A carefree vacation in Greece - the things dreams are made of. And thanks to our travel company, in particular our agent, the trip was, indeed, a dream come true. Our agent saw to every detail. The trip was completely carefree for us because he planned it with such extreme care that we had absolutely no worries. Details, details, details - all planned in advance by our agent. All we had to do was show up, relax and enjoy. Day after glorious day.
I could go on and on about the splendors of Greece. It is an incredible place with ancient archeological sites, beautiful seaside villages and islands too many to count. Suffice it to say, it is a wonderful destination. But plan ahead to take it all in - or better yet - have this agent plan it for you! (I just might be his biggest fan right now.)
During our trip, we noticed people looking lost, unsure of where to turn for help; people pouring over maps trying to determine how to get from one place to the next; large groups, walking in lock-step, straining to hear their guide, or standing in line, waiting to get back on the bus. That was never our experience. Arriving at the airport, our driver was waiting to whisk us off to our hotel, holding a placard bearing our name. Ready for our tour of Athens, there was our guide waiting in the hotel lobby. Touring the Peloponnese? A private driver who was friendly, knowledgeable, helpful picked us up at our hotel in Athens and stayed with us for the better part of a week. Our driver didn’t just drive us from place to place. He carried our bags into the hotels and spoke to the desk clerks on our behalf, he told us interesting things about the areas we were driving through, he answered questions, he made suggestions, he laughed and talked with us. Arriving at archeological sites, we were always provided a private, state licensed guide. Our driver always made contact with that individual, walked us to where the guide was waiting, introduced us and then stepped back and waited for us to return. On a daily basis, while we were off seeing the sites, he confirmed our plans for the next day to be certain all was in order.
On the subject of the state licensed guides, arriving at Epidaurus, Olympia, Delphi and the rest, we had an educated, licensed guide all to ourselves. While others clustered in groups of 20 or 30, we casually walked and talked with our guide - just the three of us. And all of our guides were extremely knowledgable. They spoke with ease about the history of the site, answered our questions, added interesting details and stories we might never have otherwise heard. We didn't walk through the museums and sites reading placards, we had a guide pointing things out and chatting about them. Many times, we noticed individuals sidling up to us, getting close to listen in. I couldn’t blame them; I always felt we had the best of the best when it came to our guides. At one site, I thought three men from Germany were going to try to hire our guide away from us, but they asked for her card for another day - having overheard how good a guide she was. Our agent hand-picked every guide for us in advance and he certainly knew who to choose.
The hotels our agent chose for us were just perfect. I don't need a spa or even a swimming pool when I travel. I am there to see the sights. But I do need a very clean, very comfortable bed and I greatly appreciate a view that shows off the location. We got that in our rooms throughout the trip - and our agent had to choose lots of hotels for us. We spent one or more nights in Athens, Hydra, Nafplio, Olympia, Delphi, Kalabaka, Mykonos and Santorini. Our agent hand-picked every hotel and again, certainly understood what we were looking for.
Carefree is what we wanted and carefree is exactly what we got! A ferry strike necessitating a change in our plans? No worries, our agent is making alternate plans - handling a situation we would not have even known existed until we got to the ferry dock. A desire to change to a hotel in a slightly different location? No worries, our agent makes arrangements and sends a car. There may well have been other glitches we were never aware of - everything was handled behind the scenes as far as we were concerned. Everything ran smoothly, like clockwork.
The trip was a nice balance of planned activities and free time. We never felt lost or at a loss. We knew our agent was always just a phone call away, and others, (our guide in Athens, our guide on Santorini, our Peloponnese driver), were quick to say, “Just call me if you need anything.” And we knew they were sincere. The people we met in Greece were just wonderful. It was obvious they wanted us to enjoy and appreciate their country. It was the fabulous, carefree trip of our dreams. Thank you!
We loved touring the Peloponnese, seeing all of the ancient archeological sites. The history is fascinating and amazing. Our side trip to Meteora was incredible and we are so glad not to have missed that. Many people commented on how many tourists skip the mainland and focus on the islands. I am very glad that we did both.
We also loved our time on Santorini. Our hotel on Santorini was wonderful, our room fabulous, the people amazing. We took a full day tour of the island, complete with a stop at one of the vineyards. We went for a sunset cruise on a catamaran which we thoroughly enjoyed. If not for activities such as those, the island can get to be a lot of 'shopping' and I tire quickly of that. It was getting out to the beaches, the lighthouse, the monastery, etc. that made the island fascinating to me.
We took a side trip to Delos while staying on Mykonos. Delos was very interesting - well worth the time - but I wish we had headed out earlier in the day as the tour is lengthy, (excellent, but lengthy) and we didn't have much time left to explore on our own. We would have enjoyed more time to explore and go to the museum.
The only other thing I can think of that I might do differently, is to spend less time on Mykonos and try to take in another island - maybe Naxos.
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