2019 Land Cost Per Person (double occupancy)
April, May, June: $2,700
July, August: $3,400
September, October: $3,100
This tour operates with a minimum of 2 people. Rates available upon request for groups larger than 2 people.
Note: This excursion is done entirely on foot. We recommend you to wear comfortable walking shoes and protect yourself from the sun. Appropriate dress is recommended to enter religious sites (shoulders and knees must be covered), wherever applicable.
- Accommodation in 4-star hotels throughout, including rich buffet breakfast and current taxes.
- All transfers with private motor coach or taxis, depending on size of group.
- Private hiking tours with licensed qualified English-speaking guides.
- All boat fares in economy class.
- Entrance fees to the Acropolis and the New Acropolis Museum in Athens.
- 24-hour hot line while in Greece.
Price Does Not Include:
- Gratuities to escorts and guides.
- Any item not mentioned in itinerary, extra meals and beverages.
- Expenses of personal nature.
DAY 1: ATHENS
Arrival in Athens. You will be met and transferred to your hotel. Rest of the day at leisure.
DAY 2: ATHENS
This morning’s tour begins inside the Syntagma metro station where you will visit the Metro Museum with very interesting archaeological artifacts from the daily life of Ancient Athens that came to light during the construction of the metro.
You will then continue on to the House of the Greek Parliament, the Monument to the Unknown Soldier, and watch the changing of the guards. Your tour continues towards the National Gardens and on to the beautiful neoclassical Zappeion Hall, in front of which tower the surviving columns of the Temple of Zeus and Hadrian’s Arch, both of which you will have the opportunity to visit. From there you enter the famous Plaka district where you see the statue of Melina Merkuri.
You will enter the Acropolis from the south slope to visit the Dionysus Sanctuary and Dionysus Theatre built in the 5th century BC. As you begin to ascend the sacred hill, a breathtaking view of the city bellow will unfold. Your guide will give you a detailed explanation of the glorious monuments of the Acropolis such as the Parthenon, the Erectheion, the Propylaia, the Nike Temple, and the surrounding monuments such as the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, the Ancient Agora, and the Observatory as well as the Philopappos, Mars, and Pnyx Hills.
The New Acropolis Museum is our next stop. It was designed by the Swiss architect, Bernard Tschumi, in cooperation with the Greek architect, Michalis Photiadis. Its unique design has incorporated the excavations, which are visible under stunning glass floors. The Acropolis masterpieces are marked out and given the prominence they deserve through the ideal interior atmosphere conditions, the natural lighting, as well as easy visitor access, panoramic views, and the excellent layout of the exhibition areas. It exhibits about 4,000 artifacts. Ample free time for exploring and picture taking at the Acropolis will be provided before your tour of the Acropolis Museum begins.
NOTE: After the first part of the tour which ends at the Acropolis at 12:45 you will have time to take pictures and get to the designated point for your Acropolis Museum Tour. There will also be time to get a snack or a drink before you start the guided tour in the Museum at 1:30. You can do this at the Acropolis Canteen, in the coffee shop of the Museum, or in the many snack and coffee places on the pedestrian walkway next to the Museum. The tour ends at the Acropolis Museum. Balance of day at leisure for further exploration on your own. Overnight in Athens. (B)
DAY 3: ATHENS – TINOS
This morning we’ll be transfered to the port of Rafina and will board the ferry to the island of Tinos (approx. 3 hours). Tinos is the real Greece in miniature. Though relatively unexplored by non-Greeks, it is rightly famous for its traditions, hospitable way of life, its numerous village-based religious festivities (Panagyria), and the church of the Panagia Megalohari (Blessed Virgin Mary), which attracts pilgrims from all over Greece throughout the year. More secular celebrations in the beautiful traditional villages include the artichoke festival at Komi, the honey festival at Kambos, and the Raki festival in Falatados. Tinos is the Greece of the imagination. Upon arrival in Tinos you’ll check in at our hotel and will have a whole free afternoon for getting familiarized with this exquisite and divine town! Overnight in Tinos. (B)
DAY 4: TINOS
For the walker, the treasures of Tinos also include its network of over 400 kms. of ancient paths, which Walking Tinos has helped to map. Many are still being discovered. With around 50 villages, more than 1,200 small family churches and, at the last count, 1,135 uniquely-designed, centuries-old dovecotes, Tinos is a rare find. Add in varied topography and serene ancient hillsides covered in intricate terracing and Tinos becomes a paradise for walkers and lovers of the traditional rural life, which has all but disappeared on many islands. The compact main town (Hora) with its bustling, well-connected ferry port, traditional tavernas, bakeries, and shops, alongside a sprinkling of chic restaurants and bars, caters to all your needs. No wonder that Tinos has long been a firm favorite with discerning Greeks.
