The Greek Mainland & Isles

The Peloponnese & Cycladic Isles
TOURCODE: GR17

Duration:
21 Days

Activity Level:
2

When To Go:
Apr, Sep

Countries Visited:
1

Arrive In / Depart From:
Athens (ATH) / Santorini (JTR)

Max Group Size:
18

Tour Style:
Cultural

Price From:

Discover the country's true culture with the help of experienced local guides.

  • Small group sizes to help escape the beaten path.
  • Authentic local experiences with lots of inclusions.
RESERVE YOUR SPOT
Tour Overview
Tour Overview
ASK A QUESTION

Click the icons below for more info:
Countries Visited: 1 Activity Level: 2 Tour Style: Cultural

This is the best combination we offer for those who want a taste of the Greek mainland along with experiencing some of the most fascinating and gorgeous islands of the Cyclades group.

 


 

Dates & Prices
Dates & Prices

 

Prices below are per person, twin-sharing costs in US Dollars (USD). Pricing does not include airfare to/from the tour and any applicable taxes. For single supplement rates and taxes (if any), please refer to below Prices & Dates table. For general information on flights to/from the tour, click here.

Your Travel and Accomodations Arranged For You
(With English Speaking Guides and Staff.)

Driver, Dinner, and Local Guide Tips Included.

Authentic Local Experiences With Lots Of Inclusions.

Select a date below to reserve your spot:

 

Optional Single Supplement: $1690 USD (number of singles limited).
This tour may require a mandatory single supplement charge of $850 if you join our share program and we are unable to pair you.

 


 

Full Itinerary
Full Itinerary

Download Itinerary



Day 1 Arrival in Athens
Today we arrive in Athens, the capital of Greece and the historical capital of Europe.

Athens has a long history dating from the first settlement in the Neolithic age; in the 5th Century BC, the city’s values and civilization acquired a universal significance. In 1834, it became the capital of the modern Greek state and an attractive modern metropolis with unrivalled charm.

Overnight in Athens.

Included Meal(s): Dinner



Day 2 Athens - Mycenae & Epidaurus - Nafplio (Nauplia)
This morning we board our coach to head to Mycenae, a citadel occupying the triangular summit of a low hill between two gorges. The Mycenaeans excelled in this style of building using large, unworked stones. These massive fortifications were begun in the 14th century, followed by Tiryns and Dendra, Argos and Athens, as well as a host of subsidiary forts and eventually, a huge wall across the Corinthian isthmus. The famous Lion Gate, and similar constructions at Gla and Tiryns, were built in the 13th century BC. Here we will see vestiges of a kingdom that, for 400 years (1600-1200 BC), was the most powerful in Greece. We enter through the Lion Gate and see the Great Court where Agamemnon is believed to have been murdered in one of the chambers.

Later we travel to Epidaurus, a sanctuary of Asklepios, the God of Medicine. The sanctuaries of Asklepios, the healer god, were as much sanatoria, health farms or spas, as places of worship. This was the most prestigious centre of the cult in the Classical period and received a galaxy of splendid buildings spanning the whole of the 4th century BC. Epidauros came into prominence only in the later 5th century, when the cult was received at Athens in 420 BC and the tragedian Sophocles became its priest. There was a revival at the sanctuary in the 2nd century AD, and worship on the site continued in the form of a Christian basilica.

We continue toward Nafplio.

Overnight in Nafplio.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Not finding what you're looking for?

Our specialists can take away the stress and create a private custom tour tailored to your exact interests and budget.


Get A Private Custom Tour Quote



Day 3 Nafplio - Mystras - Monemvasia
We will take some time this morning to stroll through the beautiful sea side town of Nafplio. We will learn the history of this town, particularly relating to its importance in the early 19th Century. Greece won its independence from the Ottomans in slow painful stages throughout the 19th and into the 20th centuries. During the earliest years of the new republic, Nafplio served as the first Greek capital, and 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, who built his royal palace in the centre of Nafplio. His statue -- not a particularly popular one these days -- stands on a street in the seaside city.

Later today we will travel south, stopping at 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. During the rule of the despots, while the empire plummeted into decline elsewhere, Mystra experienced a renaissance, but then declined under Turkish rule. It was captured by the Venetians in 1687 and it thrived once again with a flourishing silk industry and a population of 40,000. It was recaptured by the Turks in 1715, and from then on it was downhill all the way. It was burned by the Russians in 1770, the Albanians in 1780 and Ibrahim Pasha in 1825. Not surprisingly, at the time of Independence it was in a very sorry state, virtually abandoned and in ruins, though since the 1950s much restoration work has taken place.

We then 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.

* Please note that this site is built on a mountainside, which means that exploring it involves hills and stairs and steadiness on one's feet. If you have any concers/questions, please consult with your Tour Leader who will be familiar with your abiltieis at this point in the trip.

