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Old 08-20-2019, 10:24 AM   #10
Meredith AK
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Join Date: Oct 2013
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Default Italy and Greece tips

I was born overseas and have been to both countries countless times.

I would choose May over April. It's warmer and everything is green and flowering at that time.

Most folks speak fairly good English, so not sold on tours as I think you can get a lot more "local" flavor by going at it with a group of 2 or 4. As long as you have your places to stay booked (recommend air-b-n-b's) and a good data plan for GPS, no reason you can't drive, take ferries, trains, etc. to various destinations.

Contact your credit card company, mobile phone carrier and bank in advance to advise them of your trip so you don't have any issues. Both Italy and Greece are still big cash societies, but many places will take plastic. You're better off asking your bank to make sure your debit card will work and hit the ATM's for cash every few days.

I typically take paper copies of everything, but in todayís age, I use my phone to take pictures of credit cards, travel documents, hotel reservation confirmations, etc. Even if you donít have Wi-Fi, you can still get your pictures

You will need an electric converter for charging all your electronics. Make sure to get a universal one.

If you're going to the museum at the base of the Acropolis, they have glass floors; make sure any of the ladies wear shorts or pants and no skirts.

Good walking shoes and a good back pack as in all places you'll be doing quite a bit of walking. Taxis are typically cheaper in Italy and Greece vs Uber.

You can barter with the small shop owners; typically about a 15% or greater discount on the posted price. Especially if you pay cash. In Florence, there is a whole street for leather goods. Highly recommend you do some shopping there for wallets, pocketbooks, etc.

The trains in Italy are fantastic and high-speed. No need to drive to and from major locations as the trains work out well and will typically drop you in the city center and will be much faster than buses or driving.

For car rentals, unless you have a specific company you use, I'd go with SIXT rent-a-car. They are everywhere you mentioned.

The metro system in Athens is also very good; I wouldn't drive there, but elsewhere for sure. Santorini is my favorite island. Make sure to spend a few days there for awesome sunsets and black sand beaches. Rent a moped to get around for a day or two. Warning - the black sand gets really hot so wear your flip flops all the way to the water's edge.

In Florence, Iím not a big museum guy, but you MUST go to the Uffizi Gallery museum. I believe youíll need to buy tickets for a specific time slot in advance. Itís worth it for the guided tour.
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