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Escape the tourist trail to spend time in a mountain village full of the sounds of church bells where you will learn to cook some of the superb local produce with accomplished Greek chefs. Explore the local area, which includes extensive pine forests and charming village, and get a chance to take a deep breath and relax. You will feel you've been away a lot longer than just two weeks because of the variety of places you explore.
The accommodations are selected for location and facilities. In some areas such as Evia and Lesbos, the accommodations can sometimes be more “basic”, but this is the best available. Expect a bit smaller rooms than normal. At Candili estate, some may have to share a bathroom. As Candili is an “estate home”, Gourmet Safaris finds the charm of this estate and picturesque village atmosphere more than makes up for a few minor inconveniences. Please remember payment of a single room does not automatically guarantee better accommodations, only privacy. Tea and coffee making facilities in the rooms are the exception rather than the rule. Expect breathtaking and much more luxurious accommodation in Santorini.
Gourmet Safaris recommends arriving a day or so early for the trip to acclimatize and be in good form for the days ahead. In this trip, each day is a perfect little jewel and the trip constructed so you have a range of the best regional produce.
Today, you will transfer by coach from Athens to the village of Prokopi on the island of Evia and stay at the charming rustic Candili estate. In this estate, there are dining and sitting rooms, a library / conference room, two swimming pools, and lovely grounds. When you arrive at Prokopi, you’ll have a cool drink and then, settle into rooms. You will meet estate owner, Philip Noel Baker, for ouzo and mezedes on the front lawn, which looks out over the church spire to the mountains afterwards, followed by dinner.
You will have breakfast which includes yogurt set in terracotta bowls, fresh fruit, the wonderful bread still warm from the local bakery. Prepare yourselves for a morning of the sublime - stroll down to the village and explore the beautiful Greek Orthodox place of pilgrimage, the Church of St John the Russian, where you can actually see the remarkably intact body of St John, famous for his miracles. Later on, there will be a special-arranged a special visit to a wonderful 10th century monastery built over the ancient Temple of Poseidon. Suitably uplifted, you’ll have a glorious lunch at a seaside taverna, then return to the estate so you can relax by one of the two pools or slip into Greek summer mode and have a siesta. Cooking class will be held in the late afternoon and the dishes you prepare will be yours to dine on.
This morning, you visit the local farmers markets at Mandoudi, which are filled with the best local fruit and vegetables at the height of the season, including ingredients like wild horta (a leafy salad green) and mountain herbs. If you love fresh figs, you're in for a treat because they're at their luscious best. You’ll later enjoy a picnic lunch high up in an olive grove. Dinner cooking class begins after a nice siesta.
You will leave the beautiful Candili estate today, after breakfast, and have an afternoon short flight to Lemnos then you head straight to one of the island’s fabulous women Sophia Hapsis who invites you to her rustic house overlooking Barounia Bay at Kotsinas. You’ll have sunset drinks, dinner, and filo making class before you settle into Lemnos Village Resort, right on the beach.
Today, you will visit some of favorite places in the main town of Myrina including many lovely craft shops, and a pastry “find” - a shop that makes only one delicious thing, crunchy golden bougatsa. The pastry comes sweet with creamy custard, or savory filled with crumbled feta. Take a walk to the romaiko area, the historical area of the town where you can sip frappes by the water, then stroll to lunch at an outdoor taverna under a big spreading sycamore tree. Then, you have the afternoon free for siesta or swimming. In the late afternoon, you head to Gourmet Safaris' favorite funky cocktail bar to catch sunset and then to a taverna for lobster spaghetti.
This morning, your guide will take you to a special spot that is as significant as Gallipoli to many Australians. You’ll then have coffee in a local house followed by lunch at one of the most beautiful waterfront estates with your hosts Rena and Stasios Laskaridis who have spent the day preparing a perfect wood-fired oven baked lamb and many other delicacies. You will all get together late afternoon to visit your tour guide’s village of Plati, see her family house and then, have dinner.
Today, you have a free day to explore. You may decide to move no further than the beach at your doorstep or the pool, but Gourmet Safaris will be happy to arrange a special boat trip to some of the hidden beaches and coves; a day of soaking up sun and scenery including lunch. Early evening, you will explore the delights of the island’s best boutique winery Savoglou Wines and then, visit a tiny traditional village for mezethedes.
Following a direct flight to the beautiful island of Chios, you’ll check into a waterside accommodation and have the afternoon free to explore the old town of Chios before dinner at one of the town’s best restaurants, sitting in the pretty courtyard to enjoy some of the unique dishes of the island.
You’ll explore the island by coach, including the fortified medieval villages and the labyrinthine town of Mesta. You’ll stop for a swim at a pretty little cove St Irini and enjoy lunch at the tavern right on the beach, and then, journey on to Pyrgi and Olympi, where you’ll learn about the ancient spice gum mastic. You will return late afternoon and have the evening free.
You will take an early morning flight to Athens and quickly on to Santorini. You will be picked up and head straight to lunch at our cliff-top hotel Fanari villas in Oia. You may want to flop by the pool and gaze into the beautiful blue or explore some of the lovely boutiques, which at this time of year are selling at very good discounts. Dinner tonight is simple and delightful at Ginger, one of the island’s newer restaurants.
This is the day you really step into the picture postcard; a sailing adventure complete with some great food. An amazing new catamaran is hired to sail around the caldera, the remains of the active volcano that created Santorini. It’s a fun, relaxing day. You head out from Fanari at mid-morning to meet the boat, then sail and visit many of Santorini's sites, swim in a secret cove and eat some simple fresh local delicacies. Later, you will have dinner at the absolute waterfront restaurant for some lovely seafood and some of the delicious local wines.
Today, you can have a supremely lazy day to soak in that incredible view and relax. Meanwhile, there are beautiful shops close by and if you’re feeling energetic, a walk along the ridge of the caldera with that sparkling water stretching out before you and the hills dotted with tiny whitewashed chapels. Your final night dinner is at Fanari Villas - very delicious, very special, and very nice not to have to move away from your lovely cliff-top home!
This is your last chance to shop, pack, and get organized for your flight to Athens International Airport (ATH) for overseas connections.
During this tour, you will enjoy some time in pretty villages and travel to various islands in Greece.
During this tour, you’ll enjoy time with locals who are so proud to show off their food and culture. Sometimes the food will seem more authentic than gourmet, but you’ll get the opportunity to taste regional favorites far from the madding crowd.
Please arrive at Athens International Airport (ATH) and go to Electra Palace Hotel no later than 10:45 to meet your guide.