12 days

Greek Island Odyssey

Greek Island Odyssey

Santorini’s legendary caldera

Santorini's wines

Hania - ‘the jewel of Crete'

Agia Irini Gorge walk

Trip rating
  • The god Apollo himself was born on these islands, so could there be a more appropriate place for a holiday? Soak up million dollar Mediterranean views, hang out in whitewashed cubist houses, and relax on golden beaches by the bluest of seas.

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - Arrive Athens

    • Your journey will start in Athens, Greece’s lively capital.
    • It is one of the world’s oldest cities and there’s a feast of things to see and do, so you may wish to book some extra nights here before your tour starts to make the most of your time here.
    • There are no activities planned today so you may arrive at any time. Please make your own way to the joining hotel (details are in your travel documents).
    • In the evening you will meet your tour leader and fellow travelling companions at a welcome meeting (this is usually at 6pm, but please check for the exact time and place on a noticeboard located near the reception at our hotel), where your tour leader will give you a briefing on what lies ahead on the tour.
    • This evening you will enjoy a group dinner together at a local restaurant in the Psiri neighbourhood of Athens.
    Hotel Hermes or similar
    Dinner

    Day 2 - Hania, Crete

    • This morning you will 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 feature stay hotel is located on the outskirts of the town in the quieter area of Halepa. Built in the 1800s by a wealthy merchant, it was designed in neoclassical style. During the period of Cretan democracy it was used as the British Embassy and many significant treaties were signed here.
    • After settling into the hotel, you will into the old town and discover what makes Hania so special and why it has been called ‘the jewel of Crete’.
    • One of the first structures you stop at is the agora (or municipal market), which is in the centre of town. Today the building shelters a number of specialty shops that sell local handicrafts and produce.
    • You will pass a number of historical churches including the Catholic Church of the Isodion and the Agios Fragiskos Church (now home to the archaeological museum).
    • Strolling on you will discover the remains of a Venetian monastery and wander through the charming Old Harbour area, with its two Venetian shipyards and Great Arsenal building. The old Venetian lighthouse stands tall over the port and was reconstructed during Turkish rule, to include a minaret.
    • Heading deep into the narrow cobblestone alleys of the Venetian town you will discover a range of Venetian and Turkish architecture including impressive facades in old mansions in the once aristocratic area. Many of these have been converted to guesthouses.
    • You may wish to visit one of Hania’s many great museums, go souvenir shopping at the Agora, or perhaps sit back in one of the many portside cafes and absorb the colourful atmosphere of this lovely town.
    • In the afternoon, you will drive to the traditional village of Vamos, renowned for its rich cultural heritage. You’ll have a short stroll around the historical centre or the old neighbourhood with its traditional old houses, old ruins, ancient stone roads and secret nooks.
    • Perhaps enjoy a local taverna dinner with fellow group members to complete the colourful day.
    Halepa hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 3 - Agia Irini – Sougia - Hania

    • You will leave the hotel early this morning for the one-and-a-half hour drive to the beautiful hill village of Agia Irini (600m) in the east. From the village you will start a walk through the Agia Irini Gorge, where you will encounter dramatic and varied landscapes from spectacular mountains to dense forests, all the way to the beautiful coastline.
    • 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. In the rocks a number herb varieties can be found including the healing Greek herb, Dittany (Dictamo), used for the relief of stomach pain and arthritis.
    • The aromas from the native wildflowers and herbs fill the air. A variety of interesting fauna lives in the gorge including the endangered bearded vulture, partridge, Bonelli’s eagle and golden eagle. If you’re lucky you may even catch a glimpse of the Kri-kri goat (or Cretan ibex), now found only on Crete and three smaller neighbouring islands.
    • The Kri-kri was thought to have been worshipped on Crete during antiquity - a theory supported by the excavation of several wall paintings depicting the animal.
    • Your rewarding walk will conclude with your arrival 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 end of the day you will enjoy a picturesque two-hour drive back to Hania. (Total Walking: 12km / 4 -5 hours)
    Halepa hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 4 - Crete (free day)

    • Today will be a free day for you to explore Crete.
    • There are plenty of things to see and do. For those wishing to embark on another great walk on the island, there’s the chance to join an optional excursion to hike the famous Samaria Gorge. This walk is 17 kilometres long and, depending on fitness levels, takes between four and six hours to complete (refer to ‘optional excursions’ section).
    • Alternatively you may wish to relax on one of Hania’s city beaches – Nea Hora is a sandy beach west of the Venetian walls and is 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 leaves 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 (refer to ‘optional excursions’).
    • Alternatively you may wish to spend your day experiencing more of the wonderful township of Hania. Your leader will be able to assist you with all the options available on your free day.
    Halepa hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 5 - Crete - Santorini

