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My husband and I are taking a cruise and we are considering setting up our shore excursions independent of the cruise line.
We will be in Sicily Oct 10th, Athens on Oct. 12th, Ephesus, Turkey on Oct. 13 and Crete (Chania) on Oct 14th.
I realize we wont have a lot of time at each location but tours that provide a nice mix of the sites and local culture would be ideal.
Does anyone recommend a tour company for any of these locations. If you are promoting your own company please disclose this information. It only matters because I want to know if I a reading a "testimonial" or a "promo". Either is fine.
Thanks for your suggestions.
In Athens, we paid €15 for a 'tour' that got us a coach ride into the city, a wander round the Plaka and a view of the Acropolis from the outside. For €2; we could have caught a bus into the city, and done the same thing off our own bat.
For Crete, if your time is limited, (and if they're still running at that time of year) I recommend the 'land trains', which usually have a list of tours you can do with them, and they don't need much notice. The tour up to the Therissos Gorge is about the best one.
My wife and I just returned from Athens and we used the services of a young gentleman by the name of George. I'm sorry, but we never got his last name. Email is firstname.lastname@example.org. As the email implies it is a free service. He obviously lives off tips for his service. He gave us a tour that was about 3 hours in length, but I stress it is a lot of walking. He was informative, friendly, and provides an exceptional service. His English is excellent; although Greek he spent 12 years living in Melbourne, Australia. One of the best guides I've ever used.
You would have to get into Athens and the ride can be crazy.
To involved to explain where he took us, but you could look at our outside blog at www.waldentours.blogspot.com and I think the date was about August 22, 2011.
I have never used a service in Sicily. I'm not sure what you wish to see in Crete, but we used a guide to go to Phaistos, which is sort of off the beaten path. Ephesus is pretty straight forward and I would suggest that you use the cruise line services.
Regards, Chris Walden
Sounds like a fabulous trip. Where will you land on Oct. 10? Recommendations all depend upon your location. I have traveled through Sicily over 15 times and I know the island well. I can recommend several places to visit. On my website under Events you can see my 2008 Sicily Tour brochure. I can also recommend a local tour company near Giardini Naxos.
Let me know if I can answer any additional questions.
I just put up a blog post about Ephesus, Turkey. It's been a while since I last visited but, as far as I can find out, the information is still good.
i send your mail some information about istanbul and ephesus did you take it?
all the best
Thank you for all your recommendations, advice and direct. I will explore them some of them further. One consideration in who we tour with is transportation. I am probably having hip surgery (meaning I haven't scheduled it and am in the process of getting a second opinion) shortly after I return from this trip. Right now I am only able to walk about one mile. This really concerns me and I am looking for tours that require minimal walking. I never thought I would say that since I regularly do 50K walks for charity and I usually look for active tours. I think I need to ask my doctor for some good pain medication before going on this trip;-)