VRGR GREECE: Ancient & Modern TOUR

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With Victor Romagnoli

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

A unique, specially-designed itinerary showcases all that is ancient and modern in the beautiful, venerable corner of Europe, designed by our longest-serving Tour Leader, now a resident of Greece.

  • DATES & PRICES
  • FULL ITINERARY
  • MAP & HOTELS
  • TRIP INFORMATION

Dates & Prices

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Prices are in US Dollars (USD), before taxes (if applicable) - All pricing reflects per-person Land Only expenses, however, we can book flights from virtually every city. Please call us for an air quote.


Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Mon 14 Sep 2015Tue 13 Oct 2015 $8990

Optional Single Supplement: $2350 (number of singles limited).
This tour may require a mandatory single supplement charge of $1170, if twin-sharing accommodation is unavailable.


Tour Overview


This tour was designed by, and will be led by, senior Tour leader, Victor Romagnoli, a long time resident of Greece. He invites you to join him on this one-time offering:

"Over the past couple years as the economic and social crisis has unfolded in the land I now call home, and many of you who travel with me have asked about the situation here. Clearly Greece has been frequently making the news during recent years and that news has often not been good. Having been here and lived through recent events, I have seen that the local picture is quite often at variance with the one that is presented to the wider world. Headlines that are broadcast by international networks tend to magnify calamities, while reducing and simplifying a complex reality.

The Greece of today is, after all, as complex as it has always been and is by no means easily understood. It has been your questions about what is happening here in Greece that has inspired me to create an itinerary in which I would endeavor to render contemporary Greece more understandable and show you that, although this country currently faces some tremendous challenges, the news here is not all bad.

In working on such an itinerary, I have had three criteria in mind. First, I want to take you to as many different regions of the country as possible in order to showcase its ancient and modern diversity and the challenges they present. We will visit a large part of the county: we will travel to the Peloponnese, to Epirus and Macedonia, Thessaly, Attica, and Crete -- the nation's largest island -- as well two contrasting Cycladic islands. Historically these regions are very different - each of them home to different peoples. It is significant to note that only in the last 100 years or so have they been united under a common flag. Second, I want you to feel the pulse of change; see for yourselves what is happening to people's lives here in the countryside and in the urban areas: I have included stops in five of the nation's ten largest cities (Athens, Thessaloniki, Iraklion, Ioannina, and Chania). Here we will see some of the difficulties the current situation has created and also witness some of the ingenious ways in which people are adjusting to the new Greece in which they find themselves living today. Third, I want to address that oft-heard question: "Why do you live in Greece?" In putting together this tour, it has been my goal to enable you to see the beauty of this extraordinary land; also the resilience and ingenuity of its population, and experience the generosity of spirit of its people.

By the time the tour is over, you will have seen some of the most outstanding natural sites in all of Europe. You may appreciate then why I call Greece home. Finally, my desire is to add a personal touch to this itinerary and invite you to come and experience the village I have called home now for a number of years. While there I will host you in my home where we will prepare a typical Greek meal in my kitchen. We will start our day down in the garden picking fresh ingredients, move on to a newly-planted vineyard to learn how grapes are raised on the rugged islands of the Aegean, where the locals coax wine from the rocky earth. Then we will end up in the kitchen, where you will have a chance to learn how generations of locals have used these delicious ingredients to make Aegean island specialties. Naturally, wine tasting will accompany this cooking class, as I celebrate my 25th year of leading Adventures Abroad tours and toast your loyalty over these past decades.

