Your trip recommendation(s)

I have received a gift of air tickets to "anywhere I'd like to go" and am thinking Greece and maybe Istanbul, but am also intrigued with Cinque Terra, tho' I've been to Italy's main tourist spots, possibly Spain, etc. I am 75, live in Colorado, am in good health, mainly interested in seeing and experiencing a different culture and people. I have a limited budget for a trip of this kind. My 2 daughters, and a granddaughter will be with me.

If YOU could go anywhere you wanted, where would it be? (taking my own criteria into consideration.
Many thanks,
Jean

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10883 posts

Come to our next gathering on July 17th and we will discuss it. It is so open ended as to impossible to answer. Have you considered a cruise? What time of year? Age of granddaughter, etc., etc.? Need a back and forth conversation.

Posted by Arnold
Denver, CO, USA
1000 posts

The gatherings take place at Panera Bread in Aspen Grove starting at 10 am.

Posted by Mardee
Cincinnati, OH, USA
155 posts

Go to Turkey! It's one of the most beautiful, diverse and historic countries around, the Turkish culture is very different from ours and it's also one of the most inexpensive countries out there. I was in Turkey a couple of years ago for 2 weeks, and couldn't believe what you could buy. My hotel room in Istanbul was very pleasant, one of the largest single rooms I've ever had, and included a lovely breakfast served on a roof terrace overlooking the sea - all for around $40. And the prices got even cheaper outside of Istanbul.

In addition, the food is wonderful (granted, Italian food is incredible also, but for the most part, you'll pay more and be eating with a lot of Americans). I fell in love with Turkish food while I was there. And the Turks are some of the friendliest people around (as opposed to the Greeks, who don't really comprehend the nature of "service"). I had one native turn around and walk me 5 blocks out of his way so that I could find the dolmus station.

Don't get me wrong - I love Italy and have been there twice, but Turkey holds a special place in my heart. And it definitely fits a limited budget.

http://mardeeinturkey.wordpress.com

Posted by MD
the Island, Canada
173 posts

I'm going to France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland and Austria in September. If I could go everywhere, I would! But I think aside from those places I'd be really interested in spending some time in the Balkans. Especially after reading about Rick's experiences in Travel as a Political Act.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3509 posts

Central and Eastern Europe will be less expensive. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia.

How long a trip? What month? I'm thinking that the weather might play a part in your decision.

Turkey is definitely different. So is Hungary, though less so.

Posted by Arnold
Denver, CO, USA
1000 posts

Jean:

Once a month a number of us folks that live in the S. Denver area and who are regular viewers on this board get together to discuss travel, tips, get ideas and discuss upcoming trips. Frank was extending an invitation to join us at the next meeting which will be on the 17th. This way you may be able to get the pros/cons of various places and itineraries from folks who have been there.

These get togethers are held at the Panera Bread in Aspen Grove off of Santa Fe Dr in Littleton.

Posted by ashley
baton rouge, la, US
269 posts

I'd suggest seriously considering Spain and perhaps Portugal. Both are culturally rich and relatively inexpensive, and people in both countries (at least in my experience) are exceptionally friendly and always willing to share their countries and customs with visitors.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10883 posts

The trouble with this type of question, everyone has their favorite place and that where you should go. Without a good understanding of your likes/dislikes, travel experience, etc. it is hard to make a specific recommendation for YOU. Give me the ticket and I would probably go to Italy or Spain. Give it to Lee and he goes to Germany -- stuck in a rut. Have some coffee and we will figure out where you should go.

Posted by Charlene
Centennial, CO, US
915 posts

I was hoping that you would come to the meeting at Panera this morning. My husband and I have spent quite a bit of time in Greece and if you're looking for a low-cost, interesting vacation, I think you would love it.

I'd recommend flying into Athens and then directly to an island. Santorini is beautiful but very expensive. I would not spend more than two nights there, but it's the kind of place everybody thinks they "should" see in Greece. You could then ferry to other nearby islands (Milos, Folegandros) or make your way back to Athens, with stops in Naxos or Paros, and spend a few days in Athens before flying home.

Or you might skip Santorini & the Cyclades altogether and go to the Dodecanese island chain, maybe flying to Rhodes and making your way up to Patmos before flying back to Athens for a few days.

