Days
19
Price from
£4,450GBP

Soak up the best of Greece, from Athens to Mycenae and Olympia to the Ionian Islands

If time is short, here’s a curated selection of the best parts of Greece. From the world-famous Acropolis in Athens to Greece’s first capital, the pretty seaside village of Nafplion, you’ll feel the Greek spirit is very much alive. Then head to the islands and soak up million dollar Mediterranean views, hang out in whitewashed cubist houses, and relax on golden beaches by the bluest of seas.


Start
Athens, Greece
Finish
Athens, Greece
Country
Greece
Style
Peregrine
Code
PECGC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Knowledgable local guides take the hassle out of navigating Athens. Head straight for the most incredible ancient sites, such as the Acropolis and Epidaurus, then indulge in an Athenian feast in the pulsing Psiri neighbourhood

  • Experience a different side of Greece by staying in the medieval village of Dimitsana, a gorgeous 7th-century township set atop two hills and a gorge

  • Visit all the legendary theatres of the very first Olympic Games – the stadium, gymnasium, wrestling school, priest houses, temples and hippodrome

  • Meteora makes for one of Greece's most extraordinary scenes. With magical monasteries built on a series of ancient rock pinnacles, this sight must be seen to be believed

  • Discover the many flavours of Greek cuisine. There's nothing quite like dining on rich and hearty moussaka or grilled lamb and tzatziki in a traditional taverna

  • Enjoy three nights of excellent Cretan hospitality at the Halepa Hotel in Hania. This gorgeous neoclassical building was used as the British Embassy in the 1800s

  • Take guided hikes through some of Greece most staggering landscapes, such as Santorini's famed caldera. Enjoy a sunset picnic overlooking the caldera away from the crowds. Indulge in local cheese, ham and bread, all complimented by a local grape variety and a world-class view.

  • Discover the local history with included visits to the Thira Prehistoric Museum and the mythical archaeological site of Delos Island

  • There's plenty of free time in Crete, Mykonos and Santorini to relax by the cool blue waters of the Mediterranean

  • Stopover at a local tavern in Vamos, a 12th-century hill village steeped in tradition and medieval history, and enjoy a typical Greek moment with meze, a meal shared around the table, done for centuries by the locals. Clink glasses with the locals and wash it all down with the traditional local white spirit raki.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Pickpocketing can be an issue in Athens, especially on public transport. If you keep your valuables concealed and secure while travelling on the metro or bus, you should have no problems.

  • Summer temperatures in Greece can reach up to 40°C, so you will need to be able to cope with the heat if you're visiting during the warmer months. Please consider the time of year and your suitability to visiting during that season.

  • Due to the current financial situation, banking services in Greece could become limited at short notice. It's important to carry several different means of payment with you, such as debit cards, credit cards and plenty of Euros in case of emergency or unforseen circumstances.

  • As accommodation on this trip is twin share, single travellers will share a room with another traveller of the same gender. If you’d prefer not to share, a single-room supplement is available at an additional charge. On the other hand, sharing is a great opportunity to chat with like-minded travellers. Note that some hotels in Europe do not have double beds, but often two single beds that can be pushed together.

  • The hike on day 10 is graded as moderate to hard, with some challenging, steep and slippery sections. Good walking shoes, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen are recommended. For those with mobility issues or who would rather not partake in the walk, it is possible to opt out and meet the group in Sougia upon completion of the hike.

  • As this is a combination of 2 trips, your leader and the composition of your group may change upon return to Athens.

