20916
Greece
The Best of Greece: Island Hopping in the Aegean
Discover ancient relics, iconic architecture, inspired art and enduring traditions as you voyage throughout the timeless islands of Greece — a haven of antiquity.
Program No. 20916RJ
Length
15 days
Starts at
3,999
Flights start at
1,000
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15 days
14 nights
32 meals
13 B 8 L 11 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Athens
D
Parthenon Hotel

Activity note: Check-in available from 2:00 PM.

Dinner: Enjoy a festive Welcome Dinner at a "taverna," a traditional, casual restaurant. Unless otherwise noted, dinners on this program are typically a three-course set menu. Please note that water is included in the program cost at all meals.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Acropolis, Acropolis Museum, Plaka
Athens
B,L,D
Parthenon Hotel

Activity note: 5 hours of walking and standing on uneven terrain, and 100 stairs up and down the Acropolis and in Plaka with no handrails.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room. On this program, breakfasts will offer a typical European style breakfast buffet with breads, cheeses, cold-cuts, yogurt, fruit, cereals, juice, milk, coffee, tea and water.

Morning: Climb to the top of Athens' Acropolis, home to a number of temples, the most famous of which is the Parthenon. The Parthenon was built to honor the city's patroness, Athena. See the grand sun-bleached structure built by Pericles in the 5th century BC to celebrate the city's victory at Marathon, and visit the nearby Acropolis Museum holding exquisite finds from the site. Then enjoy a walk through the lively old quarter of Plaka, a neighborhood with many Byzantine churches and endless shops.

Lunch: At a local taverna. Unless otherwise noted, lunches on this program are typically a two-course set menu.

Afternoon: Take part in a lecture: "Greece: One of the Oldest Civilizations in the World." We will focus on the impact of geography and the role of the sea in the development of local culture, and we will delve into the influence of the arts.

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: Explore Athens nightlife on your own.

DAY
4
Cruise to Mykonos, The Cyclades in the Aegean World
Mykonos
B,L,D
Myconian K Hotels

Activity note: Ferry ride from Piraeus to Mykonos: 5 hours, 45 minutes. 2 hours of walking.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Check out of the hotel and transfer to Piraeus, the port of Athens, to board a ferry to Mykonos. On the way to Mykonos, sail as ancient sailors did by Cape Sounion and view from a distance the 5th century B.C. Temple of Poseidon, which guards even today the maritime routes from Athens to the Aegean Islands. Shortly after, enter the world of the Cyclades where islands such as Kea, Kythnos and Tinos emerge from the blue waters of the Aegean. Approach the stunning port of Syros, and then continue on to cosmopolitan Mykonos.

Lunch: At a local taverna in Mykonos, including a cooking demonstration.

Afternoon: Attend an enriching lecture: "The Cyclades in the Aegean World." There is no better place than Mykonos to hear our first lecture about the Cyclades - these unique little floating worlds where Apollo the sun-god was born and with him a new era of human civilization! The presentation of history, architecture and also modern life will be followed by a wonderful walk through the picturesque white-washed alleys of the town. Walk past many private chapels, monuments of the people's strong Orthodox faith. Continue to the famous windmills, and finally reach one of the most magnificent religious architectural ensembles of the island, the Paraportiani church. A few steps farther and we experience the vibrant port of Mykonos!

Dinner: At a popular local restaurant in the town of Mykonos.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Mykonos, Delos - Birth Place of Apollo
Mykonos
B,L
Myconian K Hotels

Activity note: 3 hours of walking on uneven terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Depart by boat from the port town of Mykonos and approach sacred Delos! This unique island was the birth place of Apollo, the god of the sun, music and arts. Located in the center of the Aegean Sea, Delos offered shelter to the ships of the early sailors, attracted rich merchants to build their villas close to the sanctuary of their god, and soon became an important commercial crossroad in the eastern Mediterranean. During an expert-led excursion, see the ruins of ancient Delos.

Lunch: At a local taverna in Mykonos.

Afternoon: Relax on the cosmopolitan island of Mykonos. Wander its busy, narrow streets, discover its elegant shops, or enjoy a cocktail in one of the trendy bars. You will also have the opportunity to rejuvenate at the thalassotherapy spa on your own at the hotel. The thalassotherapy program offers the curative effects of mineral enriched seawater and takes you through three pools, each with a different temperature and salinity content.

