Everyone can agree that the worst part of traveling the world is the economy class on the commercial planes. The tiny booth your legs squeeze in for hours combined with the disappointing food can be a real turnoff for your first day abroad.
What if I told you that there is a more adventurous way, one that is more experiential and unconventional? a truly VIP travel experience.
When was the last time you travelled by a private light plane? And no, it really is not as expensive as you may think. Actually, if you share the expenses then the cost difference versus a trip on regular commercial flights is not significant compared to the many and great benefits of such a trip.
This is the personal traveling experience of Amos. We would also love to hear your personal traveling story! Join our Facebook community to share your recent explorations, or send it to us directly. Perhaps you will be featured in our blog.
The Advantages of Traveling by Private Light Plane
Let’s start with the fact that we are flexible, not dependent on flight schedule of a commercial aviation company, can depart according to the schedule that suits us and land at destinations that can not necessarily be reached on regular flights.
It is also possible to shorten or extend the time of stay at the destination according to our wishes and skip between several destinations in a relatively short time.
At the airport we receive VIP service and do not stand in the tedious queues at the entrance and exit, and the equipment stays with us all the way.
Flying on a Light Aircraft
The flight experience itself is completely different. While in a normal passenger plane we fly at a height of 10km near a window facing one side and overlooking layers of clouds or distant land, on the light plane we fly at a two or three kilometers height and the whole space is spread out in front of us.
In addition to that, you get a panoramic view of 270 degrees, so you can see well the small details of nature and the man-made ones.
Flight enthusiasts among us will enjoy a perfect cockpit experience along the entire route, and if we are lucky, we may be allowed to hold on to the yoke and feel like real pilots for a moment.
Tips for Your Flight
For those I have already been able to convince, it is advisable to have a friend with a suitable pilot license, one that you can trust and get along with during the trip.
Don’t worry if you can’t find one, it is also possible to hire a professional pilot, which of course will increase the costs and yet if you ask me, it will be extremely worthwhile.
As we are going to visit multiple countries, I advise taking a Plug Adapter, a Wallet that can hold your passport and a Compact travel bag. These will be real life savers for such trip. Here are affiliated links to some of the best choices on Amazon:
Compact Travel Bag
It is also advisable not to be one of those who take their entire home with them on a trip and can get by with one trolley or travel bag, after all this is a light aircraft and it is also relevant to the weight and volume that can be loaded on it.
Now we will move from theory to the real world. In one of my recent trips, we flew with a Cessna plane in a truly breathtaking route –
Just before we get into details, lets overview the route briefly. We took off from the island of Malta in the central Mediterranean, and passed through Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean. We then continued to the southern part of the Italian boot and then heading east into Northern Greece ending the trip in Crets the largest of the Greek islands located south of Athens. As you can see in the map –
Taking Off From Malta
We arrived in Malta on a regular commercial flight and after three days of partying and scuba diving on this beautiful island with the rich history we made our way to the airport and boarded the Cessna plane that was waiting for us.
The Cessna can carry three passengers and a pilot, we were in a composition of two pilots and a passenger (me). After completing the ground arrangements we headed north towards Palermo the capital of the Italian island of Sicily.
Flying From Valleta, Malta to Palermo, Italy
From the moment we took off we had a shaky flying experience, below us is the city of Valleta the capital of Malta, which dates back to the 16th century with Baroque and Renaissance buildings and the walls that surround it alongside yacht moorings on one side and merchant ships on the other.
From the air, the views are spectacular and you can see the details of any street structure or boat moving on the water. After leaving the coast of Valleta we crossed the strip of sea that separates Malta from Sicily, and reach the wonderful southern coastline of Sicily, that greets us with the windsurfers and waves catchers that move quickly on the water.
We Continue into the interior of the island and pass picturesque towns surrounded by walls and towers, pass through the Lago Sciaguana a water reservoir with the turquoise waters that stand out against the desert background, wave hello to the Ethna the highest and most active volcano in Europe which is just west of us and seen everywhere through a layer of clouds.
Turning west, we fly towards the city of Palermo and its port, which is full of cruise and cargo ships. From there we descend in height to land at a small airstrip within the city.
The City of Palermo
A short drive to the city center we throw our belongings at the hotel and go on a tour of the bustling city of Palermo with its many palaces, churches and lively markets and most importantly, a happy atmosphere and excellent food.
The next day we rent a car and travel to the town of Corleone, the Segesta temple, De Gulfo castle and the town of Trapani. In the evening return to Palermo to get some good night rest before we continue to our next leg.
Next morning heading back to the airstrip and take off towards mainland Italy to city of Salerno and the Amalfi region up the Italian boot.
Fly along the spectacular north coast of Sicily with Ethna volcano seen in the background most of the route, before meeting the continent we turn to the north and fly really close around the crater of the Stromboli volcano and the volcanic island next to it.
Dark clouds are surrounding the foot of the mountain and the view is stunning. We continue to the west coastline of the Italian boot intertwined The coast of Amalfi, a breathtaking view of the towns of Sitara Amalfi Positano Sorrento and the island of Capri, with its water tunnels that surround it and the variety of yachts moored in the small bays scattered around it.
Quick side note: If you happen to visit the northern part of Italy, Lake Garda is a must visit.
Turning back east past the city of Naples and landing in a small air field near the town of Salerno. For the next two days we will tour by car boat and on foot all the towns and nature spots we saw from the air. We will dedicate a day to the city of Naples, the capital of Campania, and the homeland of pizza. Our cherry on the top is Pompeii, the city buried in 79 AD.
We wandered among the various remains of the houses shops and businesses where time stopped reigning, and we also saw hundreds of display items in the various areas around the city. In fact, we went back 2000 years in time, a fascinating experience.
By the way, for those who travel to Italy, the bakeries and coffee shops are truly unique. Here are the best coffee shops in Milan.
On the third day we returned to our beloved Cessna as we headed to the town of Ioannina located in north western Greece. To do this, we crossed the Italian boot sideways not before taking a crazy air tour around the Vesuvius in no other way could you get so close to it.
We made a detour over Pompeii that is as fascinating from the air as on the ground, and then turn east to cross the Italian boot on loot Its lush fields, clear lakes and impressive bridges and wind turbines, that are scattered everywhere.
We reached the western shoreline of the Adriatic Sea separating Italy from the Balkans. Cross the coastline east over the Adriatic Sea and on the horizon we can already see the mighty white cliffs of the Greek coastline.
North of us is the beautiful mountainous Macedonia. We continue and land in a small landfill near the town of Ioannina where we are greeted by the house fox of the landfill who walks unhindered on the track.
Ioannina, the capital of Ephiros County is located on the shores of Lake Pamvotis behind the Pindus Mountains. It is a university town with a young and vibrant population. The city has quite a few fascinating historical museums, archeological remains and a variety of colorful cafes and bars.
Best things to do in Ioannina
Ioannina is a great destination for a star trek all over mountainous northwestern Greece including the villages of Zagoria and the monasteries hanging from Meteora.
In Greece as in Greece, take the time to find a restaurant on the lake shore and sip a large glass of parfait (cold Greek coffee) than walk around the town tour the amazing natural sites and lakes around and finish, of course, with a fine Greek ouzo that drops us to the planks until waking up in the morning.
Our airborne, crossing Greece along and ending the journey on the island of Crete. In flight, pass over the spectacular lakes region of northern Greece and continue south over the Antirio Bridge that connects mainland Greece to the Peloponnese, and is considered the longest string bridge in Europe.
From there, we pass the spectacular Corinth Canal that is 7 kilometers long, and looks from above straight as a ruler. The canal was excavated in 1881 and is the second longest canal in the world after the Panama Canal. It also connects the Saronic Gulf to the Gulf of Corinth.
Continue over the Peloponnesian Peninsula and the hundreds of islands around it, we land near the town of Sitiya at the eastern end of the island of Crete. Two days belly back on the turquoise shores of the island, and then we return back home on a regular commercial flight.
If you’ve already been to Crete, you can also travel to Corfu, which is one of the most beautiful islands of Greece. We’ve also written about the best things to see in Corfu.
My Personal Most VIP Travel Experience
We traveled 8 days between Malta and Crete, we went through 3 countries visited 3 islands and flew 4 legs between destinations. On such a trip on land and at sea we were subject to the flight schedules and / or cruises of the commercial companies and therefore needed more days, wasting quite a bit of time in the long queues at airports and ports and most importantly, we were not exposed to those natural landscapes and buildings which can only be observed from above.
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