Cast you mind back to that schmaltzy 1980's chick flick Summer Lovers (www.summer-lovers.net) -- you know the one -- set in idyllic Santorini, in the heat of a passionate summer with Chicago's "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" theme song. Though few people may admit it, recreating that vacation was something that many an international traveler once dreamed about -- but unfortunately there are no more Drachmas, no more $20 a night romantic whitewashed villas and the bargain destination of 25 years ago is now a costly Euro-option -- unless of course, you hold off until the fall and discover a less crowded, less expensive yet equally enticing side of Greece's Cycladic Islands after the summer sun has set.
You can still enjoy sunshine and mild to warm temperatures (usually low to mid 70's) on the islands all the way until the end of October with the colder rainy season setting in by November. The notorious mid-summer winds of the Cycladic Islands (including Mykonos, Santorini, Naxos and Paros) are also considerably calmer making sitting on the beach a far more pleasant experience than the wind/sand burn you often must endure in July. The ouzo will be flowing with this selection of post peak season deals to Greece.
Go-Today (tel. 800/227-3235; www.go-today.com) has an "Island Hopper" package priced from $1,609 per person plus taxes for departures between October 9 and 13, 2007. This price includes round-trip international airfare to Athens from New York, airline fuel surcharges, all transfers, two nights at La Mirage Hotel in Athens (first and last nights), three nights at Mykonos Beach Hotel in Mykonos, three-nights at King Thiras Hotel in Santorini, ferry service from Piraeus to Mykonos and Mykonos to Santorini, a flight from Santorini to Athens, continental breakfast daily, hotel taxes and service charges. Travel between September 10 and October 8, 2007 for an additional $130. Add $50 from Washington DC, $90 from Atlanta or Miami and $220 from Chicago.
If exploring Greece's capital and its archaeological treasures is more your speed, Go-Today has a six night Athens package priced from $899 plus taxes for travel between September 9 and October 31, 2007. The package includes round-trip international airfare to Athens from New York, airline fuel surcharges, six nights at La Mirage Hotel in Athens, continental breakfast daily, hotel taxes and service charges. The purchase deadline for these two deals is September 20, 2007.
Freegate Tours (tel. 888/373-3428; www.freegatetours.com) is offering an eight day "Athens and the Greek Isles" trip that features four days in Athens and four days cruising the Aegean with a quick stop over in Turkey giving travelers enough time to visit the magnificent Roman city of Ephesus. Other highlights of the adventure include stops in Mykonos, Santorini, Crete, Rhodes, Patmos and Kusadasi. Travel during the months of September and October 2007 is priced from $1,679 per person plus taxes with weekly Saturday departures from New York. The package includes round-trip airfare to Athens, three nights at the Polis Grand Hotel in Athens, a four-day/four-night cruise on Louis Cruises, a half-day Athens sightseeing tour, transfers in Athens, seven breakfasts, four lunches, four dinners, sightseeing with an English speaking professional tour guides, host service in Athens, entrance fees and hotel service charges.
Their 11-night "Romantic Greece" tour to Athens, Mykonos and Paros includes round-trip airfare to Athens from New York, three nights at the Royal Olympic Hotel in Athens four nights at the San Marco hotel in Mykonos, four nights at the Paros Agnanti Hotel in Paros, a half-day Athens sightseeing tour, transfers in Athens, Mykonos and Paros, breakfast daily, sightseeing with an English speaking professional tour guides, entrance fees and hotel service charges. The trip is priced from $2,199 for departures on October 1 and 8, 2007 and $2,299 for the September 24, 2007 departure.
Friendly Planet (tel. 800/555-5765; www.friendlyplanet.com) has a "Fall Greece Special" priced from $1,299 for seven days including a three night cruise. Destination highlights are Athens, Mykonos, Rhodes, Patmos, Kusadasi and Ephesus. This price is for a November 7, 2007 departure and includes round-trip airfare from New York, two-nights at the Grecotel Athens Imperial Hotel, three nights aboard Louis Cruise Lines' MV Cristal in a standard inside cabin, buffet breakfast daily in Athens and all meals aboard the cruise, all transfers and a professional, English-speaking tour host throughout. For an additional $549 per person, add on a four-day/four-night Classical Greece extension which visits Mycenae, Olympia, Nafpaktos, Delphi, Meteora and Kalambaka.
Fall airfares to Greece are definitely lower than their summer counterparts. Lufthansa (tel. 866/933-5946; www.weflyhome.com) has round-trip fares as low as $586 from Orlando to Athens (for travel from October 30 to December 13, 2007), $740 from Boston or $826 from Chicago (travel from September 10 to October 28, 2007). Taxes are additional. A non-stop flight from New York to Athens in late September, 2007 starts from $541 plus taxes on Greece's national carrier Olympic Airlines (tel. 800/223-1226; www.olympicairlines.com) and 1800 Fly Europe (tel. 800/FLY-EUROPE; www.1800flyeurope.com) has round-trip airfares flying various U.S. and European carrier starting from $562 plus taxes for travel between October 29 and December 13, 2007. As taxes can amount to almost $300 depending on airline and routes, sometimes the cheapest base fare may not end up being the best deal overall.
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