I am not a huge fan of package holidays; in fact, I have only been on two in my lifetime, but both times I did go, I enjoyed myself more than I thought.
It was approaching the end of my exam period, during my final year at university. It has been a stressful time, and I felt I needed to have a break, a nice break, in the sun (I love the sun!), to unwind before starting out in the big bad World of work. So I booked one week, in the sun with Thomas Cook Holidays, for myself and my then boyfriend, as a surprise – he was told to pack for the sun, and the destination was revealed at the airport (this is something I do often!)
We (or rather I), choose to go to Rhodes in Greece, and the package consisted of flights, transfers and a hotel with half board (meaning we got breakfast and dinner). I did enjoy this option, as it left us not too tided down to the resort. We could have an early breakfast (steal stuff from there to eat at lunch), and a later evening meal – with tons of time to explore in between time.
We stayed at the luxurious Lindos Bay Hotel. It was by far, the fanciest place I had set foot in. Marble floors, great views over the sea an inviting pool and great food selection at breakfast and dinner.
We stayed 6 nights, 7 days and in between, did a lot of exploring. Here are some snapshots from my time in Greece – June 2009.
1. The Village of Lindos
Lindos Village, is a more upmarket version of Rhodes, and a far cry from the party town of Faliraki! The village sits in a bay, and is surrounded by mountains. There are many small alcoves and beach areas, which are often under populated. We hiked up a small mountain to get a good view of the bay area, and it was gorgeous.
Houses are tightly packed together, and built into the hillsides.
2. Acropolis – Lindos Village
This archeological site was built by the Romans in 1317, and is one of the villages main attractions. It is quite walk to the top to get there, but if you want, you can ride a donkey to the top (if you have any sense and respect for animals – you won’t though!)
We spent a few hours exploring the Acropolis, and the fortress like area around it.
There are also some really cute shops and markets in and around the village of Lindos, if you want to get something more authentic, other than the tourist tat they sell in the more typical tourist towns.
3. Rhodes Old Town
Rhodes Old Town, is about an hour from Lindos Bay, and you can either jump on a ‘tour’ bus (provided by your hotel), or get a series of local buses or a private taxi. We got a tour bus and had 6 hours to explore the town. It is a quaint wee place with cobbled streets and cute markets.
4. Sunbathing time
We decided to spend a few days, where we did nothing for most of the day, apart from swim, lie in the sun and read. It was a great wind down from the stresses of university exams – but I did get burnt, which is a lesson I don’t ever learn from!
Transport around the Lindos Bay area can be done easily by renting out a moped (scooter), bicycles, taking taxis or local buses. We got local buses, and they were super cheap at the time. There is not set timetable, Just got and stand on the main road (you’ll see the little red signs, as above), and a minibus will stop by and pick you up. You pay the driver once you get off at the stop you want.
Tips for a package holiday
- Don’t feel too pressured to buy into activities that the holiday rep advertises. We went scuba diving (it was my first time), and although it was good, but could have got a better price shopping around. We also paid for photos and a video, but when we got home, we realised that we got another couples photos, and even after writing to the company, we never got to see those photos, so exercise caution.
- All inclusive sounds like such a good option doesn’t it – all you can eat, drink; everything included. However, you more likely to wind up spending most of your time in the resort, and who wants that? Not me – get out and explore the country you are in, not just see the view from a sun lounger with a cocktail in your hand. Half board, or breakfast only is a good option. Chances are, there are really awesome local places to eat, which will have more authentic food, and will be much cheaper.
I haven’t been on a package holiday since 2010, I now enjoy making my own plans, and staying in a few places, which is what I will be doing soon in Turkey, but I won’t ever shrug off a package holiday in my lifetime again, they are good value for money if you want to stay in one place for your time.
Have you been on a package holiday? Or are you a more independent wanderer? I’d love if you’d comment below.