Greece

Athens & Cyclades Islands

This itinerary offers a wonderful combination of history, adventure and relaxation. You will have time explore Athens, soaking up the atmosphere of the pretty Plaka district and stepping in the footsteps of the ancient Greeks atop the Acropolis. You then head to the Cyclades Islands, with time on Naxos, Amorgos and Santorini. Here there’s plenty of time to relax, but you can also explore by boat, on foot, with two pedals, and by sea-kayak. The itinerary can be tailored to ensure that there is just the right blend of adventure and relaxation for your family.

Highlights

  Visit the Parthenon & Acropolis
  Delicious food tour in Athens
  Climb Mt Zas, birthplace of Zeus
  Boat trip to remote Naxos beaches
  Hiking, cycling and cookery
  Relax on pretty Amorgos Island
  Sea kayaking in Aegiali Bay

15 days from £2,250 pp

Plus international flights starting at £200

A 15-day summer itinerary for a family of four will start from around £9,000 including hotels, car hire and activities. If you want to upgrade to nicer accommodation, prices will start from £12,000. Prices outside the summer will be considerably lower.

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Athens & Cyclades Islands day-by-day itinerary

Day 1, Athens
Welcome to Greece! When you arrive at the airport in Athens you will be picked up and transferred to your hotel.


Day 2, Athens
Today you will have a guided walking and foodie tour of Athens. You will start at the Acropolis, the most famous and impressive of Athens’ ruins. This dramatic citadel is perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the city and contains a number of remarkably preserved ancient structures, including the Parthenon. After time to explore, your guide will take you down off the hill into the maze of narrow streets that comprise Plaka village. This is the oldest part of Athens and a delightful place to wander with big bushes of pink bougainvillea spilling out over pavement cafes and souvenir shops. Continue on foot, weaving through the alleyways and taking in all of the most important Greek and Roman sites.

Now for the foodie element, yum! Greece’s cuisine is world-renowned and you will have the opportunity to sample some of the country’s most iconic dishes as well as less well-known delicacies. These may include little pastry parcels filled with feta, tasty skewers of marinated chicken doused in olive oil and gooey baklava, oozing sweetness.


Day 3 Athens – Naxos
This morning you will be transferred to the dock for the fast ferry to Naxos (3 hours). On arrival you will be transferred to your hotel.

Naxos is the largest island of the Cyclades and combines gorgeous beaches, pretty mountain villages, ancient ruins and beautiful rolling countryside of gentle hills covered in olive groves. The main town on the island is also called Naxos and is clustered around a medieval hilltop Venetian castle. There are meandering alleyways lined with whitewashed houses and quaint little squares with ancient churches. Throughout there are stunning views out over the sea.

The afternoon is free to relax on the beach or explore town depending on where you are staying.


Day 4, Naxos
Naxos is perhaps the greenest island in the Cyclades and at its centre is the peak of Mt Zas, standing at an impressive 1,004m. Today you will enjoy a guided hike up the mountain. It takes its name from the Greek God Zeus who is said to have spent his childhood here. The climb takes you along ancient paved paths through a beautiful and fertile landscape. The views from the top over the Aegean and the surrounding islands are breath-taking.

You will take a different route down the mountain, ending in the small village of Filoti where you can enjoy a delicious lunch at a local taverna on the square.


Day 5, Naxos
A wonderful day today as you head out to explore the remote southern bays and coves of Naxos by boat. You will stop at a secluded beach to swim in the beautifully clear waters and snorkel into a cave. Here you will find brightly coloured coral, plenty of fish and spiny sea urchins. Weather permitting, you will be able to continue to the nearby islands of either Iraklia or Koufonisia for lunch. Sail back to Naxos as the sun sets before returning to your hotel.

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Day 6, Naxos
Today you have a full free day to relax and enjoy the beach.


Day 7, Naxos
A full day out, exploring some more rural areas on your village hike and cookery course.

