I'm looking at 3 single professional women who like to have fun and are trying to plan an excursion next year to Italy and the Greek Islands. 2-3 weeks in the summer time. I would love love love to hear about anyones fabulous trip to Myconos, Crete or Santorini...is it easy or hard to island hop? We are also contemplating renting a home vs staying in a hotel. I'm not huge into art or museums and we really want to enjoy the beautiful beaches and fabulous food/wine. Thank you for all your help and for taking the time to read my post!
Tagi, u are not getting answers because inquiry so general; in effect asking for major "Data-Dump" before u background yr self; U get most responses if u research first (u have time), then ask specifics such as: We have 2 wks, hope to visit xxx (3 days) xxx (4 days) (etc); should I spend more/ less time & where? Or Our budget for a triple on xxx island is €xxx, we'd like lodgings on a beach, any ideas? Basic tips on Greece part: 1.Wise to save Athens till trip-end; gives flexibility in case of travel glitch or decision to stay longer on an isle 2. Best time is June 1-July 1! 7/1-8/20 sees HUGE European influx (charter airbusses of 400+), popular isles are JAMMED, super-hot. In June everything's open, nothing crowded. 3. In 2 wks you can do Athens + 3 isles IF in the same island Group (i.e. Cyclades, Dodecanese) or 2 isles if you do Crete = it's 160 mi long, needs 5-6 days. 4. Be aware Santorini/Mykonos are "cliche twins" of US tourism, most costly & touricized. Consider ping 1. For backgrounding: http://www.greek-islands.us/ Super pictorial overview by greek who loves food, beaches, fun AND history http://www.greektravel.com/greekislands/ Very popular info-site, easy to Navigate. Some info outdated, some is promotional. http://www.greeceathensaegeaninfo.com/ferry-info-greece/greek-islands-ferry-chart.htm The realities of the ferry network! Guide - GREEK ISLAND-HOPPING tells/shows exactly HOW to island-hop, + hip fun detail on best beach isles Guide - EYEWITNESS: THe GREEK ISLES - fab visual guide to help you choose yr dream
NOTE: u have time, borrow at library, fotocopy relevant pages.
I ran out of space ... and because your headline mentioned only Greece, I overlooked the Italy part. Frankly, I think if you try to do TWO countries in 2 weeks, the "Like to have fun" part will disappear under the logistics of too much travel! Even in 3 weeks, Sooo much transportation effort. And if beaches are important, Greece has it all over Italy, except for desperately crowded places like Lido, Capri, etc. And that "renting a home" line, puzzles: where? In Italy, one on a beach is rare, and as I mentioned, in Greek Isles the secret is to stay a few days, move on, repeat. My PS on Greek backgrounding:
visit other Greece Forums (Trip Advisor, Thorn Tree, Virtual Tourist; learn how to use their "search" functions; spend some time & tap wisdom of experienced travelers who go back & back, year after Year (RS site, nice as it is, has more of the one-timers). This would work for Italy backgrounding as well. I know the Fodor's Italy forum is hip-deep in detailed trip wisdom. Happy hunting, come back with more focus and we'll try to help!
Janet - YOU ROCK! Who'd have thought planning a vacation was like finding a new job??? UGH! We were planning on 3 weeks in June and I agree, I think I'm planning too much in too little time and I do in fact want to be able to relax and enjoy myself as well. I made the mistake of looking up the islands off the coast of Spain and now I'm contemplating Spain rather than Greece. You sound like you've traveled quite a bit, do you have a favorite? I'm starting the research process and it's overwhelming! Luckily I'm not afraid to delegate some of this work to my fellow cotraveler! Thanks for all your very much welcomed advice Janet!
Thanks, Tagi, glad I could help in the "reality" aspect of your trip planning. Fantasies are great, clear-eyed research is even better, to make your dream trip come true! My favorite? Can't you tell? I've been to UK, France, Italy, etc (back in my more affluent days) but Greece is IT for me! I'd wanted to go all my life, but kids, career, economic struggles got in the way. Finally made it in '99 & decided I MUST go back as long as I live. 2011 will be my 10th trip. Since I'm now retired (very frugally), I take along 3-5 newcomers each time, and act as informal 'trip mommy' & that helps defray my expenses so I can afford it. To see how we have fun on a budget, check out my webpage "Greek Island-Hopping with Janet" (I'm no web-guru, but a friend is, and she kindly hosts it on her website) http://www.techforecast.com/janet.htm Lessons I've learned? 1 - Hard work in planning pays off big-time in relaxed enjoyment & NO nasty surprises. 2 - build in some 'slack', so a glitch won't wreck a schedule 3 - live in the moment, fall into the pace of the country yr visiting.
Another thought entirely. If this is your first time to travel to these areas, here is my recommendation: Take a cruise from Athens to Istanbul (or reverse) that stops on the islands you might want to see. That way you don't have to stress over the planning, just ing shore excursions. We love Silversea (small ships/high end), but there are large mass market ships, too. The positives are you don't have to worry about figuring out island to island transportation, the negative is that you will have limited time at each stop (one day), but you can decide where you might want to return someday. Then for Italy, consider the Rick Steves' guided "Heart of Itlay" tour. You'll see the highlights, again without having to stress with the planning. Vacations should be fun and stress free. But, if the guided approach is not your thing, the previous poster has given you some great directional advice. HAVE fun!! Sounds like you will create lots of fun memories for yourself and your friends.
Margaret; It's forums like these that I so appreciate! I've got Janet telling to come back to reality a little bit (valid) and I've got you giving me options I didn't know I had! Thank you very much for your suggestions! I'm going home tonight and buying Ricks "Heart of Italy" on my Kindle (thank you Santa) to help me narrow it down. I wish Italy wasn't so damn HUGE!!! If anyone has islands they've gone to and can't stop thinking about it - I'd love to hear about those too!
Thanks again M!! Tagi
Tagi, My wife and I just got back from Italy couple of weeks ago. Since it is the second time we visit Italy, we do not want to spend time in art or museums. My recommendation to you is Sorrento (Amlfi Coast) Siena and CT. Italy maybe a little crowded in the summer. If you don't mind.
Have a good trip!