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12 Day Private Culinary Tour and Cultural Exploration in Greece: Athens, Peloponnese & Crete

Athens, Greece

Greece Culinary Tour for Foodies

With this culinary package, Greeking.me gives you a golden opportunity to gain a rare insight into the gastronomical traditions of Greece, far beyond the usual fare trotted out every year on the well-beaten tourist trail. This trip is a foray into the history, mythology, and gastronomy wealth of Greece supported by a team who are with you every step of the way to make sure your needs are catered for. From travel experts to historians, professional chefs to vintners to the elders of villages who have no fancy training yet produce dishes that any Michelin-star chef would have a tough time emulating - this is the one and only journey to take if you are a passionate foodie with a healthy penchant for hedonism!

Highlights

  • Private cooking classes with dinners
  • Foodies walking tours in Athens and Crete
  • Olive oil and vinegar vineyard visits and tastings
  • Tour to Acropolis, Ancient Corinth, Ancient Messene & Knossos Palace
  • Take part in winery tour and wine tasting seminar
  • Services of licensed guide and archaeologist
  • Private transportation with luxury vehicles
  • 11 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Beginner

Styles


11 days with instruction
Airport transfer available:
Athens International Airport (US$58 per person)
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Accommodation

Your accommodation will be in four-star hotels, unique traditional guesthouses, and boutique hotels. Single supplement is available upon request, please send an inquiry to Greeking.me in order to discuss your specific accommodation requirements.

Program

Tour highlights

  • A perfect package for foodies, this journey will take you from the ancient streets of Athens to the spectacular Peloponnese and ending in the culinary capital of Greece - Crete.
  • Enjoy a guided tour of the archaeological sites of the Acropolis, Acropolis Museum, Ancient Corinth, Ancient Olympia, Ancient Messini, the castle town of Mystras, and the romantic city of Nafplio.
  • Learn about various traditional and modern Greek dishes, while exploring the wide variety of available produce.
  • You will be joined by expert guides, instructed by professional chefs, welcomed by accomplished vintners, and taste the skill and devotion of real artisans.
  • Imbide in wonderful Greek wines from Nemea wineries in the Peloponnese region of Greece!

Beginning in Athens, taking you right across the majestic Peloponnese and ending in the ravishingly beautiful island of Crete, this 12 days culinary odyssey across Greece immerses you in the flavors of the Mediterranean which are revered the world over for their long-term health benefits yet undeniably good taste.

Cleverly combined with historic sites (ancient Corinth, the Acropolis, ancient Mycenae, the Palace of Knossosto name but a few), the itinerary bursting with cooking classes, demonstrations, tasting tours and an array of foodie experiences.

Discover the sweet aromas of fir tree honey of Arcadia, the use of “petimezi” in Nemea, the rich cheeses of Crete, the infamous Kalamata olives and of course Greece’s most beloved spirits in Italianate Nafplio.

Not just a trip based on tradition, see the efforts of those vying to provide a sustainable future as you explore an agrotourism collective in Arcadia and take in the spectacular scenery that Greece has to offer with plenty of opportunities to hike, swim, stroll and relax.

The itinerary takes you to tucked-away sites that are truly spectacular such as the Temple of Apollo Epikourios and the Church of Agia Theodora and an opportunity to wander amongst the animals at a small farm in the countryside.

From the Parthenon to the stalagmite caves of Kapsia, through mountains, forests, along coastlines and pristine beaches join Greeking.me on a journey to the very heart and soul of culinary Greece.

Itinerary

Day 1 - Athens

Kalimera! Welcome to Greece. Arrive at your own pace and settle into your hotel in the heart of downtown Athens. Arrive before 15:00 and embark on a private Acropolis walking tour with an expert guide and archaeologist.

Learn about the significance of the majestic Acropolis, take in spectacular views and discover the myths and legends that pervade the very ground you walk upon. As the sun sets, indulge in some authentic Greek fare under a starry Athenian sky at an excellent Athenian taverna on the slopes of the Acropolis.

  • Overnight: Athens

Day 2 - Athens

What better way to explore Athens than with a culinary journey through picturesque streets and lively markets? An award-winning experience, on your private Athens for foodies walking tour, discover the history of Greek gastronomy while tasting delicacies and lovingly made dishes from Athens’ best artisans.

From charcuterie to cheeses, street food to decadent desserts this is a tour that will indulge all of your senses. By late afternoon in Athens, it is time for a break; have a siesta or an ice coffee as you watch the world go by in the historic neighborhood of Plaka.

Early evening, meet with your knowledgeable, local guide and historian for a private evening Athens highlights tour with dinner. Admire iconic sites like Syntagma Square, Theatre of Herodes Atticus and the Stoa of Attalos as you discover Athens vibrant night scene.

