Thursday, June 18, 2009

Euro 2009 Update 2 - Greece

So a look back on Greece. From my travels in 2004 Greece turned out to be one of my favourite destinations, so my expectations were high. To say that I was left feeling down is a bit of an understatement.

I was expecting Greece to be much better post Olympics - and it was in a sense. The metro in Athens was great, as was the new pedistrian districts of places like Heraklion and Patras. But the same old problems were still there, and it seems worse than before. Everything is in chaos - be it the traffic, the trains, the planes or the buses. Most places we visted didn't really know what whas going on and the staff were untrained and unhelpful.

One of the biggest dissapointment was the food. I remembered some really good meals in Hania and Gythio from 2004, and it was not to be. We had one good meal in Hania at Tamam - but almost every other place we tried was a dissapointment. Not that we just picked a place and went - we almost always went to places which were recommended by guidebooks or had good reviews in travel mags/newspapers. A meal costing 20 euros per person without drinks should be at a decent standard - but we almost always were dissapointed.

Also if I ever needed evidence that the Meditteranean was being overfished it is in the price and quality of seafood in Greece. It is expensive and terrible! The best fish we got was a baked red snapper (quite nice) - but it was 19 euro each and the fish was TINY! Anything that size would have to be thrown back in Sydney.

Perhaps a lot of the mismatch in expectations is that the last time we visited in April/May and this time we were there in June. The crowds are terrible and everything is terribly overpriced.

My only recommendation for Greece would be to go well outside the main seasons and avoid the popular places like the plague. Santorini was terrible. We couldn't even get any accommodation in Nafplio. The ferries are full and the prices are high. There are lots of nice places off the beaten track - but you really need your own car to get there.

No comments: