Greece travel ideas...

  • cmjdc

    Posts: 7

    Jul 01, 2012 1:55 PM GMT
    I'm making plans to visit Greece for a few weeks at the end of July. I have a rough idea of what I plan to do, but I'm looking for specific suggestions from people that have been before of must-sees, must-dos, must-eats, etc as well as ideas of places to stay. None of my close friends have been yet, so I was hoping to see if any RJ members who have been have any specific ideas. I'm particularly interested in suggestions of places to stay while there. I'll be visiting Athens for a few days and then I'll travel to Mykonos and Santorini for a week each. Thanks in advance for any input or ideas. All are very much appreciated!!
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    Jul 01, 2012 2:44 PM GMT
    athens is full of stray dogs and refugees. its really weird. i liked the muslim part of town with all the weird markets selling stuff ive never seen and then there is a whole district of clubs. there is this bar closed to the historic area down an alley called 'my bar' thats a gay bar but not overtly so. my straight friends loved it there. its more of a lounge, i highly recommend it. get cuttlefish stuffed with feta. the beaches in athens are kinda nasty. some of the ruins are way too ruined. you look at a rock and next to it is a picture of a giant market and thats all thats left. i hope you have a strong imagination. the akropolis part of the town is beautiful though, looking down on the city with all the white building and windy roads. the whole experience was way different than i expected and i had an awesome time.
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    Jul 01, 2012 2:49 PM GMT
    oh also i dont usually go on touristy things but my friend wanted to do this three island cruise..i believe the islands were hydros, poros and aegena? it was actually really fun! these little cities on these really small pretty islands. i ate my words cuz i had a good time hangin out with old people in capri pants gettin ripped on greek wine at 9 am. and this was before the massive economic collapse and it was still very inexpensive, the whole trip.
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Jul 01, 2012 3:17 PM GMT
    athens is only food for one day sort of thing... stick to the islands
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    Jul 01, 2012 3:21 PM GMT
    I thought this was going to be about traveling to the Deep South (Grease).
  • mickeyrj

    Posts: 17

    Jul 01, 2012 4:53 PM GMT
    Granted, it's been 20 years since I went solo to Greece, but I stuck to the "unspoiled" (at the time) Greek islands. I used Santorini as my home base, then went to small islands according to the ferry schedule. I went to Naxos, Iraklia, a couple of others, and my favorite, Koufinisi (sp?). People on those islands would meet you at the ferry and offer to rent you a place to stay, usually a room in their homes. I didn't have a single bad experience doing that. None of those islands at the time had a major hotel of any type. Now, I'm sure they're built up quite a bit. I have to admit that aside from the Acropolis, Athens was my least favorite part of the trip. Hope you have as great of a time there.
  • Fable

    Posts: 3866

    Jul 01, 2012 7:28 PM GMT
    calibro saidathens is only food for one day sort of thing... stick to the islands



    no, not really.
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    Jul 01, 2012 7:30 PM GMT
    I really enjoy Athens and have lived there for several summers over the past few years. Traveling around Athens is very easy because their metro and bus system was revamped for the olympics. You cannot go wrong with a day pass. Taxis are generally cheap and the drivers usually don't take you for a ride, since they've been more regulated.

    If you're looking for touristy crap to buy for people back home, the Plaka is the place to go. It is in the area next to the Akropolis and you can reach it on the Green line metro, stopping at Monastiraki. Just to the west of the station is a restaurant called Savvas (Σαββας). There you can get .5L beers at a good price, and if you're looking for a quick lunch you can walk around into one of the alleys near the store front and order a gyro that costs 3.5 euros that is absolutely delicious. I would suggest the pork. Moreover if you sit down and eat there, get the gyro dinner plate. It is a huge pile of delicious meat atop a pita. You'll not go wrong with that.

