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Greece trip report w/ photos -- Santorini, Folegandros, & Athens

Greece trip report w/ photos -- Santorini, Folegandros, & Athens

Old Feb 7, 06, 9:53 am
  #1  
lmk
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Greece trip report w/ photos -- Santorini, Folegandros, & Athens

We have finally posted some of our photos from our 12 days in Greece in August-September 2005 on homepage.mac.com/lisaandmarktravel. (They are at the bottom after all of the Tanzania stuff.) You can see some of our pics from Santorini including where we stayed (Anastasis). The last two photos are from our balcony at Anemomilos Apts on the island of Folegandros. Eventually we will get around to captioning them and posting the rest of our photos from Folegandros & Athens but it may take a couple of weeks...

Stayed 2 nights at the Athens Hilton -- very nice hotel. Even numbered rooms have an Acropolis view. We had a room on the 10th floor with a view of the Acropolis which was gorgeous. As HHonors Gold members also had executive lounge access with complimentary beverages all day, cocktails & hot hors d'oeuvres in the evening from 6-9 pm along with some lovely Greek wines, and a terrific buffet breakfast. Rooms have gorgeous marble bathrooms with deep soaking tub and separate shower. Location is good, 1 block from Evangelismos metro station which is 1 stop from Syntagma and 2 stops from Monastiraki. The Plaka is walking distance if you like to walk (we do, & it was about a 20 minute walk).

On Santorini we stayed in Imerovigli at the Anastasis Apartments and absolutely LOVED this place. The hostess, Despina, is fantastic, and the views are incredible. Highly recommended.

On Folegandros we stayed at Anemomilos Apartments which has one of the most spectacular settings imaginable, on the edge of a huge cliff overlooking the Aegean. We recommend this hotel also.

Every meal we had in Greece was great, the people were warm and welcoming, we adored the beaches on Folegandros and the hiking on Santorini. Overall it was an incredibly relaxing trip. Weather was perfect. Visited 3 wineries on Santorini also & came home with several bottles (whites were better than reds). Flights and ferries were all on time or very close.

Now is a great time to go to Folegandros, because it is still relatively undeveloped but has just enough of modernity to help make your trip easier. E.g., it does now have one ATM machine, and you can now rent a car if you wish (we rented one for 2 days at 30 Euro per day). Scooters are available as well. Plus there is excellent bus service, and boat service to the many lovely beaches. Some of the beaches are sandy, some are pebbles, and some are rocky. All were lovely. I recommend exploring as many of them as possible. If you go to Angali Beach (either by bus or driving), you can catch a boat to 2 other beaches nearby, Aghios Nikolaos and Livadaki, the latter of which is "clothing-optional." We also liked Ambeli Beach, Livadi, and Vardia. We did not get to Katergo but it is supposedly the prettiest one. At all of the beaches we went to, the water was crystal clear and the perfect temperature. The people were great and the town of Chora is adorable, with a suprising number of restaurants, all of which were great! We liked our hotel, Anemomilos Apartments, mainly because the views were unbelievable -- just gorgeous. You can see it at www.anemomilosapartments.com. There are many less expensive options though. I would definitely try to stay in Chora.

We did not go to the biggest and most popular winery on Santorini which is Boutari, because we were more interested in the smaller operations. The first one we went to is Canaves Roussos which is a very traditional, family-run operation. They have a lovely little tasting area outdoors, and offer a menu of snacks to go with the wine. Late August was a great time to be there because we got to see them harvesting the grapes. The white wine grapes on Santorini are a variety called Assyrtiko which I don't believe are found elsewhere. We bought a couple of bottles of white there, which we drank while we were on the island. Then another day we went to a much larger operation called Sigalas, near Oia. It had a larger, more corporate feel and while it was nice, we did not enjoy it as much, although a couple of their whites were good. We did not buy any there though. Our favorite wine stop was a tiny little family winery called Chatzidakis. It isn't much to look at (really just a driveway leading to what looks like a shed -- we weren't even sure we were in the right place), but the wine is really good, and it is such a tiny operation and they love to share it with visitors. The husband used to be the assistant winemaker at Boutari, married a local woman from Santorini who had family land there, and together they started their own winery in 1997. It is about 300 meters outside of the town of Pyrgos (which is worth a short visit itself). The wife poured us tastes of all of their wines, and their red was the only red I had on Santorini that I liked. All of their whites were excellent, and we bought one bottle of each of three different ones. Even their 8-year-old daughter participates -- she designed the labels for one of their white wines, and we enjoyed meeting her too. You can read more about their wine here: http://greekproducts.com/hatzidakis/. We did not make appointments for any of these winery visits -- we just walked in. There were other visitors at Roussos and Sigalas, but at Chatzidakis we were the only ones. Canava Roussos has a website at http://www.canavaroussos.gr/uk/company.html. You can also read more about Sigalas at http://www.greekwinemakers.com/czone.../Sigalas.shtml

