Spectacular Greece Island Adventure with Athens, and the Islands of Crete, Santorini, Naxos, Mykonos and Delos.
September 4th - 18th, 2023
Neither Mario nor I have any Greek ancestry, but we knew from the minute our island adventure began that one day we would be destined to share our love of Greece and the Greek Islands with others. We were immediately caught up in this magical and mystical land of legends and myths. We were enchanted by the blues of the water and the sky and the breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. It is our hope that you leave Greece as captivated by it as much as we are!
Two weeks through the beautiful Greek Islands of Crete, Santorini, Naxos, Mykonos and Delos with time in Athens. Your days will be spent island hopping, sightseeing, eating, drinking and visiting amazing beaches. You will also find some of the most spectaculars sunrises and sunsets that you will ever see! You will also see startling blue water and crisp blue skies at every turn! You will enjoy Greek food at its finest and in every form. Santorini produces amazing wine and we will partake a few different times. You can also sample some local liquors like Raki, Ouzo, Mastic and Kitron.
Our first few days will be spent in and around Athens. We will visit the Acropolis and have a guided walk through many of the neighborhoods. along with a tasting tour with a local Athens Guide who specializes Food and Drink! Our first island excursion will be to Crete where we visit some beautiful beaches, the Palace of Knossos and then walk through the capitol city of Heraklion to see Venetian Monuments, the Castle and the Churches of the city. Much of our stay on Crete will be about food as Cretan cuisine is known world wide. We will take a cooking class and visit a family owned olive farm.
Our second week begins on Santorini where the small villages and hill towns of the island are spectacular and we will take in many of them including our favorite, Megacholori! We will have a gourmet wine pairing lunch while in Megacholori as well as an evening of Wine, Music and Dance at Symposium Music and Mythology Center. We will also visit Oia, one of the most photographed villages in the world! We will also visit the capitol of the island, Fira as well as the hill towns of Pyrgos and Imerovigli. A must visit is the Archealogical site of Akrotiri, an ancient settlement over 4000 years old that was discovered accidentally in the 1870s. We will also visit a few beaches as well as the delightful Kamari Beach Resort with its black sand beaches, multitudes of shops, cafes and restaurants and where we found what we consider to be the best pizza in all of Greece!
Our next island is Naxos, the largest of the Cyclades islands and definitely, one of the most beautiful! We will see the Ancient Greek Temple of Demeter as well as the traditional villages of Sagri, Halki, Filoti and Apiranthos.
Our final days will be spent on the Islands of Mykonos and Delos. Famous for its minimal Cycladic Architecture, Mykonos is full of Traditional Whitewashed Houses and Blue-Domed Churches. We will have a walking tour of Mykonos Town and also an Eternal Delos Tour with impressive mosaics and the breathtaking architectural miracles of the Hellenistic and Roman installations of an important urban centre older more than 2000 years old.
Price includes 15 nights luxury and boutique accommodation, 9 dinners, 10 lunches and breakfast each morning, all activities, sightseeing and entrance fees as listed in itinerary, all taxes, fees and service charges. Guided minibus travel with luggage handling.
$8495 per person.
$1295 Single Supplement.
$500 deposit to book your spot.
