Please help! I am a Canadian who first experienced Europe just last year & fell in love of course! This year my husband & I have decided to do Italy for a couple of weeks, as we have never been, but we have a about week beforehand that we'd like to try somewhere else also. We have narrowed our choices down to either Athens, Greece (likely incorporating a day trip to nearby Islands, as well) or else Southern France. I have relatives I have never met in Gap, France (I would want to see Nice, Cannes, etc, as they are in the area). Could any please offer advice or tips on which destination might be the best choice?? Although, I do realize that they are both probably fabulous in their own ways... just hoping someone might have insight or opinions on them that could help me make this rather tough decision! Thank you so much for anything you can offer!
When are you doing this trip? in Summer?
Greece is amazing, I just love it.
Athens can be very chaotic and dirty but interesting at the same time. The Achropole is just one of the best parts in town, there are several ancient places all around.
The area that surrounds the Achropole is known as Plaka and has beautifull coffee-shops, restaurants and shops with tradicional handicrafts. In my oppinion 2 days is more than enough to stay in town.
The best islands in Greece are very far from the country, will take you 1 entire day on the boat. Santorini well worth a visit, is one of my favourites. Probably you can fly there, spend at least 2 nights and go back to Athens) - you won't regret, the island is sooooo nice: good food ( fresh fish ), people are nicer, the volcanic beach - Perisa - is beautifull...
France...well, I'm not an enthusiastic fan of the country...but I don't know that part of France. As far as I know is very chic...and expensive I've been several times in France and I still prefer other places...
Italy, you'll fall in love in Rome! is one of the most beautifull towns in Europe. Much better than Paris, in my opinion. it has a special light, the language,...awesome
Have you been in Portugal? there's so much to do here ( I live in Lisbon ). Lisbon is great for culture, food, fun, surrounding areas...and the south, the Algarve, couldn't be better in summer. There's 1 beautifull small town, Lagos - the biggest bay in Europe - with white sandy beaches...
Hope I helped a bit
have a good time in Italy
Thank you so, so much for your helpful post! It feels like your advice/input is on the exact same wavelength as I am right now, so it is very helpful indeed! It couldn't have come at a better time, too, as I feel like I am going a bit bonkers with way too much research & decision making... yet getting nowhere! lol
We are travelling at the end of May, with Italy falling at the end for a couple weeks. The first 5-7 days is proving extemely hard to settle on a destination!! I think we have ruled out Southern France this time around, somewhat for the reasons you have mentioned really; we are looking for more of a Spain/Greece/Portugal type of feel than a "France" feel this time around, if that makes sense. We did stay in Mojacar/Malaga last year, in southern Spain, which was wonderful!
Funny, as I also looked at Portugal, actually! But thought Greece might be better what with all the infamous Greek Mythology history? What is your Portugal weather typically like end of May? Would be great to get some warmth & sun on this first week's excursion, as well, we are hoping! And we have never been to Portugal either! Lisbon is where we can get an easy flight into, also.... So Portugal kind of intrigues me too. as an option!
With Greece, I am now hesitating a little, as the more I read of it indicates Athens may not be as wonderful as I thought to stay in for the week (the chaotic/dirty bit you mentioned, is what I was thinking of too), what with their economic troubles, etc... vacant store-fronts, businesses...? And I agree with your idea of an Island and then seeing Athens for a day or two at the end of the week. Santorini was actually an Island that really jumped out at us description-wise at first also... funny you should mention it!
My other hesitation with Greece is that the getting-around part to the Island(s) sounded confusing/complicated/possibly too expensive? It seemed liked I resarched for hours & still couldn't find exact pricing for the ferries (slow ferries vs. fast ferries, etc), let alone how/where to purchase them? I read you should get them months in advance or they could sell-out; but then one website on which I thought I could buy them, then told me there were none available...? I also looked at Aegean/Olympic airlines... 300 euros per couple, roundtrip I think it was; but then looks like we'd really get dinged for heavier luggage from what I was reading; so thinking that would get too expensive perhaps? I lean more towards the ferry option. Basically there seemed to be a lot of unknowns I couldn't get to the bottom of, which worried me a bit! lol
Thank you again for all of your honest opinions; they are quite helpful! Any more you may have would be welcomed, also!
I've booked here http://www.greekferries.gr/ last summer.
Actually the prices for the ferries can be quite high. I paid around 100 Euro for roundtrip Crete-Santorini but that's the longest distance. If you still have time why not to look budget airlines? ryanair for example. they sometimes have very attractive offers.
But if you choose Greece you should definitely go to islands hopping trip - not for a one day, you'd better stay one day on Athens and all other days spend on islands.
Santorini is one of the most beautiful and romantic places in the world and perfect for the couples!!! Don't miss it in any case!
Thanks for those tips, as well - much appreciated! IF we do end up doing Greece, I am in agreeance now on the Island(s) being the only way to go; with the one or two days maximum in Athens. Ayyiyii - so many decisions... I just want to be at the end of it all, where it's all wonderfully planned out already - lol Thanks again for your input!