From the fairytale lamps of Pittaki street to the sweeping esplanade of Dionysiou Areopagitou, you will discover the city’s most picturesque places. At the end of the walk enjoy a light mezedes dinner with wine at an excellent taverna with live music.

  • Overnight: Athens

Day 3 - Argolis Region (Athens - Ancient Corinth - Nafplio)

Leaving Athens behind, your morning begins with the impressive feat of engineering that separates the Peloponnese from the mainland, the Corinth Canal. Admire the steep limestone walls and observe as vessels navigate their way through the Isthmus of Corinth.

Next stop is the largest Roman township of Greece. Join your licensed guide and archaeologist for a private walking tour of Ancient Corinth and its archaeological museum. See the Archaic Temple of Apollo and the numerous excavations to discover the connection between the likes of Apostle Paul, Homer, and Julius Caesar had with this very prosperous ancient city. Afterward, grab a bite to eat at a local cafe or restaurant.

From history to gastronomy, you move on to an organic vineyard and bake with “Petimezi” an ancient sweetener and must flour from grapes. Explore the vineyard and learn about the different organic produce they make. Try your hand at making “Moustalevria” (a Greek pudding) or “Moustokoulora” (grape must cookies) to have with your fresh coffee.

Early evening finds you in charming, Italianate Nafplion, the "Naples of the East" rich in Venetian architecture, cobbled squares and towering castles with commanding views of the Argolic Gulf. Afterwards, unwind by the harbor or get lost in the colorful back streets of the most elegant town in mainland Greece. After dinner, enjoy a short but very tasty visit to a family-run distillery for a tasting of Greek Spirits.

  • Overnight in Nafplio

Day 4 - Nafplion

After breakfast, join your local historian and guide and discover the many eras that have influenced the first capital of modern Greece on your private walking tour of Nafplio. Straight after, it’s time for a morning swim in the blue waters of nearby Tolo. Plenty of time to work on that suntan, enjoy a cold coffee and a bite to eat.

The afternoon is reserved for a hands-on cooking class of Greek regional classics. Join your host at her state-of-the-art cooking school where she uses only organic ingredients. A mouth-watering experience, you will understand why “simple” is the new “rich” when it comes to Greek classics. After eating your creations, enjoy a free afternoon back at Nafplio.

  • Overnight: Nafplion

Day 5 - Nafplion

Travel to the fortified citadel of ancient Mycenae, the seat of the mythical and mighty King Agamemnon. An impressive and well-preserved site, the city of Mycenae gave its name to an entire civilization. With your guide and archaeologist embark on a private tour as you discover the impressive remnants of Mycenaean glory.

Admire sites such as the Tomb of Clytemnestra, the infamous Lion’s Gate, and the Cyclopean walls and learn of their blood-stained past. At the Museum of Mycenae, you will also have the opportunity to see ornate frescoes and carvings which shed light on the day to day existence of the people of Mycenae.

No trip to the Peloponnese is complete without a wine tasting in Nemea. With a history of viticulture dating back to antiquity, the region boasts some of the finest wines in Greece.

Your seminar of modern wines of Greece takes at a traditional vineyard located next to a manor house, home of one of the first families that bottled wine in Nemea. Their experienced oenologist will guide you through the most important Greek grape varieties as he unfolds the secrets of tasting techniques and introduces you to wines from across Greece.

You will also have the opportunity to pick your own vegetables for a delicious salad. The tasting will be accompanied by a rich Greek barbeque with many delicacies, your homemade salad, and your favorite wines from the seminar.

  • Overnight: Nafplion

Day 6 - Nafplion, Vytina, and Dimitsana

Today, you continue south to the mountainous region of Arkadia into rural bliss, cliff-hanging stone villages and a plethora of fresh dairy, meat, and honey products. The region is known for a cuisine that celebrates simplicity and the bounty of locally grown produce is served in generous, rustic dishes.

Your local guide will meet you at your hotel and spend the whole day with you. First, you visit a rural family-run fromagerie, a local business with international fame. Their yogurt was featured in the New Yorker and has won numerous awards. The owner will introduce you to the cycle of traditional cheese and yogurt production. Expect a tasting platter of their delicious products at the end of your visit.

Your road climbs up to the appraised Kapsia Cave, one of the most impressive stalagmite caves in Greece. Your entry fee gives you a guided tour of the colorful chambers of the cave with a short narration about its discovery and formations.

Lunch will be served at a favorite nearby “Hani” - where travelers used to rest in the past. This taverna is situated amidst gorgeous Arcadian countryside and serves authentic dishes of the village using vegetables from the family gardens.

