|Colin Murison Small's|
Choosing Your Holiday
One island - or many islands?
You may vegetate in one place or change islands three times a week. That said, do not be over-greedy and try to see every Greek island in a month, because all you will do is experience every Greek ferry in a month; and "enjoy" many an hour in harbour-front tavernas whilst waiting for them. We recommend two islands in a week or three in a fortnight.
Our table Where for What? aims to help you find (or avoid!) particular activities – walking, archaeology and so on - and thus to build up a short-list of islands. Then click on destinations, study our main map and click on your chosen area for more information and pictures. You will see how the air and sea connections work and therefore which islands can most realistically be combined with which. Ideally, let us determine the best order in which to visit your chosen places - ferry timings often dictate the pattern; but one golden rule is to make your last island the one from which you start your homeward journey!
When to go?
For archaeology or walking go before mid-June or after mid-September. June and July are less crowded than September. May is always glorious with the flowers, the paint and the people all fresh. It is fun to be in the country for Greek Easter which in 2011 falls on 24 April, the same as ours. If you want a warm sea, late season is better than early because the sun has warmed it. October to December can be rewarding, often providing an Indian summer lasting till Christmas, whilst early January traditionally has a week or two of “halcyon days” permitting comfortable al fresco lunches.
Avoid August if you can because it is when the Athenians swarm to the islands for Panaghia (Aug 15th), filling the beds and sending prices soaring. If you can’t avoid school holidays, try to avoid the first three weeks of August. However, bear in mind seasonal differences: in the low season boats and excursions will be less frequent; some tavernas may not be open and some hotel facilities not operating; but you will enjoy less hustle and bustle and much more Greek ambiance.
We can arrange at any time of year short breaks to Athens, Nauplion, the Argo-Saronic islands, Mykonos, Crete, Rhodes and a few of the smaller isles where the inhabitants don't go into complete hibernation from October to April.
Reserving accommodation through the Internet can be risky: photos can lie, especially by omission, and the glowing client “first hand” evaluations which many properties include on their sites are getting a very bad press for being rigged. Happily you have no worries with us since we know personally all our properties. And their owners.
Down the right hand side of the destinations pages we feature a wide spectrum from luxury class to simple village rooms (but every room has its private shower/bath & wc). Many old buildings are being luxuriously renovated into charming villas or boutique hotels and there are small newly-built complexes of excellently appointed studios and apartments.
In older self-catering properties there may still be only basic provision for cooking - a unit with a sink, fridge and two rings, seldom an oven or kettle (Greeks don’t use them) and minimal crockery and cutlery: in short, you can rustle up breakfast, invite half the couple next door to a drink or prepare a picnic; but embark on a Sunday roast at your peril.
Most self-catering accommodation comprises a studio – a bed-sitter with open-plan kitchenette and a [mercifully separate] sh/wc; a table and two chairs will grace either the studio or the terrace or the balcony. Occasionally 1-bedroom apartments are available, with the bedroom behind a closable door and the living room sporting one or two sofa beds; such apartments can therefore accommodate two people in comfort or 3-4 in discomfort - but cheaply.
Room only, B&B or half board?
It is generally agreed that Greek taverna food is better and cheaper than hotel food, except in a few exceptional establishments. Half the enjoyment of a Greek holiday is sitting at your harbour-front table watching Greek life as you munch. Most clients find themselves at a beach-side taverna for lunch and some even use one for breakfast. It follows that the difference between the options is fairly minimal, unless you need to provide the sort of food younger children like or when economy is vital. Note that Greek breakfast, except when described in our best hotels as BfB ("bed & buffet breakfast"), is normally basic continental breakfast of coffee, fresh bread, butter and jam/honey, though yoghourt and eggs can usually be added for an extra charge.
Now click on destinations to search for the right holiday. Once you find something which attracts you, ask yourself whether you want car hire, check on getting there to see what flight options are relevant and then go to the Booking Enquiry Form and we should soon be able to get things moving.
You never know when you might encounter a problem - make sure you are properly insured: