GETTING THERE: For my trip in April over the Easter and Passover holidays, I found a sale price of $460 round trip from Washington to Athens on Northwest/KLM. During the summer, fares jump to $1,000 and well beyond, before dropping again in September.

GETTING AROUND: Greece's rail system is not as developed as many other European countries. Major destinations are well-served by the bus, while small towns might see a bus only once a day. Tales of woe about car traffic mainly relate to Athens, and we found it quite easy to find our way around the country by car (signs are in English and Greek). Once arriving in even the smallest towns, though, we'd get lost and have to ask the locals for directions. (English is fairly widely spoken.) Car rentals, including those from major American companies, start at about $30 a day.

WHERE TO STAY:

* In Athens: Ninety percent of hotels in Athens have been renovated in preparation for the Olympics, so chances are you won't find yourself in decrepit circumstances. For convenience, choose a hotel in the Plaka area (streets near Sintagma and the Acropolis) or downtown near Parliament. We found a Web sale price of $119 for a double at the downtown Hilton Athens (46 Vassillissis Sofias Ave., 800-HILTONS, www.hilton.com), but regular rates this summer begin at about $350. For something more reasonable, try the Acropolis House (Kodhrou 6-8, 011-30-210-322-2344), on a quiet street near the Acropolis, with rates from $85.

* In Napflion: We found it most convenient to book through a local, English-speaking travel agent at Palamidi Travel (011-30-7520-99160, www.palamidi.20m.com). We were happy with the budget choice he recommended, Hotel Leto (28 Zigomala St.), where rooms begin at about $65 per night. At twice the price, the gracious and romantic Ilion Hotel (4 Efthimiopoulou St.) is still worth the money.

* In Galaxidi: Ganimede Hotel (20 Gourgouris Rd., 011-30-22650-41328, www.gsp.gr/ganimede.gr) is a small, charming inn centered around an open-air courtyard. Doubles start at about $65.

* In Arachova: The Santa Marina Hotel (Voiotias 320, 011-30-22670-31230-4, www.santa-marina.gr) is a beautiful new luxury boutique property perched on a mountainside, with fabulous views from every balcony. Arachova is a short drive from Delphi and the base for a popular Greek ski resort. Weekday rates from $120 double are a bargain; weekends jump to between $181 and $265, depending on the season.

WHERE TO EAT: Our best meal was in the small town of Galaxidi at Bebelis, on North Mama Street , where local dishes like stuffed onions and pork and plums were cooked and served by the owner and his mother. The restaurant's English name doesn't appear on its signs, so ask a local once you get to North Mama Street.

In Napflion, try Noufara (3 Syntamatos Square), which serves Italian and Greek foods. Entrees range from $7 to $30, but most are about $12.

In Athens, for divine spanakopita, stop by the modest Gerofinikas (10 Pindarou), where entrees begin at about $10. For fish, try Phalasinos (36 Tsakalof). Entrees begin at about $15.

INFORMATION: Greek National Tourism Organization, 212-421-5777, www.gnto.gr or www.greektourism.com. For accommodations, try www.greekhotel.com, or the new private Web site, www.nyloo.com, which lists 16,000 lodgings, along with other tourist info.

-- Cindy Loose