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What American doesn't seethe with jealousy when comparing their vacation time with most European workers who get 5 weeks off per year? Using those weeks wisely, European travelers come back with tales of revelry and sightseeing from such exotic places as the Far East, the Amazon, and even nearby Greece. Now, thanks to some slashed prices, both short and long trips are affordable and accessible to Americans hankering for those Greek islands, Athenian sites, and an up-close look at the wonders of mythology.

Picasso Travel (tel. 800/995-7997; www.picassotours.com) has a seven-day five-night trip to Athens starting at $1,499 for double occupancy and $1,759 for single occupancy. The trip includes airfare out of New York, accommodations at your choice of five hotels, all transfers, daily breakfast, and sightseeing tours. The trip focuses on Athens and the outlying areas including Delphi, Aegina, Poros, and Hydra with plenty of guided tours (very important in Greece or anyplace rich in history) and plenty of free evening time to enjoy those late Athenian nights rich in dance, music and food. Rates for this trip are good for Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday departures only. For a slightly longer trip to Greece that lasts for ten days and eight nights, Picasso has a trip costing approximately $2,139 for double occupancy that goes to Athens and its environs including trips to Olympia and other important sites as well as the sites covered in the five-night trip previously mentioned. All hotels in the ten-day trip are first class and you get three cultural dinner feasts and one lunch in addition to the daily breakfasts. This trip leaves on Tuesday.

Air France Holidays (tel. 800/237-2623; www.airfranceholidays.com) just announced a very strong and affordable deal to Greece. A six-night trip to Athens leaving out of New York (other gateways are available for a slightly higher price) costing approximately $699 includes air, six-nights accommodations, transfers, hotel taxes and a daily breakfast. Good for travel from April 4 to April 21, 2005, you need to book travel on this outstandingly priced air/land deal by April 14, 2005. Of course, space on this deal is limited, so act fast. Air France Holidays has other great deals to Greece as well, including other six-night packages to Athens starting at $989 for air/land and a Greek Island vacation that includes nine nights at a hotel and airfare starting at $2,039.

Friendly Planet (tel. 800/555-5765; www.friendlyplanet.com) also offers some quality trips to Greece and its islands at very affordable rates. An eight-day cruise including airfare from the United States on Lufthansa hitting Athens and the Greek islands starts at $1,599. You'll visit the islands of Mykonos, Rhodes, Piraeus, Patmos and Kusadasi in Turkey. For just $399 you have the option to purchase a five-day extension hitting other areas in Greece including Olympia and Delphi. New York and Boston are the U.S. departure points for this trip. The trip includes three nights at an Athens hotel and three nights on the cruise ship as well as daily breakfast in Athens and all meals while on the cruise. Friendly Planet is an easy site to maneuver, and their excellent maps make it easy to see visualize the scope of your trip. Accommodations are at centrally located three-star hotels, one of which is in the shadows of the famous Acropolis. An English-speaking tour guide will be with the tour at all times. To fix the above price, you need to book by April 30, 2005 for summer travel.

Another trip, Friendly Planet's "Athens Express," recently sold out. The seven-day trip starting at $699 hits Thebes and other important sites. Check the Friendly Planet site for future availability for this popular trip.

Now that you've got the deals, talk with fellow travelers about what to see and do on our Greece Message Boards today.