By the way, we used UA & US miles to fly business class on Austrian Airlines on the way there and SAS on the way back -- both fine but nothing particularly remarkable except for the brilliant color scheme on Austrian and the presence of salmon in virtually every dish served on SAS. Seats OK, food OK, entertainment choices OK, service OK -- nothing stellar. Also flew Olympic from Athens to Santorini which was a little late (as everyone had warned us was typical).

Hope somebody finds this helpful.
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Old Feb 7, 06, 10:19 am
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Lovely photos. I love Folegandros and Santorini as well.
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Old Feb 8, 06, 7:39 am
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Great Pics!!

Terrific pictures, lmk. Thanks for posting them.

We were on Santorini for two days in September 2004 and I wish we would have had a couple of more days there. IMHO, September is the best time to go, weather was terrific and the crowds didn't seem too bad. Also, I think Athens is highly, highly underrated as a city.

Again, many thanks.
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Old Mar 15, 07, 7:19 pm
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Very helpful as I'm currently researching apartments on Santorini. I love the pics! Did you happen to get a glance at the honeymoon suite? Do you think it is worth an extra 50 euro/night? Thanks!
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Old Mar 17, 07, 3:05 pm
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Nice report. I especially enjoyed the wines part!
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Old Mar 17, 07, 3:25 pm
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lmk
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Thanks for the nice comments.
@magiciansampras -- If you haven't already, check out their website at http://www.anastasisapartments.com/. We did not see the honeymoon suite but there are pics on the website. And there are pics on tripadvisor.com too w/ lots of reviews. All units have kitchenettes.
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Old Apr 1, 07, 12:10 pm
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Great Trip Report!!

Imk:

Just stumbled upon your trip report after a search on Folegandros. Great report and the pictures on your web site are absolutely terrific! (I also love your collection of travel quotes). My wife and I are returning to the Greek Islands next month (after a trip to Santorini, Paros and Athens in May of 05) and will be in Folegandros (and Anemomilos) and a couple of days in Santorini on the way back to Athens.

Your pictures of Anemomilos and Folegandros have us now eager to visit. We plan to do a lot of hiking and hitting the beaches. Glad to hear there is an ATM on the island now as I always worry about access to cash. (I follow the mantra of Susan Heller's quote on your site "Take half the clothes and twice the money" and worry about running out of cash in the Greek Islands where credit cards are seldom seen) Any tavernas which are particularly memorable?

With respect to Santorini, we very much appreciate your recommendations for the wineries and will now try to add Canava Roussou to our plans. One of our best afternoons in Santorini was a long and lazy one sipping wine and eating mezes at the Sigalas Winery. Their sweet Vin Santo was heavenly and we agree with your comments on the excellent white wines from Santorini.

We also hiked the Oia to Fira trail and your pictures bring back memories. I have to say it was a real hoot to look at your photos and see "Buddy" the dog. I'll explain. We spent a week in Oia and after a few days the local friendly dogs became familiar and part of Oia's wonderful atmosphere. On the day we set out from Oia on our hike, we had two dogs join us at the trailhead. One of them turned back, but the other one faithfully followed all the way to a point just below Anastasis Apartments where you stayed. At one point, the dog actually patiently guided us to the "right" path when we strayed off in the wrong direction. We nicknamed him "Buddy" and without question, it is the third dog at the back of the step in your photo on your web site with the caption: "Local dogs enjoy a shady rest" . (We also took a picture of our hiking guide and it has to be the same dog!)

Thanks again for your wonderful trip report and photos.

Dave
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