Overnight in Monemvasia.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 4 Monemvasia Touring & Free Time
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.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 5 Monemvasia - Nestor's Palace - Mani Peninsula
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, and 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 the village of Oitylou on the Mani Peninsula.

Overnight near Oitylou.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 6 Mani - Olympia Touring
Our drive this morning is a dramatic one, taking us along the far west of the Peloponnese 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.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 7 Olympia - Delphi Touring
We drive across the Rio-Antirrio Bridge en route to Delphi, arriving in the early afternoon. On arrival we will have a guided tour of this spectacular site and its excellent museum.

According to mythology, Zeus released two eagles at opposite ends of the world and they came to rest at Delphi, the 'navel of the world.' Delphi is known as the centre of worship for the God Apollo, son of Zeus who embodied moral discipline and spiritual clarity. But even before the area was associated with Apollo there were other deities worshipped here including the earth goddess Gea, Themis, Demeter and Poseidon, the well known god of the sea. By the end of the Mycenaean period Apollo had displaced these other deities and became the guardian of the oracle.

Delphi was the site of the Delphic oracle, most important oracle in the classical Greek world, and it was a major site for the worship of the god Apollo. His sacred precinct in Delphi was a Pan-Hellenic sanctuary, where every four years athletes from all over the Greek world competed in the Pythian Games, the precursor to the Olympic Games.

Overnight in Delphi.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 8 Delphi - Kalambaka & The Monasteries of Meteora
Today we drive from Delphi to Kalambaka. Our route takes us through the central plains, a rich agricultural land often referred to as the "bread basket" of Greece.

Later this afternoon, we have a panoramic drive around the Monasteries of Meteora, built upon rocks that rise vertically from the plains below. These "Rocks of the Air" are visible for miles around and are crowned with old monasteries that cling to their summits. The afternoon light provides ideal conditions for photography; making our roadside photo stops today allow us to spend more time on the sites tomorrow when we visit the monasteries.

Overnight in Kalambaka.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 9 The Monasteries of Meteora - Thermopylae - Athens
The Meteora comprise one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries and is second only to Mount Athos. The monasteries are built on natural sandstone rock pillars at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly. This morning we visit several monasteries (usually 3 in total; periodic closures determine which ones we visit).

Later today we return by road to Athens visiting Thermopylae, where the great historical battle between the Spartan King Leonidas, the ultimate soldier-king, and the huge army of Persians took place.

Overnight in Athens.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 10 Athens: City Touring
Today we enjoy a guided tour of Athens, the heart and soul of Greece.* A large part of the town's historic centre has been converted into a 3-kilometre pedestrian zone (one of the largest in Europe), leading to the major archaeological sites, reconstructing -- to a large degree -- the ancient landscape, thus allowing us to avoid the city's horrendous traffic.

We start at the Acropolis (with hopes to beat the heat/crowds), near the site of the Dionysos Theatre. Constructed in the 6th century BC, it is one of the world's oldest theatres and the place where the great works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes were first performed. We will also see a more recent theatre, the Odeon of Herod Atticus from the second century AD, which is still used for concerts and performances.

Ascending to the top of the Acropolis, we will see magnificent buildings dating from the 5th century BC, the Golden Age of Athens. On the highest point on the Acropolis is the Parthenon, often considered the finest monument to Greek civilization. The temple was dedicated to Athena "Parthenos," the virgin and patron goddess of the city.

After our Acropolis tour, we'll descend and enter the Ancient Agora located adjacent to the Plaka, the old town of Athens. Among the numerous sights in this archaeological park are the well-preserved Temple of Hephaistos and the landmark Roman era Tower of the Winds.

Our guided tour ends with a guided visit of the Acropolis Museum, located at the foot of the Acropolis. The museum was built to house every artifact found on the rock, from the Greek Bronze Age to Roman and Byzantine Greece; nearly 4,000 objects are exhibited over an area of 14,000 square metres. After our tour you are free to wander and explore on your own or make your way back to the hotel with your Tour Leader's assistance.

* The exact order of our sightseeing in Athens may be altered by your Tour Leader depending on several variables and their judgement on how best to run today's tour.

Overnight in Athens.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 11 Athens - Ferry to Naxos
Today we travel by ferry to Naxos which, as the main hub for the Cyclades island group, will serve as a convenient and charming base for the coming days’ activities. This will be the longest ferry ride on the trip, approximately 4-5 hours depending on ferry type and the number of stops en route. The stops are actually an interesting part of the journey, allowing for a glimpse of islands we do not visit, as well as to witness the organized chaos involved in the loading and unloading of Greek ferries.