Pre tour - September 3rd - Arrive into Athens International and make your way to our Athens City Hotel. You can use this day for resting up and getting adjusted to the time change. The tour will start from the lobby of the hotel the following morning. (B)
Day 1 - September 4th - This morning we are up early to delve into the fascinating world of Ancient Greece and explore the Acropolis with a local guide. At the Acropolis we will learn the secrets of the Rock with its visual corrections, colors, architectural masterpieces and the stories behind them. From here we walk along the Areopagitou Street to see areas of the city that have been inhabited for thousands of years. The walk will end at the Agora, which is one of the best known examples of an assembly place that can be found in every Greek village centuries ago. Our tour will end in the bustling Monastraki neighborhood in the old town of Athens. The neighborhood fringes the Agora and is full of tavernas, cafés and shops and there is a huge flea market here. If you can't find some treasure in this neighborhood you probably will not find it in all of Greece! This afternoon we join a foodie tour where our guide will not only satisfy your cravings for local food and culture, but will also introduce us to his beloved city.. Our tour will start with lunch in a delightful restaurant where we will have an array of taste treats and then we will enjoy several delicious and typical tastings that range from sweet to savory as well as drinks on this amazing food tour of Athens that will take us through the food markets of Athens where we taste as we learn. Welcome Dinner and Overnight Athens. (B,L,D)
Day 2 - September 5th - This morning we will take a short tour of the Peloponnese Peninsula and Ancient Corinth. According to myth, the first Kings of Corinth were descendants of Sisyphos, the man who was punished by the Gods for his hubris by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill only for it to roll down again when they came near the top, repeating this action for eternity. Thanks to traffic and trade over the Isthmos, the narrow strip of land that connects the Peloponnesos to the mainland of Greece and Attika, this ancient city, whose foundation dates back to the 10th century BCE, could easily compete in terms of wealth and fame with Athens and Thebes. Until the middle of the 6th century BCE Corinth's main export product were the black-figured vases, many of which made their way to several colonies in Magna Graecia. We will have a guided tour of the beautifully preserved remains of Ancient Corinth, one of Greece’s most powerful and influential city states of Antiquity. We will take a stroll through the streets, temples, markets, and fountains in the footsteps of the Classical Greeks, Ancient Romans and St. Paul. Our guide will bring this ancient city to life and will share from her heart why she loves it here. We will have lunch in Ancient Corinth before making our way to the Corinthian Canal, an artificial canal in Greece, that connects the Gulf of Corinth in the Ionian Sea with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. It cuts through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth and separates the Peloponnese from the Greek mainland, arguably making the peninsula an island.We then make our way to Piraeus Port where we will board our overnight ferry to the island of Crete. Once onboard you will be able to find some dinner before we depart Piraeus at 9:00pm. Overnight at Sea. (B,L)
Day 3 - September 6th - This morning we arrive into the port of Hereklion on Crete and then depart our ferry. Much of our time on Crete will be exploring coastlines, hill towns and lovely seaside villages. We will take a lovely coastal drive that will take us through Agia Palagia, Bali, Panormos and Adelianos Kampos on our way to Rethymno. Agia Palagia is a seaside fishing village built in the centre of a picturesque amphitheatric bay. It lies right in the middle of Crete and has about 9 small sandy or rocky beaches. Our next stop is Bali, famous for its four beaches so we must take a morning beach walk before stopping in the lovely village of Panormos which is a small fishing village with more beautiful beaches. Our drive eventually takes us to Rethymno which was strongly influenced by the Venetians and boasts elegant architecture and a picturesque port. We will have lunch here before making our way way back to our accommodation just near Hereklion by way of the Apithano Honey Museum for a Tour and Tasting. After our excursion, we get checked into our accommodation before dinner. Dinner and overnight near Hereklion. (B,L,D)