Your day starts with a transfer to the quaint village of Kinidaros. After exploring the village you will take a track that zig-zags downhill onto a riverside path. This leads you through the lush valley and past ruined watermills. Butterflies and birds flit across the river banks, which are lined with wildflowers, herbs, oleander and oak trees. You will pass through fragrant orange groves and visit a traditional olive mill before finishing in the village of Galini.

The tavern in Galini is renowned for its exceptional home-cooked food. You will accompany the larger-than-life chef into the garden to select organic ingredients before learning to cook some local delicacies….. then sit down to enjoy the fruits of your labours!

(Note that in the hottest summer months we will suggest paring back the hike, to avoid the heat of the day, typically with a free morning and afternoon farm to table cookery experience).


Day 8, Naxos
A further free day to soak up the sun and relax by the beach.


Day 9, Naxos – Amorgos
Today you will take the ferry to Amorgos (2hrs), one of the prettiest of the Cyclades and renowned for its beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters. In fact, the water here is so clear that it was chosen by Luc Besson as the setting for his film ‘The Big Blue’.


Day 10, Amorgos
You will spend the day exploring the island of Amorgos, passing through picturesque villages, complete with bright bushes of bougainvillea, windmills, and narrow alleyways. Your guide will take you along a trail to the Monastery of Hozoviotissa, built into the cliff face and with spectacular views over the sea. Later in the day, after passing medieval ruins and deserted villages you will end up on the beach for refreshing swim. a free day to relax and enjoy the beautiful views and beach.


Day 11, Amorgos
The waters off the coast of Amorgos are some of the clearest in the Aegean, with incredible visibility. The underwater world is full of caverns of coral, sponges, starfish, scorpion fish and sea anemones. Head out by boat armed with snorkel, mask and flippers and enjoy what you can see from the surface.


Day 12, Amorgos
Today you have a free day to relax and enjoy the beautiful views and beach. Amorgos is also home to a myriad of hiking trails which you can follow either independently or with a guide. It is straightforward to take the local bus from the port up into the mountains to the picturesque “capital” town of Hora where you can wander the cobbled streets, enjoy a delicious lunch at one of the many cafes before returning by bus later in the day.

Alternatively, rent out a canoe/kayak or SUP and have fun in the bay – these are not guided activities but you can just borrow the equipment for a few hours.


Day 13, Amorgos – Santorini
A leisurely morning before taking the lunchtime ferry to the iconic island of Santorini (2hrs). This renowned volcanic island is the perfect setting for your last days in Greece with its dramatic clifftop main town with its bright blue bell roofs and winding alleyways. The island is packed with history – the fabled city Atlantis is one of the oldest living legends of mankind. Ancient tales describe a prosperous land that disappeared without trace and sunk into the sea by the anger of Greek gods – legend has it, it lies beneath the caldera of Santorini…

On arrival you will transfer to your hotel, where the remainder of the day is free to relax or explore.


Day 14, Santorini
Today you will experience the main highlights Santorini has to offer on a guided island tour. From the picture-perfect half-submerged caldera, to the iconic village of Oia with its cobblestone streets and narrow alleys, and on to Akrotiri, a former Minoan Bronze Age settlement considered one of the best prehistoric settlements anywhere in Eastern Europe. Thanks to its excellent state of preservation, is often called the Pompeii of the Aegean – your guide will no doubt regale you with stories of old.

You will also venture to the island’s highest point, where the Prophet Elias Monastery is perched at nearly 565m above sea level with a 360° panoramic view of Santorini. Taste the delicious dessert wine and extra virgin olive oil made on site and also view the emblematic Three Bells of Fira (Blue Dome Church), before visiting the black sand beach of Perissa where there will be the opportunity to take a refreshing dip in the azure waters of the Aegean. Afterwards, you will return to your hotel.


Day 15, Santorini
You will be transferred to the airport for your flight home.

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