Green, fertile, largely self-sufficient, Naxos has not needed to go all out to attract tourists. This wealthy agricultural island exports an abundant harvest of olives, grapes, and potatoes throughout the Aegean, and has only recently (since the early 2000’s) begun to cater to tourists.

On arrival we have a walking tour of Naxos Chora, the main town and capital of the island. On our stroll you will note the architecture of Naxos, distinct from that of any other Cycladic isle. The Venetians ruled this island from 1207 until the island fell to the Turks in 1566. Some descendants of the Venetians still live here and the influence of Venetian architecture is obvious in the Kastro and the fortified Venetian towers. Also specific to Naxos is the remarkable abundance of small Byzantine chapels, many of which contain exceptional frescoes dating from the 9th to the 13th centuries.

Our walk ends at the Portara, the big marble gate that stands high on the island of "Bacchus" and is the remains of the ancient temple of Apollo. The ruins of the temple are called "Palace" implying the palaces of Ligdami the ancient tyrant of Naxos (6th century BC). The legend says that Theseus abandoned Ariadne there when he passed through Naxos after he slew the mythical minotaur on Crete.

Overnight on Naxos.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 12 Naxos: Island Touring
Today we have a tour of the highlights of Naxos, a fertile and mountainous island. Many visitors concentrate only on the main town/port and the coast of this beautiful island -- what a shame! Our tour inland reveals a charming landscape dotted by thousands of citrus and olive trees and many quiet villages that feel like the Greece of days gone by.

We stop in the village of Chalki, which has many Byzantine Churches. We see the 12th century church of Protothronos and the Venetian-era Frangopoulos castle. We'll drive through Filoti where the landscape is covered by farm terraces. Soon we'll have a good view of Mt. Zeus (Zas), 1010 metres/3,313 ft, the highest point in the Cyclades.

We arrive in Apiranthos, which has a unique atmosphere with Venetian mansions and a small museum of prehistoric artifacts. Next is Apollonas where we see the 10.5 metre/34 ft 'kouros' (fallen statue) of Apollo from the 7th century BC, followed by a break for lunch. There are a number of cafes/restaurants with indoor/outdoor seating alongside the harbour.

After some time for a break we depart Apollonos, arriving back at our hotel in the late afternoon.

Naxos is famous for its delicious dishes. As a relatively well-watered and fertile island, Naxos boasts a wide variety of local ingredients that make for one of the most varied cuisines in the Cyclades, with many meat-based specialities, seafood dishes, cheeses, and local herbs and vegetables, including Naxian potatoes for which the island is famous. Naxos is also famous for “kitron” (pronounced “kee-tron”), a liqueur made from the fruit and leaves of the citron tree, similar to a lemon but stronger and slightly different in taste.

Overnight on Naxos.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 13 Naxos - Day Trip Delos & Mykonos
Today we have a full-day boat excursion to the neighbouring sacred island of Delos (+/- one hour) and the adjacent island of Mykonos (the boat journey to/from will be shared with members of the general public, however our guided tour on Delos and time on Mykonos will be private).

Delos gives the whole group of islands surrounding it their name, the Cyclades -- so named because they form a circle (kyklos) around Delos. For nearly 1,000 years this sanctuary was the political and religious centre of the Aegean. Leto, pregnant by Zeus, gave birth to the twins Apollo and Artemis on Delos. In the 18th century BC, the annual Delia Festival was established on the island to celebrate the birth of Apollo. Delos was populated during its height in Hellenistic times with wealthy merchants, mariners and bankers from as far away as Egypt and Syria.

During our +/- 3 hour guided walking tour of Delos (please be prepared – the site is large and hilly with very little shade), we will see the Agora of the Competialists, Roman merchants or freed slaves who worshipped the guardian spirits of crossroads; the Sanctuary of Apollo, the three temples of Apollo and the Sanctuary of Dionysus. In the House of the Masks we are able to see a mosaic portraying Dionysus riding on a panthers back. The theatre here could seat 5,500 people.

After our tour, we continue by boat to the nearby island of Mykonos for some independent time to explore the charming harbour waterfront where you can watch the local fishing boats, or venture into the labyrinth of dazzling whitewashed streets to the many churches, tavernas, and shops selling artisan crafts. In the distance stand a string of windmills that once harnessed the breezes of days gone by. The labyrinth design was intended to confuse the pirates who plagued Mykonos in the eighteenth and 19th centuries. For lunch you might like to try the island’s iconic Kopanisti cheese, tasty Mykonian sausages, and Amygdalota, an almond-based cookie lightly sweetened and melt-in-your-mouth.

After about three hours to enjoy Mykonos, we return by boat to Naxos after a very full and exciting day out.

