Post # 1
I am getting married in November and will likely only have 10 days for a honeymoon. I would like to visit the Mediterranean, specifically Spain and/or Greece. I would like to have a mix of culture and relaxation on our honeymoon (don’t want to do the beach thing). So I have a few specific questions but I’m open to general comments and suggestions:
1. Does anyone know a good travel agent who specializes in Europe and/or the Mediterranean?
2. Thoughts on a Med cruise for first timers to this region and suggestions on cruise lines?
3. What are some must-see places?
4. Weather during that time of year?
Post # 3
Well, you can look in the recent news to find some cruise lines that are NOT recommended.
Post # 4
Honestly? I would skip Athens and go to Istanbul instead. But I get that it’s ATHENS and everyone wants to see the Parthenon and heaven’s knows Greece could use your money now, so you probably won’t skip that.
But don’t skip Istanbul if you have the chance! That city is amazing.
Post # 5
I was just checking into a med. cruise this morning. We had some friends who did one on Royal Caribbean last year for 10 days and loved it. I hear cruises over here are different than ones in the states b/c of the different cultures, i.e. they don’t have a “dress up” night and some are just “bare bones.” But each cruise line is different.
I haven’t done Greece yet or Spain except for Ibiza. The cool thing about a cruise is they’ll take you to a lot of different countries.
Also, not 100% sure here but the weather in November is not considered beach weather. Most places in Europe it’s the start of winter. I think Rome got snow last year. And even if there isn’t snow, it’s usually the rainy season so I’d pack warm clothes.
I’ll PM you if I find some good deals on cruises.
Post # 6
My Fiance is from an island in Greece, and I have been there the past 3 summers. It is gorgeous. My best piece of advice is dont do the cruise. Pick a small Greek village on an island, rent an apartment near the sea (not a hotel room) and stay there and soak up the culture—and the amazing food!! Staying in an apartment is MUCH cheaper and you get a small kitchenette…so you can buy local foods at the market and have them for lunch or a snack. This also supports the small villages which are losing business to big hotels that are all inclusive. The food at these hotels aren’t as good or authentic (I know—my FI’s cousin owns one) and you wont really get the chance to experience the culture as much in a big hotel. Also, if you stay in a village as opposed to a cruise, you can rent a cute vespa and really see more of the island. Just make sure you get your international drivers licence…though cops are sparse on the islands—at least the smaller islands. The water is actually warm in the fall—-June is usually icy cold water, but my Fiance said one year he went to the beach in mid November and swam comfortably. Keep in mind, weather changes from year to year…and Sept is usually GREAT weather for Greece, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy it in November too. And be sure to find out where the locals go to hear bouzukia—their traditional music usually played in smaller cafes—such a great experience. And most people speak English—its a requirement to learn English to graduate from high school…and honestly, most people (at least from his island) have been to or lived in the States…so you should have no problem communicating!
I have been to Athens, and I have seen the Acropolis–it is great, but I do NOT like Athens. It is much too busy and you have to be on guard a lot—my dad got his wallet stolen right out of his pants on the subway. See the Acropolis some day—but I wouldn’t recommend it for a honeymoon spot.
Good luck—and have fun!
Post # 7
@BothCoasts: I totally agree. We spent a day and a half in Athens at the end of our honeymoon and were very underwhelmed. yes the acropolis was interesting but the rest of the city was absolutely nothing special. Just like any other dirty and crowded city anywhere. If you want to see ancient ruines go to Rome and skip Athens.
Istanbul is way more interesting. There is so much to see and do there. I highly recommend it.
I also really loved Santorini. It was absolutely gorgeous. We rented an atv and explored the entire island.
Post # 8
@Nikki J: I’ve done a lot of traveling, and recently did a three week Greece trip. Never in my life wanted to do a cruise, but we did a very very small cruise for part of the trip, which was amazing. And I would do it again in a heartbeat. And I hate cruises. But this ship had only 27 people on board, so we got a completely customized, casual, fun experience.
I highly recommend calling Lisa at Travel Place Bethesda (301-656-4060). That’s who we used and she has been excellent, I’ve known her for a long time.
Post # 9
@Heartly: You just reminded me of a really neat experience we had in Turkey. They do something called blue cruises or gullet cruises in the south of Turkey. You’re on a small sail boat with about 14 other passengers and a crew of 3. They take you from small island to island or village to village to explore. sometimes they dock just off shore so you can swim in the warm waters. they catch fish and cook it for you for dinner. it was an amazing experience and I couldn’t recommend it enough for anyone interested in traveling to that region.
these are the type of boats they have
Post # 10
- Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort
If I remember right, November is a terrible time to be on the sea in the Mediterranean. Of the two, I’d go to Spain. I love Greece; I’ve been twice, but November is probably the worst time you could go, unless you’re thinking of going only to Crete. Also, Greece is a place that you want to travel around, and the traveling take a while. All the cities are fairly isolated form each other. Unless you are a history buff (which I am, I’m getting my PhD in Classics), you will probably run out of things to see in Athens in 2 days and will want to go to Mycenae, Delphi, maybe Epidauros, maybe Olympia, etc. Spain will be much more travel-friendly, and you can easily occupy yourself for a while 10 days in just Madrid, but you could also split that time up between, say, Madrid, Sevilia, and Barcelona, or something similar.
Back to Greece for a sec: Santorini is AMAZING, but if you aren’t interested in beach stuff, I wouldn’t bother. The main archaeological site is closed (at Akrotiri) and the other one (at ancient Thera) is cool but takes like 30 minutes to go through.
Post # 11
We went to Greece in late April. It was about 75 degrees on the island (Santorini). I wish we would have waited a till a little later because this wasn’t ideal for the beach! In Athens it was about 80. We went to the beach there several times. The water was a little cold but you got used to it. I’ve heard October has similar weather to April. I’ve heard to stay away in August if you want to avoid the crowds!
Post # 12
@Meowkers: Yeah, that’s basically what we had, just slightly larger with cabins and everything. To me, it was utmost luxury knowing everyone on board, just leaving your stuff on the deck, etc, not worrying about anything. Staff knew everyone by name, the food was whatever they could get fresh from each island we stopped at. It was wonderful.