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Greece! 2 weeks, 12 people, what a great vacation!

Just back from 2 fantastic weeks in Greece (Santorini, Naxos, Nafplio, Athens). Here’s how the adventure went!

Who we are:
A group of 12 people: 2 families, 4 parents (ages 50s/60s), 6 kids of our own (ages 17 to 28), 2 extra kids joining the party (because we are a fun group!). We’ve traveled together before (here is a link to our adventures in Spain last year: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/2-lovely-weeks-in-spain) and are very compatible – we know this is a gift with this many people! We are all fit and active, except for my 17-yo son, who is special needs and mobility-challenged. He walks but tires easily, so stairs and long distances are challenges as we travel. We do have a stroller for him and use it when we need to cover distances or move along quickly.

Why did we go to Greece?
We had a lot of celebrations this year – my oldest got her doctor of nursing practice degree in May, my middle one graduated from high school in June and is headed to Dartmouth, another kid was just admitted to the DNP program at UVM. Gotta brag a little! We are so proud of these kids – they have worked hard! We also had one of the parents turning 60 this summer. So, off we go to celebrate (we are kind of an “any excuse” crowd)! The parent with the 60th birthday always wanted to go to Greece and asked me if I could plan it. Yay! I love planning! First time to Greece for all of us.

Our itinerary
Santorini – 2 nights. We wanted to go, see the view, recover from jet lag, then move on. We knew it would be crowded and touristy and expensive (it was; still glad we went).
Naxos – 5 nights. I chose Naxos because I thought it would be big and varied enough to keep 12 active people busy for the time we were there. It did not disappoint! I was also looking for an island that would have some somewhat level areas that would be easier to navigate with my son. I also considered Tinos, Paros, Folegandros, Sifnos, and Milos. Naxos won, and it was perfect for us.
Nafplio – 3 nights. I chose Nafplio as a base to do a little exploring of a few ancient sites on the mainland.
Athens – 2 nights. We needed to fly home from ATH, so we chose to spend a day to see the Acropolis. Athens was not an initial goal of the trip, and one full day was plenty for us.

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Flights
We flew out/in to Montreal, so I hired a minibus to get us from our meet-up location in Vermont to the airport, a 2-hour drive. Saved us airport parking for 3 or 4 cars, gas, and, most importantly, the hassle of driving home after an international flight on the way back. This worked out very well for an overall minimal cost per person.
Delta is our preferred airline. We wound up booking flights out of Montreal, codeshare with AirFrance, connecting through CDG. I had sworn that I would never, ever fly through CDG again based on our experience returning from Spain last year. Turns out I am a slave to the dollar, and if I can save $900 per person, I will fly through CDG.
But…. No… We didn’t (on the way out). Seems that the flight from Montreal to CDG was oversold. 90 minutes before departure, I got an email asking me to check in for my Air Canada flight to Athens. Wait, what???? Yes, we had been bumped from AirFrance and moved to a direct flight on AC to Athens. Well, OK, if we have to…. It was very bizarre to receive a notice this way, and because we had booked our group of 12 under 2 separate bookings, only 6 of us were bumped; the rest went on the original itinerary thru Paris. My group of 6 went direct to ATH and then crashed in the airport for 9 hours waiting for everyone else to show up.
As a side note, we packed for carryon. AirFrance has a 12 kilo weight limit. We packed to meet the limit; our bags were never weighed by AF on any of our flights. We were happy to have light bags, regardless if they were weighed or not.
Once we regrouped in Athens, we then boarded our Aegean flight to Santorini, which went flawlessly. They did weigh luggage at the gate (8 kilo max for our tickets), so some of us had to check bags, no biggie.
On the way home, for some reason I cannot fathom, the AirFrance gate agent in Athens checked my son’s special needs stroller all the way to Montreal, even though we had asked that it be gate checked so that we could use it at CDG during our layover. We only found this out when we (my husband, my son, and I – everyone else in our group had moved on as per our procedure, which is: just get yourself to the connecting gate) waited at the arrival gate at CDG, and oops, no stroller, please wait for wheelchair assistance. It took us over an hour have my son transported to our connecting gate – multiple stops, multiple vans around the outside of the terminals (with steps in an out of the vans – how is this handicap accessible??), no one informing us of the process, just asking us to wait here, and then another person would show up 20 minutes later, escorting us another few feet…. It was truly awful. The rest of our group made it to the connecting gate in 15 minutes (some kind of record for CDG).

