Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Two weeks in Greece: city and sand

Greece is heating up, its all over the news, debt-ridden but nonetheless an attractive destination this summer. Can you think of anything more heavenly than spending a week or two on a Greek island, soaking in the sun, enjoying a glass of retsina wine while reading up on ancient history or a classic like the Odyssey or one of Euripides' plays.

Depending on what kind of traveller you are, you might enjoy a tranquil stay in Greece rather than one filled with crowded attractions and boisterous taverns. If you're a tranquil traveller, you should head for Folegandros; it is located about 100 miles from Athens and is one of the most southern Cyclades islands. Historically it is where most of the criminals and socially-inept were sent, but today it's all about tourism. You can reach it by ferry and you can be sure it'll be quiet, most tourists overlook it for the more popular islands.  You could easily spend one week there, but the other islands in the area are also worth a visit. Wineries spot Santorini's inland and coastline. Sifno and Paros are also good choices.

As for week two of your vacation, fill it with a tour of ancient ruins. After all Greece is king when it comes to ancient history and the leftovers from it. If you're going to visit Athens think about travelling there in the Spring or Autumn when tourist numbers are down and so is the heat. It can be scorching in the city by noon, making it unpleasant to go out for the main part of the day. You can buy a 12 Euro ticket which gives you entrance to all of them, including the infamous Acropolis. The ticket is valid for one week. Visit the Theatre of Dionysus and Kerameikos. Take Bus #400, it costs 5 Euros for the day but will take you to all of the major landmarks. You can also rent a car and get out of the city, Delphi and Meteora are perfect.

If you are worried about the recent worker's strike, you shouldn't panic. Tourism is one of the country's major industries and they need all of the tourists they can get right now. Plan your ferries and flights for weekends,  as many of the travel strikes tend to take place during the week, May 5th for example. It's also best to plan your Athen's portion of the trip for the second half; if there are any transit problems you'll at least not miss your flight home.

Have any ideas of your own for travel to Greece? Add them to our itinerary by leaving a comment below!