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I’ve posted before about the Greek islands, but I’m always looking to pass along new tips and advice on these ever-changing isles. A few bits of wisdom I’ve accumulated recently:
Visit Folegandros: I met locals who suggested a trip to Folegandros, an undeveloped, very beautiful island that draws in-the-know travelers. I suggest spending a few quiet days here before heading to livelier Mykonos or Santorini.
If you tend to get bored after a few days in a single destination, consider visiting Greece, where it’s easy to hop between neighboring islands. I recently spent time on Mykonos and Santorini, which are linked by regular two-hour high-speed catamaran service. Crowds thin and room rates fall in September and early October, making those six weeks a great time to visit. Here are resort options on both:
Mykonos: If you love sun, fun, and nightlife, this party-centric island is the one for you. But couples with a more low-key or romantic sensibility can find lots to love, too. You’ll enjoy its bohemian charms, especially from sunset on, and spending three or four days here – and renting a small car or one of the ubiquitous ATVs (Quads) – will let you sample its many beaches, appealing small eateries, and the maze of streets in Mykonos Town (don’t miss sunset from the patio of a small bar or café in Little Mykonos, with its view of the island’s iconic windmills – shown above at left).
Known for catering to the LGBT market in a particularly jetset way, it seems only natural that Steele Luxury Travel (www.SteeleTravel.com) has partnered with private sale site Jetsetter (www.Jetsetter.com) to offer discounts on its signature trip, a seven-day villa escape in Mykonos August 21 to 28, 2011.
What exactly is a villa escape? It’s you and 20 of your (soon-to-be) closest gay friends in three pimped-out villas all sharing a central pool and BBQ area. There are houseboys for making drinks and serving snacks and helping you with errands. There’s daily maid service and a private chef for healthy brunches and one wine-laden group dinner. There are discounts on excursions and as much relaxation or go-go camaraderie as you want. Basically, it’s a full-service home base to experience all that Mykonos in full-swing has to offer; a late summer share for the international set. Read more
I find choosing a hotel in Mykonos a bit like picking one in South Beach – there just isn’t an obvious perfect choice. Nevertheless, here is a rundown of my best picks.
San Marco Hotel (www.sanmarco.gr) While San Marco looks like a large resort it actually has about 80 rooms. The hotel is perfect for families and couples looking for an overall great value. The decor blends traditional Greek with some modern elements, and the hotel is situated so as to enjoy spectacular sunsets. It’s just a 10-minute car ride to town (unlike resorts on Ornos Bay and other beaches). This is always the question in Mykonos: to stay in or outside of town. Staying outside of town is usually better if one prefers to relax at the hotel. If one is planning to go out in town each night, then a hotel in town is the better choice. Read more
1. Andaz San Diego’s Last-minute Pride Sale (also valid beyond Pride)
Attention procrastinators and impulse travelers: tomorrow is San Diego Pride, the fifth largest in the nation, and Hyatt’s Andaz Hotel has a deal for you. (A bit late to the game, but with a property this pretty, we’ll excuse anything.) Priced from $209 the Pride Welcome Package includes stylish accommodations, daily breakfast for two, late check out till 4pm, a surprise welcome amenity and tailored LGBT travel info courtesy of the concierge. With a historic Gaslamp Quarter location away from the North Park and Hillcrest hoopla, its rooftop pool is perfect for relaxing after the mania of the parade, festival, performances by Eve and Devo (yes, that Devo, pictured above) and whatever other laid-back sun and fun San Diego throws at you. Book here with code LGBT10 or call 619-849-1234. Can’t make it this weekend? The package is available at all Andaz properties worldwide through December 30. Check out our San Diego Travel Guide.
2. Win a trip to Dallas Gay Pride
Strap on your spurs and kiss a cowboy for luck, because the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau is giving away an all-inclusive weekend package for two to the 27th annual Dallas Pride September 17–20. Prize package includes two roundtrip flights on American Airlines, a four-day three-night stay at the W Dallas-Victory Hotel, dinner at its signature restaurant Craft, and two passes each to Gay Day at Six Flags Over Texas (wheee!) and Gaybingo Dallas (it’s not just for grannies anymore). Click here to enter; sweepstakes ends July 29, 2010. See everything to look forward to in our Dallas Travel Guide.
Dreaming of a Mediterranean getaway? Luxury tour operators Abercrombie & Kent recently added seven villas on the Greek isle of Mykonos to their collection of lavish European rentals. These spacious, white-washed homes-away-from-home range from three to five bedrooms, and all offer stunning views of the turquoise Aegean Sea. With private pools, outdoor barbecues, and modern conveniences like Wi-Fi there may be no need to leave your new abode, but the island’s sandy beaches and picturesque towns are never too far away. As with any A&K rental, guests can opt for just the villa or go for the full package, which includes an introductory tour of the neighborhood, arrival dinner, daily maid service, and an A&K representative on-call for the duration of their stay. The villas go for $9,000 to $32,000 per week. To book, visit akvillas.com.
For more trip-planning information, see our Mykonos Travel Guide.
For those who haven’t come to Mykonos, I suggest putting this near the top of your list. I’ve been going for 18 years and I always have a good time. I also always hate to leave, and that’s the mark of a great destination.
Mykonos offers gorgeous beaches (of all sorts – party spots, secluded coves, singles havens, family enclaves, gay/lesbian spots, etc.), a super charming town that’s wonderful for evening promenades, excellent restaurants (Greek, Italian, Continental, Japanese, and more) with a good dose of fresh seafood, boutique shopping (consider well-crafted gold jewelry), and nightlife for everyone from the person wanting a little night cap to heavy club partiers. Read more
This unique package covers three remarkable Mediterranean destinations on one low-priced six-night tour. Your trip begins in Athens with several days to explore the city’s narrow winding streets, traditional cafes and shops, and ancient Acropolis. Next, you’ll board a flight to lively Mykonos, celebrated nightlife capital of the Greek Islands, and then round out your tour with two nights in Istanbul, Turkey’s ancient yet nowadays hip city that straddles both Europe and Asia. Priced at $980 per person, this package covers two nights’ hotel per destination, international airfare and local flights between cities, and breakfast daily.
The Greek Islands are among the world’s most popular tourist destinations and it’s easy to see why. Praised since the days of Homer, this legendary archipelago draws millions of visitors every summer for its fine beaches, picture-perfect whitewashed villages, and glamorous nightlife. Now you can visit four gorgeous Aegean Islands with this affordable ten-night island-hopper package. Your exciting itinerary begins with two nights in Athens, then ferries you over to three stunning ports in the Cyclades: Mykonos, Paros, and Santorini. Your adventure concludes with a stay on the fascinating Greek Island of Crete where you can explore the famous Minoan Palaces Knossos and Phaistos, and savor a glass of cold raki, a powerful Cretan sprit distilled from crushed grape skins. Starting at just $1139, the vacation includes round-trip international airfare between the US and Athens, two nights’ hotel in each destination, plus all local flights and ferries.
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