The autumn in the southern Balkans and the Mediterranean is a most graceful month with warm temperatures and pleasant sea breezes. It is usually not too hot, while the temperature of the sea is perfect for swimming. There are abundant fruit and vegetables and fish, and the wines are at their peak. There is also a blissful lack of the tourist crowds that descend during the hot summer months. However, the tour would be equally rewarding in the spring. A springtime departure will be a boon to photographers: meadows will be blanketed in wildflowers and the high mountains of the northern regions of the country and on the island of Crete will still be covered in snow. Summer crowds will not yet have arrived and the spring fare on offer in the restaurants is just as exciting as that of the autumn. The sardines and mackerel come through our waters then; the artichokes and fennel are harvested; the wild greens of the mountains for which Greece is renowned will be available; spring lamb is frequently on offer, and the abundant citrus fruits -- lemons, mandarins, oranges -- will have just been harvested."

Regions visited: Western Europe
Countries visited: Greece


Full Itinerary

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Day 1 Mon 14 Sep 2015, Arrival in Athens
Today we arrive in Athens and transfer to our central hotel.

Overnight in Athens.

Meal plan: dinner

Day 2 Tues 15 Sep 2015, Athens: The Acropolis & Acropolis Museum
Our focus today is the most famous sight in Greece: the Acropolis. A complex of temples constructed in the late 5th century and still considered to be among the most important monuments in the Western world, it is well worth the climb up for the views out over the metropolis that is the modern city of Athens. There is a lot to take in when one stands up on this rocky outcrop overlooking a capital that has given so much to the rest of the world. .

While those of you who have visited Athens before will certainly have seen the Acropolis, few will have visited the fabulous new Acropolis Museum that has recently been added to the cityscape. Much of the ground floor of this new building just below the Acropolis has been constructed of glass, in order expose an extensive early Christian settlement that once flourished in this area. Upper levels of the museum are graced with large windows offering stunning views of the Parthenon. On display on the top floor are some of the original marbles from the Temple of Athena with blank spaces left for the Elgin Marbles which still remain in London. (The museum was essentially built, in 2009, so that no one could ever again say that the Greeks did not have a safe place to display the precious marbles taken from Athens by the Seventh Earl of Elgin in 1799.) In that year, Lord Elgin removed two thirds of all the marble friezes and sculptures of the Acropolis statues of gods, men, mythical beasts, and other images. He took them to England where they were sold, mostly to the British Museum.

This evening we walk through the Plaka under the Acropolis where we will have a meal in a local taverna where typical Greek music is performed.

Overnight in Athens

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 3 Wed 16 Sep 2015, Athens: Continued
If yesterday's tour focused on the distant past -- the birth of democracy in ancient Greece and the institutions that came from this -- today we are going to see what is happening in modern Athens. Our walk will take us first to the Athens Central Market. One of the liveliest places in the city, it is here where many Athenians come to buy fresh vegetables and fruit, fish and sea food, meat and poultry, nuts, grains, herbs and spices. It is also a good place to stop and have a drink, no matter the hour.

Later we will continue our walking tour through the city towards the district of the city known as Exarhia. Although no one would ever call it beautiful and it certainly is not included on most tourist itineraries, Exarhia is steeped in recent history. In 1973, the student uprising which was crushed by the ruling junta of the time, eventually led to the fall of the much-hated military dictatorship. In the last couple of years, it was this Bohemian university district that often played a leading role in the uprisings against the police and the state. Anarchy and democracy: both words of Greek origin, and both playing a role in the making of tomorrow's Greece.

Not far from Exarhia is the extraordinary Archaeological Museum of Athens. This museum is a mandatory visit for a tour of this nature. We will enjoy a guided tour through the museum.

This evening we will walk into the Monastraki area and dine at a Kebab House near the old central Mosque.

Overnight in Athens.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 4 Thurs 17 Sep 2015, Athens - Mycenae - Nafplion
Leaving Athens, we travel westward towards the Peloponnese Peninsula. Our drive will take us over the famous Corinth Canal which we will stop to see. Initial construction on this canal linking the Gulf of Corinth and Aegean Seas was undertaken by Jewish slaves, and overseen by the Roman Emperor Nero who used a silver shovel to personally perform the first excavations. From Corinth, we continue into the Argolis region where we will stop to visit one of the most significant Bronze Age archaeological sites in the Mediterranean: Ancient Mycenae. Inhabited from around 1950 BC, the city was first excavated by Heinrich Von Schliemann who found an extraordinary golden face mask that had on it the preserved flesh of a Mycenean noble. "I have gazed upon the face of Agamemnon," Schliemann wrote in a cable to the young king of Greece, Otto of Bavaria. We will spend several hours at this fabulous site before continuing to on to Nafplion for the night.