    In that area you can see the Athenian Agora at the bast of the Akropolis. I excavated there for a couple of seasons and it is a really cool place. Their museum is short and sweet AND air conditioned. The Areopagus, the hill right next to the entrance up to the Akropolis is a fantastic place to go at night to hang out and see the city. I'd suggest getting a bottle of wine (or two) and hanging out there for a bit. Also one of the places I like to stay (Hotel Thession) is very close by. It is right off of Apostolou Pavlou, which is a walking street. Rooms there are generally 60 euros a night. It's nothing super special, but it is air conditioned and you can wake up and see the akropolis right from your pillow. If they're full, there is another hotel a couple streets back that also would suffice at comparable rates.

    Kolonaki is a neighborhood to the west that has some excellent restaurants and is at the base of Lykavittos Hill, where there is a stadium and a breathtaking view of the whole city. That is accessible from the Blue line, exiting at Evangelismos. That part of town tends to be more expensive, but they do have a park where they show films out doors after sunset. I would suggest eating at the Fagopotion ( Φαγοποτιον), which means something like the :"eat-drinkery". The food there is excellent and the people are nice.

    Depending on how adventurous you are, you can walk around Exarchia, which is the neighborhood just to the north of Kolonaki on the other side of Lykavittos. The university students tend to live and hang around there. Also in Exarchia is the National Archaeological Museum. This is THE museum to visit for ancient Greek (and Roman) art. Be wary when walking around the National Museum's grounds. Between it and the University (called, colloquially, Panepistemio, which means University) is a street full of drug addicts (called Toxomanes, or "chemical-maniacs"). The police, after the military junta was ousted, cannot enter a university campus, so the drug addicts hang out there as they can run onto campus (or try) to avoid the police.

    I'd also check out the Benaki Museum on Vasilisis Sophias Street. It is a privately owned museum and has some amazing byzantine art. The Cycladic museum, the Goulandris, is also a private museum that has some very beautiful art from the Islands. Additionally the Numismatic museum in itself is alright (I can't get into coins), but it is also housed in Heinrich Schlieman's home. Schlieman was the man who first excavated Troy, and the house is absolutely beautiful. Check out the new Akropolis museum too. It looks like a parking garage, but is very well put together with the artifacts found on the akropolis. As for visiting the Akropolis itself, get there early in the morning before the cruise ships dump off their passengers. It is nice and quiet and you can see things without having to worry about elbowing your way through crowds.

    Walking around the Piraeus is also kind of nice. If you write to the Zea Harbour project, run by the Danish School of Archaeology, they might be included to give you a little tour of what they have done so far, perhaps show you a video.

    Generally, you cannot go wrong with food, provided that you get away from the touristy places that will overcharge you. If you can speak Greek, or even a few phrases, the people will LOVE you. You'll see newspaper stands all around the city too. The stand is called a "Periptero" and in addition to newspapers, they also sell bottled water (which is dirt cheap) and tall boys of beer (which is also cheap). There are no open container laws, save for having them in cars, so one need not worry about enjoying a brew in the open.

    I've not been to Mykonos or Santorini. If you're taking the boats, be careful because this time of the year the winds can be terrible and you may get stuck on the islands for a while. One can fly relatively cheaply with Olympic or Aegean air, but you get what you pay for.

    If you are flexible enough, try to visit Crete. It's one of my most favorite places in the world. Hania is a beautiful Venetian port city that is quite romantic. Delphi is a good day trip from Athens and you can take a bus pretty easily there. Cape Sunion is also a good day trip and the beaches there are pristine. If you're in to it, eat lots of calamari because it is fresh and delicious. Stay away from fish because it is super expensive, as the Greeks have to import it since they've over fished the area.

    If you have any more questions, I'd be happy to answer them. Just shoot me a message!

    Kalotaxidi!
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    Jul 05, 2012 4:19 AM GMT
    I have just come back from a brief stay in Mykonos and could not recommend it highly enough!

    I travelled alone there and met so many people in the space of 2-3 days. I found the gay community there to be very friendly, it's like they stick to each other and it's very inclusive!

    The island itself is beautiful and lovely just to walk around. But what I liked the most was the nightlife and gay beaches. Start the night off at Porta Bar - great venue and vibe. Then you can walk to the nightclubs that go off until the morning - Jackie O's and Babylon. Great music, drag shows and energy!