Then, once we finally arrived at the gate, they took the wheelchair away! Good grief! So, no way to get him to the bathroom, no way to move around the airport, heaven forbid a gate change or evacuation emergency. Once again, and this time I mean it – we will never fly through CDG again!!!
OK, rant over….

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Group travel strategies
So, 12 people…..It really can work, as long as you have the right people 😊 We know we are lucky in that we have a good mix. Here are some strategies that keep us liking each other at the end of the trip:
1 --Absolute must, SPLIT UP DURING THE DAY!! There is no way we could all be together all day, every day, for 2 weeks. Divide and conquer. Typically, our group has breakfast together (we stay in apartments or houses and gather in the biggest kitchen for breakfast), then divide up into groups to go do stuff during the day (unless we have an all-in tour). The small groups are different every day; mix up the people. Then we typically gather back together for dinner and celebrate what we each did during the day.
2 – Anyone can opt out of activities at any time. If someone is tired and just wants to hang at the apartment, this is totally OK and will not incur shaming! We all travel at different speeds and we all need downtime.
3 – FindMy on iPhone is a phenomenal tool; everyone in the group needs to opt in to sharing location. This hugely facilitates meet-ups, planning, tracking overambitious teens/young adults.
4 – Figure out an expense sharing plan before the trip. Once you have a plan, don’t sweat the small stuff as you travel. For us, we split costs between the 2 families 50/50. We stuff receipts into Ziploc baggies as we travel, then sort them out when we get home (this is far more interesting when they are in Greek). We absolutely do not worry about who is grabbing a check at any meal; we will sort it out when we get back.
5 – Whoever pays for the vacation gets to vote. Ha. This trump card is seldom invoked, because we really do have a great bunch. But if there are any blowups, for us, it is always amongst the kids, and since the parents are paying for the trip, the parents get to wade in and make choices. One recurring issue we had was choosing bedrooms at our different accomms; when it got to be too emotional for the kids to work it out themselves, the parents got to choose (we had them draw room assignments from a hat). But like I said, this was seldom invoked – our kids know how lucky they are, and they are very appreciative of the travel opportunities they have.
6 – Have a meal plan for travel days. It’s hard to move a big bunch of people; things can and do go wrong (for example, the electronic key system failed at one of our lodgings as we were trying to leave for a tour, trapping the kids in the elevator room, whoops). Nothing is worse than a bunch of tired, hangry people asking what are we doing for dinner. We now make a dinner reservation in advance for every travel day, so we know the plan and we know we will be seated at a reasonable time.
7 – Take advantage of the economies of scale to book transportation. Often, it is just as cheap to book a private minibus to get from A to B. We’ve done lots of public transport in our travels and are very comfortable with it, but sometimes it makes more sense to hire a bus and a driver.
8 – Unless you are a child (age limit depending on the kid; for my kids this means 15 and over), you carry your own passport and ticket/boarding pass/travel documents. Things happen. We’ve been unexpectedly split up tons of times during our travels. You never know when your kids will wind up on a different airplane, a different immigration line, a different train car. If everyone has his/her own passport and ticket, there are no disasters and we all get to the same final destination.

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Finally, here’s what we did…..

Santorini (2 nights, Monday thru Wednesday)
We stayed at Pantelia Suites (https://www.pantelia.gr/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwqs6lBhCxARIsAG8YcDgY6nCbzVcfdy8syfXdiSxjIrBolA2elsHv7TK6-6o03DtPmYhuJ3UaAqPjEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds) in Fira. OMG, this was one of the loveliest places I’ve ever stayed. I wanted us to stay at a place where we could enjoy the caldera view right from the hotel, instead of fighting with crowds. It was totally the right choice for us. Unbelievable view, incredible service, super comfortable rooms, lovely pool; it was a complete, luxurious treat. We stayed 2 nights (all we could afford, lol), which was perfect for seeing Santorini, getting over jet lag, then moving on.

