The Greek islands are known for their extreme beauty with many white buildings set against the deep blue Mediterranean Sea. The pictures are truly worth a million words. One can only truly experience this beauty by seeing it for yourself.
We begin our Aegean journey on the island of Paros. This island is known as having some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Greece. One of the most typical islands of the Cyclades, it is famous for the traditional architecture, the lovely beaches and its nightlife. Parikia and Naoussa are the main villages of Paros, where most activities are concentrated, while there are also other seaside settlements around the island. Some of the lovely beaches are Santa Maria, Kolymbithres and Parasporos famous for it’s white sand beaches, crystal clear waters and mountain landscapes.
Our next island is the beautiful island of Santorini ranked as the number one island in Europe by Conde’ Nast magazine. When you think of Greece and see the photos you are seeing Santorini. The sunsets alone are famous in their own right for the amazing colors and serene beauty of yet another wonderful day turning into a fabulous night. Santorini also boast vineyards to tour and the extreme topography of one side of the island being flat with wonderful beaches including a black sand and red sand beach. The other side of the island is the caldera side with its high cliffs and breathtaking views of the sea.
The last stop of this tour is Crete Island, this unique yet large and diverse island is home to the historic site of Knossos Palace, Venetian villages, mountains and so much more. We will stay in the picturesque town of Chania and it's colorful Marina. You will experience wine tasting, Greek villages, learning of the Crete history and last but not least making your own Greek meal.
Day 1: September 5 Arrive into Athens and take the connecting flight to Paros Island.
Upon arrival transfer to the hotel. Check in and enjoy some time to relax at the beach or pool. Later today your tour leader will take you on a guided walk of the town of Naoussa. This evening enjoy a welcome dinner in town to meet your traveling companions for the week. Paliomylos Beach view hotel for 3 nights. (D)
Naoussa is considered to be one of the prettiest villages in the Cyclades, this lovely village has managed to keep its authenticity, traditional character and charm, with its whitewashed and flowered little buildings. Surrounded by labyrinth-like narrow, stone paved streets, the lovely village is built around a tiny picturesque port where little colorful fishing boats called caiques moor and the remains of a Venetian castle can still be seen, creating a unique and enchanting atmosphere. Little taverns and ouzeries are boarding the port, giving a friendly and traditional atmosphere. Though Naoussa is much quieter than Parikia, it offers several animated bars and nightclubs, opened until dawn. Also famous for its numerous beautiful golden beaches, filling the natural bay such as Kolymbithres Beach, Agios Ioannis, Agioi Anargyroi, Monastiri and many more. From the wildest and more secluded beaches to the fully organized ones, those beaches are ideal for everyone, covering all tastes and needs.
Day 2: September 6 Paros Island tour.
After breakfast depart for a tour of the island. You will visit such Cities as Parikia and Lefkes and the sites the Panayia Cathedral, Monastery of Panagia Ekatontapiliani, Church of Agia Triada and many more sites this island has to offer. Your local guide will give you much of the islands history as well as showing you many wonderful sights and scenic views along the tour. After enjoy a wonderful local Greek lunch. The remainder of the day and evening is at your leisure. (B,L)
Day 3: September 7 Naxos Island Excursion.
We will take a short ferry ride to the neighboring Island of Naxos. Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades islands and, definitely, one of the most beautiful ones! Despite being relatively underrated, compared to the neighboring Cyclades islands, Naxos is one of the most interesting destinations in Greece! Its ancient past and strong influences of the Venetians and the Franks are responsible for the abundance of ancient sites. Apart from its impressive monuments, though, Naxos boasts a beautiful natural landscape, as it is the greenest island of the Cyclades. Imposing mountains, green valleys, beautiful beaches, and rural villages will exalt nature lovers’ spirits! Our sight seeing tour will include such sites as the Dimitras temple,(ancient temple from 530BC) Village Halki, we will walk through the village and we visit the old distillery producing KITRO liqueur and we will try some as well. Next stop is PANAGIA DROSIANI (a very old Byzantine church with many fresco's) We will visit the Olive press museum and will try some fresh olive oil. You will enjoy lunch with local dishes in the Village of EGGARES.
After the tour you will enjoy the remainder of the day at your leisure on Naxos island. Early evening take the short ferry ride back to Paros. This evening is at your leisure your tour leader will assist with suggestions. (B, L)
Day 4: September 8 Transfer to Santorini Island.
