Subject: Re: Help with Greece
Dear Mark,

As you don't write when exactly you plan to visit Greece I can't suggest you any hotels or restaurants which may be closed when you will be in Greece. I live in Piraeus, the port of Athens so I don't have any experiences from hotels in Athens.

When my foreigner friends come to visit me the majority of the times stayed in hotels in Piraeus or the coast between the airport and Piraeus which is easily accessible by public transportation from the center of Athens. The center of Athens is located around Syntagma square, Placa, Omonoia square, Kolonaki.

Last November some Italian friends stayed at hotel Savoy in Piraeus and they were very satisfied from the hotel and its service http://www.savoyhotel.gr Another time they stayed at Hotel Poseidon in Kalamaki area http://www.poseidonhotel.com.gr/main.asp?lang=Eng . Simona, another Ziner also stayed at hotel Poseidon last time she was in Athens. I have visited Hotel Achilleas in city center (very close to Syntagma square) where Covadonga from Bilbao stayed once http://www.achilleashotel.gr It was good, but Cova's opinion is more accurate.

All these hotels are not members of large chains.

Is this your first trip to Greece? I'd like to propose the official site of the Greek ministry of culture, where you can find in details accurate information on the historical - archeological places of Greece: http://www.culture.gr

In Athens, I propose you to visit not only Acropolis, but also our National Archeological Museum, which is a MUST and you need more than 5 hours to see only the most important exhibits. Also Museum of Cycladic Art and Benaki Museum are between the musts while in Athens.

As for restaurants: I strongly recommend "To kouti", 23 Andrianiou str. in Plaka, in front of Ancient Market and with excellent view to Acropolis. Tel 210-3213229, 210-3213029. Very good food. Not very expensive. Bar - Restaurant STAVLOS, 10 Irakleidon str, Thisseion, tel 210-3467206 Not very expensive Ideas for dinner (only) are: Restaurant "Aristera-Dexia", 3 Andronikou str, Rouf (Thisseion) , tel : 210-3422380 Not very cheap. Restaurant CINE PSYRRI, 40 Sarri str. Psyrri area, tel 210-3212476, 210-3215534 Not very expensive. Restaurant "Kallisti" 137, Asklipiou str. Center of Athens Tel. 210-6453179, 210-6445476, Not very expensive. An other good restaurant is "Kaldera" in Palaio Faliro, which serves fish and other sea food (i's a "mezedopoleio"). And one of my favourite restaurants "Arxaion Geyseis" . They serve ancient greek food. Extremely interesting and particular tastes. Have a look at the following URL http://www.arxaion.gr

You write that you want to go to Santorini. I don't know how much time you are planning to stay in Santorini. I think 4-5 days are the least pour feel the magic of the island. I went there 2 years ago, so the informations are still accurate. I stayed in an excellent hotel, not exactly hotel, but fully equipped apartment, the Agali House http://www.agalihouses.gr They have the best view in the volcano!!!! Some restaurants I tried and recommend are: Vanilia at Firostefani, very close to the Agali House 1800 at Oia (or Ia) Ampelos at Fira Koukomavlos at Fira

A must is a visit with lunch and guide to Boutaris winery!!! Very cheap, delicious, accompanying with wine - testing. Ask your hotel to make a reservation for you. Look at the site http://www.santorini.gr for photos, places to visit etc. In any case don't miss: The Ancient site of Acrotiri, the town of Thira and the volcano. The Archaeological Museum and Nomikos Museum. Naval Museum of Oia. The village of Oia in the afternoon The village of Pyrgos. The bar "Franco's" in Fira for a drink

About a visit to a second island: I propose Paros http://www.parosweb.com I have visited that island many times and I like it very much. I propose you to stay in Naoussa. Let me know if you are interested in suggestions for hotels and restaurants.

About Naxos: I have been there last summer and I found it wonderful. Naxos is a summer destination, so I can't propose it if you trip is at another period. (The same for Santorini and Paros) I stayed in Plaka area, in the superb hotel Evdokia (it is not exactly an hotel, but it consists from apartments with private kitchen and bathroom and they don't serve breakfast - you can make it by your own). It is in front of an excellent sandy beach and I enjoyed it a lot http://www.hotel-3brothers.com/site/diamoni2.htm . I have eaten the most to the taverna 3 brothers, owned by the owner of the hotel. WONDERFUL food, clean and delicious. http://www.hotel-3brothers.com/index.htm

My proposals for Nafplio, a wonderful town in front of the sea. For some informations, look at the site http://www.greek-tourism.gr/nafplio/ I suggest the hotels Byron http://www.byronhotel.gr/ and Kapodistrias http://www.greek-tourism.gr/nafplio/kapodistrias/ . I stayed to both of them, are very atmospheric but they don't have any special view (maybe Byron has better than Kapodistrias). The best hotel of Nafplio is Nafplia Palace http://www.ellada.net/nafplia/ , which has the best view of all. From Naflpio you can visit the close places with historical/archaeological interest: Corinth (Ancient town - Akrokorinthos), Mycenae, Epidaurus (not only the theater, but also the museum).

Another place in Peloponissos I strongly recommend is Monemvassia. It's close to Sparti, it's a Byzantine castle located in a rock inside the sea... Excellent place, excellent view, excellent food, excellent sea. While I was a child, I was every year there for my summer holidays because my father was born in that village.

From Monemvassia you can go to Mystras in the mount Taygetos (the capital of Greece while Constantinople was under occupation from the Franks of 4th crusade), where there are the ruins of the emperor's palace and an excellent Church. Also to the area around Mani, where is the famous Dyros cave. Some sites related to it: http://www.dimitri.8m.com/monemvassia.html http://www.ics.forth.gr/~colios/monemv.htm http://tinyurl.com/5obhw http://www.mani.org.gr/en/ http://www.mani.org.gr/wallpaper/w1/wall.html (photos) http://www.dimitri.8m.com/mistras.html

For Olympia I can't help you. I have been there in a daily trip from another place in Peloponissos, so I don't have any personal experience.

Also to Delphi: It was a daily trip from Athens. If you want to stay in Delphi, I have heart the hotel Amalia, but I haven't stayed there so I can't recommend it.

And another question: how are you planning to travel from one area to the other? Are you planning to rent a car or by public transportation????

Waiting for your answer Best Regards from Athens

Joanna