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Any Suggestions for Escursions Kotokolon and Santorini

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    Any Suggestions for Escursions Kotokolon and Santorini

    We are a couple of 80+ - full of aches and pains, but short of breath on a first visit to the Greek Islands in May
    We usually arrange our own excursions after chatting to other travellers ,, but have not been able to get much
    information for these 2 islands. Would e grateful for some helpful recommendations

    #2
    I can't comment on Kotokolon. Santorini docks by tender operated by the Santorini authorities and either a very hard walk or an over-priced cliff railway to reach the town. The town is very quaint and full of tourist tat. The island is famous for its sunsets. We booked a private afternoon and evening wine tasting tour off the internet. Our driver did a scenic tour of the island (nothing special) took us to a couple of very small vineyards for a tour and tastings and then stopped off on the return trip to witness a spectacular sunset overlooking the sea. That was definitely the highlight of an interesting but only mediocre day. I am interested to hear from others as to what we missed.

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      #3
      I'm wondering if Kotokolon is the same place I know as Katakolon? It's on the mainland, not an island. It's a village which serves as the port for visiting Olympia, original site of the Games. It can get quite busy when there are a few cruise ships in. You can do Olympia independently by bus and also by a special train.

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        #4
        KATAKOLON: The ship berths right on the edge of this little village (I wouldn’t call it a town) Two minutes and you are amongst the one street line of shops and cafes. You can spend a pleasant hour meandering around but there is not much else to see. We walked to the little beach to see what it was like but its all red shingle and very rocky 2 minutes to the left from the front of the ship. I do believe there is a tourist train that will take you to a better beach.

        The thing to do from here of course is Olympia but we had opted not to go having seen lots of ruins on another cruise. If you had wanted to DIY Olympia you could have caught the local bus, which was very clearly signposted and it gave departure and pick up return times which to me looked like they had been specifically planned around the ships timings. I think from memory it departed at 9.45 returned around 12.

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          #5
          SANTORINI: You will be tendered into the island. There are just a couple of souvenier shops and cafes where the tender boats drop you off. To get into the town, there is only one way to go and thats up - either by Cable car or a good 30 min walk up the steps or ride the donkeys. Cable car is 4 euros each way or Riding the Donkeys (5 euros each way). The steps are shiney, worn and slippy and impregnated with donkey mess. Once up the top, you have a pleasant little village of Fira. But from here can get local buses to Oia.

          Seriously think carefully when visiting this port – the return queue for the Cable Car are horrendously long and standing in the heat its not an enjoyable experience. When we were there the queue was probably a hour and half in the waiting. The journey is not long only a few minutes but there are only 5 cable Cars each holding around 8 persons so I’ll let you do the maths with two cruise ships in and around 6000 plus passengers. Then from here you are tendered back to the Ship.

          Comment


            #6
            In my opinion Olympia is definitely worth seeing, but then admittedly I'm biased about such things. There's also a very good museum at the site. I did this with my 9 year old son last October by taking a bus from Katakolon. It was all very easy and was €10 for me and €5 for him I think.

            We didn't spend much time in Katakolon itself but I seem to recall some nice looking tavernas by the water's edge.

            If you want any more information about Olympia or how to get there from Katakolon then just let me know.

            Comment


              #7
              Olympia is easy.......As you step off the ships coaches are lined up plying for trade at €10 Return

              Santorini........I would go straight to Oia if an excursion is on the cards. Virtually every cruise brochure photo you see of Santorini shows the blue capped white building on the hill side.

              This review I did last year may give you an insight into these and other ports.........http://www.cruise.co.uk/cruise-revie...review_101279/
              Wilba

              Comment


                #8
                We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Katakolon. Spent an hour or so wandering up the one street and then having a coffee at the water side. We were amazed at the vehicles that were being driven. No M.O.T. there.

                Comment


                  #9
                  We have never cruised into Santorini but have spent a glorious 7 day holiday here in a hotel overlooking the Caldera and watched ships coming in every day from our balcony. So, this is based on our time there.

                  Santorini
                  The cruise into Santorini is spectacular. Sailing into a Caldera, surrounded by sheer cliff faces with houses perched on the top and sides is worth seeing. Some speculate that this is the origin of Homer’s account of Atlantis sinking into the sea.

