In June we welcomed our first Untourists back to Europe. After over a year of COVID-related closures, we were thrilled to see early interest in travel. As Greece was the first of our destinations to reopen its border to international visitors, our Nafplio Untour hosted our first guests, Sarah and Israel Quintal. Here they share their impressions of Untours, Greece, and travel in the new era.
What inspired you to travel to Europe this summer?
We’ve always wanted to take a trip to Europe but never quite had the opportunity, especially since COVID, obviously. The conversation first started with a possible business trip for Israel that I could possibly tag along on the tail end of, but when the business trip fell through we thought why not still try and go?! Our 10 year anniversary is next month and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate.
Above: Tulo Beach, 15 minutes from Nafplio.
How did you decide on Greece as your destination?
Greece has always been on my top list of places to visit in Europe, and since they were one of the first to accept tourists, it seemed an obvious choice! The blue, blue water and beautiful architecture are always what have attracted me to the country.
Above: the island of Hydra. Sarah reports: The boat to get there was pretty crowded, and masks were not enforced.
What stood out to you about your experience in Greece?
Seeing such an unbelievably old part of the civilized world was super neat. Also, seeing people from all over the world speaking all different languages around me is something I haven’t experienced in other Latin American countries I have visited.
Above: Israel contemplating the very empty ruins at Corinth.
What were the best parts of traveling during this historic time?
I think the lack of crowds. I am not sure just how big the crowds typically are in summer, but particularly in the archeological sites, it was not crowded at all!
Museums were open but of course required masks. I only saw people waiting in line once to enter a museum because of capacity controls. We never waited in line.
How was Nafplio?
We LOVED it! Here are some photos of the empty streets of Nafplio (above and below). Things seem to be open as normal. Masks are not used much outdoors but are still required indoors, though that doesn’t seem to be heavily enforced in Nafplio. However, inside the museums at the archeological sights, the mask rule is definitely enforced.
How about dining and restaurants?
There was no indoor dining when we were there. That was a countrywide policy. I was told this may change soon. Outdoor dining is perfect for dinner at night, but we were dining out around 3 one afternoon and it was pretty toasty for sure.
Below: a thriving outdoor dining scene in Nafplio’s central Syntagma Square.
Any tips for those planning to travel this summer?
Understand all the travel requirements for the different countries/airlines.
Remember to check the countries where you have layovers and flight connections too.
Enjoy outdoor experiences like archaeological sites and beaches.
Below: Sarah in Epidaurus, in the massive amphitheater that was empty.
How do you feel the Untours model of travel works during COVID?
It’s a great model that works well even during COVID. Loved getting the local experience and really did feel like we experienced Greek culture rather than visiting a more well known place. After our Untour we spent 3 days at one of the touristy islands and although it did have its own perks and was beautiful in its own way, I didn’t feel as if we experienced Greek culture there the way we did in Nafplio.
Below: Sarah and Israel at the ruins of Olympia, which were also very empty
Does Untours meet the new travel challenges of these times?
Yes, the support both in the US and on the ground was very helpful in navigating the travel. We even got a call the day of our trip just to make sure we knew about some extra info we needed to submit before arriving in Greece.
Things are changing by the week, but we will continue to monitor travel conditions in Greece and share updates with you.
In the meantime, check out Instagram for more photos and a cool video Israel shot of the views from the Palamidi Fortress.
We hope to see you soon in Nafplio!