Travel à la Carte is a Member of ABTA (membership number V2429). ABTA and ABTA Members help holidaymakers to get the most from their travel and assist them when things do not go according to plan. We are obliged to maintain a high standard of service to you by ABTA’s Code of Conduct. We have lodged a bond with ABTA which means that you are financially protected when you buy a package holiday from us. For further information about ABTA, the Code of Conduct and the arbitration scheme available to you if you have a complaint, please see www.abta.com.
We provide financial protection for your money when you buy a package holiday. If you buy other travel arrangements such as accommodation only this protection doesn't apply.
If you wish to reserve a particular property for the following year, we are very happy to take provisional reservations in advance of publication of our prices. If while on holiday you wish to view a particular property, please ask our local representative if this is possible.
The cats and dogs in Greece are very often strays. Even those that are not are rarely looked after as they would be in England. On health grounds we therefore advise against physical contact with these animals, especially in the case of children. One or two of our villa owners keep cats or dogs and if this is likely to disturb you, please mention it when booking. In addition, since many of our villas are in rural locations, encounters with local animals and insects, including rodents, are not uncommon. If this is likely to trouble you, please enquire when you discuss your booking with us.
You may, if you so wish, call us on 0207 286 9255 or email us before booking in order to discuss availability and which property and location will best suit your requirements.
Our office hours are 09:00 – 18:00 Monday to Friday and, in addition, 10:00 – 14:00 on Saturdays from January to August.
On many islands, a boat is a very convenient and enjoyable way of getting around, being ideal for finding hidden coves and beachside tavernas. Generally speaking it is no longer necessary to book hire boats in advance but if you would like information on availability and cost, please let us know.
Booking and Payment
If you have booked your holiday online, you will be advised of the deposit payable during the booking process and told how to pay this. If you have booked your holiday by phone or email, we will advise you of the deposit payable, which you should send to reach us within five working days of booking. We will then confirm your booking to you in writing.
The deposit for all holidays is 25%, with the balance of your holiday cost payable eight weeks before departure. If you book less than eight weeks before the departure date, you must pay the total amount at the time of booking.
Please note that we charge 2% for all payments by credit card but we do not charge for payment by personal debit card or cheque.
There is a charge of £30 for each alteration made to cover administrative costs (see Booking Conditions). Breakages
We ask for local breakage deposits only at a small selection of our properties. In general, if there are any breakages during your stay, please report them, even minor ones, to our representative and agree a suitable replacement cost before your departure. This ensures that guests coming after you will find the villa properly equipped.
You can book car hire in advance at all our destinations. If you book a holiday on Paxos or Symi online, then the prices of the vehicles available will be shown on the same page as the cost of the villa. If you book a holiday at another destination online, or if you book by phone or email, please ask us for details of prices and vehicles available. Our car hire prices all include unlimited mileage, except for rentals for three days or less in Epirus or the Peloponnese, where 100km per day is included. You must be over 23 years of age and have held a full licence for at least a year to hire a car in Greece.
We can provide high chairs and cots in our accommodation at a cost of £30 per week. The charge for cots does not include linen.
When choosing a holiday for the family, you may wish to consider the facilities available to younger members of the group. Our staff will be pleased to offer advice on the suitability of each of our destinations and properties for children of all ages.
Most facilities and amenities are within close proximity and children can be watched easily from the tavernas, making a relaxing holiday for parents.
As children get older, they may want something more than snorkelling or a fishing net. On Paxos there are watersports and windsurfing at Monadendri and Loggos. In addition you can take the express boats to Anti-Paxos to swim at the island’s fine sandy beaches. We can also arrange tennis near Loggos. On Kefalonia there are watersports on Makris Yialos, Skala and Anti Samos beaches, riding at Sami and scuba diving at Fiscardo and Agia Efimia. Scuba diving is also available at Sivota on the coast of Epirus and at Kardamili in the southern Peloponnese. Small boats can be hired in Loggos, Lakka and Gaios on Paxos, in Fiscardo, Agia Efimia and Skala on Kefalonia, in Vathi on Ithaca and in Sivota on the coast of Epirus.
The official currency of Greece is the euro. As the UK is not in the euro zone, the value of sterling against the euro varies on the foreign currency markets. As a rough guideline, the pound is now worth about 1.18 euros. If you pay for purchases with a debit or credit card, your account will be debited by the sterling equivalent of the euro and you may have to pay a bank handling charge. You can, of course, also take euro travellers’ cheques.
If you would like more information, speak to your bank or consult the travel pages of the Foreign Office website www.fco.gov.uk or the European Central Bank website at www.euro.ecb.int.