Favorites from Santorni:
Dinner our first night – truly one of the most memorable meals of my life. We ate on the hotel pool terrace, overlooking the caldera, and the restaurant next door (1500BC) catered the meal. Fabulous food, truly excellent and fun service, once-in-a-lifetime setting, everyone in the group so thrilled to be there – amazing.
The views. Just wow. There are no bad pictures.
Our accommodations. We spent most of the afternoon being lazy by the pool, enjoying the view. The rooms were super comfortable, what a treat.
Salads. OMG. The cherry tomatoes, the fresh cheese, the super sweet onions, the bread rinds. So, so delicious.
Taxi tour up to Oia – I booked this through the hotel. Some of our group walked part of the path from Fira to Oia, and a few of us (including my son) took a taxi van to a few of the photographic highlights. It was a 2-hour loop and a great way to see a bit of the island.

Final impressions of Santorini: We are glad we went. It is absolutely spectacular to see. We were especially happy that our lodging choice allowed us to enjoy the views without fighting the crowds. But yes, the crowds… and the cost… Our meals were 6x the cost of meals elsewhere in Greece. 2 nights was perfect for us; we were happy for those 2 nights and happy to leave at the end.

Naxos (5 nights, Wednesday thru Monday)
We took the Blue Star ferry from Santorini to Naxos. It was 90 minutes late leaving and quite a hot crush waiting in the terminal in Santorini, but we eventually departed. After boarding, it took us a bit to find someone to get my son in his stroller up to the passenger deck. Eventually we were escorted to the elevator up to the kitchens, then out to the passenger area. Same process for the departure; we were asked to check in at the reception desk 10 minutes before arrival and were escorted down the elevator. Once down below, we had a front-row seat to view the ferry ramps going down and the crew scrambling with the ropes to dock – very cool.

We purchased business class tickets on the ferry and were happy we did; the boat was very, very crowded, and because we were last up to the passenger deck, we would have had trouble finding decent seating for all 12 of us (unless we had purchased in the airline seating lounges, but they were also super crowded). Business was great; spacious and comfortable, and not a great deal more in cost.

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Naxos – ahhhh, we loved Naxos! After a seamless car rental pickup at the port (Naxos DriveTime, 3 cars – one of them dubbed the “Flintstonemobile” because we felt like we might have to get out and push it on some of the hills. But it did fine – DriveTime was great, easy, would rent again), we headed off to our rental house. We stayed here (https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/7744455?sourceimpressionid=p31689529699hITy9wUQOmQ4D8LP), a 9-bedroom villa in Glynado, a small village about 10 minutes outside Chora. It was perfect for us. Quiet, gorgeous gardens, big swimming pool, plenty of room inside the house for all of us, pool and foosball tables, lovely hosts, goats as next-door neighbors. We spent many hours just relaxing at “home.”
First night we ate at the village tavern (Taverna Mina), 8:00 p.m. reservation. We were a little worried when we got there; totally deserted, no sign of life except for one waitress and a dozen cats. But we were seated, ordered, got drinks, and by 8:30, the place was coming alive – by 9:00/9:30, it was a crowded, happy place. Food was delicious, and grand total for 12 people for dinner, including a plethora of alcoholic beverages, was $169.08. Dessert (fabulous baklava) was on the house. Hello Naxos, goodbye Santorini!
We had 4 glorious full days on Naxos. With the 3 cars, we split up just about every day and went in different directions. The kids loved going to Naxos Town and wandering around, so they had several excursions there. The grownups spent an afternoon driving through the center of Naxos up to see the kouros at Apollonas, and then back to Glynado along the northern coast (my absolute favorite day of the trip – just a gorgeous drive with many, many photo stops). We spent a day at Plaka beach, a group hiked Mount Zas one morning, we visited a couple of villages including Chalki (Kitron, yum!), the temple of Demeter, and of course the Portara. And lots of time hanging by the pool, playing games and jumping in when we got hot. I think there is still an open dispute on the actual cribbage champion of the vacation. We could have happily stayed several more days.
Food, oh my – we ate so well! Breakfasts were at the house; we ate literally gallons of Greek yogurt, topped with to-die-for Greek honey (where have you been all my life? I now have a giant tub of Greek honey in my kitchen), pastries, eggs.
We cooked one dinner at the house and ate out for the other dinners. Delicious meals at Spyros on Agia Anna (sunset on the beach afterwards – lovely), Trapezaki on Pyrgaki Beach (we were looking for Tavern Koutaki, as recommended by JoLui, but it doesn’t seem to be there any more. Trapezaki was absolutely wonderful, though, and we are happy we found it – great food, great people, another lovely beach at sunset). Great lunches also in Chalki and on Plaka Beach.
Get this: our food cost for our entire time in Greece, if you take out Santorini, was less than $30 per person per day. That’s for everything: a really good breakfast at the house, restaurant meals for lunch and dinner, drinks, desserts, everything. Amazing.