Day 4 - September 7th - Today we will take an excursion through the mountains and along the sea taking in hill towns and coastal villages in the eastern end of the island. The first stop will be in Sisi by the Sea with its harbour which is truly a work of art by Mother Nature. The natural harbor was created by the sea burrowing deep far into the land, forming a long and narrow bay, protected by a small stone wave-breaker. We will also stop in the lovely seaside town of Saint Nicholas before visiting the Cretan Olive Oil Farm, a family operation where with the utmost care and attention, the family retrieved their 130 year-old olive press from the village of Vrouchas and carried it intact onto their Farm’s premises. Everything has been re-assembled as found in its original environment. We will assist in the process of the traditional olive oil production (first press) and then have a cooking class! We then eat our creations along with tastings of their olive oils, olive paste, Greek olives, sundried tomatoes, capers, wine and Raki. On the way home we will stop in Myrtos with its narrow streets of whitewashed, sugar cube houses with cobalt-blue shutters and balconies ablaze with geraniums, oleander and hydrangeas. This little coastal village is the epitome of Greek prettiness and a walk along the promenade will be a necessary must. We will also stop in the lovely hillside village of Archanes which sits in rolling hills surrounded by olive groves and vineyards. The village is made up of Kato Archanes and Epano Archanes, lower and upper villages dominated by the large mountain Giouktas, and gorges, forests and spectacular nature. We then return home where you can find some dinner on your own. Overnight near Hereklion. (B,L)
Day 5 - September 8th - This morning we make our way just outside the city to the Palace of Knossos where we meet our guide and get lost in the world famous legendary Labyrinth of the Palace of Knossos. We will wander around the stone paved floors that the incredible Minoans were walking on 4,000 years ago! You will be amazed by the unmatched Minoan Art and Frescoes like the famous bull-leaping, the wonderful dolphins and the beautiful Parisian. We will explore the Royal Premises where King Minos lived, where the famous Daedalus invented skylights, the first toilets, ventilation, anti-earthquake measures, sewers and water-pipe systems in a vast palatial complex which extended in 210000 square feet and had up to 1500 rooms spread over 5 stories! We then make our way into the center of Heraklion where we have lunch like a local and enjoy the famous Cretan cuisine! After lunch you will have the rest of the afternoon to explore Heraklion further before we return to our accommodation where we meet later for dinner. Strolling around Hereklion, you will come across Koules fortress, at the Venetian port, Turkish and Venetian fountains, Venetian buildings, the Venetian Loggia and museums, such as the Archaeological Museum, the Historical Museum and the Museum of Natural History. Dinner and Overnight near Hereklion. (B,L,D)
Day 6 - September 9th - This morning we take the 2 hour ferry trip from Heraklion to Fira on Santorini. Once we arrive onto the island we then make our way to our favorite place on Santorini, Megalochori, one of the most picturesque villages on the island. This 17th century village is home to historical mansions, old traditional houses, pirate hideaways and wine canavas, it has a history of merchants and wealthy land barons exporting Vinsanto wine that the island still produces. A prominent feature of the historical homes and mansions are the high walls, inner courtyards and solid wooden door entrances, built for privacy and for safety against marauding pirates. After some exploring we will settle into Alisachni Wine and Art Gallery where we will have a 4 Course Gourmet Lunch with Wine Pairings. Megalochori also has a beautiful town square where all the locals hang out and eat their ice cream from Mr. Scoop's. You will not find any better ice cream anywhere on the island! After some time in Megalochori we will explore the village of Pyrgos, the former capital of Santorini and the best-preserved medieval settlement on the island. Pyrgos can be found at the highest point of Santorini, with panoramic views of the whole island all the way to the village of Oia. This hillside village was declared a protected settlement in 1995 and the village retains an unruffled air of easy grace and is lovely to walk in. After thoroughly exploring Pyrgos we get checked into our accommodation before dinner. Dinner and Overnight Santorini. (B,L,D)
Day 7 - September 10th - This morning we make our way to Oia, one of the most photographed villages in Greece. As it is most popular at sunset we prefer to explore it in the morning when it is not so crowded that you can't enjoy it. Small white houses tier the hillside, interspersed by splashes of rich okra, deep fuchsia, cobalt blue, oyster pink and earthy red. Smooth winding paths interconnect, interrupted now and then by a small church, and at every corner there is something new to discover. Next we are off the Capitol of the island, Fira. It can be found on the west coast of the island, on the caldera cliffs opposite the volcano. Modern day Fira is the cultural and commercial center of the Santorini and apart from the museums, galleries and cultural events, it has the island's largest shopping center. We