Trip to Greece - May 26 - Jun 5, 2019
This was the trip of a lifetime! We are very grateful to Travel12 for putting together a very detail oriented and authentic tour of Greece, the whole team is so professional and absolutely fantastic.
Our first day landing in Athens we were met at the airport and transferred to our hotel in Athens without any issues. Our driver was very courteous and knowledgeable about Athens. On our way to the hotel we caught site of the Parthenon and that was it! We were awestruck and ready to take in all we could of Greece! Tasos booked a comfortable central lodging close to many restaurants, bars, nightlife and lots of people from all over the world. It was very easy to find a nice restaurant with live music and awesome food.
It was a short walk from the hotel to the Parthenon, where we went on our second day. Our tour guide Alex was very down to earth and it was very nice morning spent with him touring the Acropolis and making our way up to the Parthenon. We had the afternoon to explore Athens on our own and Alex quickly setup a plan to see the most of Athens in the time we had. We visited the Acropolis Museum, Hadrian's Arch, the National Gardens, and walked the beautiful streets of Plaka where we had the best pizza of our lives!
Next we were off with Key Tours to the Corinth Canal, Epidaurus, Mycenae and Nafplio where we had a nice seaside lunch before ending our day in the town of Olympia where we enjoyed spectacular views from our hotel.
The historical site of Olympia is a must see. Our half day tour of the historical site Olympia was made all the better by our tour guide Demetrius, who was an actual archaeologist! The grounds here are amazing and filled with enchantment. After our tour Demetrius also had some suggestions for us to explore the town of Olympia. We hopped over to the Archimedes Museum, which looks simple at first but has lots great information about the inventions of Archimedes, some inventions are even hands on! After that we checked out the shops and had some delicious fresh fish at Taverna Orestis. We decided to hike up the mountain back to our room at the Arty Grand. Good thing they have a nice spa because we were absolutely winded by the time we made it back! I don't regret it though because we earned the gorgeous views you can only enjoy walking. After some relaxation we headed back to Olympia for some shopping and gyros. We met a nice shop owner who explained that he also had a farm where he grew all kinds of chiles including habanero, anahiem and the carolina reaper!
The next day we were taken by private driver to the fantastic Temple of Apollo at Bassae. Nicolas was very friendly, he stopped a few times in some nice spots along the way to take photos. Little did we know Nikolas was not only very friendly and a family man but also a Greek national hero for saving a woman tourist from drowning! After the tour he took us to the bus station, made sure we were taken care of and also gave us some olive oil from his family farm.
Day 6 we took the train to Meteora which is absolutely amazing and one of my most cherished memories from the trip. It is so amazing what the Monks did there and the views are out of this world.
Day 7 On to Delphi where we had a traditional Greek lunch provided at a nice restaurant with the best view ever at the top of the mountain. Private tour of Delphi. Our tour guide was very nice and shared some extra secrets with us (hopefully soon she will make it to Mexico!). Next our driver Lampros, who was excellent (we wish him luck and a wonderful life with his soon to be bride!) took us to the port, and made sure everything was in order for our boarding of the ferry to Chania which was like a mini cruise ship.
Chania is a beautiful island where we traveled with GS tours to visit 7 local villages and got to try out local cheeses as well as see the process of how they make it, a delicious traditional lunch made by Maria, toured a family tskoudia distillery with the best tskoudia in Chania, our tour guide was the best and a local who had lived there his whole life, I cannot remember his name but I wish to give him the highest kudos I can in this review, he was great and knew so much of the history, was so friendly and down to earth, he climbed up this wall and picked us some blackberries off a tree at one point. We visited Gramvoussa beach as well as our favorite Balos Beach with crystal clear waters!
After that we transferred back to beautiful Athens and swiftly whisked away back to our home in Houston, Texas.
It's really hard to describe in words the goodness of all the Greek people we encountered and the beauty of their country, they have a word Philotimo though that I think describes them perfectly.
At one point my credit card came out of my pocket on the bus and a nice lady returned it to me, a taxi driver got us out of a jam, our tour guide helped us get into one of the monastaries when we didn't have any cash.
Thanks to KimKim and Travel12, especially Tasos we were able to go on an adventure and enjoy Greece for 11 days. Tasos and his team were always available to help with any questions or concerns we had. We will definitely be using their services when we return to Greece