IF YOU'RE WONDERING why we don't overnight on Mykonos, we have found from many years' worth of experience and feedback that, though the name of the island is still associated with the romance and quaintness of the Greek Isles of the mid-20th Century, the Mykonos of today is quite a different place -- crowded, noisy, expensive, catering to the Jet Set and party-goers and cruiseship passengers. Though it still has its charms and is definitely worth spending a few hours wandering the labyrinthine streets, enjoying the windmills and sea views, we prefer the relatively laid-back quiet of Naxos as our base for exploring neighbouring attractions.

Overnight on Naxos.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 14 Naxos - Day Trip to Paros
This morning we hop on one of the frequent regular ferries that stops at Paros (+/- 30 min), Naxos’s laid-back and idyllic neighbour to the west, best known for its high-quality white marble, its quaint capital, attractive villages, and some important sites of interest.

We’ll explore the main town Parikia on foot, with a visit to the famous church of Katapoliani, one of Greece's most important Byzantine monuments. We also include the Venetian castle and the Archaeological Museum with its exhibits from the ancient history of Paros and Antiparos.

Farther afield, Paros has many beautiful sandy beaches and tiny bays, enclosed by extraordinarily "sculptured" rocks; others are long and wide. The countryside features terraced hills and magnificent rock formations, endless vineyards, olive groves and fruit trees. There is a large number of attractive villages in the traditional Cycladic style -- glowing white houses along labyrinth-like streets, decorated with arches, pretty balconies, bright flowers, and fragrant herbs. Using the local bus system or flagging a taxi allows one to explore as you like and according to your interests and energy level (your Tour Leader can help you plan).

After our leisurely explorations and a chance for a relaxing lunch, we return to Naxos in the mid-afternoon. Foodies – while on Paros, keep you eyes open for black-eyed beans with celery, snails with myrtzeli (handmade barley), cod with spinach, cuttlefish with fennel, hare stew – just a few of the specialties for which Paros is known.

PLEASE NOTE - occasionally for scheduling reasons, days 5 & 6 may be switched around.

Overnight in Naxos.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 15 Naxos - Ferry to Amorgos
Today we take a local ferry to Amorgos, the easternmost island of the Cyclades and the nearest to the neighbouring Dodecanese island group. There are fewer ferries to choose from for Amorgos, a less-visited out-of-the-way destination. As such, our total journey time can range from 1.5-3 hours depending on the vessel and scheduling.

Amorgos's timeless monastery, scattered churches and pleasant beaches offer both respite from tourists on the other islands and a taste of traditional Greece. For many, Amorgos has become the highlight of the tour, accurately described as "the soul of Greece." The locals are extremely friendly, the mountains surrounding the port majestic, and the sunsets stunning. It has been the location of several movies and is a stunning place for casual walks through idyllic olive groves.

Our hotel is located at the eastern end of the island associated with the port of Aegiali.

Overnight on Amorgos.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 16 Amorgos: Chozoviotissa & Chora
This morning we travel by road to medieval Chora, the capital of the island. Looking at a map, you’ll see that Amorgos is a long island, which is also very mountainous. Before the road was built connecting its full length, the only way to access both east and west was by sea, hence the two ports at either end. We will pause here to stroll about Chora, set high above the sea protected from pirates of bygone days, surrounded by windmills. At the top of the hill one may see the Venetian Castle of the 13th century that dominates the village as well as the church of Kira Leousa, dedicated to Mother Mary.

We leave the village and follow a dramatic road going down to the Monastery of Chozoviotissa.* The monastery is home to the revered icon of the Virgin from the Holy Land. The dazzling white building, founded in the year AD 1099, clings precariously to a cliff face. The icon was found in the sea below the monastery, having arrived here unaided from either Asia Minor, Cyprus or Jerusalem. We will enter the monastery and climb into its snug interior. Hopefully the docent will be available to show us around and provide access to the tiny but fascinating museum.

We then continue down the road to Katapola, the other port of Amorgos, where we can explore the village and have a break for lunch before heading back to Aegiali. Amorgos is a well-grazed island with herds of cows, sheep, and goats, which means that meats dominate most menus. It also means that there is a delicious selection of cheeses! Non-meat options include fava beans boiled with onion, capers, oil, and lemon, and pies traditionally made with wild chard and local herbs.

* PLEASE note that our visit comes with a dress code. Women must wear a long loose-fitting skirt or sarong -- something light and wrap-around is easiest -- over your shorts/pants for our visit. Men should wear long pants.

Overnight on Amorgos.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 17 Amorgos: Walk Tholaria to Langada
Today you can join your Tour Leader on a moderate hike along the old cobbled donkey path that was once the only way to access these two remote villages high above the sea. Our route takes us past a tiny old chapel and the ruined village of Stroumbos. We pause in the picturesque village of Langada (Lagada), where, depending on our timing, you can lunch, no doubt surrounded by forever blooming bougainvillea. Langada is a genuine Greek village with narrow alleys, traditional whitewashed houses, and small churches.