                  There are 2 dropping off points, one for the early excursions, Il Porto Di Atinios, this is the only place where coaches can get near the Caldera and your ship. After dropping off the first passengers the ship moves on and berths just below the capital Thira. In both cases this is a tender port.


                  If you are DIY then you need to get tickets for the tender for as early as possible. For those on the later excursions you will be tendered back to the first drop off point.

                  For those doing excursions the coaches will drop you back at your pick up point for the tender to take you across the bay towards Thira. If returning to the ship you can pick up the ships tender, or if visiting Thira you have the cliff face to tackle.

                  The town of Thira is perched on the rim of the caldera, with buildings clinging like limpets to the sheer cliffs. The port is at the bottom of the cliff and there is a choice of ways to get to the top, cable car, donkey (mules) or steps (589 and mule poo). I know this as it tells you on the last step when you reach the top, and the same to come down. The view when you reach the top is quite something and it's only then that you can see the once volcano spread across in front of you. There is a smaller island in the centre and that is in fact the centre of the volcano and a larger one a little further out.

                  It’s got cool bars and chic boutiques aplenty. And it’s not short on jewellery shops –Thira has 40 or so selling designer bling. In the culture stakes, you can take your pick from the Museum of Prehistoric Thira, the Thira Archaeological Museum and the frescoed Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral.

                  Not to put you off but, another thing to be aware of is the streets of Thira. The streets are about 10ft wide, they average 3 cruise ships visits a day and at one time when we visited there were 6, yes 6 cruises ships. Even if only a 1/3rd of the passengers disembarked, can you imagine 5000+ tourist in a small area.

                  Out and about:
                  Oia (pronounced ‘ee-yah’)
                  Wonderful Oia, with its views across the caldera. Oia is the home of Santorini’s most famous snapshot – a blue-domed church that’s graced countless holiday brochure covers. It is also the place to catch Santorini’s legendary sunsets.

                  If you want to go on a tour that goes only to Oia, try to avoid any that includes a winery trip, the wineries are just tourist traps. Also, when you get to Oia, use the public conveniences (if you need to!) by the shops where the busses drop off. Do not use the "proper" toilets well into the town as cubicles are minimal and queues are maximum. This would waste most of your free time in this beautiful town.

                  You can visit here by bus; the bus station is on the main road, a short walk from the top of the cliffs. On your return, all buses go to Thira first.

                  Akrotiri
                  A bit like Pompeii, it was frozen in time by ash from a volcanic eruption.

                  Beaches
                  The best beaches are on the eastern side of Santorini. This area is green and not like the western side that overlooks the Caldera. Try Kamari, this sandy stretch was named one of the Cyclades’ best beaches by the Daily Telegraph.

                  Enjoy, it is a stunning place and if you are there for the sunset, fantastic.
                  Last edited by Peter D, Wrexham; 16th March 2014, 02:22 PM.
                  Peter D


                  Link to my Photo Albums:

                  http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/PeterJD01

                  Comment


                    #10
                    An excellent report on Santorini Peter D. The only thing I would add was that our shore excursion included a trip to a winery which we thoroughly enjoyed. We were early off the ship so didn't breakfast. The olives, cheese and bread supplied with the wine at 9.30 in the morning were very welcome and delicious. The stop also gave us a great photo opportunity as it was perched on the edge of the cliff with terraces overlooking the caldera. Drinking wine so early in the day was a bit of a culture shock to us but we enjoyed it so much we repeated the tour a couple of years later. From the winery we moved on to Oia which is gorgeous and not to be missed!
                    From Katakolon we did the tour of Olympia which was hot and dusty but very beautiful. It was quiet and peaceful and the closest we have come to antiquity. I would recommend both these tours. I am not very fit and have a dodgy back but I managed the amount of walking on both these even though the brochure described them as strenuous. Just set your own pace and they are manageable. It is true that there can be long queues for the cable car down from Thira to the tender station but if you time it nicely and don't leave it till the last minute before returning it will reduce the wait. We have experienced waits of a couple of minutes and half an hour which were not too bad.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      hillybilly, from the sound of your wine trip you went to Santo winery, just above the port. Our hotel was just down the road from there and the views are fantastic. I would also add if possible take a trip around the Caldera, there are hot springs in between the two islands in the Caldera and it is nice to swim in there.
                      Peter D


                      Link to my Photo Albums:

                      http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/PeterJD01

                      Comment


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