Arrangements for Greece

This item appears on page 16 of the November 2009 issue.

After staying with friends in a villa in Spain (Oct. ’09, pg. 12), my wife, Betty, and I flew on April 10, 2008, from Valencia to Athens via Rome on Alitalia, with our scheduled arrival in Athens quite late. Our friend Jan, a retired airline executive living in Kansas, flew from Valencia on another carrier.

A word about low-cost airlines — portions of our itinerary involved flying within Europe, and we found a site online,, which shows, worldwide, who flies where and when. It lists low-cost carriers and their schedules, sites and fares.

During our trip, we flew on two of these carriers from European airports. Many of them operate at airports other than the better-known ones, so care must be exercised to be sure you are arriving at or departing from the airport they use.

For our arrival in Athens, we had arranged via the Internet for the Herodion Hotel (4, Rovertou Galli Str., Acropolis 11742, Athens, Greece; phone 30 210 923 6832, to have a limo meet us and take us to the hotel. We were met just outside of Customs, even though our late flight had been further delayed. The charge for this (billed to our hotel bill) was €55 ($79) plus a tip to the driver.

I highly recommend this, as local taxi service can be spotty at night and places a surcharge on early/late trips.

We booked online and highly recommend both of the hotels at which we stayed in Athens. They are 4-star quality.

At the Herodion Hotel, in the Plaka (Old Town), we paid approximately $180 per night, including all taxes and breakfast. The staff all spoke English, and Mr. Apostolos Dimopoulos was very helpful.

At the Stratos Vassilikos Hotel (114, Michalakopoulou Str. 115 27 Athens; phone 30 210 770 6611, we paid approximately $189 per night, including breakfast and taxes.

The front office manager, Mr. Theodoros Evagelopoulos, was very helpful. In fact, upon learning about our 4:30 a.m. departure for the airport, he arranged a limo (our cost) and even had a small table containing coffee, rolls, cheeses and fruit juices set up in the lobby just outside of the hotel restaurant. His comment was, “Breakfast is included in our service and for which you paid.” Go figure!

This was our first trip to Greece, which we found to be quite beautiful. The people we met were very friendly. Of course, most all of them either had been to the US or had a relative here.

Since we were on a time-limited trip of eight days, we had prearranged tours of Athens and some of the islands plus a 4-day bus tour (from €510 each) of the country, including Olympia, Kalambaka, Meteora and Delphi. On the latter tour, it was a grind to see that much in four days, but it did give us maximum exposure to historic Greece.

We booked all of our tours online with Chat Tours (9 Xenofontos Str., Athens, Greece; phone +30 210 3230827, Each included pickup and delivery from/to our hotel — a major benefit in crowded Athens. We found their ride-along guides to be knowledgeable, and all spoke English very well.

Each night we stayed in an Amalia Hotel, which we found to be clean and modern, with breakfast and dinner (included) served buffet style.

Lunches were at our own expense at stops arranged by Chat. In general, during our stay in Athens, the two of us paid €12.50-€14.50 ($18-$21) for lunch and €23-€36 ($33-$51) for dinner.

On the islands tour, we ate on the ship and were met by local buses for trips inland. On one such trip we stopped at the site of an amphitheater renowned for its acoustics. In the theater area there was a Japanese family of six singing “Nearer, My God, to Thee”. . . in Japanese. That was, well, awesome! Both of our groups had traveled a long way to be at that point at that time.

We would be glad to answer any reader’s questions. E-mail us c/o ITN.


Yorba Linda, CA