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.

Evening: Catch one of Mykonos' magical sunsets, either from the Venetia neighborhood or from the terrace of your hotel.

DAY
6
Cruise to Paros, Paroikia, Ekatontapyliani Church
Paros
B,L,D
Pandrossos Hotel

Activity note: Ferry ride from Mykonos to Paros: 45 minutes. 2 hours of walking, and some stairs.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Check out of the hotel and transfer to the port of Mykonos to board a ferry to Paros.

Lunch: At a restaurant on the island of Paros.

Afternoon: Our Cycladic experience continues with a pleasant walk through Paroikia, the main port of town of the island and one of the most attractive towns in the Cyclades. Visit the Ekatontapyliani Church, an important pilgrimage site of the Orthodox world. According to tradition, the church was founded by St. Helen, the mother of the Byzantine emperor Constantine the Great, in the 4th century A.D. We continue our stroll through the narrow streets where beautiful blooming bougainvilleas decorate every single corner until we reach a typical island tavern where a sip of Ouzo introduces a traditional dinner.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, where you will enjoy a tasting of Ouzo, the anise-flavored aperitif that is a symbol of Greek culture.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Paros, Marble Quarry, Food and Wine in the Aegean
Paros
B,L
Pandrossos Hotel

Activity note: 2 hours of walking on uneven terrain with ascents and descents.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Today we drive to the well-known village of Lefkes, for an expert-led walk with your Group Leader through the old city's narrow streets. Learn about the history and medieval architecture of the city. Along the way we stop to visit the marble quarry, the source of the island's wealth and inspiration for many important sculptural masterpieces. Continue your walking excursion in the quaint fishing village of Naoussa.

Lunch: At a local taverna.

Afternoon: Lecture on the ancient traditions of food and wine in the Aegean. Afterwards, enjoy some free time.

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Cruise to Santorini, Sunset in Oia
Santorini
B,L,D
Daedalus Hotel

Activity note: Ferry ride from Paros to Santorini: 3 hours, 30 minutes. 1.5 hours of walking, and some stairs.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Check out of the hotel and board a ferry to Santorini. Also known as Thera, this quintessential Greek island formed its distinctive crescent shape in an ancient volcanic explosion that created its "caldera" or crater.

Lunch: On board the ferry or at the hotel (depending on ferry schedules).

Afternoon: Enjoy an orientation walk around Fira, the island's vivid capital. Then take a scenic drive north to the most picturesque village of Santorini, Oia. Oia offers unique architectural complexes, elegant art galleries, fashion shops, cozy cafes, gourmet restaurants, as well as its famed sunsets - considered by some to be the most beautiful in the world.

Dinner: After admiring the sunset, end the day with dinner at a local taverna in Oia.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Santorini, Akrotiri, Wine Tasting, Greek Music and Dancing
Santorini
B,D
Daedalus Hotel

Activity note: 3 hours of walking, and some stairs.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: We’ll start our island exploration from the excavations of Akrotiri! The archaeological excavations brought to light the remains of a city destroyed during the eruption of the volcano in 1630 B.C. Today we have the opportunity to see the remains of three and four-story buildings, houses supplied with fresh running water and a drainage system and decorated with wonderful frescoes; it is regarded as one of the most fascinating sites of prehistoric Greece. We continue on to the Prehistoric Museum of Thera to view some of the most important finds from Akrotiri.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: There is no way to describe the wild volcanic beauty of this island with the gorgeous views and the amazing cliffs dropping straight down to the dark blue waters of the caldera. Therefore, we take you to the edge of the cliffs, where one of the best known wineries of the island is located, to taste some of the finest types of Santorini wine, followed by local meze (appetizers).