Favorite things on Naxos:
Driving around the island. I loved the scenery, loved the fact that every few feet, it seems, there is something to stop for – a beautiful cemetery, a tiny little church, a spectacular view. Driving was very easy, even in the Flintstonemobile (yabba dabba doo up the hills).
The quiet. It was peaceful, no crowds except around the port area, relaxing – truly felt like a vacation.
Food. Casual, cheap, absolutely delicious. We were able to drop in to restaurants with 12 people, no reservations except our first night (which we didn’t really need, in hindsight), no waiting.
Our accommodations. Perfect. Fun for everyone to be together in one house, so comfortable to stay, drop-dead gorgeous outdoor spaces and views.

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Final impressions of Naxos;
Loved it. Quiet, relaxing, something for everyone: history on every corner for history buffs, walks galore for people who want to get out and wander on paths, hikes for folks looking for more of a challenge, beautiful, uncrowded beaches, awesome food, friendly people. Would go again in a heartbeat.

Nafplio (3 nights, Monday thru Thursday)
We took the Blue Star ferry from Naxos to Piraeus, opting for this over flying. I’m glad we chose the ferry. It’s a nice, relaxing break in the trip, and overall travel time isn’t really that much more, by the time you factor all the airport time for flying. We again purchased business lounge tickets and were glad we did; the boat had come from Santorini and was already crowded by the time we got on in Naxos – they had to open up another section in the business lounge for us. We had a great ride to Piraeus. This time, when we disembarked, the ferry staff carried my son, in his stroller, down the escalators, rather than taking the elevator – it was quite a production! They did this with all of the folks in wheelchairs; it was definitely a workout for the guys.
We used MyAthensTransfers to get us from Piraeus to Nafplio via minibus– they were excellent, both during the contracting phase and for the travel itself. I would highly recommend their services. They’ll arrange transfers for smaller groups as well, down to 1 or 2 people.
Our arrival in Nafplio was easy, and we had seamless check-in at our 3 separate apartments located throughout the old town. All three were good, but I would highly recommend this one, which is a 1-BR apartment on the waterfront: (https://www.booking.com/hotel/gr/di-fronte-alla-fortezza.html) The other 2 were perfectly adequate, but I would look for alternatives if I were to return.
We liked Nafplio. It was the favorite place in Greece for about half the group (the other half liked Naxos the most, including myself). The shoppers favored Nafplio 😊. While there, we did our usual divide and conquer, and the kids’ feedback was that they really liked being car-free again; much easier to just wander and not have to coordinate drivers. Most of the group climbed the 911 steps up to the Palamidi Fortress one morning (this is the official count, they actually counted as they climbed). 911 steps was obviously a no-go for my son, so we took the elevator up to the Fortress of Akronafplia, which was very, very cool. And we got to wave at our friends across town on top of Palimidi (no, we couldn’t actually see them). Folks also spent time at the Arvanitas Beach, and a group took the tourist train from the waterfront area. Most of the time we strolled around the old town, stopping a LOT for gelato or pastries or drinks.
On one of our Nafplio days, I arranged a tour for all of us to Mycenae and Epidauros. I contacted Patti Staikou (referenced in the RS Greece guidebook) several months ago, and she arranged the minibus transportation for us to/from Nafplio. The day went well and we enjoyed our tour. Patti had something come up that day and we had a substitute guide for Mycenae (first name Theodore, never got his last name) who was EXCELLENT, and then Patti guided us through Epidauros. Patti was very good as well, she just didn’t have the storytelling connection that Theodore had.
Food in Nafplio: We ate very well, but didn’t find the food quite as wonderful as it had been on the islands. Our best meal in Nafplio was at Arapakos on the waterfront, but it still didn’t compare to the super fresh, simple meals we had had on Naxos. We did do quite well on the gelato, though!

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Favorites from Nafplio:
The beautiful streets in old town – flowers galore, all the pastel paint colors.
Sunsets over the Bourtzi Castle.
Akronafplia Fortress – so very interesting, amazing views, and we saw exactly one other person while we were up there.

Final impressions of Nafplio:
A nice place to spend a few days. Two was perfect for us; at that point, we felt like we had seen enough and were ready to go somewhere else. With a car, it would be nice to stay longer and explore the area around Nafplio.

On to Athens (2 nights, Thursday thru Saturday)
I again used MyAthensTransfers to hire a minibus/driver to take us from Nafplio to Athens. I arranged that, along the way, we would stop at Ancient Nemea, then a lunch stop in Nemea, then a photo stop at the Corinth Canal. This all worked flawlessly, and again, I highly recommend MyAthensTransfers.
We departed Nafplio at 10:00 and drove straight to Ancient Nemea. Loved touring this site – we started in the museum, and then headed out to the grounds. The area is well-marked with signage, and it was really enjoyable to explore the baths and the temple of Zeus. There was hardly anyone else there. We then got in the bus and went over to the stadium (too far for my son to walk, so it was nice to have the driver take us there). Again, we had a great time wandering around and of course ran a race on the track. We were the only ones there.
On to Nemea for lunch. Oh boy, this was a treat! I had found Danaos & Anastasis online and made a reservation before we left home. Little hole-in-the-wall place on the main street, grill around the corner. Simply amazing food. We ate grilled chicken (shared for 4 people), roast pork (shared), grilled sausages, moussakas, crispy potatoes, salads, appetizers; so very, very good. One of the best meals of the trip. Total bill for 12 people: $114.45. Wow. Eat here, people.
Back on the minibus and on to Corinth Canal for a brief stop to take photos from the bridge. Then off to Athens for our last couple of days.
We stayed at NS Place (https://www.booking.com/hotel/gr/nsplace.html) in the Plaka, near Monastiraki Square. We had 3 apartments; all were excellent. Very modern, elevator, clean, laundry facilities available, Parthenon views. Highly recommend.

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Our stay in Athens was very short – one full day. We spent the morning (8:00 meet-up time) touring the Acropolis grounds and museum with Faye Georgiou. She was absolutely fantastic; kept all 12 of us entertained for 4 full hours. She is funny, knowledgeable, a little salty, and the kids were fascinated watching all the paraphernalia she could stuff into her bra – wallet, cellphone, whisper set, tickets… it was like Mary Poppins’ handbag! At 8:00, we started right up to the top to beat the crowds and the heat. My son and husband were able to take the elevator to the top (good thing; it had not been working the day before, and, according to Faye, is notorious for being unreliable). It was pretty hot and crowded even at that time of the morning. I had pre-purchased tickets online and we were able to go right in. We toured the slopes and the Parthenon for about 2 hours and were headed down by 10:00, just in time to beat the 10:00 admission crush on their way up. My husband and son shared the elevator on the way down with a woman suffering from heat exhaustion. Make sure you eat breakfast and hydrate before you head to the Acropolis in July!! She had done neither…..
We then headed over to the Acropolis museum and continued our tour until noon – very, very interesting. And if I had a dollar for every time I heard a disparaging remark about Lord Elgin, I’d be a wealthy woman – this is clearly a major affront to the Greek people (justifiably, no argument from me).
We spent the afternoon doing our divide and conquer again. Most of us did some resting in the apartment A/C to recover from the heat of the morning, then went out exploring the area. We grouped up again for our last dinner of vacation at Kosmikon, which was very good.

Favorites from Athens:
Visiting the Acropolis, of course! Excellent tour with Faye.
Great accommodations.
Excellent gelato – many opportunities to sample!

Final impressions of Athens:
We were only there for a day, so we didn’t really give it a fair chance. We weren’t wowed; it was hot, crowded, and felt touristy – probably a factor of where we stayed, but our location was intentional to have easy access to the Acropolis for our one-day stay. We are not really city people anyway, and we enjoyed our time in the smaller places much, much more.

Final thoughts:
Greece was truly lovely. Highlights for us were the stunning beauty of the country itself and the absolutely amazing food. We liked most the smaller places; friendly people, no crowds, easy to get around, so relaxing. If I were to go back, I would head directly to an island (one without a cruise ship port!) and stay for a week or two; this was, for me, the most enjoyable part of being in Greece.

Here are some photos from our adventures:

Santorini
https://www.flickr.com/photos/197009824@N03/albums/72177720309669756/with/53036592238/

Naxos
https://www.flickr.com/photos/197009824@N03/albums/72177720309698782

Nafplio
https://www.flickr.com/photos/197009824@N03/albums/72177720309804648

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Finally, I want to add a big thank you to everyone who contributes on the Greece forum. It was so easy to plan this trip with the wealth of information that was available. I really didn't need to ask any major questions; they had all been answered already. Thank you for make it easy for the rest of us to plan our travels!

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1530 posts

Thanks so much for this report! It was enjoyable to read. What a great trip! We have been to many of these places and your report and photos brought back beautiful memories. What a great experience for your family and friends!

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I think you took the same trip I did! We stayed 3 nights on Santorini at Pantelia Suites. Gorgeous views and a fabulous breakfast on the terrace each morning. We did one afternoon around the pool and ventured out one evening to Oia (glad we did not stay there). We also did one day with a private guide to Akoriti which was fantastic. It was a good balance for us. Like you we were celebrating a graduate from Nursing school - this was her dream to go to Greece. We also did the ferry to Naxos and stayed 4 nights then onto Athens (flying) for three nights. We were there from June 10 - 20th. It was a perfect trip. Great weather, smaller crowds, and wonderful food. I was actually the planner and tagged along with the family group of three. I took my daughter (age 30) with special needs to England first and she stayed with my sister for the duration of our Greece trip. I think the stairs and walking would have been too much for her. I applaud you for taking your special needs child along with you. It certainly takes extra patience and organizing.

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Sounds like a fantastic trip! And admire your trip planning for 12. I have done it for 7 twice-once to Greece and the other time to Italy. There is a big difference between 7 and 12 in terms of logistics.

We went to all the same places as you did and Naxos and Nafplio were the favorites of our group as well.

I am glad you got to Nemea. And we may have eaten at the same restaurant or certainly one very similar!

And CDG sounds like a total nightmare.

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Excellent Report!! I loved the way you gave specifics on booking transportation, and why. That makes it truly useful. I did have a feeling of satisfaction, following your itinerary, since I've recommended that exact route SO many times ... for travelers as varied as Golden Agers, 3-4 collegians, families with toddlers -- and now, it appears, a motley group of 12! It's thanks to y our good advance planning that you all were able to see so many highlights of Naxos and Nafplio, without being rushed. And I'm tickled that you were surprised at your favorite experience -- the food! Greece is never mentioned among the world's Epicurean Heights ... they win our hearts, and palates, with their fresh, flavorful meats, produce, cheeses, etc.

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700 posts

@mpaulynsettle, too funny that you had almost the same trip! Wasn't Pantelia Suites gorgeous?? We really loved staying there.

We have traveled quite a lot, and I think Greece was probably the toughest country so far for my son, with all of the stairs and rough terrain. We knew it going in and have no regrets, but it was a lot of work. Thankfully, he can do some of it on his own, and we also traveled with a lot of very fit, active folks who really helped out with manhandling the stroller and assisting my son on all the various adventures, and fortunately he is relatively small at around 90 pounds. But I'm not sure we'll make it back to Greece because it was so tough to get him around to the places we wanted to go.

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4480 posts

I'm in awe of your traveling with your special needs son. He is so lucky to have you as his parents.

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3363 posts

Deb, you write the best trip reports and wow, congrats on the amazing travel planning. Quite a feat. Ok, I think I will need to go back to Greece now and follow in your footsteps! Where are u planning next?

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8245 posts

My wife has too had mobility issues the past 3 years. She has a Luggie folding personal power scooter with a lithium battery that has a 10 mile range. It runs thru airports faster than I can walk.

She rides the scooter to the door of the airplane and they gate check the scooter. At the next airport, they bring it to her at the airplane door. We go thru security and customs at the shortest lines.

We've had the scooter in Europe on 3 trips, Las Vegas and to 3 national parks. Wouldn't take anything for it.

The only airport we've had problems with was at FCO (Rome) where they have many incoming flights where you have to go down 30' of steps to a bus. The bus carries you to customs. Those with mobility issues are taken off the back of the airplane into another smaller bus that telescopes up to the level of the airplane. We got separated.

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2599 posts

I remember reading your trip report for Venice and your adventures traveling with your son. I went to Venice after that and did think it would be a very challenging place if you had mobility issues. Interesting enough, I never thought that way about about Greece, despite visiting twice, showing how we don't necessarily see things through other's eyes.

I am glad you collectively managed the challenges so well.

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108 posts

What a fabulous trip! Thank you for the trip report - reading it and looking at your photos truly made me want to return to Greece!

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2921 posts

DebVT, thank you for a great, informative trip report. Now I’m debating changing next year’s tentative plans to Greece from Italy.

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5159 posts

Thanks for an interesting and humorous report. Kudos for planning such an adventure. Where next? Safe travels!

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265 posts

Enjoyed reading your report, and your pictures are beautiful. Such a nice trip for your family/friends.

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700 posts

Where to next? That's a tough one.

Each time we've taken a trip with all of us together, we've told ourselves it's a once-in-a-lifetime trip, since we don't know if we'll ever get everyone together again. It's tough, schedule-wise -- kids in high school, kids in college (different ones with different schedules), kids in grad school, kids working, parents working, and everyone who is working has to juggle coverage schedules.

Realistically, summer may be the only time that works over the next few years, and all the places we really want to go are not places I want to visit in the summer -- Sicily, Puglia, back to Spain (can't get enough of Andalucia). I'd cheerfully go to England/Wales/Scotland in the summer, but the other family isn't interested, so we'll have to do that trip on our own.

So, we'll just have to see what crops up. We'll likely do some one-family trips in the near future, and the parents have already scheduled a parents-only long weekend in Kansas City in the fall (go Chiefs!). But it sure is fun to do the big group adventures. Like I said, we're an "any excuse" crowd, so something will come along that we need to celebrate.

In the short term, we'll focus on our fantasy football league (the families that travel well together do not necessarily play nice with each other :-) ).

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5159 posts

I'm a big fan of Switzerland , and even tho the Swiss cities can be in the 80's in the summers, the summits are quite comfortable. I think of Switzerland as an adults' Disneyland, with the gondolas, cogwheel trains, thrill walks, pedestrian bridges over gorges ( Mt. Titlus), funiculars, open air cable cars (Mt, Stanserhorn), and chair lifts.
I know it's a bit expensive, bit maybe look at the trip as a Grand Finale! Good luck!

Posted by
7465 posts

What a fantastic trip report, Deb! Thanks so much for sharing it with us! I’m bookmarking it for possible future ideas!

Posted by
700 posts

Hi, Pat. Yes, we've been to Switzerland -- it was awesome! We went when my son was younger, and we were able to push him on the trails in a jogger. Now that he's older and heavier, I think it would be a tough trip for the stroller-wrangler.

I'm encouraging the other family we travel with to go, though -- I know they'd love it!

Posted by
77 posts

Excellent and thoughtful report. Regarding Santorini, I visited for the first time (along with Mykonos) in 1982. It was magical. Living in Europe now I visited a few years ago and honestly I would not return. The views are still there but it has become Disney World I'm afraid. Completely overwhelmed by the crush of tourists and prices have become ridiculous (especially by Greek standards). I can identify with your comment about visiting islands that are less over run for a future visit. I would look for islands with fewer if any cruise visits. We liked Naxos and Paros but especially Milos and Sifnos. But many more to explore in the years ahead! BTW early June is a good time to visit the islands as most everything has opened but before the main tourist wave hits.

Posted by
459 posts

Thanks for sharing about your trip, DebVT! What a fun and special trip, and you captured it so well. I remember reading your Switzerland trip report as well. I am traveling with a group (2 families) later this year so I’ll be referring back to your tips for traveling with a group. Cheers!

Posted by
4352 posts

Thanks for the lovely report! You really have your system down well! And yes, compatible travel companions are a true gift. :)

I also remember reading your trip report from Italy and thinking Wow - but you have done it yet again. :)

Posted by
700 posts

Scott, I totally agree. We are very glad we went to Santorini — so beautiful — but yikes, the crowds and the cost.

Meg, I hope you have as much fun as we have had on our group adventures — we’ve created some memories that will last a lifetime.

Posted by
15 posts

That looks like a really great trip, thank you for sharing. I am going to Greece with my family in a few weeks and I hope it's going to be amazing, it's going to be my first time in Greece and I'm really excited. It's great to see that you enjoyed your trip.

Posted by
787 posts

Great report! So sorry CDG was so difficult. I really hope to do a similar itinerary in 2025.

Posted by
960 posts

Thank you for the detailed report! The summaries of the the "best" are especially helpful to me. I'm planning a first Greece trip for next June.