Cristy Patterson, our Europe Team Lead for Groups, recently visited Greece on a work trip. We caught up with Cristy to learn about travel in Greece at this time and to get some invaluable insight on selling trips to Greece to your clients.
1. Where did you travel?
I went to Athens, the capital of Greece.
2. What is the number one thing agents should know about Greece?
Despite it being a great country, Greece is not really an accessible-friendly nation. It has a lot of steps and uneven surfaces. Those travellers with mobility issues may find it tough to get around Greece.
3. What is the biggest misconception about Greece?
That Athens is dirty—it’s not true! Yes, the city is covered in graffiti, which a lot of North Americans may associate with being dirty, but in Greece, the locals use graffiti as a form of expression on political issues, to spread positivity, and, most importantly, to express themselves artistically. It adds a lot of personal flavour to the streets.
4. What was your favourite hotel?
The Amalia Hotel Athens was my favourite stay. It’s quiet, clean, comfortable, and in an excellent location. We also get great rates with our suppliers for this hotel, so its great value for our groups.
5. What new things did you learn about Greece?
I learned that Greece is the top cotton producer in Europe, and that they have tons of linens and cotton goods available for very good prices. I also learned that the town of Arachova is a very popular ski destination in the winter for travellers who want to ski Mount Parnassus. Skiing is not typically an activity you’d associate with Greece, but a lot of people go skiing there!
6. What was your favourite local experience?
I loved the cooking class! We got to chat with a lot of locals and visit the markets with time to do our own shopping (I bought Greek sea salt and paprika), which was then followed by an excellent cooking class with lunch.
7. What was your favourite individual landmark?
The Temple of Poseidon, which was a pleasant surprise. It was a lot like the Acropolis, but there was almost no one else there and we visited at sunset so the pictures were amazing. The Acropolis is gorgeous, but it’s very busy, so the Temple of Poseidon is a great alternative spot.
8. What were your favourite local dishes or drinks?
The spanakopita (cheese pies) were great! They are layers of phyllo dough filled with garlic, onion, feta, and spinach. When dipped in tzatziki they are so delicious!
9. What would be the perfect complement as an extension to this trip?
For a traveller on the 8-day Athens & Classical Greece itinerary, which takes them to Athens, Delphi, and Meteora, I would add a few nights on a couple of islands, such as Naxos or Paros. The 9-day Greece Deluxe, which adds on Santorini and Crete, or 10-day Greece Deluxe, which adds on Paros, Naxos, and Ios, are good extension options.
10. What are your top three tips for agents who want to sell Greece?
One: Branch out from the main islands and add on one of the more unique and less-travelled islands to give your clients a real sense of the local culture.
Two: Shoulder season brings pricing down from the levels in peak summer. Along with slightly lower pricing, your clients will also enjoy milder temperatures as Greece is very hot in the summer!
Three: Your clients should bring non-slip shoes because everything is made out of polished marble in Greece. Sure-footing is a must.