We had a terrific trip because of the personal attention to our preferences and the knowledge of Greece of our agent at this Greece travel company. We had never used a travel agent before despite travelling extensively in Europe, but feared that travel logistics from one island to another and language difficulties would make travel planning daunting.
We wanted to something other than a cruise because we did not want to spend our time and meals with other tourists. To determine what kind of lodgings we preferred our agent asked just a few questions and then said "OK, I've got you" and she did. The hotel in Athens was at the foot of the Acropolis. The hotel on Santorini was in Oia, the most beautiful town on the island, and overlooked the sea. However, our favorite was a hotel in Chania, Crete that overlooked an ancient Venetian harbor.
Our package included a private tour of the Acropolis and Delphi. The tour guide selected by our travel company was incredibly good--extremely knowledgeable, responsive to our preferences, and excellent company. At each airport or ferry arrival, we were greeted by a driver with a sign with our name on it (a new experience for us). The Athens driver also drove us to Delphi, and he was incredible. We had told our guide that we needed to be back to Athens that evening by 6 p.m. because we had a reservation at one of Athens' top restaurants. She shared this with the driver. Unfortunately, we hit both a substantial late-May hail storm and a massive (even by Athenian standards) traffic jam. Somehow, our driver got us back on time by driving a series of convoluted streets in the suburbs and the city.
The price of the trip did not seem significantly more than if we had made the arrangements ourselves and it would have been a much less enjoyable trip. I would recommend this company to any friend (I already have!) or family member.
It seemed like everyday there was a new highlight. Here are a few:
1. As an older man, I do not cry often. I cried when I saw the Parthenon. This is where western civilization began!
2. The Funky Gourmet, an Athenian restaurant.
3. The hotel in Chania, Crete. The young people who run it act like you are guests in their house. The rooms are incrediably large. The views from the breakfast/bar area are extraordinary.
4. Elafonisi beach on the southwestern corner of Crete. The most beautiful beach I've ever seen--white sands as far as the eye can see, totally clear, crystalline blue water.
5. The Peskesi restaurant in Heraklion, Crete. Authentic Cretan cuisine. An incredible lunch for two, with wine, for less than $40.
6. The sunset catamaran cruise in the harbor at Santorini.
7. The hotel in Oia, Crete. Oia itself, for that matter. So beautiful!
8. A tour of the Aktorini ruins with a private tour guide
1. Not eat dinner at Herb's Garden restaurant at the Lato Hotel in Heraklion, Crete. The only bad meal of the trip and three times as much as the Peskesi.
2. Driving a car on the narrow streets of Chania and Heraklion was not an enjoyable experience.
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