Questions – don’t we all have them? And with an unusual experience such as this, I expect you will want to know every detail about what we’ll be doing – so here are some of the answers, and please don’t hesitate to contact me about anything not covered here or elsewhere on the site :
– I’ve been/I’ve never been to Greece before, is this trip for me ?
The short answer is : Absolutely. Visitors to Greece tend to head toward Athens or one of its many islands for a relaxing resort break, but we’ll see a much different part of the country, and take a much less beaten path. We will also follow a rather obscure set of narratives that seldom, if ever, make their way into tourist guidebooks. However, we will not fully detract from the staple experiences : You will have the opportunity, for example, to see the Acropolis (and you should you want to!), have as much Greek salad as you like, or swim in the crystal waters of the Mediterranean sea. But expect us to approach these from a different angle – these will be the side shows, rather than the core of the Forgotten Greece experience. And I promise you, there will be many surprising stories to tell afterwards – powerful enough to impress even the seasoned visitors or natives !
– The dates don’t match/I only have time for a shorter trip
That’s not necessarily an issue. I will be able to provide a custom solution to match your requirements, without detracting from the fun, or the overarching narrative of the trip. Just let me know what works for you, and I will be happy to propose an alternative itinerary and revised price and dates.
– Are we going to engage in something dangerous, or illegal?
No. Yes. Maybe. Well – it’s up to you. We will visit certain abandoned spaces, where common sense will be advised to protect ourselves from unnecessary injury. We will trek through a gorge, ascend hills, and drive over some difficult terrain, among certain other “difficult” spots – but there will be no extreme physical demands, and all locations are perfectly accessible by locals on a daily basis. We might be expected to use stealth, open doors and secret paths to infiltrate certain unusual no-go areas, but we won’t be breaking any laws. I have obtained permission to access certain locations, but as it often happens in urban exploration, there is always a chance that in some cases we might be challenged, or turned away. I will be prepared for that, and so should you : in the unlikely occasion that we will be prevented from, or be unable to obtain access to a certain location, there will be alternative options that won’t disappoint. Overall, the aim is to have an adventure while keeping on the safe side of things. I have visited all of the locations personally, either alone or with company, and never encountered any difficulties.
– I have certain special needs/requirements, will these be catered for ?
Physical requirements : Forgotten Greece is not an extreme trip, but it can be physically demanding at times. While I regret that I won’t be able to accommodate guests with special physical needs, I will maintain a pace where people of various active levels can enjoy. You can also choose to opt out of certain portions, and in this case, I will propose an easier alternative where the spirit of each activity will be retained.
Dietary requirements : I am happy to confirm that there will be sufficient and varied meat, fish or veggie options for everyone’s delight ! I am less confident I will be able to cater for certain dietary intolerances, though : I can’t promise that all local cuisine we’ll be sampling can be guaranteed to not contain certain ingredients, although I can try. It is best if we have a discussion in advance to see whether I can deliver what might be required.
Medical or personal requirements : I will be happy to support you with regard to any medical or personal need. Whether you might require frequent stops, a refrigerator on hand, a room in a lower ground floor, or anything else – just let me know in advance so I can arrange this for you.
– Do I need to be insured ?
Yes. This is important. I will ask you to confirm that you have comprehensive travel and medical cover before travelling.
– Is there any foreign travel advice for Greece ?
Greece is broadly considered a safe and peaceful country. Nevertheless, I invite you to familiarize yourself with your country of origin’s foreign travel advice before travelling. I attach the one for British travellers here and for US travellers here
– How much is the rest of the trip really going to cost me?
Food and drink
When it comes to wining and dining at Forgotten Greece, there are absolutely no hidden costs or tourist traps. I have included a hearty daily breakfast, as well as a dinner feast every night in the price – we’re guaranteed not to go hungry !
We will be on the road during daytime, so we’ll usually be taking lunch on the go – and we’ll be frequenting local street market spots, small takeaways or bakeries, where we’ll be sampling Greek “fast lunchtime” staples such as spinach and feta pies (<€2), or the famous souvlaki on a stick (<€2) or moussaka of the day (<€5.50), or even a spot of ouzo with mezze bites (<€5). There may be an opportunity for a bigger lunch here and there – where I will have negotiated a set menu on a fixed price for us. When it comes to drinks, a half-kilo of local wine is about €4.50, and a local 300ml beer is €3, and refreshments, or a cup of fragrant Greek coffee are €1.50 or so.
You get the idea : This is very much an off-peak, off-the-beaten path experience, and so we’ll only be enjoying local cuisine at local prices. And beyond the above, it will be just your personal or casual expenses, everything else is pretty much covered for.
Flights and Airport Transfers
I have selected the trip dates very carefully : Around this time in May, there’s a sweet spot of post-Easter, pre-high season bliss when the weather is usually amazing and flights are the cheapest. Return flights from the Eastern US are about £800 to £900, and from Berlin at £65, London at £87, or Amsterdam at £108 … so as flights go, I have made sure that it is a great time in the season to travel to Greece !!
Regarding Airport transfers in Athens – you can pick up one of the city’s yellow taxis, and there’s a fixed cost per way of €35 in daytime and €50 in the night. This is clearly signposted everywhere at the airport. But you can also hop on the Metro – a one way ticket is €10, or €6 if you choose the Express bus. My preferred mode is the Metro : it’s fast, clean and efficient.
A couple of things about public transport. Athens has recently introduced the ATH.ENA Card, an electronic, rechargeable transport ticket. You can obtain one upon arrival at one of the ticket desks at the airport, and also in most central Metro stations in the city. You’ll figure it out, but let me know if you need any help with this. But we will use public transport in the city at least twice, so a good idea if you get one upon arrival.
The other thing is : strikes. Protest is in the heart of modern Greek reality, and strikes have become a familiar sight in the streets of Athens especially in the last decade. There’s a chance that we might happen upon one, as they are so frequent and diverse. There’s even a number of sites detailing these – but I’ll be monitoring potential public transport disruption, and will make sure I’ll give you a heads up in case there’s anything planned.