Dinner: Celebrations in Greece center around food, song and family. Enjoy a lively evening with dinner, local music and folk dancing.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Cruise to Crete, History, Traditions and Herbs of Crete!
Heraklion Crete
B,D
Lato Boutique Hotel

Activity note: Ferry ride from Santorini to Heraklion/Crete: 1 hour, 35 minutes. 1 hour, 15 minutes of steep walking on uneven terrain, and many stairs with no handrails.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Explore the traditional village of Pyrgos on foot, and discuss the issues surrounding vanishing village life in the Greek Islands with your Group Leader. Then enjoy some free time to walk around on your own. Later, transfer to Kamari on Santorini's southeast side where we can enjoy the beach resort before boarding the ferry to Crete.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: Free time aboard the ferry to relax. Arrive in Crete and transfer to the hotel.

Dinner: During our first evening in Crete and just before dinner, we meet at the panoramic rooftop of our hotel where your Group Leader will give an interesting talk about the history and traditions of the island, and will also introduce us to the incredible and fragrant world of the herbs of Crete!

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Knossos, Pottery of the Ancient Minoans, Cooking Show
Heraklion Crete
B,L,D
Lato Boutique Hotel

Activity note: 2 hours of walking, and some stairs with no handrails.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: We begin the day by discovering Crete's best-known archaeological site, Knossos. Knossos is the legendary home of King Minos and the famed beast Minotaur. End the morning with a visit to a local ceramicist to watch him at his craft. He will also discuss pottery traditions of the ancient Minoans.

Lunch: Gain a contemporary vision of traditional island life during an excursion to the typical village of Myrtia. Here we enjoy a delicious lunch at a family-run taverna where all the produce is grown in the family's garden.

Afternoon: Enjoy free time to explore the city of Heraklion. Stroll through the herbs market or relax at a local cafe with a cup of local herbal tea called “Diktamo." Before dinner, enjoy a presentation by a local expert on the flora and fauna of the island of Crete.

Dinner: At the hotel where the owners will show us how to prepare some traditional Cretan dishes.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Phaistos Archaeological Site
Heraklion Crete
B,L,D
Lato Boutique Hotel

Activity note: 3 hours of walking and standing on uneven terrain, and many steps with no handrails.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: A field trip takes us to the archaeological site at Phaistos, one of the richest and most important centers of the Minoan culture. On our way to Phaistos we stop to visit the archaeological site of ancient Gortyna, one of the most important cities in Crete with a history that goes back 6,000 years. This city is where the famous "Gortyn Code" was founded, which is both the oldest and most complete known example of a code of the ancient Greek law.

Lunch: At a taverna in picturesque Matala.

Afternoon: Investigate the Vori Ethnological Museum with exhibitions celebrating daily life on the island. These exhibits explore food, architecture, weaving and the customs and traditions of the island. Then enjoy a walk through Vori and encounter the remains of the Venetian houses. You may also wish to take a swim this afternoon. Make sure to bring your bathing suit!

Dinner: Hotel dining room.

Evening: Enjoy a screening of a performance of ancient Greek theater.

DAY
13
Rethymnon, Chania, Cruise to Piraeus-Athens
At Sea - Ferry Overnight
B,D
F/B Elyros or F/B Lato

Activity note: Ferry ride from Heraklion to Piraeus: 9 hours (overnight ferry). 3 hours of walking.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Begin the morning with a visit to Rethymnon, the only Renaissance town in Greece, where one can still see well-preserved Venetian buildings! Then continue on to Chania, a picturesque port on Crete's western coast. Enjoy a walking excursion to explore Chania's oldest neighborhood with its 16th-century Venetian church, market, the Naval Museum, and ending at the charming old ship harbor with its beautiful lighthouse.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own at one of the quaint cafes or restaurants.

Afternoon: This afternoon enjoy some free time in Chania before boarding the ferry to Piraeus, Athens.

Dinner: On board the ferry.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
National Archaeological Museum, Farewell Dinner
Athens
B,D
Parthenon Hotel

Activity note: 2 hours of walking and standing, and some stairs.

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Transfer from Piraeus to our hotel in Athens. We complete our experience with a visit to the National Archaeological Museum, the city's most important collection and home to impressive artifacts highlighting every era of ancient Greek history.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.

Afternoon: Free time to explore Athens on your own.

Dinner: Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
15
Departures
In Flight
B

Breakfast: Hotel dining room.

Morning: Transfer to the airport for departing flights. This concludes our program. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures.