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Should we visit Greece?

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Me, my wife and our (almost) 2 yr old son want to visit Greece and we have many questions about cost, convenience, recommendations, etc...
Is it cheaper? By Darius Sunawala
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Darius Sunawala wrote:  

One of the main reasons we're choosing Greece (apart from the fact that it's high up on our bucket list) is because we belive that it's going to be much cheaper since their economy is so weak!

Are we mistaken? Is the tourism industry mostly insulated from their industrial economical weakness?

What would our approx budget per day be assuming we have one sit-down nice meal and stay in acco that is mid-level (neat, clean, ensuit bathroom) 

Prajwal Madhav wrote:  

Hi Darius,

Thanks for using this service. 

Greece is not necessarily very cheap because of their weak economy. I went there two years ago during the crisis and it was not as cheap as I expected but still more affordable than Western Europe if you've been there.

Accommodation would be approximately 30-40 euros a night for 2 adults. Food is around 10 euros for a full meal per person and there are plenty of kebab joints where you could get much cheaper things. We'll need to come up with an itinerary to see what transport would cost and how much the entrances to sites be in order to come with a daily budget. Could you tell me the dates you have in mind?

Prajwal Madhav wrote:  

I could start filling out the cost chart approximately once we chart out an itinerary. Let me know!

Prajwal Madhav wrote:  

In my experience, the generosity and warmth of Greek people made up for the cost and if you are wondering whether or not you should go there I can only say that it is really gorgeous!

Darius Sunawala wrote:  

well, i've just quit my job, so time is not an issue... 

But i do know that werent not yet that comfortable / confident of moving too much. Our plan would be to land in Athens and spend some days there. Then move on to our next base (probably Crete, right now) and then move across slowly.

Soooo, maybe 15 days...?  

Prajwal Madhav wrote:  

Hi Darius,

15 days sounds good. Athens is not really worth more than two days - one to visit the Acropolis, the National Archeological Museum and to generally walk around some of the areas and the second to climb (or take a bus) up Lycabetta hill to get an amazing view of Athens, the sea and the Parthenon.

Delphi is around 3-hour bus ride from Athens and it is definitely worth visiting for a day and you could also spend a night there. The site is pretty compact and everything is along one main street. There are some beautiful olive groves on the sloping mountain going right down to the Gulf of Corinth, really nice for some walks.

You could then visit some of the sites in the Peloponnese peninsula like Nafplio (the town is pretty nice and there is a castle you can climb up to with great views of the city), Ancient Olympia where the games all started) and Epidaurus and its magnificent amphitheatre. All this can be done in around 4 days.

Now about the islands: Crete is far south so instead of going all the way there and back to Athens by ferry (or by flight for that matter) you could visit Santorini in the Cyclades for a couple of days or more and then head to Crete (there are ferries to Heraklio and then you could bus it to Chania) and spend around 4 or 5 days there. Crete is pretty big and it's like a country in itself. It has snowcapped mountains, some amazing beaches and gorges.

Tell me what you think of this and I could turn this into a proper itinerary.

Darius Sunawala wrote:  

Thanks Prajwal, but it's too soon to start making an itinerary coz we havent yet been able to decide how long / when we want to travel! And to be honest, we enjoy building the itinerary oursleves.

And thanks for clearing up our initial doubts though! If there are any other tips you can share with us before we begin building our trip it would be much appreciated...

Prajwal Madhav wrote:  

Okay Darius.

I highly recommend driving to Gramvousa in Western Crete. The beach is just spectacular. Another similar spot would be Elafonisi but it's in the southern part of the island so less accessible. 

Spring is a good time because the countryside is a riot of colour with flowers carpeting the landscape. However, it does rain and make things uncomfortable so I would say late spring, early summer would be a good time.

Athens has a pretty modern metro system but be very attentive and keep a keen eye on your belongings especially around stations/areas like Omonia because there are pickpockets who manage to escape the most discerning eye. 

I was very surprised by the friendly, hospitable attitude of Greek people and their generosity despite the crisis - we kept getting freebies in pastry shops, a free dessert and a drink in a restaurant, etc. The authorities, on the other hand were not very friendly and we did have a few issues with the airport security and police (at the borders and in the Athens airport) but hopefully it was just us.

Check the news and be informed of the goings on in the country because whilst we were not affected by the crisis there when we went, there were some protests (nearly violent) after I left.

Hope all this helps. Have a great trip whenever you go! 

Prajwal

Darius Sunawala wrote:  

soooper!!! thanks for all the tips! will keep you updated on what we finally decide..

Prajwal Madhav wrote:  

Cool. Let me know when you decide and let me know once you get back from the trip as well!


Where do you recommend? By Darius Sunawala
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Darius Sunawala wrote:  

Travelling with a kid is a whole new ballgame (as we recently found out, and perhaps you too will, someday... remember me then!).

The most difficult bits are the journeys. Keeping this in mind, what would you recommend? Currently, we are thinking that our choices are :-
   1) Athens and mainland (Meteora, Delphi and maybe even Nafplio)
   2) Athens and the Cyclades (but how difficult is inter-travel going to be?)
   3) Athens and Crete (do this on an open-jaw ticket... details in next topic)
   4) or maybe even skip Athens completely (save it for a later date) and just fly straight into one of the above?

My wife and I arent majorly interested in fashion / shopping / night-life. We enjoy all three from a cultural experential POV, but wouldnt base our itenerary around it.
 

Prajwal Madhav wrote:  

Could you tell me how long your trip is going to be so that I can see how much you can do in that much time? You've selected some really good destinations and since Greece isn't that big, the inter-city flights won't be long. There are also ferries/cruises and an overnight journey would take you from Piraeus (the port in Athens) to any of the islands. Most hotels pick you up from the port even if you arrive in the middle of the night.

Prajwal Madhav wrote:  

There are buses and trains between the mainland cities although accessing Meteora could be a bit tricky. Renting a car is an option. I would highly recommend renting a car in Crete or Santorini for a day or two if you choose to go there. It's pretty cheap and very convenient.


Can we fly straight our of Crete / Cyclades? By Darius Sunawala
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Darius Sunawala wrote:  

Long flights are a major fear... our son has been great on our travel so far, but we are extremely afraid of long trips. Therefore, we were wondering if it would be possible to book the following as single stop trips :

BLR --> Athens
Crete (HER or Chania) --> BLR 

I can see that there are various airlines flying from HER to Frankfurt but they're also part of the Star Alliance, but i can seem to tie them into a booking with Lufthansa...

Or is there some other option you can think of..?

Prajwal Madhav wrote:  

If you plan to fly to or from Crete for example, try to see if you could connect your Bangalore flight to a low cost flight like Easyjet. They have flights between Crete and and Paris/Geneva/Rome/London but nothing from Frankfurt.

There are connections between Lufthansa and Aegean Airlines (Star Alliance) but that would mean going through mainland Greece anyway. In order to avoid too many changes, I would suggest landing in Athens, going to an island/islands and back to Athens followed by mainland destinations like Delphi or Meteora or vice-versa.

Here are some options to consider: http://transport.planmy.travel/s/Crete/Bangalore