Greece Travel Article – Credit Cards & Travel Safety

Greece Travel Article –  “Greece Update From Gwen Mead”

Avenue of Lions on Delos Island, Greece
Avenue of Lions on Delos Island, Greece

I’ve just returned from a most fantastic visit to Greece – during the most economically challenged period in modern history, and I would return in a heartbeat! The beauty of the country has not been affected by the economic crisis. The landscape is just as beautiful as ever, the beaches just as relaxing, the sun just as warm, and the people just as wonderful. All the reasons you could ever think to visit Greece are still there unchanged.

Credit Cards and cash availability

For the US traveler – credit cards issued by U.S. banks work with no restrictions. Clients should be prepared to bring enough Euros to cover expenses should shops and restaurants, metro and ferries require cash payments and for tipping and emergencies. The ATM’s are offering U.S. travelers Euros and there are ample ATM’s to choose from. All of the ETE Collection members transact business in USD, so US issued credit cards will always be accepted. They all have contingency plans in place to have ample cash reserves to cover operating expenses and payments to suppliers, and cover commissions. It’s business as usual!

The Greek islands are maintaining their supplies in high quantities, so restaurants, bars, and car rentals still transact with credit cards and no issues are being faced. The ATM’s in the islands have no one waiting in lines and machines are full. All visitors to the islands are commenting that if they did not read the news, they would not have known any issues were occurring.

Hotel Grande Bretagne, Athens Greece
Hotel Grande Bretagne, Athens Greece
Are there any safety issues? Any danger of unrest?

Greece is quiet and peaceful and the people are still as warm and hospitable as ever.
The Greek people understand very well that tourists are helping Greece and their economy and they love the American visitor. Furthermore, the Greek islands have always been peaceful and the atmosphere has never been affected by what happens in the capital.

I observed a peaceful demonstration in Athens, with lots of whistle blowing and children and dogs participating. Most demonstrations are scheduled, so authorities know when they will occur. The Grande Bretagne and King George have the best security in the world and they excel at making the guest experience safe and enjoyable. They have contingency plans and back doors to enter/exit away from the square. Athenians still enjoy coffee in the cafes blocks away from the protesters. These are democratic demonstrations in support of or against policies of their own government, not tourists. I’ve seen the strategic areas where the press broadcast – and they maximize any opportunity to “make news”.

Running the Athens Marathon Greece

Running the Athens Marathon in Greece

Temple of Zues Athens Greece
Temple of Zues, Athens

A few months ago at my annual check up at the doctor’s office, the nurse asked me if I was a runner as she was taking my vitals. “Yes, I’m a runner,” I confessed. I had recently done well in a 5k race, but I didn’t want to brag.

She lit up a little bit as she asked me,  “Yeah? Me, too!  I’m training for my third marathon. Have you done many of them?”

You know that feeling you have when you realize you’re out of your league? “Um, no, not exactly. I run a few times a week and mostly run in 5k races here and there,” I said.

“Oh. Well, that’s great, too. I just like the longer distances, I guess.”

When I meet people who are in training for a marathon, I can’t help but wonder if I, too, have what it takes to run 26.2 miles. There are different motivations for this feat. Some run for a cause, some for personal goals, some for competition.  I would need a healthy dose of all of these. But even then, I’d need the additional incentive of a terrific location to inspire me to keep going.  It’s races like the Athens Marathon that pique my interest, as a trip to Greece is a few notches higher on my bucket list than running a marathon.

The Athens Marathon, I discovered, is the same route run by Pheidippides, a soldier who ran from Marathon, Greece to Athens to announce the Greek victory over the Persian army in 490BC. Legend has it that just after his announcement he collapsed and died (training is important, people!). You can read more about it at www.athensmarathon.com.

Today, the Athens Marathon is still a big deal. Accomplished runners may even appreciate the terrain, as there are many uphill and downhill portions, adding to the challenge. I appreciate that the race acknowledges power walking, which might be the only way I could finish it. What we could all appreciate is that the course takes runners through historic landmarks, so that even during the race, you get to enjoy the sites of Greece, adding to the tourism element of the journey.

And that right there is the kind of motivation I would need, because if I’m going to move my body 26.2 without a vehicle, it needs to be a very scenic route.

Hotel Grande Bretagne, Athens Greece
Hotel Grande Bretagne, Athens

If you’re interested in running the Athens Marathon this year (it’s on November 9th), or just want to be there for the excitement, the Hotel Grande Bretagne offers participants a daily breakfast buffet overlooking the Acropolis and a special breakfast basket on the day of the race, among other amenities.

The travel specialists at CKIM Group can not only help you book the hotel, but they have some great options so you can make it a terrific trip. Contact CKIM Group at (321) 777-1707.