Overnight in Nafplion.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 5 Fri 18 Sep 2015, Nafplion - Sparta - Monemvasia
If time did not permit yesterday, we will take some time this morning to stroll through the beautiful sea side town of Nafplion. We will also discuss the history of this town particularly relating to it importance in the early 19th Century. Greece won her independence from the Ottomans in slow painful stages throughout the 19th and into the 20th centuries. During the earliest years of the new Republic, Nafplion served as the first Greek capital. It was here that the first head of state of independent Greece, Ioannis Kapodistrias, tried to create a viable polity from the diverse and mutually antagonistic groups who had struggled for independence. But Kapodistrias failed to unite the ever-feuding factions and was eventually assassinated. The "Great Powers " of the day -- Britain, France and Germany -- stepped in and forced the Greeks to abandon their idea of a republic and instead to become a kingdom. They chose a German prince to rule over the Greeks, Otto of Bavaria. King Otto built his royal palace in the centre of Nafplion. His statue -- not a particularly popular one these days -- stands on a street in the seaside city.

Later today we will travel south, stopping to visit three fascinating sites: Sparta, home of legendary Spartans and dating from the 8th to 4th centuries BC; Mystras, a Frankish-built Byzantine fortress town dating from the 13th century AD which served as the Byzantine capital of the Morea as the Peloponnese was known; and the recently-opened regional Museum of the Olive and Greek Olive Oil located in the modern town of Sparti.

After these visits, we head southward continuing towards Cape Maleas. This isolated peninsula, located off the east coast of the Peloponnese, is home to a stunningly set town often called the Gibraltar of the East: Monemvasia. Accessible only by a long causeway, the town is an enormous and ancient fortress.

Overnight Monemvasia.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 6 Sat 19 Sep 2015, Monemvasia
This morning we will have time to stroll through this wonderfully-located ancient town, which reflects influences of the Byzantine, Frankish and Ottoman presence. Famous for Malvasia wines -- Malvasia being the Italian pronunciation of the town's name -- and olive oil. Monemvasia has some excellent museums and churches; we will have a half-day walking tour of Monemvasia and some free time here in the afternoon.

Overnight Monemvasia.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 7 Sun 20 Sep 2015, Monemvasia - Vathia
This morning we travel in a westerly direction to the southernmost peninsula of Greece, known simply as the Mani. We will enjoy a driving tour down this rugged finger of land towards Cape Tenaro, the mythical entrance to the underworld. While on the Mani Peninsula, we will visit the amazing cave systems at Pyrgos Dhirou and learn why this region was often overlooked by invaders. The Dorians never made it this far south; the Romans passed it by as unimportant; the region did not even accept Christianity until the 9th century AD. Later, the Venetians and French, and even the Russians left this area alone. Even the Turks left the Maniots to themselves, reckoning that they would eventually do themselves in with the violent blood feuds they fought among themselves. Instead, in 1821, the feuding tribes united, rebelled against the Ottomans, and initiated the Greek Wars of Independence which eventually lead to the formation of the modern Greek state.

We will overnight near Vathia in the south of the peninsula.

Overnight in Vathia.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 8 Mon 21 Sep 2015, Vathia - Olympia
Our drive this morning is a dramatic one, taking us along the far west of the Peloponnesian coast with a stop to visit Nestor's Palace, an impressively situated ruin that has only recently been excavated. The palace was the legendary home of wise King Nestor described in Homer's Odyssey. Further north we come to the ancient site of Olympia, home of the original Olympic Games. We will spend some time visiting the extensive ruins, with its monument Temple of the Olympian Zeus, included in the enumeration of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the museum that outlines the history of these games that first started here in the 776 BC.

