I am in charge of planning a trip for next early summer for me and 3 of my friends. We are females, in our early 30s. We went to Spain last year and are thinking about Italy or Croatia/Turkey...but I really want to go to Greece. Should I have any worries about visiting Greece at this time? I think it would be a fantastic time to go...I am thinking Athens (of course) and a couple of the Greek Islands. What do you think?
Even at the height of protests in Greece, it was a fine time to visit. Demonstrations were largely confined to an area of Central Athens, whicj could be avoided, with the only real trip disruptors being occassional strikes. As long as you have a little flex in your schedule, I would have no concerns. Of course we do not know what may happen in the future, but the same could be said about Turkey (concerns about Syria), and Italy has had it's own financial issues. Athens and a couple of islands is a typical itinerary, not sure how long you are talking, but just keep in mind island hopping really is not a different island every day, but 2 to three days minimum on an island. As for Athens, plan a night on arrival to decompress, then plan more time to see the sights in Athens at the end of the trip. This allows for disruptions in getting back to Athens (ferries will cancel at times due to wind or weather) and not missing your return flight. As for Croatia/Turkey, the issue I see there is getting from Croatia to Turkey, no good land or sea routes (even to Greece from Croatia) leaving relatively expensive air, likely from Zagreb.
Planning this far in advance gives you an advantage you most likely aren't aware of. The two Greek airlines periodically release deeply-discounted airfare as promotional tools. If the islands you want to visit have airports you can save a lot of money, and more importantly your precious time, by flying to them from Athens. For example, if you're thinking of going to Santorini or Mykonos a conventional car ferry will take up to 8 hours to make the trip. The basic economy ferry ticket will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of €34-37.50. It takes about 5 hours to reach Mykonos and 8 hours to reach Santorini The discount plane tickets will cost around €39, all taxes included, and a flight takes no more than 30 minutes. These discounted fares are offered about 2-3 months in advance of the travel dates involved, so once you're close to that date start checking daily the Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines websites. Be prepared to purchase these tickets as soon as they're offered, because they go quickly. Just be patient, they will be offered. If you plan carefully you will be able to fly out to your first island the same day as your arrival at the Athens Airport. Save your time in Athens for the end of your trip so you have those extra days to return to the mainland in case of any problems getting off the island. Granted, this will make for an exhausting first day, but delays, cancellations and mechanical breakdowns do happen occasionally. Nothing will ruin your trip faster than a desperate, last-minute dash to the airport for your flight home, and if you miss your flight you will have to pay for another.
Last summer I did a Turkey/Greece combination and it was great. We flew into Istanbul and stayed there for a week, then took Turkish air to Athens and although we did not go to the Islands, we went to Nafplio, which was absolutely wonderful. (It was recommended by a number of people here) and it felt like an Island. We took the bus there from Athens. Istanbul is a magnificent place to visit. I have also been to Croatia, but only the northern part, and while I had a great time it is not one of my all time favorites.