From Langada one can continue walking down the old mule path down to Ormos Aegiali (the port area) and catch the local bus from there back to our hotel, or hop on the local bus from Langada.

Balance of the day at leisure for some shopping/exploring in and around the port, or to enjoy the beach for which this area is known.

Overnight on Amorgos.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 18 Amorgos - Ferry to Santorini
Today we take a ferry or hydrofoil (depending on scheduling) to the island of Santorini (likely with a brief stop at Naxos) -- once again trip duration can vary depending on scheduling and vessel type. This island will be a bit of a "shift of gears" after the relative quiet of Amorgos, but we will always include it for its spectacular one-in-a-lifetime uniqueness, and because it has an airport ;)

Vast geological upheavals have given this island its unique form resulting in the nickname, "Pre-Historic Pompeii." The effect of terracing makes this unlike any other island, Greece's most visually stunning. Santorini is the island of churches, wine, and donkeys! From as early as 3000 BC the island developed as an outpost of Minoan civilization until around 1650 BC when the volcano erupted. At this point the island's history became linked with the legend of Atlantis.

At some point in our visit, we'll stop in at the The Museum of Prehistoric Thera. It was built on the site of the old Ypapanti Church, destroyed in the 1956 earthquake. The museum houses a very large number of ancient artifacts from various excavations on Santorini, such as at Akrotiri and at the nearby Potamos site.

Overnight on Santorini.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 19 Santorini: Akrotiri & Island Tour
Visually, Santorini is the most spectacular of the Cycladic islands. With its brilliant flooded caldera, high cliffs and charming villages, it is the Greek Isle of everyone's dreams. Our coach tour today will take us to Santorini's many highlights.

We begin with a visit to Akrotiri for a thorough guided tour. Excavations have revealed a complete prehistoric Minoan city with squares, streets, and two-storey houses, which contained marvelous frescoes. The buildings date to the late 16th century BC. No skeletons or treasures have been found in Akrotiri, so historians think that the inhabitants were forewarned of the eruption and were able to escape. The excavations have yielded evidence that has revolutionized our knowledge of the Late Bronze Age; indeed the town has been called a "Bronze-age Pompeii."

We will also visit the hilltop village of Pyrgos, once the capital of the island and home to more than 30 churches. The village is composed of traditional houses built around the Venetian Castle and the small streets follow the shape of the hill. Climbing from the square up to the castle of Pyrgos, the stone houses crowd more densely together within the labyrinth of narrow vaulted lanes.

Our drive around the island will also take us up to the Prophet Elias Monastery built on the highest point of the island in 1711 AD. Though we will not visit inside the monastery, the view from here is breathtaking.

Fira is the capital of the island and the most important village. Perched on the edge of an impressive cliff 260m high, the town offers great panoramic views over the submerged volcano. Here the small streets are filled with all kind of shops, cafes, and restaurants. After an orientation walk through the town, you might choose to visit the impressive Archaeological Museum in your spare time (optional). This museum features many artifacts dating back to the time of the Cycladic Civilization. The most impressive legacies of this civilization are the statuettes carved from Parian marble -- the famous Cycladic figurines. Like statuettes of Neolithic times they depict images of the Great Mother. Other remains include bronze and obsidian tools and weapons, gold jewelry, and stone and clay vases and pots.

Return to Kamari Beach (those who wish to extend their time in Fira can return to Kamari using the public bus system).

Overnight on Santorini.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 20 Santorini: Fira - Imerovigli - Oia / Free Afternoon
This morning we will head to the small town of Oia, situated at the northern tip of the island. We start by taking the public bus to Fira, where we enjoy the stunning caldera views and dramatic setting. From here we will follow the scenic path along the vast caldera rim. Our route leads up through the village of Firostefani and brings us to the village of Imerovigi. The views are ever-changing as the perspective of the island changes minute by minute. We will look out to Skaros, the remains of a Venetian Castle built in 1207 by Marco Sanudo, the ruler of all Cyclades islands at that time.

From Imerovigli we will continue by bus to Oia (pronounced "EE-ah"). Built on a steep slope of the caldera, many of Oia's dwellings nestle in the niches hewn in the volcanic rock. This was once a major fishing port but is principally known these days as perhaps the most dramatically situated towns in the whole of Greece. The peak of prosperity for this small port town was reached in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. At that time the locally based merchant fleet plied its trade in the eastern Mediterranean, especially from Alexandria to Russia. The two-story captains' houses built on the highest part of the village are a reminder of the village's former affluence. Oia is a place where many artists have found their inspiration... and here we will wander the narrow streets and old ruins, and enjoy the stunning views of the caldera with panoramic views of the rest of Santorini and the Aegean Sea.