Itinerary

Your journey begins in Athens, Greece's bustling capital. An arrival transfer is included in the price of this trip, please advise your travel agent of your flight details at the time of booking. There is a lot to do and see here in one of the world's oldest cities, so you may wish to arrive a few days early. The Archaeological Museum of Athens is highly recommended. There are no activities planned for today, other than an important welcome meeting. This is usually at around 6 pm, but check the hotel reception and noticeboards for the exact time and place. In this meeting, your trip leader will give you a briefing on what lies ahead. Afterwards, you will head out for dinner with the group.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Hermes or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Today you will visit two of Athens' most impressive sites. The first is the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the largest temple in all of Greece. Then it's on to the famous Acropolis, one of the western world's most important historical structures. Your guided tour will start with an ascent to the top of this sacred rock via the towering entrance, the Propylaia. Once inside, you will encounter the Parthenon – the greatest Doric temple in the ancient world. The Temple of Athena Nike and the Erechtheion are also impressive. In the afternoon you will drive to the Peloponnese, where your first stop is ancient Epidaurus (Epidavros), the most famous healing centre of the Greek and Roman world. The highlight of Epidaurus is the 3rd-century theatre, one of Greece's best-preserved classical structures. The theatre has incredible acoustics and is still used today for major performances. Afterwards, continue to the delightful seaside town of Nafplion (Nafplio), the original Greek capital. In your free time you might choose to explore one of the town's three fortresses or perhaps wander through the narrow winding streets, filled with Venetian houses and neoclassical architecture, and stop at the centre of the old town – Syntagma (Constitution) Square. The seaside promenade is lined with a multitude of lively cafes and restaurants.
Accommodation
  • Nafplia Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Acropolis Visit
  • Visit to the Temple of Olympian Zeus
  • Epidaurus Guided Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will explore the ruins of Mycenae which, during the second millennium BC, was a powerful military stronghold and a major centre of Greek civilization. It is perhaps the most famous town from ancient Greece, immortalised by the likes of Homer and Pausanias. Your guide will take you to explore the site including the Lion Gate and the Treasury of Atreus (a self-supporting domed tomb). Surrounded by mountains, sea and an expansive countryside of olive and orange groves, the site offers wonderful views. Next is the charming medieval village of Dimitsana where you will spend the night at our feature stay. Dimitsana's charm lies in its idyllic location, set amidst magical mountains.
Accommodation
  • En Dimitsani Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Guided Tour of Mycenae
  • Monasteries Walking Tour in Dimitsana
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Bid farewell to Dimitsana and travel east on the Peloponnese and into the spectacular Lousios Valley, one of the most scenic places in the central Arcadia region. Discover the incredible working monastery of Prodromos. Hidden deep in the valley, away from the threat of intruders, this wood and clay structure was built precariously into a rock face. The local monks will show you around on a tour of their home, and offer you a coffee or the local specialty, the Greek delight. Upon entering the chapel, confront the splendid 14th-century frescoes decorating the rock walls. You will also visit the 10th-century Byzantine monastery of Philosophou, the base for a secret school known as 'Kryfo Scholio' which was run by monks during Ottoman rule to teach Greek children their own language and religion. Continue to Andritsena to visit the unique Temple of Vasses – Greece's most isolated temple. Built between 400 and 420 BC on the site of an Archaic temple, the temple stands at a height of 1,130 metres on Mt Kotilio and combines all three architectural styles: Doric, Ionian and Corinthian. The temple is one of the best preserved monuments of the ancient classical world and is today protected by a giant tent. After your visit, drive on to Olympia where you will spend the night.
Accommodation
  • Neda Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Temple of Vasses Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning you will explore the archaeological site of ancient Olympia, a complex that once comprised temples and public buildings and was the site of the first Olympic Games. Over the centuries, and both during times of war and peace, the games were held every four years without exception. Even during periods of battle, the ancient games were bound by a sacred truce that required city states to cease fighting and travel to Olympia to compete. On your guided tour you will see all the major sites including the main stadium, gymnasium, wrestling school (palaestra), priest houses (theokoleon), Temple of Hera, Temple of Zeus and the hippodrome. After the tour, enjoy some free time to visit the museum which houses the impressive marble statue of Hermes of Praxiteles and sculptured head of Hera. This afternoon you will board your minibus and drive to the town of Delphi, which is located at the foot of Mount Parnassus in the picturesque Phocis Valley. On the way stop off in the village of Galaxidi or Nafpaktos for a visit to a traditional family-owned bakery offering pastries, stuffed with cheese, spinach, chicken or potato, and the famous sesame round bread. Chat to the owner and get updated on the latest gossip. Upon arrival in Delphi settle into your hotel, then enjoy some free time to wander through the town's lively main street.
Accommodation
  • Leto Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Guided Tour of Olympia
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breakfast this morning you will visit the fascinating Sanctuary of Apollo in ancient Delphi, home to the Delphi Oracle. The setting amidst the surrounding mountains adds to the site's mythical beauty. Legend has it that Zeus released two eagles from different ends of the world, and Delphi was where they came together. Zeus threw the Sacred Stone at this same point, making Delphi the centre of the world. Your guide will lead you through the complex so you can explore the Temple of Apollo, the most important building of the site and the place were statues and offerings to the gods were housed and where cult rituals took place. You will also see the Sanctuary of Athena, the 4th century BC theatre and the well-preserved stadium during your visit. There will be free time after the tour to visit the Delphi Museum. Later in the afternoon, board your minibus and drive north to the town of Kalambaka in the centre of the country. This evening you can choose to have dinner at the hotel or perhaps take a short walk into town to dine in one of the local tavernas.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Famissi Eden or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Delphi Oracle & Temple of Apollo Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breakfast you will travel into the hills to see the monasteries of Meteora, one of Greece's most extraordinary sites. Settlement of the area dates back to the 11th century when hermit monks first settled in the hidden caverns of Meteora. As the monasteries attracted many writers, painters, poets and philosophers, it has been said that they were responsible for keeping Hellenic traditions, culture and religion alive, which may otherwise have been lost during Ottoman rule. On your visit to Meteora, you will visit two of the monasteries, one of which will be the Moni Varlaam (Varlaam Monastery) with its fine examples of late Byzantine frescoes. This afternoon you will drive back to your starting point in Athens.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Hermes or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Meteora Monasteries
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
There is a lot to experience in this ancient city, and you will have all day free to explore at your own pace. There are no activities planned for today until the important group meeting in the evening for the second part of your trip. Afterwards, enjoy dinner with the group at a local restaurant in the vibrant Psiri neighbourhood.