Overnight in Olympia.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 9 Tues 22 Sep 2015, Olympia - Kassope - Dodona - Ioannina
We leave the Peloponnese today, crossing the modern Rion-Antirion Bridge over the Gulf of Corinth and drive north into the rugged mountainous northwestern region of Eprius. En route to city of Ioannina, today's final destination, we stop first to visit the superbly-located ruins of Kassope -- set on a natural ledge 600 meters above the Ionian Sea and accessed by foot path through a thick pine forest. Nearby is the monastery and monument of Zalongo. We will pay a visit to the monument and learn of a harrowing event that took place here which every Greek child learns about in school to this day: The Dance of the Souliot Women. In 1803 the forces of Ali Pasha, the local Ottoman overlord, had cornered a large number of locals in the monastery here. Sixty women and children fled the monastery and made it to the top of the cliff above. As the troops approached to capture them, after which capture they would be sold into slavery, the mothers began to sing and dance and, one by one, with their children in their arms, they danced off the edge of the cliff to their deaths. We will visit this cliff-edge this afternoon and the large memorial standing there.

We continue north for a final stop at the somewhat mysterious ruins of Dodona. Home of the most ancient oracle in all of Greece, the sacred oak tree that grew here was described in detail by Herodotus. The tree stood alone for centuries at the centre of this sacred place before a temple was finally built in the 5th Century BC. Later we continue on to the regional capital, Ioannina.

Overnight in Ioannina.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 10 Wed 23 Sep 2015, Ioannina
This morning we will have a walking tour of walled precinct known as the Kastro district of Ioannina, built on piece of land that reaches out into Lake Pamvotis. We will visit the Aslan Pasha Mosque, now the home of the Municipal Museum and showcasing the ethnographic richness of Epirus. The afternoon is free for you to relax by the lakefront, or take a short boat ride out to one of the islands on the lake.

Overnight in Ioannina.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 11 Thurs 24 Sep, Zagori Area
Today we tour the Zagori area. Located in the extreme northwest of the country and dominated by the Pindhos mountain range, one of the highest in Greece, this is considered to be one of the most beguiling regions in the entire country. We will stop to visit some of the many villages where large, beautifully constructed Ottoman-influenced houses testify to an age when locals enjoyed great wealth and autonomy under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire. We will also be reminded of the horrific events of World War II that were unleashed on the inhabitants of this tough region by the occupying Nazi forces who could would not tolerate their resistance.

Our main focus today, however, is not so much history, as the natural beauty of the region where we will enjoy a walk through part of the Vikos Gorge.

We return to Ioannina this evening for our last of three nights in the city (or possibly overnight in a village in the Zagori area).

Overnight in Ioannina.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 12 Fri 25 Sep 2015, Ioannina - Meteora
Today our journey takes us to one of the holiest areas in Greece: Meteora. The monasteries of Meteora are considered to be some of the most extraordinary on earth, clinging as they do to pinnacles of rock. We will have a guided tour of several of the monasteries today and overnight in the area of Meteora.

Overnight in the Meteora area.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 13 Sat 26 Sep 2015, Meteora - Thessaly
We drive on through Central Greece's Thessaly region, arriving later today at Mount Pelion. Pelion is a hook-shaped peninsula jutting into the Pagasetic Gulf in the North Aegean. This mountainous and heavily-forested peninsula is the legendary home of the Centaur Chiron, who was the tutor of many an ancient Greek hero, including Jason, Achilles, Theseus, and Hercules. Our drive today will take us up into the high mountains overlooking the sea as we visit some of the many villages here. We will overnight in the small settlement of Tsangarada.