After a break for lunch we will make our way back to Kamari. While on Santorini, you may see a tomato fritters, a local speciality on menus, along with tarama salata (made from fish roe), and a wide range of sweets featuring local pistachios. Those who wish to extend their time in Oia or Fira can return to Kamari using the public bus system (your Tour Leader can assist).

The balance of your day is free to explore on your own; your Tour Leader can assist with options -- perhaps enjoy some time on one of Santorini's famous black beaches or hike up to the ruins of Ancient Thira.

Overnight on Santorini.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 21 Departure
Departure from Santorini.

PLEASE NOTE: In the event that flight schedules require an extra night in Athens (ie at an airport area hotel), we can quote/book these extra services as needed.

KALO TAXIDI/BON VOYAGE!

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

 


 

Trip Info
Trip Info

Inclusions
Breakfast and dinner (mostly local restaurants) daily.

Full-time Tour Leader plus local guides at numerous locales.

All 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 and those who book BOTH their air and extra nights through us.

Exclusions
International airfare to/from the tour.

Tour Leader gratuities, lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), international (if applicable) air taxes, and excursions referenced as ‘optional’.

Airport transfers for Land Only customers.

Optional travel insurance (please refer to the 'Resources' tab)

Seasonality and Weather
Our spring date is planned to avoid the busier and expensive high summer high season (July/August) during which ferries can be crammed and some sites can be overcrowded (especially in Athens). Our timing also avoids the extreme summer heat and high winds winds often associated with that time. Greece does not experience the extreme humidity of the tropics so this is not a concern at any time.

May/June is a gorgeous time in terms of the landscape, which after winter rains is lush and green and festooned with wildflowers. The sea is swim-able (but still a bit chilly), and showers, though unlikely, are still possible. Another nice thing about springtime in Greece is the local people are well-rested after a long winter and especially delighted to see us!

Late summer (September) is generally warmer and one can still expect some heat, especially in Athens and elsewhere depending on proximity to water. Showers are less likely than spring. Though the landscape has largely shed the lush greenness of spring, the true delight is the local farm produce ready for harvest at this time, all of which makes it's way into local dishes. It's also the time of the olive and grape harvest, which we may be able to witness.

Transport and Travel Conditions
This is not a cruise! We travel to/between islands via local ferries, which can range from hydrofoils to large vehicle carrying vessels. Uncontrollable factors such as weather may result in delays & Greek ferry schedules tend to change without notice; some itinerary adjustments may be necessary with late notice.

Land transport (for the mainland, city & island tours, port transfers) by private air-conditioned coaches, minibuses and vans, depending on group size (see 'group size'). Locally we may make short hops using multiple local taxis.

Porter service is rarely available on the islands (see 'inclusions'); you MUST be independent with your luggage, especially getting on/off ferries and at hotels.

This trip is typical of most of our European tours, which are ambitious and involve full days of travel and sightseeing. While we don't have any actual strenuous activity (ie hiking) built into the program, you will do a lot of walking on this trip, mostly be in the form of walking tours of towns and cities and short walks to dinner. Being Europe, and a hilly/mountainous area, cobbles, uneven surfaces, and slopes/stairs are common. If you are accustomed to typical "bus tours," which rely heavily on vehicular transport for all sightseeing activities, you should be aware that this tour is considerably more active.

This program also has a strong gastronomic element, well-suited to "foodies," expert or novice, and those who enjoy savouring and lingering over a meal and sampling new things. While vegetarians are well catered for, we regret that very specific or extremely limited dietary restrictions/preferences may present a challenge on this trip.

Am I suitable for this tour? Please refer to our self-assessment form.

Activity Level: 2
These are particularly busy tours that feature a lot of moving around, sometimes by train and short journeys on local transport. Walking tours of towns and cities are leisurely but you should be prepared to be on your feet for several hours. Some of our cultural trips that occur at high altitude and/or require greater independence with baggage handling (at hotels, airports, train stations) also fall into this category.

To learn more about the Activity levels, please visit our tour styles page.

Accommodation
Well-located, air- conditioned, mid-range hotels (3-4 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.

A special note about Santorini, which is primarily a luxury tourism destination and, while we can confidently promise our visit will be fulfilling and rewarding, one's hotel expectations must be in line with our overall purpose, which is sightseeing and cultural experience and not focused on the "hotel experience" per se.

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
Maximum 18 plus Tour Leader

Tour Extensions
This tour is part of a series that can be upgraded to make for a longer trip. For more options, please refer to tour code/s:

Ultimate Mainland & Isles
APR SEP
TOUR CODE: GR18
Tour Overview

 


 

Map & Hotels
Map & Hotels

Regions visited: Western Europe
Countries visited: Greece


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


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.


