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Greece itinerary

It seems that Greece is opening it’s borders to foreign tourists, albeit with testing and 24 quarantine. So, since we are still wanting a trip to Europe this year, we thought we might go in October. We actually just went this past October on the RS Greece tour. We loved it! This time we are thinking Crete and Meteora.
One week on Crete
Lodging recommendations?
Things to do?
Meteora? Not wanting to drive so thinking of using Private Greece tours recommended by Valerie on this forum.
Any thoughts or suggestions for a second visit?
And please, no covid comments, we know there is a risk.

Posted by
2796 posts

At this time Americans and Brits are not included in the countries that are allowed to travel to Greece.

Posted by
748 posts

Just a few thoughts. Coming from Alaska you are going to have about a 30 hour trans continental/Transatlantic flights. Its going to take you two days minimum to start to get over jet lag. I would respectfully suggest that you do Meteora at the end of the trip after you recover.

You should be able to take a late flight to Crete. Your choices are Chania and Heraklion. Heraklion is the capital and is very busy hot and has chaotic traffic.

Thus I would suggest you choose Chania. Its old town area is arguably the most beautiful town in Greece. We generally spend our first 4 days in Chania getting over flight from West coast jet lag. If the weather co operates you could take the day excursion to Balos and Gramovossa, two beaches and a pirate fortress. Ancient Aptera is just 18 km east of Chania and a day trip to Rethymnon to visit its old town and the Fortezza all make good day trips. Any chance you can add a couple of days to West Crete?

Western Crete https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157632115757899
Chania https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157632117917828

Gramavossa, Balos and Elafonissi https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157698932695812

If this trip is focused on ancient sites then perhaps Rethymnon or Heraklion might be a bit better situated. Central and South Crete have amazing ancient sites both Minoen ( Knossos, Phastos and Roman at Gortyz)

Gortyz Archaeological site. https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157666456665788
Gortyz, Knossos and Phastos ancient sites. Gortyz Archeological site. https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157666456665788

Now fly back to Athens. You can rent a car from the airport and drive direct to Meteora which is by far the most convenient way to go. Its pretty much all on 4 lane highways and traffic wasn't bad last time we were there. You can also consider hiring a private transfer service such as City cab. We have used them several times and they are reliable with English speaking drivers. A bus tour from Athens will also work.

The village where we stayed was called Kastraki it is nestled at the foot of the Meteora mountains. We could see three Monasteries from our hotel room balcony. One of the big advantages of Kastraki is it is closer to the Monasteries than Kalambaka so you can beat the tour bus crowds up into the mountains.

Delphi and Meteora https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157698930270992

Remember to keep Athens for the end of your trip so you are on the mainland at least the day before your return flight.

I hope this works out for you. We were scheduled to be in Crete a couple of weeks ago all cancelled.

Posted by
748 posts

Sorry I do not remember the name of the hotel other than it was family owned pretty basic and right in the village. We just drove in and did a walk up to a couple of hotels until we found this one. There were plenty of hotels most with wonderful Meteora mountain views.

Posted by
14016 posts

Hi Tammy,

Wasn't it you I just missed in Athens last October? I loved Crete - spent 5 wonderful nights in Chania, mostly just relaxing - lots of afternoon cocktail hours along the Venetian Harbour, wandering through the old town shops (not kitschy) and long walks along the sea front. Then I spent 2 nights in Heraklion, to see the archaeology musum and the ruins of Knossos. Crete is huge and to explore you really need a car. That's what I will probably do on my next trip (hoping that will be this fall) but I will probably loll around Chania again at least for 2-3 days and hope to see a couple more islands including a return to Naxos and maybe a couple nights on Mikonos so I can visit Delos.

Meteora is great more for nature lovers, you can take awesome pictures and is definitely worth it by car as you can see so much, the village of Kastraki and the city of Kalambaka are must see places..generally Meteora is great for climbing in the monasteries and mountains, bird watching and the cave of Theopetra is a great archaeological site you can visit there.. don't know too much about where to stay there but Crete it was great staying at a hotel a few years back 15 min away from the town of Chania.

Posted by
6241 posts

I know you didn't ask for COVID-related information, but this is key before you get ahead of yourself. It's current info, updated on Sept 2, 2020. Unfortunately, it's very clear regarding entry to Greece:

https://gr.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/
"Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter? No

Per the Greek Embassy in Washington, D.C., U.S. citizens residing in the United States are banned from entering Greece for non-essential travel, which includes tourism, unless you have an EU passport or meet one of the very narrow exceptions detailed in their posted information on entrance into the European Union/Schengen Area. There is no projected date when entry will be permitted."

Posted by
496 posts

We loved Meteora / Kastraki and wish we had stayed longer than 2 days. However I question the wisdom of doing it without a car. Nothing is within walking distance, and driving in the mountains around Meteora is a wonderful escape to the "real" Greece.

A great hotel in Kastraki is The Doupiani House: https://www.doupianihouse.gr/

Best tours of Meteora are Visit Meteora: https://www.visitmeteora.travel/

Posted by
757 posts

It's been a while since the original post so can't say if they are still interested in going.

They may not have any choice because the EU is still banning all Americans from entering EU countries which Greece is part of.

I canceled my trip when the EU banned Americans which was disappointing but now that my original date of departure is fast approaching, Sept. 30, my disappointment has now turned to anger.

We should never have gotten to the point of things getting worse instead of better!

Posted by
1563 posts

Thank you all for the info, when I first posted I was hopeful we could go to Greece in October. Obviously that is not going to happen. Mexico however, is open so I am going scuba diving in Cozumel in November.

Posted by
14016 posts

Tammy, so glad you were able to find somewhere to go for some respite and enjoyment. Greece has opened up to us - sort of - so I'm contemplating another trip there next month. Here's the brief info I got from a friend who's a travel agent.

  1. request authorization from Greece to fly to X . There is a quota from Israel (it was 600 Israelis per week, may be a little more now) and there are only a few places to fly to: Athens, Heraklion, Rhodes, maybe 1-2 others.

  2. book a charter flight.

  3. 72 hours before the flight, get a Covid test - must of course be negative.

  4. on arrival, get a Covid test and wait 24 hours. Then you're free to go.

  5. if you want to go to another "okay" part of Greece (see #1 above), you must fly, then repeat #4 above.

The good news is that on returning to Israel, the 14-day quarantine restriction doesn't apply.

I'm posting this mainly because it may well be an indication of how things will go for other tourists from other places to other countries.

Posted by
4142 posts

We spent a week in the Cyclades in July/August. Santorini and Naxos. Absolutely divine without the hordes and cruise ships. Lucky me for being a resident of Europe.

But things are changing now and I predict full border closures within Europe very soon.