will lunch in Fira before taking in the archeology site of Akrotiri. This Minoan site is a must-visit on Santorini and one of the main attractions of the island. This big settlement of more than 4000 years was discovered accidentally in the 1870s, while the major part of the excavation took place almost a century later. Unearthed then was the ancient town of Akrotiri along with its houses, roads and items of daily life, all of Minoan origins. Archaeologists believe that the town was originally constructed around 4,500 BC, but in the 17th century BC it was destroyed by an earthquake. A new town was built on the ruins of the old town until it was also destroyed by the volcanic eruption about one century later. This evening after dinner we take in the Greek Wedding Show for an evening of celebrating the Greek culture through, music, dance. wine and the famous Greek Mezedes. Dinner and Overnight Santorini. (B,L,D)
Day 8 - September 11th - As we are half way through the tour we will leave today for you to enjoy any way you like. We fell in love Pyrgos Village on our first visit and our love has only grown so our accommodation will be close enough for you to take in more of the delights of one of the most delightful villages on the island. Pyrgos is the island’s first capital, a medieval fortress overlooking the entire island. For centuries, Pyrgos was the main commercial and municipal centre for the island of Santorini, and nowadays, evidence of its former glory can still be admired at the remains of its Kasteli. When exploring Pyrgos and its Kasteli, make sure to visit one of the oldest churches of the island, Theotokaki of Koimisis and the beautiful church of Panagia Eisodia, the largest church in town dating to the early 16th century.. The village also offers an intriguing selection of restaurants, traditional tavernas that showcase the island’s rich culinary traditions and unique products, cafes and shops of all kinds, making it a popular all day destination. In the evening in particular, Pyrgos offers some spectacular panoramic views of the sunset which you can enjoy from your private pool. Enjoy your day and get rested up for the rest of the journey! Overnight Santorini. (B)
Day 9 - September 12th - This morning we take the one and a half hour ferry to the island of Naxos, the largest of the Cyclades islands and definitely one of the most beautiful! Upon arrival into the ferry port at Naxos you will have lunch and then you will have some free time in the Old Town of Naxos also known as Chora, the capitol of the island. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful Cycladic villages in the entire island group for it has a fine architecture composed of Venetian and Cycladic elements that have kept an authentic and traditional character with a strong local color. You may want to visit the Castle, or Kastro in Greek. It has a pentagonic shape, built according to Venetian Architecture with beautiful buildings, mansions, monuments and churches standing surrounding it on the paved narrow streets. It is a beautiful and charming place that has kept its medieval atmosphere with the Archaeological Museum of Naxos, housed in an old Jesuit Commercial school. In the northern part of the city a long paved road leads to the islet of Palatia (Palaces) where the unfinished Temple of Apollo stands and where the famous Portara (Big Door) which is the gate of the temple can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. It is a very nice walk up to the top. After you find some lunch we will take an excursion to the southern end of the island taking in the lovely beaches of Plaka, Kastraki and Pirgaki and the Cedar Forest of Alyko. Dinner and Overnight Naxos. (B,D)
Day 10 - September 13th - This morning we will be met by our guide who is a Naxos expert! We will have a great sampling of the island with some Archeological sites like the Ancient Greek Temple of Demeter, some historical sites with some off the beaten path Old Byzantine Churches with beautiful frescoes inside, some Venetian Towers, the Traditional and Picturesque Villages of Sagri, Halki, Filoti and my favorite, Apiranthos. These lovely villages in the mountains have different natural landscapes with spectacular scenery along the way including lush countryside, green valleys, olive groves, orchards and mountains. In the village of Halki we will have a short visit to the famous local liquor distillery, called Kitron, with a tasting. It is one of the oldest distilleries in Greece and along with making Kitron they also make local liquors like Ouzo and Mastic which is Mario's favourite as it is quite sweet. We will also stop in a family shop to taste some local mountain honey, olive oils, spices and jams. This is a great place to get olive oil! We will also visit some local artists and artisans like the famous Fish & Olive Ceramic Gallery, traditional fabrics, local products. One of the highlights of the trip will be lunch at a family owned restaurant high up in the mountains with a beautiful panoramic view facing the sea! After our tour we return to our accommodation where you can find some dinner on your own. Overnight Naxos. (B,L)