Royal Olympic Hotel
5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation
Location: Athens
Country: Greece
Located near the Acropolis and charming "Plaka" or Old Town, the Royal Olympic is just across from one of the greatest masterpieces of Classical Athens the Temple of Zeus. Amenities include restaurant, ... bar, outdoor swimming pool, library, WIFI throughout and fitness center. Elevator.
Read More
Hotel Agamemnon
3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation
Location: Nafplio
Country: Greece
Amid restaurants and cafes in the medieval Old Town, this modest hotel across the street from the Argolic Gulf features views of Bourtzi, a 1400s fortress in the harbor. It's 2 minutes' ... from the Archaeological Museum of Nafplion
Read More
Porto Mani Suites
4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation
Location: Vathia
Country: Greece
At the Historical site of Ancient Kainipolis and today’s village of Kyparissos at the area of Mani, Porto Mani Suites was raised right by the sea. This hotel complex of four traditional ... buildings has everything it takes to make it unique.
Read More
Doupiani House Hotel
3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation
Location: Kalambaka
Country: Greece
Located in Kastraki and beside the famous skete of Doupianis standing next to the imposing rocks of Meteora in a serene and devout environment dominates the Doupiani House Hotel.

Doupiani House
... situated on the highest point of the area in a quiet green area of six acres adjoining the roots of Meteora.

It has the most panoramic view of the area and that's why it is called "the balcony of Meteora".
Read More
Naxos Palace Hotel
4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation
Location: Naxos
Country: Greece
Naxos Palace Hotel is a 4 star hotel in Naxos, functioning since 2005, built in an environmentally friendly way. The hotel was constructed in a manner that none of the pre-existing cedar ... needed to be cut down.

Naxos Palace Hotel has been developed on a hillside in an amphitheatric way, allowing most of the rooms a panoramic sea view. One of the best hotels in Naxos, Naxos Palace is a guarantee for a wonderful accommodation!
Read More
Vigla Hotel
3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation
Location: Amorgos
Country: Greece
Hotel is located in the northwest of Amorgos at the picturesque village of Tholaria. It offers stunning views to Aegiali bay and Kroukelos mountain. Moreover, you can gaze at the traditional village ... Lagada and to the iconic chapel of St. Dimitrios. It is the perfect starting point for hiking lovers, as a lot of trails start near the hotel.
Read More
Santorini Palace Hotel
4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation
Location: Santorini
Country: Greece
The absolute destination for families, groups of friends, honeymooners or anyone who desires a highly standard accommodation in a traditionally built hotel that offers everything the world-famous island of Santorini is promising ... />
The hotel is located in Firostefani village just 10 minutes walk from the capital of Santorini, the village of Fira. Santorini Palace combines the Cycladic surroundings with the breathtaking views of the east side of the island.

Nearby Attractions are The Dominican Convent, The Catholic Cathedral, The Greek Orthodox Cathedral, The cable car and the old port, The Archeological Museum, the Prehistoric Museum, shops, restaurants and nightclubs.
Read More

 


 

Gallery

 


 

Frequently Asked Questions
ASK A QUESTION
FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
ASK A QUESTION
01. What is the maximum number of participants on a trip?
Most of our tours carry a maximum of 18 participants; some tours (ie hiking tours) top out at 16. In the event that we do not achieve our minimum complement by our 90-day deadline, we may offer group members the option of paying a "small-group surcharge" as an alternative to cancellation. If all group members agree, we will confirm the trip at existing numbers; this surcharge is refundable in the event that we ultimately achieve our regular minimum. If the small group surcharge is not accepted, we will offer a refund of your deposit or a different trip of your choice.
02. Can I extend my tour either at the beginning or end? What about stopovers?
Yes, you can extend your tour either at the beginning or the end and we can book accommodation in our tour hotel. Stopovers are often permitted, depending on air routing. Stopovers usually carry a "stopover" fee levied by the airline.
03. How do I make a reservation? How and when do I pay?
The easiest way to make a reservation is via our website; during office hours, you are also more than welcome to contact us by telephone. A non-refundable deposit is payable at the time of booking; if a reservation is made within 90 days, full payment is required. Some trips require a larger deposit. If international airline bookings require a non-refundable payment in order to secure space or the lowest available fare, we will require an increase in deposit equal to the cost of the ticket(s). Early enrolment is always encouraged as group size is limited and some trips require greater preparation time. Once we have received your deposit, we will confirm your space and send you a confirmation package containing your trip itinerary, any visa/travel permit related documents, invoice, clothing and equipment recommendations, general information on your destination(s), and forms for you to complete, sign and return to us. Your air e-tickets (if applicable), final hotel list, final trip itinerary, and instructions on how to join your tour, will be sent approximately 2-3 weeks prior to departure.
04. What about cancellations, refunds, and transfers?
Please review our cancellation policy page for details.
05. I am a single who prefers my own room. What is a single supplement?
All of our tours have a single supplement for those who want to be guaranteed their own room at each location. This supplement is a reflection of the fact that most hotels around the world do not discount the regular twin-share rate for a room by 50% for only one person occupying a room. Most hotels will give a break on the price, but usually in the range of 25-30% of the twin-share rate. This difference, multiplied by each night, amounts to the single supplement. The conventional amount can also vary from country to country and some destinations are more expensive than others for single occupancy. In order to be "single friendly," the supplements we apply are not a profit centre for us and we do our best to keep them as reasonable as possible. On most tours we limit the number of singles available, not to be punitive, but rather because many hotels allow for only a limited number of singles; some smaller hotels at remote locations also have a limited number of single rooms available. Please note that most single rooms around the world are smaller than twin-share rooms and will likely have only one bed.
06. Do you have a shared accommodation program?
Yes! If you are single traveller and are willing to share, we will do our best to pair you with a same-gender roommate. On most of our tours, if we fail to pair you, we will absorb the single supplement fee and you will default to a single room at no extra charge. At some destinations, however, where single rooms are not significantly discounted, or not at all, we may apply a "mandatory" single in the event that we cannot find you a share partner. This is usually 50% of the usual supplement, but can be as much as 100%. If applicable, this proviso will be noted on each tour page on this website, on your invoice, and in our tour date/price book (available for download under "Resources").