Driving to Greece
If you wish to drive to Greece, you should allow around two to three days for the journey by car from the UK. If you do not wish to drive the entire distance, motorail services operate between Hertogenbosch (Netherlands) and Livorno (Italy) and Koper (Slovenia), and between Düsseldorf (Germany) and Bolzano (Italy) and Villach (Austria). There are car ferries from Trieste, Ancona, Bari and Brindisi to Igoumenitsa and Patras on the Greek mainland.
Some properties have space to accommodate an extra person. If there is no divan bed available, we can supply a put-up bed for this extra person. Extra beds are usually set up in a sitting room, with no hanging or shelf space. We will advise you of the charge for an extra bed when you book.
Although we no longer sell flights, we retain great expertise in the flight market and are very happy to help you to find the best and most convenient travel arrangements. Just ask any of our staff and we can point you to the best websites to check for flights for a particular destination and thereby help you to get the best prices. All our destinations are served by budget airlines as well as by charter flights, meaning that you have considerable flexibility as to which days you choose to travel and for how long you stay.
If you book our full Meet and Greet Service, we provide a welcome pack in your accommodation so that you have essential supplies until you can venture out to the shops. The contents vary according to resort but usually include bread, water, tea, coffee, sugar, marmalade, butter, biscuits, wine, milk and fruit juice. We provide an initial supply of toilet paper, washing up liquid and a sponge in all properties.
Foreign Office Travel Advice
You can obtain up-to-date information about your holiday destination and advice for British citizens travelling abroad from the Foreign Office. Contact the Travel Advice Unit, Consular Division, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Old Admiralty Building, London SW1A 2PA (tel: 0870 606 0290, fax: 020 7008 0155) or visit the FCO website.
Health and Inoculations
Inoculations are not currently required for travel to the Greek Islands. Should this become necessary for any reason, we will notify you before you travel.
We consider comprehensive travel insurance to be essential. If you are travelling to the Greek islands, it is particularly important that your insurance policy includes cover for additional expenses arising from missed or cancelled ferry connections resulting from strikes, adverse weather conditions, mechanical breakdowns and other causes.
Linen and bath towels are included in the price of your holiday. Linen is changed weekly. Towels for the pool or beach are not usually provided.
The frequency of maid service is six times a week on Symi and three times a week on Paxos. Elsewhere it varies but is always at least twice a week and in some properties it is daily.
You must vacate your villa by 10:00 on the morning of departure, so that the maid has time to clean the accommodation before the next guests arrive.
In the unlikely event of you or one of your party having an accident or falling ill, the medical care available in Greece is now generally of a good standard. Also, increasingly, medical staff are able to speak English. There are doctors at all our destinations and their details can be found in the Information Books in your accommodation.
The local currency is the euro, in which most payments have to be made. More and more retailers and restaurants are accepting credit cards but you should not take it for granted that you will be able to pay by this method, especially on the smaller islands.
All our destinations have bureaux de change or tourist offices where you can exchange travellers’ cheques and sterling for euros and all have at least one ATM where you can withdraw cash.
In Greece, the working day starts early in the morning and finishes late at night, with local people travelling to and from work by car, moped and motorcyles, which are noisy. Greek youngsters increasingly regard motorcycles as a status symbol and when riding them do little to control the noise they make, even at night. Machines aside, those who travel to Greece regularly will be familiar with countryside noises from animals such as donkeys, cockerels and dogs. These can start their clamour annoyingly early in the day. And while none of our villas is next to a bar or disco, the sound of the music does travel on the night air and will be heard in some accommodation. In addition, the locals may organise musical events without warning which can prove noisy.
If you are especially concerned about noise, please speak to us before booking.
Finally, a note on building work. There is increasing pressure on owners to renovate and improve their properties, and this can lead to building work, sometimes noisy, being started without warning near any of our properties. We will of course endeavour to advise you as soon as possible if such work should begin near the accommodation you have chosen. The quietest time of day in Greece is siesta time between 14:30 and 17:30.
Our office hours are 09:00 – 18:00 Monday to Friday and, in addition, 10.00 – 14:00 on Saturdays from January to August. Tel: 0207 286 9255
You must advise us of the names of all members of your party when you book your holiday. If you wish to increase the number of people included in your holiday booking, you must tell us, and we may need to adjust the price of your holiday accordingly. Only persons whose names you have notified to us will be allowed to stay in the accommodation booked.
Passports and Visas
British citizens need a full 10-year UK passport to travel to Greece. Children (including infants) not already included on their parents’ passports require their own passport if they are travelling abroad. The name and initial on your airline ticket must correspond with the name on your passport. You can find information about obtaining a British passport on the Home Office website and there is also a helpline (0870 521 0410).
If you do not currently possess a British or EC passport, contact the Greek Consulate (020 7221 6467) to enquire whether a visa is required.
Holiday prices include the components of the holiday as booked and listed on your confirmation invoice. Villa prices quoted on the website are for the accommodation part of your holiday only, with separate prices quoted for car hire and our Meet and Greet service, where these are available.
We do all we can to ensure everything is right for your arrival and the facilities and service during your stay give no cause for complaint. However, if there should be something you find unsatisfactory, please inform our local representative immediately, as they are there to help, inform and put things right. Please do not wait until you return home to lodge any complaint, as we can do nothing if our local representative has not been informed.
We are proud to have a hard-working team of representatives, who look after our clients with great care at all our destinations. They are familiar with the resorts and have considerable local knowledge. They will give you very sound advice and, in the event of an emergency, will be there to help. They will not intrude upon your time (or try to sell you anything) but you can be assured of their assistance when needed.
Second or Further Holidays in the Same Year
If you book a second or third holiday with us in the same year, you will be eligible for a discount. In each case, this discount will be calculated as being equal to 5% of the lowest priced holiday booked.
A number of our properties in Greece are suitable for people travelling on their own.
On your day of arrival, you will not normally be able to occupy your accommodation before 13:00 local time. On your day of departure, we ask you to vacate your accommodation by 10:00 so that the maid will have time to prepare it for the next guests. If you are travelling on a late return flight, our local staff will endeavour to make arrangements for your luggage to be looked after and, where possible, a shower and changing facilities to be made available for your use.
We offer a full Meet & Greet service on Paxos and Symi, and a limited service at our other destinations. The full service includes someone to meet you on arrival at the airport/port, the arrangement of all transport transfers to the villa along with a Welcome Food Hamper on arrival and then, at the end of the holiday, the arrangement of all your return transfers back to the airport. This service is particularly useful on a ‘harder to reach’ island such as Paxos, as it relieves you of all worries about reaching and returning from your destination once in Greece, particularly in the peak summer months, when local transport can be busy and fully booked.
Several of our holiday destinations are relatively close to each other and you may therefore wish to divide your holiday between two resorts. You can easily combine a holiday on Paxos with one on Epirus by using the ferry to Igoumenitsa or a sea taxi, and a holiday on Kefalonia with one on Ithaca by using the local ferry. It is also possible to combine a holiday on Paxos or in Epirus with a holiday on Kefalonia or Ithaca using the scheduled flights from Corfu or Preveza. If you are interested in a two-centre holiday, then please ask us for advice, as ferries and flights do not operate every day of the week.
If you are visiting the Greek islands for the first time, you should not necessarily expect to find the same standard of furnishings and fittings as you enjoy at home, although more high quality villas are now being built. The difference in the climate dictates differences in the way of life.
Greeks spend most of their time outside in the sunshine and warm air, so many houses have much simpler and more functional furniture. Greeks tend to relax with friends sitting at the table over a good meal and a glass of wine, not round the fire on upholstered suites, so Greek sitting rooms are usually more like English dining rooms, insofar as there can be a comparison.
There is a similar contrast in kitchen equipment. All our villas and kitchens have a fridge and cooking facilities, and all are adequately equipped with linen, crockery, glassware and cutlery. Most villas also have electric kettles, toasters and irons but not all have a dishwasher. A certain number of cool boxes are also available for clients’ use.
Each villa has hot and cold running water and at least one bathroom or shower room. Almost all bathrooms have a shower rather than a bath. In one or two villas the water is heated by solar power and the supply of hot water therefore depends on the weather being relatively sunny.
We do not recommend Greek tap water for drinking and you should instead buy bottled mineral water. Water in general is a precious commodity in Greece, as most areas have virtually no rainfall during the summer months. The inhabitants depend entirely on storing the winter rain and, when that runs out, water has to be bought at considerable expense. Water shortage may result in low water pressure in showers and taps and, if there is an acute shortage of water at our holiday destinations, we will do all we can to ensure that our clients do not suffer. You must, however, realise that this is largely out of our control.
Everyone is an individual, every family has different needs. We pride ourselves on our ability to suggest and organise the right holiday, tailor-made to suit our clients. To help us with this, please ensure that you give us the most detailed information possible when booking. Tell us about your needs and expectations, and we will do our best to provide you with the perfect holiday.