Or you could do what we do, after seeing all those places, and just go to Lesvos for a week or more. We found a very inexpensive, charming place (Votsala Hotel) that offers day trips around the island and to Turkey, and really helps you get a sense of Greek life. We're going back for our third time next year.

There are so many options. I would suggest getting a Greek island guide (Lonely Planet?) and reading Matt Barrett's website (http://www.greektravel.com/).

I'd be happy to chat -- send me a private message if you'd like.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17780 posts

Jean,

I always try to find some way to visit all the spots I'd like to see on each trip, so with that in mind I don't see any reason you couldn't visit both the Cinque Terre as well as Greece. Of course, this would be subject to your "limited budget").

You could (for example) fly inbound to Milan and then go directly to the Cinque Terre. If necessary you could spend a day or two in a nearby town to get over jet lag (perhaps Varenna on Lago di Como?).

Depending on how much time (and money) you have, you could spend a day or two in Lucca and then return to MXP for a flight to Athens.

There are lots of choices in places to visit in Greece. Two or three days in Athens should allow you to see the Acropolis and other major sites (be sure to visit the awesome Archeological Museum). After that you could venture to one or two of the islands. As a previous reply suggested, Matt Barrett's website will provide all the information you need on which island to choose.

Choosing an island with an airport will allow easy access back to Athens and either a flight to Istanbul or a flight home.

If you think Spain would be more interesting to your group, you could substitute that for Greece. There are all kinds of possibilities!

Whichever destinations you choose, I'd highly recommend getting the country or city-specific ETBD books for those locations, as they will provide LOTS of suggestions for low-cost accommodations, restaurants, transportation and sightseeing information, etc.

Good luck and happy travels!

Posted by George
Philadelphia
653 posts

I guess you are talking about approx two weeks of travel. If so, I would focus on Greece traveling directly on to the islands (especially Santorini), returning by ferry, and using the other half of the time on the mainland. A great experience for you and for your family.

Posted by Peter
Stutgartt
4 posts

Istanbul is the best place for a budget travel. It has too many interesting things to do, watch and explore.
Turkish old Ottoman cuisine is one of the things worth trying - they have lots of restaurants on each corner of the street. Don't miss one of these places with excellent fresh and authentic food, like at Tria Elegance restaurant, for example: http://www.triaelegance.com/en/pages/tria-elegance-restaurant/.

Each Istanbul street breathes with history. I'm sure you won't regret if you choose Istanbul!

Posted by Jean
Littleton
3 posts

Thanks to all of you for your comments. I actually thought I was contacting Rick Steves' staff. So sorry I couldn't make it to the gathering at Panera's but please let me know when you will meet again.
I am narrowing my itinerary down to this: two weeks, including travel, next spring, end of May.

Athens (1-2 days and nights?), Santorini?, Naxos? or Hydra? (2 or 3); Istanbul and a boat trip up the Bosphorus (2 or 3), back to Athens for return home. I don't see how I could work in Cinque Terra without giving up time somewhere else, and I'm having a hard deciding whether I should just do a leisurely island trip, which islands, or just do Athens, one island and Istanbul, and try for Cinque Terra.
Your comments and/or advice?
Jean

Posted by Charlene
Centennial, CO, US
915 posts

Hi Jean --
With just two weeks, I agree that it would be best to stay in Greece. If you want a taste of Turkey, you could visit a Greek island (Samos, Lesvos, Rhodes and others) from which you could make a day trip to Ephesus or Pergamon.

To help you narrow down your island choices, you might want to post specific questions on this board -- there are lots of Greek travellers who would love to help you decide.

The meetings at Panera in Littleton are always the 3rd Saturday of the month, so the next one will be August 21 at 10 am. Anyone is welcome.

Posted by margaret
nanaimo
156 posts

For me its a no-brainer to go to Egypt. Its a fabulous country and if you are on a budget, its certainly affordable. I spent some of my favourite travel time there and there is so much to see and do that I could return again and again.

Posted by Mimi
Morrison, CO, USA
332 posts

You have meetings!? I would love to be included, I'm in Morrison and know the Aspen Grove Panera well.

If someone would pm me about the date of the next one, I would love to come.

Thanks,
Mimi

Posted by Mimi
Morrison, CO, USA
332 posts

I just read the post from Charlene about when the Panera meetings are. Sounds good, I will try to be there also,
Thanks