We have just returned from our family trip (two 50’s, one 18, one 21, and one 81 year old) to Greece. Thank you to all those who offered advice and information. I also offer many thinks to Dina at Fantasy Travel for all her help with reservations and advice. She was great. We had a great trip and for those who are interested here is the lowdown.
We departed from JFK on Virgin Atlantic—great airline, would use them again—we were lucky to fly upper class as we used frequent flier miles—all I can say is WOW. We took off 2 ½ hours late due to thunderstorms that night so our 4-hour layover at Heathrow was no more. We had assistance waiting for my Mom upon arrival—the best thing we did—they whisked us through all checkpoints and over to British Airlines where we connected to Athens. Here we flew economy. BA was very friendly and helpful and unlike our domestic airlines we were served a hot meal on a 3-½ hour flight. Again we had help at the other end and were whisked through all checkpoints. No lost luggage.
That night we stayed at the Sofitel at the Athens airport as we had a morning flight the next day to Mykonos. Perfect choice of hotel—very expensive but it is right across the street from the terminal and it was quiet and comfy. Breakfast included—good buffet.
We boarded Aegean for our flight to Mykonos where the owner of the Adonis Hotel met us. Great place to stay, highly recommend it. The owners (married couple) are from Greece and Connecticut. Very friendly, clean, nice location in town but not in the center. One of our rooms overlooked the windmills and the other was a large room with king bed and sitting area. Great bathrooms. We had a nice basic breakfast each morning included in the price and the hotel had Internet access for a small fee. They helped arrange our trip out to Delos. Delos was very interesting and worth a trip. Food on Mykonos can be very expensive but that depends on where you eat. We found the tavernas offered good basic food and never had a bad meal. There was one restaurant in “Little Venice” that was horribly overpriced but live and learn. We were on Mykonos for 2 nights, which we found to be plenty unless you are really into the party scene.
We hopped on the Highspeed 2 ferry for Naxos. Very impressed with the ferry. Our hotel the Naxos Royal was great. Nice clean rooms, nice bathroom, pretty pool, good breakfast, friendly staff—recommend this hotel. Easy walk into the center of town and the hotel is across from the beach. Stephanos at the hotel took us on a tour of the mountain villages—nice to see a different part of the island. He also recommended a wonderful place for dinner—Madonantonio Restaurant, in Agios Prokopios. The restaurant has only been under this management with this chef for 45 days—it was excellent and we had a great time. We also had a great dinner at Laberynth Restaurant in the old town---we stumbled upon this place and were very happy.
On to Santorini—via Blue Star Ferry. Again a great ferry ride—clean comfortable and very modern. Arriving into the Caldera by boat is the best. By far our favorite island. It is beautiful beyond belief. We stayed at the Volcano View Hotel right on the cliff about a 20-minute walk into Fira. Great views!!! Nice room and bath, clean, depending on your room you may have many steps to climb on the property. Very good breakfast. Highly recommend this hotel—just be aware the beds are a bit on the hard side. There is a winery nearby which was fun to see, also a bakery for your Baklava fix and a grocery store just down the road. We spent one day on a sailing ship tour of the island going to the volcano, hot springs, stopping at a village for lunch and then ending at Oia and riding the donkeys up the hill (you walk or take the donkey—yup even Mom rode the donkey!!) They only take you 2/3’s of the way so you must walk the rest. Had dinner and watched the sunset. Beautiful.
On to Athens. Flew from Santorini to Athens. We used frequent flyer miles for our hotel—Grand Bretagne. Great hotel—they think of everything. I recommend this hotel if you have miles to spare, but as great as it was it is horribly expensive. The location is good, walking distance to the Plaka, next to a subway stop and across the street from Parliament. The view from the rooftop bar/restaurant is the best. Athens was very hot but we managed to see all the important sights. On Saturday and Sunday the Acropolis was closed due to a strike. Mom found it difficult to walk in Athens mostly due to the heat so we hired a taxi with an English speaking driver to show us around. Nick was great and we were able to see much more. Note, if you are disabled there is a lift to the top of the Acropolis—not a well-known fact it seems. Supposed to be for wheelchairs only but Mom was able to use it due to the fact she had had both knees replaced—bring your doctors note. We had 3 full days in Athens and 2 of them we spent sightseeing and the third we did some shopping. If you only want to sightsee 2 days is plenty. We enjoyed the tavernas and found a great ice cream place (gelato) called Icedog in the Plaka. At no time during our trip did we feel unsafe even at night.
Our trip to Greece was great. We have already decided we are going back. Happy planning everyone and thanks again for the help.