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Greece Trip Planning

papakim
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Greece Trip Planning

Is this the best forum for general trip advice? Would love folks to weigh-in on my trip planning.

I'm planning a 10 day trip to Greece in June (9-20) with my husband and two boys 14 & 17. We want to explore Athens and two islands. We fly into Athens on June 10. We are Starwood Gold members and will have points to spend. Trying to avoid 2 paying for 2 hotel rooms but not finding many suites that can sleep four.

Looking for nice hotels in great location for easy touring.

Aegan Air flight to Santorini for 3 nights. Then ferry to Mykonos for 3 nights. Then back to Athens for final night or just ferry to airport.

Questions:

Is this reasonable Itin?

What hotel in Athens would you recommend? Is it worth two rooms at the Bretagne?

Any good city tours in Athens either private or public that will allow us to see the major sites in 2 days?

Any hotel recs for our group on the island?

Is it worth considering a small motor yacht tour from Athens to see several islands? Who is a good vendor for this?

Many thanks for any advice.

Kim

Athens, Greece
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for Athens
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1. Re: Greece Trip Planning

It is a reasonable itinerary but:

1. Mykonos and Santorini are the most heavily advertised islands, are really great, but is this what you really want in a country with dozens of islands and a really extensive mainland which is a goldmine of sites.

Not trying to steer you away of your itinerary, it is a well thought one, gives you enough time to each place ( resist adding more ) but i just want to be sure it is a product of research and not advertisement :) For example, why not choose Naxos island, in the same island chain to get great beaches and great villages too?

Santorini is spectacular, photogenic, i love it, but has not great beaches. Mykonos is great too. Nevertheless, i would thin kof changing one of them.

2. Flying saves time. Lock an Aegean flight as soon as their flight times are released ( Olympic is also an option, enroll in their newsletters to get the offers asap ).

3. I don't like the "back to Athens for final night or just ferry to airport". Not well thought. We strongly advise here to avoid same day connection with domestic ferries and international fligghts. Moreover, i 'd connect to island A the first day of my trip by flying these extra 40' and leave Athens to the end.

4. A motor yach tour to see several islands is a good idea but, in most of the times does not give you time on the islands and nights there. You lose a lot this way. I 'd go the traditional way and leave the motor yach tour for some other trip.

5. Grande Bretagne in Athens is a great hotel, probably the best in the city. Spending Starwood points is a good way to get rooms there in more competitive prices. All their rooms are for 2 or 3 persons, except the Grand Suites that are for 5 persons but have multiple price. I 'd go for two rooms.

New York City, New...
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2. Re: Greece Trip Planning

Hey and welcome Kim:-) As you probably know via the SPG site, the only property represented in Athens proper is the GB.. and yes, it's worth the 2 rooms;-) I don't believe you can use starpoints on triples/quads but never checked! I just returned from there using starpoints and believe me.. worth the spend.. hands down, it doesn't get any better;-)

As far as those 10 days.. I totally agree with NIck.. if you can fly out directly upon arrival in Athens via www.aegeanair.com/ or www.olympicair.com/ you'd be saving yourselves loads of precious time with no backtracking! You can fly to either isle that best fits into your arrival time.. ferry between the 2.. ferry or fly back to Athens for a consecutive stay of 2-3 nights! Athens makes for a great finale regardless;-)

As far as sightseeing in Athens, there are loads of operators.. from guided 'bus' tours which are obviously regimented.. you can check www.chataours.gr/ www.keytours.gr/ www.gotours.com.gr/ For more personallized service, you may want to check out www.athens-walks.gr/ (may be .com.. forget;-) Nonetheless, I met a gal at the GB rooftop pool who raved about the food tour she took with them;-)

As far as hotels at the isles, you're best to post in each isle's dedicated forum for better exposure so those in the know can readily find you;-) Happy planning.. and EnjOY!

Oslo, Norway
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3. Re: Greece Trip Planning

Here is the correct link to Athens-Walks:

http://www.athens-walks.com/

papakim
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4. Re: Greece Trip Planning

Thanks for all the great advice. I just saw these replies. Did not get notified for some reason.

Taking this advice and running with it. Looking at Santorini and Naxos. Islands first and using pts at GB.

