Days
12
Price from
$4,645AUD

Stroll along the coast in Crete and enjoy sunsets in Santorini on this 12-day odyssey

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.


Start
Athens, Greece
Finish
Athens, Greece
Country
Greece
Style
Peregrine
Code
PEGI
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
(6 reviews)
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Your journey begins with an Athenian feast in the pulsing Psiri neighbourhood in Greece's capital

  • 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

  • Step back in time as you explore Vamos, a 12th-century hill village steeped in tradition and medieval history

  • Take guided hikes through some of Greece most staggering landscapes, such as Santorini's famed caldera

  • 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

Is this trip right for you?

  • Pickpocketing can be an issue in Athens, especially on public transport. But 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 at this time. 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.

Itinerary

Arrive in Athens, Greece’s lively capital. There is a lot to experience in this ancient city, so arriving a few days early is highly recommended. There are no activities planned for today and you can arrive at any time. Please make your own way to the hotel. There will be an important group meeting in the evening (this is usually at 6 pm, but please check the noticeboards at the hotel reception for the exact time and place). In this meeting, your trip leader will give you a briefing on what lies ahead. Afterwards, enjoy dinner with the group at a local restaurant in the vibrant Psiri neighbourhood.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Hermes or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • 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. Firstly, stop at the agora (municipal market), then pass a number of historical churches. Stroll on and 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. Perhaps enjoy a local taverna dinner with your fellow travellers to complete the day.
Accommodation
  • Halepa hotel 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 walk 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 walk is graded as easy to moderate, with some challenging 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.
Accommodation
  • Halepa hotel 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
  • Halepa hotel 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 leave the hotel in Hania and 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. This evening there's the option of dining as a group in one of the lovely tavernas in Oia and enjoying sumptuous seafood and other local cuisine against the spectacular backdrop.
Accommodation
  • Finikia hotel 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 breathtaking 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
  • Finikia hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Santorini Caldera Hike
  • Thira Prehistoric Museum
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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
  • Finikia hotel 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 amongst 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 that's well known for its seafood. The rest of the night is free for you to step out into the lively Mykonos street scene.
Accommodation
  • Vienoulas Garden Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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. 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
  • Vienoulas Garden Hotel 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
  • Vienoulas Garden Hotel 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 them 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. Additional accommodation can be booked in Athens. Alternatively, (enquire at the time of booking this trip).

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. Alternatively you may want to consider joining our 'Highlights of Greece' trip – an adventure exploring Greece's mainland.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

11 breakfasts, 2 dinners

Transport

Boat, On foot, Private vehicle

Accommodation

Comfortable hotel (8 nights), Feature stay (3 nights)

Included Activities

  • Vamos Village Excursion
  • Agia Irini Gorge
  • Santorini Caldera Hike
  • Thira Prehistoric Museum
  • Boat Tour to Delos Island
  • Delos Archaeological Site

Reviews

Our Greek Island Odyssey trips score an average of 4.67 out of 5 based on 6 reviews in the last year.

Greek Island Odyssey, June 2015

Keith Silburn

Greek Island Odyssey, May 2015

Max Howard

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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.