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9 replies
Rome to Athens or Vice Versa?
satman
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Planning a land tour of Europe starting in Rome.. want to see Athens. Is it feasible cost wise to fly to Athens… what options do I have to get to Rome from there? (2) I guess it’s feasible to land tour to Rome… find a way to Athens and back to the US from there… what are pros and cons of each.. thanks!

Don
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Finally, low-cost air service on the ATH-ROM route: www.easyjet.com Looks as cheap as 34 Euros one-way with advance purchase for summer 2010. I don’t think you’ll get anything better than that.

oldlady
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Flying from Rome to Athens is probably the best option. Another would be taking the train to Bari or Ancona and then ferry to Greece.

How long is your trip and what are your must see destinations in addition to Athens and Rome? Getting from Rome to Athens overland will be time-consuming and difficult and probably won’t work if your other destinations are the normal tourist meccas in Western Europe.

satman
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There will be 2 couples 56-63 yr old. Want to do 10-14 days land tour from London to Rome or vice vera depending on cheapest air fare … looks like cheapest is to London from Miami. (one couple in Tampa and the other in Arkansas) Probably will be our only ever trip to Europe so want to see the hightlights. London, Paris through Switzerland, Venice and Rome. Thought Athens was out when I was last checking, but the note on the new air listed above could make that possible with Rome/Athens RT under US $100. They have really good rates back to Rome, Paris or even London that would allow much cheaper airfare back to the US than from Athens.
Only land travel I’ve looked at so far is Trafalgar land tours,

Any suggestions are welcome…

Thanks

satman
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We are starting our planning now, but our intended time from would be departing sometime after October 1, 2010 and 6 months after. What is the best blend (cost wise) of weather and cost?

oldlady
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I hesitate to write this because I don’t want you to think you can’t have a great time with 10 to 14 days without taking an organized tour, but you need to be realistic. If you’re using a tour itinerary as your base for planning a trip on your own (an excellent idea) remember you’ll need to cut at least one city to do your own logistics. Tour companies actually consider driving by something as “visiting” it. Don’t over think the “only ever trip to Europe” thing. If you enjoy yourselves you will find a way to get back. Trust me on this. Most of us here (budget travelers and back packers) don’t like tours. I’ve been on a Trafalgar tour. It’s a good tour company, and has the advantage of being UK based. That means you might have tour members who aren’t 56-63 year old Americans. I fit in this category, but that’s not necessarily who I’d pick for travel buddies. Trafalgar tours are also on the expensive side.

10 to 14 days is not really enough time to see either Greece or Italy unless you do the tour thing which means you’ll see most of the sights through the window of a moving bus. Does the number of days include your flight over and back? If so, day 1 is your overnight flight over — you won’t even get to Europe until day 2 when you arrive jet lagged, culture shocked and sleep deprived. You don’t want to plan anything other than getting to your hotel/hostel and getting some time outdoors for day 2. Your last day is entirely taken up with your flight home which will probably leave Europe fairly early in the morning.

My recommendations for own your own travel:
10 days: 3 days Rome, 2 days Florence, 2 days Venice Use the extra time for a day trip to Pompeii or some time on the coast from Rome or some time in rural Tuscany and/or Cinque Terre from Florence or add a day in Milan.

With 14 days, cut to the 7 or 8 days in Italy and fly to Athens. Spend a day or two there and then get to an island or two before you get back to Athens for your flight home. IMO, Athens (other than walking to the accropolis) isn’t what you want to see and experience in Greece. The logistics of travel mean you’ll spend a day getting to Athens (most flights shoot an entire day for sight-seeing) and at least a day getting to and from anyplace else in Greece. Even 14 days would be better spent in either Greece or Italy rather than trying to do both.

I strongly urge trying this on your own rather than taking a tour….

Don
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I think Spring and Fall are the best blend of cost and weather. The main cost break is airfare. Many air routes to Europe from the US begin to drop in price around mid-August. Airfare is cheapest Nov-Mar, except around holidays, but those are also the least desirable months to visit, in my opinion.

With 14 days max, London, Rome, and Athens, you’ll need flight hops unless you want your main memories to be what the back of train headrests look like. See Whichbudget.com and Skyscanner.net. Also consider open-jaw, a.k.a. multi-city flights, arriving London and returning home from Athens, for example. If you need more flight advice, then post on our Cheap Flights forum next-door.

If your only possible window is any 14 days inside the 6 months starting Oct. 1, then I’d want to depart on Oct. 1, or as late in March as possible. Southern Europe should be more pleasant, weather-wise.

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Quote:
If your only possible window is any 14 days inside the 6 months starting Oct. 1, then I’d want to depart on Oct. 1, or as late in March as possible. Southern Europe should be more pleasant, weather-wise.
I agree, the weather will be better in Southern Europe, but it won’t be beach weather anywhere in Europe. If you go to Greece you’ll want to do serious research on winter ferry schedules. Ferries that run several times a day in the summer may switch to every other day or once or twice a week starting in mid-September.

mb
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I agree with oldlady about the tour group. On a bus, there were only two people older than me. Most of the group were younger people in their twenties. This doesn’t matter to me but it might matter to you. For example: we stopped at Snowdonia and had a very brisk hike. Be sure to look into many details.

And I agree with the “visit” term. A “visit”, on a couple of occasions, was driving by a site and the driver says, “blah, blah, blah” and you keep on going.

My opinion on London to Rome. You have England, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy in the possible routes. For a 10 to 14 day trip, that’s a lot of travel, checking in, getting situated, etc. I’d stick to a particular area of about three countries and save on the travel time. You’ll also get a little extra rest and enjoy the trip a little more. You can’t see the whole of Europe in one short trip. You’ll be able to go back another time and see more.

Eat the food, use the wrong verbs, and end up getting charged double.

satman
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Thanks to you all…. keep them coming. I’m learning alot to help in my trip planning!