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RS Greece Tour Alumni Feedback Request

My husband and I are considering Greece for our 8th RS tour. We are targeting the Sept. 4, 2016 tour in order to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary!
Would love alumni feedback regarding this particular tour. Very curious about the following topics:
* Hotel accommodations.....were there any " shared bathrooms" or did all rooms have a private bathroom? Already aware of the toilet paper etiquette situation in Greece and plan to travel with doggie poop bags just in case....LOL.
* Was there the opportunity for any relaxing beach time during your free time? Being the first part of September, we hope to still have some warm temps ( low 80s to upper 70s ).
Please share any and all feedback and/or recommendations.
Regards, Tess

Posted by
1068 posts

As far as I can recall, there were no shared bathrooms on the Greek tour. There were two days (weather permitting) that the beach was available, in Kardamyli and on Hydra. It was a very good tour with a nice assortment of the "best" of Peloponnese classical Greek sites and medieval/Byzantine sites. I really enjoyed the food as well. I'm certainly glad I took it.

Posted by
14 posts

My wife and I are seasoned travelers and we took the tour in September, 2015 and it was one of our most memorable travel experiences. Colin Clement, our guide, did an excellent job and his knowledge of Greek history and culture is amazing. If he is your guide, you will have a great time. Her gave us a nice balance of structured activities and free time. All of the local guides were very good, especially in Delphi, Olympia, and Mystras.

The food was just fantastic (we still dream of the seaside lunch in Limoni and the dinner with music in Napflio) and the hotels were all comfortable, especially in Athens, Napflio and Hydra. There was beach time scheduled in Kardamyli and Hydra, but note that all of the beaches are rocky (NO sand) and water shoes are a necessity for walking on the hot stones. The TP thing is an inconvenience but not a big deal.

The one down side was the heat--it was VERY hot in Athens and for most of the trip. All of the Greeks that we met were hospitable, they are dealing with very tough times rather stoically.

Posted by
1952 posts

Totally agree with everything the two previous posters say. Loved this tour. Our guide, David, was great and from everything I've heard, all the Greece guides, main tour guide and local, are quite wonderful. Our tour began in mid October so really too cool to avail ourselves of the beach but there were lots of other fun things to do in our free time. But the up side? It certainly wasn't hot! Actually, we enjoyed very pleasant weather throughout the tour. I also agree the toilet paper thing is...um, well...interesting but truly no big deal. No shared bathrooms and all our hotels and hosts were great. The Greek people are friendly and open and want to share their beautiful country with you. One thing I'd recommend is to bring good shoes for walking over uneven surfaces and rocks. There are at least a couple of opportunities to climb to the tops of significant sights (Monemvasia comes immediately to mind) and your feet need to be happy! And the food....oh, my....the food.............You will have a wonderful time!

Posted by
8391 posts

To find out if a tour uses a hotel with shared bathrooms, go to the tour page where you can see information about a tour itinerary. Click on Physical Demands and it will be listed there.

Here is the link to the Greece tour and it does not have any shared baths.

https://www.ricksteves.com/tours/greece-turkey/greece

For contrast, here is the page for the 21 day Best of Europe which does have the possibility for shared baths at one hotel. (It's the one in Stechelberg, Switzerland if anyone is interested, lol.)

https://www.ricksteves.com/tours/europe/europe-21-days

Posted by
503 posts

I was on the Greece tour last month, for the first two weeks in October. It was very hot for most of the trip so definitely beach weather. There are two scheduled "off" days when you could go to the beach if you choose to, but as stated before, they are rocky beaches and our guide recommended beach shoes not only for that but also for the sea urchins. None of our rooms had a shared bath and all were nice. There was on hotel though, where for both nights we were there, we found cockroaches in the bathroom. I know they exist in warm climates but I would expect the hotels to keep to some sort of spraying schedule to prevent them from hiding in your shower curtain folds!

Posted by
1607 posts

We took this tour 3 years ago in May, but it was warm enough to enjoy our beach days and we did wear our sandals in the water. There were no shared bathrooms and some rooms were nicer than others. Because these tours use boutique hotels, the rooms are not uniform, but the guides rotate the room assignments so that at one stay you might get a nicer room and the next someone else might. We loved all the hotels.

