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The Greek isles are the stuff of which dreams are made. Iconic white-washed, sun-drenched buildings rising from a backdrop of a liquid sapphire Aegean Sea, warm and inviting new friends, and memories to last a lifetime await you on this Greek Islands Fantasy tour.
You will be staying in all suites hotels during this tour - one night in Athens, five in Naxos, and two in Santorini. In Naxos, you will stay in a new all-suites and spa family-owned hotel, which is located only 100 feet from the beach, and surrounded by restaurants, cafés, and shops.
You will gather at the Athens airport at 12:00 noon, local time. From there, you will move to the hotel in this classic city. You will check in, freshen up, and pinch yourself, as you prepare to embark on a walking tour of epochal sites in late afternoon.
The Acropolis of Athens, perhaps one of the most famed structures in history, is a city within itself, located on a rocky outcrop overlooking Athens, the location lending itself to the name “Acropolis” which translates to “city at the highest point”.
Recognized for its architectural and historical significance, this UNESCO World Heritage Site houses the remains of many ancient buildings, including the Parthenon. Dating back to the 5th century B.C., this remarkable site has seen the likes of ancient legends, philosophers, statesmen, politicians, and other colorful personalities through the ages.
Let the days events settle as you enjoy dinner at a typical Greek taverna and unwind as the locals do.
Athenians are passionate about their food. For the average resident of Athens, food is so much more than simple sustenance. Food is a celebration, a way of life, a connection to the past, and a treasure for the future. For Greeks, food is a topic of conversation, and an art form that is appreciated daily.
Today, you will share in the proud tradition of Greek culinary culture. Each moment of this culinary tour will tantalize and transform you, sumptuous taste by sumptuous taste.
The highlights of the tour include a walking tour of the city’s most authentic areas. Experience Athens like a local. Visit the renowned Athens central food market, and discover uniquely Athenian specialty food stores. Sample and graze your way through a rich selection of local delicacies, both sweet and savory. You are sure to be too full for lunch!
You will also get to learn about the deep and abiding Greek food culture and proud gastronomy. Get the scoop from Food N' Wine Vacations' fun and knowledgeable insider food expert in Greek cuisine.
You will begin this tour by visiting an authentic café where rich and robust coffee is made the traditional way, in hovoli, which is basically heated sand. As with all things food and drink in Athens, making traditional Greek coffee is elevated, and appreciated, as an art, and one of which the city is very proud.
After fortifying yourself with this rich, aromatic delight, you will continue on your tour. As you sample and sigh over the treats that Athenians enjoy every day, you will gain insight into the recipes, traditions, and cooking methods passed down through the ages. Mouth-watering delicacies, both sweet and savory, will serve as your informal lunch today.
Your movable feast will consist of such iconic Greek foods as olives, traditional pastries, and pies, Greek souvlaki, loukoumades, epic Greek charcuterie, luscious cheeses, dry foods, nuts, and the ever-present Greek coffee. It is truly an unforgettable experience of tastes and unmatched epicurean discoveries.
True food artisans will allow you to glimpse into their craft as you visit them in their element. You will spend time perusing specialty stores known to cater to these discerning craftsmen who demand excellence in all components of their art. You will find out where some of these prized products are sold, and, as if the day could get any better, you will be treated to a stop at Athens' vibrant central food market. Here, you will find vendors and food growers, fishmongers, and Athenians gathered in an appreciation of fresh food and colorful culture from all around this beautiful country.
A treat for the senses, your visit to the central market will be complemented by your friendly and food-wise guide. Take home some tasty souvenirs, and memories to hold dear for a lifetime.
This afternoon, you board your flight to the island of Naxos. Once there, you will transfer to your accommodations and settle in to prepare for your evening candlelight dinner, on the beach. Your traditional Greek dinner will feature the fresh catch of that day.
Naxos is the largest in a group of Greek islands known as the Cyclades. Today, you will explore the small, friendly villages of the island of Naxos, with a local guide, as you learn about the unique and special products produced here. The villages offer a visitor a picturesque view of iconic Greek life. Warm and welcoming locals, rugged landscape, and white and blue stucco buildings set against a backdrop of the Aegean Sea, as blue as a summer sky, while fishing boats troll the waters for the daily catch.
Today, you will enjoy life, as the locals do. Experiencing the delectable foods by tasting and tasting again. At your first stop, you will enjoy a picnic of local delights including jams, honey, bread, fresh fruit, and yogurt, along with juices and the ever-present coffee (which by now you have come to anticipate and long for!), help making cheese pies or olive pies.
The next stop finds you strolling the village streets and taking in the local sites. You will discover a windmill, restored to its original state, in very good condition. Naxos, and the entirety of the Cyclades, are famous for their wind. Find out how the wind has been harnessed, for many centuries, to mill wheat for the local villages.
The third village you visit will, once again, appeal to the Greek’s favorite pastime. You will sample five different varieties of Naxian cheeses, and assist in creating a Greek meal of keftedes and tzatziki, enjoyed with salad, bread, and favorite local wine.
Next, you are on to the village of Chalki, where you will sample the popular local liqueur, Citron, right from the distillery. You will pay a visit to the Olive Museum, where you will have an opportunity to shop. This is a wonderful place to purchase olive oil to take home with you.
After this very full day, you can enjoy your evening at leisure. Set your own pace as you stroll along the marina, dine in a local restaurant, or get lost among the Nations among the white alleyways, browsing the unique shops exhibiting local artisans’ wares.
At 10:40 a.m., you will board the high-speed ferry that takes you to the cosmopolitan island of Mykonos (35 minutes' cruise away). A magical island, located in the very heart of the Cyclades, Mykonos is a haven for world-famous celebrities, who want to loll away the spectacular Grecian summer in style. The island of Mykonos takes its name from the grandson of the god Apollo, and legend has it, was built on the bodies of the giants felled by Hercules. You just know you are in for a spectacular experience in Mykonos!
The medieval town, also known as the “chora”, meaning principle town, lends itself to history buffs, as well as glitterati. Your tour sweeps you through the traditional way of life in Mykonos, as it is experienced by, quite literally, walking through history. You will relive the past memories of this beautiful place, which can be quite colorful, indeed.
Your guide will accompany you, sharing local lore and knowledge, as you navigate alleyways and secret corners known only to the local residents. You will enjoy some delectable pastries and refreshments at the Gioras bakery, a traditional bakery using an underground wooden stove, as it has for centuries. This stove is still operational today, and your experience at the Gioras bakery will fortify you for your next sightseeing adventure - five windmills that stand in a row, and are a source of pride to the people of Mykonos, as well as a fascinating attraction.
You will cross along the narrow, winding paths which take you to the Chora and Scarpa areas of Mykonos. Little Venice is located here, a popular area for photography. And it is no wonder! The elegant homes perch precariously at the Aegean Sea very edge, whitewashed, and dazzling, in the sun, lie jewels from the sea. The charm of Little Venice is found in the easygoing air, and friendly and lovely atmosphere.
For lunch today, you will dine in a stunningly beautiful local home. \you will be immersed in Greek culture, cooking, and way of life as your friend and host shares her lovely home, regales you with stories of her life, her relatives, and draws you in as only Greek hospitality can, making you all feel a part of her family. You will enjoy an afternoon of storytelling, shared knowledge of customs, and lifestyle among the residents of this magical island, all accompanied by unlimited local wines, and an authentic Mykonian lunch.
You will say your farewells to your wonderful host, tucking the experience away as a special memory of Mykonos. You will have free time before your ferry boards at 6:40 p.m. to explore Mykonos as you wish, before returning to Naxos.
Today, you will visit a “mom and pop” cheese farm. Your hosts, the cheese makers, make cheese for the island of Naxos. Lucky you, you will be invited to take part in the craft of cheese making!
In the early evening, you will board a ferry to the nearby island of Paros (45 minutes' cruise away), where you will stroll the old town of Parikia. Typical of the region, Parikia is a flower-filled village, of warm and welcoming locals. Parikia picturesque vistas, winding streets, and bustling activity make for excellent “photo-op”.
Naoussa is your next stop, a charming fishing village filled with glimpses of typical Greek island life. Your dinner experience is, once again, like something out of a movie, with a stunning backdrop of this beautiful port. After dinner, you will board a ferry for your trip back to Naxos.
This morning, you will take part in a cooking class which takes place in a lovely local village, as picturesque and iconic as you can imagine. The village is right out of a movie-realistic and the experience of a lifetime.
Your most gracious host will gently guide and instruct you, in the true style of creating such luscious Greek dishes as eggplant stuffed with tomato and onions slowly caramelized, topped with local cheese, fresh local beef cooked in a tomato sauce with just a touch of cinnamon and allspice, pita and tzatziki, naxian-style Greek salad, and the traditional favorite, spanakopita. All of these mouthwatering foods will be paired with local wines. A memory-making adventure in taste and treasured conversation. Like family!
You will be suggested to take part in Naxos’ delightful local scene. Enjoy a relaxed dinner in one of the outstanding restaurants along the picturesque marina. Or, if you prefer, dine in a tavern with local music. There is also a jazz bar where you can enjoy a taste of true Naxos nightlife
The morning is yours to spend in a local cafe, or you may want to indulge in some shopping before you say goodbye to this wonderful Greek island. In a few short hours, you will board your afternoon high speed ferry to the storied island of Santorini (1.5 hours' cruise away).