My int flight arrives at 2pm. I probably can't add the JTR flight to our award IT so will have to tack on and cross reference. Should I buy these tickets now on Aegean website? I may be able to get an award seat or two. Thinking RT into JTR and out from Naxos. How much time to allow for clearing customs in Athens and then getting to Aegean terminal from SWISS Air? Roughly????

Regards,

Kim

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5. Re: Greece Trip Planning

Our pleasure Kim:-) Customs takes no time at all.. literally walking through the 'green ~ nothing to declare' door.. unless you've got something to declare;-) Having said that, I've taken Swiss a number of times and IME, they're timely! I'd give it a minimum of 2 hours.. assuming you're flying via Zurich or Geneva and will pick up luggage in Athens?! Of course, no one knows or can predict delays on any given day.. if you're not a risk taker, you may even want to consider around a 3 hour time-spread.. better safe than sorry;-)

The Athens airport is a truly wonderful convenient, user-friendly one.. all under one roof or terminal building.. check it out at www.aia.gr/ As far as the tickets to Santorini go, sign up now for email alerts with www.aegeanair.coml/ as well as www.olympicar.com/ Look for deals/promos.. then book;-) I wouldn't go r/t though.. you can easily ferry from Santorini to Naxos.. keep an eye out at www.gtp.gr/ www.openseas.gr for ferry schedules as time approaches.. you can then either fly or ferry back to Athens from Naxos for your finale! 1-way tickets don't cost a fortune like they normally do on most carriers.. you'll find 1-way fares literally half the r/t cost.. so you can fly 1-way to Santorini.. and 1-way back to Athens from Naxos if you so choose.. or ferry back;-)

You've got a great finale in a fabulous City at the best property.. EnjoY!

papakim
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6. Re: Greece Trip Planning

Thanks Litsa. Greg from NYC and we live in Boston.

The only flights to STR on Aegean or Olympic from Athens are after 6pm.Our int flight gets in at 1:30pm. We don't want to tack on a long layover. This is a very long travel day with some crazy connections to get business award seats. The other option is simply to start in Athens and then fly to the STR on 13th ferry to Naxos for 3 nights then ferry to mainland for flight. We'd leave plenty of time for that. I might be able to change flights to get better connection right through to JTR on awards as inventory opens up. Then that would make sense. Not sure waiting 5 hrs to get to islands does.

How long to ferry from Naxos? Do the airlines add flights to the schedule as we get closer to the new year or is this fixed schedule?

Many thanks for all the links. Will explore.

Kim

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7. Re: Greece Trip Planning

.... yes! By the time June arrives, you'll find more flights.. as well as changes in flight times oftentimes on the ones listed;-) If possible, I'd wait this out a bit;-) For ferry schedules/timings, etc.. keep an eye out at www.gtp/gr/ www.openseas.gr/ Believe you've got 3 identical threads running;-) FWIW, believe the ferry sites are already given on another thread;-) Keep us posted.. keep enjoyin'!

papakim
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8. Re: Greece Trip Planning

My mistake on the duplication of this question elsewhere. I didn't realize the first question posted bc I wasn't getting notifications on replies. Now I see how to find them in profile. I also put this under islands as it was suggested that I cross post. Should I delete other posts?

I'll hold on the flight connection to the islands and sign up for newsletters.

Will explore links and TA reviews.

Thanks much.

Kim

New York City, New...
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9. Re: Greece Trip Planning

You're welcome Kim:-) No worries.. you've got lots of good info on all 3 posts .. since you figured out how to access all of them (I know it's not easy being new here!), would just let it be at this point;-) Again, keep an eye out for those email alerts.. there usually is a late afternoon flight added as time approaches and demand rises! Keep enjoyin'!

papakim
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10. Re: Greece Trip Planning

Good News. I was able to switch my award booking to much better itinerary from Boston. Now arrive at 5:35pm on Monday, June 11 and can go right to the 7:10 flight to JTR. Hope that will be enough time to connect. Actually got two award seats too so now just have to buy 2 revenue tickets on Aegean. So I'll be on Santorini by 8pm- in time for late dinner and a good sleep. Much better flight for sleeping with one less connection. Very happy about that. And got all business class on LH so should arrive rested...somewhat. Now I have to start saving those SPG pts for GB in Athens!!

Cheers,Kim