I was concerned about the toilet paper issue, mostly because of the smell. Wow, is this a clean country. There was never any smell and, while I never actually saw anyone empty the bins, they seldom had much in them.

One of the delights on the trip were the mandated rest stops (bus drivers can't drive more then 2 hrs. without stopping). They were always at the delicious pastry places.

The guides were terrific and fellow travelers were, too. I'd do this again in a heartbeat.

Posted by
2486 posts

Of the many RS tours we have taken, still our favorite. We too had Colin as a guide and he was fabulous. We loved the sites, the food (best tomatoes you will ever have), the people. We took cheap water shoes which came in handy in Hydra and threw them away before our return. It's the one tour I would consider doing again, but I'm afraid the magic might not appear again. Go, you'll love Greece. No shared bathrooms, the TP thing a minor issue. Bring travel Cottenelle wipes or baby wipes. Makes things...easier.

Posted by
3551 posts

We took this tour a few yrs back in april. Colin was an excellent guide. All was vg in general. My only comment was the full days of free time, way too much in areas where there was little to do. Hydra for example and the rusty bucket boat with diesel stench ride over to the island. Also beaware staying on Hydra comes with rusty smelly water in the hotels. As it is barged over from the mainland. I would have preferred a daytrip to Hydra instead. Showering and using this water for multiple days is disgusting. We were not warned ahead either.
Try to have a dinner at ManiMani in Athens nr acropolis hotel. It is one of the best dinners i have had ever. Cooked sous vide, absolutely delicious and reasonable!

Posted by
1068 posts

I didn't put it in my post, but (as stated above) Colin was an amazing guide. The local guides were good too. Surprised no one mentioned this, but there were super museums on this trip as well.

Posted by
31303 posts

As the others have mentioned, the Greece tour is fantastic and I have many great memories of that tour. I don't recall any shared bathrooms on the Greece tour, but some tours use different hotels than others so your best source of information on that would be to contact the RS tour department.

Yes, there is some free time that could be used for beach activities. It's been a few years so my memory is a bit foggy on that, but as I recall there's a free day in Kardamyli so that's one opportunity. There's also a free day on Hydra, so that's also an option. FWIW, I quite enjoyed Hydra, but that's one location where it's prudent to use bottled water.

Colin was also the guide on my tour, and he's an exceptional guide!

Posted by
44 posts

My wife and I took this tour in mid-September 2015 and absolutely loved it! To answer your questions: as others have said, there were no shared bathrooms and the toilet paper issue was really a non-issue and, surprisingly, not a source of odor. In fact, I found it amusing to take photographs of the little signs by the toilets warning against putting the toilet paper in them. There was time for a romp on the beach and in the water at Kardamyli, and some on our tour enjoyed that. All of the hotel rooms were just fine, and some of them were truly charming and even elegant.

In my opinion, we were there at an ideal time for enjoyable temperature—a little toasty some days and with a cooling evening breeze most evenings. Shirtsleeve weather for me each day. It was good for packing light. A light-weight rain jacket came in handy a couple of times.

The tour itself was fabulous and a dream come true for me as an art historian. The local guides did a fine job, and our overall tour guide, Angelos Kokkaliaris, was superb. His love for his country and his command of its history and customs were inspiring, and his management of the tour was always confident and on the mark. He worked well with the tour members and he seemed to be a favorite of the local guides.

The food was wonderful and varied, from breakfast buffets to lunches of fresh-caught trout in the countryside, to fine meals in the evening. I also developed a new appreciation for just how good a tomato can taste!

The Greek people in every location were lovely, and despite their considerable economic troubles, they were kind, honest, and truly happy to welcome us. They value each visitor to their country. My wife and I fell hard for them as a people.

Posted by
54 posts

We took the Greece tour in September 2010. I will be happy to send a copy (no pictures ) of my personal journal (Word) for a day-by-day experience. The format is rough (needs a lot of editing...yes it's 2016 and the tour was 6 years ago), but very readable and can give a good idea of the tour. Just shoot me a private message.