 

Tours you may also like
TOUR CODE: PS5
39 days from Lisbon to Marrakech
If we are to conjure up images of Portugal, we might picture white-stone balconies…
TOUR CODE: TM3
38 days from Tunis to Venice
Staring up at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is one of the many experiences that are…
TOUR CODE: AG4
36 days from Algiers to Rome
On our Algeria, Tunisia, Malta & Italy tour, the entire country of Algeria makes for a…
TOUR CODE: PS4
33 days from Lisbon to Casablanca
Our Portugal, Spain and Morocco tour is one solid 32-day adventure that will leave us…
TOUR CODE: ES7
32 days from Santiago de Compostela to Marrakech
This extensive Spain and Morocco tour provides enough time for those who are fond of…
TOUR CODE: PN1
31 days from Krakow to Bergen
TOUR CODE: AD6
30 days from Ljubljana to Skopje
Our Adriatic, Albania & Macedonia Tour begins in Slovenia, past glacial lakes, lush green…
TOUR CODE: ML3
29 days from Valleta to Venice
On our Malta & Italy tour, for the better part of a month, we immerse ourselves in the…
TOUR CODE: TM2
28 days from Tunis to Rome
This Tunisia, Malta & Italy Tour gives us a good perspective of the considerable expanse…
TOUR CODE: GR18
26 days from Athens (ATH) to Chania (CHQ)
This is our ultimate, highlight-packed treatment of two of our favourite parts of this…
TOUR CODE: ES5
26 days from Santiago de Compostela to Casablanca
Both Spain and Morocco serve as perfect examples as to why flying to the other side of…
TOUR CODE: PS3
25 days from Lisbon to Sevilla
On this Portugal & Spain tour we see how referring to history as existing in a series of…
TOUR CODE: IT2
24 days from Palermo to Venice
What do you get if you mix the incredible cultural riches of Italy's north with the laid…
TOUR CODE: ES6
24 days from Madrid to Marrakech
One look at the mountains framing the sky or the lakes that mirror any beauty that…
TOUR CODE: AG3
23 days from Algiers to Malta
On our Algeria, Tunisia & Malta tour, the entire country of Algeria makes for a…
TOUR CODE: JHMA
21 days from Ponta Delgada to Praia
A group of islands jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean, our Macaronesia explores a group…
Countries Visited: 1

Greece.
Activity Level: 2

These are particularly busy tours that feature a lot of moving around, sometimes by train and short journeys on local transport. Walking tours of towns and cities are leisurely but you should be prepared to be on your feet for several hours. Some of our cultural trips that occur at high altitude and/or require greater independence with baggage handling (at hotels, airports, train stations) also fall into this category.

To learn more about the Activity levels, please visit our tour styles page.
Tour Style: Cultural

These three- and four-star hotel-based, "soft adventure" trips concentrate on the culture, history, and natural attributes of our destination. Though there are no strenuous activities built into these tours, you need to be prepared for some full days with some early starts, plenty of walking on uneven surfaces through villages, cities and archaeological sites, and not a lot of "down time." Independence, reasonable fitness, and an ability to be steady on one's feet are critical in order for you to get the most out of these programs.

To learn more about the Tour Styles, please visit our tour styles page.
This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.
Learn more.

 

Got it