Day 11 - September 14th - This morning we make a very short ferry crossing of only 40 minutes to the island of Mykonos where our very first stop is for you to find lunch on the waterfront. Famous for its minimal Cycladic Architecture, Mykonos is full of Traditional Whitewashed Houses and Blue-Domed Churches. The trademark of the island though, is the beautiful Traditional Windmills in front of Little Venice, where you can also enjoy a magical sunset and capture the colorful light washing up the island’s main town of Mykonos. After you find lunch this afternoon will be spent on a guided walk of Mykonos Town with a professional local guide who will take us through the charming labyrinth of this delightful town. The tour starts in front of the town hall of Mykonos, right at the old port. Together we walk to the stunning windmills, through the Little Venice district, with stops at Paraportiani, an emblematic church of the island and at a captain’s family house which now houses a folk history museum. We will pose together at the “White Alley”, one of the most untouched and picturesque spots of the town, before traversing through our favorite public gardens and visiting a mosaic workshop. On this lovely guided walk we will learn as much as we can about living in Mykonos, the culture and the feeling of a wonderful settlement. After our tour we will get checked into our accommodation before a dinner outing. Dinner and Overnight Mykonos. (B,D)
Day 12 - September 15th - This morning we take a short trip to Armenistis Lighthouse, a sentinel of the old maritime traditions of Mykonos, is presently under the Hellenic Navy’s Hydrographic Office’s wind. It sits atop the edge of the hill overlooking the azure Aegean. With its undisturbed sea views, it creates an ideal environment for visitors to admire! We make the short journey to Mykonos Vioma Farm and Vineyard, a Historic Monastery Vineyard that dates back to the 19th century. We will meet the Asimomytis Family and have an authentic wine tasting and farm-to-table experiencealong with a tour of the farm. This evening we take the short ferry crossing across to the island of Delos for an Eternal Delos Tour. The unique landscape and the antiquities of Delos are filled with impressive mosaics and the breathtaking architectural miracles of the Hellenistic and Roman installations of an important urban centre older more than 2000 years old. We will explore the remnants of the sanctuary of Apollo, retelling the myths of this “holy island” and realizing its impact in our lives today. Interaction, humorous tidbits inspired by the site, stories and interesting comments of previous visitors, even the “performance” of dropping a bucket into an ancient well to bring you water are included during this amazing tour. You will be able to find some dinner at one of the many places to eat in Mykonos Town after we return this evening. Overnight Mykonos. (B,L)
Day 13 - September 16th - This morning you will have some free time in Mykonos Town to further explore and do some last minute shopping, sightseeing or picture taking. The heart of the city is closed to traffic during most of the day which makes the walk among the labyrinth streets particularly agreeable, especially during the early morning when the city is calmer for most of the people are at the beaches or still sleeping after a long night of clubbing. The main town can be walked all on foot and is adorned with numerous cafes, chic boutiques, souvenir shops and fine jewelry shops. You will have time to find lunch on your own and then we will make our wayout of the city and to to Ano Mera Village which is the second largest village on the island and is one of the oldest villages of Mykonos. It is a quiet village where locals are continuing their every day life without the interrupted of crowds of tourists like in Mykonos Chora. The combination of classic Cycladic beauty the village has, along with its scenic alleys and traditional taverns will give you a real taste of what living “the Greek traditional way” is like. Everything is centered around a large public square and the maze of connected lanes that branch out from it. We then make our way back to our accommodation before a dinner outing. Dinner and Overnight Mykonos. (B,D)
Day 14 - September 17th - This morning we take the 4 hour long ferry from Mykonos to Rafina on the mainland. It will be a very nice crossing and you can find some lunch onboard as we make our way across the water. Once we are on the mainland at Rafina we will take a final coastal journey taking in many picturesque viewpoints and beaches. We then make our way to our accommodation in to get checked in before our Farewell Dinner where we can talk about our adventure together and say our final goodbyes. Farewell Dinner and Overnight Athens. (B,D)
Day 15 - September 18th - This morning our Greece adventure ends as we make our way to Athens International Airport.