Note: As this trip is a combination trip your leader and group composition will change at this location. There will be a welcome meeting at 6pm tonight. You are welcome to attend so you can meet your new fellow travellers.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Hermes or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Transfer to the airport and take a short flight to the island of Crete, the largest and most southerly of the Greek islands. Upon arrival you will be transferred to Hania (Chania), your base for the next three nights. Your historic hotel (the feature stay of the trip) is located a short distance from Hania's town centre, in a quieter part of town. After settling in you will take a walk into the old town. Firstl stop at the agora (municipal market), then pass a number of historical churches. Discover the remains of a Venetian monastery and wander through the charming Old Harbour area, with its two Venetian shipyards and Great Arsenal building. Heading deep into the narrow cobblestone alleys of the Venetian town, discover a beautiful array of Venetian and Turkish architecture in the former aristocratic area. Afterwards, enjoy some free time before driving to the traditional village of Vamos. This area is renowned for its rich cultural heritage. Here you will take a short walk around the historical centre or the old neighbourhood with traditional old houses, ruins, ancient stone roads and secret nooks. Stopover at a local tavern and enjoy a typical Greek moment with meze, a meal shared around the table, done for centuries by the locals. Clink glasses with the locals and wash it all down with the traditional local white spirit raki. Return to Hania for the night.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Halepa or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Vamos Village Excursion
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Depart early for the beautiful hill village of Agia Irini (approximately 1.5 hours). Here you will hike through the Agia Irini Gorge, through varied landscapes of spectacular mountain and forest scenery, all the way to the coastline (9 km; approximately 4–5 hours). You will walk on rocky riverbeds, along the steep sides of mountains and through rich vegetation of trachea pine, Mediterranean cypress, beech, carob tree and kermes oak. Take in the aromas of native wildflowers and herbs as you walk. In the rocks there are a number of herb varieties, including the medicinal Greek herb Dittany (Dictamo). Keep an eye out for the partridge, golden eagle and the endangered bearded vulture. If you’re lucky you might even catch a glimpse of the kri-kri goat (Cretan ibex) which is now found only on Crete and three smaller neighbouring islands. Your walk culminates in the small coastal village of Sougia, on the southern side of Crete. This is a great place to relax after a day’s walk and you can enjoy a swim as well as an optional lunch and refreshing drink in one of the traditional seaside tavernas. At the end of the day you will take the scenic drive back to Hania (approximately 2 hours).