Overnight in Tsangarada.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 14 Sun 27 Sep 2015, Pelion Area
We continue exploring the villages of the Pelion area today, including an opportunity to walk in the the beech and chestnut forests which blanket the hillsides and surround the ski resorts of the mountain. We will stop at several ancient villages and overnight in the typical tower houses of the region built with the wealth generated by locals working in Alexandria, Egypt. The Pelion is an appropriate spot to enjoy local Greek food. The area is famous for its delicious cuisine based on such local ingredients as wild boar, orange blossom honey, smoked sausages and fruit; apples, for instance, play a huge role in the local economy. The premier apple growing region in Greece is located around the town of Zagora.

It is likely that our overnight stay will be in the small village of Vyzitsa.

Overnight in Vyzitsa.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 15 Mon 28 Sep 2015, Pelion - Thessaloniki
Today we will descend from the mountains of the Pelion and follow the road heading upcountry into Greece's northern region of Macedonia. On the way, we will drive around the base of the highest and most famous mountain in the Hellenic World: Mount Olympus, the mythical home of the Greek gods.

At Vergina we will stop to visit the extraordinary tombs of the Kings of Macedon; most notably that of Philip the Second, father of Alexander the Great, and Alexander the Fourth, the son of Alexander and Roxana. The site and the museum which showcases the incredible gold and ivory artifacts found in the burial chambers is considered to be one of the most significant in all of Greece. Later we drive to Greece's second city, Thessaloniki.

Overnight in Thessaloniki.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 16 Tues 29 Sep 2015, Thessaloniki: City Tour
We will spread our sightseeing of this interesting city of two days. This morning we enjoy a half day tour of a city steeped in history. Our focus will be on the Archeological Museum which will take us through the long history of a city that was founded by a Macedonian King in the 4th Century BC and went on to become the most important city between Rome and Byzantium during the Roman era. During the Byzantine period Thessaloniki flourished, as it did under the Ottomans and this museum is packed with treasures from past centuries.

This afternoon you will have some free time to explore the city on your own (dinner on your own this evening).

Overnight in Thessaloniki.

Meal plan: breakfast

Day 17 Wed 30 Sep 2015, Thessaloniki: Continued
This morning we will continue our visit of Thessaloniki, including stops to see the Museum of Jewish Presence (at one time, the city's population was more than 50% Jewish.) We will visit the Ataturk Museum, located in the house that was the birthplace of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. We will see the large Aristotle Square, the famous White Tower, which was added to the Roman-Byzantine walls by the Venetians, and we will also visit the Church of St. Demetrius, the patron saint of the city.

Overnight in Thessaloniki.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch

Day 18 Thurs 01 Oct 2015, Thessaloniki - Chania
Today we leave behind the Greek mainland and fly south to Crete to enjoy a week exploring this most beautiful of islands. Situated at a crossroads between Africa, Europe and Asia, the island was home to Europe's first major civilization; the Minoans. A major maritime power already by 2000 BC, the Minoan cities appear to have been destroyed on three different occasions, the last of which was when Santorini erupted, sending a tsunami wave southwards to the northern shore of Crete. The Minoan ruins are of major interest and will be part of our journey of discovery on the island. Our stay on Crete begins in Chania, the island's westernmost city and one that claims to be one of the longest continuously-inhabited cities in the world. Chania was itself once a great Minoan centre and we learn of the history while enjoying a walking tour of the town. This evening we enjoy a volta -- a stroll -- around the lovely Venetian harbour where the locals like to walk at sunset.

Overnight in Chania.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 19 Fri 02 Oct 2015, The Samaria Gorge
Today we have an early morning departure to one of the greatest natural sites in all of the mediterranean: the Samaria Gorge. Located inside a large, protected National Park, the Samaria Gorge is the longest canyon in Europe. The entire walk is eighteen kilometers -- or eleven miles -- and descends from the Omalis Plain down to beaches on the Libyan Sea. The walk is considered to be one of the most spectacular walks in Europe, with an incredible number of wild flowers, some endemic to the area, as well as plenty of well-known wild pink oleanders and fragrant capers that blossom in the rocky gorge. It is a spectacular place.