A short walk around Vitina is in order, after lunch. Here, you will encounter a large selection of delicatessens and local specialty groceries selling all kinds of regional fresh produce including the truly exceptional fir-honey of Vitina! A full day comes to an end with your driver taking you to your accommodation at Dimitsana, a very charming village set above the famous Lousios Gorge. Enjoy a quiet walk or look for a bar with a terrace to enjoy the spectacular views of the valley.

  • Overnight: Dimitsana or Stemnitsa

Day 7 - Dimitsana

Dimitsana played an important role during the Greek War of Independence (18th-19th centuries AD), being in the center of the many water-powered gunpowder mills hidden in Lousios Gorge. Sunrise on the mountains is absolutely worth the effort of an early wake-up call.

Your first excursion of the morning is to the magnificent Temple of Apollo Epikourious, nestled in the lonely heights of the Arkadian Mountains. The design may seem familiar to you and that is because it was designed by Iktonis, the architect of the Parthenon. Unusual in its display of Doric, Ionic and Corinthian style it is a breathtaking sight indeed.

You journey on to the logic-defying Church of Agia Theodora with its remarkable roof and that sustains the weight of the plane trees which grow from it! Learn the rather gruesome tale of how the church got its name and relax by the calming river that flows by this woodland spot.

For lunch, you head to the neighboring taverna to enjoy a fresh meal and a quiet calm. For the afternoon, you will travel to a family-run farm, where you can enjoy idyllic surroundings as you walk amongst the animals that roam freely. At this smallholding, you will encounter all sorts of animals from deer to rabbits, geese, horses, and donkeys (keen to see if you have an apple)! Enjoy an afternoon coffee, cake, and some therapeutic company of Arkadia’s friendly furry friends!

After a drive back to your hotel in Dimitsana, enjoy a free evening to relax and enjoy dinner with a sundowner.

  • Overnight: Dimitsana

Day 8 - Dimitsana, Arkadiani, and Kalamata

This morning you could opt for a short self-guided easy-moderate walk into the gorge. Alternatively, you could visit the very attractive open-air Water Power Museum of Dimitsana.

This visit is unguided since this well-appointed museum has all signage and videos translated. Travel back in time during the early industrial era of the Peloponnese through beautiful installations, unique exhibits, and a real water-powder mill!

Just before lunch, your private driver will take you to visit the tiny village of Psari and the Arcadian Agrotourism Collective where you will also attend a country cooking class. The collective is an effort to couple the innovation with heritage and tradition. Their facilities, among others, feature a traditional pasta factory, organic gardens, and a collection of rare cooking books.

Spend the afternoon at this model establishment and learn about sustainable growth in the Greek countryside. The day finishes at the seaside Kalamata city, a region renowned for its exquisite olives.

  • Overnight: Kalamata

Day 9 - Kalamata and Sparta

Begin your day with a guided tour of Ancient Messene and Museum. This site is simply outstanding. It is a rare example of an entire city that has never been destroyed or covered by later settlements.

Follow the narration of your official guide and admire the architectural perfection of sites like the Sanctuary of Asclepius, The Herron, and the Stadium. There will be time for lunch at the local cafe under the prominent Ithomi Mountain.

Greece is a country where olive and olive oil production is inextricably linked with the Greek and Mediterranean identity. Visit the unique and very well appointed Museum of the Olive and Olive Oil for a well-rounded picture of its culture and technology.

After the theory, it is time for practice. A private olive oil tasting has been designed for you at a local boutique delicatessen that specializes in products of the Spartan land. Late afternoon finds you back at your accommodation with plenty of time to unwind and enjoy the local surroundings.

  • Overnight: Kalamata

Day 10 - Sparta - Crete

Today, you are leaving the majestic Peloponnese for the island of Crete, the birthplace of the first European civilization, the Minoans. Pack your olive oil bottles as you are heading back to Athens to catch a flight for Heraklion. You will arrive at Eleftherios Venizelos Airport with plenty of time to check-in and enjoy a freddo espresso at the pop-up outdoor cafe at departures level.

At Heraklion, you will be picked up by your local driver who will take you to your accommodation. As the sun sets, enjoy your private wine tasting experience with dinner.

Your local guide will show you around the 19th-century building where this atmospheric experience will take place. The sommelier will introduce you to a palette of Cretan wine flavors. During dinner, your guide will be there to give any insights about the city.

  • Overnight: Heraklion

Day 11 - Crete - Heraklion

Awaken on the island of King Minos! What better way to start your day than a private Heraklion for foodies tour? Follow a scenic city trail through Heraklion's streets and narrow alleys to find traditional eateries whilst experiencing the local morning vibe!