Notes: Today's hike is graded as moderate, with some challenging, steep and slippery sections. Good walking shoes, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen are recommended. For those with mobility issues or who would rather not partake in the walk, it is possible to opt out and meet the group in Sougia upon completion of the hike.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Halepa or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Agia Irini Gorge
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is free for you to explore Crete. If you are looking to embark on another great walk on the island, there’s the chance to join an excursion to hike the famous Samaria Gorge (17 km; approximately 4–6 hours, depending on fitness level). This is hike is optional. Alternatively you can relax on one of Hania’s city beaches. Nea Hora is a sandy beach west of the Venetian walls – it's decked out with sun beds and is close to restaurants. If you walk to the west of this beach you will come across quieter beaches. Another option is to take a local bus to Elafonissi Lagoon on the west coast. Elafonissi is considered Crete’s prettiest beach, and a daily bus goes there from Hania in the morning and returns in the late afternoon. There is also the possibility of taking an optional guided excursion to the ruins of Knossos, once the capital of Minoan Crete. Alternatively you may wish to spend your day experiencing more of the township of Hania. Your leader will be able to assist you with all the options available on your free day.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Halepa or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Bid farewell to Crete and travel to spectacular Santorini, the southernmost island in the Cyclades group. Firstly you will drive to the port city of Iraklio (approximately 2 hours). Here you will board a ferry and head across the Sea of Crete to Santorini (approximately 2 hours). This is a great way to travel between the islands. Upon arrival in Santorini's capital, Fira, you will be met and transferred to the hotel in Oia (pronounced ‘eeah’). Oia was built on a steep slope inside Santorini’s incredible volcanic caldera and is a quieter part of the island than Fira. Enjoy a free afternoon to absorb this veritable paradise. Your leader will be able to offer suggestions on what to see and do. In the late afternoon you will view Oia's world-famous sunset, which has been immortalised in many photos and works of art. Enjoy a sunset picnic overlooking the caldera away from the crowds. Indulge in local cheese, ham and bread, all complimented by a local grape variety and a world-class view.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Finikia or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
In the morning, embark on a walk along Santorini’s legendary caldera. The island you see today is what remains from a huge volcanic explosion that destroyed the early settlements and created a geographical caldera. The spectacular natural beauty of this caldera is what makes Santorini such a special place. Your walk begins in Oia and you will walk along the north-western rim of the caldera, passing steep cliff faces and experiencing breath-taking views along the way (approximately 2.5–3 hours of walking). The walk ends in the town of Fira (Thira) where you will visit the fascinating Prehistoric Museum of Thira and learn more about the incredible history of this unique island, as well as see masterpieces from the prehistoric Aegean age. The rest of the afternoon is free, so perhaps visit one of the island’s wineries. The vines here are cultivated in a very unusual way, with the plants being pruned to form a low basket shape that sits on top of the volcanic soil to protect the grapes from strong winds. The Santos Winery, a co-operative and the largest winery on the island, offers tours as well as wine tasting. It's also idyllically located, with marvellous views over the island and the sea – a lovely spot for a tipple.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Finikia or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Santorini Caldera Hike
  • Thira Prehistoric Museum