An eleven mile walk through a gorge may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I want to to offer this exciting outing to you because I know how beautiful it is and also know that many of you will be more than capable of doing it. However, for those who would rather save their energy for other activities, I will arrange a full-day bus excursion to the region of Sfakia. Crete's most mountainous region, Sfakia is home to the Samaria Gorge and the drive today will take you almost to the entrance of the gorge. Stops along the way at small villages and interesting sites of natural beauty will be included.

Today's hike features uneven surfaces, ups and downs, steps without handrails, and rough cobbles. Sturdy hiking shoes are highly recommended.

Return to Chania for a relaxing evening.

Overnight in Chania.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 20 Sat 03 Oct 2015, Chania - Rethymnon - Matala
We drive eastward along the island's north coast today, stopping this morning to tour the old Venetian/Ottoman-era city of Rethymnon. The city was fought over for centuries by the Venetians and the Turks. After the corsair-turned-Ottoman admiral, Barbarrosa, sacked Rethymnon in 1538, a massive fortress was built to defend the town. A century later the city fell to the Ottomans, who held it until 1897. At this time Russians occupied it for a brief period, and after 1923 it became home to large numbers of refugees, including many artists and intellectuals, who came from Smyrna after the great exchange of populations between Greece and the newly-created modern state of Turkey.

This afternoon we drive inland through the mountainous prefecture of Rethymnon. The highest mountain on Crete is located here and, at nearly 2500 meters (well over 8,000 feet ), it remains snow covered until late in the summer. Passing many beautiful mountain villages along the way, we end up tonight on Crete's southern shore at the village of Matala, famous for its caves, gorgeous sandy beach, and a colourful hippy-era connection. During the late 60s and into the early 70s Matala became one of the most famous modern troglodyte settlements on earth. Free cave accommodation, a gorgeous beach and warm weather year round, a handful of tavernas and lots of pot and free love attracted large crowds of hippies from around the world. Among them Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell both came to live here in caves. There is a song on Joni Mitchell's 1970 album, Blue, entitled, "Carey" and it refers to this southern Cretan village: "The night is a starry dome/and they're playin' that scratchy rock n roll beneath the Matala moon."

We stay one night here with time for you to enjoy the spectacular views up to the caves and across the beautiful sandy beaches and south over the sparkling Libyan Sea to Africa.

Overnight in Matala.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 21 Sun 04 Oct 2015, Matala - Phaestos - Gortys - Iraklion
Our focus today turns to the ancient past of the island. Today we visit two major archaeological sites. One dates to the Minoan age and the other to the more recent Roman era.

First we visit the Palace of Phaestos. This is the most beautifully-situated of all the Minoan sites and it has been concluded by some archaeologists that the location of the city was chosen simply because of the spectacular view. Phaestos is believed to have been inhabited as early as 4000 BC. The first palace dates from 2000 BC and the city itself survived as a major power until its final defeat in the second century BC by nearby Gortyna.

Next we will visit the largest archaeological site on Crete: Gortys. Also known as Gortyna , this immense site was once the largest Roman city on the island. It served as the Roman capital not only of Crete, but also of large areas of North Africa. Unlike other pre-Roman Cretan cities, Gortyna welcomed the Romans when they arrived to Crete and, as a result, the city was chosen as the Roman capitol here after Rome finally conquered the island in 67 BC. The most noteworthy discovery at Gortyna occurred in 1884, when the so-called Gortyn Code was unearthed. This is the oldest and most complete exemplar of ancient Greek law in existence, dating from the 6th Century BC. Written in 600 lines and reputedly the largest Greek inscription ever found, the inscriptions reflect a society ruled by an elite few who were able to get away with almost anything, while the poor majority paid dearly for even the least of crimes they committed. One is tempted to draw comparisons with the modern world and observe how little has changed in this great nation during the scores of centuries that have passed.