After a short siesta, meet your official guide for a tour of Knossos palace and the renovated Heraklion Archaeological Museum. Learn of the long history of Knossos city and how the palace is associated with the exciting myths of “the Labyrinth and the Minotaur” and “Daedalus and Icarus”. The evening is free for you to explore the city or take a stroll by the port to take in the beautiful sea views.

  • Overnight: Heraklion

Day 12 - Heraklion

Enjoy, in your own time, one more day in this beautiful part of the world. Greeks come back to Crete again and again, and you must know why by now. A private vehicle, at extra cost, is at your disposal upon request. If you decide to leave today, your transfer from the hotel to the airport is included.

Included excursions

  • Private Acropolis walking tour
  • Private Athens by night highlights walking tour and dinner
  • Private Ancient Corinth walking tour
  • Private Nafplion highlights walking tour
  • Private Ancient Mycenae guided tour
  • Tour of renowned stalagmite cave
  • A visit to Water Power Museum of Dimitsana
  • Private Ancient Messene and museum guided tour
  • Private Knossos Palace and Heraklion Archaeological Museum guided tour

Location

This 12 days culinary odyssey will be located in Greece. Beginning in Athens, this tour will take you right across the majestic Peloponnese and end in the ravishingly beautiful island of Crete (visiting the Heraklion area).

Food

Included foodie experiences:

  • Athens - Welcome dinner
  • Athens - Athens for foodies walking tour (private)
  • Nafplion - Greek spirits tasting (private)
  • Nemea region - Visit a vinegar vineyard and vinegar tasting
  • Nemea region - Cooking class: “petimezi” the ancient sweetener
  • Nemea region - Private winery tour and tasting
  • Argolis region - Cooking class and dinner
  • Argolis region - Private visit to a rural fromagerie and tasting
  • Arcadia region - Visit local delis at Vitina and try their famous fir tree honey
  • Arcadia region - Visit Arcadiani Agrotourism Collective
  • Arcadia region - Cooking class and dinner at Arcadiani
  • Messenia region - Olive oil tour and tasting in rural Messenia
  • Crete - Wine tasting and dinner at Heraklion
  • Crete - Private Heraklion for foodies walking tour and lunch

While the suppliers aim to cater to dietary requirements where possible, please note that many meals and food activities are set in advance in order to deliver a well-rounded experience of the country’s cuisine.

Greek cuisine itself is often vegetarian or vegan without being explicitly mentioned and therefore this culinary trip is particularly accessible with regards to these dietary requirements. In all cases, be they for religious, personal preference, or medical reasons please send an inquiry to Greeking.me as soon as possible so they can do their utmost to ensure that these are met and catered for.

Please kindly note that in some rural locations alternatives may be limited. Greeking.me is unable to guarantee a peanut-free or allergen-free trip, and therefore, it is strongly encouraged that travelers with life-threatening or severe allergies take all necessary medications for food allergies and be capable of self-administering these medications.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Coffee
  • Alcoholic beverages

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • 11 nights accommodation in four to five-star hotels, unique traditional guesthouses and boutique hotels with breakfast
  • Guided tours to the following archaeological sites with an excellent licensed guide and archaeologist: Acropolis, Ancient Corinth, Mycenae, Ancient Messene, Mystras, Knossos Palace, Archaeological Museum of Heraklion,
  • Nafplio walking tour
  • Services of tour leader / archaeologist who will be with you from day 3 until day 10
  • Private food tours, cooking classes and tastings / sessions as per itinerary
  • Domestic one-way economy-class flight from Athens to Crete (only for Crete extension)
  • All transfers with a luxury air-conditioned vehicle
  • Services of English-speaking private driver
  • Lunch on day 8 (after the cooking class) and dinners on day 1 (welcome dinner), day 2 (meze dinner), day 4 (after cooking class), day 5 (BBQ dinner), day 10 (Heraklion)

What's not included

  • Archeological sites and museums entrance fees
  • Arrival transfer (airport pick up on day 1) and departure transfer (airport drop off)
  • Meals unless mentioned in the itinerary
  • Optional activities not included in the itinerary
  • All personal expenses, beverages, phone calls and laundry not detailed in the itinerary
  • Drinks that are not included in tastings or the itinerary
  • International and domestic flights unless specified
  • Excess baggage charges, visa, and passport fees
  • Personal travel insurance

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flights to Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (ATH). Transfers can be provided for the additional cost of 50 EUR (up to 3 people with luggage) and 90 EUR for a van (up to 6 people with luggage).

Airport: Athens International Airport Airport transfer available: Athens International Airport (US$58 per person) Additional charges may apply. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 50% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 10 days before arrival.
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