Article Written by Meredith George

You make the memories. We make the arrangements.

Related Article: Best Resorts in Greece

Best Resorts in Greece

Here is a List of the BEST Resorts in Greece

Many of these Luxury Resorts are offering Fall/Winter Specials you wont want to miss! “Welcome to Greece” Package Prices and specials good for any resort included in our Best Resorts in Greece list below. Minimum 7 nights stay required.

  • All reservations include:
    • Daily breakfast
    • 15% discount on spa services
    • Indigenous amenity
    • Complimentary Wi-Fi, Tax and service
  • Rates – 2014 Rates:
    • 2014 Low Season: Double $326, Single $299, Suite $666
    • Mid Season: Double $395, Single $367, Suite $816
    • High Season: Double $530, Single $503, Suite $1,075

Hotel Grande Bretagne, a Luxury Collection Hotel ( Athens )

Best Resorts in Greece - Hotel Grande Bertange
Best Resorts in Greece – Hotel Grande Bertange
  • Located on Syntagma Square, and only minutes from historical must-sees, exclusive shopping, open-air cafes, museums and the metro station. Constitution Square · Athens.
  • Taste of Luxury Special – Stay 3 Nights, Enjoy the 4th Night Free!
  • Rates from EUR 230
  • Get 50% off your second room plus kids eat free
  • Earn 3,000 bonus Starpoints® during your stay
  • Daily buffet breakfast
  • Daily complimentary in-room WiFi internet access
  • Late check-out at 16:00 (subject to availability)
  • Awarded Travel & Leisure Magazine’s Top 500 List for 2013
  • Awarded Conde Naste 2013 Gold List

Blue Palace, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa ( Crete ):

  • Enjoy 20% off when you book in advance. Travel to Elounda in Crete this season and save 20% off our best available rates.
  • Family Getaway in Two Bedroom Deluxe Room: Kids aged 17 years old and younger stay free in the Two Bedroom Deluxe Room.
  • Stay in unique bi-level Two Bedroom Deluxe Room with an enlarged outdoor space and a private heated pool overlooking the countryside.
  • Rates from €560/room /night
  • Awarded Conde Naste 2013 Gold List
Best Resorts in Greece  - Vedema
Best Resorts in Greece – Vedema

Vedema Resort, a Luxury Collection Resort ( Santorini )

  • Stay in the Dorian, Athenian, or Aegean Suites – Book 2 Nights, Enjoy the 3rd Night Free!
  • Stay in the Dorian, Athenian, or Aegean Suites –  Book 3 Nights, Enjoy the 4th Night Free!
  • Stay in the Dorian, Athenian, or Aegean Suites –  Book 6 Nights, Enjoy the 7th Night Free!
  • Stay in the Athenian Suite or Presidential Villa – Book 4 nights, Enjoy the 5th Night Free PLUS: Free car for the whole stay, 1 dinner per stay, and 1 wine tasting session, per stay
  • Awarded Travel & Leisure Magazine’s Top 500 List for 2013
  • Combine your luxury resort stay with a Santorini Sailing Adventure..LEARN MORE

King George, a Luxury Collection Hotel in Athens

  • The King George is located next to the Grand Bretagne on Syntagma Square and will be managed by the same incredible staff at the Grande Bretagne. The King George has a reputation for its “boutique feel” and extraordinary customer service. The 102 guest rooms have been refurbished with eclectic furnishings and the warmth of the natural wood floors. You will enjoy picturesque dining at the lovely Tudor Hall Restaurant With panoramic views over the city of Athens. Accessed via private elevator, the ninth-floor Penthouse Suite comprises a private outdoor pool. CONTACT US at 321-777-1707 to learn more.

CONTACT US at 321-777-1707 to book your stay at one of these best resorts in GREECE

Enjoy land and sea and make it a vacation to remember, combine your resort stay with a LUXURY YACHT CHARTER.

 

Mystique, a Luxury Collection Resort ( Santorini ): Stay 4 nights, Pay for 3 nights!

Book a 3 nights stay and get 4th night free at Mystique Villas. The package is valid for stays in  October 2013, 3 night minimum stay in a Vibrant, Allure or Spiritual Suite. Luxury Holidays, 7th night free!  Book a 6 nights stay and get 7th night free. The package is valid for stays in September and October 2013. 6 night minimum stay in Vibrant, Allure Suite or Spiritual Suite. 3 Senses Package! Valid from 15 September to 31 October 2013, double. 2 nights minimum stay in any room type,  5% off contracted rates,  50 euro F&B credit per stay, wine tasting for 2, once per stay.