After breakfast we check out of the hotel and transfer via fast ferry to the famous island of Santorini. Upon arrival transfer to our hotel on top of the Caldera in the town of Fira. Fira is a typical Cycladic village, made up of charming white houses with blue windows and doors, separated from each other by small paved streets. Many of its beautiful buildings date back to the Venetian invasion. Don't miss the famous sunset from just outside your hotel, one of the experiences this area is famous for. This evening have dinner in town with sunset views over the Caldera. Boutique hotel in Santorini 2 nights. (B,D)
Day 5: September 9 Boat Tour - Oia.
Today we enjoy a tour of the coastal side of the island including the red and black sand beaches via our Catamaran. We will sail to the volcanic island of Nea Kameni with amazing views across the sea to Mykonos, the boat heads to the “Hot Springs” and their thermal sulfurous waters, where you can let yourself indulge in the warm and soothing waters. The vessel docks close to Thirassia, the second largest of the complex of islands forming the caldera, giving you the opportunity to escape into its crystal clear and refreshing blue waters. Meanwhile, the crew prepares a delicious traditional buffet of Greek food which will be accompanied by delicious local white wine. Next, head to the northern tip of Santorini and the town of Oia, with its two small fishing ports. The boat offers a unique vantage point from which to admire and photograph this traditional settlement. Relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery, while cruising over the Aegean Sea. The remainder of the day and evening is at your leisure to explore the island as you choose. Later our tour leader will take you to explore the town of Oia, offering a very different feel and design. From here we will enjoy the sunset and have dinner with a water view before heading back to Fira. (B,L)
Day 6: September 10 Transfer to Crete Island.
Your last day in Santorini is at your leisure to take in any sites and experiences not already had. You may opt to rent a Buggy or 4 x 4 to explore the island, take in some wine tastings at the many wineries, enjoy lunch at the black sand beach. In the late afternoon, take the fast ferry to the island of Crete and transfer to the hotel, located near the port in the city of Heraklion. After check-in, we will enjoy dinner at a local tavern. Atrion Hotel 1 night (B,D)
Day 7: September 11 Crete Island tour.
After breakfast, embark on a full-day tour of the area. First, visit the archaeological site of the magnificent Minoan palace of Knossos, the center of Minoan civilization. Your licensed guide will give you an in-depth tour and discuss the site’s history and artifacts. Continue on to the wonderful town of Chania (Hania), with stops along the way. Among the tour Highlights: the quaint towns of Rethymnon and Georgioupoli, Greek winery, and of course, you’ll have time to snap some photos along the way. We will have an amazing Greek lunch with a setting that is out of the movies. Arrive in Chania in the late afternoon. Spend the evening at your leisure, enjoying dinner overlooking the marina and setting sun. Porto Veneziano Hotel - Sea View room – 2 nights (B,L)
Day 8: September 12 Chania tour and Cooking Class.
Our last day on Crete and in Greece will be spent first enjoying a guided walk of the town of Chania and it’s old buildings offering a unique Venetian history of the island. Visit the local market for authentic shopping of olive oils and honey grown and harvested on the island. Many other wonderful shops offer great deals on local crafts and goodies to bring home. Later today we are treated to a very special Cretan cooking class where we will learn the traditional ways of making some of the fabulous food we have been eating all week. All dishes are made of genuine, pure Cretan products such as olive oil, vegetables, cheese, meat, wine, etc. and of course all the ingredients are fresh and local. In addition, useful information about the herbs, olive oil and other ingredients used is given together with explanations about their nutritional value and ways of usage. We will then dine on our creation. This evening we enjoy a farewell dinner to say goodbye to Greece and our new friends. (B,D)
The Old Town of Chania is built on the remains of the Minoan Kydonia and comprise of many historic districts. People with different cultures and morals lived in Chania creating a unique atmosphere. Right across the town’s entrance you will see the magnificent Venetian Lighthouse, which was built during the 16th century. The archaeological findings reveal that the region was constantly inhabited since the Neolithic Age and was an important town during the Minoan, Byzantine and Roman period. Especially during the Roman period Chania was an important financial and cultural center. But then the Turks came and everything changed. After the liberation of the town from the Turks, Chania along with the rest of Crete, united with the Greek State.
Day 9: September 13 - Departure Day - You will fly out of Chania, Crete (CHQ) Departure times from Chania are at 6:30 AM and 9:25 AM. Please consult with us regarding the best option on your return flight as most flights should be booked as a continued route departing from Chania via Athens. (B)
Cost: $2455.00 per person based on double occupancy, (Roommates can be provided)
Single supplement: $365.00
Save 3% off the tour price if paid in full via check or ACH transfer
Booking/final payment deadline is 60 days prior to departure.
