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Athens & Heart of Greece May 2014

Since the tour feedback feature no longer includes all the feedback, here are hints and what we learned from our tour. These are just our personal observations.
- The tour gets unanimous 5 stars because it really is that good.
- Early trips are great, so if you can go early, do it. But, GO!
- Greeks use multiple ways of spelling things. The RS guide book lists a good restaurant, To Kati Allo,as being on Chatzichristou St. The street sign currently says, Hatzichristou You'll see Nafplio spelled many different ways.
-Consider doing Athens before you do the islands or small towns. Athens is a busy city and may lose its charm after you've been to a fabulous island.
- If your tour hotel is Acropolis Select and you choose to use the metro from the airport, I would offer these tips ( unless RS has added these suggestions to the direction sheet) When the metro stops at Syntagma Sq. and you change to the Red Line, look for the sign that says " Ellinko" with a red stripe at the top. When you get off at Syngarou Fix, the Drakou exit takes you up stairs. At the top of the stairs, turn left and go 1/2 block to Falirou.
- We each had 1 retractable walking stick. They had to go in checked luggage. We did not need them at the Acropolis, but we used them at Delphi, Monemvasia, Kastania, and Mystras. No one else used them.
-Any tendency towards motion sickness, bring some non-drowsy Dramamine. Those roads wind!
- Great post office in Monemvasia. For 6€ our poster arrived home a week after we did.
-RS suggested restaurant To KAti Allo seems really busy at lunch, but was good for 9pm dinner. God's Restaurant on Makrigianni has delicious food and the fellow out front is such fun to talk with. he's from Monemvasia and speaks like 5 languages. It's a show just to watch him switch languages for different customers. Manh Manh is gourmet Greek cuisine. All these are close to Acropolis Select. Cafe Ambrosia on Drakou has great gyros at reasonable price.
- Best things we brought: bubble wrap and travel power strip. Wrapped our Kardimyli olives in bubble wrap. Travel power strip powers I-pad or I-phone and has space for 3 other plugs. First trip without fighting over sparse outlets. AA or Travelsmith ( probably REI, too)

You will LOVE this tour!

Posted by
260 posts

Hi. This is a trip I'm interested in as well. Curious about prices (restaurants etc.) Since Greek economy not good, did you notice any corresponding drop in prices? Have you traveled to other locations in Europe recently that you could compare, price-wise, to Greece? Glad you liked the trip so much!

Posted by
1529 posts

We felt food prices were reasonable, almost cheap. However,I'll double-check my receipts to give you some exact numbers. We spent four days in London before Greece and prices were considerably higher for less quality. Just a point to note, most restaurants want cash.

Also, the meals included in this tour are so delicious and filling that some us opted for gelato instead of a full meal when we were on our own.

Posted by
10 posts

Thanks for the post! My daughter and I have signed-up for this tour (our first RS tour) for late March 2015. My daughter is keenly interested in knowing if hairdryers and public Wi-Fi were available at all the hotels used for your tour. Did the hotels have laundry service available for a reasonable price or did you use a laundromat during your tour? Thanks again.

Posted by
260 posts

I'd also love to know the quality of accommodations, comments on guide. Etc. feel free to reply privately if you prefer.

Posted by
1529 posts

Timothy- There are hair dryers and wi-fi at every stop. In some cases, you can connect in your room, in others you're all sitting together in the lounge.

Laura- I can't find my meal receipts, so I'm going to have to guesstimate. I think we spent between 5-7€ per person for most lunches and between 15-25€ per person for dinner. As I said, on the RS tours we've taken, the meals that are provided are substantial. So, the longer the tours goes on, the less we eat on our own. Our guide was outstanding and having watched the tour reports for several years, I can say that the guides on this tour are universally rated as excellent. As far as hotels, we were quite satisfied. I have to laugh, because when I first started following RS tours years ago, hotels seemed one step up from hostels. As RS has aged, the quality of his hotels has gone up. However, I think in order to keep us honest and packing light, there is always at least one hotel without an elevator. On this trip, all the beds were comfortable, the linens are good quality and the breakfasts were substantial with plenty of variety.

Patty

Posted by
260 posts

Thanks Patty. Very helpful! And prices do seem very reasonable.

Posted by
2403 posts

Our favorite of all the RS tours (5) we have taken. Don't miss this one! Wish there was a tour that covered the north of Greece.

Posted by
1 posts

Very helpful info as we are taking the Greece tour in Sept. Glad to hear the hotels have hair dryers. How about washcloths and lotion, shampoo and ect? I'm trying to find out how much time and steps you need to go through in Athens if you have carry on bags. Our flight gets in at 9:05 am, if on time, and we have to catch a 10:30 am flight on Aegean to fly to Santorini for a few days. I understand the B gate is a ways from the A gates. Any tips to save time would be appreciated.

Lorraine

Posted by
1529 posts

No washcloths that I remember . There was always bar soap. I'm testing my memory on this, but I think some had shampoo, but I'm not sure they all did. I used my own products, so I'm not positive.

Can't help much with the airport since we had arrival and departure. However, it's not a huge airport, if that helps.

Posted by
103 posts

Thank you for the detailed report and feedback.
I am undecided for 2015 between this tour and Eastern Europe for my next RS travel. I had my heart set on Helsinki-Tallinn-St.Petersburgh but will not be going as DH is uncomfortable with me going to Russia.

Posted by
2403 posts

Lorraine, if you have to clear customs in Athens you will be tight on time. Timothy, you are asking about comfort items such as hair dryers, washcloths. I'm going to assume your daughter is young. There is one quirk traveling in Greece, and this would not prevent me from returning, but here it is: next to each toilet you will find a miniature trash can, with foot pedal to lift the lid. That is for your used toilet tissue. Greek plumbing is ancient and cannot take this,as we found out early on when we had a clog. It's a bit of a yuck factor at first. But, as RS states somewhere on this page, the only thing that can go into Greek toilets is stuff you have eaten. Still our favorite RS tour.