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Greek Island Hopping 2003 (Independent Traveller's Guides) Paperback – 3 Feb 2003
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This volume covers every inhabited Greek island and mainland port, and the Turkish Aegean coast. It contains hundreds of clear town and island maps. There are details of accommodation to suit all budgets and detailed notes on sightseeing and antiquities, including many 3-D style plans. It is suited both to the experienced traveller and first time island hopper. The guide includes comprehensive ferry timetables and has essential information on those ferries to avoid. The book is complemented by its own website, internet cafes are also mapped and listed, and is designed in a format which is compact and portable.
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As a wholly independent measure of its comprehensive information, try a direct comparison with Cadogan's recently-published (and very poor) 'Greek Island By Air'. Air travel is only a minor part of Mr Poffley's guide, but he manages to include more information on Greece's internal flights than in Cadogan's entire guide.
In fact, Mr Poffley's 2001 guide is bang up to date, and even includes information on the new Athens airport at Spata, set to open in March 2001. He has even sketched-out his 'best guess' bus service to and from the new facility. That's what I call optimistic. The guide's island town maps are excellent, many of them based on those originally shown in Geoffrey O' Connell's 1980s Greek travel guides, "GROC's Candid Guide to the Greek Islands" (a multi-volume series well worth tracking down). On the other hand, the island road maps are not so good, mainly due to lack of space. For example, previous editions of Greek Island Hopping included an incorrect map of Mykonos, one of the most popular smaller destinations, featured a third major town -Marathi - which didn't exist. In addition, the same map had a huge reservoir / salt flat masquerading as dry land. (Very awkward if you are on a moped!) Luckily this has been corrected in the 2001 edition. So don't rely 100% on any of the road maps and make sure you double-check your co-ordinates with, for example, one of the new 'Road Edition' Greek island maps before you plan to travel, or reliable local sources. But the town maps are superb.
Mr Poffley's reviews of each ferry's 'comfort factor' are particularly useful and he is critical of Greece's national policy of keeping some of its older rustbuckets in action. But don't buy this guide expect an accurate timetable of Greek island ferries for 2001. The information is compiled at the end of the year prior to publication and therefore can only give a rough general guide to what ferries are running and when... But you really have to be there, at dockside, to ascertain exactly what's happening on any given day. And if you buy this guide, that's where you will find yourself, sitting in the shade with a cold Amstel, planning your next journey to that smudge on the horizon.
Will try to do better this year!
It also has it's own website with last minute extras that didn't make it into the published guide.
We bought a couple of guide books and took them all with us but the rest never left the pocket of the rucksac, we just didn't need them!
It really seems like this guy has explored every inch of every single island covered! And its written in a very readable informal style too, and made me laugh a few times, which is a first for a guide book.
It is not practical in terms of being a day-to-day guide on how best to enjoy the greek islands.
However it does provide some good historical info and concentrates on physically travelling between the islands - but that is all it provides.
Exchanged this book for the Lonely Planet guide which gives more detailed hotel/restaurant/activities information.
This book gives the reader the false impression that the Greek islands' accommodation offers no more than campgrounds and cheap, crowded hostels, and the only way to get around is by public bus. And oh yes, there is the occasional odd hotel that is invariably "expensive".
So if you are looking for information on the Greek ferry system go ahead and buy this book, but be aware that you may feel alienated if you don't belong to the backpacking crowd.
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