8 nights’ 4* Deluxe accommodations
Airport Arrival/departure transfers on all Islands
Fast Ferry Paros to Santorini business class
Ferry Port Arrival/departure transfers on all Islands
Local tour guides as needed
Boat cruise in Santorini
Island tour in Paros
Island tour and ferry tickets to Naxos Island
All entrance fees and transfers to tours as listed in the itinerary
Private transfers to/from Oia, Santorini
Gratuities for driver, guide and tour leader
10 - 15% discount on spa treatments at the Paliomylos Hotel in Paros
Additional Pre nights in Paros - hotel, tax and breakfast. Single $140.00 Double $90.00 per person
International airfare – We can arrange airfare for you
Meals not listed in itinerary
Room charges such as calls, mini bar, laundry, room service
Alcohol and soft drinks with meals
Airfare from Athens to Paros Island
Visa, Passport fees or departure taxes
Entry Requirements: Visitors from the US, Canada and Australia need a valid passport, Visas are not required for Americans, Canadians or Australians visiting for less than 3 months. If you are a citizen of another E.U. country, you do not need a passport, only an identity card. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the date you intend to leave the European Union. Make sure you check your passport expiry date at least 2 months prior to travel. Before traveling abroad it's a good idea to make two photocopies of your passport, driver's license and credit cards. Leave one copy at home with a friend or family member and another bring with you.
Time Zone: Greece is 7 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (NYC) 8 hours ahead of Central Standard Time, 9 hours ahead of Mountain Standard Time (DEN), and 10 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time (LAX). Greece does observe daylight saving time, The European 24-hour clock is used to measure time, so on schedules you'll see 3:30 PM as 15:30, and 11:00 PM as 23:00
Weather: Greece has a warm, dry climate. The best time to visit begins in May. Mykonos may have some strong winds, and Crete is mild and sunny nearly all year round, Santorini may get some winds however it keeps a nice warm temperature. Temperatures will range from the mid to upper 80's for day and low to mid 70's for the evenings.
Currency: The local currency in Greece is the euro. The best way to get cash in the local currency is from an ATM. Keep in mind that most banks impose a fee every time a card is used at another bank's ATM, and that fee can be higher for international transactions ($1 - $3) so try and withdraw as few times as possible. Credit cards are accepted by most shops and restaurants however check with your credit card company regarding foreign exchange fees. You will also have a better chance making deals at local shops if paying with cash.
Electricity: Voltage in Greece is 200 volts AC (50 cycles) and the plug is the typical European plug with two round prongs. Many stores in North America sell the appropriate transformers and adapters, and they can also be purchased on arrival in Athens airport, as well. Any heat generating appliances that you bring need a transformer, and they may still not work properly with the different voltage. Small electronics which are such as laptops, tablets, Phones, etc., have dual voltage, so you only need a plug converter.
Taxes/Vat: Greece has a value-added tax (VAT) on most purchases made within the country, and the displayed price already includes it. It ranges from 6% (for books) to 23% (general goods). Luxury goods such as jewelry, and expensive imported liquors include a 30% built-in tax. To get a VAT refund on purchases that qualify, present your passport to the salesperson and ask for the special stamped form. Present the form with your purchases at the booth marked IVA Tax Refunds at the airport, as you leave the country. You'll get your money refunded right at the booth.
Health: Greece does not offer free medical treatment to visitors. Travelers from Canada and the United States must pay for medical services rendered, but will be reimbursed by their travel insurance. Your health insurance provider may not cover you while traveling to Greece so it is best to check with them prior to travel. It is always advisable to purchase a travel insurance plan while traveling abroad. This way you will be covered for accidents, injury and illness. No vaccines are required for Greece. The water is not safe to drink and thus bottled water must be used to drink and in same cases at certain hotels for brushing your teeth.
Activity Level: This trip has a fairly limited activity level however at each stop we will be walking quite a bit. Most streets are uneven pavement or on cobble stone paths. To be able to fully enjoy the tour and participate in scheduled activities, you need to be able to walk, at a leisurely pace, up to 3 or 4 or so miles on some days. You should be able to stand unassisted for up to 30 minutes at times during the tours. You will need be able to keep up with the group without any assistance. At times you will need manage your own luggage. This trip is pretty easy for the average person however if you can't or choose not to participate in certain activities this is at your own discretion. However it cannot affect the groups participation nor can any tours or activities or refunds be offered or changed due to an individual not being able or not wanting to participate.
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