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Today is free for you to explore Santorini as you please. You might like to simply relax on the beach, or take a boat tour to the hot water beaches and the summit of Nea Kameni (the still active but currently dormant volcano in the middle of the caldera). There is a lot to do on the island and your leader will be on hand to offer suggestions. Art Space, a local gallery, boasts wine caverns replete with an excellent collection of modern Greek painting and sculpture. The Museum of Prehistoric Thera is also well worth a visit – look out for its fossilised olive tree leaves that came from the caldera 60,000 years ago.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Finikia or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning you will be transported to Santorini’s port and board a ferry bound for the island of Mykonos. Mykonos, considered the most glamorous and cosmopolitan of the Cycladic islands, still holds on to its old-world charm and many locals maintain their peaceful island existence among the many foreigners who grace their shores. Upon arrival you will be transferred to the area of Tourlos, where the hotel is located. After settling in, you'll take a walking tour of Mykonos’ charming Old Town, a captivating labyrinth of stone-paved laneways, traditional whitewashed houses and windmills. This evening you will make your way to the village of Ano Mera for a delicious dinner at a local taverna and taste the local Myconian delicacies mostra and louza. The rest of the night is free for you to step out into the lively Mykonos street scene.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Rhenia or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Enjoy a free day to discover Mykonos for yourself. You may wish to take an optional boat trip along the coast so you can witness some of the scenery further afield. Another great option is to make your way to one of the famous beaches on the island's north coast, such as Paradise Beach. Your leader will be able to assist you with this. Alternatively, simply stay in town to stroll around and admire the traditional Cycladic houses or head to one of the seaside eateries for a leisurely lunch. Other interesting areas to explore in and around Mykonos are the Little Venice and Ano Mera villages. At the latter you will find an impressive monastery.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Rhenia or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Boat Tour to Delos Island
  • Delos Archaeological Site
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will make an excursion to the island of Delos, a short boat trip from Mykonos. Delos has a vast and interesting history and is one of Greece's most important archaeological sites. It's considered a sacred place. You will explore the site in depth and gain an insight into the island’s intriguing history. New discoveries of the ancient world are still made here from time to time. Delos is acclaimed as the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, and has been inhabited since around 3000 BC. The earliest shrines and temples were built around the 8th century BC. When the Romans set their sights on the island in 167 BC it became a free trading port and home to a flourishing slave trade market, with thousands of slaves being traded daily. In the afternoon you will take a return ferry back to Mykonos for another night on this lively island.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Rhenia or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After a leisurely morning, transfer to Mykonos port for your ferry across the sparkling Aegean Sea and back to Athens. Upon arrival at Pireaus port, usually at around 8 pm, you will be taken to your centrally located hotel in Athens. As tonight will be your last evening with the group, you might like to join up for a final dinner. Your leader will be able to offer suggestions on the best places to dine in Athens.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Hermes or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your journey comes to an end after breakfast this morning. We are happy to book additional accommodation for those wishing to see more of the city, subject to availability, and if you are flying out, you may wish to book a departure transfer to take you to the airport. Please enquire at the time of booking.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

18 breakfasts, 6 dinners

Transport

Boat, Private vehicle. Plane

Accommodation

Comfortable hotel (14 nights), Feature stay (4 nights)

Included Activities

  • Acropolis Visit
  • Visit to the Temple of Olympian Zeus
  • Epidaurus Guided Tour
  • Guided Tour of Mycenae
  • Monasteries Walking Tour in Dimitsana
  • Temple of Vasses Visit
  • Guided Tour of Olympia
  • Delphi Oracle & Temple of Apollo Visit
  • Meteora Monasteries
  • Vamos Village Excursion
  • Agia Irini Gorge
  • Santorini Caldera Hike
  • Thira Prehistoric Museum
  • Boat Tour to Delos Island
  • Delos Archaeological Site

Dates & availability

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Important notes

ATHENS METRO
We have had reports of travellers being pickpocketed on public transport in Athens. Please be careful with valuables whilst travelling on the metro or the bus.

HOT WEATHER
Summer temperatures can reach up to 40 degrees Celsius, which can be uncomfortable for those not used to the heat. Please consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.