sun–Mon 9:00–16:00; may be open one hour later mid-April–Aug; off-season hours generally daily 9:00–15:00 — though most likely at least a little longer, especially in early fall and late spring. Last entry is about 30 minutes before closing.
  • The Museum of the History of Olympic Games in Antiquity now costs €2, and is open Mon–Fri 9:00–16:00 (closed Sat–Sun).
  • Taverna Dionysos and Taverna Gefsis Melathron have closed permanently.
  • We no longer recommend Katakolon Express.
  • A new tour company, Olympic Traveller, offers a package combining round-trip transport from the cruise port to Olympia with a two-hour guided tour of the site and museum, likely with recommended local guide Niki Vlachou (€45/person, groups never larger than 25 people, mobile 697-320-1213, info@olympictraveller.com). For €20 less, you can skip the guided tour in Olympia, but enjoy a narrated ride and quick pick-up times (they won’t dally at the port waiting for the bus to fill up).

Crete

For books printed before October 2014, the following may apply:

  • The Palace of Knossos has new price and hours: €6, €10 combo-ticket with archaeological museum, daily April–Sept 8:00–18:00, Oct 8:00–18:00, Nov–March 8:30–15:00, tel. 2810-231-940. (As with any other sight in Greece, the palace’s opening hours are in constant flux — call a day or two in advance to get the latest.) One-hour group tours are €10 per person; private tours are €100. The entrance of the palace has snack bar, shop, WCs, and a guy who might be Greece’s most enthusiastic purveyor of fresh orange juice.
  • Heraklion’s archaeological museum is now open late May–Oct Mon 13:00–20:00, Tue–Sat 8:00–20:00, Sun 8:00–15:00; Nov–late May Mon 11:00–17:00, Tue–Sun 8:00–15:00. (As with any other sight in Greece, the museum’s opening hours are in constant flux — call a day or two in advance to get the latest.) Renovations underway until at least fall of 2014. Cost: €4, possibly €6 when renovations are complete. Tel. 2810-279-070.

Rhodes

For books printed before October 2014, the following may apply:

  • The town of Rhodes no longer offers a sightseeing combo-ticket.

Across Turkey

For books published before October 2014, the following may apply:

  • Turkey now requires all US and Canadian visitors to obtain Turkish visas before entering the country; visitors can no longer get entry visas upon arrival in Turkey. Before you fly, get your “e-visa” online or visit a Turkish consulate or embassy.
    Cruise-ship passengers do not need a visa if they are only doing day trips in Turkey while spending the night aboard their ship. However, cruise passengers arriving in Turkey to start their cruise or staying overnight on Turkish soil after their cruise must have a visa prior to their arrival in Turkey.
  • The Turkish lira has a new symbol: Turkish lira symbol 8x10px.png — though travelers can still expect to see “TL,” “YTL,” and “TRY” used to denote the currency.

Istanbul

For books printed before March 2016, the following may apply:

  • There are now two versions of the city’s museum pass (both of which now include the Harem at Topkapı Palace): The three-day pass (85TL) covers the Hagia Sophia Museum, Topkapı Palace Museum (including the Harem), İstanbul Archaeological Museums, İstanbul Mosaic Museum, Museum of Turkish and İslamic Arts, and the Museum for the History of Science and Technology in Islam. The five-day pass (115TL) also covers the Chora Museum, Galata Mevlevi House Museum, Yıldız Palace, Rumeli Hisar Museum, and the Fethiye Museum.
  • Etickets are available for the Hagia Sophia Museum, Topkapı Palace Museum (including the Harem), İstanbul Archaeological Museum, and Chora Church. Buying tickets online enables you to skip the ticket-buying line at these sights; no refunds or exchanges are allowed.
    If accompanied by an official tour guide, you can also skip the line at each of these sights without buying tickets ahead of time.
  • The Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum has reopened.
  • The Quincentennial Museum of Turkish Jews has moved to Neve Shalom Synagogue at Büyük Hendek Caddesi 61, near the Şişhane Metro stop.
  • Hotel discounts promised in the Rick Steves Istanbul guidebook are valid only when readers book their rooms directly through the hotel’s official website, not through third-party booking sites. Also, readers need to have the latest edition of the guidebook to benefit from the discount.
  • The Sirkeci Train Station is currently under renovation and closed to long-distance trains, but remains a busy commuter hub. Travelers to Bulgaria are bused to the border from Sirkeci, where they switch to a train, and train lines to Greece are closed. The main Asian-side train station — Haydarpaşa Garı — is indefinitely closed for renovation. The suburban Pendik Station now serves as the city's main rail station.
  • A high-speed train line now connects Istanbul and Ankara in about 3.5 hours. The new service terminates in the Istanbul suburb of Pendik, on the Asian side of the Bosphorus.
  • The art shop called Sufi has moved from the Spice Market to Arasta Bazaar 27, near the Blue Mosque.
  • To accommodate the renovation of the Karaköy Limanı cruise-ship port (expected to last through 2017), cruise ships are currently docking at Salıpazarı Limanı (also known as the Istanbul Cruise Port), located in the New District, across from the Old Town.