    • Today you will farewell Crete and travel to spectacular Santorini, the southernmost island in the Cyclades group.
    • You will leave the hotel in Hania early for the two-hour drive to the port city of Iraklio. From here you wil board a ferry for the trip across the Sea of Crete to Santorini.
    • This is a great way to travel between the islands and the journey takes approximately two hours.
    • Upon arrival in the capital, Fira, you will be met and transferred to the hotel in Oia (pronounced ‘Ia’). Oia was built on a steep slope of Santorini’s incredible caldera and is a quieter part of the island compared to Fira.
    • You will 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 as the group and head into the gorgeous town of Oia to view its world-famous sunset, which has been immortalised in many photos and works of art.
    • This evening you will have the option of dining together in one of the lovely tavernas in Oia and enjoying sumptuous seafood and other local cuisine against the truly spectacular backdrop.
    Finikia hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 6 - Santorini

    • In the morning you will embark on a walk along Santorini’s legendary caldera.
    • The island that you see today is what remains from a huge volcanic explosion that destroyed the early settlements and created a geographical caldera. This caldera offers spectacular natural beauty and is what makes Santorini such a special place.
    • Your walk begins from Oia and you will walk along the north-western rim of the caldera, passing steep cliff faces and experiencing breathtaking views along the way.
    • Your walk will come to an end in the town of 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 including important wall paintings.
    • The rest of the afternoon will be free and you may wish to 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, with the basket shape protecting 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. This winery is idyllically located with marvellous views over the island and the sea - a lovely place to sit and enjoy a glass of wine! (Walking time: approximately 2.5 - 3 hours)
    Finikia hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 7 - Santorini (free day)

    • You will have a free day today to explore Santorini.
    • There is a lot to do on the island and your tour leader will be on hand to offer suggestions.
    • Perhaps you'd like to learn more about the viticulture of the island with a visit to one of Santorini's wineries, or you may prefer to simply unwind and relax on the beach.
    Finikia hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 8 - Santorini - Mykonos

    • 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 amongst the many foreigners who grace their shores.
    • Upon arrival in Mykonos, you will be transferred to the region of Vryssi, on the western side of the island, where the hotel is located.
    • This afternoon you will embark on a walking tour of Mykonos’s charming Old Town, a captivating labyrinth of stone-paved lane ways, traditional whitewashed houses and windmills.
    • This evening will be free so you can step out into the lively Mykonos street scene and dine in one of the many tavernas and restaurants on offer. Your tour leader will be available to offer suggestions on the best places to try.
    Vienoulas Garden Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 9 - Mykonos - Delos - Mykonos

    • Today you will embark on an excursion to the island of Delos, a short boat trip from Mykonos. Delos has a vast and interesting history and it is one of the most important sites of archaeology in Greece. New discoveries of ancient archaelogical wonder are still made from time to time here.
    • Considered a sacred place, it’s acclaimed as the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis and it has been inhabited since around 3000 BC. The earliest shrines and temples were built around the 8th century BC. By the 5th century BC, the Athenians took control of Delos making it the location of the treasury.
    • During the Hellenistic era, the island was one of Greece’s most important religious and commercial hubs, attracting the wealthy from all over who contributed to the island’s many temples and shrines. 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.
    • You will explore the site in-depth and gain an insight into this sacred island’s intriguing history.
    • In the afternoon, you will take a return ferry back to Mykonos, for another night on this lively island.
    Vienoulas Garden Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 10 - Mykonos (free day)

    • You will have a free day to discover Mykonos for yourself today.
    • You may wish to take an optional boat trip along the coast to experience beautiful Mykonos from the sea.
    • Your tour leader will be able to assist you with booking this.
    Vienoulas Garden Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 11 - Mykonos - Athens

    • After a leisurely morning, you will transfer to the Mykonos port for your ferry across the Aegean back to Athens.
    • Upon arrival at Pireaus port, you will be taken to your centrally located hotel in Athens.
    • The remainder of the day is free. As tonight will be your last evening together, you might like to join together for a final dinner.
    • Your leader will be able to offer suggestions on the best places in Athens to dine.
    Hotel Hermes or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 12 - End Athens

    • Your tour will come to an end after breakfast this morning.
    • Additional accommodation can be booked in Athens, or alternatively if you are flying out, you may wish to book a departure transfer to take you to the airport - enquire at time of booking.
    Breakfast
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • The services of Peregrine's expert English-speaking local tour leader.
    • Domestic flight from Athens to Crete
    • 3 night stay in former British Embassy
    • Walk through the Agia Irini Gorge
    • Walk along Santorini’s legendary caldera

    Not Included

    • International flights
    • Arrival and departure transfers
    • Departure taxes
    • Visas
    • Travel insurance (compulsory on all trips)
    • Meals (where not listed as included in the itinerary)
    • Optional additional tours or activities during free time
    • Tips
    • Items of a personal nature
  • Map Itinerary

  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    Greek Island Odyssey

    Mark - Australia, 2 Jun, 2013
    5
    Overall Rating

    The Greek Island tour was well paced and offered participants the chance to take part in a range of activities. There was quite a bit of free time which proved valuable and allowed us to either re-explore or delve into new territory. The tour included visits to historical sites and museums, as well as allowing time for leisure. The walk through the gorge on Crete was a highlight, as was the visit to Delos Island to see the ruins.

    Greek Island Odyssey

    Geoffrey - Australia, 17 Jun, 2012
    5
    Overall Rating
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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PEGI
Start City: Athens
End City: Athens

What to know

This trip can be enjoyed by just about anyone with a reasonable level of fitness.

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