This gorgeous island features a rugged landscape, courtesy of a 16th century volcanic eruption. The homes and buildings of Santorini’s two principal town and villages, Fira and Oia feature the iconic cubiform and white-washed architecture, nestled amidst the natural formations created by the volcano.
Upon arrival in Santorini port, you will whisk away to a local winery that boasts some pretty spectacular views. The wine produced here is a treat and you will all enjoy a delightful wine tasting.
Next, you will check into our hotel accommodations and freshen up. The rest of the evening is yours to enjoy. Stroll the maze of streets and choose from the many restaurants and bars in which to while away, people watch, and experience the vibrant town of Fira.
Today is a full day of the highlights of spectacular Santorini! You will begin your day early, so you beat the crowds. At 8:45 a.m. you will head to the magical village of Oia, a true island fantasy. You will begin making your way to the northernmost part of Santorini, where this beautiful town is located.
When you imagine the Greek islands, it is likely the image you picture is very much like what you will see in this idyllic village. A photographer’s paradise, Oia has long been the favored home of sea captains and sailors, as well as visitors seeking the iconic charm of authentic Greece.
Together, you will roam the narrow, cobbled marble, and streets of this rich village. You will marvel at the stunning architecture of the homes belonging to sea captains, the dignitaries of this stunning island. Have your phones set to photo or your camera at the ready, as you explore the picturesque corners of the cosmopolitan village that is Oia. Feel free to take as many pictures as you like.
Your personal tour guide will allow you plenty of time for photography, exploring the unique shops along the way, or enjoying a snack or refreshment together as you delight in your time in the gorgeous Oia. Memories of time spent in this treasured jewel of the Greek islands will forever stay tucked in your heart, so take time to fill up your senses with the beauty of Oia.
Keep your cameras at the ready as you next make your way to Imerovigli, another photographer’s dream. Your guide will take you to the very heart of Imerovigli as they explain the different buildings’ architecture. These cathedrals, homes, hotels, and chapels are perched on the steep cliffs of the caldera.
The caldera cliff offers a vista unlike any other. You will be awestruck by the stunning, colorful cliff formations, and the whitewashed buildings, blue-domed chapel, and incredible architecture you see before you. The chapel, its image so epically Greek, is a favored site of young (and not-so-young) couples in love. Many proposals, as well as weddings, take place beneath the bright blue dome. You will easily smile as the sheer serenity and sense of peace of this beautiful landscape finds its way into your heart forever!
Your next stop is the village of Firostefani, which lies just north of Fira. It is considered to be the crown of Fira. Prepare yourself to be thoroughly enraptured by the sheer beauty of Fora’s crown. The enchantment of the deep blue sea lagoon set in the rugged landscape of Firostefani is absolutely breathtaking. The blue-domed church, which is often pictured in photos and postcards of Santorini, is a must-see. The million-dollar views are spectacular.
Prophet Ilias Mountain is regarded as the core of the island of Santorini. Life on this island essentially began around this solid rock mountain. One of the summits holds Prophet Elias Greek Christian Orthodox Monastery. The monastery is dedicated to the self-disciplined, austere, and ascetic Old Testament Prophet Elijah.
Established in the 18th century, the monastery was instrumental in the Greek Revolution, by offering fleet. A portion of the monastery is open to visitors, and the views from the highest point on the island are truly breathtaking.
Emporio is the largest village on Santorini, with plenty to offer any guest who ventures here. Among the sites you will enjoy in Emporio are the ruins of fortresses which date back to the Byzantine era, and the historic windmills. Some of the windmills of Emporio have been painstakingly restored into gorgeous homes.
Megalochori is yet another gift of this bountiful island that will delight your senses. The views! Can you ever get tired of looking at such stunning vistas, iconic buildings, and sheer beauty? Santorini’s Megalochori will, once again, take your breath away. Some claim this to be the favorite of Santorini’s villages as it is stunning in beauty, yet away from the more touristy parts of the island.
Upon the end of the tour and return to the hotel, spend some free time on your own after the tour but get ready for a fun and memorable night ahead!
At 9 p.m. tonight, you will attend a Greek wedding! This is an interactive musical theater production where guests will sing, dance, and even…break some plates! Opa!
After so many memories, new friends, and such a beautiful experience, you are now at the end of the tour. You may opt to spend more time (or forever?!) in this enchanting Santorini, making your own plans, or you can depart today. Either way, there are many flights to Athens, as you choose. In Athens, you will catch your flight home.
Athens International Airport (Eleftherios Venizelos Airport)
Please book your flight to arrive at Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos (ATH). Group transfer from and to the airport is included. Food N' Wine Vacations will pick you up from the airport.
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