Later this afternoon we drive north to the Cretan capitol of Iraklion. We arrive in time for a pleasant late afternoon walk through this vibrant city.

Overnight in Iraklion.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 22 Mon 05 Oct 2015, Iraklion: Knossos & Archaeological Museum
Today our focus is on the Minoan Palace of Knossos and the Archaeological Museum of Iraklion with its exceptional collection of artifacts unearthed from the numerous Minoan sites in this area. The Minoan capitol of Knossos was first discovered in modern times by Sir Arthur Evans in 1894 when Crete was still an Ottoman possession. Evans made a number of deals with the Turkish overlords and purchased most of the land in the area around the palace, which he went on to excavate during the ensuing quarter century. It was Evans who named the civilization after King Minos and it is here where we will spend much of this morning learning about Europe's first great Bronze Age civilization that was inspired by the ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians.

Later today we will enjoy a city tour of Iraklion and include a visit to the Archaeological Museum.

Overnight in Iraklion.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 23 Tues 06 Oct 2015, Iraklion - Santorini
This morning we catch a ferry north to the Cycladic island of Santorini. Its dramatic 16 kilometers of cliff rise 300 meters straight up out of the sea, and they are sprinkled with villages, churches, and wineries. Santorini is a truly unforgettable place. If you have been to Greece before, chances are you will have visited Santorini and not forgotten the sunsets or the beautifully situated town of Fira. If this is your first visit, you will understand after coming here why I decided to include it on this itinerary. While on Santorini we will stay in the main town itself overlooking the caldera. We include the recently reopened archaeological site of Akrotiri, the first-rate new museum of Akrotiri, the stunningly set town of Oia, and at some point we will also enjoy a winery tour and wine tasting at one of the island's better known wineries.

Overnight on Santorini.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 24 Wed 07 Oct 2015, Santorini: Akrotiri
Today we will focus on the distant past of the island -- discovering the fascinating geomorphology of what was once one of the largest volcanoes in the entire Mediterranean. The human history of the island is equally compelling with settlements at the ruins of Akrotiri dating back to the Neolithic age, some 4,000 years BC. The archaeological site we visit has recently been reopened after years of intense excavations and construction of a new protective covering over the huge site and the building of a new visitors' centre.

Later today we will enjoy a winery tour with tasting and learn of the history of wine production in this island that belonged for so many centuries to the Venetians.

Overnight on Santorini.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 25 Thurs 08 Oct 2015, Santorini: Continued
This morning we will enjoy a walking tour in Fira town and include a visit to the Archaeology Museum, which houses the fabulous murals and other artifacts taken from Akrotiri. Later this afternoon for those interested we will walk from Fira along the edge of the caldera to Oia. A bus or taxi transfer back and forth to Oia will be provided for those who do not care to undertake this adventurous walk. In the town of Oia we will watch the sunset. This is arguably the most popular sunset location in the whole country.

Overnight on Santorini.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 26 Fri 09 Oct 2015, Santorini - Tinos
This morning we catch a ferry from Santorini north to Naxos (or Paros) with onward connections to our final destination: the Cycladic island of Tinos.

Tinos is best-known for its famous church the Panagia Evangelistra, the most important church in modern Greece, erected on the spot where a famous icon was found back in 1822. If time permits we will visit this site today.

Overnight on Tinos.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 27 Sat 10 Oct 2015, Tinos: Island Touring
Today we will enjoy a full-day tour of the island, including a visit to the outstanding Marble Museum in the town of Pyrgos, which recounts in vivid displays the history of marble excavation and carving on the island. Tinos is famous, both for its marble quarries, which have been in continual use since antiquity, and its important school of marble arts, where students from across the nation come to spend several years learning the art of marble sculpture. We will have time for a walk between several of the local villages and include lunch at a sea side taverna in a small fishing village on the northeast end of the island.