This morning our walks will take you through the cool, narrow streets of whitewashed villages, where traditional crafts can still be seen, and through valleys full of dovecotes and abandoned water mills. From the vibrant and beautiful village of Pyrgos, famous for its marble, to the turtles near Livada, to farmers tending their terraces using adzes, mattocks and mules, Tinos delights the senses. The walker is certain to come across wild and domesticated goats roaming the terraces, and there is an abundance of doves, descendants of those bred by the Venetians, occupiers of the island from 1204 – 1715. Many birds and other native species of wildlife thrive on the island, and for those with an interest in botany, many species of wild flowers can be seen, especially in spring. Daytime air and sea temperatures remain warm from early spring until early December, whilst seasonal winds benefit the walker during the hot summer months. You’ll walk the historic paved Roman and Byzantine roads (Kalderimia) linking the main villages, or the narrow dry-stone walled paths (Monopatia) in Tinos’ more remote areas. The villages of Arnados, Dio Horia, and Triandaros provide a spectacular “balcony of the Aegean,” giving unrivaled, far-reaching views towards Kythnos to the north; Mykonos, Amorgos, Naxos, Paros and Ikaria to the east; and Syros and Sifnos to the west. Tinos has many, often-secluded beaches lapped by the clear blue waters of the Aegean. Overnight in Tinos. (B)
DAY 5: TINOS – SYROS
At noon we will travel by ferry to the island of Syros. (approx. 1:30 hours). Syros offers many opportunities for hiking, with trails that combine natural beauty, culture, and tradition. In the afternoon we’ll take a walk in Ano Syros, which dominates above Ermoupolis and gives a glimpse of another era. Ano Syros is a medieval city center, amphitheatrically built on the hill of St. George (San Giorgio). Countless steps raise you to the top, surrounded by narrow streets with whitewashed houses and colored doors. Inside the medieval settlement of Ano Syros, vehicles do not circulate because the streets are very narrow and there are stairs everywhere. The breathtaking view of the sea is unique, giving visitors the opportunity to enjoy the blue Aegean. Overnight in Syros. (B)
DAY 6: SYROS
Syros is a cosmopolitan island with a rich history and has known rich times as is evident everywhere on the island. Today Syros is the administrative center of all the Cyclades. In the morning we’ll start with a tour in Posidonia /Dellagrazia, once the summer resort of the wealthy inhabitants of the island during the industrial prosperity of Syros in the 19th century. In Posidonia, we will admire the magnificent mansions and gardens that add a unique beauty to the village, retaining its old splendor.
We shall then walk into Ermoupolis, the island’s capital, where you will visit the Church of the Dormition of the Virgin (Greek Orthodox Church), which houses a very important work of art, that of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary by Domenicos Theotokopoulos (El Greco). The icon was, in all probability, transfered from Venice sometime during the past century. You will also see the Church of Agios Nicolaos with its blue dome and high bell towers.
You then walk the short distance to the city’s main square and visit Syros’ city hall, the work of the well-known Austrian architect, Schiller. Its foundations were laid in 1876, and the building was completed at the end of the 19th century. Your tour will then continue to the Archaeological Museum of Syros, which is housed on the west side of the City Hall (Megaron). The museum exhibits works from the Hellenistic and Roman period as well as sculptures from the islands of Amorgos, Los, Kea, and Naxos. It also houses finds from the prehistoric period discovered on the Protocycladic acropolis of Chalandriani.
You will then walk the short distance to the “Apollo Theatre,” Greece’s “Piccola Scala!” The theatre was completed in 1864, and the first performances of an Italian melodrama were enacted during the same year. It is said that the interior of the theatre is the Scala of Milan in miniature, with lavish ceiling paintings and magnificent wooden boxes. Free afternoon for own exploration and strolling around Ermoupolis. Overnight in Syros. (B)
DAY 7: SYROS – NAXOS
We’ll board the ferry in the morning for our crossing to our next destination, the island of Naxos, the largest of the Cycladic Islands (approx. 2:30 hours).
