A really great trip! The itinerary was exactly what I requested, and a good combination of coordinated tours and free time. Our agent did a good job of working with me to set a schedule that gave us a really good sampling of what Greece has to offer. He was able to find better pricing on my international flights than I was on my own. I had this company book everything from soup to nuts for a worry free trip.
Athens was pretty cool. A huge sprawling city, that we found surprisingly clean, friendly, and organized for such a large city. The hotel was a very convenient 5 minute walk to Plaka and the Acropolis. Breakfast on the roof every morning staring at the Parthenon was hard to beat. Go to the Acropolis as early as you can in the morning, and leave the air conditioned museum for later when it gets hot. The heat and sun after 11:00 are brutal. Plaka is the area below the Acropolis full of restaurants and shops. It is a very interesting old area and lots of fun to explore for tourists and locals alike. A great place to shop and people watch.
Mykonos is one of the major tourist destinations for the younger generation and party crowd. The little town is full of small ally ways with shops, restaurants and Interesting architecture. Cruise ships, private and charter yachts and daily flights all converge on Mykonos so, it can get very crowded. If you like to explore a little, you can get lost in the maze of ally ways and end up where the locals live. It was fun to watch the local children play soccer at one of the small schools on the island. Mykonos is the place to see and be seen. We took the tour to Delos to see the birth place of Apollo. This was a great close up, uncrowded view of ancient Greek civilization.
Santorini. What else can you say about Santorini? Its so beautiful! The views in every direction are unbelievable. Santorini is a more mature, higher end experience. Fantastic restaurants, great shopping. Bring extra batteries and memory for your camera. The sunsets are the best. Everybody kind of stops what they are doing for the last 20 minutes of the day just to watch the sunset. We took a wine tour that included a wine museum, a local farm that grows tomatoes, capers and pistachios, and a small "ghost town" with some houses from the last major earthquake in the 50's. We took a Catamaran cruise into the caldera for dinner and swimming. That was really great. The views from the water were fantastic and the service and food on the boat were very good. Santorini is a must see on any trip to Greece.
1). We did not have a bad meal once during our trip. We (Americans) could take a lesson from the Greek diet. Everything is very fresh. Lots of vegetables, and fantastic cheeses.
2). The service in the restaurants is very professional and very good BUT, they don't come to ask you what you need every two minutes, and they don't bring you the bill before you request it. Greek meals are social events that are meant to be relaxing and unhurried. If you need something, get your servers attention and ask.
3). Scheduled pick ups for tours and transport are very punctual (and mostly early). Your drivers are very friendly, helpful and ON TIME. Be ready. All of the transportation and tours are run like a Swiss watch, very efficiently.
4). Public restrooms everywhere we went were very clean!
5). Americans, leave your "personal space bubble" at home. Depending on when and where you go, there might be long lines and crowds. Be ready to take and hold your place in line. If you leave a gap, someone will step into it. Also, the Greeks haven't gotten the memo on second hand smoke yet. there is lots of smoking in outside public spaces.
6). Don't forget a good hat and sunscreen. And, start working out on the stair climber a few months before your trip. My wife and I loved, but where completely unprepared for all the walking and climbing on this vacation.
More time in Santorini will definitely be on the next trip. Athens and the Acropolis probably during the winter months would be more comfortable and less crowded. Mykonos was great to see but, I would leave it for the younger party crowd next time. My kids would love it. I would probably look into one of the other less traveled islands to see what the options are.
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