Overnight on Tinos.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch

Day 28 Sun 11 Oct 2015, Tinos: Continued
Today you will come to the village I have called home for some years now and enjoy an opportunity to take part in a cooking class in my home. We will use fresh ingredients from my garden, drink homemade wine from my cellar, and as I mentioned in the introduction to this itinerary, help me celebrate my 25th anniversary of leading tours with Adventures Abroad.

Overnight on Tinos.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch

Day 29 Mon 12 Oct 2015, Tinos - Athens
Today we return to Athens (Rafina) by ferry.

Overnight in Rafina.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 30 Tues 13 Oct 2015, Departure from Athens
Departure from Athens.

KALO TAXIDI!

Meal plan: breakfast

Tour Map

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.


Hotel List


The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.


Hotel Divani Palace Acropolis

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Athens
Country: Greece

Divani Palace Acropolis enjoys a priceless location right by the world-famous Acropolis, the perfect place to savour Athens fascinating history.
... beautiful hotel offers elegant rooms and suites, an outdoor pool with bar, and delicious dining including our summer Roof Garden restaurant with enchanting views of the ancient heritage. Top-notch meeting rooms and romantic banquet rooms make our hotel ideal for business meetings or a truly memorable event.
Read More.

Hotel Atlantis

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Iraklion
Country: Greece

The well-known Atlantis Hotel is situated right in the town center and commands a spectacular view of the harbour. All
... feature air conditioning, satellite TV, fridge, mini bar, spacious veranda, phone, and hairdryer.


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El Greco Resort

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Santorini
Country: Greece

El Greco resort hotel is located minutes away from the centre of the magnificent capital of Santorini, Fira a vibrant
... full of life and excitement.


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Santorini Palace

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Santorini
Country: Greece

Santorini Palace is an A' Class Hotel in Fira, the island's capitol. It is within walking distance from the breathtaking
... fine restaurants, and the main shopping center. With a total of 106 impeccably furnished rooms and suites, fully air-conditioned, an outdoor 300 sq meters swimming pool, a deluxe restaurant, main bar and pool bar.




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Trip Information

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Inclusions

Breakfast and most dinners dinner (mostly local restaurants) daily, some lunches. All accommodation, transport, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for local guides, drivers, restaurant staff, porters. Airport transfers for land & air customers.

Exclusions

Most lunches, some dinners, Tour Leader gratuities, alcoholic beverages, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), international (if applicable) air taxes, and excursions referenced as 'optional'. Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on optional meal costs and shopping.

Seasonality and Weather

This tour is offered in the fall when temperatures are milder, crowds thinner, and airfares lower. Beachgoers prefer fall sea temperatures. The region has a Mediterranean climate with early springs, long hot and dry summers, and autumns that are bright and warm into mid-October. Showers are possible in spring, rare in summer, and possible in late fall.

Transport and Travel Conditions

Local ferries between mainland / islands can range from hydrofoils to large vehicular vessels (economy class). Greek ferry schedules tend to change without notice; some itinerary adjustments may be necessary at the discretion of your Tour Leader. Uncontrollable factors such as weather may result in delays.

Land transport by private air-conditioned motor coach, 24-36 seats depending on group size (see 'Group Size'); some local buses and taxis. Greek roads are very good and distances are not great, though we do have some full, though scenic, travelling days. Several walking tours on uneven surfaces.

Accommodation

Well-located, air-conditioned, mid-range hotels (4-star) throughout. Island hotels are smaller properties (3-4 story) that will likely not have elevators. All hotels have en suite bath, though most have shower only. Porter service is rarely available on the islands (see 'inclusions'); you MUST be independent with your luggage, especially getting on / off ferries. Single rooms are limited and likely smaller than twins.

Staff and Support

Tour Leader throughout, driver (s), local step-on local guides in various locales.

Group Size

10-21 plus Tour Leader