    In terms of the beaches - there are so many! I found Super Paradise to be quite straight even though it has a reputation of being a gay beach! Still I met heaps of people there so I would highly recommend it. If you are looking for a quieter beach just for gays with no music and nudity (LOL) go to Elia Beach. However you will have to walk a fair bit to the right to find the 'gay area.' I got confused the first time I got there to see couples lol!

    I will be going there again next year for sure, it really was an amazing experience!icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jul 05, 2012 7:57 PM GMT
    SpikeyAidan saidI have just come back from a brief stay in Mykonos and could not recommend it highly enough!

    I travelled alone there and met so many people in the space of 2-3 days. I found the gay community there to be very friendly, it's like they stick to each other and it's very inclusive!

    The island itself is beautiful and lovely just to walk around. But what I liked the most was the nightlife and gay beaches. Start the night off at Porta Bar - great venue and vibe. Then you can walk to the nightclubs that go off until the morning - Jackie O's and Babylon. Great music, drag shows and energy!

    In terms of the beaches - there are so many! I found Super Paradise to be quite straight even though it has a reputation of being a gay beach! Still I met heaps of people there so I would highly recommend it. If you are looking for a quieter beach just for gays with no music and nudity (LOL) go to Elia Beach. However you will have to walk a fair bit to the right to find the 'gay area.' I got confused the first time I got there to see couples lol!

    I will be going there again next year for sure, it really was an amazing experience!icon_biggrin.gif


    This is all very good advice and I concur. I'm heading to Mykonos next week and will do most of this. Skip Super Paradise, it's fairly straight these days (not that it's a bad thing) but Elia is the place to hang. The restaurant there...and the drinks they deliver...are reasonably good too.

    Re: earlier poster about 'get what you pay for' for cheap flights on Olympic or Aegean - Olympic, yes; Aegean, no. I've flown Aegean every time and they use new planes (generally A320's), good service, and are now part of Star Alliance. They won European airline of the year last year, IIRC. Avoid Olympic for sure!
  • arcimboldo

    Posts: 51

    Jul 18, 2012 12:09 PM GMT
    Kolonaki area is very stylish in Athens, deco buildings and antiques stores...also Kifisia
    The city is poor in some areas, but has very sleek places, too. Greek taste has improved.

    Hydra Popros..are easy on a day trip from Athens.

    Santorini and Mykonos are rather touristy. Mikonos became a sort of Ibiza, not really relaxing. The town is full of discos. Nudist beaches a bit away from it.

    I go to Patmos (dry, very scenic, not crowded, rich people from around the world who rent or own houses) and Leros (more green but more populated), in the Dodecanese. Rhodos is interesting too. Avoid Kos ´just mass tourism.

    Lonely Planet, maybe ?
  • Dimitr

    Posts: 6

    Jul 25, 2012 1:06 PM GMT
    Dear all,
    I am reading for a couple of hours all these being written about Greece, Athens and some islands and are really interesting. I am a half greek and i have spend 6 years living in the city center of Athens (Ambelokipoi). I just can say that i love the whole city center and i miss all that much. I don't care what other people say about Athens. Even greeks don't like Athens. I believe that it has to do with the choices you make for your life and your age. Crisis made me leave Greece and return only for a couple of weeks during the summertime. So dear all don't hesitate to contact me and ask me EVERYTHING you want for the greek capital and any island of the Aegean/Ionian Sea....
    Looking forward to hearing from you....
    It would be a big pleasure, really!!

    Lot of filakia(=kisses)
    Dimitrios
  • jessetriguy

    Posts: 339

    Jul 25, 2012 1:11 PM GMT
    Mykonos! Great town, good dining and night life and nice beaches. Can't wait to go back!icon_biggrin.gif
  • Devix

    Posts: 63

    Sep 04, 2012 8:28 AM GMT
    I'm going to greece in the last weak of this month.
    i'm not sure of the city that i'll stay, any advices?
    i'm the party tipe, so i need a place with a lot of night clubs, bars, partys.
    anyone who's coming to greece too?