Big Sweet has this island, virtuous are the faces of people, piles are shaped by melons, peaches, figs and the sea is calm. I looked at the people – never this people have been frightened by earthquakes or by Turks, and their eyes did not burn out. Here freedom had extinguished the need for freedom, and life spread out as happy sleeping water. And if sometimes was discomposed, never rose tempest. Safety was the first gift of island that I felt as I was walking around Naxos. (N. Kazantzakis – “A Report to El Greco”)
The landscape of the island has many rotations. Plains succeed barren areas, marble mountains lead in deep shadowed glens, areas with vegetation host all white villages, and sandy beaches meet the sea. The coastline of the island is almost straight and not forming large natural harbors, which affected the occupations of residents in the ancient years. From end to end beautiful and clean coasts are situated next to small, solitary coves, and the ground of the island is blessed and provides a self-sufficiency to life here. This imposing, largest island of Cyclades, where mountainous volumes dominate, with the highest altitudes in the Aegean (the highest peak of Cyclades is the top of Za at 1004 m.), immediately gives one a sense of security and stability within this turbulent marine state. Naxos itself is a whole universe.
After checking in at our hotel we will 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 in Naxos. (B)
DAY 8: NAXOS
In the morning we shall start our hiking tour by visiting Chora (Naxos town) and its surroundings. We will walk up from the harbor promenade, to reach the kástro (citadel). The kástro dominates the town, and it was built by the Venetian, Marco Sanudo, in 1207, upon his return after the fourth crusade. The entrance on the northwestern side still contains its original wooden gate; also the nearby Glezos-tower is impressive. Above the kástro we will find the Catholic church and some Catholic monasteries. Next to the church we’ll pay a visit to the very interesting archaeological museum (with some truly beautiful Cycladic statues). This museum used to be the Collège Français, and the famous writer, Nikos Kazantzákis, studied here for some time. Around the kástro we shall admire some beautiful patrician houses with decorated doors.
We shall then walk towards the site of the Mitrópolis. We’ll take the street leading away from the sea, the Odós Iroöon Politechníou. In the Mitrópolis Square we’ll first walk on the left-hand side of the museum, which is largely constructed under the ground. Further on we will also see the Saint Nikólaos Church and the cathedral of Zoödóchou Pigís, both of Byzantine architecture. Then we shall visit the small museum, which contains interesting remnants of houses dating from the Mycenian era (1400 – 1050 BC). There are remnants of walls, remnants of a very rare “pottery workshop,” and artifacts from funeral rituals dating from that time period and from later years. Because of the truly exceptional design of the museum, one can walk over and between the remnants.
In order to have a look at the beaches south of Chóra, we will walk along the harbor promenade and pass underneath the “dímos Náxou” (town hall), and after about ten minutes you will see the first little beach appearing in front of you. We’ll walk on a small, rocky cape in order to approach this beach. We shall continue and walk through some sand dunes before we reach the second part of the Agios Geórgios Bay, which is well known among surfers. Further down we can see a kind of dam on our left, and then we’ll then walk through the bed of a small river until we reach the top of the 150-meter-high Stelída Hill. The view over the bay of Náxos is really beautiful from this spot. From this point we will continue further to the south to the beautiful beaches of Agios Prokópios and Agia Anna.
When the sun is about to set on our return to Naxos town, we will walk to the northwestern end of the promenade. Over there we will cross the dam to walk to the little island with the “Portára” (Large Gate). This impressive gate is all that remains from the never-finished temple of Apollo. The monument captures the hey-days of Náxos, when in the 6th century BC there might have been around 100,000 people on this island. At sunset you can take wonderful pictures from this point.
Our tour ends with our return back to Chora, after having today visited some of the most quaint sites of Naxos town. Overnight in Naxos. (B)
DAY 9: NAXOS – ATHENS
Today we travel back to Athens via ferry, which may afford some last minute free time in Athens. Overnight in Athens. (B)
DAY 10: DEPART ATHENS
Bid farewell to Athens and Greece this morning. After breakfast transfer to the airport for your departure flight and same day arrival at home! (B)
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