WE ARE A GROUP OF SEVEN FRIENDS AGED 50 TO 65. IN OCTOBER WE ARE PLANNING TO SPEND THREE NIGHTS IN ATHENS AND THEN 10 ON SANTORINI. WE WERE PLANNING THREE DAYS IN ISTANBUL BUT FEEL IT MIGHT BE BETTER TO SPEND THAT TIME IN ANOTHER PART OF GREECE, PERHAPS THE PELOPONNESE. WOULD IT BE BEST TO HIRE A MINIBUS AND DRIVE OURSELVES OR IS THERE A BETTER OPTION? WE ARE ALSO CONSIDERING CYPRUS. IS THAT RELATIVELY SAFE?
L. MACFARLANE, EPPING
The Peloponnese is packed with wonders from the ancient world – the Theatre at Epidaurus, Messini, Mystras, once known as Sparta, Mycenae, Corinth and Olympia, original home to the Olympic Games to name just a handful. Driving yourself around would work but for seven with luggage you're probably going to need two vehicles. Even something like a VW Caravelle is not going to cope with that number. Three days is a little short. You'd be better off reducing your time in Santorini, perhaps to a week, and giving yourselves more time on the Peloponnese.
With seven days on Santorini you might take in some of the other Cycladic Islands. Just to the north is Naxos, with its warren of streets seeping through the medieval town to the Venetian fortress. By the standards of the Greek islands the terraced interior of Naxos is an oasis, lushly watered and quilted with olive groves, vineyards and giant fig trees so ancient that they have burst open, and provided the villages with a convenient niche in which to install roadside shrines. Between the two islands is Ios, where Homer came to die, and possibly the most serene and likeable small island in the Aegean.
Nothing wrong with Cyprus, and you need have no concerns about safety, but unless some of your group have a connection with the island the Peloponnese would be a more rewarding experience.
For accommodation, take a look at Jacoline's Small Hotels in Greece smallhotelsingreece.com.