Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

We especially loved Sifnos for its authenticity and charm and which we included in our itinerary upon Jacoline's encouragement
Karen Hanley | July 26, 2023

Our family of 5 traveled to Greece for 2 weeks using WOW List specialist Jacoline Vinke and her team. With help from Jacoline, the trip we envisioned with our 3 adult “children” absolutely exceeded our expectations. Jacoline took the time to get to know us, our expectations and how we like to travel prior to planning a perfect itinerary. We spent 3 nights in Athens, 3 nights on Sifnos, 4 nights on Naxos and 3 nights on Santorini. Every detail from the moment we arrived in Athens was expertly planned. From our seamless transfers/ferries & beautiful hotel accommodations to our memorable tours & activities, we had an amazing trip start to finish. Each island was unique and offered different experiences, including a private tour of the Acropolis and an outstanding culinary tour in Athens, incredible catamaran/boat day trips on all 3 islands, an intimate cooking class on Naxos and kayaking in Santorini. We especially loved Sifnos for its authenticity and charm and which we included in our itinerary upon Jacoline’s encouragement. Traveling to a new country can be overwhelming and with so many options, Jacoline helped us to focus and create an itinerary that our entire family will remember for years to come. We’re already thinking about our next adventure!

She has written a book on small hotels in Greece, and that showed in the choices she gave us for our accommodations
Karen Baesman | June 20, 2023

We just returned from an amazing trip to Greece! We were a group of six — my husband, two of our children and their spouses (ages 29 and 27), and me. My husband had been to Greece for a week in 1986 when he was studying abroad and my daughter-in-law had been on a high school trip, but it was the first time for the rest of us. Our travel planner was Jacoline and I would enthusiastically recommend her! My daughter-in-law is in medical school and doesn’t always know when she will have breaks, so when I found out she had two weeks off in June, we were quite short on time to plan the trip, especially given the post-Covid demand. Normally, I research a place thoroughly before reaching out to a travel planner so that I can make sure we are seeing and doing what I know we enjoy. Due to the time crunch I wasn’t able to do this, so I had to trust Jacoline to take what I told her about our interests and preferences and come up with the perfect itinerary. She listened well and designed a trip with the right amount of active time and down time and the correct amount of history and cultural experiences. One of the things that stood out was her food recommendations. I don’t think I have ever had a vacation where almost every meal was reserved in advance, and we so enjoyed all of her recommendations! I had read on her WOW profile that she has written a book on small hotels in Greece, and that showed in the choices she gave us for our accommodations. Also, after we started planning the trip, we found out that our daughter was pregnant, so she had to make a few modifications (no biking!).

We spent two nights. Highlights were the guided tour of the Acropolis Museum and Acropolis, dinner at Aleria, and a performance of Madame Butterfly in the Herodeon!

We spent two nights. This was our favorite hotel of the trip, the Hydrea, because they had a terrace which was the perfect gathering place for our group and it had the perfect view of the town and harbor. We did a nine-mile hike with a trail runner as our guide. Part of the fun of traveling is meeting the people and he was an interesting one.

We spent two nights. We learned about past civilizations at Epidavros and Mycenae and had cultural experiences of visiting a family-run creamery and a family-run vineyard. The highlight was the family vineyard visit. We learned about how they grow the grapes, saw their olive groves and garden and then (the best part) we ate lunch with them. The food was prepared by the mom and it was all delicious! Of course we had wine with our food. What a great experience — laughing, eating and enjoying one another!

We spent four nights. We went sailing, kayaking, wine tasting, and had an island tour (the ruins at Akrotiri were fascinating). We are into wine (we built our current house around our first-floor wine cellar), but we had no idea how they grow grapes on Santorini (spoiler alert — they weave the vines into baskets). One of the highlights from this portion of the trip was our visit to a pottery shop. What made it so fun was the artist. Not only were his skills unbelievable, but he was quite the character!

Again, I highly recommend Jacoline and her assistant, Evan, if you are planning to travel to Greece.

Spending time with a wonderful family on their farm feeding their animals and making spanakopita as part of a huge feast on their terrace...
Karrie Evans | June 16, 2023
Karrie Evans

Karrie Evans and family on a private catamaran cruise in Santorini.

We had the privilege of working with Jacoline on our trip to Greece on 5/3/2023-5/13/2023. Our trip included Athens, Hydra and Santorini. She made the most of our short trip and somehow turned every single day into a highlight. I never thought I could say that about a vacation! There were 5 adults on this trip and we all had our favorites, which is a credit to her. Jacoline created experiences that we would have never done on our own, like spending time with a wonderful family on their farm feeding their animals and making spanakopita as part of a huge feast on their terrace, as well as private wine tours, personal guides to archeological sites, pottery classes, and a private cooking lesson on more amazing Greek food. We loved really getting to meet the people and understanding the culture. That is something that we would have never experienced on our own. Everyone worked together: drivers, guides, hosts…. It was truly an honor to meet them all and a testament to Jacoline’s vetting process and who she chooses to use. We loved the unique boutique hotels especially on Hydra, an island we never knew existed but quickly became our favorite. We never felt like a “tourist” but more of students in history class which we found fascinating. The biggest testament for Jacoline came from the guides who all sang her praises and listened to the stories, how she vetted them posing as a tourist. They were quite humorous! All of our guides/experiences were excellent and not the average tourist experience.

Jacoline is also gifted in providing us with balance. We pushed hard upon our arrival in Athens to make the most of the few days we were there before heading off to the island of Hydra. We had never heard of this island but after talking with Jacoline, she booked us in a wonderful mansion turned boutique hotel (Hydrea) that served us breakfast each morning on the terrace overlooking the water/town. Staff was very personable and allowed us to wander the property to look at the historic home. There are no cars or motorcycles so we enjoyed the peace and quiet, especially after a few days in Athens. If you get a chance, don’t miss this gem! We left Hydra to spend our last days in Oia (Santorini). Our pace picked back up for a grand finale day, touring vineyards before boarding our own catamaran for a half-day excursion which concluded with chasing the sunset. It pulled up and I said to my daughter “Wow, look at how big that one is. Wouldn’t it be awesome if it were ours?” She replied that it was ours. I almost cried because it was beautiful, not marked to get tourists’ attention, and huge! It was the perfect ending to the perfect vacation!!

Before our trip, we received our “play book,” otherwise know as the Piglet. It’s a very detailed day-by-day itinerary that includes where to be, what time, who our guide is, how to reach them, etc. It also included recommendations for shopping, dining, what to expect, etc. If you are not comfortable traveling in a foreign country by yourselves, this is for you! She and her assistant, Evan, stayed in contact with us during the trip as well and kept us updated on ferry changes, etc. They were in contact with us every step of the way.

This was our third trip using Wendy Perrin’s services. We have had great experiences on each trip and they just keep getting better!

P.S. I didn’t understand what the big deal was about sunsets in Santorini. Now I know!!

A wine-tasting at a vineyard overlooking the Caldera, kayaked to Santorini's various red, white and black beaches, had a pottery lesson with a 5th generation potter...
Jennifer Rosenberg | June 11, 2023

Jacoline and her associates planned the absolutely perfect trip for our family of four (two late-teen daughters, my husband and I) to Greece. We planned to travel to Greece at the request of my daughter when she graduated from high school and began college as a classical archeology major, but we didn’t know much about Greece or which areas to visit. Given the length of our visit (11 days), Jacoline suggested a couple days in Athens, and then on to Nafplio and Santorini. We were very happy with these selections, as it gave us some variety but with enough time to really explore and get to know each area.

In Athens, we had a private tour of the Acropolis and the associated museum, and a fantastic food tour with an Athens native who took through the meat and fish markets and to several non-touristy but locally-owned cafes, restaurants and small shops. In Nafplio, we saw the known archaeological sites, but also hiked to a remote monastery up in the cliffs (straight out of Game of Thrones) and visited a remote village where we met the “town Grandma,” who invited us into her home and served us coffee and fresh-baked treats on her porch overlooking the town, followed by lunch at a local tavern that my husband and daughter have declared the “best meal of their lives.” In Santorini, we had a wine-tasting at a vineyard overlooking the Caldera, kayaked to Santorini’s various red, white and black beaches, had a pottery lesson with a 5th generation potter, and finished our visit with a private sunset cruise on a catamaran. Each experience was unique and memorable and every guide was professional, knowledgeable and friendly.

Jacoline also helped us choose our various accommodations, which were all beautiful and enjoyed by our families. She helped us make restaurant selections and reservations, and we constantly commented that we felt like at each restaurant we were sitting at the best table in the house.

We had a couple of very, very minor hiccups and questions during our trip, and we emailed our questions to Jacoline’s office. I always got a response within minutes that they were looking for a solution or answer, and each time the problem was solved or question was answered within a couple hours.

All in all, we are so glad we relied on Jacoline and team to plan this trip, as we could never have planned this for ourselves. Everyone in my family agrees that this was a bucket-list trip and an absolutely fabulous experience. I would highly recommend Jacoline.

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