Happy New Year! We’re starting 2013 off with a bang – Greece! The Definitive Guide. Check it out and happy travels this year from TravelByJury.com!
Earlier this year, I traveled to Greece with three of my girlfriends. None of us had ever been, and for two girls, it was a first trip abroad. I can honestly say that it was one of the biggest successes and greatest things any of us has ever done.
One of the first things I would say about it is that we really recommend traveling by custom tour. Rather than getting locked in with some tour group (usually of older folks) that tells you when to eat and buses you around with the same people the whole time, and rather than doing anything whatsoever involving a cruise ship, we booked a custom tour with a company called CTC Turkey. You tell them which destinations you want to go to and how long you want to stay, and they book the hotels that they know are good and set you up with all the internal travel – including taxis from the airports and short flights between islands. All of that is included in their price, which, by the way, was very agreeable. Each time we got off of a plane or high-speed catamaran, there was someone waiting for us, holding a piece of paper with my name on it. Worry-free travel! The rest of the trip was up to us, which is exactly how we liked it. We got to choose which tours to go on (Acropolis, Delos), when and where to dine, when we had had enough of a certain outing, and even when to nap. I highly recommend this style of travel.
As for Greece itself, we could not have been more pleased. Everyone there was so friendly and happy to see tourists there to spend money in these troubling economic times. Everyone we came into contact with spoke English and Greek, and signs and menus were also in English. We were told there was a big effort to make it this way when Athens hosted the Olympics recently. I am a bit of a picky eater, but even I fell in love with such traditional foods as tzaziki and moussaka.
Our travels took us to Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini, and each had something different and wonderful to offer. It’s hard to be more historic than the Acropolis and the first modern Olympic stadium in Athens, and I bet it’s difficult to get more beautiful than the white buildings and green waters in the Cyclades. My friends all counted Mykonos as their favorite, but I was most fond of Santorini, with its volcanic caldera and unique terrain. We did all the typical tourist things, including take pictures in front of the Parthenon in Athens, go out on the town until 4:00 a.m. in Mykonos, and ride the donkeys up the mountain in Santorini. Our most special activity, however, was more of a surprise. We had booked spots on a 30-person catamaran to do a sunset sail around the caldera, plus dinner on the boat, in Santorini. As it turned out, there were some technical difficulties with one of the company’s catamarans, so they put the four of us on one of the private yachts instead. We did not complain, and it ended up being the highlight of the trip. I’m sure the bottomless wine did not hurt either.
All in all, our trip to Greece was phenomenal, and I would recommend it to anyone. The prices were better than many European destinations, and the mix of historic and beach attractions was just what we were looking for. In addition, everyone was so friendly, helpful, and happy to welcome us. We were all very depressed to return to the United States, and I think that about says it all.
Filed under: Europe | Tagged: Acropolis, athens, beaches, catamaran, CTC Turkey, custom tour, Cyclades, Delos, donkey ride Santorini, donkeys, friendly folk, greece, Greek islands, historic sites, historic sites in Greece, island tour, Juror #33, Mediterranean, moussaka, Mykonos, Olympic Stadium, Parthenon, Santorini, sunset sail, tzaziki, unique terrain, volcanic caldera, wine | Leave a Comment »